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 Issues | Church History | Richard Hooker

 

Richard Hooker by C Sydney Carter

Hooker's Character

<< The closing years

Hooker was not only a learned philosophical theologian; he was also pre-eminently the saint.  His life of sanctity made its own powerful appeal.  He led a blameless life of frequent meditation, prayer and fasting and self-denial and in his four years’ College life was never known to display anger or passion.  He believed that “the life of a clergyman was a visible rhetoric and so convincing that the most godless men did secretly wish themselves like those of the strictest lives.”  He was far removed from a “hell-fire” preacher, and his sermons were designed to convince and persuade rather than to frighten men into piety.

He was a specially lovable and Christlike character.  When some violently partisan Puritan opponents, who had seriously slandered him, were convicted and punished, Hooker strove long but unsuccessfully to procure their pardon and then prayed much for their repentance. He hated controversy, although circumstances forced him to engage in it.  “I take no joy,” he declares, “in striving, I have not been trained up in it.”  And he wishes “that no strife may ever be heard of again but this, who shall hate strife most and who shall pursue peace and unity with swiftest pace.”

His contemporaries fully appreciated his worth. Bishop King (of London) declared that “his humility, learning and other virtues cast such a lustre as the rust of time shall never efface.”  His friend Dr. Spenser speaks of the “admirable height of learning and depth of judgment within the lowly mind of this truly humble man, great in all wise men’s eyes, except his own”, and also of “the gravity and majesty of speech of one whose eyes in the humility of his heart were always cast down to the ground.”

Surely the life, character and teaching of this outstanding Anglican apologist can speak to us even to-day, not only of the need to defend “the faith of the Gospel,” but to do so with that spirit of tolerance and charity, sound scholarship and wide learning, which he so conspicuously displayed.

 

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Related Links
Richard Hooker
BulletIntroduction

BulletRichard Hooker by Sydney Carter
BulletHooker's Marriage (Carter)
BulletThe Ecclesiastical Polity (Carter)
BulletEcclesiastical position (Carter)
BulletClosing Years (Carter)
BulletHooker's character (Carter)


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