... Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.—Revelation 15.3.
tacion to the cari=
enge of Chrystes cross, wyth a
true and brefe confutacion
of false and papisticall
2. Timo. 3.
All, that wyll lyve godly
By John Bradford, Martyr, 1555.The following "Confutation" formed part of a Treatise, published abroad, it would seem, by the Protestant exiles, during the reign of Mary, without any date or name of the author or printer, and now exceedingly rare. The present reprint follows a copy of that book, so issued, and possibly unique, belonging to George Offor, Esq., Hackney, and the title of which is given on the next page.
The "Confutation" is placed among Bradford's writings for the following reason. Bishop Coverdale, in 1564, attributed to Bradford a considerable portion of the entire Treatise (namely the first four chapters and part of the fourteenth), which he caused to be printed among Bradford's epistles, and with his signature, in the "Letters of the Martyrs," pp.427-46. But the complete Treatise, in its original edition, had ostensibly proceeded from one pen:1 and, on the other hand, Coverdale not infrequently abridged the letters he insertedpartly, it might be, for brevity's sake, and partly for the immediate objects of his publication, which seem to have been practical more than controversial. See for instance the "Defence of Election," Volume I. pp. 30530, only a part of which had appeared in the "Letters of the Martyrs," 1564. See also Letters XXXII., XLI., LXXX., XCVII., CI., from Bradford, and Letter LVII. from bishop Ridley, above in this Volume, all of which supply matter that had been omitted by Coverdale. It appears probable therefore, that the complete Treatise had been written by Bradford. And this inference would seem to be amply sustained by close examination; because the "Confutation" is, in various parts (to which reference is made in the footnotes), closely similar to other productions which were avowedly composed by Bradford.
The "Confutation" is printed in this volume, in the desire to present, among Bradford's Works, every piece which, there is reason to believe, may have been written by that martyr. That portion of the original Treatise, which, after its first publication in the edition without date, re-appeared in the "Letters of the Martyrs," 1564, pp. 427-46, has already been given in Volume I. pp. 41233, under the title of "An exhortation to the brethren throughout the realm of England," and where some sentences are supplied from the original edition.
CONFUTATION OF FOUR ROMISH DOCTRINES.
HOW THE PAPISTS HOLD THEIR FOUR SPECIAL ARTICLES,
THAT THEY CHIEFLY PERSECUTE FOR.
AND here, because the persecution and cross which is come and will come upon us is specially for these four points of religion, namely, of the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, and for the sacrifice of Christ, for praying for the dead, and praying to the dead, that is, to saints, I am purposed by God's grace to write hereof a little unto you, thereby to confirm you in the truth, to your comfort in the cross about the same.
Of the Sacrament.
And first, concerning the first doctrine, what they would have us to believe on these points, this is their doctrine: 'The catholic church hath taught, as she hath learned and received of Christ, how that he in his last supper, according to his promise, when he promised to give a bread, even his flesh [John 6], in instituting the sacrament of the altar (as they call it) performed the same; and that, as in all things which he promised he was found true, so in this the catholic church hath believed and doth believe no less. And therefore, so soon as the priest in the mass hath fully spoken these words, "This is my body," if he purpose or his intention be as he speaketh (for that is requisite, teach they), then that which before was bread, and seemeth to the eye to be bread, is made in very deed Christ's body, flesh, blood, and bone, even the selfsame which was crucified, rose again, and ascended up into heaven. So that he which believeth not this is a most heinous heretic, and cut off from the catholic church, and is not meet to receive this holy sacrament; because he cannot without this faith of Christ's natural, real, corporal, and carnal body, under the form or accident of bread and wine, otherwise receive this sacrament than unworthily and to eternal damnation.' This is a short sum of their doctrine concerning the supper.
Of the Sacrifice and Prayer for the Dead.
Now concerning the sacrifice they teach that, 'though our Saviour himself did indeed make a full and perfect sacrifice, propitiatory and satisfactory for the sins of all the whole world, never more so, that is to say, bloodily, to be offered again, yet in his supper he offered the same sacrifice unto his Father, but unbloodily, that is to say, in will and desire; which is accounted often even for the deed, as this was. Which un-bloody sacrifice he commanded his church to offer in remembrance of his bloody sacrifice, as the principal mean whereby his bloody sacrifice is applied both to the quick and dead; as baptism is the mean by the which regeneration is applied by the priest to the infant or child that is baptized. For, in that the supper of Christ is to them not only a sacrament but also a sacrifice, and that not only applicatory but also propitiatory, because it applieth the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ to whom the priest or minister will, be he dead or alive; and in that, even from the beginning, the fathers were accustomed in the celebration of the supper to have a memorial of the dead;2 and also, in that this sacrifice is a sacrifice of the whole church, the dead being members of the church, of charity as they cannot but offer for them, even so they cannot but pray for them after the ensample of the catholic church; because "it is a wholesome thing," saith Judas Maccabeus, "to pray for the dead, that they may be delivered from their sins." [2 Macc. 12.44,45.] Whereunto all the doctors do consent,' say they.
Prayer to Saints.
Now, as for praying to saints, they teach that, 'albeit there is but one Mediator of redemption, yet of intercession the holy saints of God departed this life may well be counted mediators. And therefore it is a point of a lowly heart and humble spirit, which God well liketh, to call upon the saints to pray for us first, lest by our presumption to come into God's presence, we being so unworthy, and God being so excellent and full of majesty, we more anger and displease God: whereas by their help God may be entreated to make us more worthy to come unto him, and the sooner to grant us our petitions. For, if the holy saints of God, here being upon the earth, could and would pray for the people, obtaining many things at God's hand, it is much more to be believed now,' say they, 'that they can and will, if we pray to them, obtain for us our humble and godly desires.' And therefore to the end their sacrifice propitiatory, which in the mass they offer, may be the more available, they use about it much praying to saints.
So of these four, as of four pillars, the mass standeth. The which mass, you may see what it is, and how precious and worthy a piece of work it is, by their doctrine concerning the supper, the sacrifice, the praying for the dead and to the dead: whereof I have given you a sum in the most honest, godly and religious wise [way], that the best of them do set it forth in. For else, if I should have shewed you this their doctrine, as some of them set it forth, as I know you would abhor it, so the subtle papists would say that I railed and misreported them. Therefore, because they shall have no such occasion, nor you by their most subtle colours be deceived, I have, in the best manner I can, reported a sum of their doctrine. The which to the end you might the better consider and have, I will now tell you, as God's word teacheth, how these four points are to be believed and received; and then will I open the filthiness and abomination, which in this their doctrine is devilishly contained.
CHAPTER II.CONCERNING the supper of our Lord, which Christ Jesus did institute to be a sacrament of his body and blood, we believe that his words in the same supper accordingly are to be understand, that is, sacramentally, as he meant them, and not simply, contrary to his meaning, as the papists wrest them. And this is taught us, not only by innumerable such like places, as where baptism is called "regeneration," [Titus 3,] because it is a sacrament of it; circumcision is called "God's covenant," [Gen. 17,] because it is a sacrament of it; but also by the plain circumstances of the text, as thereof the evangelists with the apostle Paul do write [Matt. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Cor. 10; 11], plainly affirming that our Saviour Christ did give, and his disciples did eat, that which he took and brake and bade them divide among themselves, that is, bread and wine. For we may not think that Christ's natural body was broken, nor that his blood can be divided. And plainly our Saviour saith concerning the cup, that he would "not drink any more of the fruit of the vine" (which is not his blood, I trow, but wine), until he should "drink it new with them" after his resurrection.
