Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Hookers Defence of Himself
By Richard Hooker (15541600)
From the Answer to Travers
TOUCHING the first point of his discovery, which is about the matter of predestination, to set down that I spake (for I have it written), to declare and confirm the several branches thereof, would be tedious now in this writing, where I have so many things to touch that I can but touch them only. Neither is it herein so needful for me to justify my speech, when the very place and presence where I spake, doth itself speak sufficiently for my clearing. This matter was not broached in a blind alley, or uttered where none was to hear it, that had skill with authority to control, or covertly insinuated by some gliding sentence.
That which I taught was at Pauls Cross; it was not huddled in amongst other matters, in such sort that it could pass without noting; it was opened, it was proved, it was some reasonable time stood upon. I see not which way my Lord of London, who was present and heard it, can excuse so great a fault, as patiently, without rebuke or controlment afterwards, to hear any man there teach otherwise than the Word of God doth, not as it is understood by the private interpretation of some one or two men, or by a special construction received in some few books, but as it is understood by all the churches professing the gospel; by them all, and therefore even by our own also amongst others. A man that did mean to prove that he speaketh, would surely take the measure of his words shorter.
The next thing discovered is an opinion about the assurance of mens persuasion in matters of faith. I have taught, he saith, That the assurance of things which we believe by the word, is not so certain as of that we perceive by sense. And is it as certain? Yea, I taught, as he himself I trust will not deny, that the things which God doth promise in His word, are surer unto us than any thing we touch, handle, or see; but are we so sure and certain of them? If we be, why doth God so often prove His promises unto us, as He doth, by arguments taken from our sensible experience? We must be surer of the proof than of the thing proved, otherwise it is no proof. How is it, that if ten men do all look upon the moon, every one of them knoweth it as certainly to be the moon as another; but many believing one and the same promise, all have not one and the same fulness of persuasion? How falleth it out that men being assured of any thing by sense, can be no surer of it than they are? whereas the strongest in faith that liveth upon the earth, hath always need to labour, and strive, and pray, that his assurance concerning heavenly and spiritual things may grow, increase, and be augmented?