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mind of me, it was set for a mind of good things passed of Christ's body; but when the angel showed to John, Apocalypse xvii. the sacraments of the woman and of the beast that bare her, it was set for a mind of evil things to come on the face of the earth, and great destroying of the people of God. And in the old law there were many figures or minds of things to come. For before Christ, circumci. sion was commanded by a law; and he that kept not the law was slain. And yet St. Paul saith, Rom. ii. And neither is it circumcision that is openly in the flesh, but he that is circumcised of heart in spirit, not the letter whose praising is not of men, but of God. Peter saith in the third chapter of his epistle, And so baptism of like form maketh not us safe, but the putting away of the filthiness of the flesh, and the having of good conscience in God by the again rising of our Lord Jesus Christ from death, that we should be made heirs of everlasting life, he went up into heaven, and angels, and powers, and virtues, are made subjects to him.
And also the scripture saith of John Baptist, Matt. iij. that he preached in the wilderness and said, A stronger than I shall come after me, and I am not worthy to kneel down and unlace his shoe ; and yet Christ said that he was more than a prophet. See also Isaiah xl. Matt. xi. How may ye then say
that ye are worthy to make his body, and yet your works bear witness that ye are less than the prophets, for if ye were not, ye should not teach the people to worship the sacraments or minds* of Christ for Christ himself; which sacraments or figures are lawful as God taught them and left them unto us, as the sacrifices or minds of the old law were full good. As it is written, They that kept them should live in them, Paul, Rom. X. And so the bread that Christ brake was left to us for mind of things passed for the body of Christ, that we should believe he was a very man in kind as we are, but as God in power, and that his manhood was sustained by food as ours.
For St. Paul saith he was very man, and in form he was found as man.
And so we inust believe that he was very God and very man together, and that he ascended up very God and very man to heaven, and that he shall be there till he come to doom the world. And we may not see him bodily, being in this life, as it is written Peter i. For he sayeth, Whom ye have not ye love, into whom ye now not seeing believe. And John
saith in the first chapter of his gospel, No man saw God; none but the only begotten Son that is in the bosom of the Father, he hath told it out. And John saith in his first epistle, the third chapter, Every man that sinneth seeth not him, neither knoweth him. By what reason then say ye that are sinners, that ye make God ? truly this must needs be the worst sin, to say that ye make God, and it is the abomination of discomfort, that is said in Daniel the prophet to be standing in the holy place ; he that readeth let him understand. Also Luke saith, chap. xxii
. that Christ took the cup after that he had supped, and gave thanks and said, This cup is the new testament in my blood that shall be shed into the remission of sins for man. Now, what say ye ;
the cup which he said was the new testament in his blood, was it a material cup in which the wine was that he gave
his disciples wine of, or was it his most blessed body in which the blessed blood was kept till it was shed out for the sins of them that should be made safe by his passion. Needs must we say that he spake of his holy body, as he did when he called his passion or suffering in body a cup, when he prayed to his Father, before he went to his passion, Matt. xxvi. and said, If it be possible that this cup pass from me, but if thou wilt that I drink it, thy will be done.
He spake not here of the material cup in which he had given his disciples drink ; for it troubled not him, but he prayed for his great sufferance and bitter death, the which he suffered for our sins and not for his own. And if he spake of his holy body and passion when he said, This cup is the new testament in my blood, so he spake of his holy body, when he said, This is my body which shall be given for you, and not of the material bread which he had in his hand. Also in another place he calleth his passion a cup, Matt. xx. where the mother of Zebedee's sons came to him, and asked of him that her two sons, when he came to his kingdom, might sit one on his right side, and one at his left side. And he answered and said, Woman, thou wottest not what thou asketh ; then he said to them, May ye drink of the cup
that I shall drink? and they said, Yea, Lord. And he said, Ye shall drink of my cup, but to
on my right hand or left hand it is not mine to give, but to the Father it is proper. But in that he said, Ye shall drink of my cup, he promised them to suffer tribulation of this world as he did, by the which they should enter into life everlasting, and to be both
on his right hand. And thus ye may see that Christ spake not of the material cup, neither of himself, nor of his apostles, neither of material bread, neither of material wine. Therefore let every man wisely, with meek prayers, and great study, and also charity, read the words of God and holy scriptures ;
of you are like the mother of Zebedee's sons to whom Christ said, Thou knowest not what thou askest. So, many of you know not what ye ask, nor what you do; for if ye did, ye would not blaspheme God as ye do, to set an alien god instead of the living God. Also Christ saith, John xv. I am a very* vine ; wherefore then worship ye not the vine for God, as ye do the bread? Wherein was Christ a very vine, or wherein was the bread Christ's body, in figurative speech, which is hidden to the understanding of sinners? Then if Christ became not a material, or an earthly vine, neither did a material vine become the body of Christ. So neither the bread, material bread, was changed from its substance to the flesh and blood of Christ.