HOW GOD'S WORD TEACHETH OF THE SUPPER, WITH CONFUTATION OF THE PAPISTS' HERESY OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION ABOUT THE SAME.
But, to make this matter more plain, like as many things in Christ's supper were figuratively done and spoken, as the washing of the disciples' feet, the paschal lamb was called the passah, Judas was said to have lifted up his heel against him [John 13, Luke 22]; so doth Luke and Paul plainly alter the words concerning the cup, calling that "the New Testament," which Matthew and Mark call his "blood;" yea, expressly five times the apostle calleth the sacrament of Christ's body after the consecration spoken (as they term it) "bread:" "Is not the bread, which we break," saith he, "the communion of Christ's body?" Whose exposition I will more boldly stick unto, than unto all the papists' dreams, as long as I sleep not with them, by God's grace.
They have none other sentence but these four words, "This is my body." But ask them, what this is, and they will not say, as the apostle doth, namely, that it is bread. No; then they will say, that we hang all by reason, the matter being a matter of faith. Whereas they themselves altogether hang on reason, as though Christ cannot be able to do that which he promiseth, bread still in substance remaining, as the accidents do, except it be transubstantiate. Is not this, trow you, to make it a matter of reason, and to hedge God's power in within the limits of reason? If Christ's words that follow, "which is given for you," be to be understand for, "which shall be given, or shall be betrayed for you," and not so precisely as they be spoken (for that were to make Christ a liar), why is it so heinous a matter with the papists, because we do not so precisely take the words immediately going before, namely, "This is my body," as to admit that, if there be bread, then Christ is a liar? Might not we reason and say, 'Then if Christ's body at the time was not betrayed (as indeed it was not), nor his blood shed, then is Christ a liar'?But here they will say, 'All men may know that Christ by the present tense meant the future tense; and in the scripture it is a most usual thing so to take tense for tense.' And, I pray you, why may not we say, that all men may know it is most common in scripture to give unto signs the names of the things which they signify? And no man is so foolish, but he knoweth that Christ then instituted a sacrament, wholly sacramentally to be understand; that is, that the sign or visible sacrament should have not only the name of the thing signified, but also some similitude therewith, or else it were no sacrament. But take bread away, as the papists do, leaving there but the accidents only, which do not feed the body: and then what shall resemble and represent unto us Christ's body broken for the food of the soul?As wine comforteth the heart, so doth Christ's blood shed on the cross comfort the soul. But take wine away by transubstantiation, as the papists do, and tell me, what similitude remaineth? None at all, so no sacrament at all. So Christ's institution is taken away. Well do they reject God's commandment for their tradition's sake. [Matt. 15.]
Our faith therefore is, that the supper of the Lord is the sacrament of Christ's body and blood. These words, "This is my body, which is broken for you; This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for your sins," are most true words and plain, according to Christ's meaning, to all them which do as he biddeth them, that is, to all such as take, eat, and drink. Which words the papists keep in their purse, or else their private masses could not stand. To such, I say, as take and eat this sacrament, in sorrowing for their sinful life past, and purposing to amend, above all things remembering and believing that Christ's body was broken for their sins, and his blood shed for their iniquitiesall such, I say, as verily as they see, take, taste, and eat bread, and drink wine, which goeth into their body, feedeth it and nourisheth it, even so verily the soul and spirit by faith receiveth, not only Christ's body broken or his blood shed (for "the flesh profiteth nothing, it is the spirit that quickeneth," saith Christ), but even whole Christ, into whom they are incorporate and made one with him, "flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bones." [Eph. 5.] That is to say, as Christ's body is immortal and glorious, even so are theirs now by faith and hope, and at the day of the Lord they shall be in very deed. Than which thing what can be greater?
This we teach and believe concerning this sacrament, detesting and abhorring the horrible error of transubstantiation, which maketh bread and wine our God and Christ, and causeth men to be gazers, gapers, and worshippers, yea, idolaters, rather than tasters and eaters, as Christ commandeth; and which maketh Christ's sacrifice of none effect, as now shall be shewed by God's grace. For this shall suffice to the declaration of our faith concerning the Lord's supper: whereunto agreeth the catholic church, and all the fathers, as full well thou mayest see in the bishop of Canterbury's book3 (which is far from being answered either by the bishop of Winchester his book in English,4 or Marcus A. C[onstantius] in Latin), that thou needest no more to confirm thy faith in this matter, but to read them with an indifferent mind, not being addict otherwise than to the desire of the truth.
As for this doctrine of transubstantiation, it is a new-found thing about a six-hundred years old, even then brought out when Satan was letten loose, after a thousand years, that was bound. Even then was it established, when there was more mischief among the prelates, specially the popes, about the see of Rome, who could catch it, than ever there was among the emperors for the empire. In the primitive church popes were martyred for Christ's spouse's sake, that is, the church: but now one poisoned another, and one slew another, for the rose-coloured whore of Babylon's sake, that is, the popish church. [Rev. 17; 18.] In one hundred and sixty years there was near hard fifty popes;5 whereas in no such time there were above thirteen emperors. And in the midst of this miserable state and time this doctrine of transubstantiation was the pope's beginning, as they might have leisure from conspiring against princes, and one against another, to establish it as the very principal pillar of all their power. And no marvel; for, this being admitted, then have they power over Christ the King of all kings, that he be where they will, when they will, and as long as they will, under their power. Wherethrough the other must needs follow, that if they have power over Christ, and that in heaven, to bring him down at their pleasure, much more then over all earth, emperors, kings, princes, and people, yea, even over the devil, purgatory, and hell, have they full power and jurisdiction, being now gods in earth, which "sit in the holy place," [2 Thess. 2,] even "as God," yea, "above God," to make what article of faith shall please them, as they have done this of transubstantiation: which might as well be denied as granted, saith Duns,6 one of their own doctors, and Master Gabriel7 also, if it so pleased the holy father and his spouse the church of Rome.
