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1031 [1006]

K. Hen. 8. The letter of Iohn Fryth, to the congregation.

is distributed vnto vs, so verily is Christes body and the fruit of his passion distributed vnto al faythful people.

In that it is receiued, it is Christes body, signifying that as verily as the outward man receiueth the sacrament with his teeth & mouth, so verily doth the inward man through faith receiue Christes body and fruite of his passion, and is as sure of it, as of the bread that he eateth.

Well (said they) doest thou not thinke that his very natural body fleshe, bloud, and bone, is really conteyned vnder the Sacrament, and there present without all figure or similitude? MarginaliaTransubstantiation. No, saide I, I doo not so thinke. Notwithstanding I woulde not that any shoulde count, that I make my saying (which is the negatiue) any article of fayth. For euen as I say, that you ought not to make any necessary article of the fayth of your part (which is the affirmatiue) so I say againe, that we make no necessary article of the fayth of our part, but leaue it indifferent for al men to iudge therein, as God shall open his hart, and no side to condemne or despise the other, but to nourish in al things brotherly loue, and one to beare an others infirmitie.

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MarginaliaFerebatur manibus proprijs. After this they alleged the place of Saint Augustine, where he sayth: Ferebatur in manibus proprijs. 

Commentary  *  Close

This is largely a close paraphrasing of page 451 of the Russell edition. Frith's examination of St Paul's Epistle to the Corinthians was inspired (or lifted directly) from Zwingli's Exposition and basis of the conclusions or articles (of 1523). The reference to sacramental eating ('Finally when … mouth and teth'] is taken from Zwingli's Fidei confessio (or Account of the faith) of 1530. After which Frith expresses his adiaphora theory on the sacrament. The quote is altered slightly in the 1583 edition.

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That is to say, he was caryed in his owne handes.

MarginaliaThe place of S. Augustine expounded.Whereunto I aunsweared, that Saint Augustine was a playne interpreter of hym selfe: for he sayth in an other place: Ferebatur tanquam in manibus suis: that is to say, he was caried as it were in his owne handes: whiche is a phrase of speache, not of one that dooth simply affirme, but onely of one expressing a thyng by a similitude. And albeit that Saint Augustine had not thus expounded hym selfe, yet he writyng vnto Boniface, dooth plainely admonishe all men, MarginaliaAugustinus ad Bonefacium. that the Sacramentes do represent and signifie those thinges wherof they are Sacramentes, and many tymes euen of the similitudes of the thinges them selues they doo take their names: and therefore according to this rule it may be said, he was borne in his owne handes, when as he bare in his hands the Sacrament of his body & bloud.

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Then they alleged a place of Chrysostome, whiche at the first blushe maye seeme to make muche for them: who in a certaine Homilie vppon the Supper, writeth thus: Doest thou see bread and wyne? Do they depart from thee into the draught as other meates doo? No, God forbyd. For as in waxe when it commeth to the fire, nothing of the substaunce remayneth nor abideth: so likewise thinke that the mysteries are consumed by the substaunce of the bodye. &c.

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MarginaliaThe place of Chrisostome aunswered.These wordes I expounded by the wordes of the same Doctour, which in an other Homilie saith on thys manner: The inwarde eyes (saith hee) as soone as they see 

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This is largely a close paraphrasing of page 452 of the Russell edition. Frith refers here to the letter of St Augustine to Boniface (of 408AD). This is letter no.98 of Augustine's collected letters and can be found on-line at http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102098.htm, which discusses the relationship between the physical elements of the eucharist and the spiritual elements these represent. Luther held that the physical and spiritual elements partake of each other in such a close fashion that the bread and the body of Christ cannot be distinguished in the elements whereas Zwingli (who Frith follows here) held that the relationship between the physical and spiritual elements was symbolic only, but that the physical elements still had some deep meaning (see the references to sacramental eating made earlier). Frith then went on to discuss the opinions of St John Chrysostom, which the bishops interrogating him took to prove a physical presence. Frith is here referring to Chrysostom's homily 82 (an exposition of Matthew 26:26-9), which can be found on-line at http://www.newadvent. org/fathers/240182.htm. Chrysostom actually discusses the eucharist throughout several homilies (on Matthew and on John 6) and it is understandable why the bishops would take him as a source in favour of a real physical presence doctrine. Chrysostom often made a comparative argument in his homilies (here and elsewhere) between God's power and human senses so, for example, where Jesus says 'this is my body', Chrysostom seemed willing to take Him at his word, even if human senses failed to discern a difference between the bread and the body.

