But here I look they will say, though they have not the Scriptures, yet may chance they have the ancient doctors and the holy fathers with them. For this is a high brag they have ever made, how that all antiquity and a continual consent of all ages doth make on their side; and that all our cases be but new, and yesterday’s work, and until these few late years were never heard of. Questionless, there can nothing be more spitefully spoken against the religion of God than to accuse it of novelty, as a new come up matter. For as there can be no change in God Himself, so ought there to be no change in His religion.
Yet, nevertheless, we wot not by what means, but we have ever seen it come so to pass from the first beginning of all, that as often as God did give but some light, and did open His truth unto men, though the truth were not only of greatest antiquity, but also from everlasting; yet of wicked men and of the adversaries was it called new-fangled and of late devised. That ungracious and bloodthirsty Haman, when he sought to procure the king Assuerus’ displeasure against the Jews, this was his accusation to him: “Thou hast here (saith he) a kind of people that useth certain new laws of their own, but stiff-necked and rebellious against all thy laws.” When Paul also began first to preach and expound the Gospel at Athens he was called a tidings-bringer of new gods, as much to say as of a new religion; “for” (said the Athenians) “may we not know of thee what new doctrine this is?” Celsus likewise, when he of set purpose wrote against Christ, to the end he might more scornfully scoff out the Gospel by the name of novelty: “What!” saith he, “hath God after so many ages now at last and so late bethought Himself?” Eusebius also writeth that Christian religion from the beginning for very spite was called [Greek text], that is to say, new and strange. After like sort, these men condemn all our matters as strange and new; but they will have their own, whatsoever they are, to be praised as things of long continuance. Doing much like to the enchanters and sorcerers now-a-days, which working with devils, use to say they have their books and all their holy and hid mysteries from Athanasius, Cyprian, Moses, Abel, Adam, and from the archangel Raphael; because that their cunning, coming from such patrons and founders, might be judged the more high and holy. After the same fashion these men, because they would have their own religion, which they themselves, and that not long since, have brought forth into the world, to be the more easily and rather accepted of foolish persons, or of such as cast little whereabouts they or other do go, they are wont to say they had it from Augustine, Hierom, Chrysostom, from the Apostles, and from Christ Himself.
Full well know they that nothing is more in the people’s favour, or better liketh the common sort, than these names. But how if the things, which these men are so desirous to have seem new, be found of greatest antiquity? Contrariwise, how if all the things well-nigh which they so greatly set out with the name of antiquity, having been well and thoroughly examined, be at length found to be but new, and devised of very late? Soothly to say, no man that hath a true and right consideration would think the Jews’ laws and ceremonies to be new, for all Haman’s accusation. For they were graven in very ancient tables of most antiquity. And although many did take Christ to have swerved from Abraham and the old fathers, and to have brought in a certain new religion in His own Name, yet answered He them directly, “If ye believed Moses, ye would believe Me also,” for My doctrine is not so new as you make it: for Moses, an author of greatest antiquity, and one to whom ye give all honour, “hath spoken of Me.” Paul likewise, though the Gospel of Jesus Christ be of many counted to be but new, yet hath it (saith he) the testimony most old both of the law and Prophets. As for our doctrine which we may rightly call Christ’s catholic doctrine, it is so far off from new that God, who is above all most ancient, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, hath left the same unto us in the Gospel, in the Prophets’ and Apostles’ works, being monuments of greatest age. So that no man can now think our doctrine to be new, unless the same think either the Prophets’ faith, or the Gospel, or else Christ Himself to be new.
