A christen sentence and true iudgement of the moste honorable sacrament of Christes body [and] bloude declared both by the auctorite of the holy scriptures and the auncient doctores. Very necessary to be redde in this tyme of all the faythfull.
Frith, John, 1503-1533.
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A christen sen∣tence and true iudgement of the moste honora∣ble Sacrament of Christes bo∣dy & bloude declared both by the auctorite of the holy Scriptures and the aun∣cient Doc∣tores.

Very necessary to be redde in this tyme of all the faythfull.

Page  [unnumbered] COncernynge the dys∣corde and varyaunce that is spronge and daylye increaseth of the sacrament of vnitie and vnder¦standynge of ye wordes of our sauy¦our christ iesu, that no man shulde be disquieted or troubled in cōsci∣ence, me thought it necessarye to wryte a shorte instruction wherin by gods grace I shall so pacyfye both the parties that without cō∣tencion they shall admytte eche o∣ther īto brotherly loue accordīg to christes exhortaciō, whiche wolde haue vs to loue eche other as he hath loued vs and wolde ha∣ue loue to be the token of his very disciples and faythfull folo∣wers. ✚

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The fyrste Chapter pro∣ueth that it is none article of our fayth necessarye to saluacion.

Fyrst we must all ac∣knowleg that it is none article of our fayth whi∣che can saue vs neyther which we are boūd to beleue vnder the payne of eternall dampnaciō, for yf I shulde beleue yt his verye naturall body both fleshe & bloude were materyally in the breade & wyne, that shulde not saue me se∣ynge many beleue that, & receyue it to theyr dampnacion. For it is not his presence in the bread that can saue me, but his presence ī my harte thorowe fayth in his bloud, which hath washed out my syn̄es and pacefied the Fathers wrathe Page  [unnumbered] towardes me. And agayne yf I do not beleue yt his bodely presence is in the breade and wyne that shall not dampne me. For it is not his absence out of the breade that can dampne me, but the absence out of my hart thorowe vnbelefe now yf they wolde here obiecte yt thoughe it be truth that ye absence out of the bread of it selfe could not dampne vs yet are we boūde to beleue it be¦cause of godes worde, which who beleueth not as moche as in hym is, he maketh god a lyar. And ther∣fore of an obstinate mynde not to beleue his wordes may be an occa¦sion of dampnacion. To this we maye answere yt we beleue goddes worde and knowledge that it is true, but in this we dissente whe∣ther it be true in the sence that we take it in, or in ye sence that ye take Page  [unnumbered] it in, And we say agayne yt though ye haue as it appeareth vnto you the euident wordes of Christ, and therfore consyst in the barke of the letter, yet are we compelled by cō∣ferryng of the scriptures togither to enter within the letter and to searche out the mynde of our saui¦our whiche spake the wordes, and we saye thyrdly that we do it not of an obstinat mynde for he that de¦fendeth a thynge obsinately whe∣ther it be true or false, is euer to be reprehended but we do it to satis∣fis oure consciences whiche are cō∣pelled by other places of Scrip∣ture reasons and doctors so to iud¦ge of it And euen so ought you to iudge of your parte and to defende your sentences / not of an obstina∣cy for then ye offende) but for to sa¦tysfie your consciēces as touching Page  [unnumbered] the Scriptures whiche cause you so to take it. And so ought nether parte to dispise the other, for eche seketh the glory of God, & the true vnderstandynge of the scripture.

The seconde Chapter sheweth the reason and scriptures whiche cause vs otherwyse to take it thē ye cōmon multitud at this tyme do.