Before this time all the fathers' diligence, labour and care, was to call men to the receiving of this sacrament for the confirmation of their faith; that, as verily as they did eat bread and drink wine here, so should they not doubt but that by faith they did feed on the body of Christ broken for their sins, and on his blood shed for their iniquities. And therefore sometimes would they call the sacrament bread 'a figure' or 'a sign ;' sometime would they call it ' the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ,' as the nature of sacraments is to be called with the name of the things which they do signify; that thereby men's minds might be withdrawn from the consideration of sensible and visible things to things heavenly, which they do signify and represent. And their care and crying unto the people was to receive it; and therefore they made decrees that such as would not receive and be present should be sparred out of the church. O how earnest was Chrysostom herein! Read his sixty-first homily unto the people of Antioch.8
But, after that this decree and doctrine of transubstantiation came in, no crying out hath there been to receive it (no, that is the prerogative of the priests and shaven shorlings): but altogether the end of their crying out was as now to believe transubstantiation, Christ to be their flesh, blood, and bone at every altar, between every priest's hands, yea, in every priest's mouth, when it pleaseth them, be they never so stinking filthy9 adulterers, drunkards, blasphemers, dicers, &c. The crying and teaching of the clergy continually hath been to believe transubstantiation, and then to come to church to see their Maker once a day,10 to hold up their hands, to knock on their breasts, to strike their faces, to mutter up their Latin prayers, to take holy water and holy bread, to live in obedience to the holy father and holy church his spouse. This was all they required. Drink, dice, card, fight, swear, steal, lie, no matter: so that in the morning they see their God, all is wellgood catholic people, no man shall hurt them, or persecute them. But if any man should not allow nor worship this God of their making, although he lived a most godly life, and were a man full of charity, sobriety, and very religious, O, such is an heretic or schismatic! Nothing could please these wolves but even the blood and life of such a poor sheep, as men have felt before, and now begin to feel. Let all the pack of them burden those justly, whom now they imprison and cause to flee the realm, of any other thing than only of this, that we will not serve their God of bread and wine, and then will we suffer shame.
But I have been too long herein. Now to our doctrine and belief, for the second point concerning Christ's sacrifice.
CHAPTER III.Our doctrine and faith in this behalf is as is in the other, that is, according to God's holy word; namely, that Jesus Christ, the Son of God and second Adam, by whom we receive righteousness unto life, as by the first Adam we received sin unto deathour faith is, I say, that this Christ in our flesh, which he took of the substance of the virgin Mary, but pure and without sin, for the satisfying of God's just displeasure deserved by and in our flesh, did in the same suffer unjustly all kinds of misery and affliction, offering up himself unto his eternal Father with a most willing obedient heart and ready mind, when he was crucified upon the cross. And, thereby as he satisfied God's justice, so he merited and procured his mercy, peace, favour for all them which either before that time were dead, either were at that time present, either should afterward come and believe, by and in that offering done for them and their sins: so that God the eternal Father, I say, would be, in this their Christ, their God and Father, and not lay their sins committed to their charge to condemnation.
HOW GOD'S WORD TEACHETH OF CHRIST'S SACRIFICE, AND THE POPE'S BLASPHEMY THEREIN REVEALED.
This doctrine the holy scripture teacheth almost everywhere: but specially in the Epistle to the Hebrews, the first, seventh, eighth, ninth chapters, this is most lively set forth, how that "by one oblation," "once offered" by this Christ himself, all that be God's people "are sanctified." Foras in respect of them that died in God's covenant and election before Christ suffered his death and offered his sacrifice, one, alone and omni-sufficient, never more to be offered, he is called "the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world," [Rev. 13,] and "the one alone Mediator between God and man," [1 Tim. 2,] "whose forthcoming was from the beginning" [Micah 3; 5]even so, in respect of the virtue and efficacy of this one sacrifice to all God's people continually unto the world's end, the Holy Ghost doth tell us, that thereby "he hath made holy" such as be children of salvation, and saith not, 'shall make holy,' or 'doth make holy,' lest any man should with the papists indeed reiterate this satisfaction again; although in words they say otherwise, as anon we shall see, if hereunto I shew you the means whereby to apply this sacrifice: which I will do very briefly.
For in the seventeenth of John our Saviour doth very plainly shew this in these words: "For their sakes," saith he, "I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. I pray not for them alone, but for those also which shall believe on me through their preaching." Here our Saviour applieth his sacrifice in teaching and praying for them. And, as he teacheth them as ministers to do the like, that is, to preach and pray for the application of his sacrifice to the church, so doth he teach them and all the church to apply it unto themselves by believing it and by faith. The which thing the apostle Paul in many places, but more plainly in the second [epistle] to the Corinthians, the fifth chapter in the latter end, doth teach. Read it and see. So that, as ye have Christ's one only sacrifice, which he himself on the cross offered once, as sufficient for all that do believe, and never more to be reiterated, so have you, that for the applying of it to his church the ministers should preach, and pray that their preaching might be effectual in Christ. And, as Paul was ready himself to suffer death for the confirmation of the faith of the elect, so should the church and every member of the same, which is of years of discretion, by believing in Christ, through the minister's preaching, apply it to themselves. As for infants, I need not in this place to speak of God's election.
It is most certain, this kind of applying, as it killeth the papistical priests, which hate not the devil worse than true preaching, so doth it cast down all their soul-massing and foolish foundations for such as be dead and past the ministry of God's word. And also it putteth away the opinion of opus operatum, ['the work wrought'11] and of perseverance in impiety, from such as would enjoy the benefit of Christ's death.
CHAPTER IV.NOW as concerning the third, that is, of praying for the dead and sacrificing for them, as in the other we confess, teach, and believe according to God's word, so do we in this; namely, that in holy scripture, throughout the canonical books of the Old and New Testament, we find neither precept nor ensample of praying for any, when they be departed this life, but that, as men die, so shall they arise. If in faith in the Lord towards the south, then need they no prayers, then are they presently happy, and shall arise in glory [Eccles. 11]; if in unbelief without the Lord towards the north,12 then are they past all help, in the damned state presently, and shall rise to eternal shame. [John 5.]
OF PRAYING FOR THE DEAD, THE TRUE DOCTRINE.
Wherefore, according to the scripture, we exhort men to repent, and while they have time to work well. Every man shall bear his own burthen; every man shall give account for himself [Gal. 5; Col. 3; Rom. 14], and not Sir John nor Sir Thomas, that sing or pray for him. "Every man shall receive according to that he himself doeth in this body, while he is here alive, be it good or bad," [2 Cor. 5]; and not according to that his executors, or this chantry13 priest and that fraternity doth for him. Whereby we may well see, if we will, that, as prayer for the dead is not available or profitable to the dead, so is it not of us allowable or to be exercised. For, as they that are departed be past our prayers, being either in joy or in misery, as is above shewed, even so we, having for it no word of God, whereupon faith leaneth, cannot but sin in doing it, in that we do it "not of faith," because we have no word of God for it. [Rom. 10; 14.]
Therefore with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, the prophets, Christ Jesus, and the apostles, we bury the dead in a convenient place, and mourn in measure, as men having hope of the resurrection [1 Thess. 4.]not because of them, for that were a great point of ingratitude, they being departed out of miserable condition unto a most blessed state [Rev. 14]: therefore we give thanks to God for them, praise his name for his power and might shewed in them, and pray that we may depart in the same faith, and joyfully rise with them in the resurrection; which we desire and wish the Lord would hastenwe mourn, I say, not because of them, but of ourselves, that have lost the company of such our helpers and furtherers in spiritual and temporal benefits, by them being admonished of our immortality and of the vanity of this life, that we might the more contemn it, and desire the everlasting life, where they and we shall never be separated.
