The Text      

A Treatise upon the Passion

A treatise upon the passion of Christ (unfinished) made in the year of
our Lord 1534 by Sir Thomas More, Knight, while he was prisoner in
the Tower of London, to which he made this title following:
A treatise historical, containing the bitter passion of our Savior
Christ, after the course and order of the four evangelists, with an exposition
upon their words, taken for the more part out of the sayings of
sundry good old holy doctors, and beginning at the first assembly
of the bishops, the priests, and the seniors of the people about the
contriving of Christ's death, written in the twenty-sixth chapter of Saint
Matthew, the fourteenth of Saint Mark, and in the twenty-second of St. Luke. And it
endeth in the committing of his blessed body into his sepulchre, with the
frustrated provision of the Jews about the keeping thereof with soldiers
appointed thereto, written in the twenty-seventh of Saint Matthew, the fifteenth of
Saint Mark, the twenty-third of Saint Luke, and the nineteenth of Saint John.
First an introduction unto the story.
"Non habemus hic civitatem manentem, sed futuram
inquirimus." We have not here a dwelling city, but
we seek the city that is to come.
If it be (good Christian reader) true, as out of doubt it is even very
true, that (as St. Paul in the afore rehearsed words saith) we
have not here any city to dwell in, but we be seeking for the city
that we shall dwell in hereafter, then seemeth me that many men
are very far overseen, such men I mean as I am (alack) myself,
that so much time and study beset about their night's
lodging here in passing by the way, and so little remember to
labor and provide that they may have some house commodious for
their ease, and well-favoredly trimmed to their pleasure, in that place
whither once go we shall, and when we come once there, dwell there
we shall and inhabit there forever.
Sir Thomas More wrote no more of this introduction.
The first point: the fall of angels.
The glorious blessed Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,

three distinct and diverse equal and like mighty persons, and all three
nevertheless one indivisible and indistinct infinite almighty God,
being from before all time eternally established in the infinite perfection
of their incomprehensible and undecayable glory, did when it
pleased themselves, not of any necessity nor for increase of any
commodity that their full and perfect and not increasable bliss could
receive thereby, but only of their mere liberal goodness, create of
nothing the noble high, beautiful nature of angels to make some
creatures partners of the Creator's goodness. And albeit that in that
excellent company of angels, all were not of like perfection, but
ordinately divided into diverse orders and degrees, the higher in
excellence of nature far surmounting the lower, yet did the
lowest far pass and excel the natural state that mankind
afterward had in his creation. But yet had not the angels
forthwith in their creation given unto them the perfect bliss, heaven,
nor were forthwith endued with the very fruition and plain
beholding of the glorious Trinity, but were left in the hand of their
own free will and liberty, either with help of God's grace, by turning
to God with laud and thanks for that they had already of his gift
to be received by grace unto that glory, or else, willingly declining
from grace and turning themselves from God, as graceless caitiffs
frowardly to fall into wretchedness. For if they had once already
had the very sight of God at that time, in such wise as the glorious
company of angels and saved souls blessedly have it now, the
heavenly beholding thereof must needs have been so delectable and so
joyful unto them, and so should have pierced and fulfilled them
thoroughly with sweetness that it should not have left any place in
them for any contrarious appetite or affection to enter. But now,
standing thus in the liberty of themselves, with those excellent beauteous
gifts of their nature, and being by grace moved to turn unto God
and love him and give him condign thanks for the same, great
multitude followed that instinct of grace, and so did, and were of
God therefore exalted into the clear sight of the Godhead, and by grace

confirmed and established in the full surety of joyful perfect bliss
and everlasting glory.
Lucifer, on the other side, an angel of excellent brightness,
willfully letting slip the grace and aid of God, wherewith he was
stirred to look upward unto his Maker, began in such wise to look
downward upon himself and so far forth to delight and dote in the
regarding and beholding of his own beauty that albeit he well wist
he had a Maker infinitely far above him, yet thought he himself
meet to be his match. And as wise as he was of nature, yet pride
made him so frantic that he boasted that he would be God's
fellow indeed, saying unto himself: "In caelum
conscendam super astra dei. Exsultabo solium meum
et sedebo in monte testamenti in lateribus aquilonis. Ascendam super altitudinem
nubium: similis ero altissimo." (I will ascend into the heaven,
above the stars of God. I will exalt my seat and will sit in
the hill of the testament in the sides of the north. I will ascend
above the height of the clouds and I will be like unto the highest.)
But as he used this blasphemous presumption in his mind
against the great majesty of God, he was suddenly cast out and
thrown down with an infinite number of the like-traitorous
angels, as the prophet Isaiah toucheth him in these words:
"Quomodo cecidisti de caelo Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris?
Corruisti in terram." (How art thou fallen out of
the heaven, Lucifer, that sprangest in the morning? Thou art fallen
into the earth.) And afterward he saith: "Verum tamen
ad infernum detraheris in profundum laci."
(Howbeit, thou shalt be drawn down into hell into the depth of
the lake.) These words with others the prophet Isaiah rehearseth
in the fourteenth chapter in resembling the fall of Nebuchadnezzar
unto the ruin of Lucifer. And as well of his fall as the fall of his
fellows may well be verified the words of St. John in his Apocalypse,

where he saith in the twelfth chapter: "Et factum est
proelium magnum in caelo. Michael et angeli eius
proeliabantur cum dracone, et draco pugnabat et angeli eius, et non valuerunt,
neque locus inventus est eorum amplius in caelo. Et proiectus est draco ille
magnus, serpens antiquus qui vocatur diabolus, et Satanas qui seducit
universum orbem. Et proiectus est in terram, et angeli eius cum eo missi
sunt." (There was a great battle in heaven. Michael and his angels
fought with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought and
were not able, nor their place was no more found in heaven. And out
was thrown that great dragon, the old serpent which is called the
devil and Satan which seduceth and deceiveth the whole world,
and he is thrown down into the earth, and his angels be cast
down with him.)
Thus the inflexible justice of almighty God cast out of heaven
Lucifer and all his wicked proud spirits, and deprived them from his
grace forever, and thereby from all hope and comfort of recovery of
any manner attaining to the celestial glory, but forever condemned
to pain. Howbeit not to the uttermost part of their pain at the first,
nor all to pain alike. But as their offenses were not all alike, but some
part of them by reason of their more noble nature and greater
gifts of God received, their unkindness so much the more, and their
sin so much the more grievous, and in diverse angels also diverse
degrees of malice, in some the more, in some the less, so did the
righteousness of God temper and proportion their punishments,
driving the great devil down into the deep, dark den of hell,
into the very bottom and center of the earth, and other hove about
into the air and over part of the earth and the sea, which
with continual recourse and counsel had with their chief prince and
ruler Lucifer, that reigneth as king over all the children of pride,
do (and shall do till the day of doom) persecute, attempt, deceive,

trouble, vex, and punish such as they can catch into their claws
of the silly, sinful kind of man. And then at the final judgment,
they shall all (as they to their further discomfort be surely showed
already) leese all their authority and rule over man, and enter
with evil men into the selfsame infernal fire that was first and
principally prepared for themselves, and therein shall they, with the
sinful souls that have left God and followed them, in torments
intolerable burn in hell forever.
Let us here now, good readers, before we proceed further, consider
well this matter, and ponder well this fearful point, what horrible
peril there is in the pestilent sin of pride; what abominable
sin it is in the sight of God when any creature falleth into the
delight and liking of itself, as the thing whereupon continued, inevitably
faileth not to follow, first the neglecting, and after the contemning,
and finally, with disobedience and rebellion, the very full
forsaking of God.
If God was so wroth with pride that he spared not to drive down
into hell for pride the noble high excellent angels of heaven,
what state can there be so great in this wretched world that hath not
high cause to tremble and quake every joint in his body as soon
as he feeleth a high proud thought enter once into his heart,
remembering the terrible commination and threat of God in holy
scripture: "Potentes potenter tormenta patientur." (The
mighty men shall mightily suffer torments.)
And then if it be so sore a thing and so far unsitting in the sight of
God to see the sin of pride in the person of a great estate that
hath yet many occasions of inclination thereunto, how much more
abominable is that peevish pride in a lewd, unthrifty javel
that hath a purse as penniless as any poor peddler and hath yet a heart
as high as many a mighty prince. And if it be odious in the sight of
God that a woman beautiful indeed abuse the pride of her beauty

to the vainglory of herself, how delectable is that dainty damsel
to the devil, that standeth in her own light and taketh herself for
fair, weening herself well liked for her broad forehead while the
young man that beholdeth her marketh more her crooked nose.
And if it be a thing detestable for any creature to rise in pride
upon the respect and regard of personage, beauty, strength, wit,
or learning, or other such manner thing as by nature and grace are
properly their own, how much more foolish abusion is there in
that pride by which we worldly folk look up on height and
solemnly set by ourselves, with deep disdain of other far better
men, only for very vain worldly trifles that properly be not our
own? How proud be men of gold and silver, no part of ourselves,
but of the earth, and of nature no better than is the poor copper or
tin, nor to man's use so profitable as is the poor metal that
maketh us the ploughshare and horseshoes and horse nails.
How proud be many men of these glistering stones, of which the
very brightest, though he cost thee twenty L, shall never shine half so
bright nor show thee half so much light as shall a poor halfpenny
candle. How proud is many a man over his neighbor because
the wool of his gown is finer? And yet as fine as it is, a poor sheep
wore it on her back before it came upon his, and all the while she
wore it, were her wool never so fine, yet was she, pardie, but a sheep.
And why should he be now better than she by that wool that, though
it be his, is yet not so verily his as it was verily hers? But now how
many men are there proud of that that is not theirs at all? Is there
no man proud of keeping another man's gate? another man's
horse? another man's hound or hawk? What a bragging maketh
a bearward with his silver-buttoned baldric for pride of another
man's bear? Howbeit what speak we of other men's and our
own? I can see nothing (the thing well weighed) that any man may
well call his own. But as men may call him a fool that beareth
himself proud because he jetteth about in a borrowed gown, so

may we be well called very fools all if we bear us proud of anything
that we have here. For nothing have we here of our own,
not so much as our own bodies, but have borrowed it all of God, and
yield it we must again, and send our silly soul out naked -- no man can
tell how soon. "What hast thou," saith Saint
Paul, "that thou hast not received? And if
thou have received it, whereof glory thou, as though thou had
not received it?" All that ever we have, of God we have received:
riches, rialty, lordship, beauty, strength, learning, wit,
body, soul, and all. And almost all these things hath he but lent
us. For all these must we depart from every whit again, except
our soul alone. And yet that must we give God again also, or else
shall we keep it still with such sorrow as we were better leese it.
And for the misuse thereof and of our bodies therewith, and of all
the remnant of that borrowed ware whereof we be now so proud,
we shall yield a full strait account and come to a heavy
reckoning, and many a thousand, body and soul together, burn in hell
eternally, for the peevish pride of that borrowed ware so
gloriously boasted before in the transitory time and short, soon
passed life of this fond, wretched world. For surely this sin of
pride, as it is the first of all sins, begun among the angels in
heaven, so is it the head and root of all other sins and of them
all, most pestilent. But it is not my purpose to declare here, by the
manifold branches thereof, all the kinds of mischief that proceedeth
upon it (for that would occupy more time than were meet for this
present matter) but only will I counsel every man and woman
to beware even of the very least spice thereof which seemeth to be
the bare delight and liking of ourselves for anything that either is
in us or outwardly belonging to us. Let us every man lie well in
await of ourselves, and let us mark well when the devil first
casteth any proud vain thought into our mind, and let us
forthwith make a cross on our breast and bless it out by and by,

and cast it at his head again. For if we gladly take in one such
guest of his, he shall not fail to bring in two of his fellows soon
after, and every one worse than other. This point expresseth well
the Spirit of God by the mouth of the Prophet, where he noteth the
perilous progress of proud folk, in the person of whom he saith in
this wise: "Dixerunt linguam nostram magnificabimus,
labia nostra a nobis sunt, quis noster dominus est?"
(They have said, "We will magnify our tongues, our lips be our own,
who is our Lord?") First they begin, lo, but as it were with a vain
delight and pride of their eloquent speech, and say they will set it
out goodly to the show, wherein yet seemeth little harm save a
fond, foolish vanity if they went no farther. But the devil, that
bringeth them to that point first, intendeth not to suffer them rest
and remain there, but shortly he maketh them think and say
farther: "Labia nostra a nobis sunt." (Our lips be our own, we have
them of ourselves). At what point are they now, lo? Do they not
now the thing that God hath lent them take for their own, and
will not be acknown that it is his? And thus become they thieves unto
God. And yet, lo, the devil will not leave them thus neither, but
carrieth them forth farther unto the very worst point of all.
For when they say once that their lips be their own and of themselves,
then against the truth that they have their lips lent them of
our Lord, their proud hearts arise and they ask, "Quis noster
dominus est?" (Who is our Lord?), and so deny that they have any
Lord at all. And thus, lo, beginning but with a vain pride of their
own praise, they become secondly thieves unto God, and finally
from thieves they fall to be plain rebellious traitors, and refuse
to take God for their God, and fall into the detestable pride that
Lucifer fell to himself. Let us therefore (as I said, good Christian
readers) beware of this horrible vice, and resist well the very first
motions thereof; and the first suggestions of the devil, as the young
infants of Babylon, let us all to frush and break
in pieces against the stone that is our sure
strong Savior Christ, with consideration of his great humility,

by which he (being as verily God as man) humbled himself for
our sake (to redeem us out of the proud devil's dominion) unto
the vile death of the cross, which is the matter of his bitter passion,
whereof I have taken in hand to treat, and have for the first point
toward it told you the sore fall of the proud angels, whereby in part
the occasion of our damnation, and consequently for our redemption
the occasion of Christ's passion grew.
A prayer.
O glorious blessed Trinity, whose justice hath damned unto
perpetual pain many proud rebellious angels, whom thy goodness
had created to be partners of thine eternal glory, for thy tender
mercy, plant in mine heart such meekness that I so may by thy
grace follow the motion of my good angel, and so resist the proud
suggestions of those spiteful spirits that fell, as I may through the
merits of thy bitter passion be partner of thy bliss with those
holy spirits that stood and, now confirmed by thy grace, in
glory shall stand forever.
The second point: the creation and fall of mankind.
The glorious majesty of almighty God, after the fore-rehearsed ruin
and fall of angels, not willing to suffer the malice of his proud,
envious enemies make such a diminishment in his glorious court of
heaven, determined of his great goodness to create a new kind
of creature, wherewith he would make up and fulfill with glorious,
blessed people the number of all those evil angels that were through
their high malicious pride thrown out of wealth into wretchedness.
This new kind, then, that he would for this purpose create, the
deep wisdom of God determined marvelously to mingle and
temper. For since it should be able (with help of his grace) to
attain unto such high heavenly glory, he would have it spiritual and

immortal. And yet, to refrain it from the proud heart that Lucifer
had and his fellows in their spiritual and immortal substance, God
determined that this new kind of creature should also be bodily
gross and mortal. And thus, after this visible world made, and air,
earth, and sea furnished with fowl and fish, and beasts, grass,
herbs, trees, and fruit, he made the body of man of the slime of the
earth, and created of nothing the spiritual substance of the
soul after the image and similitude of himself, in that he endued
it with the three great gifts -- memory, understanding, and will -- in a
certain manner of resemblance of the glorious blessed Trinity, the
Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
This kind of man created God of a marvelous convenience also
with all other manner of creatures. For he made it have a being, as
hath the dead stone, a life, as hath the insensible tree, a sensible
feeling, as hath the unreasonable beast, a reasonable understanding,
as hath the celestial angel.
Thus our forefather Adam being created of the earth, and
our mother Eve formed and framed out of the rib of his side
(as in the first and the second chapter of Genesis
is declared), albeit that they were ordained unto
the high pleasant palace of heaven, yet lest over-sudden enhancing
so high might make such pride spring in their hearts as might be
the cause of their driving down again, the great goodness of God
measured their state and wealth, setting them not on high in heaven,
but beneath in the pleasant garden or orchard of earthly paradise.
And for the farther safeguard of their persons from pride, he gave
them precepts and commandments, whereby they should remember
and consider themselves to be but servants. And therefore he both
bade them there to be occupied and work in the keeping of that
pleasant garden, and also forbade them the eating of the fruit of the
tree of knowledge. And yet unto their farther acknowledging of subjection
and repressing of all occasion of pride, he set upon the breaking

of his behest the threat of a very sore pain, that is to wit, that
whensoever they did eat of the forbidden tree, they should die,
that is to wit, that whereas they had now their bodies such as
though they might die by their own default, yet such as without
their default should never die, there should, after that his commandment
were by them broken, enter into their bodies and into
the bodies of all their posterity an inevitable necessity of dying. Thus
had God of his high goodness set them in the possession of a right,
wealthy state and in the expectation of yet a far passing better, of
which they could never fail without their own default. And to keep
them from falling into the fault, he was ready to assist them with his
grace, and against proud disobedience that might make them fly from
his grace, he graciously fenced and hedged in their heart with fear.
Now stood our father Adam and our mother Eve lords of all the whole
earth, had full dominion over all the beasts of the same out of dread
of death or any bodily hurt. And authority they should have
had over all their own offspring, with which they were with the
blessing of God commanded to increase and multiply and replenish
the world. Their palace was the most pleasant place of paradise.
Their apparel was the vesture of innocence, more glorious than cloth
of gold. Their nakedness as far from dishonesty and all cause of shame
as their bodies were far from all filthy tokens of sin. Their sensual parts
conformable unto reason. Against their souls, no rebellion in their
obedient bodies, which for a season should have endured there without
age, weariness, or pain, without spot or wem or any decay of
nature, preserved continually by the wholesome fruit and help of
God's hand, and all their children forever after the same rate. And
each at sundry times when God's pleasure were, should have
had their bodies changed suddenly into a glorious form, and without
death depart out of the earth, carried up with the soul into the bliss
of heaven, there to reign in joy and bliss eternally with God, fulfilling
the places from which the proud angels fell. This was, lo, the state in

which our first father stood, a state full of heavenly hope of eternal joy
to come, and a state for the meanwhile full of present wealth. But, oh,
woe worth wicked envy, the daughter of pestilent pride. For the proud,
hateful enemy of God and traitorous wretch, the devil, beholding
this new creature of mankind set in so wealthy state, and either
conjecturing by his natural understanding, or (to the increase of his
grief for his proud, envious stomach) having it revealed unto him that
of this kind should be restored the ruin that was happed in
heaven by the fall of himself and his fellows, conceived so great
heart-burning against the kind of man therefore, that he rather would
wish his own damnation doubled so that he might destroy them
than suffer God honored in them, and them so to proceed and prosper
that their gross, mingled nature, so base in respect of his, should
ascend up to that height of heaven that himself was fallen from.
The devil then, devising with himself upon some mischievous
means by which he might bring mankind unto destruction, called
to mind the means by which he had before wretchedly destroyed
himself. And as he saw his own damnation grown by the occasion
of pride, so wist he well that if he might by some wily suggestion
bring pride into the kind of man and make the first fathers disobey
God's commandment, then would God of his justice keep his
promise in their punishment and take from the posterity the gift that
he promised their forefather for them if the condition were broken
upon which he gave it. Upon this, this old serpent, the devil, being
as the Scripture saith, "wilier than all the beasts
of the earth," would not begin at the man, whom
he perceived to be wiser and more hard to beguile, but first began at
the woman, as the kind in wisdom more weak, more light of belief,
and more easy to be beguiled, whom if he might make on his side, then
should he and she together be twain against one. And the wily
wretch perceived well also the tender mind that the man had to his
make, and thereby guessed (as it there happed and elsewhere happeth

often) that to bring man to woe, the woman may do more than with all
his craft the devil can do himself. This wily serpent therefore, the
devil, devising to entice this woman to this deadly deed, took his
time for his wretched wooing when her husband was not with her.
And then gan he fall familiar with her and inquisitive of such things
as pertained to her husband and her and nothing at all to himself. For
there he asked her this question: "Wherefore did
God," quoth he, "command you that ye should
not eat of every tree of paradise?" Or as it rather seemeth by the Greek
phrase usual in many places of Scripture, he asked her thus: "Why did
God command you that you should eat of no tree in paradise?" And
that his question was such appeareth by the manner of her answer.
Howbeit, if she had showed herself unwilling to fall familiar with
him and had said again, "What is that for you?" or had answered him
and said, "My husband shall answer you," all his wretched wooing had been
at end and he confounded and gone. But while she was content to be
talkative with a stranger and wax a proper entertainer (which
property some gentlewomen ween were a goodly praise), mark well
what followed thereon. She answered the serpent and said: "Of the fruit
of the trees that are in paradise we eat. But of the fruit of the tree
that is in the mids of paradise, God hath commanded us that we
shall not eat and that we should not touch it, lest we may hap to die."
Mark here that in these words the contagious conversation of this
wicked serpent, with his questioning and her ear-giving thereto,
wrought not as it seemeth, not outwardly only with her eye and her
ear, but inwardly also with some subtle suggestion in her heart. For by
this answer of hers, it appeareth that forthwith upon his questioning she
began to stagger and half to doubt of the truth and steadfastness of God's
word. For whereas God had precisely promised that if they did eat
of the fruit of that tree they should die, she, by the inward leaning to

the devil's instigation and not cleaving to the grace of God, by this
her answer turned it into a doubt, saying: "Ne forte moriamur" (Lest
peradventure we die). By reason of which doubting, and thereby
but half dreading, she made half the way herself for the devil to
walk farther with her. For thereupon he letted not boldly to
blaspheme God before her and say: "Nay ye
shall not die. But God doth know that whatsoever
day you shall eat of that tree, your eyes shall be opened and
you shall be as gods, knowing both good and evil." And upon
these words, she seeing that it seemed a good tree to eat of, and fair to
the eye, and delectable to behold, she by and by plucked off the
fruit thereof and ate it, and gave it to her husband, and he ate it, too.
O wretched, wicked serpent, how much of thy deadly poison
hast thou put into the silly soul of this woeful woman at once? For
here had he made her believe that of his own devilish conditions
God had had twain, that is to wit, falsehood and envy. For he made
her think that God had told them a lie, in that he said that whensoever
they ate thereof, they should die, and also that God were
envious and could not for envy suffer it that they should have so
high a thing as the knowledge of good and evil.
Then struck he into her heart the poison of proud, curious appetite
and inordinate desire to know the thing which for her weal God
had forbidden her to know. For God would of his goodness she should
have known but good. But she by the devil's enticement would needs
know evil, too. And when her curious mind had made her once
set her fair hands unto the feeling of that foul pitch, she could
never rub the filth from her fingers after. What should I speak
of the other less evils that he allured and allected her with, as the
pleasure of the eye in the beholding of that fruit, with lickerous
desire of the delicious taste? Sins not small in themselves, but small
in respect of the far passing greater, when he made her desire and
long by reason of high knowledge to be like a goddess, and for that
cause proudly to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit. And
she being thus infected and so sore envenomed with so many poison

spots, infected her husband forthwith. For at her enticement, and
not so much for credence giving to the serpent's words as to content
his wife (whose request he could not find in his heart to contrary),
he kept her company in her lewdness and letted not to eat
with her. But the wallow-sweet pleasure of that fruit soon turned
to displeasure and pain. For scant was the fruit passed down both
their throats, when it so began to wamble in their stomachs that
they wished it out again and in his belly that counseled them to
eat it. For anon was there such a marvelous change spread
through both their bodies that, whereas when they put it in their
mouth, they were such as it was a great pleasure each of them to
behold other and be beholden of the other, as soon as they both had
eaten it, they felt such filthy sensual motions of concupiscence rise
and rebel against reason in their flesh that their hearts abhorred
to be beholden and seen, either of any other or themselves either,
and, for shame of their nakedness, covered their
flesh with fig leaves.
Now is there no doubt but that their wicked enemy the serpent
(which, as appeareth by the Bible, abode still by them till the sentence
given by God upon their all three punishment), in his mischievous
manner, highly rejoiced to see his devilish device brought unto
such pass and had a great game to behold them come forth so
comely, appareled so richly in their royal robes of fig leaves.
O what a confusion was this unto them, to see their feigned friend,
their very deadly enemy the devil, first by their own folly so harmfully
deceive them, and then so spitefully sit and laugh them
to scorn. But they had no long leisure left them to take heed to that
ere that great confusion was overwhelmed with
a greater. For suddenly, lo, they heard our
Lord coming, and therewith for shame they fell in a fear and
fled and hid themselves from the face of God in the mids of a
tree. And our Lord, as though he saw them not, called for Adam

and said: "Adam, where art thou?" And he
answered: "Lord, I heard thy voice and
was afeard to come before thee because I was naked, and therefore
I hid me." "Who showed thee," quoth our Lord, "that thou were
naked, but because thou hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded
thee thou shouldst not?"
Then took Adam a way far awry from forgiveness. For he confessed
not his fault, but began to excuse himself and lay the fault
from him to his wife and in a manner unto God, too. "The woman,"
quoth he, "that thou gave me for my
companion, she gave it me, and so I ate it."
Then said our Lord God unto the woman: "Why didst thou so?"
And she in like wise never acknowledged her fault nor asked forgiveness,
but excused her by the serpent and said: "The serpent
deceived me, and so I ate it." Then gave God the sentence of punishment,
upon all three, using like order in declaring of his doom
as they did in the doing of their
sin. For first he began at the serpent, the
first malicious contriver of all this mischief. And unto him he
said: "Because thou hast done this, accursed be thou among all the
living things and beasts of the earth. Upon thy breast shalt thou creep,
and earth shalt thou eat all the days of they life. Enmity will I put
between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and hers, and
she shall frush thine head in pieces, and thou shalt lie in await to
sting her heel." Then gave he the woman her judgment and said
unto her: "I shall multiply thy miseries and thy conceptions, and in
sorrow shalt thou bring forth thy children, and thou shalt be
under the power of the man, and he shall be lord over thee." Then
finally said he to Adam: "Because thou hast given ear unto thy
wife's words and hast eaten of the tree of which I forbade thee to eat,
accursed be the earth in thy work. With labor shalt thou eat of
the earth all the days of thy life. It shall burgeon thorns and briars,
and thou shalt eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of thy face
shalt thou eat thy bread, till thou return again into the earth

out of which thou were taken. For dust art thou, and into dust
shalt thou return." Then our Lord made them coats of skins,
and clothed them therein, and said: "Lo, Adam is like one of us now,
knowing both good and evil." And God, with that angry scorn, to
keep him from the tree of everlasting life, put them both forthwith
out of that pleasant paradise into the wretched earth.
Long were it here, and not of necessity pertaining to this present
point, that is to wit, the fall of our forefather, to note and declare
such things as in the discourse of this matter men may note and
mark upon this part of the Scripture. As for example, that in these
words of God with which he scorned Adam, saying, "Ecce Adam
factus est sicut unus ex nobis." (Lo, Adam is now made as one of us), may
be well marked that, like as by all words of the whole text appeareth
plain that there is but one God, so is there in that God more
persons that one. For else could he not conveniently say, "Lo, Adam
is now as one of us," that is to wit, a god as we be, but he would have
said, "Lo, Adam is now as I am."
Those words also seem well to declare that though Adam were
not so fully deceived by the persuasion of the serpent as Eve was
(for which Saint Paul saith, "The man was not
seduced, but the woman," whereupon Saint
Augustine at good length declareth certain difference between them),
yet was Adam by the means of his wife somewhat seduced and
brought into a foolish hope to be, through the eating of that
fruit, by the knowledge of good and evil, made like a god. For
God, speaking to Eve no word of that foolish proud affection,
taunted and checked Adam therewith specially by name, saying:
"Ecce Adam quasi unus ex nobis factus est, sciens
bonum et malum." (Lo, Adam is now made as one
of us, knowing both good and evil.) But this was not by the serpent's
persuasion, whom Adam would not have regarded, but
shortly shake him off. But the seducing of Adam was by that that

the serpent's shrewd words came to his ear out of his wife's
mouth, whom he would suffer to speak. And therefore our Lord,
in declaring his punishment unto him, laid
for the cause: "Quia audisti vocem uxoris tuae,
maledicta terra in opere tuo etc." (Because thou hast given ear to the
words of thy wife, accursed be the earth in thy work, and so forth.)
And because that the woman's preaching and babbling to her husband
did so much harm in the beginning and would, if it were
suffered to proceed, do always more and more,
therefore Saint Paul commandeth that a
woman shall not take upon her to teach her husband, but that her
husband should teach her and that she should learn of him in
silentio (that is, in silence), that is to wit, she should sit and hear
him and hold herself her tongue. For Saint Paul well foresaw
that if the wife may be suffered to speak, too, she will have so many
words herself that her husband shall have never one.
There may be marked also in the foresaid discourse the
marvelous mischievous nature of envy. For the devil so well
knew the justice of God, and by his own destruction so sore had
assayed it, that he doubted not but that his malicious deceit should
not pass unpunished. And yet was he rather content to take harm
himself than suffer another take good. And such a devilish delight
he took in beholding their harm and shame that he voided not
at God's coming, but abided to see the sentence their damnation
till he took his own with him, too.
In this discourse is to be considered also that when God punisheth
the sinner by and by, he showeth him thereby more favor than
when he deferreth it longer. And oftentimes when he delayeth it, he
doth it not of favor, but of indignation and anger. For if he had
here punished Eve as soon as herself had broken his commandment,
both had Adam been warned by it and their offspring

by her sin alone, as holy doctors declare, had not lost original
justice nor fallen in damnation of death. But forasmuch as
though she was created to be Adam's fellow, she was yet of less
perfection and more frail and more easy to fall than he, albeit he
had as then no dominion given him over her, yet his reason might
show him that to give her good counsel he should have kept her
company, which if he had done, the serpent had not deceived
her. Therefore since he did not, but by wandering another way from
her he suffered her to miscarry and be infected, God suffered the
contagion of the selfsame infection to stretch unto himself too
and thereof to grow his destruction.
And this may be a warning to every man in this world to do
the diligence that he possibly can to keep every other man from
hurt. For as the Holy Scripture saith: "Et
mandavit illis unicuique de proximo suo." (God hath
given every man cure and charge of his neighbor.) And harm
creepeth from one to another by more means than men be aware of.
And he that care not though his neighbor's house fall afire may
hap to leese his own. Howbeit, as this lesson generally pertaineth
to every man for the natural love and Christian charity that every
Christian man is bounden to bear other, yet pertaineth it most
especially to those that have over other men that special charge given
unto them, that our Lord therefore by the mouth of Ezekiel terribly
threateneth them in this wise: "Si dicente me ad
impium, morte morieris, non annuntiaveris ei, neque
locutus fueris uti avertatur a via sua impia et vivat, ipse impius in impietate
sua morietur, sanguinem autem eius de manu tua requiram." (If when I say
to the wicked man thou shalt die, thou do not show it him, nor do
not speak unto him that he may turn from his wicked way
and live, both shall that wicked man die in his wickedness and
yet the blood of him shall I require of thine hands.) This is a
fearful word, lo, to those that have the cure over other folk and
a necessity to take good heed to their flock, to guide them well, call

upon them, and give them warning of such ways as they may perish
in. For else shall the sheep not perish and be punished only, but the
scab of the flock shall catch and consume shepherd and all for his
negligence. This is here another thing specially to be marked, that
like as the kind of man was not corrupted with original sin nor
lost the state of innocence by the fault of Eve alone, which was but
the feebler and inferior part, till Adam that was the stronger and
superior part made himself partner to the same sin also, so
is there no man accounted before God for an offender in any
deadly actual sin by any manners motion or suggestion of the
devil unto the sensual part, as long as the will after the judgment
of reason resisteth and refuseth to consent. But when reason giveth
over to sensuality, whereby the man whole and entire falleth into
the consent either to do a deadly sin or to delight in the devising
and thinking upon any such sinful act for the pleasure that
he taketh in that thought, all were it so that he thought therewith
he would not do the deed, yet were the full consent to the pleasure
of that only thought, full and whole deadly sin. Howbeit a
sudden surreptitious delight cast by the devil into the sensual part is
no sin at all, but may be matter of merit, except the will, with
reason giving over thereto, either consent to delight therein or else is
so negligent in looking to sensuality that he letteth her overlong
alone therein, and listeth not to do his diligence in driving that
sinful suggestion from her. For surely such manner negligence is
before the face of God accounted for a consent and so for a deadly
It is also specially to be marked that the stubborn manner of
Adam and Eve, not praying God of forgiveness but excusing their
sin, was in manner more displeasure to God than was their sin itself.

This is also notably to be marked, that as tenderly as Adam
loved Eve, rather content to displease God than her, yet when he
saw that sorrow should come thereon, he would fain have laid it
from himself unto her. And thus will it fare by these fleshly wretched

lovers here: when they come in hell together, they shall curse each
other full fast. Howbeit, letting pass as impertinent to my
matter many things that might be marked more, let us not forget
to mark this one point well, which is the sum of all the second point,
that is to wit, let us consider deeply from what weal into what
wretchedness, by the folly of our forefathers, mankind is woefully
fallen through the false wily suggestion of our mortal enemy the
devil. On which thing when I bethink me, methinketh I may well
say the words of Saint John in the Apocalypse,
with which he bewaileth this wretched world
by reason of that the devil fell out of heaven thereinto: "Vae terrae et
mari, quia descendit diabolus ad vos, habens iram magnam, sciens quia
modicum tempus habet." (Woe to the earth and to the sea, for the devil is
come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he hath
but a little time.) This woe well found our forefathers when the
devil, full of ire for his own fall and envy that they should
succeed him, labored to bring them to the place of his final damnation,
from which he saw well he had but a little time left, that is to
wit, the time of this present world, which is transitory and soon
shall pass and is a time in all together very short, from the first
creation to the final change thereof at the day of doom, if all that
time be compared with his everlasting fire that followeth. He found
them innocents joyful and merry, much in the favor of God, and often
rejoicing his visitation and company, the man and his wife each
delighting in other, finding nothing to mislike in themselves, lords
of all the world, all beasts obedient unto them, their work without
weariness, their meat pleasant at hand, no necessity to die, nor any
bodily hurt, high pleasure in hope of heaven, and all their children
after them.
All this hath this false serpent bereft them by his deceitful train,
poisoning them with his own pride, that threw himself out of
heaven. For as himself would have been God's fellow, so made he
them ween they should. But while they weened to be gods by the

knowledge of good and evil both, they lost, alas, the good that they
had and got but evil alone. They lost their innocence and became
sinful. God's favor they lost and fell in his displeasure; his visitation
they rejoiced not but were afeard to come near him, each of
them ashamed to behold the other or themselves either. All beasts
were at war with them, and each of them with themselves, their
own bodies in rebellion and battle against their souls, thrust out
of pleasant paradise into the wretched earth, their living gotten with
sore sweat, their children born with pain. Then hunger, thirst,
heat, cold, sickness sundry and sore. Sure sorry looking, for the unsure
time of death, and dread after all this of the fearful fire of hell,
with like pain and wretchedness to all their offspring forever.
This is, lo, good readers, the wretched change that our forefathers
made with falling into pride at the devil's false suggestion. In honor
they were and would not see it. Honor they sought and thereby fell
to shame. They would have waxed gods and were turned into
beasts, as the Scripture saith: "Homo quum in
honore esset non intellexit, comparatus est iumentis
insipientibus, et similis factus est illis." (When man was in honor, he
perceived it not, but he was compared unto the foolish beasts, and
to them was he made like), and yet brought indeed into far
worse condition. For many beasts live with less labor and less
pain too than man, and none of them go to hell. In danger whereof
all the kind of man stood by the occasion of their fall if the goodness
of God had not by his grace helped with his merciful hand. And unto
heaven had no man gone had not our blessed Savior redeemed man
and paid his ransom by his bitter, painful passion, whereof
the occasion was this wretched fall of man. And thus finish I the second
point that I said I would show you before I come to the woeful history
of Christ's bitter passion.
A prayer.
Almighty God, that of thine infinite goodness didst create our

first parents in the state of innocence, with present wealth and
hope of heaven to come, till through the devil's train their folly fell
by sin to wretchedness, for thy tender pity of that passion that was
paid for their and our redemption, assist me so with thy gracious
help, that unto the subtle suggestions of the serpent I never so
incline the ears of mine heart, but that my reason may resist them and
master my sensuality and refrain me from them.
The third point: the determination of the Trinity
for the restoration of mankind.
When the devil has thus guilefully betrapped and thus falsely betrayed
our first father and mother by their own oversight and
folly, and thereby brought into miserable estate and damnable
themselves with all their posterity, neither would the mighty
majesty of God endure and suffer his malicious proud enemy the
devil to rejoice the withdrawing of the kind of man from doing
him honor, nor the marvelous mercy of God abide and sustain to
see the frail kind of man eternally destroyed by the deceit and
circumvention of the false, wily devil. For though his justice was
content forever to leese all thankful service (for thankless they serve
him still) of those malicious angels, that without other motion than
their own malice willfully turned from him, and that his mercy no
cause had to counterplead his justice, in abridging the eternity of
the proud spirits" pain, that of obdurate heart would never be sorry
for their sin, yet in beholding the wretched decayed kind of man
brought into sin not all of himself but by the subtle suggestion of his
false envious enemy, and that would after wax meek and repent and
pray for pardon, the sharp justice of God and his tender mercy
entered into counsel together. And by the deep wisdom of God
was the means found that man should so be restored as they should
both twain be satisfied, that is to wit, both man by justice for his
sin somewhat punished and yet upon repentance by means of
mercy should his fault be paid for, and from all eternal bondage

man redeemed and saved and, in spite of the devil, enhanced to
more honor than ever he was entitled to before he took the fall.
To devise this way, lo, was a wonderful thing, far passing the
capacity of all the angels in heaven. For since the amends must needs
be made and, in maintenance of the true justice of God, the ransom
must needs be paid for the kind of man that was by sin addicted
and adjudged to the devil, as his perpetual thrall never to come in
heaven, whosoever should pay this ransom must and was most
convenient to be such as would and were able and ought it. Now ought
there this ransom no creature but man, and therefore since by him
that ought it of reason it should most conveniently be paid, man
must he be that should of duty pay it. But now was there no one man
able to pay the ransom for the whole kind of man. For since
all the whole kind had lost heaven and were all in one damnation,
condemned all to bodily death already, any of them all, though he
should willingly suffer death in recompense of the sin, it could
nothing serve his fellows, nor yet himself neither, for he paid but
his debt of death for his own part, in which debt and much more
himself was condemned already.
Now as for angels, neither can we know that any would then do
so much for man, man being fallen by sin from God's favor, nor
any of them all was able, being but a creature, to satisfy for the
deadly trespass done unto the Creator. And yet was it over this far
from good convenience that any angel should have been suffered to
do it. For the redemption of man after his fall was a greater benefit
unto him than was his creation. For as our mother holy Church
singeth in the paschal service: "Quid enim nasci profuit, nisi redimi
profuisset?" (What availeth it man to be born were not the profit
of his redemption?) And therefore if angel had, by payment man's ransom
and recompense made for his trespass, redeemed him, then would
man have thought himself more in a manner beholden to angel than
to God. And the occasion thereof had been a very foul disorder.

