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very thing, that he bridles his desire of go-
ing to the theater, he cries out after Christ,
cries out to be healed. Others run together
thither, but perhaps they are heathens or
Jews? Ah! indeed, if Christians went not
to the theaters, there would be so few people
there that they would go away for very
shame. So then Christians run thither also,
bearing the Holy Name only to their con-
demnation. Cry out then by abstaining from
going, by repressing in thy heart this worldly
concupiscence; hold on with a strong and
persevering cry unto the ears of the Savior,
that Jesus may stand still and heal thee. Cry
out amid the very crowds, despair not of
reaching the ears of the Lord. For the blind
man in the Gospel did not cry out in that
quarter where no crowd was, that so they
might be heard in that direction, where there
was no impediment from persons hindering
them. Amid the very crowds they cried out ;
and yet the Lord heard them. And so also
do ye even amid sinners, and sensual men,

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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

amid the lovers of the vanities of the world,
there cry out that the Lord may heal you.
Go not to another quarter to cry out unto the
Lord, go not to heretics and cry out unto
Him there. Consider, brethren, how in that
crowd which was hindering them from cry-
ing out, even there they who cried out were
made whole.



72



WYCLIF

CHRIST'S REAL BODY NOT IN THE
EUCHARIST



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

John Wyclif, eminent as scholar,
preacher, and translator, was born in
1324 in Spresswel, near Richmond, York-
shire, England. Known as the '' Morn-
ing Star of the Reformation" he was a
vigorous and argumentative speaker, ex-
emplifying his own definition of preach-
ing as something which ^.hould be ''apt,
apparent, full of true feeling, fearless in
rebuking sins, and so addrest to the heart
as to enlighten the spirit and subdue the
will." On these lines he organized a
band of Bible preachers who worked
largely among the common people.

Much of Wyclif 's popularity was due
to his clear and simple style. While not
a great orator, he introduced a popular
method of preaching that was widely
copied. He died at Lutterworth in 1384.
The Church considered him a heretic, for
he taught the right of the individual to
form his own opinions after personal
study of the Scriptures. He was the first
Englishman to translate the Eible system-
atically into his native Anglo-Saxon.
In 1428, by order of Pope Martin V, his
bones were exhumed and burned, and the
ashes thrown into the river Swale.



WYCLIF

1324—1384

CHRIST'S REAL BODY NOT IN THE
EUCHARIST

This is my hody. — Matt, xxvi., 26.

NOW UNDERSTAND ye the words of our Sa-
vior Christ, as He spake them one after
another — as Christ spake them. For
He took bread and blest, and yet what blest
He ? The Scripture saith not that Christ took
the bread and blest it, or that He blest
the bread which He had taken. Therefore
it seemeth more that He blest His disciples
and apostles, whom He had ordained witnesses
of His passion ; and in them He left His blest
word, which is the bread of life, as it is writ-
ten, ''Not only in bread liveth man, but in
every word that proceedeth out of the mouth
of God. ' ' Also Christ saith, " I am the bread
of life that came down from heaven." And
Christ saith also in John, ''The words that I
have spoken to you are spirit and life. '^
Therefore it seemeth more that He blest Hi^
disciples, and also His apostles, in whom the
bread of life was left more than in material
bread, for the material bread hath an end.
As it is written in the Gospel of Matthew xv.

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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

that Christ said, ''All things that a man eat-
eth go down into the belly, and are sent down
into the draught;" but the blessing of Christ
kept His disciples and apostles, both bodily and
[ghostly] spiritual. As it is written, that none
of them perished but the son of perdition, that
the Scriptures might be fulfilled, and often
the Scripture saith that Jesus took bread
and brake it, and gave it to his disciples, and
said, ''Take ye, eat ye, this is my body that
shall be given for you. ' ' But He said not this
bread is my body, or that bread should be
given for the life of the world. For Christ
saith, What and if ye shall see the Son of
man ascend up where He was before? "It is
the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth
nothing." Also Christ saith in the Gospel,
"Verily, verily I say unto you except the
wheat corn fall into the ground and die, it
abideth alone, but if it die it bringeth forth
much fruit."