This is our faith and doctrine for them that be departed; who, though they be members of the same body mystical of Christ that we be of, yet should they in this case be discerned from the militant members, they being at rest, and, having finished their course and fight [2 Tim. 4], in no point needing any of our help, except we should too arrogantly set up our own merits and prayers, and pull down Christ, as though we were able to get pardon and higher room in heaven for others; where all our righteousness and the best thing we do is so far from helping others, that thereby we cannot help ourselves, but had need to cry, Dimitte nobis debita nostra, ["Forgive us our debts," Luke 11,] being no better in God's sight than a defiled woman's cloth [Isa. 64], although to the sight of men they may seem gorgeous and gay. For, if the papists would say (as, when they are pressed with blasphemy in extolling their own merits and works of supererogation against Christ, they use), that our prayers do them no good in respect of the worthiness of their prayers, but in respect of God's goodness; in that God's goodness is not to be looked for otherwise than he hath promised, let them either shew men his promise, or else in this behalf keep silence, and exercise themselves better in doing their duties to their brethren that be alive: towards whom their charity is very cold, although, when they are dead, then they will pretend much, then will they pray for them, but yet not for nought and freely, as true charity worketh; for, no penny, no pater-noster. Give nothing, and then they will neither sing nor say requiem nor placebo, I warrant you. But of this sufficient.
Now to the last, of praying to the dead, or to saints departed this life.
OF PRAYING TO SAINTS.
HERE we confess, teach, and believe, as before is said, according to God's holy word, that, as all and every good thing cometh only from God the Father by the means of Jesus Christ [James 1], so for the obtaining of the same we must call upon his holy name, as he by himself commandeth very often. But, forasmuch as God "dwelleth in light inaccessible," [Psalm 50; 1 Tim. 4,] and "is a consuming fire," [Heb. 12,] and hateth all impiety and uncleanness [Psalm 5], and we be blind, stubble, grass, hay, and nothing but filthy, unclean and sinful; and because that therefore, as we may not, so we dare not approach to his presence; it hath pleased this good God and Father of his love to send a spokesman and Mediator, an Intercessor and Advocate between him and us, even Jesus Christ, his dearly beloved Son, by whom we might have free entrance "with boldness to come before his presence and throne of mercy, to find and obtain grace and help in time of need." [Heb. 2; 4.] For this our Mediator and Advocate is with his Father of the same substance, power, wisdom, and majesty, and therefore may weigh well with him in all things; and with us he is of the same substance which we are of, even flesh and man, but pure and "without sin, in all things being tempted like unto us," [Heb. 3; 4; 1 Pet. 2,] and having experience of our infirmities, that he might be merciful and faithful on our behalf, to "purge us from our sins," and to bring us into such favour with the Father, that we might be not only dearly beloved through him, the only darling of the Father, but also obtain whatsoever we shall ask, according to his word and will, in the name of this same our Mediator, Saviour, Intercessor, and Advocate. [Matt. 3; 17; 7; 1 John 5; John 14.] So that easy it is to see that, as it is an obedient service to God the Father to call always upon him in all our need [Psalm 50], so to come to his presence through Christ is to the honour of Christ's mediation, intercession, and advocateship. And therefore, as it cannot be but against the almighty God and Father to ask or look for anything elsewhere, at the hands of any that be departed this life, as though he were not the Giver of all good things, or as though he had not commanded us to come unto him, so we see it is manifestly against Christ Jesus our Lord, by any other saint, angel, or archangel to come and move anything at our Father's hands; as though he were not our Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor, or else not a sufficient Mediator, Advocate, and Intercessor, or at least not so merciful, meek, gracious, loving, and ready to help as others: where he only so loved us, as the very hearts of all men and angels never were able to conceive any part of "the height, depth, breadth, and length" of the same [Eph. 3], as it is. If his own heart-blood was not too dear for us, being his very enemies and never desirous to do his will, how is it possible that he will contemn us for coming unto him with purpose and desire to serve him?
Many other reasons I could give you, wherefore the saints are not to be prayed unto; for that pulleth from faith in Christ, it maketh them gods, it is idolatry. &c. But this may suffice.
So that now you see by God's word, what our faith is concerning these four things. Which that you may the more love, embrace and be content to carry with you through fire and water, I will now go about with God's grace, as briefly as I can, to shew how abominable their doctrine is, even out of the short sum thereof already before by me rehearsed.
THE POPISH DOCTRINE OF THE SACRAMENT CONFUTED
FIRST, where they allege the catholic church to have taught, concerning the supper, the doctrine of transubstantiation of Christ's real and carnal presence, dearly beloved, know that this is a manifest lie. For, as the catholic church never knew of it for nine hundred years at the least after Christ's ascension, so after that time no other church did obstinately defend, cruelly maintain, and wilfully wrest the scriptures and doctors for the establishing of it, save only the popish church, as their own doctors, Duns and Gabriel, do teach. Read the bishop of Canterbury's book against Winchester,14 and see.
Whereas they say, that Christ in his supper by taking bread and speaking the words of consecration did make it his flesh, according to his promise in John, when he saith, "And the bread which I will give is my flesh, &c." [John 6] (so that they would thereby seem to have two places of scripture for this their doctrine of transubstantiation and real or carnal presence), although diversely I could improve this; yet, for because I would not be over tedious unto you, even by the same their sentence you shall see how learnedly they lie. The sentence is this: "And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." First mark that he saith, "The bread is my flesh:" he saith not, "shall be my flesh," but, it "is my flesh." This, I trow, maketh against them, for the sacrament a year after at the least was not instituted. Again he saith, that "the bread is his flesh, which he will give for the life of the world." Here would I ask them, whether Christ's death was for the life of the world, or in vain. If they say, it was for the life of the world, then why do they apply and give it to the sacrament? was it crucified? Or, if it be the same sacrifice (for so they say), either it was effectual or not. If it was effectual, then Christ's death needed not: if it was not effectual, then Christ was not God, and could not do that he would. Thus ye may see their ungodly foolishness or foolish ungodliness, I cannot tell which to call it well.
Whereas they require the intent of the priest to consecrate Christ's bodyforasmuch as we know not any man's intent (God only knoweth the heart), yea, the words we know not, they are so spoke in hugger-mugger [secrecy, concealment]I pray you, into what a doubtfulness are we brought, whether it be the sacrament or no! in what peril are we of worshipping a piece of bread for our Christ! Is not this, trow you, sweet and comfortable gear, that a man shall always stand in doubt whether he have received the sacrament or no?
Whereas they will have it bread to the eye, and not to the mouth, judge then, whether a dog may not eat Christ's body; judge, whether the devil, if he would come in the likeness of a priest, might not swallow up Christ, and so bring him into hell, from whence, because there is no redemption there, Christ's body should never come, but be damned. Judge, whether the taste of thy mouth is not as much to be credited as the sight of the eye, specially in that the scripture so often calleth it "bread" after the consecration, as before I have shewed. Judge, whether Christ's body be not very petty, that it can lie in so little a room. Judge, whether Christ hath more bodies than one, when perchance the priest hath twenty or a hundred before him. Judge, whether the priest break not Christ's body in breaking of it. Judge, whether it be seemly to chew Christ's body with the teeth. Judge, whether Christ did eat his own body, yea, or no? for Christ did eat the sacrament with his disciples. Judge, whether it be seemly that Christ should be kept so in prison, as they keep him. Judge, whether it be seemly that Christ's body should be so dindle-dandled and used, as they use it. Judge, whether the people, knocking and kneeling at the elevation of that they seefor they see but the forms of bread and wine, and not Christ's body, if it be as the papists feignjudge, I say, whether the people by the papists' own doctrine be not made idolaters.
