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1140 [1139]

K. Hen. 8. Allegations against the vj. Articles. Transubstantiation.

Anglice, quos accepimus de libris quos Ælfricus Abbas Anglic transtulit. &c.

MarginaliaSermo ad plebem in Die facto Paschæ. Furthermore as touchyng these lxxx. Sermons afore sayd, whichw Elfricus translated into English, here is to be vnderstanded that in the sayd Sermons vsed then orderly to be recited to the people, there is one appointed to be red in die Santo Pascæ, that is, vpon Easterday. Which Sermon beyng translated by the sayd Elfricus, wee haue here exhibited both in Saxon speache and in Englishe, to the entent, that the Christen and indifferent reader perusyng the same, may iudge therby, how þe fantasticall doctrine of transubstantiation, in those dayes of Alfricus & before his time, was not yet receiued nor knowen in the Churche of England: for somuche as the sayd Sermon beyng in Latin before, doth leaue vnto vs an euident declaratiō, what was the common opinion of this Sacrament in the Churche receaued, before that Elfricus did euer set hande to translate the same out of the Latin.

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And though the Latin copies and exemplars of these forsayd Sermons are not remaynyng in our Libraries, let þt be no meruel to thee, louyng reader: MarginaliaThe Latine bookes written agaynst transubstantiation, craftely by the Papistes abolished. but vnderstand therbye the craftie packyng of the Popes Clergie, who in the tyme of Lancfrancus, & Pope Innocent, studying by al meanes, how to preferre and further this their newcome doctrine of transubstantiation, dyd abolish and rase out of Libraries and Churches, all such bookes whiche made to the contrary. And therfore because Lancfrancus and other Italian Priestes here in England vnderstode not þe Saxon bookes as they dyd the Latine all that whiche they vnderstode, they made away. the Saxon bookes, because they knewe thē not they let remaine. And this is the cause why our Latine copies now are not to be founde. Whiche to be true by iij. reasons coniecturall it may probably be supposed.

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MarginaliaThree cōiectures prouing that the Papistes haue made away of purpose the olde Latine bookes agaynst their transubstātiatiō. First, for that these Saxon Sermons beyng translated out of the Latine (as ye haue heard by the wordes of Elfricus already proued) onely wee see the Saxon bookes reserued: of the Latin none doth appeare.

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Secondly, there 

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The claim about the erased passages is made in A testimonie of antiquitie (London, 1566?), STC 159.5, fo. 5r-v. But these passages are not quoted; Foxe must have obtained this information from either John Joscelyn or Matthew Parker.

is yet remainyng one certayne peece or fragment of an epistle of Elfricus in the Library of Worceter, wherin so much as maketh agaynst the matter of transubstantiation, we haue found in the middle of the sayd Latine epistle, vtterly rased out so that no letter nor piece of a letter doth there appeare. The wordes cut out, were these: Non est tamen hoc sacrificium corpus eius, in quo passus est MarginaliaThe words craftely rased out by the Papists, and restored agayne by the Saxon booke of Exeter. pro nobis, neq; sanguis eius quem pro nobis effudit, sed spiritualiter corpus eius efficitur et sanguis, sicut Manna quod de cælo pluit, and aqua quæ de petra fluxit. Sicut Paulus. &c. I. Notwithstandyng this sacrifice is not the same bodye of hys, wherein he suffered for vs, nor the same bloude of his, which he shed for vs, but spiritually it is made hys body and bloud: as the Manna, which rayned from heauen, and the water which did flow out of the rocke, as Paul. &c. These wordes so rased out are to be restored againe by an other Saxon boke found in Exceter. By þe rasing of which one place, it may easely be coniectured, what these practisers haue likewise done in the rest.

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MarginaliaAn Italiā tricke of Polydore Virgill, to burne his bookes, which he had gotten into hys handes. Thirdly, by one Italian tricke of Polydore Virgil in our dayes, the propertie and doyngs of al other Italiā papistes of elder tyme, may partly be cōiected. For so I am informed by such, as preciselye will affirme it to bee true, that when Polidore beyng licensed by the kynge to vewe and searche all Libraries, hadde once accomplished hys story by the helpe of such bookes as he had cōpiled out of Libraries, in þe end, when he had taken out what he woul: lyke a true factor for þe popes owne tooth, he pyled hys bokes together & set them all on a lyght fire 

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The charge that Vergil burned books did not originate with Foxe. It was also made in John Caius, De antiquitate Cantabrigiensis academiae (London, 1568), STC 4344, pp. 71-2. Whether Foxe was repeating Caius, or simply a common rumour, is unknown and unknowable.