And as for their religion, if it be of so long continuance as they would have men ween it is, why do they not prove it so by the examples of the primitive Church, and by the fathers and councils of old times? Why lieth so ancient a cause thus long in the dust destitute of an advocate? Fire and sword they have had always ready at hand, but as for the old councils and the fathers, all mum–not a word. They did surely against all reason to begin first with these so bloody and extreme means, if they could have found other more easy and gentle ways. And if they trust so fully to antiquity, and use no dissimulation, why did John Clement, a countryman of ours, but few years past, in the presence of certain honest men and of good credit, tear and cast into the fire certain leaves of Theodoret–the most ancient father and a Greek bishop–wherein he plainly and evidently taught that the nature of bread in the Communion was not changed, abolished, or brought to nothing? And this did he of purpose, because he thought there was no other copy thereof to be found. Why saith Albertus Pighius that the ancient father Augustine had a wrong opinion of original sin? and that he erred and lied and used false logic, as touching the case of matrimony concluded after a vow made, which Augustine affirmeth to be perfect matrimony, indeed, and cannot be undone again? Also when they did of late put in print the ancient father Origen’s work upon the Gospel of John, why left they quite out the whole sixth chapter? Wherein it is likely, yea, rather, of very surety, that the said Origen had written many things concerning the sacrament of the Holy Communion contrary to these men’s minds; and would put forth that book mangled rather than full and perfect, for fear it should reprove them and their partners of their error. Call ye this trusting to antiquity, when ye rent in pieces, keep back, maim, and burn the ancient fathers’ works?
It is a world to see, how well-favouredly and how towardly touching religion these men agree with the fathers of whom they use to vaunt that they be their own good. The old Council Eliberine made a decree that nothing that is honoured of the people should be painted in the churches. The old father Epiphanius saith:–“It is a horrible wickedness, and a sin not to be suffered, for any man to set up any picture in the Church of the Christians, yea, though it were the picture of Christ Himself.” Yet, these men store all their temples, and each corner of them, with painted and carved images, as though without them religion were nothing worth.
The old fathers Origen and Chrysostom exhort the people to read the Scriptures, to buy them books, to reason at home betwixt themselves of divine matters–wives with their husbands, and parents with their children. These men condemn the Scriptures as dead elements, and–as much as ever they may–bar the people from them. The ancient fathers, Cyprian, Epiphanius, and Hierom, say, for one who, perchance, hath made a vow to lead a sole life, and afterwards liveth unchastely, and cannot quench the flames of lust, “it is better to marry a wife, and to live honestly in wedlock.” And the old father Augustine judgeth the selfsame marriage to be good and perfect, and that it ought not to be broken again. These men, if a man have once bound himself by a vow, though afterwards he burn, keep queans, and defile himself with never so sinful and desperate a life, yet they suffer not that person to marry a wife; or if he chance to marry, they allow it not for marriage. And they commonly teach it is much better and more godly to keep a concubine and harlot, than to live in that kind of marriage.
The old father Augustine complained of the multitude of ceremonies, wherewith he even then saw men’s minds and consciences overcharged. These men, as though God regarded nothing else but their ceremonies, have so out of measure increased them, that there is now almost none other thing left in their churches and places of prayer.
Again, that old father Augustine denieth it to be lawful for a monk to spend his time slothfully and idly, and, under a pretended and counterfeit holiness, to live all upon others. And whoso thus liveth, the old father Apollonius likeneth him to a thief. These men have, I wot not whether to name them droves or herds of monks, who for all they do nothing, nor yet once intend to bear any show of holiness, yet live they not only upon others, but also riot lavishly of other folks’ labours.
The old council of Rome decreed that no man should come to the service said by a priest well known to keep a concubine. These men let to farm concubines to their priests, and yet constrain men by force against their will to hear their cursed paltry service.
The old canons of the Apostles command that bishop to be removed from his office, which will both supply the place of a civil magistrate, and also of an ecclesiastical person. These men, for all that, both do and will needs serve both places. Nay, rather, the one office which they ought chiefly to execute, they once touch not, and yet nobody commandeth them to be displaced.
