Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 449. AN INSTRUCTION OF KING EDWARD THE SIXTH

449. AN INSTRUCTION OF KING EDWARD THE SIXTH

 

The instruction of King Edward the Sixth, given to Sir Anthony St. Leger, knight of his privy chamber; being of a corrupt judgment of the eucharist, upon this saying of an an cient doctor of the catholic church: "Dicimus eucharistiam panem vocari in Scripturis. Panis in quo gratię actę sunt,"

 

"In eucharist then there is bread,
Whereto I do consent:
Then with bread are our bodies fed,
But further what is meant?
I say that Christ in flesh and blood
Is there continually,
Unto our soul a special food,
Taking it spiritually.
And this transubstantiation I
Believe as I have read:
That Christ sacramentally
Is there in form of bread.
St. Austin saith, 'The Word doth come
Unto the element:
And there is made,' he saith, 'in sum
A perfect sacrament.'
The element doth then remain;
Or else must needs ensue,
St. Austin's words be nothing plain,
Nor cannot be found true.
For, if the Word, as he doth say,
Come to the element,
Then is not the element away,
But bides there verament.
Yet, whoso eateth that lively food,
And hath a perfect faith,
Receiveth Christ's flesh and blood,
For Christ himself so saith.
Not with our teeth his flesh to tear,
Nor take blood for our drink:
Too great an absurdity it were,
So grossly for to think.
For we must eat him spiritually,
If we be spiritual;
And whoso eats him carnally,
Thereby shall have a fall.
For he is now a spiritual meat,
And spiritually we must
That spiritual meat spiritually eat,
And leave our carnal lust.
Thus by the Spirit, I spiritually
Believe, say what men list:
None other transubstantiation I
Believe -- of the eucharist;
But that there is both bread and wine,
Which we see with our eye:
Yet Christ is there, by power divine,
To those that spiritually
Do eat that bread and drink that cup,
Esteeming it but light;
As Judas did, which eat that sop,
Not judging it aright.
For I was taught not long agone,
I should lean to the Sprite;
And let the carnal flesh alone,
For it doth not profit.
God save him that teaching me taught,
For I thereby did win,
To put from me that carnal thought,
That I before was in:
For I believe Christ corporally
In heaven doth keep his place:
And yet Christ sacramentally
Is here with us by grace.
So that in this high mystery
We must eat spiritual meat,
To keep his death in memory,
Lest we should it forget.
This do I say, this have I said;
This saying say will I:
This saying though I once denied,
I will no more to die."

            "This young prince became a perfect schoolmaster unto old erroneous men, so as no divine could amend him; and therefore this piece is worthy of perpetual memory to his immortal fame and glory.

            "When Queen Mary came to her reign, a friend of Master St. Leger charged him with this his pamphlet. 'Well,' quoth he, 'content yourself: I perceive that a man may have too much of God's blessing. And even Peter began to deny Christ; such is men's frailty.'"
            By W. M., as it is supposed.

 

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