Thus was as I say, therefore, the device of a means convenient for
man's redemption the thing that far passed the wisdom of all the
wise angels of heaven. But the deep and infinite high wisdom of
almighty God devised the marvelous merciful just means himself,
that is to wit, that by the cruel, painful death of that innocent
person that should be both God and man, the recompense should be
made unto God for man. For that person both, being God, should be
of that nature that was able to do it and, being man, should be of
that nature that was bounden to do it. And the devil (unaware that
he were) unrighteously procuring that righteous man's death should
righteously leese the power upon man that God had for man's
unrighteousness righteously given unto him before.
This excellent means of man's redemption the deep wisdom of
God devised; and in time convenient the second person (the Son
of God, the wisdom of the Father, and the Father's express absolute
image and brightness of his Father's glory), being sent by
his Father and himself and the Holy Ghost down here into the earth
(and nevertheless abiding still above in heaven), and in the blessed
womb of the pure Virgin Mary taking into unity of person the
poor nature of man (by the obumbration of the Holy Ghost, of the
pure blood of her body, without man's seed or fleshly delectation,
and therefore without original sin conceived and without help of
midwife or pain of travail born), living here in pain and labor,
fasting, watch, preaching and prayer, and finally, for the truth of
his doctrine, by the procurement of the devil, the treason of Judas,
the malice of the Jews, and cruel hands of the paynims, through
the painful, bitter passion and death of his innocent manhood (not
bounden or subject unto death, neither by nature nor sin, but by
death for man's sake willingly suffered), that excellent means, I
say, of man's redemption so by himself devised, himself most
graciously fulfilled; and by the pleasant acceptable sacrifice of himself
obediently offered on the cross up to the Father, he pacified
the wrath and indignation of God against man, and by his glorious
resurrection and marvelous ascension, sitting in the nature of man

upon the Father's right hand, hath reduced mankind (in such as will
take the benefit) to more joy, more wealth, and far more honor, too,
than ever the fall of our first father lost us.
Now albeit (as I suppose) few men have less lust to move great
questions and put manner of dispicions in unlearned laymen's mouths
than I, which rather would wish every man to labor for good
affections than to long for the knowledge of less necessary learning
or delight in debating of sundry superfluous problems, yet of some
such demands as I now see, many men of much less than mean
learning have often right hot in hand, I shall not let one or twain
myself here a little to touch.
A question. First be they commonly willing to search this thing:
wherefore mankind should, more than Adam and Eve themselves, need
any redemption at all. For how could it (say they) stand with the
justice of God that for the fault of only Adam and Eve all that ever
came of them should fall into such miserable fault? This question
and many such other like, when they be of a curious bold presumption
demanded, be not to be harkened unto and answered,
but with the words of the blessed apostle Paul rather to be
rejected and rebuked: "O homo tu quis es qui
respondeas deo? Numquid dicit figmentum ei qui
se finxit, quid me fecisti sic?" (O man, what are thou to take upon thee
to dispute with God? Is there any workman's work that asketh the
workman, "Wherefore hast thou made me thus?") And must almighty
God then of his work wrought in man give a reckoning to man that
is but his handwork? Howbeit, on the other side, where such
questions are not demanded of frowardness, of a vain pride, nor
of blasphemous purpose, it is not only no displeasure to God but is
also a good occupation of the mind in that a man delighteth to think
upon heavenly things rather than upon earthly. And many an
holy man hath, of no vain curious mind but of very pure devotion,
beset much study upon the foresaid question. And of those

holy men hath diverse had diverse opinions. One sort have thought
that, by the fall of Adam, the whole kind of man not only lost
original justice and became subject unto the necessity of temporal
death, and therewith lost also the joyful bliss of heaven, but over
that by the filth of original sin (with which every man born
into this world by natural propagation is infected in the vicious
sinful stock, in that we were all in, of Adam, as the fruit is in the tree,
or the ear of corn in the grain that it came of) was also damned
unto perpetual pain and sensible torment in hell, although it were
a child that died in the cradle, which to the original sin taken
of his parents (of which the prophet saith: "Lo,
in wickedness was I conceived, and my mother
conceived me in sin") never added actual sin of his own. And
from this eternal damnation of sensible pain in the fire of hell,
they thought that never any of the kind of man should be preserved
but by the merits of the passion of Christ and faith in
him come or to come --
faith, I say, actual or habitual, and in infants by the faith of
their parents and the faithful church (with certain sacraments
or sacrifices duly referred to God, after the sundry laws and ceremonies
of sundry diverse times, wherewith these infants have habitual
faith infused).
And as touching the faith of Christ, that he should once come by
whom they should be saved, revelation was given to Adam, Noah,
Abraham, and all the old fathers and by them to the people of
every generation before the law written, and at the law written,
revelation given to Moses, and by him to the people, and after to
all the prophets, and by them to the people of Jews of every
generation, unto the coming of our Savior Christ himself. Now
as for such folk, either now or then, as among the paynims lived
well according to nature, so that they lacked nothing to keep them
from the perpetual fire of hell but the faith of Christ, some holy
doctors have thought that God of his merciful goodness by one
means or other failed not to give them the faith, as he that is of so

merciful goodness that he will fail no man in thing necessary
without the man's own fault.
But then other doctors that were in this point of opinion with
them that original sin damned every man to sensible pain of
hell without the faith of Christ, were not in that point agreed with
them, that unto all such paynims as in any place lived naturally well
and kept themselves from idolatry, God sent the faith of Christ to
keep them from hell, as not suffering any man to be perpetually
damned to the sensible pain of fire without his own actual
fault, since they themselves denied not but that the infants of paynims
and of the christened both that deceased without baptism were
damned unto perpetual sensible pain in hell, and yet had they
none actual sin of their own but only the sin original.
Now whereas this thing might haply seem hard in the
hearts of some such as direct their eye to the merciful nature of God
and cannot also perceive by any rule of justice taught unto man,
either by reason or Scripture, how this thing could agree with the
merciful justice of God, these good men answer that hell is the
place for sinful folk and that pain is due to sin and that
those children and all be sinful in original sin. For all are
sinful that are through filthy concupiscence brought by propagation
out of that sinful stock of our first sinful father, for in that
stock were we all and were infect with sin in the same in such
a certain manner as all the sour crabs that ever come of the crab
tree do take their sourness of the kernel whereof the tree grew. And
if a poor potter may, without reproach and
uncontrolled, make (as Saint Paul saith) of
one self piece of clay two vessels, the one to serve in honest use, the
other in vile and filthy, where the clay whereof he maketh the vile
vessel was nothing faulty but good, who should be so bold and so
blasphemous as to think that God doth wrong to make and use all
those vessels for vile (that is to wit, all the kind of man) whereof
the clay that they all came of (that is to wit, their first father and

mother) were ere they came of them waxen by their sin both
twain very vile and naught.
Besides this (say these good holy doctors), the Scripture declareth
us that God thus doth indeed. For Saint Paul calleth all the offspring
of Adam by nature the children of wrath,
saying: "Eramus natura filii irae." ("We were," saith
he, "by nature the children of wrath.") And that we became such by
the corruption of our nature in our first father, Adam, he showeth
well where he saith: "Per unum hominem peccatum
in hunc mundum introivit, et per peccatum mors, et
ita in omnes homines mors pertransiit, in quo omnes peccaverunt." (By one man
sin entered into the world, and by sin, death, and so passed
death through into all men, through that one man in whom all men
have sinned.)
And after he saith: "Sicut enim unius delicto
mors regnavit per unum, multo magis abundantiam
gratiae et donationis et iustitiae accipientes in vita regnabunt per unum Jesum
Christum. Igitur sicut per unius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem,
sic et per unius iustitiam in omnes homines in iustificationem vitae.
Sicut enim per unius hominis inoboedientiam peccatores constituti sunt multi, ita
et per unius oboedientiam iusti constituentur multi. Lex autem subintravit, ut
abundaret delictum. Ubi autem abundavit delictum, superabundavit et gratia.
Ut sicut regnavit peccatum in mortem, ita et gratia regnet per iustitiam in
vitam aeternam, per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum." (Likewise as by the
sin of one man death hath entered by one, much more men,
receiving the abundance of grace and of the gift and of justice,
shall reign in life by one Jesus Christ.
Therefore likewise as by the sin of one man it went into all
men unto condemnation, so by the justice of one man also it
goeth into all men unto justification of life. For likewise, as by the
disobedience of one man, many be constitute and made
sinners, so shall also by the obedience of one, many men be constitute
and made righteous. The law truly hath entered, that sin

should abound. But where sin hath abounded, there hath grace
also more abounded, that likewise as sin hath reigned unto death,
so grace should also reign by justice unto everlasting life through
Jesus Christ Our Lord.) By these words of wrath, of sin, of condemnation,
of death, grown by the sin and disobedience of Adam
into all his offspring, that is to wit, into all the kind of man by
natural propagation engendered and begotten of him, and by the
contrary words of justice, of obedience in Christ, and of justification
and righteousness in man through grace growing into everlasting
life, it well appeareth (say some doctors) that Saint Paul
meant that the death grown to all mankind contracted by original
sin from Adam should be the death of everlasting pain. From
which Saint Paul well, by all the process of the same words, declareth
that no man can be saved but by our Savior Christ. Which
thing Saint Peter showeth yet more expressly where he saith:
"Non aliud nomen est sub caelo datum hominibus, in
quo oporteat nos salvos fieri." (There is none other
name under heaven given to men in which we must be saved.) And
that no man shall be saved without faith, Saint Paul declareth
where he saith: "Sine fide impossibile est placere
deo," that is to wit, either actual or habitual,
infounded in the sacrament of baptism, or otherwise if God be so
pleased, whose power is at liberty, not so bound to his holy sacraments
but that he may beside them give his grace where he list.
But with his sacraments he hath by his promise bound himself to
do, and without them he doth unto few men, and with contempt
of them to no man. And for this cause, say those holy doctors,
infants be received to baptism to keep them from the peril of
eternal damnation and perpetual pain in the fire of hell. And
of this opinion was holy Saint Augustine, as in sundry plain places of
his works well appeareth.
Now since it is so (say they) that by the Scripture this point so

plainly appeareth, what should we dispute the righteousness
thereof, as though that man might attain to see the bottom of God's
righteousness? How many things be there very well done and
righteously by men which yet seem unto children to be no right at
all. And infinitely farther asunder be the wisdom of God and the
wisdom of the wisest man than is the wisdom of the wisest
man above the wisdom of the most foolish child. The prophet in
the person of God saith: "Non enim cogitationes meae
cogitationes vestrae, neque viae meae viae vestrae, quia sicut
exsultantur caeli a terra, sic exsultatae sunt viae meae a viis vestris, et cogitationes meae,
a cogitationibus vestris." (My thoughts be not like your thoughts, nor
my ways be not like your ways, for as high as heaven is above
earth, so high are my ways above your ways, and my thoughts
above your thoughts.) And therefore saith
Saint Paul: "O altitudo divitiarum sapientiae et
scientiae dei, quam incomprehensibilia sunt iudicia eius, et investigabiles viae
eius? quis enim cognovit sensum domini? aut quis consiliarius eius fuit?" (O
the altitude or height of the riches of the wisdom and cunning of
God. How incomprehensible or unable to attain unto be his judgments?
And how investigable be his ways? -- that is to wit, how unable
to be sought and found out? Who hath known the mind of our Lord
or who hath been of his counsel?) God hath
no rule of justice to be ruled by but is himself
the rule by whose will all justice must be measured and shaped. And
therefore he can do none unjustice. And when we be discharged once
of this gross, corruptible body that aggrieveth and beareth down
the soul and oppresseth the mind that many things thinketh
upon, then shall such folk as shall be saved behold and see in the
glorious Godhead the very clear solutions of such inexplicable
With such things as this, and many more that were too long to
rehearse here, have those good fathers answered this matter, those I

say that have thought that by the sin of Adam every man
old and young, though he deceased with none other sin than
original only, was in like wise and in like reason damned to perpetual
sensible pain in the fire of hell, as by the bondage of the
father all his offspring is in this world bounden unto perpetual
thralldom. Howbeit, to tell you the whole
truth, holy Saint Augustine, which was
(among other) of this mind and opinion, for all the reasons with
which he answered other men therein concerning the justice of
God in the damnation of infants unto perpetual sensible pain
for that only sin original that they contracted by the natural
propagation of the first condemned father, with all those
reasons, I say, with which he contented other men, he could never
yet satisfy and content himself. For in a certain epistle which he
writeth unto Saint Jerome, he debateth this matter at length, very
substantially and with great erudition. And in that epistle, he confesseth
the defense and maintenance of that opinion for so hard
that, as he there toucheth, some great cunning men for the defense
thereof have been driven to the devising of a very great perilous
error. For they, to maintain the justice of God in that point, said
that the souls which every man have put in their bodies by
succession of time were all created at once before the seventh day
in which God rested. And of those words, that God in the seventh
day rested, they took a foundation for that error, forgetting the
words of our Savior: "Pater meus usque modo
operatur, et ego operor." (My Father worketh still
yet, and I work still also), but in the seventh day God rested from
the creating of any new kind of creature. Then said they that
the souls offended God before they came into the bodies and that
they were put into the bodies, some to be purged in them, and some
to be damned with them, so that the infants that dies with
original sin have the bodies worthy damnation because they
naturally proceed out of the damned stock with lack of original
justice, and the soul was worthy to come into that body, by the

society whereof it should be bounden unto eternal pain. The
soul they said was worthy for that other sin with which it had
offended God before it came into the body. This fantasy were some
fain to find, for maintenance of God's justice, of those that held
the foresaid way in the damnation of infants unto sensible pain
in hell. But this erroneous opinion, as reason is, Saint Augustine rejected
and confuteth. Howbeit, that yet notwithstanding, he confesseth himself
to find such difficulty in the maintaining of God's justice to
stand with his own opinion of condemning infants to sensible
pain in hell that himself seemeth to doubt whether God create
always every soul of new, or else that as well the soul as the body
be produced and propagate of the father and the mother as well as
the body. For if they so were, he thought that then the answer were
more easy if the whole person of the man were taken by natural
propagation of the substance of our first father and mother, being
subject unto that damnation. And therefore he desireth Saint
Jerome to consider well that point and search whether it might
stand with the Scripture or not. And if it might, he thought it meet
that Saint Jerome should take that way, too. And if not, himself would
not hold it neither. Howbeit, if that way would not be maintained,
he then desired Saint Jerome to write unto him by what reason he
thought that the justice of God might be maintained in the
damning of infants unto sensible pain in hell. For he said that himself
could not see how it could stand with justice that God should
create a new soul that never offended and put it without any desert
of itself into body, by whose company it should contract forthwith
such an infelicity that, the body dying and the soul departing
therefrom unchristened before it come to discretion, it should be
damned to perpetual torment. And then layeth he forth there
certain reasons with which himself was wont to answer other
men in that point for the time, for lack of better. But there he
requireth Saint Jerome to devise him better. For he plainly confesseth
that those answers which himself was wont to make other folk
in the matter never satisfied nor contented himself. Would God

there remained the answer of Saint Jerome again. But whether
ever he made any or not, we none find.
And thus have I, good readers, showed you the mind of some good
holy doctors which were of the opinion that original sin, without
actual adjoined thereto, damned the kind of man naturally descended
from Adam unto perpetual sensible pain in the fire of hell.
Now shall ye farther understand that there are other which have
another manner mind therein, whereupon there ensueth nothing
so great difficulty concerning the righteousness of God.
Their mind in the matter is this, that God in the creation of man
gave to him two states: one, competent and convenient for his
mortal nature; another, of special grace, a farther state of special
prerogative, that is to wit, the possibility of immortality put in his
own hand and of the obtaining of eternal bliss in heaven, of
which two things there was neither nother naturally pertaining
to him. If God had given him only the first, that is to
wit, only natural, his soul yet should have been immortal, for
God created the nature such. But unto the bliss of heaven, the
fruition of the Godhead, he did not create it to attain by nature,
nor as it seemeth angel neither, but by a special gift and prerogative
of his grace. The body, being made of the earth and mixed with
other elements, was of nature dissoluble and mortal, as the bodies
of other beasts be. Howbeit, if God had given Adam no farther
gift than competent unto his nature, he had yet had a good state
far above all beasts, and yet a state far under the state that he
stood in by God's farther gift. For first, if man had had but his
natural state, albeit he should have had (as some men think) the
rebellion of his sensuality against his reason, yet had he had (while
he lived) the use of the reasonable soul, and should have had
knowledge of God, and cause to love him, honor him, and serve
him, and had been bounden to master his sensuality and resist the
devil, and by the doing of the contrary, should have deserved hell, and
by doing his duty to God, should have deserved to have after this

life not the fruition of the Godhead (that is the bliss of heaven) but
a life good, quiet, and restful, with spiritual delight in such knowledge
of God and his wonderful works as reason, at the least,
without revelation, might attain unto. Which should have been a
pleasure far above the pleasure that ever any man had by only
natural means in this world since this world first began, and such
as (I suppose) whosoever might attain it would not change that
state with the state of the greatest king that ever reigned on earth.
And yet, though they call this the natural state of man, they mean not
(I think) thereby that man was or should have been able to have
lived well after his nature have attained the end of that state
by his own only natural power, without special aid and help of
God, since there is no creature neither high nor low, but as it could not
without God be created, no more can it without God be conserved.
And man, if he never had had but his natural state, he should have
been in danger to do sin more than he was with the state of
innocence that God gave him farther, and yet in that state he
sinned. And therefore, if not only we, which now by more means than
one have our naturals vitiated, but also Adam, that had more
than his naturals in paradise whole and in good plight, had need
yet of God's grace to help him there to stand, it must needs be (as I
said) that he must have needed the help of God's grace to maintain
him if he had had his only natural state. And if any man marvel
that God made all his creatures such as they should always need aid
of his grace, let him know that God did it of his double goodness: first,
to keep them from pride, by causing them perceive their feebleness
and to call upon him; and secondly, to do his creatures honor and
comfort. For the creature (that wise is) can never think himself
in so noble condition, nor should take so great pleasure or so much
rejoice that he were made able to do a thing well enough himself,
as to remember and consider that he hath the most excellent majesty
of God, his Creator and Maker, evermore attendant himself
at his elbow to help him.

If any man will herein take a contrary part and affirm that man
in the state of innocence and the angels that fell were able of themselves
to have stood in their former state and, by natural liberty of
their will, without peculiar help of God, to have chosen the better
and to have refused the worse; and that their strength therein then,
and our feebleness in this state corrupted now, have their differences
by reason of their nature, then whole and unhurt and ours now sore
impaired and wounded; and that the cause why we cannot now,
without help of grace, choose the good, but willingly apply the freedom
of our will to the choice of the evil, is the corruption of our
nature grown by the sin of Adam; and that, therefore, (before that
sin) Adam was (before that fall) able to choose the good of his own natural
power, and angel yet more able than he, before the fall of Lucifer; and
thereupon list to conclude that neither angel nor man in the state
of their first creation needed unto the resisting of sin none other
help of God but only their natural power -- to him that this list to
reason, mine answer will I temper thus: that they were of nature
stronger and better able naturally than we, that will I gladly grant.
But that they were so able to resist sin of their own nature then that
they needed for their assistance none help of God at all, that can I full
hardly consent. Howbeit, if any man affirm stiffly yes, I will keep
no schools upon the matter nor almost in nothing else, but
leave off and be content with that that I trust he will grant me, that
is to wit, that they were never so able to withstand sin by their
own natural power but that, at the least wise yet, with God's help
(which was ready when they would ask it), they should have been
able the better.
Thus have I somewhat showed you of what mind some men be
concerning the only natural state given by God unto Adam. And
now shall I farther somewhat show you, what mind they be of,
concerning that state which he had by the reason of the other gifts
given him conditionally, by special prerogative, above his natural
state, which things he lost by the condition broken.

They say that, above the natural condition and state of his body,
God gave him this gift that his body should never have died.
He gave him this gift also that his sensual parts should never have
rebelled against his reason. He gave him also, therewith, that he
should never have had dolor or pain in body nor heaviness or
sorrow of mind, but all things necessary without weariness or grief.
He had farther given him, above his nature, this, excellent high gift
very far surmounting all the remnant, that is to wit, undeceivable
hope and ability both body and soul through grace to
come to glory, the bliss (I say) of heaven, the joyful fruition of the
glorious Trinity forever. All these gifts God gave him above his
naturals, and not for himself only, but for him, and for all his
posterity. But all these supernatural gifts he gave him with the
knot of this condition, that is to wit, that if he broke his commandment
then should he leese them all. And that was understood
by the promise of death, and not only the necessity of
temporal death, the dissolution of the soul and the body (by which
the man doth indeed but half die, since his far better part, that is
to say the soul, by that death dieth not at all) but, by the loss of
heaven, the whole entire man hath a very sore death in that he is
separate and departed from the fruition of the very fountain of life,
almighty glorious God.
Now say there, as I told you, therefore, some good men that Adam
by his sin lost from himself and all his posterity all those
gifts that God gave him above his nature. And therein could his
posterity have no wrong nor any cause to complain upon God,
but upon Adam only. For they were all given unto us, but upon condition
hanging on his hand, which condition when he broke, those
gifts could by no reason belong or be due unto us. But yet remained
there high cause for us to thank God for the remnant. For the
gifts only pertaining to the natural state of man (which I showed

you before), those gave not God unto the kind of man upon condition
to be lost by the sin of Adam, nor no man to be perpetually
damned by sensible feeling of the fire of hell for original sin
contracted without his witting, but only for actual sin freely
committed by his own vicious will. And then if the truth thus be,
this matter may partly be resembled unto some great good prince,
which, giving to a poor man for him and his heirs of his body forever
lands to the yearly valeur of one hundred pound, frank and
free simpliciter and without any condition, would give him farther
other lands to the yearly valeur of ten thousand pound with
the honor of a dukedom also to him and his said heirs forever,
restrained nevertheless with this condition, that if he commit any
treason against this prince's majesty, this duchy with all those
lands of the yearly ten thousand pound should be forfeited and
lost from him and his said heirs perpetually, and that yet the other
lands should still remain in the blood, and that every man of
them, if he do either treason or other great crime against the king,
should stand unto his personal peril of death or other pains,
according to justice for his personal fault, without the loss of the
land from the stock for the fault of any their ancestor. If now this
man committed treason and lost this duchy from his heirs by his
deed and yet left them this hundred pound lands of the king's gift
beside, there were (ye wot well) none of his heirs that ever could
have cause to blame the king for the loss of the duchy but had yet
greater cause to thank him for their living of the yearly hundred
pound, which they still enjoy of his liberal gift, more by every
groat than ever the good king ought them.
Lo, thus say they that likewise God took from the posterity of
Adam the royal duchy, that is to wit, the joys of heaven with
the commodities of those other gifts above man's nature,
which he gave Adam for himself, and then upon condition, which
condition Adam broke. But yet he left them still the good honest
living of the yearly hundred pound, that is to wit, the commodities

of man's competent state natural, which I have before partly showed
you, which state also man hath without his desert received, of
the only mere liberal goodness of God, and which commodities by
affliction of perpetual pain felt in fire God never taketh from any
man for the original sin contracted from his forefather without
actual deadly sin of himself. Now to that that the whole
kind of man are called in Scripture the children of wrath by
nature, and put under condemnation and death by the sin of
Adam, and such other words like, they answer that those words
are and well may be meant of the loss and condemnation of
mankind in the loss of the inheritance of heaven and of those
other gifts that God had conditionally given it, above the competent
state of man's nature, for the wrath of the condition broken by the
sin of Adam, as it were a great condemnation to leese a duchy
with ten thousand pound and retain only a mean man's living
of one hundred pound. And they farther declare that there are two
manner of pains, that is to wit, "poena damni et poena sensus" (pain of loss
and pain of feeling), as a man may be pained by loss of money or
loss of his hand. Pain of loss may be also by two means, either
by the leesing of a thing that he hath in possession, or by duty should
have come unto him, or by the leesing of a thing that should
have come unto him, and yet of no duty but of the mere liberality
of some other man, which for displeasure given changeth his will
and withdraweth it. Now say they that, for actual deadly sin,
every man that impenitent dieth therein is damned both to the
pain of loss and to the pain of feeling, that is to wit, to the
pain of the loss of the joys of heaven, the fruition of the glorious
sight of the Godhead forever, and to the perpetual sensible pain
of feeling the fire of hell perpetual. But for only original sin they
say that no man is damned unto the pain of feeling, but only
unto the pain of the said loss alone. And whereas the same pain
of loss of the fruition of the Godhead is yet, unto those Christian

people that are damned for actual deadly sin, a greater grief
than is their intolerable feeling of the hot fire of hell, because
they were by regeneration of their baptism made inheritors of
heaven, and have lost it by their own fault, yet unto those that
die unchristened with none other sin than original, the pain of
that loss is not grievous, because it was the thing which, though it
might have come to them, yet were they never entitled thereto
indeed, nor were not by their own fault the cause of their own
loss. And thus say some as I show you, concerning all folk old
and young that, never being christened nor nothing hearing of
Christ, carry no deadly sin with them out of this world but sin
original only. And as for infants dying unbaptized, albeit that in
many of these things that I have rehearsed by the way, many men
will peradventure think otherwise, yet in the effect and substance of
the point whereunto all the matter draweth, that is to wit, that
those infants be damned only to the pain of loss of heaven, and
not unto the pain of feeling by any sensible pain in the fire of
hell, to this point I think the most part of all Christendom both
learned and unlearned agree.
Now as for such as die unchristened at man's state and never
heard of Christ, some say one and some say another, as I have
showed you before. And some say that without the faith of Christ,
if they come to discretion, they must, beside original sin, die of
necessity in actual sin and be damned to sensible pain. For
they say that all the deeds that ever they do be sin. Which
saying meseemeth hard, but I will not dispute it here. Howbeit, well
I wot that some texts of Scripture that they lay therefore nothing
prove for their purpose. Yet shall I not leave unshowed you one
comfortable saying that Master Nicholas de Lyra toucheth upon
those words of Saint Paul in the eleventh chapter of his epistle
to the Hebrews: "Sine fide autem impossibile est
Deo placere quenquam. Credere enim oportet accedentem
ad Deum, quia est, et inquirentibus se remunerator sit." ("Without faith," saith
Saint Paul, "it is impossible any man to please God. For every

man that cometh unto God must believe that God is, and that he
is the rewarder of them that seek him.") Upon these words saith
Master Lyra that, although the people of the Jews to whom the law
was given were bounden to the belief of more than this, and the learned
men of the Jews to the belief of more than the common
people, and we Christian people and those that are the priests and
learned among us be rateably bounden to the belief of more things
than were the Jews, or they that were learned among them, yet unto
the paynims and Gentiles, to whom the law was not given, nor never
had heard of Christ, it was sufficient for their salvation to believe
those two points only which Saint Paul here rehearseth, that is
to wit, that there is one God and that he will reward them that
seek him. And those two points be such as every man many attain
by natural reason, helped forth with such grace as God keepeth
from no man but from him that by his own default either will not
receive it or deserveth to have it withdrawn. So that, if this be true
that Master Lyra saith, then is there no man of discretion among the
Gentiles or paynims unsaved without his own default, and so no
color of quarrel against the justice of God in this matter. And it is to
be considered that Master Lyra there saith that in the belief of
those two points is implied the belief of Christ, which is the
means of our salvation, in that that he which believeth that God
will reward them that seek him hath therein implied that God hath
a respect unto man's salvation and provideth a means thereunto, and
so believeth he that there is a means of man's salvation and reward,
though he know not that the means is Christ. And there though he
believe not on Christ by the name of Christ, yet believeth he and
hopeth for the means of salvation, which is indeed Christ. And
that belief sufficeth (saith Master Lyra) for his salvation, though
he think not on Christ, of whom he never heard. Thus have I showed
you, concerning the necessity of man's redemption, and the manner
of man's fall, and the things that he lost thereby, and the justice of
God used therein, and as well his justice as his mercy tempered together
in the marvelous means of man's redemption, sundry diverse

things. And concerning Adam's gifts and his losses for his posterity, I
have showed you sundry things of diverse other men's opinions, in
which I will bind myself to the defense of neither part. But this
thing am I very sure of, that by the fall of Adam, every man and
child that by natural propagation came of him had so verily lost
and forfeited the bliss of heaven that never should nor never shall
any of them all attain again thereto without the means of our
mediator and savior, Jesus Christ, the merits of whose bitter
passion hath redeemed us and thereto made us inheritable again,
as many of us (I mean) as by his faith, without contempt of his
sacraments, use ourselves in such wise as by our own sin we do not
willfully and finally fall again from the benefit. And thus upon this first
question, without any bold affirmations or opinion that I will hold
or maintain, I have somewhat showed you diverse things that diverse
doctors say.
Another question.
Then are there many men in hand with another question, and therein
demand they this: while our Savior Christ (say they) bestowed
upon the redemption of man all the blessed blood of his body to
the very following of the water after, and that not only being an
innocent, sinless man and a good, but also being beside that very
God, too, by reason whereof the least drop of his blessed blood might
have sufficed to recompense and satisfy for the sin of seven whole
worlds, wherefore be not all men, by the virtue of his such painful
death, either taken up into heaven, glorified in body and beautified
in soul, forthwith as soon as they be born, or else at the least wise
restored to the state that Adam by his sin lost them before in
Paradise? That is to wit, that their bodies might be preserved
from death, and the reasonable soul from rebellion of the sensual body,
and have but the devil alone left him to strive withal, and man discharged
of all pain and vexation, and live here in such pleasant
plight as we should have lived if Adam had not sinned, and (by

serving God in such wise) then in such time or times after as
God should think convenient, all men to be translated out of earth
into the joys of heaven. In this question are there more things than
one. But for the first, we must mark and consider well that Christ
willingly would, by the ordinance of the whole Trinity, suffer more
pain for our redemption than was of necessity requisite. Howbeit,
though he so did without necessity, yet did he it not without a great
good cause. For the pleasure of God was that, by the hideous torment
and willingly taken pain of that holy blessed and almighty
person, man should two things consider: one, how much we be
bounden and beholden to him that would endure and sustain
such horrible affliction for our sake; the other, that we should
thereby consider the burden and weight of sin and well remember in
ourselves, since that innocent almighty person willingly suffered so
sore bitter pain for the sin of other, how much we very sinful
wretches should of reason be well content, every man to suffer for
our own. For unto sufferance for our sin, how loath and irksome
would we be of ourselves, when we be so scantly stirred yet thereto, for
all that wonderful example? And whereas our hard hearts are so dispiteous
that many for all the consideration of Christ's bitter
passion and most painful death cannot yet with compassion relent
into tears and weep, if he had paid our ransom but with one
drop of his blessed blood pricked out with a pin, what doubt is
there but that thereat then many a wretch would laugh? Now as for
bringing every man unto heaven forthwith upon his birth without
any more ado, why God would not the effect of his passion to weigh to
such purpose, there are more causes than one. First, that thing had been
impertinent to the nature of redemption, the nature whereof were at
the farthest but to restore men to the liberty and freedom of their
former state. But man in the state of innocence living in Paradise
should not have been in that case to have been forthwith translated
into heaven, but should first have served God in Paradise, and
somewhat have done therefore, lo, and in all that while have stood

still upon the winning or losing of heaven after his abearing. For if
he had abided in Paradise untempted many years more than he
did and had afterward before his translation, upon the suggestion
of the old serpent, the devil, and of the young serpent, the woman, eaten
of the fruit as he did, he had in any time of his life had the selfsame
fall. And peradventure any of his sons, if he had happed any
to beget before his fall, might, for himself and the posterity
coming after of his own body, have lost by the like fall the selfsame
state. And therefore I say that to bring man to heaven by and
by upon his birth was nothing belonging to the nature of redemption,
which nature is to restore him only to the freedom of his first
estate, which was not (as I show you) man to go forthwith to heaven.
But then why be we not at the least wise restored unto the same
state, the state of innocence that Adam had in Paradise with all the
commodities thereunto pertaining? To this I answer you, Christ
when he redeemed us, how much pain soever himself took thereabout,
was yet at his own liberty to temper the fruit that we should
take thereby. And therefore if we took thereby much less fruit than
we do, there could no man in reason find any fault therein. Howbeit,
as there is no doubt but that God could by the passion of Christ have
redeemed and restored us, not only to the conditional title of inheriting
heaven at length, but also to the immediate attaining of
heaven forthwith upon our birth or to the state of innocence in
Paradise first for the meanwhile, if he had would, so doubt I nothing
also but likewise as he restored us not straightways to heaven
because his high wisdom wist it was not for God convenient, so
restored he us not to the state of innocence because his high wisdom
well wist it was for ourselves not best. To be established in the
possession of eternal wealth, without any manner pain taken or
anything done toward the deserving thereof, was and is so proper
to God alone (the three persons of the glorious Trinity, the Creator)
that God would never communicate that thing with any other
person being but a creature, neither man in earth nor yet angel in

heaven. And therefore man to look for that point as the effect of his
redemption were full unreasonable and far overproud a request.
Now man to be restored to the state of innocence, God saw that
for man it was not best. For as the Scripture
saith: "Homo quum in honore esset, non intellexit." (When
man was in honor, his understanding failed him, he could not
know himself.) And therefore to the keeping of him from sin,
and especially from pride, the root of all sin, a more base estate was
better. And better was it also for him to have two enemies, that is to
wit, the devil and his own sensuality both, than for to lack the
one. For the having of both is a cause of double fear, and therefore of
double diligence, to set his reason to keep sure watch to resist them,
and for double help to call double so much upon almighty God for
grace. And then with his so doing, he is more able and more sure now
to subdue them both than with less looking for God's help he was
before the one, and hath yet also thereby for his double victory against
his double enemies the occasion of double reward.
Besides this, if God should by his passion have restored them that
came to his faith both in the old law and in the new unto the
state of innocence, so that the children circumcised or christened
should never have died till they were come to discretion and had
done some deadly sin, and that then their nature should
change and by the sacrament of penance yet be restored again,
then should it (as holy Saint Augustine saith)
have been a great occasion to make folk come
to the faith and sacraments for the commodities of this present
life, whereas God will have heaven so sore desired and sought for
that he will have the desirers thereof set by the pleasures of this
world not only nothing at all but also seek for the contrary, and
suffer displeasure and pain.
Moreover, if it so should have been, every person's secret sinful
state should by the sudden open change of his nature have been,
to his open shame, detected and disclosed in the sight of all the people.
And over this, if it should thus have been, then must there have been

so many common open miracles continually that man should in
manners have been drawn to the faith by force, and by that means have
lost more than half the merit, which God would in no wise of
his great goodness suffer. And yet besides this, God, that well wist what
thing the bliss of heaven is, saw that it was not convenient to give
so great a gift to every slothful javel that nothing did set
thereby. And he well showeth himself to set nothing by it that
can find in his heart to do nothing for it.
Finally, God wist that it was nothing meet, the
servant to stand in better condition than his master, as our Lord
saith himself in the gospel. And therefore would he not suffer that,
while he came to his own kingdom not without travail and
pain, his servants should be slothful, and sit and pick their
nails, and be carried up to heaven at their ease, but biddeth every
man that will be his disciple or servant take up his cross upon his
back, and therewith come forth and follow him. And for this cause,
lo, though the painful passion of Christ, paid for all mankind,
was of the nature of the thing much more than sufficient for the
sins of us all, though we nothing did but sin all our whole life,
yet God, not willing to fill heaven with hell hounds, limited of his
own wisdom and goodness after what rate and stint the commodity
thereof should be employed upon us, and ordinarily
devised that the merits of his pain taken for us should make our
labor and pain taken for ourselves meritorious, which else, had
we taken for our sin never so much and done never so many
good deeds toward the attaining of heaven, could not have
merited us a rush. And this, I say, ordinarily. For by special privilege
his liberal hand is yet nevertheless at liberty to give
remission of sin, and to give grace and glory, where and whensoever
he list.
And thus have I somewhat touched the answer unto this
question: wherefore the painful passion of Christ restored not man
again unto the former state of innocence that Adam before had in