The old Council Gangrense commandeth that none should make such difference between an unmarried priest and a married priest, as he ought to think the one more holy than the other for single life’s sake. These men put such a difference between them, that they straightway think all their holy service to be defiled if it be done by a good and honest man that hath a wife.
The ancient emperor Justinian commanded that, in the holy administration, all things should be pronounced with a clear, loud, and treatable voice, that the people might receive some fruit thereby. These men, lest the people should understand them, mumble up all their service, not only with a drowned and hollow voice, but also in a strange and barbarous tongue.
The old council at Carthage commanded that nothing should be read in Christ’s congregation but the canonical Scriptures. These men read such things in their churches as themselves know of a truth to be stark lies and fond fables.
But if there be any that think these above-rehearsed authorities be but weak and slender, because they were decreed by emperors and certain petit bishops, and not by so full and perfect councils, taking pleasure rather in the authority and name of the Pope, let such a one know that Pope Julius doth evidently forbid that the priest, in ministering the Communion, should dip the bread in the cup. These men, contrary to Pope Julius’ decree, divide the bread, and dip it in the wine.
Pope Clement saith it is not lawful for a bishop to deal with both swords: “For if thou wilt have both,” said he, “thou shalt deceive both thyself and those that obey thee.” Nowadays, the Pope challengeth to himself both swords, and useth both. Wherefore, it ought to seem less marvel if that have followed which Clement saith, that is, “that he hath deceived both his own self and those which have given ear unto him.”
Pope Leo saith, “Upon one day it is lawful to say but one mass in one church.” These men say daily in one church commonly ten masses, twenty, thirty, yea, oftentimes more. So that the poor gazer on can scant tell which way he were best to turn him.
Pope Gelasius saith, “It is a wicked deed and sibb to sacrilege in any man to divide the Communion, and when he hath received one kind to abstain from the other.” These men, contrary to God’s Word, and contrary to Pope Gelasius, command that one kind only of the Holy Communion be given to the people, and by so doing they make their priests guilty of sacrilege.
But if they will say that all these things are worn out of ure and nigh dead, and pertain nothing to these present times, yet to the end all folk may understand what faith is to be given to these men, and upon what hope they call together their general councils, let us see in few words what good heed they take to the selfsame thing, which they themselves these very last years (and the remembrance thereof is yet new and fresh), in their own general council that they had by order called, have decreed and commanded to be devoutly kept. In the last council at Trent, scant fourteen years past, it was ordained by the common consent of all degrees, “that one man should not have two benefices at one time.” What is become now of that ordinance? Is the same too soon worn out of mind, and clean consumed? For these men, ye see, give to one man not two benefices only, but sundry abbeys many times, sometimes also two bishoprics, sometimes three, sometimes four. And that not only to an unlearned man, but oftentimes also even to a man of war.
In the said council a decree was made that all bishops should preach the Gospel. These men neither preach nor once go up into the pulpit, neither think they it any part of their office. What great pomp and crake then is this they make of antiquity? Why brag they so of the names of the ancient fathers, and of the new and old councils? Why will they seem to trust to their authority whom when they list they despise at their pleasure?