Have ye not read in John the second, when Christ came into the temple, they asked of him what token he would show, that they might believe him. And he answered them, Cast down this temple, and in three days I shall raise it again; which words were fulfilled in his rising again from death; but when he said, Undo this temple, in that that he said this, they were in error, for they understood it fleshly, and had supposed that he had spoken of the temple of Jerusalem, because he stood in it. And thereof they accused him at his passion full falsely, Matt. xxvi. For he spake of the temple of his blessed body, which rose again in the third day. And right so Christ spake of his holy body when he said, This is my body which shall be given for you, Luke xxii. which was given to death, and to rising again to bliss, for all that shall be saved by him. But like as they accused him falsely of the temple of Jerusalem, so now-a-days they accuse falsely against Christ, and say that Christ spake of the bread that he brake amongst his apostles ; for in that Christ said this, they are deceived, take it fleshly, and turn it to the material bread, as the Jews did to the temple ; and on this false understanding they make abomination of discomfort, as is said by Daniel the prophet, and in Matthew xxiv. to be standing in the holy place ; he that readeth let him understand.
Now therefore pray we heartily to God, that this evil time may be made short for the chosen men, as he hath promised in his blessed gospel, Matt. xxiv. And the large and broad way that leadeth to perdition may be stopped, and the strait and narrow way that leadeth to bliss may be made open by holy scriptures, that we may know which is the will of God, to serve him in truth and holiness in the dread of God, that we may find by him a way of bliss everlasting. So be it.
NOTE ON THE DOCTRINE OF TRANSUBSTANTIATION.
As Wickliff lived before the council of Trent, it may be desirable to state the doctrine of transubstantiation as set forth by the church of Rome in his days. This may best be done by inserting the decree of the fourth council of Lateran, A. D. 1215, wherein that doctrine was commanded to be believed as an article of faith. It is as follows : “There is one universal (catholic) church of the faithful, out of which no one whatever can be saved. In which Christ Jesus himself is the priest and the sacrifice, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar, under the forms of bread and wine ; the bread being transubstantiated into the body, and the wine into the blood, by the divine power, so that for the accomplishing the mystery of unity, we may receive of his nature that which he received of ours.” The term “ transubstantiation” was then first introduced.
This change or transubstantiation was declared to take place when the priest pronounces “the words of consecration,” Hoc est enim corpus meum, or, For this is my body. Then the whole substance of bread is supposed to depart, and the whole substance of Christ (or, according to the council of Trent, “the true body and the true blood, with his soul and divine nature,”) takes its place, while the form and appear. unce (or accidents, as they are termed) of bread still remain! The absurdity of this doctrine was carried still farther shortly after, and it was, and is still asserted by the church of Rome, that the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord, “ the entire Christ,” exist equally under each species, (the bread and the wine,) and in each particle of each species. And that the articles thus consecrated, are to be worshipped with the same adoration that is paid to the Deity.”
This doctrine necessarily implies a rejection of the one sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, Heb. ix. it maintains that a continual repetition of this sacrifice is necessary for the salvation of the faithful, which sacrifice cannot be offered without the intervention of an order of men, who are consecrated to the priesthood by the pope or his immediate instruments, who are allowed to require payment for making this sacrifice, and who, by baving the power of thus making Christ vested in them, become an order of beings superior to mankind, and therefore are themselves actually to be considered as objects of worship!
Without entering into argument to show that the doctrine of transubstantiation is opposed to reason, to scripture, and to the history of the primitive church, we may observe that the brief notice just given, shows that it is an IDOLATROUS doctrine. As such it was viewed by every reformer from Wickliff to JEWELL, and from their writings it will abundantly be seen, that in the discussion of this question in reality All the scriptural doctrines of salvation were involved.
Wickliff was one of the first who opposed this error ; with scholars be treated it as a scholastic question, and refuted them on their own grounds; the unlearned he supplied with plain arguments, as in the preceding treatise, showing that this tenet was opposed both to the words of scripture, and to common sense. The papists, on the other hand, were fully aware of the importance of this novel doctrine to the false and usurped authority of their church. They endeavoured to prevent the progress of the truth by every means in their power, Toʻconvince the unlearned they had recourse to barefaced impostures, as appears from the following story, in which one instance is thus recorded by Knighton, their own annalist of that period.
John Kilingham, or Cunningham, was provincial of the Carmelite friars in England and Ireland. He was a warm opponent of Wickliff, and preached at the church of the preaching friars in 1382, at the close of the procession which archbishop Courtney ordered to be made after the condemnation of the Reformer's conclusions. At this sermon was present a knight named Cornelius Cloune, who was said to be a great favourer of Wickliff's opinions respecting the sacrament of the altar, that it remained true material bread.
The next day, the knight went to the same church to liear mass, which was celebrated by one of the friars. When the friar broke the host, or consecrated wafer, into three parts as usual, the knight saw in the hands of the friar, real flesh, raw and bloody, divided into three parts. The knight, full of wonder and amazement, as well he might be, called his squire, that he might see it also, but he saw nothing more than usual. But the knight, in the third piece, which ought likewise to be put into the chalice, in the middle of it saw this name, IHESUS, written in letters of flesh, all raw and bloody, which, as the writer properly observes, was very wonderful to behold! The next day was the festival of the Holy Trinity, when the friar preached at Paul's cross, and told this story to all the people. After the sermon was done, the knight attested the truth of ít, promising that he would fight and die in that cause, for that in the sacrament of the altar there was the very body of Christ, and not bread only, as he himself had before believed.
Upon such a figment it is unnecessary to make any comment, or to try the miracle by the rules deduced from scripture. The Romish legends contain many other stories somewhat similar, of nuns beholding the water changed into the appearance of infants, the wafers bleed. ing when stabbed hy jews and infidels, of adoracion paid to them by bees, asses, dogs, and other animals, &c. &c.