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TO THE READER.

UNDERSTAND, good reader, that this great clerk and blessed martyr Bishop Nicholas Ridley sought not (by setting forth this notable godly piece of learned work) the vain glory of the world, nor temporal friendship of men for his present advancement, much less he hunted hereby for Bishoprics and benefices, as all his adversaries (the enemies of Christ's truth and ordinance) the papists commonly do: but, having consideration of the great charge of souls committed unto him, and of the account thereof which the justice of God would require at his hands, intending therewithal to be found blameless in the great day of the Lord, seeing he was put apart to defend the gospel ; he not only forsook lands, goods, world, friends, and himself withal, and testified the truth specified in this book by his learned mouth, in the presence of the world, but also (to leave a sure monument and lovetoken unto his flock) he hath registered it by his own pen in this form ensuing, and sealed it up with his blood. Forasmuch, then, as he hath approved himself no vain disputer, no weathercock, no hypocrite ; seeing he hath willingly given

his life for the truth; and inasmuch also as his
love and most constant Christian conscience
speaketh freely unto thee, gentle reader,
I beseech thee, for Christ's sake
and thine own, lend him
thine indifferent heart

and patient

hearing.

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Many things confound the weak memory: a few places well weighed and perceived lighten the understanding. Truth is there to be searched, where it is certain to be had.

Though God doth speak the truth by man, yet in man's word (which God hath not revealed to be his) a man mày doubt without mistrust in God. Christ is the truth of God revealed unto man from heaven by God himself; and therefore in his word the truth is to be found, which is to be embraced of all that be his. Christ biddeth us ask, and we shall have; search, and we shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto us.

Therefore, 0 heavenly Father, Author and fountain of all truth, the bottomless sea of all true understanding; send down, we beseech thee, thy holy Spirit into our hearts, and lighten our understanding with the beams of thy heavenly grace.

We ask thee this, 0 merciful Father, not in respect of our deserts, but for thy dear Son our Saviour Jesus Christ's sake. Thou knowest, О heavenly Father, that the contro- The blessed versy about the sacrament of the blessed body and blood prayers. of thy dear Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, hath troubled, not of late only, thy church of England, France, Germany, and Italy, but also many years ago. The fault is ours, no doubt, thereof, for we have deserved thy plague.

But, O Lord, be merciful, and relieve our misery with some light of grace. Thou knowest, O Lord, how this wicked world rolleth up and down, and reeleth to and fro, and careth not what thy will is, so it may abide in wealth.

Truth in time of affliction hath few friends.

I Cor. ii.

If truth have wealth, then who are so stout to defend the truth as they? But, if Christ's cross be laid on truth's back, then they vanish away straight, as wax before the fire. But these are not they, O heavenly Father, for whom I make my most moan, but for those seely ones, O Lord, which have a zeal unto thee: those, I mean, which would and wish to know thy will, and yet are letted, holden back, and blinded, by the subtilties of Satan and his ministers, the wickedness of this wretched world, and the sinful lusts and affections of the flesh.

Alas! Lord, thou knowest that we be of ourselves but flesh, wherein there dwelleth nothing that is good. How then is it possible for man without thee, O Lord, to understand thy truth indeed? Can the natural man perceive the will of God! O Lord, to whom thou givest a zeal for thee, give them also, we beseech thee, the knowledge of thy blessed will. Suffer not them, O Lord, blindly to be led, for to strive against thee, as thou didst those, alas! which crucified thine own dear Son: forgive them, O Lord, for

thy dear Son's sake, for they know not what they do. They John xvi. 'do think, alas! O Lord, for lack of knowledge, that they

do unto thee good service, even when against thee they do most grievously rage. Remember, O Lord, we beseech thee, for whom thy martyr Stephen did pray, and whom thine holy Apostle did so truly and earnestly love, that, for their salvation, he wished himself accursed from thee. Remember, O

heavenly Father, the prayer of thy dear Son our Saviour Lake xxiii. Christ upon the cross, when he said unto thee: “O Father,

forgive them, they know not what they do.” With this forgiveness, O good Lord, give me, I beseech thee, thy grace, so here briefly to set forth the sayings of thy Son our Saviour Christ, of his Evangelists, and of his Apostles, that, in this aforesaid controversy, the light of thy truth, by the lantern of thy word, may shine upon all them that love thee.

Of the Lord's last supper do speak expressly three of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke; but none more

[Seely-hodie silly, the original meaning of the word was happy, fortunate: from that signification it varied through the successive changes inoffensive, weak, or foolish, infirm in body, in which last sense it is even now used in the north of England. It is derived from the Saxon sæliy, happy. Ed.]

Acts vii.

Rom. ix.

Matt. xxvi. 26-30.

plainly nor more fully declareth the same, than doth St Paul, partly in the tenth, but especially in the eleventh chapter of the First Epistle unto the Corinthians. As Matthew and Mark do agree much in form of words, so do likewise Luke and St Paul; but all four, no doubt, as they were all taught in one school, and inspired with one Spirit, so taught they all one truth. God grant us to understand it well. Amen.

Matthew setteth forth Christ's supper thus :

“ When even was come, he sat down with the twelve, Matt. xxvi. &c. As they did eat, Jesus took bread, and gave thanks, brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said : Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying : Drink ye all of this; for this is my blood of the New Testament, that is shed for many for the remission of sins. I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine-tree, until that day when I shall drink that new in my Father's kingdom. And when they had said grace, they went out,” &c.

Now Mark speaketh of it thus :

“ And, as they ate, Jesus took bread, blessed, and brake, Mark xiv. and gave to them, and said: Take, eat, this is my body. And he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them; and they all drank of it. And he said unto them: This is my blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many. Verily, I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink that new in the kingdom of God."

Here Matthew and Mark do agree, not only in the matter, but also almost fully in the form of words, 'saving that, for these words in Matthew, “ gave thanks," Mark hath one word, " blessed;" which signifieth in this place all one. And, where Matthew saith, “drink ye all of this ;" Mark saith, “and they all drank of it." And, where Matthew saith, “ of this fruit of the vine;" Mark leaveth out the word “this," and saith, “ of the fruit of the vine."

Now let us see likewise what agreement in form of words is between St Luke and St Paul. Luke writeth thus :

“ He took bread, gave thanks, brake it, and gave it to Luke xxii. [* The words in Italics are not in the editions of this treatise subsequent to 1556. Ed.]

Mark xiv. 22-25.

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