Many more absurdities there be, which I purposely omit. This little is enough hereby to give you occasion to know the more.
Where they say that the bread is made Christ's body, flesh, blood, &c., that is, that Christ's body is made of the bread (as the bishop of Winchester in his book for this matter of the "Devil's Sophistry"15 and elsewhere doth affirm), you may see how shamelessly, yea, blasphemously they speak. For Christ's body crucified was born of the virgin Mary, even of her substance: but they say, the supper is that body which was crucified. Now, I trow, bread is one thing, and the virgin's flesh another thing: therefore indeed they deny Christ in the flesh, that they may stablish their Christ in the bread; which is the very note of antichrist. [2 John 1.7.]
Last of all, whereas they say that they receive the sacrament to damnation, which do not believe their transubstantiation, if with Paul their words were conferred, you should see otherwise. For he saith, they "receive this bread for so he calleth it after the words of consecration) unworthily," which do not esteem "Christ's body:" as indeed the papists do not, which would bring Christ down out of heaven for thieves and whores to chew and eat, for moths to corrupt, and to be in danger of mowling [moulding]; as, if they kept their hosts long, indeed they will mould, and then will they burn them. Do these men, trow you, esteem Christ's body? Paul plainly sheweth in the same place, that the wicked man which receiveth the sacrament "unworthily" eateth not Christ's body, but "his own damnation," which I trow be not Christ's body. And this shall serve for this time to shew you, how shameless, filthy, and abominable this their doctrine of transubstantiation is. If in so short a sum of their doctrine there be so many abominations, I pray you, how much is in the whole sum of the same?
Now for the sacrifice.
CHAPTER VII.FIRST, in that they grant Christ's sacrifice on the cross, done by himself, to be full and perfect enough, we may well see that we need not this which they have found outindeed to make the other imperfect, for else it needed no reiteration. But, seeing they reiterate it by this, and make it needful even as baptism, easily may all men know that, though they speak one thing, they mean another, and so are dissemblers and destroyers of Christ's sacrifice, little considering the great pain that Christ suffered, seeing they weigh it no better.
THE POPISH DOCTRINE OF THE SACRIFICE CONFUTED.
Whereas they say, that it is the same sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross, but unbloodilywherein they seem to deny transubstantiation, for else I trow it must needs be bloodyI would thus reason with them. Inasmuch as Christ's sacrifice on the cross was the only perfect and all-sufficient propitiatory sacrifice "for the sins of the world," as they confess, this could not be the same, because it was done before that upon the cross. Or else the full perfect sacrifice was then in the supper finished, and so Christ's death is in vain, and a foolish thing. If Christ's death be not foolish, but indeed, as it is, the full and perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world, then this, which they feign that he offered in his last supper, is not the same, prate what pleaseth them; or else it is not of value, take whether they will.Whereas they prate of Christ's will, that it was accepted before his Father for the deed; as they shall never be able to shew so much as one word to prove that Christ would in his supper sacrifice himself to his Father for the sins of the world (for there is not one word thereof throughout the whole Bible), so do they belie God the Father, which would indeed have his Son to drink the cup that he prayed to be taken from him, or else make Christ's death frustrate and more than need; which is the only thing that all their doctrine tendeth unto. For, if the Father allowed his will for the deed, I pray you, who seeth not now the deed to be more than needeth?
Where they say, that Christ commanded his church to offer this sacrifice to his Father in remembrance of his bloody sacrifice, I would pray them to shew me, where he commanded it, and then good enough. But, dearly beloved, they can never shew it. If they will say, Hoc facite, to take facere for "to sacrifice," as some teach it, then will I say, that a boy of twelve year old can tell they lie. For Hoc facite, "Do you this," pertaineth to the whole action of Christ's supper, of taking, eating, and drinking of the sacrament, &c., and as well spoken to the laymen as the priests: but I trow they will not suffer the laymen to say mass another while now for them. No, this were too much against their honour and gain also.
But if one would ask them, what they offer to the Father, then a man should see their abominations: for, if they say, 'nothing,' then men would take them as they be, liars. If they say, 'bread and wine,' as indeed they do in their mass horribly, then in that they say they offer the same thing which Christ offered on the cross, and he offered his body, bread must needs be Christ's body, and so Christ's body is bread and wine. If they say, that 'they offer up Christ,' in that the offerer must needs be as good at the least, yea, better than the thing offered, then must they needs shew themselves open antichrists. For they make themselves equal with Christ, yea, better than he: which thing indeed their holy father and grandsire the pope doth. For where Christ would take upon him to teach nothing but that he had received of his Father, and therefore willed men to "search the scriptures," as all his apostles did, whether their doctrine was not according thereunto, the pope and his prelates will be bold to teach what please them more than God biddeth, yea, clean contrary to that which God biddeth: as it is plain by all these four points, 'transubstantiation, sacrifice, praying for the dead, and to the dead.'
But see, I pray you, these abominations. The sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of the world was not simply "his body and his blood," but "his body broken and his blood shed," that is, all his passion and suffering in his body and flesh. In that therefore they offer, as they say, the same sacrifice which Christ offered, dearly beloved, do they not, as much as in them is, kill, slay, whip, and crucify Christ again? Ah, wretches and antichrists! Who would not desire to die for his Master Christ's cause against this their heinous and stinking abomination?
Whereas they call this sacrifice of the mass, the principal mean to apply the benefit of Christ's death to the quick and dead, I would gladly have them to shew, where and of whom they learned it. Sure I am, they learned it not of Christ. For when he sent his disciples abroad to apply unto men the benefit of his death, he bade them not mass it, but preach the gospel [Matt. 28; Mark 16; Luke 24], as the mean by the which God had appointed believers to be saved. The which thing Peter told Cornelius plainly [Acts 10]; as Paul also teacheth almost everywhere in his epistles. [Col. 1; 2; 2 Cor. 5.] But indeed preaching they may not away with, as well for that it is too painful, as for that it is nothing so gainful, nor in authority and estimation with the world. Nothing so displeaseth the devil as preaching the gospel, as in all ages easily we may well see, if we will mark, to our comfort in this age. And therefore by giving his daughter idolatry, with her dowry of worldly wealth, riches and honour, to the pope and his shaven shorlings, they have by this means in many years been begetting a daughter, which at length was delivered to destroy preaching, even the minion "Missa" "Mistress Missa,"16 who danceth daintily before the Herods of the world, and is the cause even why John Baptist and the preachers be put into prison and lose their heads. This dancing damsel, the darling of her mother, the fair garland of her fathers (for she hath many fathers), the gaudy gallant of her grandsire, is trimmed and tricked on the best and most holy manner or wise [way] that can be, even with the word of God, the epistle and the gospel, with the sacrament of Christ's body and blood, with the pomander17 and perfumes of prayer and all godly things that can be, but blasphemously and horribly abused, to be a mermaid to amuse and bewitch men, sailing in the seas of this life, to be enamoured on her. And therefore, besides her aforesaid goodly apparel, she hath all kinds of sweet tunes, ditties, melodies, singing, playing, ringing, knocking, kneeling, standing, lifting, crossing, blessing, blowing, mowing, incensing, &c. Moreover she wanteth no gold, silver, precious stones, jewels and costly silks, velvets, satins, damasks, &c., and all kind of things which are gorgeous in the sight of men; as, if you call to mind the chalices, copes, vestments, crucifixes, &c., you cannot but see. And hereto she is beautified yet more, to be shewed and set forth in lying words and titles given to her; that she have all power in heaven, earth, and hell, that she hath all things for soul and body, for quirk and dead, for man and beast. And, lest men should think her too coy a dame, lo, sir, she offereth herself most gently to all that will come, be they never so poor, evil, stinking, and foul, to have their pleasure on her. Come who will, she is "Joan good-fellow;" and that not only to make herself common to them that will, but also to ply them plentifully [with]18 most pleasant promises falsely, and giving most licentious liberties to all her lovers, and great fees and wages to her diligent servants and ministers. So that there needeth no preaching of the gospel; she hath all things, she will give all things; the death of Christ she will apply and can to whom she will, and when she will. For this daughter the mother, the fathers and the grandfathers watch night and day, as the only mean whereby Herod and Herodias may live as they lust. Therefore, if any [John]18 Baptist dare babble one word, away will [this]18 wench bring him.