But I have a special fancy to commune a word or two rather with the Pope’s good holiness, and to say these things to his own face. Tell us, I pray you, good holy father, seeing ye do crake so much of all antiquity, and boast yourself that all men are bound to you alone, which of all the fathers hath at any time called you by the name of the “highest prelate,” the “universal bishop,” or the “head of the Church”? Which of them ever said “that both the swords were committed unto you?” Which of them ever said “that you have authority and right to call councils?” Which of them ever said “the whole world is but your diocese?” Which of them “that all bishops have received of your fulness?” Which of them “that all power is given to you as well in heaven as in earth?” Which of them “that neither kings, nor the whole clergy, nor yet all the people together, are able to be judges over you?” Which of them “that kings and emperors, by Christ’s commandment and will, do receive authority at your hands?” Which of them with so precise and mathematical limitation hath surveyed and determined you to be “seventy and seven times greater than the mightiest kings?” Which of them that more ample authority is given to you than to the residue of the patriarchs? Which of them that you are the “Lord God”? or that you are “not a mere natural man, but a certain substance made and grown together of God and man”? Which of them that you are the only “headspring of all laws”? Which of them that you have “power over purgatories?” Which of them that you are able to “command the angels of God” as you list yourself? Which of them that ever said that you are “lord of lords” and the “king of kings”? We can also go further with you in like sort. What one amongst the whole number of the old bishops and fathers ever taught you either to say private mass while the people stared on, or to “lift up the Sacrament” over your head (in which point consisteth now all your religion), or else to “mangle Christ’s Sacraments,” and to bereave the people of the one part, contrary to Christ’s institution and plain express words? But that we may once come to an end, what one is there of all the fathers which hath taught you to distribute Christ’s blood and the holy martyrs’ merits, and to sell openly as merchandises your pardons and all the rooms and lodgings of purgatory?
These men are wont to speak much of a certain secret doctrine of theirs, and of their manifold and sundry readings. Then let them bring forth somewhat now, if they can, that it may appear they have at least read or do know somewhat. They have often stoutly noised in all corners where they went how all the parts of their religion be very old, and have been approved not only of the multitude, but also by the consent and continual observation of all nations and times. Let them, therefore, once in their life show this their antiquity. Let them make appear at eye that the things whereof they make such ado have taken so long and large increase. Let them declare that all Christian nations have agreed by consent to this their religion.
Nay, nay, they turn their backs, as we have said already, and flee from their own decrees, and have cut off and abolished again within a short space the same things which, but a few years before, themselves had established for evermore, forsooth, to continue. How should one, then, trust them in the fathers, in the old councils, and in the words spoken by God? They have not, good Lord, they have not, I say, those things which they boast they have: they have not that antiquity, they have not that universality, they have not that consent of all places, nor of all times. And though they have a desire rather to dissemble, yet they themselves are not ignorant hereof: yea, and sometime also they let not to confess it openly. And for this cause they say that the ordinances of the old councils and fathers be such as may now and then be altered, and that sundry and divers decrees serve for sundry and divers times of the Church. Thus lurk they under the name of the Church, and beguile silly creatures with their vain glozing. It is to be marvelled that either men be so blind that they cannot see this, or if they see it, to be so patient as they can lightly and quietly bear it.
But, whereas they have commanded that those decrees should be void, as things now waxen too old, and that have lost their grace, perhaps they have provided in their stead certain other better things, and more profitable for the people. For it is a common saying with them that, “if Christ Himself or the Apostles were alive again, they could not better nor godlier govern God’s Church than it is at this present governed by them.” They have put in their stead indeed; but it is “chaff instead of wheat,” as Hieremy saith, and such things as, according to Esay’s words, “God never required at their hands.” “They have stopped up,” saith he, “all the veins of clear springing water, and have digged up for the people deceivable and puddle-like pits, full of mire and filth, which neither have nor are able to hold pure water.” They have plucked away from the people the Holy Communion, the Word of God, from whence all comfort should be taken; the true worshipping of God also, and the right use of sacraments and prayer; and have given us of their own to play withal in the meanwhile, salt, water, oil, boxes, spittle, palms, bulls, jubilees, pardons, crosses, censings, and an endless rabble of ceremonies, and, as a man might term with Plautus, “pretty games to make sport withal.” In these things have they set all their religion, teaching the people that by these God may be duly pacified, spirits be driven away, and men’s consciences well quieted. For these, lo, be the orient colours and precious savours of Christian religion; these things doth God look upon and accepteth them thankfully; these must come in place to be honoured, and put quite away the institutions of Christ and of His Apostles. And like as in times past, when wicked King Jeroboam had taken