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On the Holy Communion and the Mass

By John Jewel


      The sermon from which the following extract is taken was preached at St. Paul's Cross in 1559, and produced an immense sensation. It was afterwards repeated at Court - in it Jewell specified twenty-seven points of doctrine held by the Church of Rome, and offered to become a Papist if any person could produce sufficient evidence that any one of them was held in the Primitive Church for the first six hundred years after Christ. The text was 1 Corinthians 11:30.

      On the Holy Communion and the Mass

      'Oh that St. Paul were now alive and saw the behaviour of the priest at the mass! Think ye that he would take it and account it for the Lord's Supper? When he had espied but one fault in the holy communion among the Corinthians, straightway he rebuked them, and called them back to Christ's institution. 'This', saith he, 'I received of the Lord, and the same I gave over unto you'.

      'But, if he saw the disorder that we have seen, would he not be moved as much against us now, as he was sometime against the Corinthians? Would he not pull us back to the institution of Christ as he did them? Would he not say unto us, Did I ever teach you to minister the holy communion in a strange language? Did I ever teach you to receive the communion privately to yourselves alone, and so to disdain and despise your brethren? Did I ever teach you to minister the communion to the people in one kind? Did I ever teach you to say mass, or to receive the sacrament for the people? Did I ever teach you the idle follies of your canon? Did I ever teach you to offer up the Son of God unto His Father? Did I ever teach you any other propitiatory sacrifice for sin, than that Christ offered upon the Cross? Did I ever teach you to minister the Lord's Supper wherein the people should do nothing else but look upon and behold your doings, without any kind of knowledge or comfort? Did I ever teach you to lift the sacrament above your head? Did I ever teach the people to fall down thereunto, and to worship they know not what? Be these the things that I delivered unto you? Be these the things that I received of the Lord?

      'And if there be any here that have had or yet have any good opinion of the mass, I beseech you for God's sake, even as you tender your own salvation, suffer not yourselves wilfully to be led away, run not blindly to your own confusion. Think with yourselves, it was not for nought that so many of your brethren rather suffered themselves to die and to abide all manner of extremity and cruelty, than they would be partakers of that thing that you reckon to be so holy.

      'Let their death, let their ashes, let their blood, that was so abundantly shed before your eyes, somewhat prevail with you, and move you. Be not ruled by your wilful affections. Ye have a good zeal and mind towards God; have it according to the knowledge of God. The Jews had a zeal of God, and yet they crucified the Son of God.

      'Search the Scriptures, there shall ye find everlasting life. There shall ye learn to judge yourselves and your own doings, that ye be not judged of the Lord. If ever it happen you to be present again at the mass, think but thus with yourselves - What make I here? What profit have I of my doings? I hear nothing. I understand nothing. I am taught nothing. I receive nothing. Christ bade me eat; I eat nothing. Christ bade me drink; I drink nothing. Is this the institution of Christ? Is this the Lord's Supper? Is this the right use of the holy mysteries? Is this it that Paul delivered unto me? Is this it that Paul received of the Lord? Let us say but thus unto ourselves, and no doubt God of His mercy will open our hearts; we shall see our errors, and content ourselves to be ordered by the wisdom of God; to do that God will have us to do; to believe that god will have us to worship. So shall we have comfort of the holy mysteries; so shall we receive the fruits of Christ's death; so shall we be partakers of Christ's body and blood; so shall Christ truly dwell in us, and we in him; so shall all error be taken from us; so shall we join all together in God's truth; so shall we all be able with one heart and one spirit to know and to glorify the only, the true, and the living God, and His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ; to whom both, with the Holy ghost, be all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.'

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