John Frith on the Eucharist
The reformer John Frith was
executed in 1533. A Book Made by John
Frith, Prisoner in the Tower of London, Answering
unto Master More's Letter . . .
Concerning the Sacrament of the Body and
Blood of Christ was published in that
year and reissued in revised form in 1546,
a few weeks before Anne Askew was executed.
Our prelates believe that in the sacrament
remaineth no bread, but that it is turned
into the natural body of Christ, both flesh,
blood, and bones. Frith sayeth, that it is
no article of our creed, and therefore let
them believe it that will. And he thinketh
that there remaineth bread still. And that
he proveth three manner of ways.
First, by the Scripture of Paul, which calleth
it bread, saying, "The bread which we
break, is it not the fellowship of the body
of Christ? For we, though we be many, are
yet one body and one bread, as many as are
partakers of one bread."
>> note 1 And
again he sayeth, "As often as ye eat of this bread or drink of this
cup, you shall show the Lord's death, until he come."
>> note 2 And
Luke calleth it bread, saying, "They continued in the fellowship of
the Apostles, and in the breaking of the bread and prayer."
>> note 3 Also
Christ called the cup the fruit of the vine, saying, "I shall not from
henceforward drink of the fruit of the vine, until I drink that new in the
kingdom of my Father."
>> note 4
Furthermore, nature doth teach you that
both the bread and wine continue in their
nature. For the bread moldeth if it be kept
long, yea, and the worms breed in it. And
the poor mouse will run away with it, and
eat it. Which are evidence enough that there
remaineth bread. Also the wine, if it were
reserved, would wax sour, as they confess
themselves. And therefore they housel
>> note 5 the
lay people but with one kind
>> note 6 only,
because the wine cannot continue nor be
reserved to have ready at hand when need
were. And surely, as if there remained
no bread, it could not mold, nor wax full
of worms, even so, if there remained no
wine, it could not wax sour. And therefore
it is but false doctrine that our prelates
so long have taught and published.