REgarde we ther∣fore the precepte of our mayster christ euer no∣rishyng brotherly loue in peace and vnitie, & yf ye can not otherwyse beare vs, yet admytte vs as weake brethern. And as tou¦chynge the causes which compell vs so to iudge, we knowe yt Christ before his passion had a naturall body, which he receyued of the vyr¦gyn Page  [unnumbered] Mary thorow the power of ye holy ghost. This body we say was natural and not phantasticall, but had the qualyties of an other bo∣dy in all thyng{is} saue synne, nether was it more possible for that natu¦rall body so beyng mortal and not gloryfied to be in dyuers places at once, thē for myne. So that when we heare these wordes spokē, this is my body, and se that they were spoken before his body was glory∣fied, knowyng also that a natural body vngloryfied can not be in ma¦ny places at once, and that yf these wordes were vnderstandē as they sounde he shuld haue ben at ye least in .xij. or .xiij. places at once in his Disciples mouthes, and syttynge at the table with them, It causeth vs to loke better vpon it, and so to search out the pure vnderstādyng Page  [unnumbered] Nowe yf ye obiect that he myght be in diuers places at once, Then may we answere by the auctorytie of saynt Austen whiche sayth. Cor¦pus in quo resurrexit in vno loco esse oporteth. His body wherin he rose must be in one place, and after determyneth that it contynueth in heauen, and shall so do vntyll the tyme that he shall come to iudge both quycke & deade. Nowe seyng saynt Austen sayth that his body (wherin he rose must be ī one place which was his glorified body (thē may we wel say that his body not gloryfied can not be ī many places at once. And so must it nedes fo∣lowe that he can not be there in fle¦she & bloude. Besydes that ye can shewe no reason why he shulde be in many places at once, and not in all, but in all places at once he can Page  [unnumbered] not be, wherfore we must cōclude that he cannot be in many places at once. If ye say that he maye be in all places at once because he is also God. We answere that the angel at the sepulchre sayd. Sur∣rexit nō est hic .i. He is rysē, and is not here. Wherfore yf ye say that he is in all places, thē make ye the Angell a lyar. Furthermore what tyme he ascēded the scripture testi¦fieth that a cloude toke hym out of theyr syght, & that two men stode by the Disciples and sayd ye men of Galiley why stande ye gasynge vp into heauē? This same Iesus whiche is taken vp from you into heauen shall so come euen as you haue sene hym go into heauē, here we thynke verily that Christ ment good earnest. And yt in dede he was taken vp from them into heauen Page  [unnumbered] as the Angell testyfieth, & yt from thense he shall come to iudge the quicke and dead, as our Crede tea¦cheth. Nowe yf ye can perswade your owne consciences and vnder¦stande the Scriptures yt he playde boo pype with his Disciples, and dyd but make hym selfe inuisible onely. Thā may ye take your plea∣sures, for Christe teacheth vs not to be contentious.

The thyrde Chaptre declareth why Christe vseth suche maner of speache, and the pure vnderstan∣dynge of Christes wordes.

IF ye wolde then axe vs why christ shulde so saye: & vse these play∣ne wordes yf he wolde that it shulde be spiritually vnder∣stande. Page  [unnumbered] To this we answere that it is the maner both of christ and his scriptures so to speake for dy∣uers consyderacions: Christe cal∣leth hymselfe a very vyne & his dis¦cyples vyne braunches wherwith he hath so {per}fectly set out his pow∣er, that a thousande wordes coul∣de not expresse hym so lyuely. For where he sayeth I am a very vy∣ne there declareth he sensyble that as verely as the braūches of a na∣turall vyne can brynge forth no frute except they cōtynewe in the vyne, euen so can his discyples do nothyng except they abyde ī hym Now where he sayth that he is a very vyne, he wolde not haue you bounde to beleue for an artycle of the fayth, that he were a naturall vyne. But had leuer that ye vnder∣stande it mistically that there is a Page  [unnumbered] certein pro{per}tie in this vine which doth solyuely expresse hym that he can put no difference (for yt poynte) betwene a vine & hym selfe but cal¦leth hym selfe euen a very vyne we vse it also in cōmon speache. If a man se his neyghboures horse ha¦uynge a certen properte which his horse hath, then wyll he say this is my horse vp and downe, not mea∣nynge that the substaunce of his neyghbours is his own horse, but that there is a certaine propertie ī his neyghbours, whiche is so lyke his that they coulde not decerne the one from the other. Lykewyse Christe calleth hym selfe a doore, not that he hym self is a material doore, but bycause the dore hath a certen propertie whiche doth well describe hym. For as no man can come within a stronge holde but Page  [unnumbered] by the doore, Euen so can no man come vnto the father but thorow Christ, and for this propertie doth he call hym selfe a doore. And this doth he to expresse euen to our out¦warde senses what powre he hath and what profite commeth to vs thorowe hym and euen so in this Sacrament he calleth the breade his body and the wyne his bloude not that the breade and wyne are his naturall fleshe and bloude, but for certayne properties whiche are in them.