Now albeit that sundry other questions both may be moved and
are, which might be induced and entreated here, yet (lest I should therewith
make this work too tedious and the introduction longer than the
principal process of the passion) we shall be content with these few
as those that most properly pertain unto the matter of the redemption;
and, beseeching almighty God of his great grace that all
curious appetite of vain problems put apart, we may with meekness
give our hearts to the very fruitful learning of those necessary
things that we be bound to know, we shall haste us to the matter
of the blessed passion itself.
The prayer.
O holy blessed Savior Jesus Christ, which willingly didst
determine to die for man's sake, mollify mine hard heart and supple
it so by grace that through tender compassion of thy bitter passion I
may be partner of thine holy redemption.
Whereas I have here before showed you three points, that is to
wit, the ruin of angel, the fall of man, and the determination of
the Trinity for man's redemption by means of Christ's passion, as
three things that were causes going before, whereupon his bitter
passion followed, I doubt not but that such as are learned will like
also that, ere I begin with the lamentable story of the
passion self, I should first show farther some other points, that is to
wit, by what means this determination of the Trinity was notified
unto man. And also the other causes of Christ's death and passion,
as the malice of the Jews, the treason of Judas, and the obedient will
of his own holy manhead. And verily these points might well and
conveniently have been declared before, and in the treating of these
three other points, somewhat have I made mention of all these points
too. But I have not thought it like requisite to declare them before

so full as those other, because the words of the gospel self give us
more occasion to declare these points in the process of the passion
self than those other three points which I have as a preamble
touched more at large before.
A warning to the reader.
Here I will give the reader warning that I will rehearse the words
of the evangelists in this process of the passion in Latin word by
word after my copy as I find it in the work of that worshipful
father, Master Jean Gerson, which work he entitled Monotesseron
(that is to wit, "one of all four") as I have declared you before in my
preface, because I will not in any word willingly mangle or
mutilate that honorable man's work, but so rehearse it that learned
which shall read it here may have the selfsame commodity thereby
that they may have by the reading of the same among his own
other works, as in considering such doubts as he sometimes moveth
concerning the context of the story, and in searching (if their pleasure
be) every word in his own proper place, where it was gathered and
taken out of any of the four evangelists, and for their own learning
list confer the place and use their own judgment in the allowing or
in the controlling of any part of his context, in the gathering and
compiling of his present work. But yet will I not fully follow the
same fashion in the rehearsing of the same thing in English. For if
I should, there neither could any such fruit grow thereof, and
also the context of the story should, in the eye of the English reader
(and yet much more in the ear of the English hearer), seem very far
unsavory by reason of the often interposition of the initial letters
signifying the names of the four evangelists, and some one sentence
with so little change so often repeated, and in some place the context
so diversely entricked in his collection that himself with a note in the
margin declareth himself to doubt and stand unsure whether in that
place he join and link well in one the sundry words of the evangelists
or no. And therefore in the rehearsing of his context in English,

nothing will I put in of mine own, but out will I not let to leave any
such thing as I shall think to be unto the English reader no furtherance
but a hindrance to the clear progress of this holy story, which
we shall with help of God in this wise now begin.
The first chapter.
The context of Master Gerson, whereof first the rubric, De
festo azimorum appropinquante. M. 26, R. 14, L. 22, J.13.
Appropinquabat L. autem dies festus Azimorum,
qui dicitur pascha. Erat R. autem pascha et azima
post biduum. Et M. factum est quum consummasset
Iesus sermons hos omnes, dixit discipulis suis: scitis
quia post biduum pascha fiet, et filius hominis tradetur ut crucifigatur. Tunc
congregati sunt principes sacerdotum et seniores in atrium principis sacerdotum,
qui dicitur Caiphas, et consilium fecerunt. Et R. quaerebant L. summi
sacerdotes et scribae, quomodo eum dolo tenerent et occiderent timebant L.
vero plebem dicebant M. R. autem. Non in die festo, ne forte tumultus fiat
in populo. Intravit L. autem Satanas in Iudam qui cognominatur Scarioth,
unum de duodecim. Tunc M. abiit R. I. unus de duodecim ad principes
sacerdoti, et summos R. sacerdotes, ut proderet eum illis. Et L. locutus est
cum principibus sacerdotum et magistratibus, quemadmodum illum traderet
illis, et ait M. illis: Quid vultis mihi dare, et ego vobis eum tradam ?Qui
R. L. audientes gavisi sunt, et promiserunt, et pacti L. sunt pecuniam illi
dare. At illi constituerunt ei triginta argenteos, et spopondit. Et M. exinde
R. L. quaerebat opportunitatem ut eum opportune R. traderet sine L. turbis. Ante
I. diem festum paschae, sciens Iesus quia venit hora eius ut transeat ex hoc mundo
ad patrem, quum dilexisset suos qui erant in mundo, in finem dilexit eos:
"Of the feast of the unleavened loaves approaching." M. 26. R. 14. L.
22. J. 13.
"There approached near the holy day of the unleavened loaves,

which feast is called Passover. For the Passover and the unleavened
loaves was two days after. And so was it that, when Jesus had
ended all these sermons, he said unto his disciples: "You know that
after two days shall be the Passover, and the Son of Man shall be
delivered to be crucified." Then gathered there together the
princes of the priests and the ancients of the people into the
palace of the prince of the priests, which is called Caiaphas, and
took counsel together. And they sought the ways, both the
chief priests and the scribes, how they might with some wile take
him and put him to death. For they were afeard of the people.
They said therefore: "Not on the holy day, lest there arise some
seditious ruffle among the people." But there entered Satan into
Judas, whose surname is Scariot, one of the twelve. Then
went he to the princes of the priests and to the chief priests to
betray him to them. And he had communication with the princes
of the priests and with the rulers in what manner he should betray
him to them. And he said unto them, "What will ye give me
and I shall deliver him to you," who, when they heard him,
were well apaid, and promised and covenanted with him to give
him money, and appointed to give him thirty groats. And he made
the promise. And from that time forth he sought opportunity
that he might commodiously betray him out of the presence
of the people. Before the holy day of the Passover, Jesus, knowing
that his hour came on to go out of this world unto his Father, whereas
he had loved those that were his, unto the end he loved them."
A prayer.
Good Lord, give us thy grace, not to read or hear this gospel of thy
bitter passion with our eyes and our ears in manner of a pastime,
but that it may with compassion so sink into our hearts, that it
may stretch to the everlasting profit of our souls.

The first lecture.
"There approached near the holy day of the unleavened bread,
which is called Passover. For the Passover and the unleavened loaves
was two days after."
These words, good Christian readers, be the words of Saint Matthew,
Saint Luke, and Saint Mark, three of the four evangelists, which,
by the mention-making of the Passover and the unleavened bread,
give us here in the beginning occasion to speak of the point
which I before touched, that is to wit, in what wise the merciful, just,
and high devised means of man's redemption, the deep secret
mystery of the blessed Trinity (which, till God revealed it unto them,
none angel in heaven knew or could think upon) was of God's
comfortable goodness signified and declared to man. For which ye
shall understand that, albeit our first parents Adam and Eve were
disobedient, and thereby broke God's commandment,
and were also stubborn in the
beginning (whereby they rather excused their default, and each of
them put it from himself to some other, than meekly confessed their
fault and asked for pardon and mercy) for which demean, beside the
sentence of death conditionally pronounced (before mentioned in
the second chapter of Genesis, that whatsoever
day Adam did eat of the tree of knowledge he
should die), God, as is recited in the third chapter, declared after
certain other punishments that either of them should have for them
and their offspring, too (the one with sore travail about the getting
of his daily living, the other with sore travail in bringing forth
of her children, and either of them some other thing beside, as you
have in the second point heard rehearsed before), yet never find we
that of God's mercy they fell into despair, as we find of Cain and
of Judas. And therefore after their not desperate but fruitful repentance,
taken upon God's inward motion, and thereby calling to
God for remission and mercy (with taking great wreak willingly themselves

upon themselves, as well with inward heaviness and sorrow as
outward labor and pain for their heinous offenses committed
against God by the bold breaking of his high commandment),
the great goodness of God giving them knowledge of the means of their
salvation and of that Mediator by whose death they and their
offspring should be redeemed again to bliss, did, in the faith of the
said Mediator, remit and forgive them the eternality of the
pain due unto their offense, reserving their actual enhancing
into heaven until the great mystery of Christ's passion should be
performed, and thereby the ransom paid, in such time as the
high foresight and providence of God had from the beginning,
before the world wrought, laid up out of sight in the deep treasure
of his unsearchable knowledge, little and little at sundry seasons to be
signified and insinuate conveniently to man before.
And therefore this great secret mystery did God reveal in diverse
wise, that is to wit, partly with inward inspiration, partly with
outward means, as well by words as other outward tokens. The first
mention that we find made thereof is the third chapter of Genesis,
where God unto the serpent said among other things thus:
"Inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem, et semen
tuum et semen illius. Ipsum conteret caput tuum, et tu
insidiaberis calcaneo illius." ("I shall put enmity," said our Lord to the
serpent, "between thee and the woman, and between the seed of
thee and the seed of her. That seed shall tread and all to frush
thine head, and thou shalt lie in await for his heel.") In these
words was there a secret insinuation and (as men might say) a
watchword given of Christ, which should be the seed of the
woman (and the only seed of only woman without man), which
seed should all to tread and frush in pieces the devil's head and his
power upon man, and that all that ever the devil should do again
against Christ should not be able to reach his head (that is to wit,
his Godhead), but only to fumble about his foot (that is to wit, his

manhead), and yet rather lie in await to hurt it than able to hurt it indeed.
For all that ever the devil (when with long lying in await
therefore, he could nothing prevail by himself) caused by his
wily train the Jews and the Gentiles to do against his holy
manhead, was yet, the thing well weighed and considered, not able to
do it hurt, but (as the prophet saith): "Sagittae
parvulorum factae sunt plagae eorum." ("The wounds
that they gave him were like as they had been made with the arrows
that are shot out of a little boy's bow. ") For all the wounds that they
gave him in his body could not so take hold, but that within three
days after, all his flesh was rid of all manner pain, and in far
better health and incomparable better condition after forever than
it was five days before. And here, good reader, marvel not though I
rehearse you the text of Genesis otherwise here than I did in the
second point before. For whereas I there rehearsed it after the Latin
translation, whereof the sentence may stand very well, yet seemeth this
letter after the Hebrew text to serve more meet and more proper for
the matter, in that by the Latin text the treading down of the devil
seemeth applied unto our blessed Lady (which she did indeed by means
of her holy seed, our Savior), but by the Hebrew text it is, as you see,
referred (as more meet is) unto her holy Son himself. But now when
this mystery of man's redemption was thus there prophesied by God, I
doubt it not but that of this watchword the devil gathered somewhat
and ever gnawed after upon that bone from that time to the
coming of Christ, as a matter of his grief and torment. But yet
will I not warrant that he very well understood it. And Adam
(would I ween) at the first hearing understood that word yet much
less. For though God suffered the serpent, whom he threatened therewith
to his grief and displeasure, somewhat to guess thereat, yet
while man was at that time nothing yet reconciled, but in his
heinous offense stubbornly stood at his defense and his sorrow
shortly after thereupon declared unto him, it seemeth me not likely

that God gave him the knowledge of his pardon before the full
knowledge of his punishment or the acknowledging and repentance
of his fault. Howbeit upon his repentance after, I nothing doubt
but that God gave him farther understanding what was by those
words meant. Besides this, he signified this mystery to them by the
sacrifice. For by the killing and offering up unto God the innocent
beast in sacrifice was betokened the death of our innocent Savior
and offering up of his body by the hot fervent pain of the cross.
And thus by diverse ways was there revelation given of this great
mystery unto other of the old fathers (as Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and
Israel and Joseph) by sundry diverse tokens too long here to rehearse, before
the law given in writing. Then was there in the law written express
warning given by Moses unto the children of Israel in desert, when
he wrote unto them in the eighteenth chapter of the
Deuteronomy: "Prophetam de gente tua et de
fratribus tuis sicut me, suscitabit tibi Dominus Deus tuus, ipsum audies." (A
prophet of thine own people and of thy brethren, like unto me,
shall thy Lord God raise up unto thee, and that prophet shalt thou
hear.) Here in these words, Moses gave them warning of Christ,
that he should be a very man coming lineally of one of their
own tribes, and that he should be a bringer of a new law to them,
as himself was, and that they should therein, upon the pain of
the vengeance of God (as after followeth in the text), be bounden
when he should come to hear and obey him. Now to bring
them a new law, as Moses did, God never sent none
after but only Christ. And therefore him were they by those
words of their old lawyer Moses commanded for to hear and
obey in those words, "Ipsum audies" (Him shalt thou hear). And therefore
since they so were commanded of God by the mouth of Moses,
though there had been before Christ's coming no word spoken of
his Godhead, yet when himself so plainly declared it unto them, they
were, I say, by the said commandment of God given them by
Moses, bounden to give therein full faith and credence to him. Howbeit,
that Christ was the very Son of God, and himself very God,

beside the figures and prophecies of the old law very plain and
plenteous, the Father of heaven himself, present with the Holy Ghost
at Christ's baptism, testified and recognized him for his very
Son, saying: "Hic est filius meus dilectus, in quo
mihi complacui." (This is my well-beloved Son, in
whom hath been my delight.) Besides this, of his birth, of the
place and the time of his doctrine and his miracles, and the malice
conceived against him by the Jews, and the false treason of his
familiar enemy, of his passion, his death, his resurrection, and his
glorious ascension was warning given by sundry wise, as well by the
words of the holy prophets as by tokens and figures of things done
among the chosen people (both before the law written and after),
and by things also commanded to be done among the children of
Israel in their sacraments, rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices, commanded
them (I say) by God (by the mouth of Moses) in the law
given them by writing. For as saith Saint
Paul: "Omnia in figura contingebant illis." (All thing
came to them in figures.)
But forasmuch as I wot well no wise man would look that I
should in this place rehearse all those things, which would make a
long book alone, I will therefore (letting all the remnant pass)
only with a word or two show you what feast the evangelists here
speak of, in these words of theirs which I have rehearsed you, that
is to wit, the feast of Passover and of the unleavened bread.
That the children of Israel were in servitude and thralldom in
Egypt under the proud prince Pharaoh; and that God conducted
them thence in strong and mighty hand and made that high
stubborn king, maugre his teeth, fain to let them go; and that
when he farther followed them of his heart-burning malice through the
Red Sea, the same way where God had sent his own people through
safe, this fierce furious king with all his whole main mighty

army was -- with the waves of the water (which
water, while the children of Israel passed
through, stood up like high walls of crystal on both sides,
leaving a great broad space of dry ground all the mids) suddenly
relented and fallen and flowing shortly together again -- involved
and tossed up, overthrown and tumbled down, overwhelmed
and wretchedly drowned; all this process (I say) shall I nothing need
to speak of, as things so commonly known that, for the atrocity of
the story and the wonderful work of God therein, almost every
child hath heard. And every man almost is (I trust) instructed also
that, though these things be no feigned tales told for parables, but
were things verily done indeed, yet did they by the provident
ordinance of God serve also to signify certain great secret mysteries
concerning the redemption of man. As for example, the thralldom
of the children of Israel under King Pharaoh and the Egyptians signifieth
the bondage of mankind under the prince of this dark world, the
devil and his evil spirits. Their delivery thence under the leading
of Moses betokeneth the delivery of man from the devil and his
evil angels under our captain Christ. The safe passage of the
children of Israel through the Red Sea, and all the power of Pharaoh
drowned in the same, signifieth mankind passing out of the devil's
danger through the water of baptism, the sacrament taking his
force of the red blood of Christ that he shed in his bitter passion, and
all the devil's power, usurped upon us before and laboring to keep
us still, drowned and destroyed in the water of baptism and the
red blood of Christ's passion. And by all the course after of the people
conveyed from the Red Sea, by the desert toward the land of behest,
and their waywardness and many punishments, with manifold
mercy showed again by the space of forty years together ere any of
them came there, is there signified and figured the long, painful
wandering of men in the wild wilderness of this wretched world ere
we can get hence to heaven and the frowardness of ourselves that so

sore keepeth us from it that, with great help of God's grace, in
respect of the multitude that by their evil desert eternally
perish in this worldly desert, very few (I fear), and with much work,
attain unto it. But for the perceiving of these words of the gospel,
"There approached near the feastful day of the unleavened loaves, which
feast is called Passover," ye shall understand that the Jews among all
their feasts and holy days through the year had one feast the most
solemn that was called "Passover" and "the feast of the unleavened
bread," which God specially commanded them to celebrate yearly
forever, as appeareth at length in the twelfth
chapter of Exodus. For, after that the proud,
stiff-necked Pharaoh, being by Moses in the name of God commanded
to suffer the children of Israel to depart out of his land
into desert with all their wives and their children and all their
cattle, would in no wise suffer it, but albeit that by the force
and constraint of sundry sore strokes and plagues (wherewith God
wonderfully smote him) he granted their delivery for the time
that he stood in dread (the rod of God laying the lashes upon him),
yet, after the rod scant removed, evermore his stubborn pride
sprang into his hard heart and made him forbid their passage again
and hold them in thralldom still, our Lord at the last commanded
Moses that, the tenth day of that month, they should take every
household a lamb without spot, and the fourteenth day of the
same month, in the evening, offer it and eat it up all together,
head and guts and all, so that they should leave nothing thereof,
but if anything were left they should burn it up. And of this lamb
should they nothing eat raw nor sod, but only roasted at the fire.
And they should eat it with wild lettuce and unleavened bread,
and should have no leaven, neither that night nor in seven days
following, within their house, upon pain of death. And they should
eat it having their gowns gird or tucked up about the reins of
their back, and their shoes upon their feet, and their walking
staves in their hands, and so eat it in haste, as folk that had made

them ready to be going and therefore might not tarry because
they were upon their passage. And then God showed them of two
passages: the one of theirs, the other of his. For he showed them
that the twenty-first day of the same month, which should be at the end
of the said seven days of the unleavened bread, they should all
pass and depart out of Egypt over the Red Sea. And he showed
them that in the night of the said fourteenth day, in which they
should offer in sacrifice and eat the unspotted lamb, himself
would make a passage through Egypt and, by his angel, kill in that
one night all the first-begotten of the Egyptians, as well men as
cattle in every house, from the first-begotten son of Pharaoh that
sat in his seat, to the first-begotten son of the poorest and most
simple slave that lay in prison. And he commanded them that, with
a bundle of hyssop, they should besprinkle the posts and the hance
of their doors with the blood of the lamb, which blood should be
the mark unto him that should strike these first-begottens that
should that night be slain, so that upon the sight of that mark
the striker should pass by their houses so marked and not enter
thereinto to do there any harm; but he warned them that there
should that night none of them come out of their doors. And likewise
as God had promised, so performed he that great sore slaughter
and vengeance through all Egypt in that one night, so that thereupon
Pharaoh with all the Egyptians were so sore daunted that both
Pharaoh and all his people not only licensed but also required
and prayed the children of Israel to get them out of Egypt into the
desert about their sacrifice, and, in all that they might, they also
hasted them forward, and not only let them carry and convey
out with them all their own but lent them also so great substance
of theirs that the Hebrews, as the Scripture
saith, in their going with that plenteous borrowing,
"spoiled the Egyptians," and that by the special commandment
of God -- either in recompense of the wrongful oppression that
the Egyptians had done them before, or because
that, since "Domini est terra et plenitudo eius, orbis

terrarum, et universi qui habitant in eo" (The earth belongeth to our Lord,
and all thing that is therein, the whole roundel of the world and all
the people that dwell therein), God might well with reason take what
he would from whom he would, and give it where he would, and
make their possession lawful.
But now was this feast of the unleavened bread yearly kept
holy the space of the said seven days by the special commandment
of God, and called dies azimorum in the Greek tongue, that
is to say, "the days of the unleavened bread." And the first
day of them was the great solemn day. And that first day
began always the night before in the evening in the feast of Passover,
wherein was immolate and offered in sacrifice the unspotted lamb.
For, as I have showed you, that lamb were they commanded to eat
with unleavened bread, and so forth from that time to continue the
unleavened bread seven days after. This feast, therefore, of the
sacrifice of the unspotted lamb is that feast that is called Passover,
whereof the evangelists here speak. And they call it also the feast of
the unleavened bread because that feast began the same night
in which the lamb was sacrificed.
This feast which was in the Greek called pascha, and which
name the Latins have taken of the Greeks and continued, was in
the Hebrew tongue called phase and (as Saint
Jerome saith) pascha, too. It was called phase for
that phase in the Hebrew signifieth "passing" or "going" and the feast was (as
I have showed you) ordained in remembrance of God's passing through
Egypt in doing the vengeance upon the Egyptians by the slaughter
of all their first-begottens to compel them to suffer the Hebrews
pass out of their thralldom. It is also called pascha, for that that (as
Saint Jerome saith) pascha in the Hebrew signifieth
"immolation," and therefore for the
immolation of the lamb that feast hath in Hebrew that name.
The Greeks, as I have told you, have taken the name pascha -- and that

peradventure the rather for that that the same Hebrew word
signifieth also in their tongue another thing, very consonant
and convenient for the season and the matter. For pascha in the
Greek tongue signifieth "passion." And because that in that night
of his Maundy, in which he immolated the lamb, he began his
bitter passion -- the immolation of the very unspotted Lamb, his
own blessed body, which immolation and passion he finished on
the morrow -- therefore they took and used the name of pascha,
wherein the Latin church followeth them.
Thus have I somewhat showed you, good Christian readers, the
first point that I spoke of rising of the text, that is to wit, in what
wise the determination of the Trinity for man's redemption was
notified unto man, that is to say, by the inspiration and prophecies
in words and writing, and by figures contained as well in other
things done among the chosen people as in their rites, sacraments,
ceremonies, and sacrifices. I have also showed you somewhat
concerning this feast of the unleavened loaves and the Passover. But,
as I said before, all these things which then were verily done foresignified
in Christ and his church things after to be done. For
that innocent lamb without spot was a figure betokening our
Savior Christ, the very innocent Lamb of whom Saint John the
Baptist witnessed: "Ecce agnus Dei qui tollit peccata
mundi" (Lo, the Lamb of God which taketh
away the sins of the world), by whose immolation and sacrifice
on the cross, and by his holy body received into ours as that
lamb was into theirs, his faithful folk should be delivered
out of thralldom of the devil's dominion. And therefore may we
to the fruit of our souls consider, in the foresaid figure, by these
Egyptians that in Egypt (which signifieth by interpretation "darkness")
do labor to keep in captivity the children of Israel -- the people
which God calleth from their thralldom into the liberty of his service --
we may (I say) understand by the proud King Pharaoh and his
chief captains, the great high proud prince, the Sultan of Babylon,

the devil. And as two the special Pasha of that proud souterly
Sultan, may we well consider the world and the flesh. And the
whole people of the Egyptians under them may well betoken the
devilish people, and the worldly people, and the fleshly people that
follow them and willingly be governed by them. For verily all
these labor to draw into their service and to make their thrall
servants, bondmen, and slaves all those whom the goodness of God
calleth out of the dark, devilish, worldly, and fleshy subjection
into the lightsome liberty of his celestial service. For surely the
devil himself, nor the world, nor a man's own flesh do not so
much by their own strength to the bringing of good folk into
their bondage as they do by the means and help of the devilish,
worldly, and fleshly people, by occasions of pride, envy, wrath,
and covetise, gluttony, sloth, and lechery (to which one vice of
lechery, for an example, how often hath an old, wily, wretched bawd
brought and betrayed a good simple maid, whom else neither
the lust of her own flesh, nor the rewards of all the world, nor the
labor of all the devils in hell should never have drawn thereto).
By the first-begotten children of the Egyptians we may well understand
the first motions of sin, as the subtle inward suggestions
of the devil, and the inward incitation of the flesh, and the outward
occasions and provocations of the world and evil people, by all
which manner of motions good, well-disposed folk be many sundry
wise solicited unto sin. And surely killed must there be these first-begotten
children, not only of the Egyptian people (that is to wit,
the first motions unto such vices as have their springing of the soul)
but also the first-begotten of their beasts too (that is to wit, the
first motions unto such vices as especially spring of the sensual
beastly body), or else it will be very hard for the children of Israel,
the well-disposed people, to escape well out of bondage of these

But now to destroy those first-begotten children of the Egyptians
the children of Israel are of themselves not sufficient, but it
must needs be the work of God for them. And yet will God that themselves
shall do somewhat, too. For he will that they shall make and receive
this sacrifice of the paschal lamb, and then, if they do worthily the
one for him, he will do the other for them. And therefore he will
that we shall receive the holy paschal lamb, his own blessed
body, both bodily in the Blessed Sacrament and spiritually -- with
faith, hope, and charity -- receive it worthily, and in such wise also
virtually when we receive it not sacramentally. But he will we shall
eat it with no leaven bread, that is to wit, with no sour taste of
malice or sin, but with the sweet unleavened loaves of sincere love
and verity. We must also, with a bundle of the low-growing
herb of hyssop that signifieth humility, mark the posts and the
hance of the door of our house with the blood of the lamb, that is
to wit, have remembrance of his bitter passion and his blessed
blood shed therein. And likewise as with a bundle of hyssop, the
bitter eisell and gall was given him to drink in the painful thirst
of his passion, which he so humbly suffered, we should with a
bundle of humility (as it were with a painter's pencil) dipped in the
red blood of Christ, mark ourselves on every side and in the
hance of our forehead with the letter of Tau, the sign of Christ's
holy cross. And then will God himself with his holy angels pass
by, and kill and destroy for us those first-begotten of the Egyptians, from
the first-begotten child of the king that sitteth in his seat (that
is to wit, of pride, which is of all sin the prince) unto the first-begotten
child of the poorest prisoned slave that is covetise, lo, the
very caitiff knave. For he is yet of all wretched vices the most base,
by setting and binding his affection neither unto God, nor man,
nor woman, nor unto himself neither, but only made in the
pleasure of possessing a great heap of round metal plates, which
while he liveth, he loveth better than himself and cannot find in
his heart to break his heap to help himself. And when he goeth,

he carrieth none hence with him, but is while he liveth in like wise
rich (as the prophet saith) as a poor man
is in a dream, which, when he waketh, hath
never a penny of all the treasure that he was so glad of in his sleep.
And covetise is a very prisoner, for he cannot get away. Pride
will away with shame, envy with his enemies" misery, wrath with
fair entreating, sloth with hunger and pain, lechery with sickness,
gluttony with the belly too full. But covetise can nothing
get away -- for the more full the more greedy, and the elder the
more niggard, and the richer the more needy.
And while God killeth those Egyptians, that mark of Christ's
bloody cross upon the posts of our house shall defend us, and be
the mark by which we shall be marked from harm, as were the
twelve thousand marked with the same sign of the letter Tau,
mentioned in the seventh chapter of the
Apocalypse Saint John. But yet we must remember
that in that perilous time we may not walk out abroad, but keep
ourselves close (God biddeth us) within our so marked house from all
evil outward occasions. We must also have our garments girt,
and our walking staff in our hand, and eat apace for token of haste,
in consideration of Christ's passage to kill the Egyptians for us by
his own bitter passion, and in remembrance also that we may
not tarry here long about our meat, nor take leisure as we
list at our meal, but with our gear girt and tucked up (for letting
us by the way), and our shoes upon our feet (for filing of our affections
with the dirt of sin), and with our walking staff in our hand (the
remembrance of Christ's cross, to stay us with and beat from us
venomous worms), get us forward apace upon our way out of the
Egyptians" danger.
A prayer.
Good Lord, which, upon the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, didst
so clearly destroy the first-begotten children of the Egyptians that
Pharaoh was thereby forced to let the children of Israel depart out of
his bondage, I beseech thee, give me the grace in such faithful wise

to receive the very sweet paschal lamb, the very blessed body of
our sweet Savior, thy Son, that, the first suggestions of sin by thy
power killed in mine heart, I may safe depart out of the danger
of the most cruel Pharaoh, the devil.
The second lecture.
"So was it that, when Jesus had ended all these sermons, he said
unto his disciples: "You know that after two days the Passover shall be,
and the Son of Man shall be delivered to be crucified.""
In these words we may, good Christian people, well perceive the
goodness and the prescience of our holy Savior Christ -- his prescience
in that he foreknew the time of his departing by death out of this
world unto his Father in heaven. And how could he but foreknow
it, since he was not only man but God also, that foreknoweth all
thing and not his own passion only, whereof he gave his disciples
warning in this wise: "Two days hereafter not only shall the paschal
feast be, which thing you know well, but also which thing you think
not on: the Son of Man shall be delivered to be crucified." Christ was
by more than one delivered to be crucified. His Father delivered him
for pity upon mankind. Judas delivered him for covetise, the priests
and the scribes for envy, the people for ignorance and folly. The
devil delivered him for fear, lest he might leese mankind by his
doctrine, and then lost he mankind after indeed more fully by
his death than before by his doctrine. His high provident goodness
appeareth well in these words: "Et factum est
quum consummasset Iesus sermones hos omnes, dixit
discipulis suis." (When Jesus had ended all these sermons, then he gave
his disciples warning of his death coming so near at hand.)
What sermons these were appeareth well in the context of the gospels
before, that is to wit, his doctrine (that he taught them as well in
the temple as elsewhere) and the revelations of the things to come (as

of the destruction of Jerusalem and the day of doom), which things
of doctrine and revelations he had preached unto them sundry days
before that time. For since the cause of his coming into the earth
was to bring man into heaven, and since he had also his life and his
death in his own hand so that no man could,
before himself would, force or compel him to die,
he would not take the time for his death till he
had first finished and ended those words and
those things of heavenly doctrine that he had determined to do;
and that done, as the thing finished that he had to do first, then sped he
him apace toward his death. And here is it good to consider that,
as our Savior wist when he should die (because he should not nor
could not till he would) and yet did nevertheless diligence in those
things that he had to do before his death (albeit he might have
deferred his death unto what time him list and have done in the
meantime everything at ease and leisure), how much need have we --
poor wretches that shall die ere we would, and cannot tell the time
when, but peradventure this present day -- what need have we, I say,
to make haste about those things that we must needs do, so that we
may have nothing left undone when we be suddenly sent for and
must needs go. For when death cometh, the dreadful, mighty
messenger of God, there can no king command him, there can
none authority strain him, there can no riches hire him to
tarry past his appointed time one moment of an hour. Therefore
let us consider well in time what words we be bounden to speak
and what deeds we be bounden to do, and say them and do them apace,
and leave unsaid and undone all superfluous things (and much
more all damnable things), witting well that we have no void
time allowed us thereunto. For as our Lord saith, "The day of our
Lord shall steal on us like a thief"; and "We
wot not when he will come, whether in the
morning, or in the midday, or in the evening, or at the midnight."
And therefore have we need, as our Savior saith, "to watch well that
the thief break not in at the walls upon us, ere we be aware, when
we be asleep in deadly sin." For then he robbeth us of all together

and maketh us poor miserable wretches forever. Let us then evermore
make ourselves so ready for death, nothing left undone, that
where our Savior said, after all his sermons ended, that after two
days he should be delivered to be crucified, we may by help of his
grace say to ourselves and our friends every day, I have done all my
business that I am come into this world for. For I shall, I wot ne'er
how soon, but peradventure this day, be delivered by God unto the
cross of painful death. From which if I die naught, I depart from
death to the devil, as did the blasphemous thief that hung on his
cross beside Christ. And if I die well, as I trust in God to do, I may
with his mercy straight depart into paradise, as did the penitent
thief that hung on his other side. And God give us all the grace so
to do all our business in time that we spend not our time in
vanities, or worse than vanities, while we be in health, and drive
off the things of substance that we should do till we lie in our
death bed, where we shall have so many things to do at once, and
everything so unready, that every finger shall be a thumb and
we shall fumble it up in haste so unhandsomely that we may hap, but
if God help the better, to leave more than half undone.
A prayer.
Good Lord, give me the grace so to spend my life that when the
day of my death shall come, though I feel pain in my body, I
may feel comfort in soul and, with faithful hope of thy mercy, in
due love toward thee and charity toward the world, I may through
thy grace depart hence into thy glory.
The third lecture.
"Then gathered there together the princes of the priests and the
ancients into the palace of the prince of the priests, which is
called Caiaphas, and took counsel together. And they sought the
ways, both the chief priests and the scribes, how they might