But, dearly beloved, as from [the]18 devil's darling indeed, flee from her; and know that the [true]18 and only way to apply Christ's death and sacrifice is [on]18 the minister's behalf by preaching, and on your behalf by believing.
This is a sacrament and not a sacrifice: for in this, using it as we should, we receive of God obsignation and full certificate of Christ's body broken for our sins, and his blood shed for our iniquities; as in baptism we are confirmed, and settle ourselves in possession of the promise of salvation to appertain unto us, God to be our God, Christ to be our Christ, and we to be God's people. The promise and word of God giveth and offereth, faith in us applieth and receiveth the same, and the sacraments do confirm and (as it were) seal up: baptism, that we are regenerated with the Spirit of God, made his children, brethren to Christ, and engrafted into him; the supper, that we are fed with Christ spiritually, with his body and blood, yea, that we be incorporated into Christ, to be "flesh of his flesh and bone of his bones," as he by being born of the virgin Mary was flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones.
Away therefore with their abominable doctrine, that the sacrifice of the mass is the principal means to apply Christ's death to the quick and dead; wherein all men may see that they lie boldly. For, as the word of God in the ministry pertaineth not to the dead, (for who will be so mad as to go and preach on dead men's graves, that the dead men may hear?) so likewise do not the sacraments. Little beholden were men to Christ and the apostles, if this were the principal mean to apply salvation, that they would use it so little, and preach so much. Paul, having respect to the chiefest end wherefore he was sent, said, that he was not sent to baptize, but to preach [1 Cor. 1.]: and often saith he, that he was an apostle segregate of God to preach the gospel [Rom. 1; Gal. 1]: and the bishop Timothy did he warn to "preach in season and out of season," [2 Tim. 4.] speaking never a word of this massing or sacrificing Christ's body.
Last of all, where they make a similitude, that, as by baptism the minister applieth to the child regeneration, so in this, &c., O that this similitude were well looked on! then would it make them to bluster; for they are no more like than an apple like an oyster. In baptism the child is alive, but here the man is dead; in baptism the child is present, but here the man is perchance forty miles off, if he sacrifice for the quick, yea, a hundred miles from him; in baptism the child receiveth the sacrament, but here you must look and gape, but beware you take not; for ye may receive but once a year, and then also you must receive but the one half, the cup he will keep from you. In baptism is required God's election, if the child be an infant, or faith, if he be of age; and therefore he reciteth the promise, that it may be heard: but here is no faith required; for how can men believe, when they are dead? No promise is then preached or heard. So that even this their similitude maketh the matter plain enough; for baptism all men know to be no sacrifice. But of this I have spoken a little before, that, if applying come by the priest's massing, then were preaching in vain, believing in vain, godly life in vain; the priest were God's fellow, yea, Christ's superior, as is aforesaid.
Now for the third, of praying for the dead; wherein I will be brief.
THE CONFUTATION OF THE PAPISTS' SACRIFICING
AND PRAYING FOR THE DEAD.
FIRST, when they say, this applicatory sacrifice may be called a propitiatory sacrifice, because it applieth the propitiatory sacrifice to whom the priest will, be he dead or alive; as I would have you to note, how they grant, that of itself it is not a propitiatory sacrifice, whereby they vary from that which they elsewhere teach, that it is the selfsame sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross unbloodily; so, I pray you, forget not, that the priest is God's fellow, for he may apply it to whom he will. Therefore honour Sir John, and make much of Sir Thomas: for, though God could make thee alone, yet alone, without the priest, he cannot save thee. Again, if Sir John be thy friend, care neither for God nor the devil; live as thou wilt, he will bring thee to heaven, although thou slip into hell. So they write that Gregory by massing did with Trajan the emperor.19 It maketh no matter how thou live here, so thou have the favour of the pope and his shavelings.
Whereas they say, that the fathers from the beginning were accustomed to make memorials for the dead, this I grant to be true, as we do in our communion. But, to gather that therefore they prayed for them, it no more followeth, than to say that our English Service doth allow it, where it doth not. For ye must note, that there is a memorial for the dead, as well in giving thanks to God for them, as in praying for them; for to say, to pray for the dead, is a general word, including in it giving of thanks. And therefore, when we read in the ancient fathers of the primitive church of the memorials for the dead, or praying for the dead, it is not to be understand that they prayed for to deliver them from purgatory, for that was not found out then, or from hell, as our papists do in their prayers of the mass, for there is no redemption; or for pardon of their sins, as though they had it not, for if they depart without it they are damned; or for to get them a higher place in heaven, for that were injurious to Christ, that we should purchase places and higher rooms in heaven for others: but either for the desire of the more speedy coming of Christ, to hasten the resurrection; either that they might not be thought negligent or careless over the dead; either that the living might be occasioned to increase in love to the church here in earth, who still followeth with good-will and love even men when they be departed; either to admonish the church to be diligent over such as live, and careful to extend her love, if it were possible, even to the dead. On this wise should we expound, not only the former but also the later fathers, as Austin, Chrysostom, and others; which, though in some places they seem very manifestly to allow praying for the dead, yet they are not to be understand otherwise than I have said for them. For never knew they of our merits and purgatory; for, if they had but dreamed thereon, surely they would have been much more circumspect in their speakings and writings of this, than they were.
Where they say that, 'because this sacrifice is the sacrifice of the whole church, whereof the dead be members, therefore they should be prayed for;' as before I have showed, that we must put a difference between the members of the church militant here on earth, and those which be now in rest and peace with God; so would I have you to note here, that they should pray for none other dead, than such as be members of Christ's church. Now, in that all such "die in the Lord," and therefore are happy, I would gladly learn, what good such prayer doeth to those so departed.As for purgatory pick-purse [robber], they pass not upon it. But, that this is a sacrifice applicatory or propitiatory, the papists can never prove.