For he toke the bread and brake it and cōmaunded them to eate it, sayng this is my body which shall be gyuen for you. This do in remē¦braūce of me. As thoughe he shuld haue sayd these wordes. Nowe is the tyme come yt I muste departe from you. Neuerthelesse I shall Page  [unnumbered] gyue you suche a perfyct token be∣fore I go, that ye shall not doubte but that I am yours. Loo I shall be put to death and my body bro∣ken euē as ye se this bread brokē. Neuertheles by ye not dismayde. Take this bread, and eate it, and swalow it downe into your belyes for this breade shall be vnto you euen my very body which shall be gyuen for you. For as verely as ye¦ar partakers of this bread which by youre senses ye knowe ye haue within you, euen as surely shall ye be partakers of my bodye whiche shall be crucyfied for you, thoughe it were done a thousande myle frō you, wherfor ye nede not to doubt nor feare in myne absence, seynge that the frute of my death shall be as verelye youres, as this breade whiche ye haue within you, but yf Page  [unnumbered] ye shuld fal into any mystrust, then breke ye amonge youre selues this bread, & eate it in the remēbraūce of me, that it maye certyfie euen your senses yt you are partakers of my body thorowe fayth, as verely as ye are partakers of this bread thorowe eatynge of it.

The fourth Chapter noteth an¦other maner of speache & proueth our exposytion by a proper simyly¦tude of the brydgrome & bryde.

THis is the pure vn∣derstandyng of Christes wordes, whiche manye auctoryties cause vs to receyue, and also that it is the cō∣mon phrase of ye scripture no man can deny, whiche is but meanelye excercysed in it. We rede yt Iacob Page  [unnumbered] buylded an alter, & called it God, the god of Israell, we rede also yt Iacob wrastled wt an angell & cal¦led the place Pemll .i. The face of God, we reade yt the pasch lambe was called the passynge by of the Lorde with infynite other of such Phrases. Howe be it I thynke no man so innocent that he wolde cō¦tende and affyrme yt the very alter was the god of Israell, or ye place where he wrastled to be the verye face of God, or the naturall lambe to be the passynge by of the Lorde, but such names are gyuē that as soone as we heare thē we myghte knowe what was ment by them. As by example he called alter the god of Israell, that euen the very name it selfe shulde testyfie that it was made to put vs ī remēbraūce of the very God of Israell. Lyke∣wyse Page  [unnumbered] the place where he wrastled was called the face of God, that ye very name it selfe myghte put vs in remēbraunce that there Iacob had wrastled with God, & had sene hym face to face. Also the lambe was called pasouer or the passyng by of the lorde, that the very name it selfe myght put vs in remēbraū¦ce that the lorde passynge by had slayne all the fyrste begotten in E∣gept. And euen so to oure purpose the bread is called the bodye, that the very name it selfe, myght put vs in remembraūce that his very body was broken for vs And is as verely ours thorowe fayth as the bread is ours by eatyng of it. And therfore added he also these word{is} This do in remembraunce of me, whiche thynge expoundeth all to∣gyther yf we had wytte.

Page  [unnumbered] If a brydegrome whiche had pro∣mysed fayth & trouth to his bryde shulde depart into a farre coūtree for necessary busynes that he hath then to cōfort his brydes harte he wolde saye on this maner. I must departe into a farre coūtree for vr¦gēt maters. Neuerthelesse I shal leaue you such a tokē that ye shall be as sure of me, as though I were here present with you. Take this rynge & put it on youre fynger for it is my fayth & my trouth whiche I haue promised to kepe with you And therfore kepe it ī remēbraūce of me. And as surely as you haue this rynge on youre fynger, so sure may you be of me that I shall not dyceyue you. So that yf ye shulde any thyng mystrust me. Then be∣holde the ryng which is my fayth and trouth, & it shall certyfye euen Page  [unnumbered] your outwarde senses that I am youres. And moche more is this trew in the Sacramēt, for a man may repent hym of his promes, & dyceyue his bryde, but Christe can not repent hym of his gracious fa¦uour, wher wt he loueth vs, he can be no lyar, nether can deceyue vs. And therfore we nede not to doubt of his promes.