with some wile take him and put him to death. For they were
afeard of the people. They said therefore: "Not on the holy day, lest
there arise some seditious ruffle among the people.""
Upon these words, good Christian reader, riseth there occasion
to speak of another point that I touched also before, that is to
wit, the other cause of Christ's death, rising upon the malice of
the Jews. For in these words is touched (as you see) their malicious
assembly in devising and compassing his death. Howbeit, before
this council assembled here (which was the day before his Maundy,
that is to wit, the Wednesday before his passion, and the morrow
after the aforeremembered warning of his passion given unto his disciples),
there was another council gathered together among them
for the selfsame purpose, whereof mention is
made in the eleventh chapter of Saint John. For
whereas our Savior Christ had oftentimes reproved the priests,
the scribes, and the Pharisees for their pride and their hypocrisy,
their avarice and their evil constitutions (made unto the commodity
of themselves in derogation of the law and commandment of God),
with which monitions their part had been to have amended their
manners and to have given him thanks for his good doctrine, they on
the other side took so far the contrary way that for his goodness they
so maliciously hated him that, albeit they perceived well by the
prophecies fulfilled in his birth and his living and his doctrine --
with the manifold marvelous miracles which he continually
wrought -- that he was Christ, yet so mighty was (I say) their malice
that they labored to destroy him. But especially after that he had
raised Lazarus from death to life, the thing so well and openly known,
and the wonder so far spread and so much in every man's
mouth, and the man well-known once for four days dead and
buried, and so many men seeing him alive again, and eating
and drinking and talking with him (for which the people fell so
thick unto Christ that the priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees
were afeard to leese their authority), they waxed so wood therewith,
that they thereupon devised both to have slain Lazarus and also

to destroy Christ. For without his death, they thought it in vain
to slay Lazarus, since he that raised him once was able to raise
him again.
But because they never read of any man in the Scripture before
that ever after his death raised again himself (for of raising
others they had read), therefore, if they slew Christ, too, they
thought they should make all the matter safe. Whereupon as Saint
John in the eleventh chapter of his gospel
remembereth: "The bishops and the Pharisees
gathered together a council and said: "What do we? This man
doth many miracles, and if we leave him thus, all shall believe in him,
and then shall the Romans come and destroy both our town and
our people."" Thus the wily wretches, lo, the mischievous deed that
they went about for the maintenance of their own worldly winning
and in revenging of their own private malice, that would
they color under the pretext of a great zeal unto the commonwealth
of all the people. And in this saying, they very well wist that
they lied. For the Romans nothing recked what or on whom the
Jews believed, whose true belief in one God they counted for superstition.
And for nothing cared they among the Jews but that the
emperor of Rome should be their chief temporal governor and
have them his tributaries, and that they should have no king but
under him and at his assignment. Now that Christ went about no
temporal authority, nor would take upon him as king (albeit indeed
he was king), was well enough known unto them by that he not
only fled from being king when the people would have made him
king, but also refused to be so much as a judge or an arbitror in a
temporal matter concerning the dividing of a private inheritance
between two brethren, saying to the one, "Who hath appointed me
judge or divider between you?"
But yet for all this, one of that council, called Caiaphas (which
was bishop for that year), well allowed their false lying motion and
was angry that it went not farther straight unto Christ's death; and
therefore himself sharply, by the authority of his office, reproved
them and said unto them: "You know nothing" -- as though he would
say: "You be fools; you consider not that it is expedient for you that

one man die for the people, and not all the people to perish." These
words, as the evangelist saith, he spoke not of himself, but like as
though he were an evil bishop, yet he was a bishop, so, though he
meant but to further his malicious purpose, yet God so framed his
words that unaware to himself they should be a very true
profitable prophecy, signifying that that one man, our Savior
Christ, should die for all the people, and not only for that people,
but also, as Saint John farther saith, to gather together in one the
children of God that were dispersed abroad. And from that day did
they purpose kill our Savior Christ. For which, for a while, our
Savior forbore to walk abroad among the Jews, withdrawing
himself into the city of Ephraim with his disciples, near unto the
desert, because the bishops and the Pharisees had given a commandment
that if any man might wit where he were, he should
show them that they might make him be taken.
But yet for to declare that this withdrawing of Christ was to give
his disciples example, according to his own commandment to
fly from persecution when they conveniently can -- lest in temerarious
and foolhardy offering themselves thereto their bold pride
might turn into cowardice and take a foul, shameful fall -- that their
instruction was (I say) the cause of his withdrawing, and not any
fear of himself, he declared well on Palm Sunday after, when he
letted not openly to ride into the city, with his disciples about him,
where, without dread of his enemies, all the people received him with
procession and reverence, where all the people cried out as he went:
"Hosanna filio David, benedictus qui venit in nomine
Domini: Hosanna in altissimis." (Hosanna to the Son
of David, blessed is he that is come in the name of our Lord: Hosanna
in the high places.) "Hosanna" in Hebrew signifieth "I beseech thee
save me."
But when the bishops, the priests, and the scribes, and the
Pharisees heard and saw this, and that the people came so

many with him, and among them so many of those that had
seen Lazarus both quick and dead and four days buried, too, and
after yet now alive again, they thought again upon the killing
of Lazarus and our Savior, too. And because they durst at that time
not meddle with him for fear of the people, some of the Pharisees would
have had him cease that voice of the people himself, and said
unto him, "Master, make thy disciples here hold their peace," as
though that cry were but the cry of his disciples and not the
common voice of the people. But our Savior soon answered
them far of another fashion and said unto
them, "Though these would hold their peace,
the very stones shall cry it out." And this word proved true upon the
Good Friday following. For when the bishops, the priests, the
scribes, and the Pharisees had made the people leave off crying out of
Christ's praise, and also turned them to the crying out against
him to have him crucified, then, after all their cruelty spent out
upon his death, the very stones in their manner cried him out for
Christ when, as the gospel saith: "Velum templi
scissum est a summo usque deorsum, et petrae scissae
sunt, et monumenta aperta sunt, etc." (And the veil of the temple rived
from the height down unto the ground, and the stones broke, and the
graves opened, and after that, out of them rose many holy men's bodies.)
But, as I began to tell you, when Christ came riding into Jerusalem
so royally upon Palm Sunday, his enemies said unto themselves:
"You see we prevail nothing. Lo, all the world is fallen to him." And
upon this arose this new council taken upon the Wednesday after
(whereof our present lecture speaketh), in which there were gathered
together against Christ the princes of the priests and the ancients
of the people into the palace of Caiaphas, that was (as you have heard)
bishop for that year, to devise and study the means to take and
destroy our Savior.
Where the gospel saith "the princes of the priests," ye shall understand
that it was ordained in the law that there should be but one

prince of the priests -- bishop, or chief priest -- and he to continue
his office during his life. But afterward, by ambition of the priests,
usurpation, and covetise of the kings, the right order of the making
or choosing of the bishop was changed, and they were put in and put
out by the kings, sometimes for pleasure, sometimes for displeasure,
and sometimes for money, too, so that instead of one, now were they
waxen many. The ancients of the people were seventy, which by
Moses, at the special commandment of
God, were (as it appeareth in the eleventh chapter
of Numbers) institute and ordained to be judges over the people,
and, in great causes wherein their sentences varied, to refer the
matter unto the chief priest and stand to his determination in the
matter. This number was still continued in Jerusalem and these were
their ordinary judges upon the people, and these were those whom
he calleth here the ancients of the people.
Here was, as you see now, a solemn great assembly, but then
consider whereabout: about nothing else but to seek the ways and
the means how they might by some wile take and put an innocent
unto death. So may we see that every great council is not always
a good council, but as two or three be a good council that come
together in God's name to commune and counsel about good, and
among them is God (witnessing our Savior
where he saith, "Wheresoever are two or three
gathered together in my name, there am I, too, myself in the mids
of them"), so when men assemble them together to devise and
counsel about mischief and wretchedness, the more that are at it the
worse is the council and the less to be regarded, be their personages
in the sight of the world never so seemly and their
authority never so great, as these that here assemble about the
death of Christ were the chief heads and rulers of the people, and
especially the chief of the spirituality, so that those to whom it

especially belonged to provide for an innocent's surety, they were
these, lo, that especially gathered together to compass an innocent's
death. Out of such council God keep every good man. For that
holy king and prophet, David, speaking of blessedness, putteth
in the beginning of all his psalter for a principal blessedness:
"Beatus vir qui non abiit in consilium impiorum"
(Blessed is that man that hath not gone into the
council of wicked men), that is to wit, that unto their wicked
council hath not been partner nor given his assent. For likewise
as God is in the mids of the good council, so in the midst
of an evil council is there undoubtedly the devil.
But why went they about so busily to take him by some wily
train rather than boldly by force? The gospel showeth the cause:
"For they were afeard of the people." His living was so holy, his
doctrine was so heavenly, his miracles were so many and so marvelous,
that, though the priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees that bore
the rule deeply desired his death for their malicious anger and
envy, yet the people of their own minds so highly did esteem
him that, if he had been taken in their company, they would not
have failed to fight for him. And therefore agreed this great assembly
that they would not take him on the holy day, "ne forte tumultus
fiat in populo" (lest there should arise some seditious business among
the people). The people they feared, but God they feared not at all.
And as the prophet saith: "Illic trepidaverunt
timore, ubi non fuit timor" (There trembled they for
dread, where the dread was not). For as for the people, they might
percase by policy have found the means to master, but God might
they never master. The wavering people they found the means on
the morrow so to turn against Christ, that as fast as they honored
him and lauded him within five days before, and not long before
that would fain have made him king, as fast on the morrow they
mocked him and cried out to have him crucified. But God, when
all this great council had done their uttermost, the Godhead (I

say) of Christ himself (for his Father and himself and their Holy
Ghost are all three but one God) raised up his dead body again
and, maugre their men whom they set to keep his grave, he rose
and went out through the hard stone, and after sent such a
vengeance upon them all that from their misused liberty they
be fallen ever since in every part of the world into perpetual
And on this great assembled council against Christ that thought
themselves so strong, and their wily devices so wise that they
would, with the provision of that assembled council, utterly
destroy the innocent, are also well verified the words of the prophet:
"Qui habitat in caelis irridebit eos, et dominus subsannabit
eos." (He that dwelleth in heaven shall
laugh them to scorn, and our Lord shall make them a mow.) For
soon after was their council dissolved, and their council house
drawn down, and all the city destroyed, and he whom they killed
with their council in despite of their council liveth and reigneth
in heaven, while the foolish wretched wily counselors (such as
die in their sin) lie weeping and wailing, the devil's burning
prisoners, in the deep dungeon of hell.
The prayer.
Gracious God, give me thy grace so to consider the punishment of
that false great council that gathered together against thee, that
I be never to thy displeasure partner, nor give mine assent to follow
the sinful device of any wicked council.
The fourth lecture.
"But there entered Satanas into Judas, whose surname is Scariot,
one of the twelve. Then went he to the princes of the priests and to the
chief priests to betray him to them. And he had communication
with the princes of the priests and with the rulers in what manner
he should betray him to them. And he said unto them: "What will you

give me, and I shall deliver him to you?" And they, when they heard
him, were well apaid and promised and covenanted with him to
give him money, and appointed to give him thirty groats. And he
made them promise, and from that time forth he sought opportunity
how that he might at most commodity betray him out of presence
of the people."
Upon these words (good Christian people) is there given us the
occasion to speak yet of the third cause of Christ's passion, that is to
wit, upon what occasion the false traitor Judas was first moved to
fall to this heinous treason. For the perceiving whereof, we must
here repeat you one thing that was done a few days before. As it is
remembered in the twenty-sixth chapter of Saint Matthew, and in the fourteenth
of Saint Mark, and in the twelfth of Saint John, our Savior six days
before the feast of Passover went into Bethany, where he had before
raised Lazarus from death to life. There had he supper prepared for
him, in the house of Simon, the leper whom Christ had cured.
Martha served them, and Lazarus was one of the guests that sat at
the supper. Then came there Mary Maudlin, sister unto Lazarus
and Martha, and she took a pound-weight of ointment of nardus,
truly made and very dear, and therewith anointed she Christ's
feet, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. And over that
she broke the alabaster in which she brought it, and poured all the
remnant on his head. And all the house smelled sweet of the savor
of that sweet ointment. Then Judas, which after fell to the
treason and betrayed his master, grudged therewith and was
wroth therewith and said: "Wherefore was not this ointment
sold for three hundred pence and given to poor folk? It
might have been sold for a great deal, yea, more than for three hundred
pence, and given to poor folk." And thus said the thief, not
for anything that he cared for poor folk, but, as the gospel saith, because
he was a thief and bore the purse, into which he would fain

have had the price of that ointment so that he might thereof, after
his customable manner, have stolen out a part. Our Savior mildly
answered for Mary Maudlin and said: "Why reprove you this
woman? As for poor men you shall have ever with you, but me
shall ye not ever have." And then opened he the mystery secretly
wrought by God in the open work of her good affection, that where
she did it to show how glad she was of his presence there, as the
manner was that folk at feasts with pleasant sweet odors used
to glad their guests, God wrought therein, as our Savior there declared,
the signification of his burying. For the manner then was in
that country to anoint the dead corpse with sweet odors, as we
dress the winding sheet here with sweet herbs and flowers. And then
whereas the rude, grudging words of Judas were spoken to her
reproof, and in manner of her rebuke, our Savior on the other
side even there openly showed that for that deed should she forever,
with the preaching of that gospel, be renowned and honored
throughout all the world -- so pleasant is to God the good affection of the
heart declared by the frank, outward deed. For him must we serve,
though specially with the mind (which if it be not good vitiateth
all together), yet are we bounden to serve him also with body and
goods and all, for all have we received of him. But Judas, the covetous
wretch, when he saw that this ointment was not sold so that
he might steal a piece of the price, and then saw our Savior allow
her devotion in the deed and disallow his finding of that fault, as
mildly as his Master touched him, yet could not the proud beast
bear it, but beside his covetise fell unto malice too. And the devil
took his time and entered into his heart, and thereunto did put the
suggestion of his horrible treason, and made him to devise and
determine that the money which he lost by the anointing of his
Master he would get it up again by the betraying of his Master.
And thereupon came he to this assembly that we speak of now,
and, unsent for, presented himself unto them to help forward their
ungracious council.

And therefore, good reader, here we may well consider that when
men are in device about mischief, if they bring their purpose
properly to pass, cause have they none to be proud and praise
their own wits. For the devil it is, himself, that bringeth their
matters about much more, a great deal, than they. There was once a
young man fallen in a lewd mind toward a woman, and she was
such as he could conceive none hope to get her, and therefore was
falling to a good point in his own mind to let that lewd enterprise
pass. He mishapped nevertheless to show his mind to
another wretch, which encouraged him to go forward and leave
it not. "For begin thou once man the matter," quod he, "and never
fear it, let the devil alone with the remnant, he shall bring it to
pass in such wise as thyself alone canst not devise how." I trow
that wretch had learned that counsel of these priests and these
ancients, assembled here together against Christ at this council.
For here you see that while they were at their wits" end how to
bring their purpose about in the taking of Christ, and were at a
point to defer the matter and put it over till some other time, the
devil sped them by and by. For he entered into Judas" heart, and brought
him to them to betray him forthwith out of hand.
And therefore at his first coming, he went roundly to the matter
and said unto them: "What will ye give me and I shall deliver
him to you?" Here shall you see Judas play the jolly merchant, I
trow. For he knoweth how fain all this great council would
be to have him delivered. He knoweth well also that it will be hard
for any man to deliver him but one of his own disciples. He
knoweth well also that of all the disciples, there would none be so
false a traitor to betray his Master but himself alone. And
therefore is this ware, Judas, all in thine own hand. Thou hast a
monopoly thereof. And while it is so sought for and so sore desired,
and that by so many, and them that are also very rich, thou mayest
now make the price of thine own ware thyself, at thine
own pleasure; and therefore ye shall, good readers, see Judas wax
now a great rich man with this one bargain. But now the

priests and these judges were on the other side covetous too; and as
glad as they were of this ware, yet while it was offered them to sell,
they thought the merchant was needy, and that to such a needy merchant
a little money would be welcome, and money they offered
him, but not much. For thirty groats they said they will give, which
amounteth not much above ten shillings of our English money.
Now would we look that the fool would have set upon his ware, namely
being such ware as it was, so precious in itself that all the money
and plate in the whole world were too little to give for it. But now what
did the fool? To show himself a substantial merchant and not an
huckster, he gently let them have it even at their own price. I wot
it well that, of the valeur of the money that Judas had, all folk are not
of one mind, but whereas the text saith triginta argenteos, some men
call argenteus a coin of one valure and some of another. And some
put a difference between argenteus and denarius, and say that denarius
is but the tenth part of argenteus. But I suppose that argenteus was the
same silver coin which the Romans at that time used stamped in
silver, in which they expressed the image of the emperor's visage and
the superscription of the emperor's name, and was in Greek called
drachma, being in weight about the eighth part of an ounce. For of
such coin there are yet many remaining both of Augustus" days
and Tiberius" and of Nero's too. So that if the coin were that (for greater
silver coin I nowhere find that the emperor coined at that time),
then was Judas" reward the valure of ten shillings of our English
money, after the old usual groats used in the time of King Edward
the third, and long before and long after.
The ointment was of nardus of the true making, as the gospel
declareth in this word, nardi pistici. And that ointment truly made
was very costly, which was the cause that the true making was less
used, and folk for the great cost thereof used another making
thereof that was called counterfeit ointment of nardus. But this was
of the true making, and was (as the gospel saith) precious, and that so

far forth that Judas valued it at three hundred deniers, which I take
for three hundred pieces of the selfsame coin that was called argenteus.
For if it were but a coin (as some take it) that were worth but
the tenth part of that, then had all the ointment not been much
above the valure of four groats, which had been no such thing as
had been likely that the evangelists would have called precious. And
therefore I reckon that ointment to have been esteemed by Judas at
an hundred shillings. And now was his reward ten shillings,
which is the tenth part of that hundred shillings, as thirty groats is
the tenth part of three hundred. And thus hath he by the betraying of
his Master's body the tenth part of the valure of that ointment
whereof he lost his advantage by the anointing of his Master's body.
Now if it be, as some doctors reckon, that he minded to win as
much by his treason as he reckoned for his own part lost in that
ointment, then seemeth it after this count and reckoning that, of such
as came in his keeping, he was after his customable manner wont
to steal the tenth. And then was Judas a figure of two false shrews
at once: the one the parishen that stealeth his tithe from his curate,
to whom his duty were to pay it in God's stead; the other yet the
worse thief of them both, the evil curate himself, which, when he
receiveth it, misspendeth upon himself such substance thereof
as above his own necessary finding God putteth him in trust to bestow
upon the poor needy people.
It is a world also to mark and consider how the false wily
devil hath, in everything that he doth for his servants, evermore
one point of his envious property, that is to wit, to provide (his own
purpose obtained) that they shall have of his service for their own
part as little commodity as he can, even here in this world. For like
as he got here unto Judas no more advantage of his heinous
treason (the occasion of his final destruction) but only this poor ten
shillings -- whereas if his Master Christ had lived, and he still carried
his purse, there is no doubt but that he should at sundry times have

stolen out for his part far above five times that -- so fareth he
with all his other servants.
Look for whom he doth most in any kind of filthy fleshly delight,
or false, wily winning, or wretched worldly worship; let
him that attaineth it in his unhappy service make his reckoning
in the end of all that feast, and count well what is come in and
what he hath paid therefore -- that is to wit, lay all his
pleasures and his displeasures together -- and I dare say he shall find
in the end that he had been a great winner if he never had
had any of them both, so much grief shall he find himself to have
felt, far above all his pleasure, even in those days in which his
fantasies were in their flowers and prospered, beside the pain and
heaviness of heart that now in the end grudgeth and grieveth his
conscience, when the time of his pleasure is passed and the fear of
hell followeth at hand.
Let us therefore leave the devil's false, deceitful service and take
nothing at his hand. For he nothing giveth but trifles, nor never
giveth half an inch of pleasure without a whole ell of pain. And
yet had Judas not the wit to disdain their simple niggardous reward,
but continued for it in his treason still, till he had wretchedly
done it. And from that time of that reward promised him, with
which yet (as it seemeth) they would not trust him till they had the
ware in their own hand, he studied and sought the time in which
he might peaceably deliver our Lord, when the people were out of the
In this, as the great clerk Origen declareth, this Judas was a
figure also of many other Judas. For in many places when the
people be out of the way and gone aside from the faith, then shall
there some false wretch that hath been with Christ many a fair
day, and hath been his disciple, and among other true disciples hath
faithfully preached the truth, come forth in the devil's name among
the people and, for wretched worldly winning to be gotten by their
favor, shall falsely betray the truth and cause to be spitefully

killed the faithful true doctrine of Christ. But woe may that
wretch be by whom the truth is betrayed.
A prayer.
O my sweet Savior Christ, whom thine own wicked disciple,
entangled with the devil, through vile wretched covetise betrayed,
inspire, I beseech thee, the marvel of thy majesty with the love
of thy goodness so deep into mine heart that, in respect of the least
point of thy pleasure, my mind may set always this whole
wretched world at naught.
The fifth lecture.
"Before the feast of the Passover, Jesus, knowing that his hour came
on to go out of this world unto his Father, whereas he had loved those
that were his, unto the end he loved them."
In these words the Holy Evangelist Saint John, whom Christ
so tenderly loved that on his breast he leaned in his Last Supper, and
to him secretly he uttered the false dissimuled traitor, and into
whose custody he commended on the cross his own dear, heavy
mother, and which is (for the manifold tokens of Christ's special
favor) specially called in the gospel, "discipulus
ille quem diligebat Iesus" (the disciple that Jesus
loved), declareth here what a manner of faithful lover our Holy Savior
was, of whom himself was so beloved. For unto those words he
putteth and forthwith joineth the rehearsing of his bitter passion,
beginning with his Maundy and therein his humble washing of his
disciples" feet, the sending forth of the traitor, and after that
his doctrine, his prayer, his taking, his judging, his scourging, his
crucifying, and all the whole piteous tragedy of his most bitter
passion. Before all which things he setteth these fore-rehearsed
words to declare that all these things that Christ did in all this,

he did it for very love. Which love he well declared unto his disciples
by many manner means at the time of his Maundy giving
them in charge that in loving each other they should follow the example
of himself. For he, those that he loved, he loved unto the end, and
so would he that they should. He was not an unconstant lover that
doth, as many do, love for a while and then, upon a light occasion,
leave off and turn from a friend to an enemy, as the false traitor
Judas did. But he still so persevereth in love unto the very
end, that for very love he came to that painful end; and yet not
only for his friends that were already his, but for his enemies, to
make them friends of his, and that not for his benefit, but only for
their own. And here shall we note that, whereas the gospel saith
in this place and diverse other that Christ should go out of this
world unto his Father (as where he said. "Poor
men shall ye always have, but me shall you
not always have"), it is not meant that he shall be no more with his
Church here in the world nor come no more here till the day of
doom. For himself promised and said, "I am with you
all the days even unto the end of the world." He is here in his
Godhead. He is here in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and sundry
times hath here, since his ascension, appeared unto diverse holy men.
But those other words, as Saint Jerome saith (and Saint Bede, too),
are understood that he will not be here in corporal conversation
among us, as he was before his passion among his disciples, with
whom he commonly did eat and drink and talk.
Let us here deep consider the love of our Savior Christ,
which so loved his unto the end, that for their sakes he willingly
suffered that painful end, and therein declared the highest point
of love that can be. For as himself saith:
"Maiorem amorem nemo habet, quam ut animam
suam ponat quis pro amicis suis." (A greater love no

man hath than to give his life for his friends.) This is indeed the
greatest love that ever any other man had. But yet had our
Savior a greater. For he gave his, and I said before, both for friend
and foe.
But what a difference is there now between this faithful love
of his and other kinds of false and fickle love used in this wretched
world. The flatterer feigneth to love thee, for that he fareth well with
thee. But now if adversity so diminish thy substance that he find
thy table unlaid, farewell, adieu, thy brother flatterer is gone, and
getteth him to some other board, and yet shall turn sometime to
thine enemy, too, and wait thee with a shrewd word.
Who can in adversity be sure of many of his friends when our
Savior himself was at his taking left alone and forsaken of his?
When thou shalt go hence, who will go with thee? If thou were
a king, will not all thy realm send thee forth alone and forget
thee? Shall not thine own flesh let thee walk away, naked, silly soul,
thou little wottest whither? Howbeit, if thou die in the devil's
danger, some fleshly lover of thine may soon after hap to follow
thee, some such as in lecherous love hath borne thee filthy company.
But if such a lover of thine happen there to come to thee, there will there
be no love touches between you, but, cursing and banning, shall you
lie together wretchedly burning forever, where each of you shall
be a hot faggot of fire to your filthy fellow.
Let us every man, therefore, in time learn to love, as we
should, God above all thing and all other thing for him. And whatsoever
love be not referred to that end, that is to wit, to the
pleasure of God it is a very vain and an unfruitful love. And whatsoever
love we bear to any creature whereby we love God the
less, that love is a loathsome love and hindereth us from heaven. Love
no child of thine own so tenderly but that thou couldst be
content so to sacrifice it to God as Abraham
was ready with Isaac, if it so were that God would
so command thee. And since God will not so do, offer thy child

otherwise to God's service. For whatsoever thing we love whereby
we break God's commandment, that love we better than God --
and that is a love deadly and damnable. Now, since our Lord hath
so loved us for our salvation, let us diligently call for his grace that
against his great love we be not found unkind.
A prayer.
O my sweet Savior Christ, which, of thine undeserved love toward
mankind, so kindly wouldst suffer the painful death of the cross,
suffer not me to be cold nor lukewarm in love again toward thee.
The second chapter.
Of the sending of Saint Peter and Saint John, the first day
of the unleavened loaves, specified in the twenty-sixth of Saint
Matthew, the fourteenth of Saint Mark, the twenty-second of Saint
Luke, and the thirteenth of Saint John.
"The first day of the unleavened loaves, when the paschal
lamb was offered, in which the paschal lamb must needs be
killed, there came the disciples to Jesus and say to him:
"Whither wilt thou that we go and make ready for thee, that thou
mayest eat the paschal lamb?" And he sendeth of his disciples Peter
and John, saying, "Go you and make ready for us the paschal lamb
that we may eat it." But they said: "Where wilt thou that we shall make
it ready?" And he said unto them: "Go you into the city to a
certain man. Lo, as you shall be entering into the city, there
shall meet you a man bearing a pot of water. Follow you him
into the house into which he entereth. And ye shall say to the

goodman of the house: "The Master saith to thee, "My time is near,
with thee I make my paschal. Where is my refection, where is my
place where I may eat my paschal with my disciples?"" And
he shall show you a great supping place paved, and there make you
it ready." And his disciples went and came into the city. And,
as they went, they found as Jesus had said unto them. And
they made ready the paschal lamb. When the evening was come,
he came with the twelve. And when the hour was come, he set down
at the table, and the twelve apostles with him."
The homily or lecture upon the second chapter.
I have before, good Christian readers, showed you in the exposition of
the first chapter the ordinance and institution of the feast of the
paschal lamb and of the feast of the unleavened bread, and how
the offering of that lamb was a figure of the offering up of Christ,
the very unspotted lamb, that should be offered up to cleanse and
wash away the spots of our sin with the innocent blood of
himself that had no spot of sin of his own. The paschal lamb
was commanded to be sacrificed and eaten after the equinoctial
in vere, the fourteenth day of the month. And on the morrow, and so
forth seven days after (that is to wit, beginning the fifteenth day), was
the feast of the unleavened bread, during which space they were
commanded that they should have no leaven in their house. Ye must
understand also that though the first day of the feast of the unleavened
loaves was the fifteenth day, yet likewise as we begin every feast
from the noon before, so did the Jews begin that first day of the
feast of the unleavened loaves in the evening before, when they might
see the moon and the stars appear in the element. And so, though the
eating of the paschal lamb was the fourteenth day of the month, and the

first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Loaves was on the fifteenth day, yet
by reason that the same first day of the feast began at the evening
before (that is to wit, in the evening of the fourteenth day, in which
evening the paschal lamb was to be sacrificed and eaten), these
two feasts were, as you see, coincident together. For the one fell in
the beginning of the other. And for this cause were each of them
called by the both names, that is to wit, by the name of "the Feast of
the Paschal" and also by the name of "the Feast of the Unleavened
Bread." For since the feast of the paschal lamb was the chief
feast and was also the beginning of the other, all the Feast of the Unleavened
Loaves was called "the paschal." And again because the
first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Loaves, though it were the
fifteenth day of the month, yet, since it began (I say) in the evening of
the fourteenth day (at such time as the paschal lamb was sacrificed
and eaten), the Feast of the Paschal Lamb was also called "the Feast
of the Unleavened Bread" and "the first day of the Feast of the Unleavened
Bread." And for this cause do both Saint Matthew and
Saint Mark call the Shere Thursday in which Christ made his
Maundy the first day of the unleavened loaves, saying: "The first day
of the unleavened loaves, in which the paschal lamb must be killed
and sacrificed, the disciples came to Jesus and asked him: "Whither
wilt thou that we shall go to make ready the paschal lamb?"" And,
as I said, the Jews called also the Feast of the Unleavened Bread "the
Feast of Paschal." And especially they called and hallowed by that name
of "paschal" the first day of the unleavened bread, which was the
morrow after the eating of the paschal lamb. And after that
manner of their naming that day "the Feast of
Paschal," Saint John in the thirteenth chapter of his
gospel: "Ante diem festum Paschae, sciens Iesus quia venit hora eius ut
transeat ex hoc mundo ad patrem, etc." (Before the holy day of paschal,
Jesus, knowing that his time was come that he should go out of this
world unto his Father, and so forth.) Here, lo, Saint John calleth

Shere Thursday, in the evening of which day the paschal lamb
was eaten, he calleth it (I say) by the name of "the day before that
feastful day of the paschal," because the Jews did celebrate the morrow
(after the paschal eaten) very solemnly, and called (as I have
told you) that feast the feast of the paschal. And therefore Saint
John here saying "Ante diem festum Paschae," and calling Shere Thursday
"the day before the feastful day of paschal" (because the Jews so
used to call the first day of the unleavened bread that began in the
evening before, in which the paschal lamb was killed), used such a
manner of speaking as we might call "Christmas Eve" the
day before the feastful day of Christmas.
I would not, good readers, stick so long upon the declaration of this
point (as a thing wherein some shall peradventure take little
savor), saving that I thought it not a time all lost to let you
know that, upon the Scripture in this point mistaken, the
church of Greece fell from the church of the Latins in a point or
twain. For, upon their own wrong construing this place of
Saint John, they say that Christ did anticipate the time of eating
his paschal lamb with his apostles, and (where the very day was
the fourteenth day after their vernal equinoctial in the evening) he
did it (say they) the day before.
For the understanding whereof, ye shall note, that among the
Jews" neomenia, the first day of the new moon next after the
equinoctial in vere, that is to wit, after the entering of the sun
into Aries, which is the eleventh or the twelfth day of March, the day of
the next change of the moon after that is the first day of the
year with the Jews. And the fourteenth day after, which is quarta decima
lunae, is the eating of their paschal lamb at night, and that day is
not holy day till night. And on the morrow is their great feast

day, that is to wit, the first day of the unleavened bread, but it
beginneth in the evening before, and so do all their feasts and
their Sabbath days begin in the evening, and endure to the
evening following: A vespere ad vesperum
servabitis sabbata vestra: The year in which
our savior was crucified quarta decima lunae fell in feriae quinta, that is to
wit, upon the Thursday. And therefore in the evening of that
Thursday, Christ made his Maundy, and so did all the Jews. For
that was the very day appointed by the scripture
in Exodus. And on the morrow, which was
Good Friday and which was quinta decima lunae, was the first day
and the chief day of the unleavened bread. Which feast began
in the evening before, that is to wit, on Shere Thursday when the
eating of the Paschal lamb was. And therefore was it eaten with
unleavened bread. And so consequently Christ did consecrate
in unleavened bread. For in that evening began primus dies azimorum,
as appeareth plainly by Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, and
Saint Luke.
But the posterior Greeks say that Christ did not eat his
Paschal lamb in the day appointed by the law, that is to wit,
in vespere quarta decima lunae, but they say that he did prevent the time by a
day, and did eat it in vespere tertia decima lunae. But yet they said not that
he eat it on the Wednesday. But they say that the Thursday was tertia decima
lunae, and that quarta decima lunae in which the Paschal should be eaten by
the law, was on Good Friday, and that the Jews did eat it then,
and that in that evening upon Good Friday, in which day Christ
died, then the Jews did eat the Paschal lamb. And that on the
morrow, which was the Sabbath day, was quinta decima lunae; and so therefore
on that day was their great fest, that is to wit, the first day
of the unleavened bread, which began, they say, on Good Friday
in the evening at the rising of the moon. And for that cause they
say that Christ did consecrate in leavened bread because he consecrated
on Thursday, which was, they say, not quarta decima lunae but

tertia decima and that the unleavened bread came not in, until the evening
in quarta decima lunae, that was (say they) not till Good Friday in the evening.
Which they prove by the words of Saint John tertia decima ante diem festum
paschae. And they say festum paschae was the feast of eating of the Paschal
lamb. And so our Lord, they say, made his Maundy before the
feast of the eating of the Paschal Lamb, that is to wit, the day
before quarta decima lunae. And so Shere Thursday was, they say, tertia decima lunae. And
therefore they say that the very day thereof, that is to wit,
quarta decima lunae, was they say on Good Friday, and the Jews they say
did eat it that day after Christ's death, and that therefore they
would not come in praetorium ut non contaminarentur, sed ut manducarent
pascha. And that Christ because he knew that he should that day
be crucified, did prevent the day, and did eat it the day before,
and therefore (say they) he had none unleavened bread. And you
shall understand that this is the cause for which they consecrate
the body of Christ in leavened bread, contrary to the Latin
church, which consecrateth in unleavened bread. For they say (and
truth it is) that the feast of the unleavened loaves began the fifteenth
day. And then (say they) he consecrated his blessed body at his
Maundy on the thirteenth day (that was, say they, Shere Thursday),
and therefore he consecrated then with leavened bread. Now to this
we have showed you that the first day of that feast of unleavened
bread began the feast in the evening before, that is to wit, on
Shere Thursday at night, and that Christ made then his Maundy
in the very time that was by the law appointed to the eating the
paschal lamb. And since he intended to fulfill the law, so was it
most convenient that he should and most likely that he would --
and so of truth he did, as the three evangelists, Saint Matthew,
Saint Mark, and Saint Luke, plainly do declare. For they three agree
together that it was in the first day of the unleavened bread and in
which day the paschal lamb must be killed. And so it appeareth

by them that, though the first day of that feast was the fifteenth day,
yet the feast of that fifteenth day began in the evening before in
which the paschal lamb was eaten, and eaten (as it appeareth
plainly) with unleavened bread. And verily methinketh that if it
so had been (as it was not) that Christ had made his Maundy a day
before the time, yet would not that sufficiently serve for the proof of
their purpose that he consecrated in leavened bread. For though
it be a good proof that, since he consecrated in the feast of the unleavened
loaves, he consecrated not in leavened bread (because the
law forbade them to have any leaven in the house), yet if he had
consecrated five days before that feast began, it would not prove
that he consecrated in leavened bread. For they might then and at
all times have unleavened bread, since that was at no time forbidden.
Ante diem festum paschae is meant by the first day of the feast
of the unleavened loaves, which was on Good Friday, that was quinta decima
lunae. And that feast was called festum paschae, because it began in
the evening on Shere Thursday wherein the Paschal lamb was eaten,
Quod abstinebant a praetorio ut mundi manducarent pascha upon Good
Friday, was for the unleavened bread, which was also called by the
name of Passover and continued seven days. Burgensis maketh another
manner of reckoning, with which we shall not need to meddle.
This much is perplex enough.
But surely the church of Greece was far overseen in this point
and diverse other, in which they partly acknowledged their errors
after and were reformed in general councils, and yet returned
of frowardness to their errors again, and in conclusion we see
whereto they be come.
But ye shall understand that, when I speak of the church of
Greece in this error, I speak but of the posteriors. For the old

