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Our minds must be armed with prayer, with holy scripture, and with examples of holy men.
vice of nature, custom, or evil bringing up; against the assault of such enemies, as against the vice of backbiting, filthy speaking, envy, gluttony, and other like, there must be certaih rules written in the table of our mind, which for forgetting must now and then be renewed.
And we, as
Imprinted at Ausborch by
[Since the foregoing pages were printed off, the Editor has met with a copy of the second edition of the Treatise on the Lord's Supper, with the Order of the Church in Denmark, &c., in the possession of Dr Thackeray, Provost of King's College, Cambridge; by whose kindness he is enabled here to supply the part of the Epistle to the Reader which was added in that edition, together with the title-page and colophon.]
and moast Godlye treatyse concer:
the fyrst edicion.
Supper of the
at London by John Way
ad imprimendum solum. [Coverdale.]
[After the words, “and in all our names,” p. 433, line 29, instead of the concluding lines which there follow, the second edition has the following pages :]
We must believe that their receiving of it is the application of Christ's merits to us. We must believe that they can thereby relieve the souls in the bitter pains of purgatory. We must believe that our being present at this their sacrifice, (as they call it), shall give us good speed in all our affairs, be they never so devilish. We must believe that a priest, (being never so ungodly in his living, never so much subject unto sin, never so much the devil's member), is the minister of God, and that his prayer and sacrifice in the mass is acceptable to God. In fine, we must believe that their masses be of strength to purchase the assistance of God in all dangers, and a present remedy against plague, penury, and all diseases both of man and beast, against wars, robberies, and all incursions of enemies, both bodily and ghostly. How can these assertions stand with the communion of Christ's body and blood ? Did Christ shew the bread to his apostles, and then eat it himself, to certify their consciences thereby? Did he bid any one of them take bread and wine, and shew them to the residue of the faithful, so oft as they would communicate his body and blood, and then eat and drink all himself, instead of all the faithful that should be present ? I think no man is so much without shame once to think it. But I know the root of their error. They say, that as Christ was the high priest or bishop to minister unto his apostles the communion of his body and blood, which he did indeed offer on the cross to his Father; so did he ordain his apostles, and in them all that should succeed them, priests to offer up the selfsame, (say they), to apply the sacrifice done by Christ with the merits of the same to them that are present thereat, or that shall by any means have it done for them. Oh, blind bussards ! Where are your spiritual eyes become ? Did Christ, being the high priest, distribute the bread to his apostles, to the intent that they, and all other their successors, should shew the bread and wine to the people, and then eat and drink all themselves ? A man that hath so much ghostly knowledge as the grain of a mustard-seed, would not fail to say, that Christ meant rather that the apostles and priests should distribute the bread and wine among the faithful people, willing them to certify themselves thereby, that they are partakers of the body and blood of Christ. For what saith the text? “So oft as ye shall do this, ye shall do it in the remembrance of me." But what was it that they should do in the remembrance of him? Forsooth, divide bread and wine amongst them. The private receiving of the bread and wine therefore can by no means stand with the institution of Christ, which was, that according to his example we should, by the dividing of bread and wine amongst us, certify ourselves that we are all partakers with Christ in his redemption, through the ransom that he paid for us on the cross. How standeth this with our hearing of mass, to the intent to speed the better thereby, when we go about our worldly business, be they honest or unhonest, godly or ungodly ? Forsooth, I suppose, even as much as the carrying of bread in a man's purse in the night-time, or in a tempest, serveth to keep him from blasting with evil airs. So that I dare be bold to affirm, that this hearing of mass is no better than mere superstition, and the mass itself so far from the institution of Christ, that it seemeth not to be any part of the commemoration of Christ's passion ; but a mere invention of man, crept into the church by the subtle suggestion of our most cruel and malicious enemy the devil, who hath always endeavoured to poison all the wholesome food of man's soul, as it appeareth right well by the great abuse that this most sacred sacrament is grown unto. This was and ought to be so necessary a food to the soul, that without it no Christian can tarry in Christ, neither have Christ tarrying in him; whereby it is plain, that without this food no soul hath any life in it. For Christ is the life that is in the christian soul.
No less necessary therefore is this food to the souls of the congregation, than the sinews be to the body to hold the joints together. Our adversary therefore could in no case be quiet, till he had poisoned this so necessary food, corrupting therein the virtue and strength to unite and knit the Christians to Christ their head, making it of force to draw them quite from him by putting their confidence in it, trusting to redeem their sins by oft offering up thereof; insomuch that they fell to founding of abbeys, chantries, and anniversaries for the salvation of their souls: for so was it always specified and conditioned in the writings made between the founders of such abbeys, chantries, and anniversaries, and the receivers of the yearly rents given to that use, yea, rather abuse. And in this miserable estate hath it continued even these six hundred years, poisoning the souls of them that should have been fed thereby.
But here must I beware, that our enemy do not poison these words of mine also, causing men to understand me as one that would deny it to be possible for any man to tarry in Christ, or to have Christ tarrying in him, unless he receive these visible sacraments or signs, bread and wine. No doubt, christian reader, the belief and trust in Christ is the mean whereby Christ tarrieth in us, and we in him. But the belief and trust are established and confirmed by the use of these visible signs. As this belief and trust therefore are necessary to the abiding in Christ, so is the use of these holy sacraments also, for that it is the establishment and confirming of the said belief and trust. To all them, therefore, to whom this belief and trust are necessary, are these sacred sacraments also necessary. Whereupon I conclude, that all Christians, which are of age and discretion to discern the faith in Christ, ought also to use these most holy sacraments to establish and confirm this faith withal, And Christ knowing the weakness of man, and how hard it was to beat into his head the understanding of the high mystery of the participation and communion that all faithful should have in his merits, used these visible signs, that we might in them even with our senses perceive this wonderful distribution of the body and blood of Christ among his faithful, which our gross nature could no more compass without these visible signs, than the carnal and fleshly Jews could, when Christ told them of the eating his flesh and drinking of his blood, by believing in him. To help our weakness therefore, it pleased the almighty wisdom of the Lord to declare unto us by our senses the thing that the same senses caused the Jews to abhor : the manner, I say, of our participation and communion in Christ, and all that ever he deserved for us. For even as we see, that we, being many, are partakers of one loaf of bread by eating thereof, and of one cup of wine by drinking thereof; so are we certified by that participation, that we, being many, believing in Christ, are by that belief made partakers of Christ, and with Christ in all that is his, none otherwise than all the members of one body be partakers