¶The fyfth Chapter sheweth the maner how it ought to be receued.

HEre also muste we touche some what as concernyng the re∣ceyuyng of it for ther∣in are many vexed some be so fear∣full to breake Christes institutiō, whiche gaue it in both the kyndes that they wholly abstayne & dare Page  [unnumbered] not come at it. Excepte the priest wold gyue it cōserrat in both kyn¦des, and some there are that neuer stycke at it, but receyue they wote not what hauyng no respecte vnto Christes institution And both are deceyued, albeit the fyrst are more to be alowed, bycause they most so¦row to breake Goddes ordinas;ice. But I wyll shewe you a meanes howe ye shall euer receyue it accor¦dyng to Gods institutiō, although the priest wold withdraw it from you. Fyrste ye nede to haue no re∣spect vnto ye priestes wordes which mynistreth it. For yf ye remembrs for what entēt Christ dyd īstitute the sacrament and knowe that it was to put vs in remembraūce of his body breakynge and bloudshe¦dyng & that it was done for oure wealthe, & we as sure of it thorow Page  [unnumbered] beleuynge it (accordyng to his pro¦messe) as we are sure of the breade by eatynge of it. If as I say ye re∣membre this thing (for which en∣tent onely the priest speaketh these wordes thē yf ye Priest leaue out these word{is} or parte therof he can¦not hurte you, for ye haue already the effecte and fynall purpose for which he shulde speake them. And agayne yf he shuld wholy alter thē yet can he not deceyue you, For thē are ye sure that he is a lyar. And therfore whē he bryngeth the Sa¦crament vnto me, I wyll cōsyder christes mynde & institutiō & nor ye priestes wordes. And wyll thanks my heuenly father, saying on this maner. Blyssed be thou most dere and mercyfull father which of thy tender fauour and benignitie (not¦withstandyng our greuous enor∣myties Page  [unnumbered] cōmytted agaīst ye (vouch¦sauedest to send thyne owne dere and onely sone to suffre most vyle death for my redemption. Blessed be thou Christe Iesu my lorde and sauyour, which of thyne abūdaūt pytie cōsyderynge oure myserable estate wyllyngly tokest vpon the to haue thy moste innocent body bro¦ken and bloudshede to purge and washe me whiche am laden with iniquite. And to certyfie vs therof haste lefte vs not onely thy worde, whiche may instructe oure hartes but also a visible token to certyfie euen our outwarde senses of this great beneficte that we shuld not doubt but that thy body and frute of thy passion are oures as surely as the bread whiche by our senses we know that we haue withī vs. Blessed be also that spirit of veri∣tie. Page  [unnumbered] whiche is sent from God oure father thorowe our sauyour christ Iesu to lyghtē our darke ignoraū¦ces and led vs thorowe fayth into the knowledg of hym which is all veritie, strenght we besech the our fraile nature & encrease oure fayth that we may prayse God our most mercyfull Father, and Christe his sone our sauyoure and redemer, & the (with them) which arte our cō¦forter to whom be all honour and prayse Amen.

Thus shalte thou receyue it ac∣cordynge to Christes institution & though chouse that the priest brin¦geth wyne vnconsecrate, yet neuer stycke at that, for as surely shall it certyfie thy consyence & outward senses though he consecrate it not (so that thou knowe what is ment therby) as though he made a thou¦sande Page  [unnumbered] blessynges ouer it, and loke what we haue spoken of the bread and euen the same mayst thou ve∣rify on the wyne. So that wenede to be no longer.

But cōmytte you to God desy∣rynge hym to opē his lyght more abundauntly vnto vs all that we may walke therin praysynge hym eternally. Amen. ☜ ✚ ☞

Contra Pacisienses, de contemptu mundi.
God saue the Kynge.

¶Imprynted by me Rycharde Wyer.

¶Cum priuilegio Ad imprimendum solum.

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