holy doctors of the Greeks were of the contrary mind, as appeareth
in this point by the plain words of
Saint Eusebius and Saint Chrysostom both.
And that you may the more plainly perceive what peril it was
unto them to fall to an opinion contrary to the Church by construing
the Scripture after a few folks" fantasies, those Greeks
that began this opinion were fain in conclusion for the defense
of their error to say that Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, and
Saint Luke wrote in that point wrong all three, and that therefore
Saint John wrote otherwise and corrected them which
untrue saying of theirs is so far out of all frame that it is among
Christian men more than shame to say it, that any of the four
Evangelists should in the story write anything false, for then
which of them might we trust, since we can be no more sure
of the one than of the other.
But now let us proceed forth in the letter.
"When his disciples had asked him where his pleasure was that
they should make ready the paschal for him, he sent two of his
apostles, that is to wit, Peter and John, and said unto them: "Go
you and prepare the paschal lamb for us that we may eat it.""
Our Savior, which said of himself, "Non veni solver legem sed
adimplere" (I am not come to break the law, but to fulfill it), likewise as
he would be circumcised first before he changed that sacrament into
the more perfect sacrament of baptism, so, for the fulfilling of the old
law, before he would offer up his own blessed body, the very
unspotted lamb, upon the cross, and before also that he would
institute the eating of his own blessed body in form of bread and
wine in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, he would first fulfill
the precept of the law by the eating of the paschal lamb in time
and manner appointed by the law, and so fulfill and finish the
figure, and institute in the stead, thereof, the sacrament of highest
perfection, the Blessed Sacrament of the altar, and offer up
for the spots of our sin his own unspotted body as the most
sweet sacrifice unto the Father upon the altar of the cross.
It followeth: "Then they said unto him, "Where wilt thou that we

shall make it ready?" And he said unto them: "Go you into the city
to a certain man. Lo, as you be entering into the city, there shall
a man meet you bearing a pot of water; follow you him into the
house into which he entereth, and you shall say to the goodman of
the house: "The Master saith to thee, "My time is near, with thee I make
my paschal. Where is my place where I may with my disciples eat
the paschal?"" And he shall show you a great supping place on high
paved, and there do you make it ready.""
In these words it appeareth well that our Lord, when he sent
Saint Peter and Saint John unto the house where they should prepare
his Maundy, he would neither name them the dweller of the
house nor tell them any known token of the house, of which thing
diverse of the old doctors conject and tell diverse causes. Some say
he sent them to a man not named in token that God will
come not only to men that are in the world famous and of great
name but also to folk of none estimation in the count of the world
nor of no name. Some other say (and both twain may well be
true) that forasmuch as our Savior (to whom nothing was
unknown) knew the promise of the false traitor Judas made unto
the Jews upon the day before to betray him, and that he went
about ever after that to seek a time fit therefore where he
might betray him to them out of sight of the people, if he
should have named the man or the place, the traitor might
have caused him and his disciples to be taken before his Maundy
made and his holy body consecrated in the Blessed Sacrament. And
therefore, albeit that if the traitor had come and all the whole town
with him, our Savior could have kept them all off with one
word of his mouth or with one thought of his holy heart, yet
this way liked his high wisdom as the most meet and convenient
by which he would keep the traitor from the accomplishment
of his traitorous purpose till the time should come in
which himself had determined to suffer it. And therefore our
Savior used himself in this point wonderfully. For albeit that

the two disciples whom he sent were of all his apostles the most
special chosen and most in trust and favor with him, Saint
Peter, which (as it appeareth in scripture and as the doctors say)
especially loved him, and Saint John, which (as the Scripture saith
and the doctors thereon) especially was beloved of him, yet would
he not take them aside and tell them the name of the man, lest
he might thereby have given occasion of envy or suspicion to
Judas, or peradventure grief to the remnant, if Christ should have
seemed to trust them with that errand secretly with which he
would trust none of them. He gave them therefore their errand
in so strange a fashion that neither themselves nor any of the
other ten could wit what to think therein. For he answered
them as though he would say, "Where you shall prepare I will
not tell you, nor who shall bring you thither I will not show
you, but to let you see what I can do when me list, such a
token shall I tell you to bring you thither as neither no man
knoweth nor no man can know but myself that am able at the
time to make it so."
Then it followeth: "And his disciples went forth and came into
the city, and they found as Jesus had said unto them and
prepared there the paschal."
Here had his apostles and, by them, we too, a proof of his glorious
Godhead, secretly covered and unseen under the cloak of his
seeming feeble manhead. And that not in this thing alone, but in
this among many more, some of the other kind of miracle, and some
also like unto this. For as he did here show his disciples where
they should meet the man with the water pot and then what
he would have them do further, and that his bidding should
surely be fulfilled and obeyed, so did he on the Palm Sunday before,
when he sent his disciples and told them where they should
find the ass and the colt tied, and bade them take them boldly
without any leave of the owner, and, whosoever would say aught
unto them therefore, they should say that their Master must

occupy them. A much like manner of message he gave his two
apostles now, telling them where they should meet with a
strange man and, so forth, what they should do further.
Now who but God could surely send men on such manner
messages in which they should be sure to find such things as
are unto all creatures unsure and uncertain, as things accounted
to fall under chance and hap? And therefore, while they found
everything come to pass as he had before told them, they
might (and we may) surely know him for God. For who could
tell that the man with his pot of water, walking on his errand,
and the two apostles going forth on theirs, neither party looking
for other, should so begin to set forth and in such wise hold
on their way that they should, at a place which neither of the both
parties appointed, so justly meet together? This could none do but
he that not only beheld both parties at once but was able also
to put in both their minds to set forth in time such as should
serve therefore, and to moderate and measure their paces himself
in such wise as themselves wist not why, and by his sure
providence (seeming to themselves hap, fortune, or chance)
suddenly to meet together. This thing can there of himself none
other do but he that hath the acts and the deeds of all creatures in his
own hand, that of two sparrows being both
not worth an halfpenny, not so much as the
one falleth, as our Savior saith, upon the ground without him.
Then it followeth further: "When the evening was come, Christ
came with his twelve. And when the hour was come, he sat him
down at the table and his twelve apostles with him."
Notwithstanding that the bishops and the Pharisees had
before given commandment (as appeareth in the eleventh chapter of
the gospel of Saint John) that if any man wist where Christ
were, he should give them knowledge that they might take him,

and notwithstanding also that his own disciple Judas had
promised them to do that traitorous deed himself, yet our Savior
since his time came on in which he was determined willingly to
die, letted not to come into the city and came also not alone but
with his twelve apostles waiting upon him, whereby his coming
was well likely to be noted. But he wist well enough that would
befall, and that upon any marking of that coming he should not
be taken. For he would not so be taken, nor would not so prevent
his traitor of his purpose, nor so disturb him of his promise, nor
so make him leese his reward, but, benignly suffering him and taking
patience with him, and yet offering him grace and kindness to win
him, brought him to the Maundy with him. And therefore saith
Saint Mark, "He came and his twelve with him." Whereby it should
seem that Saint Peter and Saint John, after their errand done,
resorted unto Christ again and made him report of their speed,
and so came in company with the other ten unto the Maundy
with him.
Judas the traitor, in such places as the evangelists make
mention of his going to the council and assembly of the priests
to offer them his service in the treason, both Saint Matthew, Saint
Mark, and Saint Luke make specially mention that he was one of
the twelve. And here we see therefore by the evangelists not only mention
that he came with our Lord but also that he sat at the supper
with our Lord, and so for all the treason that the traitor wrought,
yet was the traitor Christ's apostle still. And this point the evangelists
again and again rehearse, not only to the shame of his
traitorous falsehead, in betraying such a Master with whom he was
so taken forth to be so near about him, one of that few chosen
number and so especially put in trust, but also that we should note
well and mark thereby that the vice of a vicious person vitiateth
not the company or congregation. For Christ with his twelve apostles
were an holy company as a company, though one companion
of the company was a very false, traitorous wretch. And for all his
falsehead, both before that in theft and then in treason, too, Christ
abode still with him among his other apostles, and his ungraciousness

letted not but that of that company (as evil as he was) yet one he
was. Nor now likewise the vices of vicious folk in Christ's church
cannot let but that his Catholic Church, of which they be part,
is, for all their unholiness, his holy Catholic Church, with which he
hath promised to be unto the end of the world.
Upon this chapter among many things that men may take occasion
to note, I note specially twain: one, the example that our
Savior here giveth us to be diligent and studious in the keeping of
his new law (which he hath ordained to endure in this world as
long as the world shall last), while himself was so diligent in the
observing of the old law (which, given unto Moses, himself
came to change into so far the better and to deliver us from the
sore yoke thereof). But surely I fear me sore that with a great part of
Christian people, the law of Christ is worse kept a great deal
than was with the Jews the law of Moses at the coming of
Christ, when it was kept worst. As for the sovereign points of
patience and charity and contempt of the world, wherein our
Savior saith in the sixth chapter of Saint Matthew that he
would have his new church far pass and excel the old synagogue,
be so far, I fear me, let slip and forgotten that, even in the very
plain precepts, we be more negligent than they. The Jews were
in the keeping of the spirit of the law so negligent that God
therefore, by the mouths of his prophets David and Isaiah, showed
himself to reject and set at naught their outward ceremonies,
sacrifices, and observances of their law, wherein he confessed them
diligent, and said that with so little as they used of the other, he
had of them so much that he was full thereof fastidious and
weary. Not that those things misliked him, either done of their
private devotion or for the fulfilling of the law, but for that they
rested and satisfied their hearts in them, and both left the better
things undone and also did much evil, too, trusting that those
outward works of their ceremonies and sacrifices should
recompense it, and before God, bear it out. Which erroneous

mind of theirs our Lord by the prophets reproved, declaring
that on their fasting days they would, while they fasted from
meat, not fast from sin but strive and chide and fight and
sharply sue their debtors. He bade them amend those faults
and be charitable and forgive and give, and then would he better
allow their bare offering and sacrifice by word than now, with
these fashions used, he would their sacrifice in offering up of
their beasts unto their no little cost. This tale that I tell you doth
well appear upon the forty-ninth psalm of David
and upon the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah, whose
words to rehearse here were very long.
But now methink that we Christian folk wax in worse case.
For in the deeds of charity we walk, I fear me, nothing before
them. And in those evil things we be nothing behind them.
And yet in the outward ceremonies also, I ween we be nothing
matches with them. For surely they did much more cost and
used more devotion than we do. Of the cost there can no man
deny but that their offerings and their sacrifices were, beside
their tithes, far more chargeable and costly to them than the
rites and ceremonies of Christendom are unto the Christian people.
Of their diligence and devotion therein, we may well perceive, both
by the places that I have spoken of (in which our Lord rejecteth
their diligence therein because of their negligence of charity and
their froward, malicious manners beside) and also by many other
places in the old law where the commendable devotion of their
costly ceremonies and sacrifices appear. Their fastings were also
very painful and precise, and ours negligent, slack, and remiss,
and now almost worn away. Their Sabbath days and their feasts
kept they very solemn. How slackly we keep ours in many
places, and in what manner fashion, I cannot for sorrow and very
shame rehearse. As for their faith, from those that among them held
on the truth, the Jews were fallen into sects one or twain. But
now if we should count and reckon the sundry sects which

from the true faith are fallen about in diverse parts of Almaine, I
fear me we should find almost as many score. I can no more but
pray God therefore that we may have the grace to follow the
example of our Savior and observe his new law, which we be
bounden to keep, as he observed the old law, which, though he came
to change it, yet he would first fulfill it, for all that he was not
bound to keep it. The other thing that I note in this chapter is
that it appeareth thereupon, as
Theophylactus and Saint Bede say, and Saint
Chrysostom also, that Christ had none house
of his own, nor none of his apostles neither, as himself said of himself
in the ninth chapter of Saint Luke: "Filius
hominis non habet ubi caput suum reclinet." (The Son
of Man hath not where to lay his head.) And therefore his apostles
asked him in what house he would eat his paschal. And our
Savior again, to let them see that whoso for God's sake is content
to lack a house shall not be disappointed when they should
need it, sent them to another man's house, they neither wist
whose nor where, and yet were they there welcome and well received.
In this we may take example also, that those that will be the
disciples of Christ and followers of his apostles should not long
to be great possessioners and build up great palaces in this wretched
wilderness of the world, wherein, to show that we have, as Saint
Paul saith, "no dwelling city," our Savior and his apostles would
have no dwelling house. One of the most special things to move
us to the contempt of this world and to regard much the world
to come is to consider that in that world we shall be forever at
home and that in this world, we be but wayfaring folk. And
verily though it be (as indeed it is) easy enough for any man to
say the word that he is here but a pilgrim, yet is it hard for
many a man to let it fall feelingly and sink down deep into his heart,
which (against that word slightly spoken once in a year) useth to

rejoice and boast many times in a day, by the space peradventure of
many years together, what goodly places in this world he hath of his
own, in every of which continually he calleth himself at home.
And that such folk reckon themselves not for pilgrims here, they
feel full well at such time as our Lord calleth them hence. For
then find they themselves much more loath to part from this
world than pilgrims to go from their inn.
The prayer.
Almighty Jesus Christ, which wouldst for our example observe
the law that thou camest to change, and being Maker of the
whole earth, wouldst have yet no dwelling house therein, give us
thy grace so to keep thine holy law and so to reckon ourselves
for no dwellers but for pilgrims upon earth, that we may long
and make haste, walking with faith in the way of virtuous
works, to come to the glorious country wherein thou hast
bought us inheritance forever with thine own precious
De Ablutione Pedum: Ioannis 13
Capud tertium.
Et cena facta quum diabolus iam misisset in cor Iudae, ut traderet eum Iudus
Simonis Scariothis: sciens quia omnia dedit ei pater in manus, quia a deo
exiit, et ad deum vadit.Surgit a cena et ponit vestimenta sua, et quum
accepisset linteum, praecinxit se: Deinde misit aquam in pelvem: et coepit
lavare pedes discipulorum suorum, et extergere linteo, quo erat praecinctus.
Venit ergo ad Simonem Petrum, et dicit ei petrus, domine, tu mihi lavas
pedes? respondit Iesus, et dixit ei, quid ego facio tu nescis modo, scies autem
postea. Dicit ei Petrus, non lavabis, mihi pedes in aeternum: respondit ei Iesus
si non lavero te, non habebis partem mecum. Dicit ei Simon petrus. non tantum
pedes, sed et manus et caput. dicit ei Iesus: qui lotus est, non indiget nisi ut

pedes lavet: sed est mundus totus: et vos mundi estis, sed non omnes: sciebat
namque quisnam esset qui traderet eum: propterea dixit: non estis mundi omnes.
postquam ergo lavit pedes eorum, accepit vestimenta sua: et quum recubuisset
iterum, dixit eis. Scitis quid fecerim vobis: vos vocatis me magister et domine,
et bene dicitis, sum etenim: Si ergo ego lavi pedes vestros, dominus et magister,
et vos debetis alter alterius lavare pedes. Exemplum enim dedi vobis: ut quemadmodum
ego feci vobis, ita et vos faciatis. Amen, amen, dico vobis: Non
est servus maior domino suo, neque Apostolus maior eo qui misit illum. Si hoc
scitis, beati eritis si feceritis ea.
The third chapter.
Of the washing of the feet, specified in the
thirteen chapter of the gospel of Saint John.
"And when supper was done, when the devil had put into the
heart of Judas, the son of Simon of Scariot, to betray him,
Jesus, knowing that his Father had given him all things into his
hands, and that he was come from God and goeth to God,
ariseth from supper and putteth off his clothes and took a linen
cloth and did gird it about him. Then he did put water
into a basin and began to wash the feet of his disciples and
wipe them with the linen cloth that he was gird withal. Then
cometh he to Simon Peter, and Peter saith unto him: "Lord,
washest thou my feet?" Jesus answered and said unto him, "What I
do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know after." Peter
saith unto him: "Thou shalt never wash my feet." Jesus answered
unto him: "If I wash thee not, thou shalt have no part with me."
Simon Peter said unto him, "Lord, not only my feet, but my
hands and my head, too." Jesus saith unto him: "He that is washed
needeth no more but that he wash his feet, but is all clean. And
you be clean, but not all." For he knew who he was should betray
him. Therefore he said, "You be not clean all." Then, after that he had
washed their feet, he took his clothes again. And when he was
set down again at the table, he said unto them, "Wot ye what I
have done to you? You call me Master and Lord. And you say

well, for so I am. Therefore, if I have washed your feet,
being your Lord and your Master, you owe also one to wash another's
feet. For I have given you an example that, likewise as I have
done to you, so should you do, too. Verily, verily, I say to you, the
bondman is not more than his lord, nor an apostle greater than
he that hath sent him. If you know these things, blessed shall
you be if you do these things.""
The exposition.
The Holy Evangelist Saint John, in the beginning of the thirteenth
chapter, beginning to speak of the Last Supper of our Lord,
showeth that our Savior, "Quum dilexisset suos qui erant in mundo, in
finem dilexit eos" (Whereas he loved those that were his which were
in the world, he loved them into the end), that is to wit, as some
doctors say, "He loved them to the uttermost." For well ye wot
the end of everything is the uttermost. And Christ loved his to
the very uttermost, that is to wit, unto that extreme point of love
beyond which no man could go. For he said
himself: "Maiorem amorem nemo habet, quam ut
animam suam ponat quis pro amicis suis." (Greater love can there no man
have than that a man give his life for his friends.) This kind of
extreme kindness had Christ, not to his friends only, but to his
enemies, too. For he gave his own life for both twain. And
therefore those that he loved he loved unto the end, that is to wit,
unto the very uttermost.
Some doctors expound those words, "He loved them to the end,"
that is to wit, not for a while and then cast them off, as many
folk love in this world, but "He loved them to the end," so that
when he should depart out of this world (by a death so painful
that the thinking thereof would make a man forget all his
friends for heaviness, dread, and fear), he, the nearer he drew toward

that painful, terrible death, the more he remembered his twelve
apostles whom he had especially loved in the world, and the more
tenderly took he thought for them when he was departing out
of this world. And for to show that as himself
said, "Qui ad me venit non eiciam foras" (He
that cometh to me, I will not cast him out), our Savior would
not cast out Judas the traitor till he cast out himself, but, for
all his traitorous purpose, tenderly went about to mend him
and brought him to the supper with him.
Some expound also those words, "He loved them into the end,
to signify that the love that he bore them was not such a kind
of love as worldly-minded folk use to bear each to other, that
is to wit, either for their own commodity to take pleasure by
them, while that in this passage toward the end (that is to wit,
the world to come) they be by the way walking with them, or else
to do them some such kind of commodity as may serve them
and stand them in some stead for their use in the way. But our
Savior, those that he loved in the world, he loved not into the
way (that is to wit, not only unto their worldly commodities that
are transitory and shall pass from them, which they shall leave
behind them in the way), but he loved them into the end, that is to
wit, toward the bringing of them to the end that he by his
precious blood bought them to.
And thus you see how all these expositions of the old holy
doctors are very meet for the matter, which Saint John here
beginneth to treat, which in this thirteenth chapter beginneth
to enter toward the treating of Christ's passion, by which
our Lord declared well that he loved unto the end, that is to
wit, as I told you, to the uttermost. And first he beginneth therein
to treat of his Last Supper, wherein he declared by many things,
as shall after appear, that he loved his apostles to the end, that is
to wit, that the nearer he drew to his death, the more tenderly
he remembered them. He declared also at that supper that he loved

them into the end, that is to wit, into the world to come to the
bliss of heaven, the end that he by his death prepared for them.
This he declared specially at the Last Supper, both by the institution
of the Blessed Sacrament and by the godly doctrine that he taught
them to conduit them thitherward, of which the very entry
and open gate our Savior showed them in these words of
the gospel that I have here before rehearsed you, as you shall well
perceive by the perusing of the letter, which in this wise beginneth:

"When the supper was done, when the devil had put into the
heart of Judas, the son of Simon of Scariot, to betray him," etc.
In these words, "when the supper was done," it is not to be
taken that it was all done. For (as you see here) our Lord and all
his apostles, after their feet washed, sat down at the table again.
But you shall understand that the supper of the paschal lamb was
done. For that was then eaten before that our Lord rose from the
table to go about the washing of the apostles" feet.
"Whereas the devil had put into the heart of Judas, the son
of Simon of Scariot, to betray him."
By this, that the devil did put that treason in his heart,
is meant the secret suggestion of the devil by which he stirred
the traitor Judas thereunto. By which we be learned to know and
consider that, when an ungracious purpose falleth in our mind,
we may well think that the devil is then even busy about us,
and not (as it is commonly said) at our elbow, but even at our very
heart. For into the fleshly body can the devil enter and cast
imagination in our mind and offer us outward occasions also to
illect, stir, and draw us to his purpose.
Judas was called not Scariot, but Iscariot, that is to wit, Iscariotes,
"of a place named Iscariot."
"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given him all things into his
hands, and that he was come out from God and goeth to God, riseth

from the supper, and putteth off his garments, and took a linen
cloth and gird it about him, and then put water into the
basin, and began to wash the feet of his disciples, and wipe
them with the linen cloth with which he was gird."
We need (I trust) to put no man in remembrance that our
Savior Christ was as verily God as man. And therefore where
the evangelist saith that he came out from his Father and goeth
again to his Father, it is not meant that his Godhead was at any
time departed from the Father; but by his going from the Father was
nothing meant but his being incarnate in the world, and his
going again to the Father, the taking up of his manhead into heaven
with him. For by his coming into the earth he left not heaven
but ever was, and ever is, and ever shall be, with his Father and their
Holy Spirit both in heaven and in earth, and everywhere else at
once. Nor by that he saith his Father had given him all things into
his hands is not meant that God the Father giveth anything unto
the equal God the Son. But like as he hath been eternally begotten
of him, so hath he had eternally equal dominion of all things with
him. I mean not only as much dominion, but also the selfsame
dominion, in like manners as he is equal God with his Father and the
Holy Ghost not by being another God as great but by being,
albeit another distinct person, yet the selfsame God that they be.
And therefore the Father hath nothing in time given the Son
but eternally before all time gave him all (if a man may call it
giving) by his only begetting. Howbeit, Christ as man might receive
of God's gift in time, as he was created in time. And therefore
is there in these words expressed Christ's marvelous, excellent
humility, as though the evangelist had in more words declared it in this
manner: our Savior Christ, whereas Judas had by the suggestion
of the devil made promise to betray him and continually
persevered in that traitorous purpose, notwithstanding that he was
very God and descended from heaven to be incarnate and should
ascend thither again in the glorious body and soul of his blessed

manhood, and that his Godhead had ever had of his Father by his
eternal generation, and to his manhood, by the unity of person with
his Godhead, belonged also of all thing the whole dominion, so that
with the traitor and all those to whom he should be betrayed he was
able to do what him list, yet would he, not only to his other
apostles but also to that very traitor, too (whereby he should give
his high, stubborn heart occasion to relent and repent and amend if
it would be), so far humble himself that, being their Master,
their Lord, and their God, he would vouchsafe to do them lowly
service in the washing, not of their heads or their hands, but even
of their very feet, and wipe them, too, his own hands. And therefore
he would have nobody help him therein, nor do a piece himself
for a countenance and let another do the remnant,
but he would put off his overgarments himself, put the water
into the basin himself, wash all their feet himself, and wipe
their feet all himself.
Then followeth it in the letter:
"He came then unto Simon Peter, and Peter saith unto him:
"Lord, washest thou my feet?""
Saint Peter, having our Savior in such estimation and honor,
as it well became him to have, thought it in his mind unmeetly
that his Lord and Master should wash his feet. And therefore
he said unto him: "Lord, washest thou my feet?" To whom our
Savior said: "That that I do thou knowest not now. But thou
shalt know afterward." As though he would say: "Though thou
think it not convenient because thou canst not see for what cause
I do it, yet I (all whose deeds are of such perfection that I do nothing
for naught) know a great cause necessary and convenient for
which I do it, which thou canst not conject. But when we
have done, thou shalt know it, and therefore suffer me first to
do it." But Saint Peter had so deep imprinted in his breast the

marvelous high majesty of the person of Christ, being the very
Son of God, and with his almighty Father and his Holy Ghost egal
and one God, and therefore infinitely more in dignity above him
than the heaven is in distance above the earth, could not, for all
that word of our Savior, find in his heart to suffer him do
such simple, humble service unto him. And therefore with plain
refusing thereof, he withdrew his feet and answered our Savior
in this wise: "Thou shall never wash my feet in this world." Our
Lord, then -- as he sometimes did in other things, touch and
temper the zeal of Peter, through fervor and heat somewhat indiscreet,
so to show him here that there could no virtue stand in
stead without a humble obedience, but that it would work unto
damnation (seemed the thing never so good) if it were joined with
disobedience against the will of God -- spoke sharply to him and said:
"But if I wash thee, thou shalt have no part with me." When Saint
Peter heard that word, he cast off his indiscreet courtesy and
turned it unto perfect obedience, submitting himself whole unto
the will of Christ, and said: "Lord, not only my feet, but also my
hands and my head, too." As though he would say: "Though I
would for mine unworthiness be loath to have thy most excellent
person do such simple service unto me yet since I see that
for cause unknown unto me, of which it becometh me not to ask thee
a reckoning, thou hast so determined to wash mine unworthy
feet, that if I therein obey not thine high pleasure, I shall by
disobedience fall in thy displeasure and be departed from thee and leese
my part of thy glory, I rather will be content to suffer thee not
only, Lord, to wash my feet, but, over that, mine hands and
mine head, too."
"Jesus answered and said unto him: "He that is washed needeth
not to wash but his feet, but is all clean.""
Forasmuch as Saint Peter offered himself to suffer to be of
Christ's holy hands washed, not his feet only that are the lowest

part but his hands also that are about the mids and his head,
too, which is the highest part, by which three he signified himself
content that Christ should wash all his whole body, Christ
answered him that that thing were more than needed. For he that is
washed once already by baptism is so clean washed altogether
from all sin, both actual and original, that he never needeth
to be all washed again, nor never shall be all washed again by
baptism. For baptized shall no man be but once; the character and
spiritual token by baptism imprinted in the soul is indelible and
never can be put out. But in them that, for their unfaithfulness
or for their evil living after their baptism, shall finally be
damned, that token shall in their soul perpetually remain to
their harm and shame, by which it shall evermore appear that
they be neither paynims, Jews, nor Saracens, but (which
worst is of all) false and unkind Christian men. But there is none
washed so clean by baptism but that (if he live) he shall have
need to have his feet washed often. For by his feet are meant his
affections. For likewise as our feet bear our body hither and
thither, so do our affections carry us to good works or bad.
For look which way that our affections lead us and that way
commonly walk we. And therefore said our Savior to Saint
Peter when he offered to be all washed again both feet, hands,
and head, "He that is washed is all clean and needeth to
have no more washed but his feet," that is to wit, his affections,
"and then is he all clean." And with that our Savior considering the
traitor Judas (the filthy feet of whose wretched, covetous affection
had carried him to the council of the Jews to offer them his
Master for money to sell, and from which traitorous affection Christ's
great, marvelous humanity, washing the traitor's filthy feet, had
not cleansed him), he said unto them all: "You be clean, but yet all
you be not clean," for he knew who it was that should betray him.
And therefore he said: "All you be not clean."
Upon the foresaid words of Christ unto Peter, "He that is washed
needeth but to wash his feet," and those words, "You be clean,"

it appeareth, as the old holy doctors say, that the apostles were
before that all baptized and clean. But Judas had by his filthy affection
of his wretched covetise defiled himself by his false treason
"Then after that he had washed their feet, he took his clothes
again, and when he was set at the table again, he said unto
them: "Wot ye what I have done to you?""
Our Savior here giveth us in these words a good occasion to
perceive that his outward works had, beside those visible apparent
things which every man might behold and see, such secret
spiritual mysteries meant and signified, and not only signified but
also wrought and done in them, that those spiritual things unseen
were so much the more principal parts of his deed that whoso
know not them, though they know his outward deed, yet may it be
said that they know not what he did.
So where our Savior healed a man in his body outwardly, and
inwardly also in his soul -- whereof it is said,
"Totum hominem sanum fecit in sabbato" (He made all
the man whole in the Sabbath day, that is to wit, not the body only,
for the body alone is not all the man, but the soul, too -- they that
looked on, though they wist what he had outwardly done in the
healing of the body, yet was that inward work of his in healing
of the soul so far passing that, that it may well be said they
wist not what he did. And so was it in his works that he wrought
in the Blessed Sacrament, as when he consecrated his blessed body
and blood in the form of bread and wine at this his Last
Supper, had he not told them that point himself, who could
have told what he did? And therefore here in the washing of his
disciples" feet, albeit that they could not but both see and feel
what he did, yet because his outward work therein was not
in such a special manner, his deed as was the inward mystery that
he did and meant therein, he asked them:
"Know you what I have done to you?" As though he would
say: "I have done more than you know, for by the outward
washing of your feet I have given you example of humility,"

which thing he declared unto them with most effectual words. For
first, to the intent that they should consider of what weight and
authority both his deed and his word should be with them,
he plainly declared, taking occasion upon their own confession,
that he was their very Lord and their very Master. And therefore he
said unto them: "You call me Master and Lord, and you say well.
For so I am indeed."
He was very Lord of them as of his creatures; he was very
Master of them as of his disciples. Now putting this first in their
remembrance for a foundation, thereupon he built them a marvelous
fruitful lesson with the declaration of his former deed,
saying unto them: "Therefore if I have washed your feet, being your
Lord and your Master, you must also wash one another's feet."
Then goeth he farther and declareth wherefore he washed their feet,
as he before said to Saint Peter that he should know it afterward.
And therefore now he telleth that he did it to give example by
his own deed unto them that they should each to other do the
like. And therefore he said:
"An example have I given you, that likewise as I have done to
you, so should you do also, that is to wit, do each of you to other
as I have done to you all." Then goeth our Savior further yet and
enforceth his doctrine and his example with a strong mighty
reason, saying:
"Verily, verily, I tell you, the bondman is not greater than his
lord, nor a messenger more than he that hath sent him." As
though he would say: "Since the bondman is no better than his lord,
and I that am your Creator am more highly Lord over
you that are my creatures than any earthly lord is over his bondman,
how should you disdain to wash your fellow's feet, when I
your high Lord have not disdained to wash yours? And since the
messenger is not better than he that hath sent him, and all you be
but mine apostles, that is to wit, but my messengers to do my message
in preaching my word about the world, since I that send you

and, therefore, so far your better and yet have not disdained to wash
your feet, there can none of you without very sinful and shameful
pride disdain to wash the feet of his fellow." And finally Christ
knitteth up all the whole matter with a very short substantial lesson:
"If you know these things, blessed shall you be if you do
these things." In which words our Savior well declareth that
the bliss of heaven will not be gotten by knowing of virtue but by
the use and doing thereof. For as no man can come at Canterbury
by the bare knowledge of the way thither if he will sit still at
home, so by knowing the way to heaven, we can never the more come
there but if we will walk therein. And therefore saith our Lord by the
mouth of the prophet: "Beati immaculati qui
ambulant in lege Domini. Non enim qui operantur
iniquitatem in viis eius ambulaverunt." (Blessed are they that are undefiled,
that walk in the law of our Lord. But they that work wickedness
walk not in his ways.) And our Savior saith his own mouth
that the knowledge without work not only doth no profit
but also causeth increase of a man's punishment, in respect that
his punishment should be if, without his willful ignorance, his
knowledge had been much less. For thus saith our Lord: "The
bondman that knoweth not the will of his lord
and doth it not shall be beaten with few stripes.
But the bondman that knoweth his lord's will and doth it not shall
be beaten with many stripes." And therefore with this necessary, fruitful
doctrine our Lord did knit up all and said: "If you know these
things," that is to wit, "that my washing of your feet is done for
your example, that since I am indeed (as yourself do call me)
your Lord and your Master, and that the bondman is not better
than his lord, nor the messenger more than his master that sent
him, you should not be so proud as to disdain to do as lowly
service, each of you to other, as I have done to you all. If you know
this and do it indeed, then shall you be blessed, or else for the bare
knowledge shall you be but the worse."

