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A VERY BRIEF DEFINITION OF THESE WORDS,
HOC EST CORPUS MEUM.
(THIS IS MY BODY.)
I beseech ye brethren in the Lord Christ Jesus, and for the
love of his Spirit, to pray with me, that we may be vessels to his laud and praise what time soever it pleaseth him to call upon us, Rom. xv.
FORASMUCH as our Saviour Jesus Christ, when he walked here on earth with the prophets which were before him, and the apostles which were present with him, whom also he left after him, whose hearts were mollified with the Holy Ghost, warned us, and gave us knowledge that there were two manner of ways—the one to life, the other to death, as Christ saith in the gospels, How strait and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and there be but few that find it. But how large and broad is the way that leadeth to damnation, and there are many that go in thereat, Matt. vii. Luke xiii. Therefore pray we heartily to God, that he, of his mere mercy, will so strengthen us with the grace and stedfastness of his Holy Spirit, to make us strong in spiritual living, after the evangelical gospel-so that the world --no not the very infidels, papists, and apostates—can gather occasion to speak evil of us, but that we may enter into that strait gate, * as Christ our Saviour and all that follow him have done. That is, not in idle living, but in diligent labouring, yea, in great sufferance of persecution even to the death, and that we find the way of everlasting life, as he hath promised, where he saith, He that seeketh findeth, and he that asketh receiveth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened, Matt. vii. Also Christ saith, If thy son ask thee for bread, wilt thou give him a stone? or if he ask thee fish, wilt thou give him a serpent ? If ye which are evil can give good things to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give a good spirit to them that ask it of him, Luke xi. Saint James saith, If any man lack wisdom let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men if they ask it in faith, and upbraideth none; for he that doubteth is like to the waves of the sea, that are borne about with every blast of wind. Think not that such shall receive anything of the Lord. For a man double in soul is unstable in all his ways, as it is written.
* Or wicket, hence the title of this tract.
Wherefore let us pray to God that he keep us in the hour of temptation, which is coming upon all the world, Rev. iii. For as our Saviour Christ saith, When ye see that abomination of desolation which is spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place, as Christ saith, He that readeth let him understand, Matt. xxiv. But because that every man cannot have the book of Daniel to know what his prophecy is, here are his words, Toward the last days the king of the north shall come, and the arms of him shall stand, and shall defile the sanctuary, and he shall take away the continual sacrifice, and he shall give abomination unto desolation, and wicked men shall find a testament guilefully, but they that know their God shall hold and do; and learned men in the people shall teach full many men, and they shall fall on the sword, and into flame, and into captivity many days, and when they fall down they shall be raised by a little help, and full many shall be joined to them deceitfully, and some learned men shall fall to them so that they build together, and the chosen shall be together, and shall be made white till a time determined. For yet another time shall be, and the king shall do by his will, and then he shall be raised, and magnified against each god. And against the God of gods shall he speak great things, and he shall be raised till the wrathfulness before determined is perfectly made, and he shall not inherit the God of his fathers, and he shall be in the company of women, and he shall not regard any thing of God's, for he shall raise against all things. Forsooth he shall honour the god of Mason* in his place, and he shall worship a god whom his fathers knew not, with gold, silver, precious
• The god of forces, Mauzim. This quotation is from Daniel si. 31-39.
stones, and with precious things. But he shall do to make strong the god of Mason with the alien, or strange god, which he knew, and he shall multiply his glory, and he shall give to them power in many things, and he shall depart the land at his will Hitherto are the words of Daniel. Who may see a greater abomination than to see the people led away from God, and taught to worship for God, that which is not God nor Saviour of the world ? For though it be their god, as it is written by a prophet, saying, * The Lord's going shall make low the gods of the earth, for their gods that they believe in may not make them safe ; and as it is written by St. Paul, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things I see you as vain worshippers of idols; for I passed by and saw your mawmetes,t and found an altar in the which was written, To the unknown God. Therefore the thing which you know not ye worship as God.
This thing show I unto you: God which made the world and all things that are in it. This forsooth, he is Lord of heaven and of earth, and he dwelloth not in the temple made with hands, neither hath he need of any thing, for he giveth life to all men, and breath everywhere, and he made of one all kinds of men, to inhabit on all the face of the earth. Determining times ordained and terms of the dwelling of them to seek out God, if peradventure they might find him, although he be not far from each of you. And again he saith, Ye shall not think that the living God is like to gold, silver, either any thing graven or painted by craft, either taught of man; for God despiseth the time of the unknown things.
