Richard Hooker's Of The Laws of Ecclesiasticall Polity is in many ways the great explicit crystallization of the whole philosophic scheme by which Elizabethan England lived. Historically it represents the doctrinal “Thus far and no farther” which the English monarchy flung at the forces of the Reformation. Published at a moment of crisis in 1593, the first four Books provided a base upon which the hard-pressed Anglicans could rally against the renewed attacks of Presbyterianism. With the Fifth Book (published in 1597) they remained the great touchstone of Anglican doctrine throughout the seventeenth century. It is no small weapon in controversy to have your doctrines demonstrated so unanswerably as Hooker did the Anglican to be the logical manifestation of the one great integrated scheme of the universe which all parties already accept as valid.