Upon these words before rehearsed had
between our Savior and Saint Peter that
refused for reverence the thing that our Lord would do to him,
holy doctors note that no man lawfully may, for any private
mind of reverence or devotion to God, do the thing that God
forbiddeth nor leave the thing undone that God biddeth. For
it is an indiscreet devotion, and an irreverent reverence, and no
right humility, but an unperceived pride to stand stiff against
God's will and disobey his pleasure. For as the Scripture saith:
"Better is obedience than sacrifice." Nor never
shall God's precepts be obeyed if every man
may boldly frame himself a conscience with a gloze of his own
making after his own fantasy put unto God's word. For of such
manner dealing, whereby folk will of their private devotions, against the
commandment of God, follow their own way, may these
words of the Scripture be verified: "Est via quae
videtur hominibus iusta, et novissima eius tendit ad
infernum." (There is a way that unto men seemeth just, and the last
end thereof leadeth unto hell.)
King Saul thought, after his own mind, that he did very well
when he kept and spared the goodly oxen for sacrifice. But while
he broke in his so doing the commandment of God, this false framed
devotion helped him not but that he lost his kingdom
Saint Peter here thought he did well when he for reverence
toward Christ would not suffer him wash his feet. But our
Savior showed him that, if he would for any such framed
reverence of his own stand obstinately disobedient unto God's
pleasure, he should have no part with him. And therefore, while
Christ was presently conversant with him, he was the interpreter
of his own precept. And King Saul should not have
followed his own wit, but should have asked the prophet by
whom that precept came to him. And in like wise, if a man
doubt of the sentence and understanding of anything written in

the Scripture, it is no wisdom for him then to take upon him
such authority of interpretation himself, as that he shall therein
boldly stand unto his own mind, but lean unto the interpretation
of the old holy doctors and saints and unto that interpretation that is
received and allowed by the universal Church, by which church
the Scripture is come to our hands and delivered unto us, and without
which we could not (as Saint Augustine
saith) know which books were Holy Scripture.
Our Savior here saith: "I have given you an example, that, likewise as I
have done to you, so should you do also."
Would God that all the prelates, and all curates, and all preachers,
yea, and fathers and mothers, and all masters of households, too, would
here of our Savior take example for to give good example. There
are many that can be well content to be preaching, some to show
their cunning and some to show their authority. But would God they
would use the fashion that our Savior used, that is to wit, the
things that they bid other men do, do it first themselves. The
Scripture saith of our Savior, "Coepit Iesus
facere et docere" (Jesus began to do and to
teach), so that he not only taught men to do this or that,
but he gave them also the example and did the
thing first himself. To stir us to fast, he
not only taught us what fashion we should use
in fasting but also for our ensample fasted
forty days himself. To stir us to wake and pray, he not only
taught us by word, but used also by night to go forth into the
Mount of Olives and there to wake and pray by night himself
by which custom the traitor knew where to find him. To set
naught by the royalty of the world he not only taught us by
word, but also by his poor birth, and all the course of his poor
life, he gave us the example himself. To stir us to patience and
suffering of tribulation, he not only taught us and exhorted us by word,

but gave us the example by his own cross, his own passion, and
his own painful death. And surely, albeit that the best is (for him
that hath a good thing taught him by one whom he seeth do the contrary
himself) to do as he is well taught and not follow the lewd example
of his evil deed, yet is our common condition such that, whereas
word and deed both be scant able to draw us to do good, every
one of the both is able enough to draw us to naught. And therefore he
that biddeth other folk do well and giveth evil example with the
contrary deed himself fareth even like a foolish weaver that
would weave apace with the one hand and unweave as fast
with the other.
The example of Christ in washing the apostles" feet, with his
exhortation unto them by his example to do the like, bindeth not
men to follow the literal fashion thereof in washing of folks" feet
as for a rite or a ceremony or a sacrament of the Church. Howbeit,
much it hath been ever since and yet in every country of Christendom
in places of religion used it is, and noble princes and great
estates use that godly ceremony very religiously. And none I suppose
nowhere more godly than our sovereign lord the King's Grace here
of this realm, both in humble manner washing and wiping and
kissing also many poor folks" feet after the number of years
of his age, and with right liberal and princely alms therewith.
And surely if the interpretation of the scripture were not by
the Spirit of God put in the whole corps of the Catholic Church,
he that would upon his own head stick upon the letter of the
gospel and his own exposition thereto might contend that the
washing of the feet were a sacrament unto which our Savior
bound his Church of necessity. But, as the universal Church
believeth, so is it now. Howbeit, in time and place convenient, it is
(as Saint Augustine saith) a thing of the more
perfection if we not only do not disdain in

our hearts but do it also in deed with our hands, as our Lord did
with his.
When our Lord said, "You be clean but not all," he meant that
the congregation and company of his twelve apostles, as a congregation
and a company, was a clean company, though Judas, one of the
company, was not clean. For many a right honest company is there
that hath yet some not honest among them. And so is the Catholic
Church called sancta ecclesia, "holy Church," because that out
thereof there is none holiness, and for those that are holy therein,
which are always many, both priests and laymen, too, though
there be therein beside many bad of both sorts also.
Finally, where our Savior saith, "Si haec scitis, beati eritis si feceritis
ea" (If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you
do them), two things in those words he giveth us warning of:
the one, that without faith, there can be no good work that can be
meritorious touching the bliss of heaven; the other, that have
we the faith never so great, yet if we will not work well our faith shall
fail of the bliss. And therefore to give us warning of the necessity
that we have of faith, he said not these words alone, "If you do
this, you shall be blessed," but he began with these words, "If you know
these things." Now the knowledge of those things that pertain
to such kind of well doing as shall stand us in stead toward salvation,
that knowledge have we not but by faith. As the apostles
there, though they saw him wash their feet, yet that he did
it to give them an example of humility, and that such humility
should be requisite to help them to heaven, and to be rewarded
there, this knew they not but by the faith that they gave therein
unto Christ's word. For, "Fides ex auditu, auditus
autem per verbum Dei." (Faith, saith Saint Paul,
cometh of hearing, and the hearing thereof is by the word of God.)
Therefore, as I say, our Lord began their blessedness with faith. For
faith is the very gate and first entry toward
heaven: "Accedentem ad Deum oportet credere." (He that
is coming to God must give credence and believe.) For if a man that

believeth not do the selfsame thing either by chance or of some
other affection, which thing done by a faithful man in faith
were meritorious, that deed done by the faithless is not meritorious
at all. But yet, though faith be the first gate into heaven, he that
standeth still at the gate and will not walk forth in the way
of good works shall not come where the reward is. And therefore
our Savior left not with these words, "Si haec scitis beati eritis" (If
you know these things you shall be blessed), but went further and,
to make up his tale perfect, he added, "si feceritis ea" (if you do them).
I fear me there be many folk that, for delight of knowledge or
for a foolish vainglory to show and make it known how
much themselves know, labor to know the law of God (and know
it right well indeed, and can well preach it out again) that
shall yet see many a poor simple soul with a gross plain faith
(with no learning but good devout affection, walking the way of
good works in this world) sit after full high with our Lord in
heaven when those great clerks wandering here in evil works shall,
for all their great knowledge and for all gay preaching in the
name of Christ, hear our Lord say to them (as in the thirteenth chapter of
Saint Luke he saith he will say to such):
"Discedite a me operarii iniquitatis." (Walk you
from me you workers of wickedness.)
And for conclusion, all the work (with this example of his and
all his declaration thereupon) our Savior instructeth and exhorteth
his apostles to, is the work of humility. For likewise as pride
threw down the devil out of heaven, so shall there never none
ascend but with meekness thither. And since the devil that fell
himself by pride is ever most busy to tempt every man to the
same sin (and especially those that he seeth aspire toward any
excellence in spiritual kind of virtue or that he espieth put in
prelacy and authority over other men, whereby he hopeth to find
a gate open to enter), our Savior therefore, to keep against the ghostly
enemy that gate well warded and sure in sundry places, again and

again giveth his apostles (whom he made prelates and spiritual
governors of his flock) special counsel against the prick of
pride, and with words and with this example of washing their
feet his own hands, exhorteth them by meekness and humility to
account and reckon and use themselves as far under others as himself
doth in order and authority prefer and enhance them
above, and would that we should of duty for their degree do
great honor unto them, and that they should themselves of meekness
as fast again put it from them.
The prayer.
Almighty Jesus, my sweet Savior Christ, which wouldst vouchsafe
thine own almighty hands to wash the feet of thy twelve
apostles, not only of the good but of the very traitor, too, vouchsafe,
good Lord, of thine excellent goodness, in such wise to wash
the foul feet of mine affections that I never have such pride
enter into mine heart as to disdain either in friend or foe, with
meekness and charity for the love of thee, to defile mine hands with
washing of their feet.
The fourth chapter.
Of the institution of the sacrament, written in the twenty-sixth of Saint
Matthew, the fourteenth of Saint Mark, and in the twenty-second of Saint Luke.
The first lecture upon the Blessed Sacrament.
The fourth chapter.
"And as they were sitting at the table and eating, Jesus saith,
"With desire have I desired to eat the paschal with you before I
suffer. I say to you that from this time I shall not eat it, till it be
fulfilled in the kingdom of God." As they were at supper, Jesus
took bread, gave thanks, and blessed and broke it,
and gave it to his disciples, and saith: "Take you and eat you. This is

my body, the which for you shall be delivered. This do you for
the remembrance of me." Likewise, taking the chalice after that
he had supped, gave thanks and gave it them, saying: "Take
and divide it among you, and drink of this all. This is my blood
of the New Testament. This is the chalice, the New Testament in
my blood, which for you and for many shall be shed for remission
of sins. I say verily to you that I shall not drink from henceforth
of this generation of the vine until that day when I shall
drink it new with you in the kingdom of my Father, God." And
they drank all thereof."
Albeit, good readers, that I have rehearsed you this chapter in
such wise as the right famous clerk Master Jean Gerson rehearseth
in his work called Monotesseron, gathered of the words of all the
three evangelists, Saint Matthew, Saint Mark, and Saint Luke, and
in a convenient order, linked and chained ensuingly together, yet
seemeth me that for the beginning the thing shall somewhat the
better appear if we rehearse the words of Saint Luke somewhat
more full, which words he writeth upon the end of the eating of the
paschal lamb and before the institution of the Blessed Sacrament
of the altar. For in his twenty-second chapter thus beginneth he this
matter: "Et quum facta esset hora, discubuit, et duodecim apostoli cum eo. Et
ait illis: Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum antequam
patiar. Dico enim vobis, quia ex hoc non manducabo illud, donec impleatur in
regno Dei. Et accepto calice gratias egit, et dixit: Accipite et dividite inter vos.
Dico enim vobis quod non bibam de generatione vitis donec regnum Dei veniat."
(And when the hour was come, he sat down at the table, and his
twelve apostles with him. And he saith unto them: "With desire have I
desired to eat this paschal lamb with you before I suffer. For I
tell you that from this time, I shall not eat it till it be fulfilled in the
kingdom of God." And the cup taken, he gave thanks and said:
"Take you and divide you it among you. For I say to you that I shall
not drink of the generation of the vine till the kingdom of God
These words hath Saint Luke whole together of the finishing

of the old paschal before he entereth into the rehearsing of the
new paschal, whereof the old was a figure, that is to wit, before
he beginneth to rehearse the institution of the Blessed Sacrament of
the altar, of which he beginneth to speak forthwith after these
words ended.
In the beginning of these words, written in the twenty-second chapter
of Saint Luke, our Savior expresseth the great desire that he had
to eat the paschal lamb at that time with his apostles, saying:
"Desiderio desideravi hoc pascha manducare vobiscum antequam patiar."
(With desire have I desired to eat this paschal lamb with you
before my passion.) These words "with desire have I desired"
are spoken after the manner of Hebrew speech, in which speech
our Savior spoke at the time himself. For the Hebrews, to
express a thing vehemently, use oftentimes, as it appeareth in
sundry places of Scripture, to double a word, sometimes by the
participle and the verb, sometimes by the noun and the verb, as our
Savior did here, saying, "with desire have I desired," that is to
wit, "very sore have I desired," or "very desirously have I longed for
to eat this paschal lamb with you."
Two causes there were for which our Savior so sore longed at
that time to eat the paschal lamb with his disciples. The one
appeareth upon that I have showed you before, that is to wit,
because that (as Saint John saith): "Quum dilexisset suos qui erant in
mundo, usque in finem dilexit eos." (Whereas he had loved his that were
in the world, he loved them to the end.) And therefore, since he was
now so near drawing to his passion, which he had determined to
suffer on the morrow, he, like a most tender lover, longed with that
Last Supper to make them his farewell at his departing from them.
Wherein, as I before have said, appeared his wonderful, loving
heart. For had he been after the manner of other men (since
himself saw his passion drawing so near, to which he should be so
violently taken so shortly upon his supper, and that passion so
bitter as himself well wist it should, of which he was so feared and for
which he was so sorrowful within so few hours after), he would have

taken little pleasure or comfort in the company of his apostles nor
list to make them a supper at that time.
But he loved them so tenderly that all the pain, sorrow, dread,
and fear that was toward him could not so master and overwhelm
his kind, loving affection toward them, but that the desire and
longing to make his Last Supper with them so much increased
greater as he surely saw that his bitter passion drew nearer. And
that was therefore (as I say) one of the causes for which he said unto
them at the eating thereof, "With desire have I desired," that is to say,
"Sore have I longed to eat this paschal lamb with you before my
The other cause for which he longed so sore to eat that paschal
lamb with them was because that he longed for the time in
which he should, with his bitter passion, pay the price of our
redemption and restore the kind of man unto the inheritance of the
kingdom of heaven. And because that he would, before the offering
up of his own blessed body (the very lamb, innocent and immaculate)
unto the Father, institute the new paschal (the very eating of
the selfsame holy, unspotted lamb, his own blessed body and
blood, to be continually sacrificed, offered up unto the Father, and
eaten in remembrance of his bitter passion under the form of
bread and wine), he would, as was convenient, before the institution
of the new very paschal, reverently finish the old paschal
that was the figure thereof.
And therefore at the Last Supper, to declare the desire that he had
so to do (that is to wit, to institute his new paschal by the
finishing of the old), he said unto them: "With desire have I desired
to eat this paschal lamb with you before my passion."
And for to declare the more clearly that the cause of his desire
was to the intent that he would finish it and offer up himself, the
very lamb, whereof the other was the figure, and would by that
pleasant sacrifice bring the nature of man into the kingdom of
heaven, he therefore said farther unto them: "Dico enim vobis, quia ex
hoc non manducabo illud, donec impleatur in regno Dei." (I say verily to you,

that from this time, I shall eat that no more till it be performed in
the kingdom of God.)
The fulfilling or performing of the sacrifice of the paschal lamb,
being a figure, was the offering of his own blessed body in
sacrifice, by which the nature of man was restored unto the kingdom
of heaven. And by that new offering up of that innocent
lamb so offered (which offering was the verity) was that old offering
of the paschal lamb in Jerusalem (that was the figure)
fully performed and thereupon took his full perfection in the
kingdom of heaven.
But here must we consider that our Savior, in saying that he
would eat the old paschal lamb no more till it were performed
in the kingdom of heaven, did not mean that after that the
figure were performed and had his perfection in heaven, he
would then use or have used the same figure again in earth, but he
meant that he would no more eat it at all. For this word donec
in Latin (that is to say, "until" in English), when it limiteth a time
before which it denieth a certain thing to be done, doth not always
mean or imply (though sometimes it do) the doing of the same
thing after that time. As when the gospel saith,
"Non cognovit eam, donec peperit filium suum primogenitum"
(Joseph knew not her till she had brought forth her first-begotten
son), meaneth not that he knew her after. Nor where
the prophet speaketh as in the person of the Father unto Christ,
"Sede a dextris meis, donec ponam inimicos tuos
scabellum pedum tuorum" (Sit on my right hand
till I put thine enemies for a footstool under thy feet), the
prophet there meaneth not that when the enemies of Christ be
thrown under his feet he shall then sit on the Father's right hand
no longer. Nor here in like wise our Savior meant not that, after
the verity fulfilled and perfected in the kingdom of God, he would
use or have used the figure here still in earth.
And that appeareth plain by two things. One, by this word
impleatur, "till it be fulfilled." For, since it was but a figure, and he

said he would use it no more till it were fulfilled, he must needs
mean that he would use it no more at all. For, being but a
figure, it had no cause of use after that it was by the verity
And therefore as touching the paschal lamb, when our Savior
said, "I will from henceforth eat this no more till it be fulfilled
in the kingdom of God," was as much as to say, "after this I will never
eat it more," after such manner of speaking as one might say that
looked for to die or that were entering into the Charterhouse, "I will
never eat flesh more in this world," or thus, "I trust to be in
heaven ere I eat any more flesh," or such other kind of speaking
like, not meaning that he would eat flesh in another world,
but that he would eat none here, and consequently never eat
flesh more.
The other thing, by which it appeareth plain that our Savior
intended not to have the figurative old paschal lamb any longer
continue, is that he forthwith instituted the verity thereof, the new
sacrifice, his blessed body and blood, the Blessed Sacrament of the
But before the institution of his own Christian sacrament, to
the intent it should appear that he would fully finish the old
paschal of the Jews (and as who say, wash it away), himself
with his apostles, as for a final end thereof, after the eating
thereof, drank thereunto. Whereof Saint Luke proceedeth farther
and saith: "Accepto calice gratias egit, et dixit: accipite et dividite inter
vos." (He took the cup and gave thanks and said: "Take and divide
among you.")
Our Savior as man gave thanks unto God the Father that the
old sacrifice of the paschal lamb was now come to an end and
that he was now come to the institution of the new sacrifice, his
own blessed body in the holy sacrament of the altar.
Then our Lord commanded them to take and divide the cup
of wine among them and drink all thereof, as the farewell of the
old paschal. And then said he farther unto them: "Dico enim vobis,

quod non bibam de generatione vitis, donec regnum Dei veniat." (I say to you
that I shall not drink of the generation of the vine till the kingdom
of God come.)
The kingdom of God he calleth here the state of his glory after his
resurrection, in which he rose immortal, impassible, and glorious.
Before which time he said here unto them that he would drink
no wine, as though he would say: "Such drink as I now drink
with you to the old sacrifice of the paschal lamb will I drink no
more till I arise again in my glory after my passion."
But after his resurrection, he did verily eat and drink with
them again, as appeareth plain by the evangelists, and as Saint
Peter beareth witness where he saith: "Qui manducavimus
et bibimus cum illo postquam resurrexit a
mortuis." (We have eaten and drunk with him after that he was arisen
from death.)
After this done, our Savior Christ, by and by, in the stead of that
old sacrifice of the paschal lamb so ended, did institute the new
sacrifice and the only sacrifice to be continued in his Church, the
Blessed Sacrament of the altar. Which new sacrifice, instead of
that old sacrifice and of all the old sacrifices which among the
Jews fore-figured the very fruitful sacrifice of Christ's blessed body
upon the cross, should, in his own Church of Jews and Gentiles
together, continually with the selfsame body and blood offered
in the mass under the form of bread and wine, represent that
sacrifice in which, on Good Friday, Christ once for ever offered the
selfsame body and blood in their proper form to the Father
upon the cross.
And therefore, after the old sacrifice of the paschal lamb
clearly finished, as ye have heard, ere ever they rose from the
board, our Savior forthwith went in hand with the instituting
of that that should be the new sacrifice, the Blessed Sacrament
of the altar, his own holy body and blood under form of bread
and wine.

The manner of which institution, in the gospel of Saint Matthew,
Saint Mark, and Saint Luke, is rehearsed in this wise:
"Jesus took bread, gave thanks and blessed it, and broke
it, and gave it his disciples, saying: "Take you and eat you. This is
my body, which shall be delivered for you.""
First our Savior, in the beginning of this excellent work,
gave thanks and blessed the bread to give us example, as saith
Saint Bede, that in the beginning of every
good work, we should give thanks to God.
Then he broke it and gave it unto them himself to signify,
saith Saint Bede, that he gave himself to his passion of his own
free will. But to the intent they should well understand that this holy
sacrament that himself instituted in his own holy person wonderfully
far passed the old sacrifice of the paschal lamb instituted
by the ministry of Moses in the old law, lest they might
peradventure take it for a far less thing than it was -- as they
should have had a great cause to do if it had been none other
substance than the substance of bread, as to their eyes it seemed
(for then had the lamb, which was a living, sensible creature,
been of the proper nature much more excellent than the unsensible
substance of bread) -- our Savior therefore, to give them sure
knowledge how great a gift it was that he there gave them
and how incomparably far above all the merit of man to
receive (that they should thereby consider how deeply they were
bounden and beholden to him therefore, and with devout thanks
inwardly remember his inestimable bounty therein), he gave them
knowledge that though it was bread when he took it in hand and
that to their bodily senses seemed yet bread still, yet it was now his
own very body indeed. And therefore he said unto them: "Take
you and eat you. This is my body." As though he might say:
"Think not that for my special new sacrifice that I institute to
represent forever in mine own Church (till I return to the general
judgment), my most precious passion, I give you a thing of more base
nature than was the thing that was wont to be sacrificed to fore-figure

it in the short and soon passing synagogue -- which you might
think if my sacrifice of representation were but unsensible bread,
where their fore-figuring sacrifice was celebrated in a living
creature, a fair, unspotted lamb. But I will that you shall understand
and know that the thing which I give you here to eat is of
a nature above all measure more excellent. For though it seem
bread, yet is it flesh. And though it seem dead, yet is it living. The
lamb, though it was quick taken to the sacrifice, yet was it eaten
dead. But this shall you eat quick, and it shall rest and abide
quick in you. And the lamb did feed and nourish your bodies;
but this shall feed and nourish your souls. For this is mine own
body, and not my dead body, but animated and living with my
soul. And mine own body shall never be separated from my Godhead,
so that if you receive and eat virtuously the one into your body,
you receive the other graciously into your souls."
In these few compendious words of our Savior, "This is my
body," is all this long tale included, and many a long, holy
process more. And albeit that in those words alone he told them
the thing plain enough, and notwithstanding that he had also
declared them before that he would give them his own body to
eat, inculking that point into them with many words at length,
mentioned in the sixth chapter of Saint John,
yet to make them the more clearly perceive
that this was the thing that he then told them of, he said not
only, "This is my body," but he farther also added thereunto, "which
shall be delivered for you" -- as though he would say: "If any would
be so far from believing of the truth that, rather than believe this
to be my very body, he would seek a gloze against mine own
word and say that by this word, "my body," I meant but a sign or
a figure or a token of my body, to put all such folk out of
doubt I say that this which I give you here to receive and eat
is the same self body that shall be delivered for you to the Jews
and to Gentiles and by them to the cross and to the death."

Now to the intent that it should appear plain that he gave
them not his body for that only time, as a special show of
kindness to their own persons alone, but that they should perceive
that he did it to begin and institute a new sacrament, instead of
the old paschal, which should endure in his Church in the stead
of the other there finished, he said unto them: "Hoc facite in meam
commemorationem" (This do you in the remembrance of me) -- as though
he would say to them: "Likewise as the synagogue of the Jews have
hitherto used for a figure of my passion the old sacrifice of the
paschal lamb, so do you use in my Church from henceforth, in
remembrance of my passion, this new sacrifice of mine own
body, that shall suffer that passion and be sacrificed once for ever
upon the cross" --
which sentence of our Savior's words is also declared by
Saint Paul in the eleventh chapter of his
first epistle to the Corinthians, of which we shall
speak hereafter. But first shall we peruse the words of our Savior
After that he had thus given them his own blessed body to eat
in the form of bread, he gave them likewise his blessed blood
to drink in the form of wine, whereof it followeth in the gospel:
"And likewise taking the chalice after supper, he gave thanks
and gave it to them, saying: "Take you and drink all you of this. This
is my blood of the New Testament. This is the chalice, the New
Testament in my blood, which for you and for many shall be shed
into the remission of sins.""
Our Savior at the converting and turning of the wine into his
own precious blood, which he should so shortly after shed for
our sins upon his painful cross, murmured not nor grudged not
at the remembrance of his bitter passion, but was glad, and
gave God the Father thanks that he vouchsafed to suffer him by his
pain to pay our ransom and buy our souls from pain, as say
Saint Remigius and Saint Chrysostom. And
our Savior, in his so doing (saith Saint

Chrysostom), teacheth us what pain soever we suffer, to suffer it in
such wise as we give God thanks therefore.
"And after his thanks given to God, he gave the chalice to his
apostles and commanded them all drink thereof, saying: "This is
my blood of the New Testament. This is the chalice, the New
Testament in my blood.""
In these words, our Savior showed them what thing it was
that he gave them to drink in the chalice, that is to wit, that it was
his own blood, saying, "This is my blood of the New Testament," as
Saint Matthew rehearseth it, or, "This is the chalice, the New Testament
in my blood," as Saint Luke rehearseth it, either for that our
Savior spoke both the one words and the other, or else for that
both of the one words and the other the sentence is all one. For
in the twenty-fourth chapter of Exodus is it specified
how that Moses in the confirmation of the
old law put half the blood of the sacrifice into a cup, and
the other half he shed upon the altar, and, after the volume of
the law read, he besprinkled the blood upon the people and
said unto them: "Hic est sanguis foederis, quod pepigit Dominus vobiscum
super cunctis sermonibus his." (This is the blood of the league that our
Lord hath made with you upon all these words.) And so was the
Old Testament ratified and confirmed with blood. And in like wise
was the New Testament confirmed with blood, saving that for to
declare the great excellence of the New Testament brought by the
Son of God above the Old Testament brought by the prophet
Moses, whereas the Old Testament was ratified with the blood of
a brute beast, the New Testament was ratified with the blood of a
reasonable man, and of that man that was also God, that is to wit,
with the blessed blood of our holy Savior himself. And the
selfsame blood gave our Lord here unto his apostles in this
Blessed Sacrament, as he plainly declared himself, saying,
"Hic est sanguis meus novi testament" (This is my blood of the New
Testament), or, "Hic est calix novum testamentum in meo sanguine, qui pro
vobis et pro multis fundetur in remissionem peccatorum." (This is the chalice,

the New Testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you
and for many for remission of sins.)
Here you see that by the words of our Savior rehearsed by
Saint Matthew, and upon his words rehearsed by Saint Luke, our
Lord very plainly declared unto his apostles that in that cup was
the same blood of his own with which he could ratify his New
Testament, and which blood should be shed upon the altar of
the cross for the remission of sins, not of themselves alone but
also of many more.
When our Lord said, "This is the cup of the New Testament in
my blood, which shall be shed for you and for many into remission
of sins," he declared therein the efficacy of the New Testament
above the Old in that the old law in the blood of beasts could
but promise the remission of sin afterward to come. For as Saint
Paul saith: "It was impossible that
sin should be taken away with the blood of
brute beasts." But the new law with the blood of Christ performeth
the thing that the old law promised, that is to wit,
remission of sins. And therefore our Savior said, "This is the
chalice, the New Testament in my blood," that is to wit, "to be confirmed
in my blood, which shall be shed into remission of sins."
His words also declared the wonderful excellence of this new
Blessed Sacrament above the sacrifice of the paschal lamb in these
words: "Pro vobis et pro multis" (For you and for
many). For in these words our Savior spoke (saith
Saint Chrysostom) as though he would say: "The blood of the paschal
lamb was shed only for the first-begotten among the children of
Israel, but this blood of mine shall be shed for remission of
sin of all the whole world." And so was it, according as Saint
Chrysostom saith, shed for the sin of the whole world. For
sufficient it was for the sin of the whole world and as many more, too.
But it was effectually shed for those only that shall take the effect
thereof, which are only those that shall be saved thereby, which
shall be as Saint Remigius saith, and as the
truth is, not the apostles only but also many

other of many regions, according to the foresaid words of our
Savior: "This is the chalice, the New Testament in my blood,
which shall be shed for you and for many into remission
of sins."
Then likewise as he had before said (as you have heard
rehearsed by Saint Luke) that, when he had with his disciples
drunken after the paschal lamb, he would drink no more of
the generation of the vine till the kingdom of God were come, so
said he here again to them after the institution of his holy Blessed
Sacrament: "Dico enim vobis quia non bibam amodo de hoc genimine vitis,
usque in diem illum quum illud bibam novum vobiscum in regno Patris mei Dei."
These words diverse doctors do declare diversely. Some take
this saying of our Savior rehearsed by Saint Matthew and
Saint Mark to be the selfsame that Saint Luke rehearseth, and
that they were spoken only after the institution of the sacrament,
and that Saint Luke observed the verity of the saying and not
observed the time. And of this mind seemeth
Master Gerson to have been, as appeareth by
his rehearsing of the matter.
But diverse other doctors take them as spoken at diverse times,
the one after the paschal finished, the other after that at the
institution of the Blessed Sacrament. And so seemeth it most plain
to appear upon the words of Saint Luke. And albeit that the
first words rehearsed by Saint Luke and these other rehearsed
by Saint Matthew and Saint Mark may be both understood
in one sentence and as one thing twice said -- that is to
wit, that in both the times of that saying our Savior meant
that he would no more drink with his apostles (after that time
in which they should then depart after that supper) until himself
were risen again from death, and his body forever immortal
and impassible (which glory of his he called the kingdom of his
Father), after which entry thereinto by his resurrection, he would both
eat and drink with them again, and so would drink with

them the wine new in the kingdom of his Father (that is to wit,
himself being in the kingdom of his Father should drink
the wine with them in a new manner, that is to wit, when
he should be forever immortal and impassible), and that he
would no more drink of that kind of wine of which he consecrated,
and which he turned into his blessed blood, till his passion
were passed and his new life come -- albeit (I say) that I deny not
but that thus they may be taken (and by some of the old holy
doctors thus are declared indeed), yet are they by diverse others of
those old holy doctors expounded diverse other wise, and (as it
seemeth) may well be declared thus.
In the words rehearsed by Saint Luke when our Savior
said, "Dico enim vobis quod non bibam de generatione vitis, donec regum Dei
veniat" (I say verily to you that I shall not drink of the generation
of the vine till the kingdom of God come), our Savior meant in
these words that not only not after the supper but also not after
the time of that draft there drunken to the paschal lamb,
he would drink no more of the generation of the vine till the
kingdom of God were come, that is to wit, that he would before
his resurrection drink no more wine after that draft of wine
which he drank next before those words spoken. And so did
he then by those words also teach them to know and perceive
well afterward that the wine, which (before his other words that
Saint Matthew and Saint Mark rehearse spoken the institution
of the Blessed Sacrament) was in the chalice, and which wine he
there converted into his own precious blood, was, at the time of
the drinking thereof, not wine but his own holy blood under the
form of wine, which thing they were (I say) -- besides his other
plain words: "This is my blood of the New Testament, which shall
be shed for you and for many into remission of sins" -- well
showed and taught, in that he told them before the drinking of
that (of which as I shall after show he drank himself with them)
that before his resurrection, which was not then come, he
would drink no wine.

Now in his second words rehearsed by Saint Matthew and
Saint Mark -- which words he spoke at the institution of the
Blessed Sacrament, when that (after the wine turned into his blood
and taken to his apostles) he said: "Dico autem vobis, quia non bibam amodo
de hoc genimine vitis, usque in diem illum cum illud bibam novum
vobiscum in regno Patris mei Dei" -- in these words (gathered together in
one out of the gospel of the two aforesaid evangelists) our
Savior meant that he would after that draft no more drink
with them of his own blessed blood, which he drank with them
then, until his bitter passion and his glorious resurrection were
For after his glorious resurrection it is very probable, both upon
these words and some other places of the Scripture, too, that he not
only did eat with them common meat but also did consecrate
and eat with them the Blessed Sacrament also.
Now that he should call here his own blessed blood by the
name of the generation of the vine is nothing to be marveled,
while we see it in the common manner of Holy Scripture to call his
blessed body and blood by the former names of the thing which
he converted into them, as God in the Scripture calleth Adam
earth because he was made of the earth, saying:
"Terra es et in terram reverteris." And the Scripture
calleth the serpent into which the rod of Aaron was turned
by the name of a rod or a yard, while it was not a rod but a
serpent: "Virga Aaron devoravit virgas magorum Egiptiorum[MT2]." And over
this our Savior, in those second words, as some holy doctors
declare, by the vine meant himself, which afterward unto his
apostles he declared himself, saying in the fifteenth chapter of Saint
John: "Ego sum vitis vera." (I am the very vine.)
And so may every way these words of our
Savior (spoken after the conversion of the wine into his blessed
blood) be well thus understand: "I say verily to you that I shall
not, from this time in which I drink now thereof with you,

drink again of the generation of the vine, that is to wit, of my
blood which I have here consecrated, and into which I have here
converted and turned the generation of the vine (that is to say,
the wine that came of the vine and was in the chalice before)
until that day when," etc.
Or else, after those other holy doctors that expound the vine
to be himself, they may be well understood thus: "I say verily to
you that I shall not, from this time in which I drink thereof with
you now, drink anymore of this generation of the vine that we
now drink of, that is to say, of mine own blood of the New
Testament (as I have told you), which is the generation of that vine
of which these other words of mine are
verified, Ego sum vitis vera, "I am the very vine"
(for of mine own body is mine own blood) -- of this generation
of the vine will I no more drink after this time until that day
in which I shall drink it with you new, that is to wit, when it
shall be new in the kingdom of my Father, God (that is to say,
that I being in the kingdom of God, my very natural Father,
that is to wit, after my resurrection when my body shall be forever
immortal and impassible and in eternal glory), until that day
will I not after this time drink anymore of this generation of the
vine, that is myself, which am the very vine. And then after that
will I drink it again with you, at which time it shall be new."
Now that with those words this exposition, by which they be
understood not of wine but of his blessed blood, most properly
should agree, it appeareth both by diverse other things that well
may be gathered upon the circumstance of the matter and also
upon this latter saying of our Savior compared with the former.
For in the former, he said that he would, after that draft of wine
that he drank to the paschal lamb, drink no more wine till
after his resurrection. And now had he drunken wine again after
that and before his resurrection, if that which he drank the
second time had been wine (as it was not, but was only his

own blessed blood). And therefore is it very probable that, in his
second saying, by these words, "this generation of the vine," he
meant not any wine, but the blessed blood of himself.
Also in the words that he spoke before of the paschal lamb
(when he said he would eat the paschal lamb after that no
more till it were fulfilled and perfected in the kingdom of God) he
meant that the Mosaic sacrifice of the paschal lamb, that was
the only figure, he would never eat more.
But the very paschal lamb that was the verity of that figure,
that is to wit, his own blessed body and blood, after that the
figure were by his new sacrament instituted, and (by his passion
suffered and by his glorious body risen again from death) fulfilled
in the kingdom of God, that would he then eat again with them
in the Blessed Sacrament under the form of bread, as he now
would when he instituted it, and as he did after indeed.
And so are these words of the chalice understood in like
wise of his blessed blood in the sacrament, which it seemeth that he
by those words in like wise promised to drink again with them
after his resurrection.
Finally, for this exposition, I note this word novum, that is to say,
"new." Where our Savior in the said latter saying saith: "Dico
autem vobis, quia amodo non bibam de hoc genimine vitis, usque in diem illum
quum illud bibam novum vobiscum in regno Patris mei Dei"
(I say verily to you that from henceforth I shall not drink
of this generation of the vine, until that day when I shall drink
it with you new in the kingdom of my Father God),
in these words, I say, I note and mark this word "novum,"
(new). For, albeit that diverse doctors expound it, "novum, id est novo
modo" (new, that is to wit, in a new manner), because our Lord after
his resurrection did both eat and drink with his disciples
such common meat and drink as he was before wont to do, but
yet in a new manner (that is to wit, now immortal and impassible,
and not for the necessary food of the body, but for the proof
of that he was risen with his very body), albeit, I say, that some
doctors expound that word novum thus, yet seemeth me that the

other exposition is much more apt and consonant thereunto. For this
word novum seemeth not there to be put for an adverb, but is
a noun adjective, and therefore it signifieth some kind of newness
in the drink itself, whereas by that exposition all the
newness is in the drinker (that is to wit, in the person of Christ)
and in the act of drinking, as done for a new cause, but no manner
of newness in the drink itself at all.
For in the common wine that our Savior drank with them
after his resurrection was there none other manner of newness than
there was therein before. And therefore, as I said, this other
exposition that I have here showed seemeth much more agreeable
unto the text, that is to wit, that after that time he would no
more drink with them his own blessed blood, which he drank
with them then in the Blessed Sacrament, until that day when he
should in the kingdom of God his Father drink that
blood with them new. For after his glorious resurrection that
holy blood of his and all his blessed body was waxen new,
that is to wit, of a new condition, other than it was at that time
in which they received it in the Blessed Sacrament.
For, albeit that his body, so delivered them at that time, suffered
not, nor by their eating and receiving into their bodies was not
pained, yet was it such that afterward it did suffer pain and
death upon the cross.
But when they received it again sacramentally after his
resurrection, then was it in eternal glory so confirmed, and in
such wise immortal and impassible, that it should never die nor
never suffer pain after.
And so, though there were in his blessed body and his blood
given them in the sacrament before his passion such a secret
wonderful glory of impassibility for the time (as was in his body
for the time a visible, open glory at his marvelous transfiguration),
yet, in the sacramental receiving after his glorious resurrection,
it had that point of newness which it had not actually before,
that is to wit, without loss, diminishment, or intermission,
eternal enduring of impassible and immortal glory.

And so should (as I say) that generation of that vine, that is to
wit, the blessed blood of his own holy person which he drank
with them, consecrated of the generation of the common vine
and in the likeness and form of common wine, be new after his
glorious resurrection, before which time he there told them that
he would drink no more thereof after that time, in which at his
Maundy in the first institution he and all they did drink thereof
together, of which their drinking with him Saint Mark
maketh mention, saying, "Et biberunt ex eo omnes" (and they drank
thereof all), that is to wit, all the twelve apostles.
That all the apostles drank thereof appeareth well by these
words, at the least wise as many as were present at the time,
and that were they all twelve. For though some have doubted and
some also thought that Judas was gone before, yet is it the most
common sentence of all the old holy men, and most received for
the truth among all Christian people, that the traitor received it,
too, whereof we shall have occasion to speak after in other places.
But now that our Savior did receive and eat his own
blessed body, and drink his own blessed blood in the Blessed
Sacrament at his Maundy with his apostles himself, if any man
doubt, it seemeth me that his own holy words afore rehearsed will
well declare it, in which words he said that himself would
drink no more thereof till he would drink it with them new in
the kingdom of God, that is to wit, in his glory as I have before
showed you.
And that he called his glory the kingdom of God appeareth
both by other places of Scripture and also by his own words,
where, intending to show to some of his disciples (that is to wit,
Saint Peter, Saint James, and Saint John) a sight and show
of his glory in his transfiguration, he said:
"Sunt quidam de hic stantibus qui non gustabunt
mortem, donec videbunt regnum Die." (There be some here standing that
shall not taste the death till they shall see the kingdom of God.)
Besides this, likewise as he did himself both eat and drink
with them of the old paschal lamb that was but the figure, so is

it none other to be thought but that in the instituting of this new
Blessed Sacrament, the verity of that figure, he did himself
eat and drink with them, too.
And that he so did indeed holy Saint
Chrysostom declareth, which in an homily
upon these words of Christ, "Bibite ex hoc omnes" (Drink you of
this all), saith thus:
"Ne autem hoc audientes turbarentur, primum ipse sanguinem suum bibit,
inducens eos sine turbatione in communionem mysteriorum." (Lest that they
hearing that word should be troubled therewith, he
drank his blood first himself, inducing them into the communion
of the sacraments without abashment or trouble.)
Holy Saint Jerome also in his book
against the great heretic Helvidius writeth
in this wise: "Sic igitur Dominus Iesus fuit conviva et convivium, ipse
comedens et qui comeditur." (So therefore was our Lord Jesus both the
guest and the feast. He was both the eater, and was also he that was
Now forasmuch as we shall somewhat farther enter into the
treating of this Blessed Sacrament, let us pray him that hath
instituted it that we may in such wise treat thereof that it may
both in the writer and the reader stretch to the fruit of their
The prayer.
Our most dear Savior Christ, which after the finishing
of the old paschal sacrifice hast instituted the new sacrament
of thine own blessed body and blood for a memorial of thy
bitter passion, give us such true faith therein and such fervent
devotion thereto that our souls may take fruitful, ghostly food
The second lecture upon the Blessed Sacrament.