Here men may see by the words of Christ
that it behooved that He died in the flesh, and
that in His death was made the fruit of ever-
lasting life for all them that believe on Him,
as it is written "For as by Adam they all
die, even so by Christ shall all live, and every
man in his own order; for as one clearness is
in the sun, another in the moon, and a star
in clearness is nothing in comparison to the
sun; even so is the rising again of the dead
for we are sown in corruption and shall rise

76



WYCLIF



again incorruptible, we are sown in infirmity,
and shall rise again in strength; we are sown
in natural bodies, and shall rise again spiri-
tual bodies." Then if Christ shall change
thus our deadly bodies by death, and God
the Father spared not his own Son, as it is
written, but that death should reign in him as
in us, and that he should be translated into
a spiritual body, as the first rising again of
dead men; then how say the hypocrites that
take on them to make our Lord's bod}^?
Make they the glorified body? Either make
they again the spiritual body which is risen
from death to life or make they the fleshy
body as it was before he suffered death ? And
if they say also that they make the spiritual
body of Christ, it may not be so, for what
Christ said and did, He did as He was at sup-
per before He suffered His passion; as it is
written that the spiritual body of Christ rose
again from death to life. Also that He as-
cended up to heaven, and that He will abide
there till He come to judge the quick and the
dead. And if they say that they make
Christ's body as it was before He had suft'ered
His passion, then must they needs grant that
Christ is to die yet. For by all Holy Scrip-
tures He was promised to die, and that He
should give lordship of everlasting life.

Furthermore, if they say that Christ made
His body of bread, I ask. With what words
made He it? Not with these words, Roc est



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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

corpus meum; that is to say in English, ' ' This
is my body, ' ' for they are the words of giving,
and not of making, which He said after that
He brake the bread; then parting it among
His disciples and apostles. Therefore if Christ
had made of that bread His body, [He] had
made it in His blessing, or else in giving of
thanks, and not in the words of giving; for
if Christ had spoken of the material bread
that He had in His hands when He said. Hoc
est corpus meum, ''This is my body," it was
made before, or else the word had been a lie.
For if I say. This is my hand, and if it be not
a hand, then am I a liar; therefore seek
carefully if ye can find two words of blessing,
or of giving of thanks, wherewith Christ made
his body and blood of the bread and wine.
And that all the clerks of the earth know not,
for if ye might find or know those words, then
should ye wax great masters above Christ,
and then ye might be givers of His substance,
and as fathers and makers of Him, and that
He should worship you, as it is written, Thou
shalt worship thy father and mother. Of
such as desire such w^orship against God's law,
speaketh St. Paul of the man of sin, that en-
hanceth himself as if he were God. And he
is worshiped over all things as God, and
showeth himself as he w^ere God. Where our
clergy are guilty in this, judge ye or they that
know most, for they say that when ye have
said, Hoc est corpus meum, that is to say,

78



WYCLIF



''This is my body;" which ye call the words
of consecration, or else of making; and when
they are said over the bread, ye say that there
is left no bread, but it is the body of the
Lord. So that in the bread there remaineth
nothing but a heap of accidents, as witness
ruggedness, roundness, savor, touching, and
tasting, and such other accidents. Then, if
thou sayest that the flesh and blood of Christ,
that is to say, his manhood, is made more,
or increased by so much as the ministration
of bread and wine is, the which ye minister —
if ye say it is so — then thou must needs con-
sent that the thing which is not God to-day
shall be God to-morrow; yea, and that the
thing which is without spirit of life, but
groweth in the field by kind, shall be God at
another time. And we all ought to believe
that He was without beginning, and without
ending; and not made, for if the manhood of
Christ were increased every day by so much
as the bread and wine drav/eth to that ye
minister, He should increase more in one day
by cart-loads than He did in thirty-two years
when He was here in earth.