Where they say, 'charity requireth it,' I answer that, inasmuch as charity followeth faith, and will not go a foot further than faith showeth the way, seeing faith is not but of the word of God, and God's word for this they have not, easy it is to perceive that this praying thus for the dead is not of christian charity.But, be it that charity required it, I then marvel why they are so uncharitable, that will do nothing herein without money. Why will they not pray without pence? If the pope and his prelates were charitable, they would, I trow, make sweep-stake at once with purgatory.
Where they allege the sentence of the Maccabees, as all men of learning know, the fathers allow not that book to be [of] God's Spirit or catholic, so do I wonder that in all the Old Testament this sacrificing for the dead was never spoken of before. In all the sacrifices that God appointed we read of never one for the dead.
This gear came not up till the religion was wonderfully corrupt among the Jews; as with us it was never found out till horrible corruption of religion and ignorance of God's word came into the church of God, when preaching was put down, and massing came up. Then faith in Christ was cold, penance became popish, and trust was taught in creatures, ignorance abounded; and look, what the clergy said, that was believed. Then came up visions, miracles, dead spirits walking, and talking how they might be released by this mass, by that pilgrimage gate-going [road]. And so came up this pelf of praying for the dead, which Paul the apostle and all the prophets never spake one word of; for all men may easily see, that it is a thing which helpeth much vice, and hindereth godliness. Who will be so earnest to amend, to make restitution of that he hath gotten unjustly, and live in a godly life and true fear of God, being taught that by prayers, by masses, by founding of chauntries, &c., when he is gone, he shall find ease and release, yea, and come to joy eternal? Christ's doctrine is, that the way of salvation is strait: but this teaching, heaping of masses one upon another, when we are dead, maketh it wide. Christ's teaching is, that we should live in love and charity, "the sun should not go down on our wrath;" but this doctrine, to pray for the dead to be delivered out of purgatory, teacheth rather to live in little love, in wrath even to our death's day; for Sir John can and will help, Sir Thomas by a mass of scala cli will bring us into heaven. Christ's doctrine is, that he is "the way:" but this doctrine maketh the massing-priest the way: a way indeed it is, but to hell and to the devil. Dearly beloved, therefore take good heart unto you for this gear, rather than you would consent unto it, to lose life and all that ever you have. You shall be sure with Christ to find it, and that for ever, with infinite increase.
Last of all, where they allege the catholic church and consent of all doctors in this matter; as I wish you should know that to be the true and catholic church which is grounded upon God's word, which word they have not for them in this matter; so would I ye should know that there is no member of the church, but he may err; for they be men, and "all men be liars," as David saith. Now, if all the members may err, then you may easily see, whereto your faith ought to lean, even unto God's written word. "Hear the church" and the doctors of the church, but none otherwise than as teachers; and try their teaching by God's word. If they teach according to it, then believe and obey them: if contrary, then know they be but men, and always let your faith lean to God's word.
Howbeit, for this matter of praying for the dead, know of truth, that there be no doctors of four hundred or five hundred years after Christ's ascension, but, if they in some places seem to allow praying for the dead, yet they would be taken in some of the senses which I have specified. In many places do they by divers sentences declare it themselves. But of this enough.
THE REFUTATION OF THE HERESY OF PRAYING TO SAINTS
DEPARTED OUT OF THIS WORLD.
NOW to the last, of praying to saints. First, where they say, there be more mediators of intercession than Christ, making a distinction not learned out of God's book, in such sense and for such purpose as they allege, I wish they would look on the eighth to the Romans, and 1 John 2: and there shall they learn to take better heed. The one saith, "Christ sitteth on the right hand of his Father, and prayeth for us:" the other saith, 'He is our Advocate, that is, a spokesman, comforter, intercessor, and mediator.' Now would I ask them, seeing that Christ is a mediator of intercession (as I am sure they will grant), whether he be sufficient or no. If they say, 'no,' then all men will know they lie. But if they say, 'yes,' then may I ask, why they are not content with sufficient? What fault find ye with him? Is there any more merciful than he, any more desirous to do us good than he, any that knoweth our grief and need so much as he, any that knoweth the way to help us so well as he? No, none so well. He crieth: "Ask, and ye shall have," [Matt. 7]; "come to me, and I will help you," [Matt. 11]; "ask, that your joy may be full. Hitherto ye have not asked any thing in my name." [John 16.] Therefore, my good brethren and sisters, let us thank God for this Mediator; and, as he is one alone Mediator for redemption, let us take him even so for intercession. For, if by his work of redemption of enemies we are made friends, surely we being friends, and having him above on the right hand of his Father, shall by him obtain all things. [Rom. 5; Heb. 1.]
Where they call it a point of a lowly and an humble spirit to go to saints, that they may pray for them, you may easily see, it is a point of an arrogant heart and a false untrue spirit. For, inasmuch as God plainly biddeth thee, that thou put nought to his word, nor take ought therefrom [Deut. 12; Rev. 22]; in that his word is, "Thou shalt call upon him in thy need," [Psalm 50]; why art thou so arrogant and proud, that thou wilt go to Peter or Paul to pray for thee? Where hast thou God's word? dost thou think, God is true of his promise? why then dost thou not go unto him? Dost thou think that God at anytime receiveth thee for thy worthiness? on whom be his eyes, but "upon him that trembleth at his word?" [Isa. 65.] "Blessed are they that be poor in spirit," [Matt. 5,] and think themselves unworthy of God's help. Wherefore hath God sworn that he "will not the death of a sinner," [Ezek. 33,] but that sinners might be most certain of his love and mercy to be much greater than they be able to conceive? "His mercies are above all his works." [Psalm 145.] But thou, that runnest to saints, thinkest that it is not so: for else wouldst thou go to him thyself; that thou, seeing his so much goodness, mightest the more love him; which thou canst not, if thou use other means than by Christ only.
Where they bring in the ensample of saints praying for the people, and obtaining benefits for them, whilst they were living here on earth, and so gather, that much more they will and can do it now for us, in that they be with God, if we will pray unto themvery easily may we put this away by many reasons.
First, that the cases be not like. For, when they were alive, they might know the need of the people: but now who can tell whether they know anything of our calamities and need? Isaiah saith, Abraham did not know them that were in his age. [Isa. 63.] Again, if the people had come to them to have desired their prayers, as they would have taken this for an admonishment of their duty to the people, so would they again have warned the people of their duty, that with them they also would pray unto God themselves. Whereas there be no such reciprocal and mutual offices between the dead and the living. Now cannot we admonish them, and tell them of our needs; or, if we should go about it, surely we should still stand in a doubt, whether they did perceive us or no. But, if they did perceive the miseries of their brethren, surely their rest would not be without great grief; and of this we are sure, that they can tell us nothing also.
