Richard Hooker


The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity represents the Anglican response to Puritanism. Of particular importance is its defense of the use of reason in religion, in opposition to the Puritan claim that religion should rest on scripture alone (sola scriptura). Hooker (1554–1600) single-handedly kept the life of reason alive within Christianity through this defense of the central themes of the great metaphysical traditon of the West.

God Governs All through Eternal Reason

Eternal Law, or the Law of God's own Divine Reason, governs the world by drawing all things toward their appropriate goods under the Laws of Nature. This truth is known to Christians and non-Christians alike.

All Things in Nature Seek the Good

Each thing is nature seeks to preserve itself in being and to propagate its species. All natural things work toward the good of the whole. We too seek the good of the whole, but through our likeness to Divine Reason.

Our Knowledge of the Law of Nature

The laws of nature are known to us independently of Sacred Scripture, through the exericse of reason. That knowledge begins with the grasp of self-evident truths, about which no one can be completely ignorant.

The Place of Human Law within Society

The laws of the commonwealth, when rightly framed, follow the laws of nature. Society originates out of our natural need for each other. Human laws result from our consent, though given by our representatives.