from the people the right serving of God, and brought them to worship the golden calves, lest perchance they might afterward change their mind and slip away, getting them again to Jerusalem to the temple of God, there he exhorted them with a long tale to be steadfast, saying thus unto them: “O Israel, these calves be thy gods. In this sort commanded your God you should worship Him, for it should be wearisome and troublous for you to take upon you a journey so far off, and yearly to go up to Jerusalem, there to serve and honour your God.” Even after the same sort every whit, when these men had once made the law of God of non-effect through their own traditions, fearing that the people should afterward open their eyes and fall another way, and should somewhence else seek a surer mean of their salvation, Jesu, how often have they cried out, “This is the same worshipping that pleaseth God, and which He straitly requireth of us, and wherewith He will be turned from His wrath. That by these things is conserved the unity of the Church. By these all sins be cleansed, and consciences quieted, and that whoso departeth from these hath left unto himself no hope of everlasting salvation.” For it were wearisome and troublous, say they, for the people to resort to Christ, to the Apostles, and to the ancient fathers, and to observe continually what their will and commandment should be. This ye may see, is to “withdraw the people of God from the weak elements of the world, from the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees, and from the traditions of men.” It were reason, no doubt, that Christ’s commandments and the Apostles’ were removed, that these their devices might come in place. O just cause, I promise you, why that ancient and so long allowed doctrine should be now abolished, and a new form of religion be brought into the Church of God.
And yet whatever it be, these men cry still that nothing ought to be changed: that men’s minds are well satisfied herewithal: that the Church of Rome, the Church which cannot err, hath decreed these things. For Silvester Prierias saith, that the Romish Church is the squire and rule of truth, and that the Holy Scripture hath received from thence authority and credit. “The doctrine,” saith he, “of the Romish Church is the rule of most infallible faith, from the which the Holy Scripture taketh his force. And indulgences and pardons, saith he, are not made known to us by the authority of the Scriptures, but they are made known to us by the authority of the Romish Church, and of the Bishops of Rome, which is greater.” Pighius also letteth not to say, that without the license of the Romish Church, we ought not to believe the very plain Scriptures. Much like as if any of those that cannot speak pure and clean Latin, and yet can babble out quickly and readily a little some such law Latin as serveth the court, would needs hold that all others ought also to speak after the same way which Mammetrectus and Catholicon spake many years ago, and which themselves do yet use in pleading in court: for so may it be understood sufficiently what is said, and men’s desires be satisfied: and that it is a fondness now in the latter end to trouble the world with a new kind of speaking, and to call again the old finesse and eloquence that Cicero and Caesar used in their days in the Latin tongue. So much are these men beholden to the folly and darkness of the former times. “Many things,” as one writeth, “are had in estimation oftentimes, because they have been once dedicate to the temples of the heathen gods.” Even so we see at this day many things allowed and highly set by of these men, not because they judge them so much worth, but only because they have been received into a custom, and after a sort dedicate to the temple of God.
“Our Church,” say they, “cannot err.” They speak that, I think, as the Lacedaemonians long since used to say, that it was not possible to find any adulterer in all their commonwealth: whereas indeed they were rather all adulterers, and had no certainty in their marriages, but had their wives common amongst them all: or as the canonists at this day, for their bellies’ sake, used to say of the Pope, that forsomuch as he is lord of all benefices, though he sell for money bishoprics, monasteries, priesthood, spiritual promotions, and part with nothing freely, yet, because he counteth all his own, “he cannot commit simony, though he would never so fain.” But how strongly and agreeably to reason these things be spoken, we are not as yet able to perceive, except perchance these men have plucked off the wings from the truth; as the Romans in old time did prune and pinion their goddess Victoria, after they had once gotten her home, to the end that with the same wings she should never more be able to flee away from them again. But what if Jeremy tell them, as is afore rehearsed, that these be lies? What if the same prophet say in another place that the selfsame men, who ought to be keepers of the vineyard, have brought to nought and destroyed the Lord’s vineyard? How if Christ say that the same persons, who chiefly ought to have care over the temple, have made of the Lord’s temple a den of thieves? If it be so that the Church of Rome cannot err, it must needs follow, that the good luck thereof is far greater than all these men’s policy. For such is their life, their doctrine, and their diligence, that for all them the Church may not only err, but also utterly be spoiled and perish. No doubt, if that church may err which hath departed from God’s words, from Christ’s commandments, from the Apostles’ ordinances, from the primitive Church’s examples, from the old fathers’ and councils’ orders, and from their own decrees, and which will be bound within the compass of none, neither old nor new, nor their own nor other folks’, nor man’s law nor God’s law, then it is out of all question that the Romish Church hath not only had power to err, but also that it hath shamefully and most wickedly erred in very deed.