So excellent is (good Christian readers) this holy Blessed Sacrament
above all other, that neither is there any man able to enter, pierce,
and perceive so many great wonderful things as are to be noted
therein, nor those that of the old holy doctors are already noted,
and of all Christian regions already received and believed, able (as
the dignity of the thing requireth) well to declare or worthily to
speak of. For in this holy sacrament is the very body and the
very blood of him of whom all other sacraments receive their
virtue and strength. For it is (as you have heard of Christ's own
words) the selfsame sacred body of Christ, and the selfsame
blessed blood of his, that was delivered and shed for our sin.
Now albeit that there are in diverse countries of Christendom
some (and hard it is to find any country so fortunate as to be
clear and clean without) that labor in this Blessed Sacrament to
subvert the very true Christian faith -- and would make men ween
that those plain words of Christ, "This is my body" (etc.), were
otherwise meant than they were indeed, and that our Savior in his
so saying did not affirm nor intend that the thing which he
gave his apostles to eat and to drink was his very body and his
very blood, but that they were still bread and wine which he
called then (say they) by the names of his body and his blood
because he would institute them for to stand as tokens of his
body and his blood for perpetual remembrance of his passion --
albeit there lack not, I say, some that labor to bring good faithful
folk out of the true belief into this erroneous mind, yet is it not
my present purpose to dispute the matter with them but to show and
set forth the truth before the eyes of the reader, that he may
rather of the truth read, increase in faith, and conceive devotion,
than with much time bestowed in the reading of their erroneous
fallacies misoccupy his ears and heap up in his heart a dunghill
of their devilish vanities.
Howbeit somewhat of theirs is it, good readers, in my mind necessary

that you know, to the intent you may the better beware of their
Three special engines use these manner of folk with which they
busily, with all their might, oppugn the inexpugnable person of
our Savior Christ, enforcing themselves by force to put out his
glorious body out of the Blessed Sacrament.
First, using the name of sacrament of Christ's body with us,
whereby good simple folk would ween they meant as we do, they
misuse the meaning of that word against us, and in corners
corrupt some well-minded men before they perceive the train
of their crafty purpose.
For they make them ween that, since we call it all the
Blessed Sacrament of Christ's body and blood, therefore it is none
other but a bare sacrament only, that is to wit, a token, a figure, a
sign or memorial of his body and his blood crucified and shed,
and not his own very body and his blood indeed.
Secondly, they say that those words of Christ may be well and
conveniently expounded in such wise as they may serve to prove
the sacrament a figure. And upon that they conclude that, since
they may be so expounded conveniently by an allegory, there is no
necessity to expound them otherwise, nor that those words
should not be so taken and declared as to say that they signify
that in the sacrament is Christ's blessed body indeed.
Thirdly, they enforce that reason with the expositions of old holy
men, which have expounded those words in an allegory sense and
have in their writings called this blessed holy housel by the name
of a sacrament, a sign, a memorial, and a figure. By which words
of those old holy saints those new folk labor to blear the
unlearned reader's eye and make him therewith ween that those old
holy men, in that they called it a sign, a token, or a figure, did
well declare that they took it not for the very body indeed, for that
body cannot be (they say) by no mean a figure of itself.

These three are, I say, good reader, their three special darts.
For I deny not but that they use more: as the words of Scripture,
whereby they would prove Christ's body not in earth because he
said before his ascension to heaven that they should not have
him here still in earth (but he meant of his corporal conversation as
they had him before),
and where they would also by the words of Scripture prove the
Blessed Sacrament bread (but the custom of the Scripture is so
common in that point to call a thing, not as it is, but as it was, or
as it seemeth, whereof I have told you an example or two before, that
all the hold they can take thereof slippeth out of their hand).
I deny not also but that they lay against the sacrament and
say that Christ's blessed body is not there, because they say it cannot.
For it cannot be (they say) in so many places at once. But now
since the truth is that himself saith it is there, and in his so
saying so meant in very deed (as both before is proved and yet
shall hereafter), all that reason of theirs (that it cannot be so) hath to
any Christian man (that taketh Christ for God) no manner taste of
any reason at all. For it standeth, you see, well upon this ground
only, that God is not able to perform his word.
Therefore albeit that (as I say) they say such other things, too, yet are
those three things that I have rehearsed you the special things, and
in effect the only things, with which they have their special hope to
deceive unlearned folk.
Now purpose I not yet, in this present treatise upon the passion,
to enter much in dispicions with them upon these three points
neither. For that thing would require a whole volume alone
(the labor whereof, if God hereafter give me time and opportunity
thereto, I purpose not to refuse), but I will in effect, for this while,
only rehearse you some of those things that holy cunning men
before my days have of this holy Blessed Sacrament, concerning
this matter, left us behind them in writing. Which things, if the

reader diligently consider, shall (I trust) be able somewhat to serve and
suffice him to spy the fallacies and soil the subtleties of all those
folks" false arguments and objections by himself.
Consider now, good readers, and remember that -- since this excellent
high sacrament, under a form and likeness so common and
so simple in sight, covertly containeth in it a wonderful secret
treasure, and signifieth and betokeneth also manifold marvelous
mysteries -- the holy cunning fathers before our days have had
much ado to find names enough and convenient with which
they might in any wise insinuate and show so many such
manner things of this Blessed Sacrament as are partly contained
therein and partly signified thereby. And therefore, by the secret
instinct of the Spirit of God, by which the Catholic Church
of Christ is in such things led and ruled, the old holy virtuous
fathers have not only called (upon effectual causes) this holy
sacrament by sundry diverse names, to signify thereby sundry
singular things thereof, but have also, for the same intent (upon
diverse effectual respects that they saw and considered therein),
called some two sundry things both by one common name.
For the better perceiving whereof we must mark and consider
that in this Blessed Sacrament there are two things actually and
really contained: one that is a very bodily substance and that
is the very blessed body and blood of our Savior himself; the
other that is not any substance but accidents, that is to wit,
those accidents that were before in the bread and wine (which
bread and wine are converted by the almighty power of God into
the very body and blood of Christ). Those accidents, I say, of whiteness,
redness, hardness, softness, weight, savor, and taste,
and such other like, remain and abide in the Blessed Sacrament,
and by the mighty power of almighty God they remain without
the body of which they be the accidents, which -- while they be now
neither accidents in the bread and wine (since bread or wine
none is there), nor accidents unto the blessed body and blood of Christ

(which two things are the only corporal substance that are
there) and accidents are not naturally, nor the mind of a living
man cannot well imagine how any accident can be but in a
bodily substance whereunto it is accident and whereupon it
dependeth -- much folly were it therefore much to muse thereupon
how, and in what wise, and wherein these accidents abide and
are conserved. But that question with many such other more -- wherewith
a proud curious mind hath carried many a man out of faith --
let us remit unto God. For as he only can make those miracles,
so can he only tell how.
Now albeit that an accident, by a general manner of speaking, is
a thing (since it is not nothing), and in such wise I mean by this
word "a thing" when I say there are in the Blessed Sacrament two
things; yet, forasmuch as the name of "sacrament" properly signifieth
a sign or token, which betokeneth an holy thing, the "thing" of
a sacrament is properly called that holy thing that the sacrament
betokeneth -- as in baptism the washing of the body with water,
signifying the washing of the soul by grace, is properly the
sacrament, and the washing of the soul from sin is called the
"thing" of the sacrament, that is to say, the thing that the sacrament
or sacramental sign (I mean the washing in the water)
Now in this holy sacrament of the altar (which hath, as reason
is, above all other sacraments sundry special prerogatives) there
are two sacraments or sacramental signs of sundry kinds: the
one, an outward sacrament or sacramental sign sensible (as
baptism hath, and confirmation, and the other four), the other an
inward sacrament or sacramental sign unsensible, which none of
the remnant have.
The outward sensible sacrament or sacramental sign is the
form of bread and the form of wine.
The inward sacrament and sacramental sign unsensible is the
very blessed body of Christ under that form of bread and the
very blessed blood of Christ under the form of wine.

Now are there likewise in this Blessed Sacrament (above the
nature also of all the other six) two things of the sacrament, or
two sacramental things (that is to wit, two things that are by
the two sacramental signs betokened). And those two things,
though they be both secret and unsensible, yet are they of diverse
sundry kinds, too. For the one is both by the sacrament (that is to
wit, by the sacramental sign) signified and also in the sacrament
contained. The other is only by the sacrament signified, but in
the sacrament it is not contained.
The thing of the sacrament that is both signified and contained
is the very body and the very blood of our Savior himself,
therein actually and really present.
The thing of this Blessed Sacrament that is signified thereby and not
contained therein is the unity or society of all good holy
folk in the mystical body of Christ.
For this must we now first understand, that the first kind
of sacrament that we spoke of (that is to wit, the outward
sacramental signs) be sacraments (that is to wit, signs and
tokens) of both these two sacramental things: that is to wit, of
the very natural body of Christ that is in the sacrament contained,
and also of the society of all saints in the mystical body of
Christ that is not contained in it, but signified and betokened by it.
For the outward sacramental signs (that is to wit, the form
of bread and wine) betoken the very natural body and blood of
Christ being in the sacrament. For as the holy doctors declare,
likewise as bread especially refresheth and sustaineth the body --
whereof the Scripture saith: "Panis confirmat cor
hominis" (Bread strengtheneth a man's heart) -- and
wine gladdeth the heart -- whereof the Scripture saith also: "Vinum laetificat
cor hominis" -- so the very blessed body and blood of Christ in the
sacrament, received worthily, doth especially above all other
sacraments refresh, make strong, and confirm the soul in grace,
and so fulfilleth in some good folk the soul with spiritual consolation

that the soul is in a certain manner of a heavenly
In proof whereof our Savior saith of his body in the sacrament:
"Panis quem ego dabo caro mea est; qui manducat hunc
panem vivet in aeternum." (The bread that I shall
give is my flesh; he that eateth this bread shall live everlastingly.)
And of his blessed blood in the sacrament he saith by
the mouth of the prophet: "Calix meus inebrians
quam praeclarus est?" (My cup that maketh men
drunk, how noble it is?)
These outward sacramental signs (the form of bread and wine)
do also signify and betoken unto us the other sacramental thing (or
the other thing of the sacrament), that is to wit, that thing of the
sacrament that is signified by the sacrament but not contained
therein -- that is to wit, the society of all saints in the mystical body
of Christ. For likewise as the bread, which is in this holy sacrament
turned into Christ's very body (of which bread the form still
remaineth), was made of many corns of wheat into one loaf and
the wine that is converted into his blessed blood (of which wine the
form remaineth) was made of many grapes flowing into one wine,
so be all holy saints gathered together in one, into the unity of
Christ's holy mystical body, as Saint Paul
toucheth in his epistle to the Corinthians, saying:
"Unus panis et unum corpus multi sumus; omnes qui de uno pane, et de uno
calice participamus." (We many be one bread and one body, as many as
be partakers of one bread and one cup.)
Saint Augustine also upon the sixth chapter of Saint John in his
twenty-sixth treatise saith thus:
Propterea quippe sicut etiam ante nos hoc intellexerunt
homines dei, dominus noster Iesus Christus corpus
et sanguinem suum in eis rebus commendavit quae ad unum aliquid rediguntur
ex multis. Namque aliud in unum ex multis granis conficitur, aliud unum ex
multis acinis confluit. Denique iam exponit quomodo id fiat quod loquitur, et

quid sit manducare corpus eius et sanguinem bibere. Qui manducat meam carnem
et bibit meum sanguinem, in me manet, et ego in illo. Hoc est ergo
manducare illam escam et illum bibere potum, in Christo manere, et illum
manentem in se habere. Ac per hoc qui non manet in Christo, et in quo non
manet Christus, procul dubio nec manducat spiritaliter, carnem eius, nec bibit
eius sanguinem, licet carnaliter et visibiliter premet dentibus sacramentum
corporis et sanguinis Christi sed magis tantum rei sacramentum ad iudicium
sibi manducat et bibit, quia immundus, praesumpsit ad Christi accedere
sacramenta, quae aliquis non digne sumit, nisi qui mundus est de quibus
dicitur: Beati mundo corde, quoniam ipsi deum videbunt.
Therefore verily, as also before us the men of God understood
this, our Lord Jesus Christ commended, or left his body and
blood in such things as of many are brought unto some one
thing: For of many corns or grains together, there cometh one
other thing, and out of many grapes or berries there followeth one
other thing. Finally he declareth how it may come to pass that
which he speaketh, and what it is to eat his body and drink his
blood. He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood dwelleth
in me and I in him. Then, this it is to eat that flesh and to drink
that drink, to dwell in Christ, and to have Christ dwelling in him.
And by this thing, he that dwelleth not in Christ and in whom Christ
dwelleth not, without doubt he neither eateth spiritually his flesh,
neither drinketh he spiritually his blood, though he do
carnally and visibly tear or gnaw with his teeth the sacrament of
the body and blood of Christ, but rather he eateth and drinketh
the sacrament of so worthy a think unto his own judgment or condemnation:
the which no man receiveth worthily, but such as are
clean and pure, of whom it is written: blessed are the clean of
heart, for they shall see God.
The other kind of sacrament or sacramental sign (that is to
wit, the sacrament or sacramental sign secret and unsensible)
is, I say, the very natural body and blood of our Savior in the
form of bread and wine. For his very body and his very blood
in these forms so known and seen unto us, not by our senses
but by the truth of our faith, do betoken and represent unto us the
selfsame body and the selfsame blood crucified and shed upon
the cross. For our Savior at his Last Supper, at the institution

of the Blessed Sacrament, did ordain, institute, and appoint
them to signify, betoken, and represent unto his church under
those forms the selfsame body crucified and the selfsame
blood also shed for remission of man's sins at his bitter passion.
And therefore when our Savior gave his blessed body in
form of bread unto his apostles, saying
unto them: "Hoc est corpus meum, quod pro vobis
tradetur" and "Hic est sanguis meus qui pro vobis et
multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum" (This is my body, which
shall be delivered for you; this is my blood, which for you and for
many shall be shed into remission of sins), he said unto them
farther, "Hoc facite in meam commemorationem." (This
do ye in the remembrance of me.)
So that there we may see that he there instituted the same body
of his that should be delivered for us unto death and the same
blood that should be shed for our sins to be in his church
continually consecrate and celebrate as a monument and a
memorial representing to us himself.
Now in what wise those secret invisible sacraments (his own
very natural blessed body and blood) under those visible sacraments
(those forms of bread and wine) should signify, betoken,
and represent unto us himself (that is to say, the same body and
blood in their proper form), the apostle explaineth in the eleventh
chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians,
saying: "Quotienscumque manducabitis panem hunc
et calicem bibetis, mortem domini annuntiabitis
donec veniat." (As often as you shall eat this bread and drink this
cup, you shall show the death of our Lord till he come.)
Here we see that, whereas our Savior in his own words
ordained his own very body and blood in the sacrament to signify,
betoken, and represent himself unto our remembrance,
Saint Paul showeth here that it is the remembrance of him as in
his passion; and so betoken his body and his blood in the sacrament
the selfsame body in his own likeness hanging on the

cross and the selfsame blood in the proper likeness on the same
shed for our sin.
The selfsame unsensible sacrament also, the natural body of
Christ that is under the sensible sacrament of bread, signifieth
and betokeneth the other aforesaid sacramental thing, that is to
wit, the society of saints. For like as the natural body of Christ
is many members in one natural body, so is that society of saints
many lively members in the unity of Christ's mystical body.
And thus we see, good Christian readers, that the outward sensible
sacraments (the forms of bread and wine) be in such wise
figures, tokens, and sacramental signs, that they be only sacramental
signs and not sacramental things.
And on the other side, the secret sacramental thing which
is both by the outward sensible sacraments and by the secret
unsensible sacraments signified and not contained (that is to
wit, the society of saints in the unity of Christ's body mystical)
is only the thing of the sacrament, or the sacramental thing, and
not a sacramental sign, neither sensible nor unsensible (for it is
signified only and signifieth not). But the very natural body
and blood of Christ, in the form of bread and wine, be both
sacramental signs because they signify, and also sacramental
things because they be signified.
Yet must we further know that, albeit we speak only of
the blessed body and blood of Christ, that are verily present
in form of bread and wine, yet is there with them the
soul of our Savior also. For his blessed body and blood in the
sacrament, though they seem dead -- for the more full representation
and figuring of the same body and blood remaining dead on
the cross after his holy soul given up to the Father, whereby his
bitter passion was fully performed and finished -- yet be they not dead
in the sacrament, but quick and animated with his blissful soul,
which after the return thereof and copulation again with his
immortal and impassible body never departed after from it nor never

There is with it also, beside his blessed soul, his almighty
Godhead. For the Godhead from the first time of his incarnation
never departed neither from the soul nor from the body.
But when they two were by death departed and severed asunder,
the Godhead -- that is to wit, the almighty natural Son of the almighty
Father, the second person in Trinity (of which Father and
Son the third almighty person of the coeternal Trinity proceeded) --
was still in unity of person, both with the blessed soul delivering the
old fathers in hell, and with the body lying dead in the sepulchre, too.
Moreover, albeit that the blessed blood is consecrate severally
under the form of wine, to signify and represent unto us that in
the passion (of which the Blessed Sacrament is a memorial) the blood
was severed from the body, yet is there in the Blessed Sacrament
both the blood with the body that is in the form of bread,
and the body with the blood that is under form of wine -- that is
to wit, the body (under the form of bread) immediately, as by
the form of bread most especially signified, and the blood by concomitance,
because the body is never without it; and likewise, under
the form of wine the blessed blood immediately, because there by
that form of wine the blood is chiefly signified, and the whole
blessed body is there with it by concomitance, because that the blood,
since his glorious resurrection, never was, nor is, nor never shall be
separate from his whole blessed body.
If men ask then the question, what we may think of the
holy blood of Christ out of the sacrament, continually kept and
honored in diverse places and with many great miracles approved,
methinketh it may be answered in two manner wise without any
peril of our faith. For I see no necessity to say that all the blood
that Christ had in his body at any time here in earth is in his body
now. And so may some part of his very holy blood that hath been
sometime in his blessed body be now remaining in earth. And also,
since his blessed body may be where it will, his very glorious blood
may be by miracle in sundry places sensible, where it pleaseth himself,
and his blessed body invisible therewith.

In a crucifix stricken, God may also create new blood, which is
none of his. And over this, the blissful soul of Christ and his
almighty Godhead also be both twain, I say, not immediately contained
in the sacrament, because they be neither immediately
signified by those sensible sacramental signs (the forms of
bread and wine), nor be there as secret unsensible signs appointed
to signify any other things (as the blessed body and the blood
be), but be therefore there by concomitance, because from the body
and the blood neither the soul nor the Godhead is at no time
since the resurrection asunder.
And by concomitance are there also both the Father and the
Holy Ghost. For since the Godhead of the Son and the Godhead
of them both is all one self Godhead, neither of them both can be
severed from him, but it must needs be that where he is, there be
they both, not only by a general manner of being (by which
each of them is ever with any of all the things that they have
created), but also by that special manner of being by which (whatsoever
manner that be) any of those three persons is with himself,
except the only personal distinction.
It seemeth also that by concomitance, though not a concomitance
following of like necessity (yet by a certain concomitance
following of convenient congruity), there is everywhere evermore
about this Blessed Sacrament a glorious heavenly company of
blessed angels and saints, as diverse holy doctors declare.
Now forasmuch as under any of the two outward sensible
sacraments (the forms either of the bread or the wine) the
whole inward unsensible sacrament (the very body and blood
of Christ) is, as I have showed you, verily and fully contained,
and also under every part thereof (be it divided into never
so many), therefore whosoever worthily do receive his holy housel
under any one of those two forms only doth verily and sufficiently
receive both the blessed body and blood of our Savior
and therewith his blessed soul and his Godhead, too, yea, and all the whole
Trinity together.

And albeit that of old time lay people did commonly receive
their housel under both the forms, yet always from the beginning
did they sometimes receive it some under the one form and
some under the other alone, as by the old writings of the old holy
saints it doth in diverse places appear. Howbeit, when they
received their housel under the one kind alone, it was most
commonly under the form of bread, because that under that form
it was most able both to be carried without peril of spilling and
longest to be kept without peril of turning.
Upon which thing so long ago begun and used, it came to that
point afterward that for divers inconvenience, which many times
mishapped in the blessed blood under the form of wine when
the common people were houseled under both the forms, the
whole people through Christendom fell in a custom uniform all in
one fashion to receive their holy housel (that is to wit, the very
whole body of Christ and blood both) under the form of bread
only -- of which custom no man hath heard or read any beginning,
which thing alone may well suffice to make indifferent men perceive
that it began even forthwith after Christ's death and that the
lawfulness thereof was known and taught by the tradition of
the apostles themselves. For surely if it had not been known for lawful
of old, the whole people of all Christendom would never have
taken it up of new, being a thing of neither pleasure nor winning,
nor being nothing forced unto it (for law was there none made to
command it).
Howbeit, when that the country of
Bohemia, falling into many heresies, began not
only to do the contrary, receiving it under both the forms (wherein
the body of Christendom would not have stuck to suffer them as
a thing leeful to them that would), but also took upon them farther
to reprove and reproach for damnable the common long-continued
custom of the whole corps of Christendom -- upon this demeanor of

theirs, the general Council of Constance condemned in their
so doing their over arrogant error. For upon that point of theirs,
if the whole body of Christendom may damnably be deceived in
matter concerning our faith or the use of the sacraments, then
followeth there an inevitable confusion and nothing can there in
the Catholic Church be sure: neither tradition, law, custom, nor
Scripture -- neither to know how it is to be understood nor yet so
much as which the very books be, as holy
Saint Augustine (against the great heretics the
Manichees) doth very clearly declare.
Now is this custom (and long was, ere their heresies began in
Bohemia) so universal that neither lay nor priest, man nor woman,
good nor bad, either otherwise used in receiving the holy housel
beside the mass or anything repugned thereat.
Howbeit, though (as I say) this guise and custom was universal
both with lay people and priests, in being houseled of another
man's hand (as the priests be themselves always, save only when
they say mass), yet did there never priest in the mass use to consecrate
in the one form alone. And the cause is because that in the
mass the Blessed Sacrament is (as the old holy doctors all with one
voice agree, and all the corps of Christendom with them from the apostles"
days) not only a sacrament but also a sacrifice that by the offering
of the body and blood of Christ (under the forms of bread and wine
upon the altar) representeth the sacrifice in which the selfsame
body and blood (in their own proper form) was offered upon the
And therefore, albeit that in each of the two forms is the whole
sacrament, both for the thing that it signifieth and for the thing
that it containeth, yet under the one kind only was it never used
to offer that holy sacrifice, but under the both twain together,
that the thing should be correspondent unto
the figure (for this holy sacrifice was fore-figured
in the offering of Melchizedek, that offered both bread
and wine).

Yet is there also put into the wine, before the consecration, a little
water always, whereof we find no word written in the gospel, nor any
plain place in all the Scripture for it. And yet may it not be leefully
left out, as all the old holy doctors teach us. And diverse causes
they lay of that institution, partly for that out of the holy
heart of Christ, when it was pierced with the spear, there issued both
blood and water. And some allege that it is done for to signify the
joining of the people with Christ (for, as it
appeareth in the Apocalypse, by water is signified
people). And finally, some holy saints
say that it is done because that our Savior himself, at his Maundy,
tempered his wine with water.
And all these may be good causes, with the truth and the will of
God well-known. But else I verily believe that no good man (upon
any of these considerations or any other), when he should consecrate,
would presume or adventure to put water into his wine -- where the
gospel of the institution speaketh of no water at all (but only of wine
alone) --
and therefore it well and clearly appeareth, both by this point
and diverse other more (as in the very words and manner of consecration),
the rites and the manner of this holy sacrament were more at
large showed and more fully taught by Christ's apostles by mouth
than afterward written by their pen.
And so appeareth it also by St. Paul, which first taught it the
Corinthians without any book written thereof, and, after writing
them somewhat thereof, saith yet finally,
"Cetera quum venero ipse disponam." (The remnant
I will order when I come myself.) And never wrote he those orders
after that he took farther at his coming, as far as ever I could
hear proved. Origen saith also (and diverse
other old holy doctors) that many things
of the mass were taught by the apostles by tradition, without writing,

by mouth. Saint Denis also, in his book De
Ecclesiastica Hierarchia, saith that the apostles
taught the manner of consecrating in the mass by mouth.
Now because of these wonderful things, and many other wherein
this most Blessed Sacrament so far excelleth all other, as that
sacrament that not only signifieth and betokeneth but also
verily and really containeth the holy and blessed blood of him of
whom all the other sacraments take their strength (for he is, as I
have said, not only man but also God, and with his holy body
and blood is also his holy soul, and with both his body and
soul joined his inseparable Godhead, and of him his Father
and their Holy Spirit is all one Godhead and therefore there
present all three) -- for these causes, I say, for which this Blessed Sacrament
so many manner ways differeth from all other, the old holy
doctors have accustomed to speak of this holy sacrament in diverse
wise and, to signify and insinuate thereby the diverse properties
thereof, by sundry diverse names have been accustomed to call it.
Whereas the sacrament of baptism is not called "the sacrament"
alone but "the sacrament of baptism," nor any of the remnant
without the addition of their own proper name (as the sacrament of
confirmation, the sacrament of penance, and so forth the remnant),
only this Blessed Sacrament is called and known by the name
of "sacrament" alone, signifying and showing thereby that this Blessed
Sacrament is the most excellent and of all holy sacraments the
chief. And that I see not why it were, if it were not (as it is) the very
body of Christ, for the sacrament of baptism is unto salvation of
more necessity than it, and the sacrament of penance, too.
This Blessed Sacrament of the body and blood of Christ is called
also distinctly by the name of either form, "sacramentum panis et
sacramentum vini" (the sacrament of bread and the sacrament of
wine), because that the form of bread betokeneth and immediately
containeth the one, and the form of wine the other. And albeit
that they be indeed two distinct sacraments (that is to wit, both
two distinct sacramental outward signs, for neither is the form of

read the form of wine, nor the form of wine the form of
bread, and two distinct sacramental inward signs, too), and two
distinct sacramental things also, of that kind of thing that is
contained therein (for neither is the body the blood, nor the blood
the body), yet is all together called by the name of "the Blessed Sacrament"
in the singular number, "sacramentum altaris" (the sacrament of
the altar); and yet is it never used at the altar but in both the
forms. But for because that the very real thing that is contained
under both those forms is one entire body -- that is to wit, the
very lively, natural, glorious body of our Savior Christ himself,
to the integrity whereof the blood of the same pertaineth, and
whereof it is now an inseparable part -- which blessed body
and blood (though they, being in the sacrament under several
forms, severally do signify and therefore be well and with good
reason called several sacraments) be yet never severally separate
asunder indeed; therefore to give us knowledge that all that is really
contained in both these sacramental forms is one very real
thing -- that is to wit, the very blessed one entire body of Christ -- all the
whole, under the both forms together, is called by the name of "the
sacrament of the altar" in the singular number.
It is called "sacramentum panis" (the sacrament of bread) and it is
called also panis (that is to say, bread) because that of bread it
was consecrated and that, after the bread converted and turned
into the body of Christ, the form and accidents of the bread
abide and remain (as I before have showed
you that in Scripture a man is called "earth"
because he was made of the earth, and in the
Scripture Moses" yard was called still a yard
when it was turned from a dead yard into a quick serpent that
devoured all the serpents that the witches of Egypt had by their
enchantment brought forth before Pharaoh their king).
But yet, lest the naming it bread might make some men ween
it were but bread indeed, it is called also plainly by the name of the
thing that it is indeed, the body and blood of our Lord.

It is also called "sacramentum communionis" (the sacrament of communion)
because that the thing that all the sacraments or sacramental
signs (both outward signs and inward, both sensible and
unsensible) do signify is, as I have showed you, the communion -- that is
to wit, the union together -- of all holy saints in one society, as
lively members in the mystical body of Christ.
It is also called not only "the sacrament of communion" but over
that "the communion" itself, which is called in Latin communio and
synaxis in the Greek. And this Blessed Sacrament is called the communion
-- that is to say, the union or gathering together in one --
because that this sacrament doth not only signify that communion
but that the very real thing that is in this Blessed Sacrament (beside
the signification thereof) doth also effectually make it. For the
blessed person of our Savior Christ, being verily both God and
man, doth as God, of his almighty power, by his manhead as by his
instrument (not an instrument dead and separate as are all his other
sacraments, but by his instrument lively, quick, conjoined, united,
and forever inseparable), in special manner -- by grace that he giveth
with the joining of his own holy body and blood unto them that
effectually receive it -- doth work, I say, this wonderful work
of the communion of men together with God.
And over this, our Savior, that is in the sacrament, is not only
the worker of this communion, but, since that this communion is a
gathering together of all saints into his own mystical body, this
holy sacrament therefore, in which his own very body is, may be well
called the communion.
And so by their calling this Blessed Sacrament by the name of
communion, the old holy doctors and all the congregation of all
Christian people have and do put every man and woman of the
same congregation in remembrance that in the Blessed Sacrament
is the very body and blood, and by concomitance (as I have before
declared) the very whole person, of our sovereign Lord and
almighty Savior Christ, from whom (as I have said) neither
his almighty Father nor their almighty Spirit either is or can be

This Blessed Sacrament is also called eucharistia, which in the
Greek tongue signifieth "giving of thanks," to put us in remembrance
how high hearty thanks we be bounden of duty to give
unto God for this inestimable benefit.
This holy sacrament is also called sacrificium (the sacrifice)
because it is, as I have told you, the only sacrifice betaken by Christ
unto his Christian church, instead of the old paschal (which was the
figure thereof), to be offered up while the world standeth: instead of
flesh and blood of beasts, the very flesh and blood of our
Savior himself, immortal and impassible under the forms of
bread and wine, representing the most acceptable sacrifice of the
same flesh and blood offered up, once forever, mortal and passible
upon the cross at his bitter passion.
This holy sacrament is also called of the old holy doctors
cena dominica (the supper of our Lord), by which name there are
signified unto us two things. One is the excellence of this Blessed
Sacrament, this new very paschal lamb, the sacred body of our
Savior himself, over and above the old paschal lamb of the
Jews. For that paschal being but the figure, and this of that figure
the verity, the figure passed and finished, this only verity -- the
blessed body and blood of Christ -- beareth now the name alone of the
supper of our Lord to signify the other to be nothing in the respect
of this.
The other thing which that name signifieth and representeth
unto us is the verity of the blessed body and blood of Christ in the
sacrament. For it is called the supper of our Lord to put us in mind
and to let us know that it is not another thing but the selfsame thing
that our Lord gave there to his apostles: not another supper, but the
selfsame supper. For his body is the selfsame body now that it
was then, and his blessed blood the selfsame in like wise, and that was
the supper that he last gave unto them after the paschal lamb eaten.
And that selfsame body and blood is the thing that he giveth us. And
therefore is it called the supper of our Lord, to let us (as I say) perceive
that the thing that we receive at God's board now is the very selfsame

thing that the apostles received then, and that is not the same
bread and the same wine that were then turned but the very selfsame
body and blood into which they were then turned.
Finally, beside yet diverse other names diversely signifying the
manifold great graces thereof, it is, as I have said, both by the Scripture
and all the holy doctors plainly and clearly called by the
proper name of the thing that indeed it is, that is to wit, "corpus domini
et sanguis domini" (the body and blood of our Lord). And likewise as by
all these names afore rehearsed, and yet other more, for the cause above
remembered, this Blessed Sacrament is called by the old holy doctors
and all the corps of Christendom, not in Latin only and in Greek,
but in other vulgar tongues, too, so in our English tongue is it also called
the holy "housel" -- which name of housel doth not only signify
unto us the blessed body and blood of our Lord in the sacramental
form, but also, like as this English word "God" signifieth unto
us not only the unity of the Godhead but also the Trinity of the
three persons, and not only their supersubstantial substance
but also every gracious property (as justice, mercy, truth, almightiness,
eternity, and every good thing more than we can
imagine), so doth unto us English folk this English word "housel,"
though not express, yet imply and under a reverent devout silence
signify both the sacramental signs and sacramental things,
as well the things contained as the things holily signified, with all
the secret, unsearchable mysteries of the same. All which holy
things right many persons -- very little learned, but yet in grace
godly minded, with heart humble and religious, not arrogant,
proud, and curious -- under the name of holy housel, with inward
heavenly comfort, do full devoutly reverence, as many a good,
poor, simple, unlearned soul honoreth God full devoutly under
the name of God that cannot yet tell such a tale of God as some
great clerks can that are yet for lack of like devotion nothing
near so much in God's grace and favor.
Here have I, good Christian readers, rehearsed you some of those
many names by which, for the manifold mysteries contained
therein and signified thereby, this Blessed Sacrament is called. And

this have I done to the intent that if it hap you at any time hereafter
to hear or read any of these things that are said or
written by them that use of some of these names to take occasion of
oppugning the truth, you may have ready before, at your hand,
the fallacy of their sophism soiled.
As for example, because it is called (as it is indeed) the sacrament
of Christ's body, that is to wit, a figure, a token, or a representation
of his body, they labor to make men ween that it cannot
be his very body indeed. But I have here before showed you
in what wise it is a sacrament and doth betoken, and in what wise
it is the thing of the sacrament and is betokened.
Howbeit, where we say that the very body in the form of bread
betokeneth and representeth unto us the selfsame body in his own
proper form hanging on the cross, they say that nothing
can be a figure or token of itself, which thing I marvel much
that any man taketh for so strange. For if there were but even in a
play or an interlude the personages of two or three known princes
represented, if one of them now liked for his pleasure to play his own
part himself, did he not there, his own person under the form
of a player, represent his own person in form of his own estate?
Our Savior (as Saint Augustine saith), walking
with his two disciples toward the castle of
Emmaus in form of a wayfaring man, betokened
and was a figure of himself in form of his own person
glorified, going out of corporal conversation of this world by his
wonderful ascension unto heaven. And in
like wise our Savior, appearing to Mary
Magdalene in the form of a gardener, was a figure of himself in his
own proper form, planting the faith and other virtues in the
garden of our souls.
Now as you see, good readers, that these folk trifle in this point,
so do they (as earnest and as great as the matter is) but in a manner
utterly trifle in the remnant. As (for another example) because

the sacrament is called in Scripture "bread," they say it is bread indeed.
And surely if that argument be so sure as they would have it seem, the
selfsame reason must of reason serve sufficiently (since it is in Scripture
as plainly called "flesh") to drive them to grant that it is very
flesh indeed.
Howbeit indeed the most part of these that are fall from the right
belief of the sacrament are not yet in that point fallen fully so foul
but that they let not to confess that in the Blessed Sacrament is
Christ's very flesh indeed. But then say they that it is very bread,
too. Howbeit, the custom of Scripture in calling it bread though it
be not bread, that have I twice touched before.
But then say the other sort (the far worse sort again) if the
calling it bread in Scripture prove it not bread indeed, then by the
same reason the calling it flesh in Scripture proveth it not flesh indeed.
To that we say that, if it were but a bare word spoken, it might
be taken for an allegory or some other trope or figure of common
speaking. But in this point so many things in Scripture agree
together upon the very thing, that it is very clear and plain that in
calling it bread the Scripture meaneth not that it is bread, but calleth
it by the name that it did bear before and that it seemeth still. But in
calling it the body of Christ, though it useth (as it doth in many places)
an allegorical sense beside, yet appeareth it, I say, plain upon the
circumstances that the Scripture meaneth that it is the very blessed
body of our Savior himself indeed. To this say they again, "Yea,
but we can and do construe all those texts another way with an allegory
sense and prove by the old doctors that our exposition is true."
To this we answer them and say, if you construe all those texts diverse
other good ways with your allegories -- so that you do not with any of
those ways take away the true sense of the letter -- we will not withstand
your allegories but will well allow them, for the old holy
doctors did the same. But on the other side, if with any of your
allegorical expositions you deny the very literal sense beside, and
say that the body of our Savior is not really under the form of