Besides this, this their reasoning smelleth, as it that went before, of man's reason which is a fool in God's service [1 Cor. 1], and of a good intent which is "not according to knowledge." [Rom. 10.] We may not do after that which is good in our own eyes, but according to that which God biddeth us do. [Deut. 12.] In our eyes it seemeth good, that, as to kings and great men we use means by men, which are of their privy chambers or near about them, either to come to their speech, or to attain our suits, so we should do to God by his saints. But to dream on this sort with God, to use saints so, were and is unto faith very foolish: for God useth no such privy chambers to hide himself in. "He is at hand," saith David, "to all that call upon him." [Psalm 114.] And Moses said before him, "God is near thee in all thy prayers. No nation hath their gods so nigh unto them as our God is to us in all our prayers." [Deut. 4.] He needeth none to put him in remembrance of us; for he hath all things open to his eyes: the height of the hills and the bottom of the depths are in his sight. [Heb. 4; Psalm 33; 95.] Nothing can hide itself from his knowledge. He hath ordained Christ Jesus alonely to be the mean by whom we shall speed and receive our requests [1 Tim. 2], which be according to his will, if we open our purse-mouth, that he may pour into the sameI mean faith. For, as a thing poured upon a vessel or other thing, the mouth being closed, is spilt and lost, so, if we ask anything according to God's will by Christ, the same doth us no good, except the purse-mouth of our hearts be opened by faith to receive it.
But, to make an end, Paul telleth plainly, that without faith prayer is not made. [Rom. 10.] Now, in that faith is due only to God (for "cursed is he" that hath his faith in man, saint, or angel [Jer. 17]), to God only let us make our prayers, but by Jesus Christ, and in his name only; for only in him is the Father "well pleased." [Matt. 3; 17.] This if we do, and that often, as Christ willeth, Oportet semper orare, "We must pray alway," [Luke 18,] then shall we undoubtedly in all things be directed by God's holy Spirit, whom Christ hath promised to be our doctor, teacher, and Comforter [John 14; 15; 16]: and therefore need we not to fear what man or devil can do unto us [Psalm 27], either by false teaching or cruel persecution; for our Pastor is such one, that "none can take his sheep out of his bands." [John 10.] To him be praise for ever. Amen.
1. Strype, not being aware that a large part of that Treatise bad been attributed by Coverdale to Bradford, as above stated, incorrectly supposed that the entire Treatise, being in the same type, and apparently issued at the same time, with another work, that was translated by Coverdale, was written by that prelate. See Strype, Ecc. Mem. Vol. III. part 1. pp. 239, 40; and Works of Bp Coverdale, Vol. II. pp. 23077, Park. Soc., where the complete Treatise, as originally issued in the edition without date, and of which the title is given in the next page, will be found.
2. See James Usher, Answer to a Jesuit, "Of prayer for the dead," pp. 194-275, Lond. 1631; and Bingham, Orig. Eccles., Book xv. chap. iii. sect. 15-17, Works, Vol. I. pp. 756-62, Lond. 1726.
3. "A Defence of the true and catholic doctrine of the sacrament of the body and blood of our Saviour Christ," &c., by Cranmer, Wolf, London, 1550. See Works of Cranmer, Vol. I. Park. Soc.
4. "An explication and assertion of the true catholic faith touching the most blessed sacrament of the altar, with confutation of the same," by Gardiner, 1551. Copy, Bodleian, Oxford. The whole of this treatise was reprinted by Cranmer in his "Answer" to Gardiner, 1551, and will be found in the Works of Cranmer, Vol. I. Park. Soc.
5. There were forty-nine popes, without reckoning antipopes, in 179 years, between A.D. 882 and 1061 See tables of popes from Spanheim, in Waddington's Hist. of Church, Vol. III. p. 407, Lond. 1835; and in Sir H. Nicolas' Chronology, p. 208.
6. ...... sed istud corpus Christi esse in eucharistia est quoddam verum universaliter traditum nobis: iste autem intellectus, quod non sit ibi substantia panis, videretur difficilior ad sustinendum, et ad ipsum sequuntur plura inconvenientia, quam ponendo ibi esse substantiam panis.Joann. Duns Scot. In Sentent. Lib. 4. Dist. xi. Quæst. 3. Op. Tom. II. p. 157, Antv. 1620.
7. Notandum quod, quamvis expresse tradatur in scriptura quod corpus Christi veraciter sub speciebus panis continetur, et a fidelibus sumitur, tamen quomodo ibi sit corpus Christi, an per conversionem alienjus in ipsum, aut sine conversione incipiat esse corpus Christi cum pane, manentibus substantia et accidentibus panis, non invenitur expressum in canone Bibliæ.Gab. Biel, sacr. Canon. Miss. Expos. Lect. XL. fol. 94, 2, Basil. 1515.
8. Chrysost. Homil. LXI. Ad Pop. Antioch., "De sacrorum participatione mysteriorum, et quod communicare nolens nec orationi dignus est interesse," Op. Lat. Tom. V. cols. 340-46, Paris. 1588. Fifty-nine out of eighty of these Homilies are only to be found in the early Latin editions, being mere compilations from Chrysostom's genuine works. See Cave, Hist. Liter. Tom. I. p. 302, Oxon. 1740-3. Compare, in this instance, Chrysost. In Eplst. ad Ephes. cap. i. Hom. iii. Op. Tom. XI. p. 23, ed. Bened. Par. 1718-38.
9. A word of the original edition is here omitted.
10. Compare Cranmer, Works, Vol. I. p. 229, Park. Soc.; and Becon, Displaying of the Mass, in Works, Vol. III. p. 270, Park. Soc.
11. See Jewel, Reply to Harding, Art. xx. Works, Vol. I. pp. 749-57, Park. Soc.
12. See Poli Synops. in Eccl. 11.8.
13. "Chantry:" a chapel with an endowment for a priest to sing masses for the souls of the founder.Todd's Johnson, Dict.
14. "An answer...unto a crafty and sophistical cavillation devised by Stephen Gardiner ...... late bishop of Winchester, against the ...... doctrine of the most holy sacrament of the body and blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ," by Cranmer, Wolf, London, 1551. See Works of Cramner, Vol. I. Park. Soc.
15. "A detection of the devil's sophistry, wherewith he robbeth the unlearned people of the true belief in the most blessed sacrament of the altar," by Gardiner, Herford, London, 1546. Copy, Bibl. Reg., British Museum.
16. "Mistress Missa" is one of the speakers in "A new dialogue, wherein is contained the examination of the mass, and of that kind of priesthood which is ordained to say mass, and to offer up for remission of sins the body and blood of Christ again:" by William Turner, London, Day and Seres. Copy, Bodleian, Oxford.See Strype, Ecc. Mem. Vol. II. part I. p. 216.
17. "Pomander:" a ball of perfumes, which was sometimes enclosed in silver. See Nares' Glossary; Churton's Life of Nowell, p. 22, Oxford, 1809. Becon wrote a treatise entitled, "The pomander of prayer," Works, Vol. III. pp. 72-85, Park. Soc.
18. Leaf torn in the copy of the original edition, which is followed.
19. This refers to a curious but doubtful story of Pope Gregory the Great, who, it is said, was moved to offer prayer for the soul of the heathen emperor Trajan, from reading of that monarch's clemency to a widow .... perveniensque ad sepulcrum beati Petri apostoli, ibidem diutius oravit et fievit, atque veluti gravissimo somno correptus in extasi mentis raptus est, quo per revelationem se exauditum discit, et ne ulterius jam talia de quoquam sine baptismate sacro defuncto præsumeret petere, promeruit castigari.Bolland. Act. Sanct., Martius, Tom. II., 12 Martii, Vita Gregor. Magni Papæ I. auctor, anon., cap. v. Oratio pro anima Trajani, p. 136, Antv. 1668.