Monday, November 20, 2006

The Judicious Mr. Hooker


The following excerpt was taken from Fragments of an Answer to the Letter of Certain English Protestants found in the Keble edition of Richard Hooker's Works, Book V, Appendix 1, 46.

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"One thing further also we must note, touching obduration: that there may be in man such malice, as maketh him the child of eternal death, and yet not always such cause, as induceth God perpetually to withhold his grace: which difference between the act of reprobation and obduration is the more necessary to be well observed, in regard of those things, which the Scripture hath concerning sin against the Holy Ghost, and the sin of apostasy after grace. For we need not doubt of the cause of reprobation in them, touching whom the Apostle hath said, they crucify again unto themselves the Son of God, and make mock of him. And yet, that in them God did not always see cause to withhold his Holy Spirit, appeareth as much as the same men were once enlightened, and had been partakers of the heavenly gift of the Holy Ghost, and had tasted of the good word of God, and of the power of the world to come. On the other side, perpetuity of inward grace belongeth unto none, but eternally foreseen elect, whose difference from castaways, in this life, doth not herein consist, that the one have grace always, the other never: but in this, that the one have grace that abideth, the other either not grace at all, or else grace which abideth not." [Emphasis in text]

4 comments:

Mark said...

The odd thing is that Calvin himself understood the faith of those who would eventually apostasize as temporary, not unreal or false.

It would be interesting to discover why post-reformation soteriology rejected the idea of a real but temporary faith. I suspect that one reason was the desire to eradicate a lingering anfechtung; but I simply do not know.

lexorandi2 said...

Yes, indeed, Mark. And on this point Arminius was closer to Calvin than was Dort.

I posted this entry and the last because I'm simply tired of hearing how "Calvinistic" the Church of England was at the Reformation.

Hooker, like many churchman of his era, was not dependent on Calvin as much as he was on Augustine. Many scholars in England read and studied Calvin for the same reason (because Calvin was so dependent on Augustine). Things change decisively after Dort.

Mark said...

Alastair McGrath concedes the anachronism in equating Calvinism-
and Arminianism too, for that matter -with the English Reformation:

"Most Anglican Divines in the late 16th and early 17th centuries appear to have based their soteriology on the dialectic between universal redemption and universal salvation, declining to accept the Bezan solution of their Puritan opponents"

"You are mistaken when you think the Doctrine of Universal Redemption Arminianisme. It was the Doctrine of the Church of England before Arminius was born. We learn it out of the Old Church-Cathecisme..."

Clement Barksdale


"In this, Barksdale must be regarded as substantially correct. The Bezan doctrine of limited atonement was somewhat late in arriving in England, by which time the older Melancthonian view had become incorporated into the confessional material of the English national church-such as the cathecism of 1549."

As for continental influences, McGrath betrays Philip Melancthon as decisive in the theological formation of Thomas Cranmer. Other Anglican scholars, such as Browne and Selwyn, have drawn the same conclusion

lexorandi2 said...

Thanks, Mark. I'm going to lift this quote to post in another forum.