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in the Counter in Bread-street, that Christ's natural Body was not in the Sacrament, but that it was a Sign and Memorial of His Body that was crucified for us. Upon this he was indicted and condemned to be burnt. But the King [Hen. viii.] sent the Bishops of London and Worcester to deal with him to recant; which on the 9th of July he did, acknowledging," That, (to quote his letter to the King as given by Foxe) "within this yere I have fallen into that mooste detestable and mooste abhomynable heresye of them that bee callid Sacramentaries denyeing wretchedlie the presence of Chryst's bleassed body in tholye Sacrament of the aultare."
Among the recantation Articles, which he says, "I with my harte doo believe, and with my mouthe doo confesse," are the following:
"The fyrste. Allmightie God by the power of His woorde pronounced by the Priest at Masse in the consecration, turneth the breade and wyne into the very naturall body and blood of oure Saviour Jhesu Chryste. Soo that after the consecration there remayneth noo substaunce of breadde and wyne, but onely the substaunce of Cryste, God and man.
"The thyrd. The same bleassed Sacrament being consecrate ys and ought to be worshipped and adored with godly honour wheresoever yt ys: forasmoche as yt ys the bodie of Cryste inseperably unyted to the Deitie.
"The fyfte. The same body and bloude whiche ys offered in the Masse ys the very propitiation and satisfaction for the synnes of the woorlde forasmoche as yt ys the selfsame in substuance whiche was offered upon the crosse for oure redemption.
"The nynth. The Masse used in this Realme of Englande ys agreeable to thinstitution of Chryste. And wee have in this Churche of Englande the verie true Sacrament whiche ys the very body and bloudde of oure Savyour Chryste under the forme of bredde and wyne."-Burnet, Hist. Ref. vol. 1, bk. 3, p. 325, fol. 1715; and Foxe, Acts and Mon. vol. v., app. 17. Ed. 1846.
Now whether Shaxton held (as is probable) the more refined view which is implied in what was then known as the invisible Corporal Presence, these Articles do not enable us to determine: but that a grosser view of the Presence of Christ's NATURAL Body was extensively held, is plain from one of the earliest acts of Edward's Council after his Accession.
On Nov. 4th, 1547, was passed the statute 1 Edw. VI. c.i. intitled "An Act against such as shall unreverently speak against the Sacrament of the Altar, and of the receiving thereof in both kinds." The Act recites that, owing to "certain abuses heretofore committed of some," others had
contemptuously depraved, despised, or reviled the same "most holy and blessed Sacrament." (Stephens' Eccl. Stat., vol. 1., p. 292). What had in part produced this re-actionary irreverence may be gathered from the Royal Proclamation, founded upon this Statute, which was issued on the 27th December following. It relates that:
"Some of" the King's "subjects, not contented with such words and terms as scripture doth declare thereof......and that the Body and Bloud of Jesu Christ is there......search and strive unreverently whether the Body and Bloud aforesaid is there really or figurately, locally or circumscriptly, and having quantity and greatness, or but substantially and by substance only, or els but in a figure and manner of speaking; whether His blessed Body be there, head, leggs, armes, toes, and nails, or any other ways, shape and manner, naked or clothed; whether He is broken and chewed, or He is always whole; whether the bread there remaineth as we see, or how it departeth; whether the flesh be there alone, and the blood, or part, or ech in other, or in th'one both, in th'other but only bloud; and what bloud; that only which did flow out of the side, or that which remained....
Consequently all persons were prohibited from open controversy and strife on the subject, and from
"affirming any more termes of the said blessed Sacrament, than be expressly taught in the Holy Scripture, and mentioned in the foresaid act,"
until authority should
"define, declare and set furthe an open doctrine thereof, and what termes and words may justly be spoken thereby, other than be expressly in the Scripture contained in the Act before rehearsed." -Cardwell, Doc. Ann. vol. I, pp. 35-7.
In proof of the existence of this very carnal opinion, two years later, I may cite a Conversation between Cranmer and Bonner, Bishop of London, on Sept. 10, 1549: the Archbishop, in consequence of some remarks which Bonner made,
"....said unto him, My Lord of London! ye speak much of a presence in the Sacrament; what presence is there, and of what presence do you mean?' Wherewith the Bishop......spake again to the Archbishop very earnestly, and said, 'What presence, my Lord ? I say and believe that there is the very true presence of the Body and Blood of Christ. What believe you, and how do you believe, my Lord?' Upon which words the Archbishop ..... asked him further, whether He were there, face, nose, mouth, eyes, arms, and lips, with other lineaments of His Body?"
Bonner, indeed, apparently disavowed such a physical notion, for, besides a previous complaint that Hooper misunderstood him, he, shaking his head observed, as Foxe says, "Oh! I am right sorry to hear your Grace speak these words." (Acts & Mon. vol. v. p. 752). Yet the very fact of the Archbishop mooting the point argues his knowledge that it was still held even by some in authority, if not by Bonner.
Against, then, this prevalent doctrine of a carnal Presence in the Eucharist, Cranmer, Ridley, and others who were, more or less directly, concerned in preparing the First Book of Common Prayer, watchfully and determinedly set themselves. Ridley since 1545 when he began to study Ratramn's book "on the Body and Blood of the Lord," and Cranmer since 1546, when Ridley told him of his changed views on the Eucharist, had been carefully investigating the subject of Transubstantiation, and the errors of doctrine or practice which it theoretically or practically involved.