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the breade, they flee ouer all creatures, and doo not thinke of the bread that is baken of the baker, but of the bread of euerlasting lyfe, whiche is signified by the mysticall breade. Nowe conferre these places together, and you shall perceiue that the laste expoundeth the first plainely. For he sayth, Doest thou see the bread and wine? I answeare by the second, nay. MarginaliaChrisostome expoundeth him selfe. For the inwarde eyes as soone as they see the bread, doo passe ouer all creatures, and doo not any longer thinke vppon the bread, but vppon hym whiche is signified by the bread. And after this manner he seeth it, and agayne he seeth it not: for as he seeth it with his outwarde and carnall eyes, so with his inwarde eyes he seeth it not, that is to say, regardeth not the bread, or thinketh not vppon it, but is otherwise occupyed. Euen as when we playe or doo any thing els negligētly, we cōmonly are woont to say, we see not what we do: not that in deede we do not see that which we go about, but because our mynde is fixed on some other thing and doth not attend vnto that which the eyes do see.

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In like maner may it be answeared vnto that which foloweth: Doo they auoyde from thee (saith he) into the draught as other meates doo? I wyll not so say. For other meates passing through the bowels, after they haue of thē selues geuen nourishment vnto the bodye, be voyded into the draught, but this is a spiritual meate, which is receyued by faith, & nourisheth both body & soule vnto euerlasting life, neither is it at any tyme auoyded as other meates are.

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And as before I said, that the externall eyes do behold the bread, which the inward eyes being otherwise occupied 

Commentary  *  Close

This is largely a close paraphrasing of page 452 of the Russell edition. Frith carries on the discussion of Chrysostom's doctrine.

do not beholde or thinke vpon, euen so our outwarde man doth digest the bread, and voyde it into the draught, but the inward man doth neither regard nor thinke vpon it, but thinketh vpon the thing it self that is signified by that bread. MarginaliaArgumentum ex Chrisost.
The bellye of man can not auoyde any part of Christes bodye.
The belley of man auoydeth some parte of euery thyng that the mouth receaueth.
Ergo, the mouth of man receaueth not the bodye of Christ.
And therfore Chrisostōe a litle before the wordes which they alleged, sayth: Lyft vp your myndes and hartes. Whereby he admonisheth vs to looke vpon and consider those heauenly thynges which are re presented and signified by the bread and wyne, MarginaliaAll mysteries are to be sene wyth inward eyes. and not to marke the bread and wyne in it selfe. Here they said, that was not Chrisostomes minde: but that by thys example he declared that there remained no bread nor wyne. I answeared, that was false: for the example that he taketh, tendeth to no other purpose, but to call away our spirituall eyes from the beholdyng of visible thinges, and to transport them an other way, as if the thinges that are seene, were of no force. Therfore he draweth awaye our mynde from the consideration of these thinges, and fixeth it vppon hym, whiche is signifyed vnto vs by the same. The very woordes whiche folowe, sufficiently declare this to be the true meanyng of the author, whereas he commaundeth vs to consider all thinges with our inwarde eyes, that is to say, spiritually. 
Commentary  *  Close

This is largely a close paraphrase of pages 452-3 of the Russell edition. Frith carries on the discussion of Chrysostom's doctrine, in which Frith has taken up Zwingli's spiritual doctrine in explanation of his own opinions.

