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‘Lord, let Thy servant depart in peace.' And so he worked on, struggling with increasing weakness, until he had finished the last book ; then his work was over, and he laid down his pen, leaving to others the task of revising and arranging what he had written, but dying like a soldier on the battle-field. Just before his death he said to Dr. Saravia, “Good doctor, God hath heard my daily petitions, for I am at peace with all men, and He is at peace with me; and from that blessed assurance I feel that inward joy which this world can neither give nor take from me; my conscience beareth me this witness, and this witness makes the thoughts of death joyful. I could wish to do the Church more service; but I cannot hope it, for my days are passed as a shadow that returns not."
It is only possible to give a slight sketch of the plan of Hooker's great work in defence of the English Church. The object of it was, as we have seen, not to attack those who were separating themselves from the Church, but to show them, if possible, how they might with a clear conscience remain in communion with it.
Hooker saw that he and his opponents were one in heart; and in the preface to his work he declares his belief that the Puritans were quite as honest as the Churchmen in holding firmly to what seemed to them to be the truth. He knew that what made the Puritans ready to do and to bear anything, in order that they might worship God and order their churches according to a different form, was their firm persuasion that their form was most agreeable to the Word of God, and that the Bible alone was the sole authority for the polity of the Church. Hooker saw that a tender regard for the laws of God made them shrink from adopting any custom or rules not mentioned in the New Testament; he therefore took for the subject of his first book “ Laws in General,” and in this book he shows that ali laws have their source in God and are of Him; that the laws of nature are God's laws as much as are the directions revealed to us in the Bible; and so also are those laws planned by man's reason, for the reason of man is the creation and gift of God. It is important to notice how Hooker thus recognises the laws of nature and of reason as of God, for in this lay the strength of his argument. He then goes on to show that laws are nothing in themselves, excepting so long as they answer their true design, and this he declares to be to enable a man to do his duty without hindrance, and fulfil the will of God. For this reason it is necessary for the good to band together and make laws, so that the bad should be kept in check; though in so doing the good have to give up some of their freedom, and place themselves under rule. In making laws they must use their own sense and reason, and they may, at any time, change or alter these if need occur ; or take back the authority given to the rulers. Hooker thus makes the laws by which men are governed to spring from man's reason, used for the highest purpose, and he places the source of authority in the governed, to whom rulers are responsible. It is important to notice this, as we shall find this idea of civil law and rule brought forward again in England.
The title of Hooker's second book was “ Of the use of Divine Law contained in Scripture, whether that be the only Law which ought to serve for our Direction in all things without exception.” Hooker distinguishes between what he calls eternal laws, such as those relating to our duty. to God and to man, which is always and in all places the same; and laws relating to customs and forms, which are not suitable for all times and all places. Thus the Jewish laws of ceremonies, though given by God, were changed afterwards. He says: “Laws that were made for men or societies, or churches, in regard of their being such, as they do not always continue, but may, perhaps, be clean otherwise a while after, so may require to be otherwise ordered
than before.” The way was thus prepared for the third book, which treated of "Laws concerning Ecclesiastical Polity; whether the form thereof be in Scripture so set down that no addition or change is lawful ?” Hooker contended that this was not so, that at different times and in different countries laws might be made best suited for the Church at that time, and of that nation. The fourth and fifth books defended the system of Church government and the order of service arranged for the English Church at the time of the accession of Queen Elizabeth. The sixth book examined into the plan followed in the Geneva Church, of placing power in the hands of the members of the congregation. The seventh defended the rule of bishops; and the eighth the supreme authority of the sovereign as the head of a national Church. Hooker's “Ecclesiastical Polity” has a place in English literature apart from the purpose which he intended it to serve, on account of its clear penetration of thought and sound good sense, as well as of the singular fitness in the illustrations employed. The style is grave, earnest, and eloquent, and in the five books which were first published, and which he revised himself, there is the most careful finish in the expression.
FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626).
Up to this time the story of our English Literature has been the story of writers who have striven to set before us the true ideal, and in this way to waken in us a greater love for God, and a more earnest striving to make our lives complete in duty. This we have seen is the soul of the poems, stories, plays, and other writings, ever since the very early times; but while men thought earnestly and felt deeply about the things belonging to God and to human life, very few persons had tried to find out anything about the great world of Nature around them.
We see, it is true, that our forefathers had from the earliest times a simple, hearty love for nature; they saw its beauty, and it spoke to them, as it does to men now, and always will do, many great and precious truths. Thus the daisy represented to Chaucer the perfect beauty of the highest type of womanhood, in its purity, sweetness, and serviceableness ; but no one had then thought of asking how the life came into the little seed which grew up into the daisy plant, nor how it got its nourishment out of the earth, the air, and the sunshine. Nor had any one found out how wonderfully it was made, and how its roots, its leaves, its little golden head, and pure white crown were all parts of the most exquisite and perfect arrangement, in order that the little daisy might live its life without care and do its true work.
Whilst men could see and love the beauty of form and colour in nature, and feel a certain sympathy with it, the love was overbalanced by a larger amount of fear—that fear which we feel respecting anything unknown, and especially in the presence of power, when we know nothing of the laws which govern and direct it. This fear was also increased by the false idea which prevailed of the character of God. During the corrupt times of the Romish Church the people had been taught to think of God, their Father, as an angry tyrant ready to destroy; and they had come to look upon Nature, not as a manifestation of Divine wisdom and love, so much as a mysterious agency for punishing and tormenting man. So great was the prevailing dread of Nature during the Middle Ages, that if any one were sus pected of trying to find out its laws and processes, he was looked upon with horror, as a man who had cast off the fear of God, and was probably in alliance with evil spirits.
This came to be the common belief about Roger Bacon, a Franciscan friar, who in the thirteenth century had the courage to lift the veil, as it were, from Nature, and who, amidst the greatest difficulties and constant opposition, devoted his life to trying to understand something of the world around him. But for the most part all students were content to take what the Greeks taught about Nature, without making any observations or experiments of their own, in order to prove the truth of what they learned, or to find out anything more. No advance could of course be made in this way, and the stock of knowledge could never be increased; but the old facts and blunders were learned and repeated generation after generation.
This was the state of Natural Science down to the sixteenth century ; then a change began to take place in regard to the feelings with which men looked upon Nature, and the little stock of knowledge they possessed of its works and laws.
After the revival of learning the keen spirit of inquiry began to be turned to the facts taught about Nature in the