But, say they, “ye have been of our fellowship, but now ye are become forsakers of your profession, and have departed from us.” It is true; we have departed from them, and for so doing we both give thanks to Almighty God, and greatly rejoice on our own behalf. But yet for all this, from the primitive Church, from the Apostles, and from Christ we have not departed. True it is, we were brought up with these men in darkness, and in the lack of the knowledge of God, as Moses was taught up in the learning and in the bosom of the Egyptians. “We have been of your company,” saith Tertullian, “I confess it, and no marvel at all; for,” saith he, “men be made and not born Christians.” But wherefore, I pray you, have they themselves, the citizens and dwellers of Rome, removed and come down from those seven hills, whereupon Rome sometime stood, to dwell rather in the plain called Mars’ field? they will say, peradventure, because the conduits of water, wherewithout men cannot commodiously live, have now failed and are dried up in those hills. Well, then, let them give us like leave in seeking the water of eternal life, that they give themselves in seeking the water of the well. For the water, verily, failed amongst them. “The elders of the Jews,” saith Jeremy, “sent their little ones to the waterings; and they finding no water, being in a miserable case, and utterly marred for thirst, brought home again their vessels empty.” “The needy and poor folk,” saith Esay, “sought about for water, but nowhere found they any; their tongue was even withered for thirst.” Even so these men have broken in pieces all the pipes and conduits: they have stopped up all the springs, and choked up the fountain of living water with dirt and mire. And as Caligula many years past locked up fast all the storehouses of corn in Rome, and thereby brought a general dearth and famine amongst the people; even so these men, by damming up all the fountains of God’s Word, have brought the people into a pitiful thirst. They have brought into the world, as saith the prophet Amos, “a hunger and a thirst: not the hunger of bread, nor the thirst of water, but of hearing the Word of God.” With great distress went they scattering about, seeking some spark of heavenly life to refresh their consciences withal: but that light was already thoroughly quenched out, so that they could find none. This was a rueful state; this was a lamentable form of God’s Church. It was a misery to live therein, without the Gospel, without light, and without all comfort.
Wherefore, though our departing were a trouble to them, yet ought they to consider withal how just cause we had of our departure. For if they will say, it is in nowise lawful for one to leave the fellowship wherein he hath been brought up, they may as well in our names, and upon our heads, condemn both the Prophets, the Apostles, and Christ Himself. For why complain they not also of this, that Lot went quite his way out of Sodom, Abraham out of Chaldea, the Israelites out of Egypt, Christ from the Jews, and Paul from the Pharisees? For except it be possible there may be a lawful cause of departing, we see no reason why Lot, Abraham, the Israelites, Christ, and Paul, may not be accused of sects and sedition, as well as others. And if these men will needs condemn us for heretics, because we do not all things at their commandment, whom, in God’s name, or what kind of men ought they themselves to be taken for, which despise the commandment of Christ, and of the Apostles? If we be schismatics because we have left them, by what name, then, shall they be called themselves, which have forsaken the Greeks, from whom they first received their faith, forsaken the primitive Church, forsaken Christ Himself, and the Apostles, even as if children should forsake their parents? For though those Greeks, who at this day profess religion, and Christ’s Name, have many things corrupted amongst them, yet hold they still a great number of those things which they received from the Apostles. They have neither private masses, nor mangled sacraments, nor purgatories, nor pardons. And as for the titles of high bishops, and those glorious names, they esteem them so, as whosoever he were that would take upon him the same, and would be called either universal bishop, or the head of the universal Church, they make no doubt to call such a one both a passing proud man, a man that worketh despite against all the other bishops his brethren, and a plain heretic.