And he showeth every where that all men should do penance, and hereof the clerks of the law have great need, which have been ever against God the Lord, both in the old law and in the new, to slay the prophets that speak to them the word of God. Ye see that they spared not the Son of God, when the temporal judge would have delivered him, Matt. xxvii. and so forth of the apostles and martyrs that have spoken truly the word of God to them. And they say it is heresy to speak of the holy scripture in English, and so they would condemn the Holy Ghost who gave it in tcngues to the apostles of Christ, to speak the word of God in all languages that were ordained of God under heaven, as it is written, Acts xi. And the Holy Ghost descended upon the heathen, as he did upon the apostles in * Zeph. ii. 11.
Jerusalem, as it is written, Joel ii. and Christ was so merciful as to send the Holy Ghost to the heathen men, Acts viii. x. and he made them partakers of his blessed word ; why then should it be taken away from us in this land that are christian men? Consider
whether it is not all one to deny Christ's words for heresy, and Christ for an heretic ; for if my word be a lie, then am I a liar that speak the word. Therefore, if my words be heresy, then am I an heretic that speak the word ; therefore it is all one to condemn the word of God in any language for heresy, and God for an heretic, who spake the word. For he and his word are all one, and they may not be separated ; and if the word of him be the life of the world, as it is written, Not only by bread liveth man, but in every word that cometh out of the mouth of God, Matt. iv. and every word of God is the life of the soul of man, as saith St. John, thou hast anointing of the Holy Ghost, and thou hast no need of any man to teach you in all things which is his blessed word, in which is all wisdom and knowledge, and yet ye are always to learn as well as we. How may any antichrist, for dread of God, take it away from us that are christian men, and thus suffer the people to die for hunger in heresy and blasphemy of man's law, that corrupteth and slayeth the soul, as pestilence slayeth the body, as David beareth witness, where he speaketh of the chair of pestilence.
And most of all they make us believe a false law that they have made upon the sacred host,* for the most false belief is taught in it. For where find ye that ever Christ, or any of his disciples or apostles, taught any man to worship it? For in the mass creedt it is said, I believe in one God only, our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, only begotten and born of the Father before all the world ; he is God of God, Light of light, very God of very God, begotten and not made, and of substance even with the Father, by whom all things are made. And in the psalm Quicunque vult, it is said, The Father is God, The Son is God, The Holy Ghost is God. The Father is unmade, The Son is unmade, and The Holy Ghost is unmade. And thou then that art an earthly man, by what reason mayest thou say that thou makest thy Maker ? Whether may the thing that is made say to the maker, Why hast thou made
• The wafer, or consecrated bread, given at the sacrament. + The Nicene creed. The Athanasian creed.
me thus ?
may it turn again and make him that made it? Surely not. Now answerest thou that sayest that every day thou makest of bread, the body of the Lord, flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, God and man. Forsooth thou answerest greatly against reason, by those words that Christ spake at his supper on Serethursday* at night, Matt. xxvi. Mark xiv. that Christ took bread and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to his disciples and apostles, and said, Take ye, and eat ye, this is my body which shall be given for you. And also he, taking the cup, gave thanks, and gave to them, and said, Drink ye all hereof, this is my blood of the new testament which shall be shed out for many to the remission of sins; as saith Luke, When Jesus had taken bread, he gave thanks and brake it to them and said, Take ye, eat ye, this my body that shall be given for
ye this in remembrance of me.
Now understand ye the words of our Saviour Christ, as he spake them one after another-as Christ spake them. For he took bread and blessed, and yet what blessed he? The scripture saith not that Christ took bread and blessed it, or that he blessed the bread which he had taken. Therefore it seemeth more that he blessed his disciples and apostles, whom he had ordained witnesses of his
passion ; and in them he left his blessed word which is the bread of life, as it is written, Not only in bread liveth man, but in every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, Matt. iv. Also Christ saith, I am the bread of life that came down from heaven, John vi. And Christ saith also in John, The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. Therefore it seemeth more that he blessed his disciples, and also his apostles, in whom the bread of life was left more than in material bread, for the material bread hath an end. As it is written in the gospel of Matthew xv. that Christ said, All things that a man eateth go down into the belly, and are sent down into the draught; but the blessing of Christ kept his disciples and aposties, both bodily and ghostly. As it is written, that none of them perished but the son of perdition, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, John xvii. and often the scripture saith that Jesus took bread and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and said, Take ye, eat ye, this is my body that shall be given for you. But he said not this bread is my body, or that the bread should be given for the life of the world.
* The Thursday before Easter.