It was under such circumstances that the task of revising the Public Service Books was completed; and this fact on the one side, coupled with the fact on the other side-that Edward's first Prayer-book was thought to be, and was, of such a character that even the unreforming party and the adherents of the Pope could and did use it-may serve to shew that its language was accounted both an adequate exponent of ancient doctrine and a security against popular corruptions of it.
That it was so accounted may be gathered, I think, (1) from a Document (Domestic Edw. VI. vol vii.) in the State Paper Office, (hitherto unpublished I believe) viz.: A letter from the "Duke of Somerset to Cardinal Pole, dated 4th June, 1549, replying to his letters "of the Sixth of Maie." In this Epistle, which mainly relates to questions arising out of the then relative claims and positions of England and the See of Rome, reference is made to the new Service Book in the following passage:
"The conclusion and that yt ye make thextreme peryll and daungier maie peradventure be knowen to you at Rome, of a dissencion amonges our Busshops uppon the chiefeest poyntes of Religion, We here do knowe no such thinge, but on the contrary, by a com
mon agreement of all the chief learned men in the realme, the thing of longe time and maturely debated emonges them which had most opinyon of learninge in the scriptures of God, and were likeliest to give lest to affeccon as well Busshops as other equaly and indifferently chosen of judgment not coacted with superior authoritie, nor otherwise invited but of a common agreament emonges them ther was first agreament on pointes, and then same cominge to the judgement of the hole parliament, not severaly devided, but all men admitted to the hearinge and debatinge at large, before all states and persones hearinge what could be said against it by one hole consent of thupper and nether house of the parliament finally concluded and aproved, and so a forme and rite of service, a trade and doctryne of relligion by that authoritie and after that sort allowed, set forthe and establisshed by act and statute, and so publisshed and divulged to so great a quiet as ever was in Englond, and as gladly received of all partes, whereof ye your self if ye had bene here and did bere that affeccon ye pretend to your contrey shuld have had great cause to rejoise. Yf yet in a schole poynt or two som one or two peradventure will be singuler in opinion and not be satisfied in thinges which be not in that boke, Whither he be Busshop or other, as ever hitherto it hathe bene sene in all metinges of learned men, What doth that derogate the quyet of the Realme when thei receyve the lawe and be obedient unto it.
And to thintent ye may the better know of our doeings We have delivered to those which brought you letters the Boke of Common service, the same whereof heir before we have spoken, agreed on in the Parliament. In the which yf ye can fyend eny faulte we shall gladly receyve yor lettres and here yor judgment given therupon, and shall as gently cawse the reasons to be rendred unto you, wherewith we do not fere ye shalbe satisfied."
The Duke concludes by inviting the Cardinal to return to England
"Not dowbting but sufficient reason grounded uppon Godes word shalbe given unto you for every poynt betwixt us and you in variance. And we are not in muche feare but that it may welbe if ye did se thinges here with your eyes and conferred with learned men the reasones and causes of our doinges the which now ye do not learn, but by report, which in tyme and distaunce encreaseth, and made of them which favoreth not the thing ys exaggerated to the worse, ye wold peradventure condiscend your self and be in all poyntes satisfied as at this present many bothe of Busshops and other learned men be, which at the first did miche repyne, fare you well. From Greenwiche, the 4th of June, 1549.
Yor lovyng freende if you
acknowledge yor dutie to
Such a letter and invitation could not, surely, have been sent to Pole if the first reformed Liturgy had not bespoken itself with sufficient plainness to be Catholic in its character and language.
(2) Next, Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who may be taken as a fair type of a large party not favourable to the Reformation, did nevertheless, as we shall see hereafter, testify to the fitness of most of what was done and, in particular, frequently quoted the new Prayer Book (whether always effectively or not is another question) in support of his own Doctrinal opinions which yet were vigorously combated by Cranmer and others.
Now it is important to notice that in the very month in which Somerset's letter to Pole was written, Public Disputations were held in the two Universities, before the King's Visitors and Commissioners, on the Eucharistic controversy; and moreover that in those Disputations language was occasionally employed by the Reforming party which (if it stood alone and were criticized apart from the Prayer Book, which they professed to accept, and upon which some of them had been engaged) would certainly favour the notion that they held a most lax and indefinite view of the Real Presence yet I think it will appear from a careful examination of their arguments and a generous interpretation of their words, that their great anxiety was-not to lend themselves in any degree to an apparent support of that doctrine of a CARNAL Presence which was then sought to be eradicated; and that this accounts for much of their seemingly contradictory language. In saying this I am neither defending it nor attempting to reconcile it.
First of all, considering his public position and his relations to the English Reformers at this time, it will be well to notice Peter Martyr's Disputation at Oxford, June 11th to 15th 1549.
Foxe's opinion of the object and purport of P. Martyr's discussion is shortly stated in these words: it was, he says:..... that the substance of bread and wine was not changed in the Sacrament, and that the Body and Blood of Christ were not carnally and bodily in the bread and wine, but united to the same sacramentally."-Vol. v., p. 800.