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MarginaliaChrisostome agaynst the popishe doctrine of the Sacrament. But whether Chrisostomes wordes doo tend eyther to this or that sense, yet do they indifferētly make on our part against our aduersaries, which way so euer we vnderstande them. For if he thought that the breade and wine doo remayne, we haue no further to trauaile: MarginaliaThe obiection of Chrisostome auoyded by a Dilemma. but if he meant contrarywise, that they do not remaine, but that the natures of the bread & wine are altered, then are the breade & wine falsly named Sacramentes and mysteries, which can be said in no place to be in the nature of thinges: For that whiche is in no place, howe can it be a Sacramente, or supplye the roume of a mysterie? Finally if he speake onely of the outwarde formes and shapes (as we call them) it is moste certayne that they do continually remaine, and that they by the substaunce of the body are not consumed in any place, wherefore it must necessarily folowe the wordes of Chrisostome to be vnderstāded in such sense as I haue declared.

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Here peraduenture many woulde meruaile, MarginaliaA question asked wyth the cause declared, why that seing the matter of the Sacrament of it selfe, importeth neyther saluation nor damnation, why then Fryth offreth hym selfe to death for the same. that for so muche as the matter touching the substaunce of the Sacrament, beyng seperate from the articles of fayth, and bindyng no man of necessitie eyther vnto saluation or damnation, whether he beleue it, or not, but rather may be leaft indifferently vnto all mē, freely to iudge eyther on the one part or the other, accordyng to his owne mynde, so that neyther part do contemne or despise the other, but that al loue and charitie be styll holden and kept in this dissension of opinions: what then the cause is, why I woulde therefore so willingly suffer death. The cause why I dye is this, for that I can not agree with the Diuines and other head Prelates, that it shoulde be necessarily determined to be an article of fayth, and that we shoulde beleue vnder payne of damnation, the substaunce of the bread and wine to be chaunged into the bodye and bloud of oure Saueour Iesus Christe, the forme and shape onely not beyng chaunged. Whiche thing if it were most true (as they shall neuer be able to proue it by any authority of the scripture or Doctours) yet shal they not so bring to passe, that that doctrine, were it neuer so true, should be holden for a necessary article of fayth. For there are many thinges both in the Scriptures & other places, whiche we are not bounde of necessitie to beleeue as an article of faith.

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So it is true, that I was a prisoner and in bondes whē I wrote these thinges, and yet for all that I will not holde it as an article of fayth, Marginalia* This is to be weyed with the tyme when Fryth wrote. * but that you maye also without daunger or damnation, eyther beleeue it, or thinke the contrarye. 

Commentary  *  Close

This is largely a close paraphrase of page 454 of the Russell edition. Frith here reiterates his adiaphora opinion with regard to the interpretation of the sacrament as having salvation value.

But as touchyng the cause why I can not affirme the doctrine of Transsubstantiation, diuers reasons doo leade me thereunto. MarginaliaThree causes why the doctrine of transubstantiatiō is not to be beleued. First, for that I do plainely see it to be false and vaine, and not to be grounded vpon any reason, either of the Scriptures, or of approued Doctours.

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MarginaliaThe second cause. Secōdly, for that by my example I would not be an authour vnto Christians to admit any thing as a matter of fayth, more then the necessary points of their Crede, wherin the whole summe of our saluation dooth consist, specially suche thynges, the beleefe whereof haue no certayne argument of authoritie or reason.

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I added moreouer, that their Churche (as they call it) hath no such power and authoritie, that it eyther ought or may binde vs vnder the peryl of our soules, to the beleuyng of any suche articles.

MarginaliaThe thyrd cause. Thirdly, because I will not for the fauor of our Diuines or Priestes, be preiudicial in this poynt, vnto so manye nations of Germanes, Heluetians, and other, whiche altogether reiecting the transsubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and bloud of Christe, are al of the same opinion that I am, as well those which take Luthers part, as those which hold with Oecolampadius. Which thinges standyng in this case, I suppose there is no man of any vpright conscience, whiche wyll not allowe the reason of my death, which I am put vnto for this only cause, that I do not

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thinke
VVu.i.iij.
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