And if thou makest the body of the Lord
in those words, Eoc est corpus meum; that is
to say, "This is my body"; and if thou
mayest make the body of the Lord in those
w^ords, ' ' This is my body, ' ' thou thyself must
be the person of Christ, or else there is a
false God ; for if it be thy body as thou sayest,

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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

then it is the bod}'' of a false knave or of a
drunken man, or of a thief, or of a lecherer,
or full of other sins, and then there is an un-
clean body for any man to worship for God!
For even if Christ had made there His body
of material bread in the said words, as I know
they are not the words of making, what
earthly man had power to do as He did ? For
in all Holy Scripture, from the beginning of
Genesis to the end of the Apocalypse, there
are no words written of the making of Christ's
body; but there are written that Christ was
the Son of the Father, and that He was con-
ceived of the Holy Ghost, and that He took
flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, and that
He was dead, and that He rose again from
death on the third day, and that He ascended
to heaven very God and man, and that we
should believe in all Scriptures that are writ-
ten of Him, and that He is to come to judge
the quick and the dead, and that the same
Christ Jesus, King and Savior, was at the
beginning with the Father and the Holy
Ghost, making all things of naught, both
heaven and earth, and all things that are
therein; working by word of His virtue, for
He said. Be it done, and it was done, whose
works never earthly man might comprehend,
either make. And yet the words of the ma-
king of these things are written in the begin-
ning of Genesis, even as God spake them ; and
if ye can not make the work that He made,

80



V/ Y C L I F



and have the word by which He made it, how
shall ye make Him that made the works ? You
have no words of authority or power left you
on earth by which ye should do this, but ye
have feigned this craft of your false errors,
which some of you understand not; for it is
prophesied, ''They shall have eyes and see
not, and ears and hear not; and shall see
prophesies, and shall not understand, less they
be converted ; for I hide them from the hearts
of those people; their hearts are greatly fat-
ted." And this thing is done to you for the
wickedness of your errors in unbelief; there-
fore be ye converted from the worst sin, as
it is written, "When Moses was in the hill
with God," the people made a calf and wor-
shiped it as God. And God spake to Moses,
"Go, for the people have done the worst sin
to make and worship alien gods."

But now I shall ask you a word ; answer ye
me. Whether is the body of the Lord made at
once or at twice 1 Is it both the flesh and
the blood in the host of the bread; or else is
the flesh made at one time, and the blood made
at another time; that is to say, the wine in
the chalice? If thou wilt say it is full and
wholly the manhood of Christ in the host
of bread, both flesh and blood, skin, hair, and
bones, then makest thou us to worship a false
god in the chalice, which is unconjured when
ye worship the bread; and if ye say the flesh
is in the bread, and the blood in the wine,

1—6 81



THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

then thou must grant, if thy craft be true,
as it is not indeed, that the manhood of Christ
is parted, and that He is made at two times.
For first thou takest the host of bread, or a
piece of bread, and makest it as ye say, and
the innocent people worship it. And then
thou takest to thee the chalice, and likewise
marrest, makest, I would have said, the blood
in it, and then they worship it also, and if it
be so as I am sure that the flesh and blood
of Christ ascended, then are ye false harlots
to God and to us ; for when we shall be hous-
elled ye bring to us the dry flesh, and let
the blood be away; for ye give us after the
bread, wine and water, and sometimes clean
water unblest, or rather conjured, by the vir-
tue of your craft; and yet ye say, under the
host of bread is the full manhood of Christ.
Then by your own confession must it needs
be that we worship a false god in the chalice,
which is unconjured when we w^orship the
bread, and worship the one as the other; but
where find ye that ever Christ or any of His
disciples taught any man to worship this
bread or wine?

Therefore, what shall we say of the apostles
that were so much with Christ, and were
called by the Holy Ghost ; had they forgotten
to set it in the creed when they made it,
which is Christian men's belief? Or else we
might say that they knew no such God, for
they believe in no more gods but in Him that



WYCLIF



was at the beginning, and made of naught all
things visible and invisible, which Lord took
flesh and blood, being in the Virgin, the same
God. But ye have many false ways, to be-
guile the innocent people with sleights of the
fiend.

For ye say that in every host each piece is
the whole manhood of Christ, or full sub-
stance of Him. For ye say as a man may take
a glass, and break the glass into many pieces,
and in every piece properly thou mayest see
thy face, and yet thy face is not parted;
so ye say the Lord's body is in each host or
piece, and His body is not parted. And this
is a full subtle question to beguile an innocent
fool, but will ye take heed of this subtle ques-
tion, how a man may take a glass and behold
the very likeness of his own face, and yet it
is not his face, but the likeness of his face;
for if it were his very face, then he must needs
have two faces, one on his body and another
in the glass. And if the glass were broken in
many places, so there should be many faces
more by the glass than by the body, and each
man shall make as many faces to them as they
would ; but as ye may see the mind or likeness
of your face, which is not the very face ; but
the figure thereof, so the bread is the figure
or mind of Christ's body in earth, and there-
fore Christ said, As oft as ye do this thing do
it in mind of me.