, For what cause he so dyd, I can not certeinly pronounce: but who so considereth well hys religion, may shrewdly suspect hym. For a probation wherof, this may serue for a sufficient tryall, that where as of all other writers of histories that haue bene in England, as of Fabian, Lanquet, Rastall, More, Leland, Bale, Halle, & such other, some of their bookes which they then occupyed yet remayne in handes to be sene. Onely of such bookes, as Polydore vsed and whiche past hys handes, what Englishe man is he that hath sene or can shew me one? Whereby it may wel be thought, the foresayd information to be true. As also by this one Italian tricke of polidore, may other Italians lykewise be suspected, in makyng away such Latin bookes within this land, as made not for their purpose. But for somuch as those Latine bookes be now abolished, and can not be had, let vs returne to our Saxon tongue agayne, and see what this Saxon Sermon of Elfricus translation, doth say for transubstantiation: The Copye whereof here ensueth. 
Commentary  *  Close

Aelfric's Easter sermon is reprinted from A testimonie of antiquitie (London, 1566?), STC 159.5, fos. 19v-61r. Rather unusually, Foxe repeats the Parker/Joscelyn marginal annotation in the English translation verbatim.


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¶ A Sermon translated out of Latin into the Saxon tonge by Ælfricus, agaynst transubstantiation. An. 996.
In die Sancto Pascæ.
¶ The Alphabet of the Saxon tongue.

f. g.          r. s. t.  w. y. z.

¶ a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. l. m. n. o. p. r. s. t. u. w. x. y. z.


Æ. Th. Th. S. W. And th. th.
Æ. Ð. Þ. S. W. & ð. þ.

MarginaliaA Sermon vsual to be read in the Church here in England in the Saxons tyme.
¶ An. 366.
MEn ða leofostan . gelome eow is geræd ymbe ures hælendes æriste . hu he on þisum andweardan dæge æfter his ðrowunge mihtiglice of deaþe aras ; Nu wille we eow geopenian ðurh Godes gife be þam halgan husle ðe genu togan sceolon . & gewissian eower andgyt ymbe ðære gerynu . ægðer ge æfter þære ealdan gecyþnysse . ge æfter þære niwan . ðylæs ðe ænig tweonunge eow derian mæge be ðam liflicum gereorde ; Se ælmihtiga God bebead þam heretogan on egypta lande . þt he sceolde bebeodan Israhela folce . þt hi namon æt ælcum heorþe anes geares lambe on þære nihte ðæ hi ferdon of þam lande to þam behatenan earde . & sceoldon þt lambe Gode geoffrian . and syþþan sniþan . and wyrcan rode tacn on heora gedyrum . & oferslegū mid þæs lambes blod . etan syþþan þæs lambes flæsc gebræd . & ðeorfe hlafas mid feldlicre lactucan ; God cwæþ to Moysen . ne ete ge of þam lambe nan þing breaw . ne on wætere gesoþen ac gebræd to fyre ; Etaþ þt heafod . & þa fet . & þt innewearde . ne his nan þing ne belife oþ mergen . gif þær hwæt to lafe sy . forbærneþ þt . ðicgaþ hit on ðas wisan ; Begyrdaþ eowere lendenu . and beoþ gesceode . habaþ eow staf on hande . & etaþ heardlice . ðeos tid is Godes færeld ; And wearþ þa on ðære nihte ofslegen on ælcum huse geond eal Pharaoes rice . þt frumcennede cild . & wæs þt Godes folc Israhel ahred fram þam ferlican deaðe . ðurh ðæs lambes offrunge . & his blodes mearcunge ; Þa cwæþ God to Moysen . healdaþ ðisnedæg on eowrū gemynde . & freolsiaþ hine mærlice on eowrum cynrenum mid ecum bigencge . and etaþ þeorfne hlaf symle seofan dagas æt ðisne freols tide ; Æfter ðissere deade lædde God þt Israhela folc ofer þa readan sæ . mid drium fotum . and adræncte þær on Pharao . & ealne his here samod ðe heora ehton . & afedde syþþan þt Israhela folc feowertig geara mid heofonlicum bigleofan . & him forgeaf weter of heardum stan clude . oð þt hi comon to þam behatenū eþele ; Sume þas race we habbaþ fetrahtnod on oþre stowesume . we wyllað nu geopenian . þt þe belimpþ to þam halgan husle ; Cristene menn nemoton healdan nu ða ealdan æ lichamlice . ac him gedafenaþ þt hi cunnon hwæt heo gastlice tacnie ; þt unscæþþtie lambe þe se ealde Israhela þa ofsnaþ . hæfde getacnunge æfter gastlicum andgyte Cristes ðrowunge se ðe unscæþþig for ure alysednysse his halige blod ageat ; Be þam singaþ Godes ðeowas æt ælcere mæssan . Agnus Dei qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis ; þt is on urum gereorde . ðu Godes lamb þe ætbretst middan eardes synna gemiltsa us ; þt Israhela

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