Now, then, since it is manifest, and out of all peradventure, that these men have fallen from the Greeks of whom they received the Gospel, of whom they received the faith, the true religion and the Church; what is the matter, why they will not now be called home again to the same men, as it were to their originals and first founders? And why be they afraid to take a pattern of the Apostles’ and old fathers’ times, as though they all had been void of understanding? Do these men, ween ye, see more, or set more by the Church of God than they did who first delivered us these things?
We truly have renounced that Church, wherein we could neither have the Word of God sincerely taught, nor the sacraments rightly administered, nor the Name of God duly called upon: which Church also themselves confess to be faulty in many points; and wherein was nothing able to stay any wise man, or one that hath consideration of his own safety. To conclude, we have forsaken the Church as it is now, not as it was in old times past, and have so gone from it as Daniel went out of the lions’ den, and the three children out of the furnace: and to say the truth, we have been cast out by these men (being cursed of them as they used to say, with book, bell, and candle), rather than have gone away from them of ourselves.
And we are come to that Church, wherein they themselves cannot deny (if they will say truly, and as they think in their own conscience) but all things be governed purely and reverently, and, as much as we possibly could, very near to the order used in the old times.
Let them compare our churches and theirs together, and they shall see that themselves have most shamefully gone from the Apostles, and we most justly have gone from them. For we, following the example of Christ, of the Apostles, and the Holy fathers, give the people the Holy Communion, whole and perfect; but these men, contrary to all the fathers, to all the Apostles, and contrary to Christ Himself, do sever the Sacraments, and pluck away the one part from the people, and that with most notorious sacrilege, as Gelasius termeth it.
We have brought again the Lord’s Supper unto Christ’s institution, and have made it to be a communion in very deed, common and indifferent to a great number, according to the name. But these men have changed all things contrary to Christ’s institution, and have made a private mass of the Holy Communion. And so it cometh to pass that we give the Lord’s Supper unto the people, and they give them a vain pageant to gaze upon.
We affirm, together with the ancient fathers, that the body of Christ is not eaten but of the good and faithful, and of those that are endued with the Spirit of Christ. Their doctrine is, that Christ’s very body effectually, and as they speak really and substantially, may not only be eaten of the wicked and unfaithful men, but also (which is monstrous to be spoken) of mice and dogs.
We use to pray in our churches after that fashion, as, according to Paul’s lesson, the people may know what we pray, and may answer Amen with a general consent. These men, like sounding metal, yell out in the churches unknown and strange words without understanding, without knowledge, and without devotion; yea, and do it of purpose because the people should understand nothing at all.
But not to tarry about rehearsing all points wherein we and they differ–for they have well-nigh no end–we turn the Scriptures into all tongues; they scant suffer them to be had abroad in any tongue. We allure the people to read and to hear God’s Word: they drive the people from it. We desire to have our cause known to all the world; they flee to come to any trial. We lean unto knowledge, they unto ignorance. We trust unto light, they unto darkness. We reverence, as it becometh us, the writings of the Apostles and Prophets; and they burnt them. Finally, we in God’s cause desire to stand to God’s only judgment; they will stand only to their own. Wherefore, if they will weigh all these things with a quiet mind, and fully bent to hear and to learn, they will not only allow this determination of ours, who have forsaken errors, and followed Christ and His Apostles, but themselves also will forsake their own selves, and join of their own accord to our side.