Also ye say this, As a man may light many

83



THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

candles at one candle, and yet the light of that
candle is never the more nor ever the less;
so ye say that the manhood of Christ de-
scendeth into each part of every host, and the
manhood of Christ is never the more nor less.
Where then becometh your ministrations?
Por if a man light many candles at one candle,
as long as they burn there will be many
candles lighted, and as well the last candle as
the first; and so by this reason, if ye shall
fetch your word at God, and make God, there
must needs be many gods, and that is forbid-
den in the first commandment, Exod. xx.
And as for making more, either making less,
of Christ's manhood, it lieth not in your
power to come there nigh, neither to touch
it, for it is ascended into heaven in a spiritual
body, which He suffered not Mary Magdalen
to touch, when her sins were forgiven to her.
Therefore all the sacraments that are left
here in earth are but minds of the body of
Christ, for a sacrament is no more to say
but a sign or mind of a thing passed, or a
thing to come; for when Jesus spake of the
bread, and said to His disciples, As ye do
this thing, do it in mind of me, it was set for
a mind of good things passed of Christ's
body; but when the angel showed to John
the sacraments of the woman and of the beast
that bare her, it was set for a mind of evil
things to come on the face of the earth, and
great destroying of the people of God. And

84



WYCLIF



in the old law there were many figures or
minds of things to come. For before Christ,
circumcision was commanded by a law; and
he that kept not the law was slain. And yet
St. Paul saith, ''And neither is it circumcision
that is openly in the flesh, but he that is cir-
cumcised of heart in spirit, not the letter
whose praising is not of men, but of God."
Peter saith in the third chapter of his epistle,
*'And so baptism of like form maketh not us
safe, but the putting away of the filthiness of
the flesh, and the having of good conscience
in God by the rising again of our Lord Jesus
Christ from death, that we should be made
heirs of everlasting life, He went up into
heaven, and angels, and powers, and virtues,
are made subjects to Him.

And also the Scripture saith of John Bap-
tist, that he preached in the wilderness and
said, "A stronger than I shall come after me,
and I am not worthy to kneel down and un-
lace His shoe;" and yet Christ said that he
was more than a prophet. See also Isaiah xL,
]\Iatt. xi. How may ye then say that ye are
worthy to make His body, and yet your works
bear witness that ye are less than the prophets ?
for if ye were not, ye should not teach the
people to worship the sacraments or minds
of Christ for Christ himself; which sacra-
ments or figures are lawful as God taught
them and left them unto us, as the sacrifices or
minds of the old law were full good. As it is



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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

written, ''They that kept them should live in
them." And so the bread that Christ brake
was left to us for mind of things passed for
the body of Christ, that we should believe He
was a very man in kind as we are, but as God
in power, and that His manhood was sustained
by food as ours. For St. Paul saith He was
very man, and in form he was found as man.
And so we must believe that He was very God
and very man together, and that He ascended
up very God and very man to heaven, and
that He shall be there till He come to doom the
world. And we may not see him bodily, being
in this life, as it is written, Peter i., for he
saith, ''Whom ye have not seen ye love, into
whom ye now not seeing believe. ' ' And John
saith in the first chapter of his Gospel, "No
man saw God ; none but the only begotten Son
that is in the bosom of the Father, He hath
told it out." And John saith in his first
epistle, the third chapter, "Every man that
sinneth seeth not him, neither knoweth him."
By what reason then say ye that are sinners
that ye make God? truly this must needs be
the worst sin, to say that ye make God, and it
is the abomination of discomfort that is said
in Daniel the prophet to be standing in the
holy place; he that readeth let him under-
stand.

