"For a spur of diligence therefore we have a natural thirst after knowledge ingrafted in us. But by reason of that original weakness in the instruments, without which the understanding part is not able in this world by discourse to work, the very conceit of painfulness is as a bridle to stay us."

— Hooker, Richard (1554-1600)


Place of Publication
London
Publisher
John Windet
Date
1594
Metaphor
"For a spur of diligence therefore we have a natural thirst after knowledge ingrafted in us. But by reason of that original weakness in the instruments, without which the understanding part is not able in this world by discourse to work, the very conceit of painfulness is as a bridle to stay us."
Metaphor in Context
Nor let any man think that this doth make any thing for the just excuse of iniquity. For there was never sin committed, wherein a less good was not preferred before a greater, and that wilfully; which cannot be done without the singular disgrace of Nature, and the utter disturbance of that divine order, whereby the preeminence of chiefest acceptation is by the best things worthily challenged. There is not that good which concerneth us, but it hath evidence enough for itself, if Reason were diligent to search it out. Through neglect thereof, abused we are with the show of that which is not; sometimes the subtilty of Satan inveigling us as it did Eve, sometimes the hastiness of our Wills preventing the more considerate advice of sound Reason, as in the Apostles, when they no sooner saw what they liked not, but they forthwith were desirous of fire from heaven; sometimes the very custom of evil making the heart obdurate against whatsoever instructions to the contrary, as in them over whom our Saviour spake weeping, "O Jerusalem, how often, and thou wouldest not!" Still therefore that wherewith we stand blameable, and can no way excuse it, is, In doing evil, we prefer a less good before a greater, the greatness whereof is by reason investigable and may be known. The search of knowledge is a thing painful; and the painfulness of knowledge is that which maketh the Will so hardly inclinable thereunto. The root hereof, divine malediction; whereby the instruments being weakened wherewithal the soul (especially in reasoning) doth work, it preferreth rest in ignorance before wearisome labour to know. For a spur of diligence therefore we have a natural thirst after knowledge ingrafted in us. But by reason of that original weakness in the instruments, without which the understanding part is not able in this world by discourse to work, the very conceit of painfulness is as a bridle to stay us. For which cause the Apostle, who knew right well that the weariness of the flesh is an heavy clog to the Will, striketh mightily upon this key, "Awake thou that sleepest; Cast off all which presseth down; Watch; Labour; Strive to go forward, and to grow in knowledge."
(I.vii.7)
Provenance
Reading
Citation
Many variant titles; searching ESTC for editions: (1593, 1597, 1604, 1611, 1617, 1622, 1632, 1636, 1639, 1648, 1676).

See Of the Lavves of Ecclesiasticall Politie. Eyght Bookes. By Richard Hooker. (Printed at London: By Iohn Windet, dwelling at the signe of the Crosse keyes neere Powles Wharffe, and are there to be soulde, 1593). <Link to ESTC>

See also Of the Lavves of Ecclesiasticall Politie, Eight Bookes. By Richard Hooker, 2nd edition (Printed at London: By Iohn Windet, dwelling at the signe of the Crosse-keyes neare Paules wharffe, and are there to be solde, 1604). <Link to EEBO> [Full text available]

Originally searching text from Richard Hooker, The Works of that Learned and Judicious Divine Mr. Richard Hooker, 7th edition revised by the Very Rev. R.W. Church and the Rev. F. Paget (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888), vol. 1 of 3. <Link to OLL>

Reading in Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. 1 of The Works of Richard Hooker, ed. Georges Edelen, Folger Library edition (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1977).
Date of Entry
05/16/2012

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.