Friday, November 28, 2008

Hooker's purple prose

Every so often I dip into Richard Hooker's Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity. He is good for the soul, especially one's Anglican soul, bracing up flagging spirits with faultless logic and penetrating insight into God's holy mysteries.

In the midst of a section in which he elucidates the understanding of Anglican eucharist, steering a clear path through the challenges of Lutheran, Roman and other understandings he says these things in such a manner as ranks him 'up there' with the greatest of writers in the English language.

'... they saw their Lord and Master with hands and eyes lifted up to heaven first bless and consecrate for the endless good of all generations till the world's end the chosen elements of bread and wine, which elements made for ever the instruments of life by virtue of his divine benediction ... They had at that time a sea of comfort and joy to wade in, and we by that which they did are taught that this heavenly food is given for the satisfying of our empty souls, and not for the exercising of our curious and subtile wits.' (5.67.4)

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