Also Luke saith that Christ took the cup
after that He had supped, and gave thanks
and said, "This cup is the new testament in

86



WYCLIF



my blood that shall be shed unto the remission
of sins for man. ' ' Now, what say ye ; the cup
which He said was the new testament in His
blood, was it a material cup in which the wine
was that He gave his disciples wine of, or was
it His most blest body in which the blest blood
was kept till it was shed out for the sins of
them that should be made safe by His passion ?
Needs must we say that He spake of His holy
body, as He did when He called His passion
or suffering in body a cup, when He prayed to
His father, before He went to His passion, and
said, ''If it be possible that this cup pass
from me, but if thou wilt that I drink it, thy
will be done?" He spake not here of the ma-
terial cup in which He had given His dis-
ciples drink ; for it troubled not Him, but He
prayed for His great sufferance and bitter
death, the which He suffered for our sins and
not for His own. And if He spake of His holy
body and passion when He said, ' ' This cup is
the new testament in my blood, ' ' so He spake
of His holy body when He said, "This is my
body which shall be given for you," and not
of the material bread which He had in His
hand. Also in another place He called His
passion a cup, where the mother of Zebedee's
sons came to Him, and asked of Him that her
two sons, when He came to His kingdom, might
sit one on His right, and one at His left side.
And He answered and said, "Woman, thou
wottest not what thou asketh; then He said

87



THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

to them, May ye drink of the cup that I shall
drink? and they said, Yea, Lord. And He
said, Ye shall drink of my cup, but to sit on
my right hand or left hand it is not mine to
give, but to the Father it is proper. ' ' But in
that He said, Ye shall drink of my cup, He
promised them to suffer tribulation of this
world as He did, by the which they should
enter into life everlasting, and to be both on
his right hand. And thus ye may see that
Christ spake not of the material cup, neither
of himself, nor of his apostles, neither of ma-
terial bread, neither of material wine. There-
fore let every man wisely, with meek prayers,
and great study, and also charity, read the
words of God and holy Scriptures; but many
of you are like the mother of Zebedee's sons
to whom Christ said, ' ' Thou knowest not what
thou askest. " So, many of you know not
what ye ask, nor what you do ; for if ye did,
ye would not blaspheme God as ye do, to set
an alien God instead of the living God. Also
Christ saith, "I am a very vine; wherefore
then worship ye not the vine God, as ye do the
bread? "Wherein was Christ a very vine, or
wherein was the bread Christ's body, in figur-
ative speech, which is hidden to the under-
standing? Then if Christ became not a ma-
terial or an earthly vine, neither did a ma-
terial vine become His body. So neither the
bread, material bread, was changed from
its substance to the flesh and blood of Christ.

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WYCLIF



Have ye not read in John the second, when
Christ came into the temple, they asked of
Him what token He would show, that they
might believe Him. And He answered them,
"Cast down this temple, and in three days I
shall raise it again;" which words were ful-
filled in His rising again from death; but
when He said, ''Undo this temple," in that
that He said this, they were in error, for they
understood it fleshly, and had supposed that
He had spoken of the temple of Jerusalem, be-
cause He stood in it. And therefore they ac-
cused Him at His passion full falsely. For He
spake of the temple of His blest body, which
rose again in the third day. And right so
Christ spake of His holy body when He said,
*'This is my body which shall be given for
you," which was given to death, and to rising
again to bliss, for all that shall be saved by
him. But like as they accused him falsely of
the temple of Jerusalem, so now a days they
accuse falsely against Christ, and say that
Christ spake of the bread that He brake among
His apostles ; for in that Christ said this, they
are deceived, take it fleshly, and turn it to
the material bread, as the Jews did to the
temple; and on this false understanding they
make abomination of discomfort, as is said by
Daniel the prophet, and in Matthew xxiv., to
be standing in the holy place ; he that readeth
let him understand.

Now, therefore, pray we heartily to God,

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THE WORLD'S GREAT SERMONS

that this evil may be made short for the
chosen men, as He hath promised in His blest
Gospel; and the large and broad way that
leadeth to perdition may be stopt, and the
straight and narrow way that leadeth to bliss
may be made open by Holy Scriptures, that
we may know which is the will of God, to
serve Him in truth and holiness in the dread
of God, that we may find by Him a way of
bliss everlasting. So be it.



90



SAVONAROLA

THE ASCENSION OF CHRIST



BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

GiROLAMO Savonarola was born at Fer-
rara iii 1452, and was admitted in 1475
into the novitiate of the Dominican Or-
der, where he soon made himself con-
spicuous for eloquence, and in Florence
attracted many hearers by his diatribes


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