bread in the sacrament, then say we that in your such expounding
you plain expound it false. For we say that such manner of your expositions
is plain against the very sentence and the meaning of the
text. And we say that in this point you report the old holy doctors
untruly. For all the holy doctors and saints from the apostles"
days to your own declare the Scripture clear against you. I will
not here enter into the declaring of all the places of Scripture, by
which places (opened and explained with the circumstances of the
letter) good Christian people may well and plainly perceive that
the very meaning of the Scripture is against these folk and
proveth plain for the Catholic Church. For that were both a very
long work and also a digression somewhat too long from my present
purpose, which is only to declare those words that I have already
declared, that is to wit, the words of our Savior himself,
rehearsed by the three foresaid evangelists, Saint Matthew, Saint
Mark, and Saint Luke, and spoken by our Savior at the institution of
this Blessed Sacrament: and not to declare here all his other words
that he spoke thereof before, rehearsed in the
sixth chapter of Saint John, where
he said, "Panis quem ego dabo vobis caro mea est pro mundi vita" (The
bread that I shall give you is my flesh for the life of the world), and
"Caro mea vere est cibus, et sanguis meus vere est potus" (My flesh is verily
meat and my blood is verily drink), with many more plain words
further: nor to declare the words of Saint Paul either where he saith
in the eleventh chapter of the first epistle to the
Corinthians, "Dominus Iesus in qua nocte tradebatur,
accepit panem et gratias agens fregit et dixit: Accipite et manducate; hoc est
corpus meum quod pro vobis, tradetur" (Our Lord Jesus in the same night that
he was betrayed took bread and giving thanks broke it and said,
"Take and eat; this is my body, which shall be betrayed for you") and
"Quicumque manducaverit panem hunc, et biberit
calicem domini indigne, reus erit corporis et sanguinis

domini," (Whosoever eateth this bread and drinketh the cup of our
Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of our Lord) and,
by and by after, he saith also, "Probet autem se ipsum homo, et sic de pane
illo edat, et de calice bibat; qui enim manducat et bibit indigne, iudicium
sibi manducat et bibit, non diiudicans corpus domini." (Let a man examine
and judge himself and so eat of this bread and drink of the cup;
for he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
judgment and damnation to himself, not discerning and esteeming
the body of our Lord.)
These places of Scripture, and yet other more, plainly proving the
presence of Christ's very body and blood in the Blessed Sacrament, is
not, as I say, my present purpose to declare.
But yet to the intent you shall see that in the foresaid exposition of those
words of our Savior at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament,
where he calleth it his own body and his own blood, I have not told
you a tale of mine own head, but that the old holy doctors and saints,
contrary to these new men's tale, do plainly declare the same,
and plainly do affirm that in the Blessed Sacrament is the very body
and blood of our Savior Christ himself, I shall rehearse you the
plain words of some of them.
Saint Ignatius writeth in his epistle to the
Ephesians. Festinate ergo frequenter accedere ad
Eucharistam et gloriam dei quando enim assidue hoc ipsum agitur, expelluntur
potestates satani qui actus suos convertit in sagittas ignitas ad peccatum. Et ad
Romanos. Non comedam escam corruptionis, neque voluptates huius mundi
desidero, panem dei volo, panem caelestem, Panem vitae, qui est caro Christi filii
dei vivi, et potum volo sanguinis eius qui est dilectio incorruptibilis et vita
aeterna. (Wherefore make haste to come oftentimes to this Eucharist or
sacrament of the altar, and the glory of God. For when we do that
thing diligently, the power of the devil is expelled, who turneth his
doings into fiery darts to drive man to sin.) And in his epistle to

the Romans saith thus, "I will not eat the meat of corruption nor I
desire not the pleasures of this world. I long for the bread of God, the
heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Christ, the Son
of the living God. And I long for the drink of his blood who is love
incorruptible and life everlasting.
Justin the holy martyr, writing of our faith
in his second Apology to the unfaithful
Emperor Antonius, saith thus of this Blessed Sacrament, "Neque
vero haec pro pane potuve communi sumimus. Immo quem admodum verbo dei
Iesus Christus servator noster incarnatus, habuit pro salute nostra carnem et
sanguinem: ita per orationem illius verbi consecratum hoc alimentum (quo
sanguis et carnes nostri per immutationem enutriuntur) eiusdem incarnati Iesu
carnem et sanguinem esse sumus edocti. Siquidem Apostoli in illis suis quae vocantur
Evangelia monumentis ita sibi Iesum imperasse docuerunt, accepto nimirum
pane, peractisque gratiis dixisse, hoc facite in meam commemorationem, hoc est
corpus meum. Ad eundem modum accepto poculo postquam egisset gratias dixisse,
hic est sanguis meus, illisque solis ea tradidisse." (We do not take these
things for common bread, or common drink. But like as by the word
of God, Jesus Christ our Savior, being incarnate, had flesh and
blood for our salvation, so this food wherewith our flesh and blood
by alteration be nourished after it be consecrate by the same word, we
be taught that it is the flesh and blood of the same Jesus incarnate,
for the Apostles in their books which they call gospels did teach
that Jesus did so command them, when as he taking the bread and
giving things[MT3] said: do this in remembrance of me, this is my body,
and likewise taking the cup when he had given thanks said, this
is my blood, and to them alone did he give them.)
Saint Irenaeus writeth thus in his fourth
book and thirty-fourth chapter. "Quomodo autem constabit
eis eum panem in quo gratiae actae sunt corpus esse domini sui, et calicem sanguinis
eius, si non ipsum fabricatoris mundi filium dicant? Et Paulo post,
Quomodo autem rursus dicant carnem in corruptionem devenire, et non percipere
vitam, quae a corpore, domini et sanguine alitur? Ergo aut sententiam
mutent, aut abstineant offerendo ea quae praedicta sunt." (How shall it appear
to them to be true that the Eucharistical bread upon which
thanks be given, is the body of their Lord, and the cup of his
blood, except they say that he is the Son of him that made the world?

and a little after he saith: How do they affirm that man's
flesh goeth to corruption, and receiveth not life again which is
nourished of the body and blood of our Lord? Therefore either let them
change their opinion, or abstain from offering of those aforesaid
Tertullian also writeth in a book concerning
the resurrection of our flesh in this
manner: "Caro corpore et sanguine Christi vescitur, ut et anima de deo saginetur."
(The flesh eateth the body and blood of Christ that the soul also
may be made fat of God.)
Likewise Origen writeth in his like homely
after this manner: "Quando sanctum cibum, illudque
incorruptum epulum accipis, quando vitae pane et poculo frueris, manducas et
bibis corpus et sanguinem domini: tunc dominus sub tectum tuum ingreditur, et
tu ergo humilians temetipsum imitare hunc Centurionem, et dicito, domine non
sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum ubi enim indigne ingreditur, ibi ad
iudicium ingreditur accipienti." (When thou dost receive this holy meat,
and incorruptible food, when thou dost take and enjoy the bread
and cup of life, and dost eat and drink the body and blood of
our Lord, then our Lord entereth under thy house, and therefore
humbling thyself, imitate and follow this Centurion, and say with
him, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my house,
for where he entereth unworthily, there he entereth to the damnation of
the receiver.)
Saint Cyprian in his sermon which he made
of the supper of our Lord, writeth thus. "Significata
olim a tempore Melchizedek prodeunt sacramenta, et filiis Abrahae
facientibus opera eius, summus sacerdos panem profert et finum. Hoc est
(iniquit) corpus meum. Manducaverunt et biberunt de eisdem pane et vino
secundum formam visibilem sed ante verba illa, cibus ille communis tantummodo
nutriendo corpori commodus erat, et vitae corporalis subsidium ministrabat.
Sed postquam a domino dictum est: hoc facite in meam commemorationem, haec
est caro mea, et hic est sanguis meus, quotiescumque his verbis et hac fide
actum est, panis ille supersubstantialis et calix benedictione solemni consecratus,

ad totius hominis vitam salutemque proficit, simul medicamentum et holocaustum
ad sanandas infirmitates et purgandas iniquitates exsistens."
(The sacraments which of old were signified from the time of
Melchizedek, are now set abroad, and to the sons of Abraham
doing the works of Abraham, the most high priest bringeth forth
bread and wine. This is, saith he, my body. Of the same
bread and wine according to the visible form they did eat and
drink, but before those words, that common bread did only
serve for the nourishing of the body, and did relieve and sustain
corporal life. But after that our Lord said: Do this in remembrance
of me, this is my flesh and this is my blood, as often as it is
done with these words, and with this faith, that heavenly and
supersubstantial bread and cup, being consecrate with that
solemn benediction, is profitable to the life and salvation of the
whole man, being both a medicine to heal infirmities, and a sacrifice
to purge iniquities.)
Saint Hilary also in his eight book de
Trinitate writeth in this wise: "Eos qui inter
patrem et filium non naturae sed voluntatis ingerunt unitatem, interrogo utrum
ne per naturae veritatem hodie Christus in nobis sit, an per concordiam voluntatis?
Si enim vere verbum caro factum est, et nos vere verbum carnem cibo dominico
sumimus, quomodo non naturaliter manere in nobis exsistimandus est, qui et
naturam carnis nostrae iam inseperabilem, sibi homo natus assumpsit, et naturam
carnis suae ad naturam aeternitatis, sub sacramento nobis communicande
carnis admiscuit, ita enim omnes unum sumus. Et paulo post. Si vere igitur
carnem corporis nostri Christus assumpsit, et vere homo ille qui ex maria natus
fuit, Christus est, nosque vere sub mysterio carnem corporis sui sumimus, et per
hoc unum erimus, quia pater in eo est, et ille in nobis, quomodo voluntatis unitas
asseritur, quum naturalis per sacramentum proprietas, perfectae sacramentum sit
unitatis. Non est humano aut saeculi sensu in dei rebus loquendum, neque per
violentam atque impudentem praedicationem caelestium dictorum sanitati alienae
atque impiae intelligentiae extorquenda perversitas est. Quae scripta sunt legamus,
et quae legerimus, intelligamus, et tunc perfectae fidei officio fungemur. De naturali
enim in nobis Christi veritate quae dicimus, nisi ab eo discimus stulte atque
impie dicimus, ipse enim ait: Caro mea vere est esca, et sanguis meus vere est
potus. Qui edit carnem meam et bibit sanguinem meum, in me manet, et ego

in eo. De veritate carnis et sanguinis domini non relictus est ambigendi locus.
Nunc enim et ipsius domini professione et fide nostra vere caro est, et vere sanguis
est. Et haec accepta atque hausta id efficiunt ut et nos in Christo et Christus in
nobis sit." (These men that between the Father and the Son bring us in, not
an unity of nature but of will, them ask I now whether that Christ
be in us at this day by a unity of nature, or only by a concord
and agreement of will. For if the word was verily made flesh,
and if we also verily receive that word being flesh in our
Lord's meat, how shall he be thought not to be in us naturally,
who both being born man hath taken upon him the nature
of our flesh, which is now inseparable from him, and hath also
put together the nature of his flesh, and the nature of eternity under
the sacrament of his flesh to be communicated unto us. And so
be we all one: And a little after: If Christ therefore hath verily
taken upon him the flesh of our body, and also that man
which was born of Mary be verily Christ, and if we also verily
receive under a Sacrament the flesh of his body, and shall thereby
be one with his Father and him, because his Father is in him and
he in us: how affirm they the unity to be only in will, considering
that the propriety of nature by the Sacrament is the
Sacrament of perfect unity. We may not speak after man's
fantasy or the imagination of the world in the things of God: nor
we may not by a violent and shameless exposition of heavenly
things wring out a wicked and a false understanding wrested
away from the truth. Let us read the word as they be written,
and the things that we read let us understand aright, and then
shall we exercise the duty of perfect faith. For the things that
we say of the natural very being of Christ in us, -- except we learn
them of himself -- foolishly and wickedly do we speak. Thus he
himself saith: My flesh is verily meat, and my blood is verily

drink: he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, he dwelleth
in me and I in him. Of the truth and verity therefore of his flesh
and his blood, is there now no place left for any man to doubt,
for now both by the word of our Lord himself, and by our faith also,
verily is it his flesh and verily is it his blood, and these two received
and drunk bring this to pass, that both we be in Christ and
Christ is in us.)
Eusebius Emesenus in his oration of this
sacrament writeth thus: "Recedat omne infidelitatis
ambiguum quandoquidem qui auctor est muneris, ipse est etiam testis veritatis.
Nam invisibilis sacerdos visibiles creaturas in substantiam corporis et sanguinis
sui, verbo suo secreta potestate convertit, ita dicens: Accipite et comedite, hoc
est corpus meum. Et sanctificatione repetita, Accipite et bibite, hic est sanguis
meus. Et paulo post: Nec cubitet quisquam primarias creaturas nutu potentiae,
praesentia maiestatis in dominici corporis transire posse naturam, quum ipsum
hominem videat artificio caelestis misericordiae Christi corpus effectum. Sicut autem
quicumque ad fidem veniens ante verba baptismi adhuc in vinculo est veteris debiti
iis vero commemoratis mox exuitur omni faece peccati, ita quando benedicende
verbis caelestibus creaturae sacris altaribus imponuntur, substantia illic est panis
et vini: Post verba autem Christi, corpus et sanguis est Christi. Quid autem
mirum est si ea quae verbo potuit creare, verbo posset creata convertere? Immo iam
minoris miraculi videtur esse si id quod ex nihilo agnoscitur condidisse, iam conditum
in melius valeat commutare."
(Let all doubt of infidelity pass away, for he that is the author
of the gift, is also witness of the truth of it. For the invisible
priest by his word and secret power, doth change and
convert the visible creatures into the substance of his body and
blood, saying thus, Take and eat, this is my body. And repeating
the consecration, saith. Take and drink, this is my blood. And a little
after he saith: Let no man doubt, but that the former creatures
may be turned into the nature of Christ's body by his almighty
power, and the presence of his majesty, seeing he seeth man

himself made the body of Christ by the workmanship of his
heavenly mercy. For like as any man that cometh to the faith
before the words of baptism, is yet still under the bond of his
old sin, but when the words be spoken, by and by is he
delivered from all dregs of sin. Even so, when the creatures
which are to be consecrate by the heavenly words are set upon
the holy altars, there is the substance of bread and wine. But
after the words of Christ there is the body and blood of Christ.
For what marvel is it for him to be able to convert and change
those creatures with his words, which he was able to create
and make of nothing with his word? Yea, rather it seemeth to be less
miracle, if that thing which he is known to have made of nothing,
he be now able to change the same thing already made into a
Saint Basil in his book of short questions,
asketh this question, and answereth it himself
by and by after in these words. "Quanto cum timore qualive cum fide et
animi persuasione, corpus et sanguinem Christi communicemus? Responsio,
de timore quidem habemus Apostolum qui ait, qui manducat et
bibit indigne, iudicium sibi manducat et bibit. Fidem autem faciunt verba
domini, qui dixit, hoc est corpus meum quod pro vobis datur, hoc facite in meam
commemorationem." (With what fear, and with what faith and persuasion
of the mind, should we receive the body and blood of Christ?
The answer, concerning our fear, we have the Apostle that saith,
he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
damnation to himself. And as concerning our faith, it is taught
and framed by the words of Our Lord, who said: This is my body
which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.)
Hesychius an old author writeth thus in
his sixth book the twenty-second chapter upon Leviticus:
"Sanctificationem mystici sacrificii, et a sensibilibus ad intelligibilia translationem,
sive commutationem, ei qui verus est sacerdos, videlicet Christo, oportet
dari, id est ipsi de eis miraculum cedere et imputare: quia per eius virtutem
et prolatum ab eo verbum tam sanctificata sunt, quam cunctum carnis excedant
(The sanctifying of the mystical sacrifice, and the translation or

changing of it from things sensible to things intelligible, ought
to be given and ascribed to Christ, who is the true priest, that is to
say, we ought to grant and impute to him the miracle wrought in
them. For by his virtue, and the word pronounced of him, they be
sanctified so, as the exceed and pass all the senses of the flesh.)
Saint Ambrose saith in the fifth chapter of
his fourth book of the sacraments: "Antequam
consecretur, panis est: ubi autem verba Christi accesserunt corpus est Christi.
Denique audi dicentem, Accipite et edite ex eo omnes: hoc est corpus meum.
Et ante verba Christi, calix est vini et aquae plenus: ubi verba Christi operata
fuerint, ibi anguis efficitur, qui plebem redemit. Ergo videte quantis generibus
potens est sermo Christi, universa convertere. Deinde ipse dominus Iesus
testificatur nobis quod corpus suum accipiamus et sanguinem. Numquid
debemus de eius fide et testificatione dubitare?"
(The sacrament before it be consecrate is bread. But when Christ's
words be come to it, it is the body of Christ. Last of all hear him
saying, take and eat of this all you, this is my body. And before
the words of Christ the cup is full of wine and water, but when
the words of Christ have wrought, there is made the blood that
redeemed the people. Therefore see by what manner and sort, the
word of Christ is able to convert all things. Also our Lord Jesus
himself doth testify unto us that we receive his body and blood.
Ought we to doubt of his fidelity and testimony?)
Saint John Chrysostom in his eighty-third homily
upon St. Matthew, writeth thus: "Credamus itaque
ubique deo, nec repugnemus ei etiamsi sensui et cogitationi nostrae absurdum esse
videatur quod dicit. Superet et sensum et rationem nostram, verbum ipsius,
quod in omnibus et precipue in ministeriis faciamus: non illa quae ante nos
iacent solum modo aspicientes, sed verba quoque eius tenentes: nam verbis eius
defraudari non possumus, sensus vero noster deceptu facillimus est. Illa falsa
esse non possunt, hic saepius atque saepius fallitur. Quoniam ergo ille dixit, hoc
est corpus meum, nulla teneamur ambiguitate, sed credamus, et oculis intellectus
id prospiciamus." (Therefore, let us believe God in all things , and
not repugn against Him, although that which he saith, seemeth
to our senses and thoughts to be against reason. Let his word exceed
and overcome our sense and reason. Which thing we ought to do in
all things, and especially in the sacraments, not beholding only
those things which lie before us, but also understanding and remembering
his words. For we cannot be deceived by his words,

yet our senses be most easy to be deceived. His words cannot be
false, but our sense is deceived very oftentimes. Therefore because
he said, this is my body, let us remain in no doubt or ambiguity,
but let us believe and look upon it with the eyes of our understanding.)
Saint Jerome in his epistle ad Heliodorum
writeth thus: "Absit ut de iis quicquam sinistrum
loquar, qui Apostolico gradui succedentes, Christi corpus sacro ore conficiunt,
per quos et nos christiani sumus, qui claves regni caelorum habentes quodammodo
ante diem iudicii iudicant." (God forbid that I should speak anything
amiss of them, who in degree succeeding the Apostles, do
consecrate Christ's body with their holy mouth, by whose ministry,
we be also Christian men, who also having the keys of the kingdom
of heaven, after a certain manner, do judge us before the day of
St. Cyril also writeth in his tenth book the thirteenth
chapter upon St. John's gospel, after this manner:
"Quemadmodum si quis igne liquefactam ceram aliae cerae liquefactae ita miscuerit,
ut unum quid ex utrisque factum videatur, sic communicatione corporis et sanguinis
Christi, ipse in nobis est et nos in ipso. Non poterat aliter corruptibilis
haec natura corporis ad incorruptibilitatem et vitam perduci, nisi naturalis vitae
corpus ei coniungeretur." (Like as if a man should mingle one wax
melted by the fire with another piece of wax likewise melted, so that
one mass or lump be made of them both: even so by communicating
and receiving of Christ's body and blood, he is in us and we in
him. For otherwise it is not possible for this corruptible nature
of our bodies to be brought to life and incorruption, except the
body of natural life be joined unto it.)
St. Augustine upon the thirty-third Psalm writeth thus:
"Ferebatur in manibus suis, hoc vero fratres quomodo
possit fieri in himine[MT4], quis intellegat? Quis enim portatur in manibus suis?
Manibus aliorum potest portari homo, manibus suis nemo portatur. Quomodo
intellegatur in ipso David secundum literam non invenimus, in Christo
autem invenimus, ferebatur enim Christus in manibus suis, quando commendans
ipsum corpus suum, ait, hoc est corpus meum, ferebat enim illud corpus
in manibus suis. Ipsa est humilitas domini nostri Iesu Christi, ipsa multum
commendatur hominibus." (He bore himself in his own hands. How

and by what means, my brethren, this might be possible, who
can perceive and understand? For who is borne in his own hands?
A man may be borne in the hands of another, but with his own
hands no man is borne. How it might be understood literally
of David, I cannot find nor perceive, but how it might be verified
of Christ, we find, for Christ bore himself in his own hands when
he commended his body and said on this wise, "This is my body."
For Christ bore that body in his hands. This is the humility of our
Lord Jesus Christ, and his humility is greatly commended unto men.)
Saint Augustine in his 118th epistle to Januarius
writeth thus. "Liquido apparet, quando primum
acceperunt discipuli corpus et sanguinem domini, non eos accepisse
ieiunos: numquid tamen propterea calumniandum est universe ecclesiae, quod a
ieiunis semper accipitur? Ex hoc enim placuit spiritui sancto, ut in honorem
tanti sacramenti in os christiani prius dominicum corpus intraret, quam exteri
cibi. Nam ideo per universum orbem mos iste servatur."
(It appeareth clearly, that when the disciples first of all received
the body and blood of our Lord, they received it not fasting, but
what then, should we therefore wrongfully accuse the Church, because
it is always received of none but such as are fasting? For from that time
so forth, it hath pleased the Holy Ghost that in the honor of that
so high a sacrament, the body of our Lord should be received and
taken into the mouth of a Christian man before any bodily meat.
For upon this cause, this custom is kept, throughout all the world.)
Saint Gregory writeth in his twenty-second homily
thus, alluding to the paschal lamb which was
the figure of this sacrament. "Quid namque sit sanguis agni, non iam audiendo
sed bibendo didicistis, qui sanguis super utrumque postem ponitur,
quando non solum ore corporis, sed etiam ore cordis hauritur. In utroque enim
poste sanguis agni positus est, quando sacramentum passionis illus cum ore ad
redemptionem sumitur, ad imitationem quoque intenta mente cogitatur. Nam
qui sic redemptoris sui sanguinem accipit, ut imitari passionem
illius necdum velit, in uno poste sanguinem posuit, qui etiam in superliminaribus
domorum ponendus est." (What is the blood of the lamb ye have
learned not now by hearing, but by drinking, which blood is put

upon both the posts, when it is drunk and received, not only by
the mouth of the body, but also by the mouth of the heart: for the
blood of the lamb is put upon both the posts, when the sacrament
of his passion is received with the mouth for redemption, and
also is thought upon with a mindful and attent mind for imitation.
For he that so receiveth the blood of his redeemer, that he will
not yet imitate and follow his passion, he hath put the blood but
upon one post, which ought to be put upon both the posts of the
Saint Bede in his book De Mysteriis saith thus:
"Iba[MT5] forma panis videtur, ubi substantia panis non est.
Nec est ibi alius panis quam panis qui de caelo descendit." (There appeareth
the form of bread, where the substance of bread is not. Neither
is there any other bread than the bread which descended from heaven.)
Theophylactus upon the twenty-sixth chapter of
Saint Matthew writeth thus. "Porro dicens. Hoc
est corpus meum, ostendit quod ipsum corpus domini est panis qui sanctificatur
altario, et non respondens figura. Non enim dixit, Hoc est figura, sed
hoc est corpus meum. Ineffabili enim operatione transformatur, etiam si
nobis videatur panis, qui infirmi sumus et abhorremus crudas carnes comedere,
maxime hominis carnem, et ideo panis quidem apparet, sed caro est."
(Furthermore saying, this is my body, he showeth that the bread which
is sanctified upon the altar is the very body of our Lord, and not
a figure answering to it. For it is changed by an unspeakable
working, although it seem bread to us that be weak and abhor
to eat raw flesh, specially the flesh of man, and therefore it
appeareth bread, but it is flesh.)
Saint Anselm in the second book of the
body and blood of our Lord, and in the
second chapter, saith thus: "In illis speciebus panis et vini, aut nulla
est substantia, aut dominici corporis et sanguinis substantia est, aut fides
nostra irrita est." (In those kinds of bread and wine, either there is no
substance, or else it is the substance of our Lord's body and blood
or else our faith is of no effect or force.)
Here have you, good Christian readers, heard the very plain open

words of diverse of the old holy doctors, by which we may plainly
perceive and see that they were of the selfsame belief of old that
we be now, and which hath ever been the belief of Christ's whole
Church since the institution of the Blessed Sacrament unto this day,
and many years was it ere ever any man began to doubt, but that
as well Catholics as all other that were yet in sundry other points
heretics agreed together all in one that in this Blessed Sacrament
is the very body and the very blood of Christ. For like as it was
known to the apostles by the teaching of our Savior Christ himself,
and so forth unto the primitive church or congregation of Christian
people that were gathered together in many parts of the world in
the apostles" days, so was the selfsame truth taught by the apostles
themselves, first fully and thoroughly by mouth and tradition, or delivery
without writing, and afterward by writing conveniently also. Of
the understanding of which writing there could at that time no
doubt or debate arise, forasmuch as the whole people knew the
truth of the thing before the writing of the apostles and evangelists,
by the faith that the apostles and evangelists had taught them before
by mouth.
And so using and teaching the sacraments, and understanding
without any difficulty the words of the Scripture therein, by their
foretaught and from time to time kept and continued faith, lived in
unity and concord of belief concerning this Blessed Sacrament, no
man gainsaying the very blessed body and blood to be therein, even
after that many folk were fallen in many other points from the true
Catholic faith.
And this appeareth very plain by that we see both
Saint Irenaeus confound the Valentinians,
and Saint Hilary confound the Arians, and
Saint Augustine confound the Manchees by
certain arguments grounded upon the verity of the very body and
blood of our blessed Savior in this holy sacrament, which had
been, you wot well, nothing to the purpose if those three sects of
heretics had not agreed with those three holy saints, and with

the Catholic Church, that in the sacrament is the very body and
blood of Christ.
Howbeit, after that, began there some (among their other heresies)
to fall then unto some of these concerning the Blessed Sacrament.
For when men began once to take the bridle in the teeth and
run forth at rovers out of the common trade of the foretaught and
received (and by the whole Catholic Church believed and professed)
faith, then could there not (nor yet can) with such manner of folk the
letter of Holy Scripture be any bridle to refrain them back. For
setting the authority of the whole corps of the known Catholic
Church at naught and challenging the Spirit of God from the same,
and ascribing that Holy Spirit, some to such acknown church of
heretics as themselves assigned, and the more part of them ascribing
that Spirit to an only unknown church, and challenging yet nevertheless
(contrary to their own position) the truth of understanding
and interpreting of Holy Scripture (to which they confessed the inspiration
of that Holy Spirit requisite) every man of them to himself --
using (I say) themselves in this wise, the Scripture could not hold them.
For they would and did (and yet such folk do) deny for Scripture
which books of Scripture they list, and such as they list to
receive, interpret and construe as they list. By reason whereof at
sundry times sundry heresies sprung and spread abroad, and --
with great trouble of the good Catholic folk, and great decay of the
true Catholic folk, and eternal destruction of their souls that took
those wrong ways -- flowered for a little while. Howbeit, our Lord
(laud and thanks be to him) ever provided with his Holy Spirit
that all these heresies were in short space by his Catholic Church
condemned and suppressed. And so hath his Catholic faith in his
Catholic Church, as well in this article of the Blessed Sacrament as
in all the remnant, this fifteen hundred years continued and ever
continue shall while this world last, what wrestling soever the infidels
shall make with it.
Howbeit, men may gather upon the Scripture that, like as
Christendom hath now in some place lost many lands and in
some other win many lands again, so shall it be, after the

faith spread so full round about it, that there shall be no land in
any part thereof (in which part people are dwelling) but that they
shall have heard of the name and faith of Christ. Which was not all
done (as Saint Augustine saith) in the time of the
apostles themselves, but, like these words of
Christ (saith Saint Augustine), "Qui vos audit
me audit" (He that heareth you, heareth me), though they were spoken
only to the apostles, were not yet only meant for the apostles"
persons only but spoken to them in the name of the Church, as
governors for the same -- and therefore to those governors of the
Church also as to the world's end should succeed in their places --
so this prophecy of "In omnem terram exiit[MT6] sonus
eorum, et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum" (Into all
the world is gone out the sound of them, and into the ends of the
roundel of the earth, the words of them), which words were written
by the prophet David many years ere the apostles were born (and
yet prophesied by the verb of the pretertemps, or time past, to
signify that the thing prophesied should as surely succeed and be
verified as though it were past already), were not meant that the
thing should be fully performed by their own persons, but part
in one time, part in other, by such as the governors of the Catholic
Church, which should succeed in their places, should, in times and
opportunity convenient, send forth about it and appoint thereunto.
But afterward, when it is all preached round about upon all parts
of the earth, the time shall come when it shall so sore decay again,
and the Church by persecution so straited into so narrow a corner,
that, in respect of the countries into which Christendom hath
been and shall be dilated and spread before, it shall seem that there
shall be then no Christian countries left at all. Whereof our Savior
said: "Quum venerit filius hominis, putas inveniet
fidem in terra?" (When the Son of Man shall
come -- that is to wit, at the day of doom to judge the world -- trowest
thou that he shall find faith in the earth?)
But that time shall be but short, for our Savior saith,

"Propter electos breviabuntur dies illi," and then shall
our Lord come soon after, and finish this
present world, and reward every good man after his good
works wrought in his true Catholic faith:
"Reddet unicuique secundum opera sua." (He shall yield
every man according to his works.)
But yet such works we must understand as are wrought in faith,
for as Saint Paul saith, "Sine fide impossibile est
placere deo." (Without faith it is impossible to
please God.)
But finally this Catholic faith of the presence
of Christ's very body and blood in the blessed
sacrament hath, as I have showed, been the faith of Christ's whole
Catholic Church ever since Christ's first institution thereof until
this present time, and ever shall be while the world endureth. Whereagainst
whoso wrestleth cannot fail in conclusion to take a
very foul fall, as far down (except he repent) as from the place
that he walketh on in earth into the deep pit of hell, from which
fall our Lord of his goodness defend every Christian man.
The third lecture of the Sacrament.
I have in the first lecture (good readers) expounded you the words
of our Savior at the institution of the Blessed Sacrament. And after
have I in the second showed you somewhat of the sacramental
signs and of the sacramental things that are either contained therein
or signified thereby, and have also somewhat rehearsed you the very
words of the old holy doctors, whereby we may plainly perceive
that the old holy saints believed the presence of the very body and
blood of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in like wise as we do.
Now is it convenient that we somewhat speak in what manner
wise we ought to use ourselves in the receiving. We must understand
that of this holy sacrament there are three manner of receiving. For
some folk receive it only sacramentally, and some only spiritually,
and some receive it both.

Only sacramentally do they receive it which receive the Blessed
Sacrament unworthily. For they verily receive the very body and
blood of our blessed Savior into their body in the Blessed Sacrament
in form of bread out of the mass, or in form of bread and wine in
the mass. For as holy Saint Augustine saith of
the false traitor Judas, though he was naught
and received it at the Maundy to his damnation, yet was it our Lord's
body that he received. But because they receive it in deadly sin
(that is to wit, either in will to commit deadly sin again, or
impenitent of that they have committed before), therefore they receive
it not spiritually; that is to say, they receive not the spiritual thing
of the sacrament, which (as I before have showed) is the sacramental
thing that is signified thereby, that is to wit, the society of holy
saints -- that is to say, he is not by the spirit of God united with holy
saints as a lively member of Christ's mystical body.
For we must understand that Christ, in giving his own very body
into the very body of every Christian man, he doth in a certain
manner incorporate all Christian folk and his own body together
in one corporation mystical. And therefore saith Saint Paul:
"Omnes de uno pane manducamus." (All we eat of
one loaf.) Not that all the people eat of one
material loaf, for there were among them distributed many, but he
meaneth that that very thing that is there under the form of that loaf of
bread is that one thing that the apostle and all they and all we too eat. And
then saith he also: "Unus panis multi sumus." (We
many be of one loaf.) And so are we, as I say,
by the receiving each of us that loaf that is himself mystically, all
incorporate together and all made that one loaf. And therefore when
our Lord in giving that loaf at the first institution unto his apostles
that there represented his church said, "This is
my body," in giving (I say) to his church his very
body, he not by word but by his deed called
(as Saint Cyprian saith in his sermon De cena Domini) his church his
body, too.
But now, though that every Christian man so receiving is in a
certain manner a member of his mystical body (the Church) by this

sacramental receiving, yet, for his receiving it in deadly sin he
receiveth it not spiritually; that is to say, though he receive Christ's
holy flesh into his body, he receiveth not yet Christ's Holy Spirit
into his soul.
And therefore this manner of deadly receiving his quick flesh giveth
no quickness or life unto the soul. And in such a receiver of Christ's
flesh are these words of Christ verified: "Spiritus
est qui vivificat, caro non prodest quicquam." (The
flesh availeth nothing; the spirit is it that giveth life.)
And therefore I say that, without the spiritual receiving, the
sacramental receiving nothing availeth. And not over that it
nothing availeth, but over that it sore noyeth and hurteth. For St.
Paul, after that he hath plainly told and showed the
Corinthians that the thing which they did eat and drink was the body
and blood of Christ, he said unto them, "Quicumque
manducaverit panem et biberit calicem Domini indigne,
reus erit corporis et sanguinis Domini, et iudicium sibi manducat et bibit,
non diiudicans corpus Domini." (Whosoever eat the bread and drink the cup
of our Lord unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of our
Lord, and eateth and drinketh judgment unto himself, for that that he
discerneth not the body of our Lord, that is to wit, considereth it not
and useth it like as he ought to do, it being the body of our Lord as
it is.)
Here we see that, notwithstanding that he that receiveth the
Blessed Sacrament receiveth the very body of our Lord, yet
receiving it unworthily (and therefore not spiritually), though he be by
the only sacramental receiving of Christ's body incorporate as a
member (in a certain manner) in the mystical body of his Catholic
Church, yet, for lack of the spiritual receiving by cleanness of spirit,
he attaineth not the fruitful thing of the sacrament, that is to wit,
the society of saints; that is to say, he is not by the spirit of
Christ animated and quickened and made a lively member in the
pure mystical body, the fellowship and society of saints.
Some, as I said before, receive this Blessed Sacrament only
spiritually and not sacramentally, and so do all they receive it
which are in clean life and are at their high mass devoutly.

For there the curate offereth it for him and them, too. And although
that only himself receive it sacramentally, that is to wit, the very
body and blood under the sacramental signs (the forms of bread
and wine), yet as many of them as are present at it and are in clean
life receive it spiritually, that is to wit, the fruitful thing of the
sacrament; that is to say, they receive grace, by which they be by the
spirit of Christ more firmly knit and united quick, lively members
in the spiritual society of saints.
[Sir Thomas More wrote no more in English of this treatise of the
passion of Christ. But he, still prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote
more thereof in Latin after the same order as he wrote thereof in
English; the translation whereof here followeth.]

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