Daily Reading for October 16 • Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, Bishops and Martyrs, 1555
The causes that move me to abstain from the mass, be these:
I. It is done in a strange tongue, which the people doth not understand, contrary to the doctrine of the apostle.
Where is no understanding, there is neither edifying, nor comfort; for besides that they speak into the air, the mind receiveth no profit; they are one to another as aliens. The parishioners will say, their priests are made, whereas all things outght to be done so as they may edify.
II. There is also wanting the shewing of the Lord’s death, contrary to the mind of the Apostle, “As often as ye shall eat this bread, and drink of this cup, ye shall shew the Lord’s death till he come.” What shewing can be there, whereas no man heareth, that is to say, understandeth what is said? No man, I mean, of the common people, for whose profit the prayer of the church ought specially to serve.
The papists study by all means to make the people ignorant (lest their ignorant Sir Johns should be had in less estimation or despised), which is clean contrary to St. Paul’s practice, who wished that all men might be fulfilled with all knowledge, and to be perfect in Christ Jesus, &c. The institution of Christ, if it were rehearsed in the vulgar tongue, should be not only a consecration, but also a fruitful preaching to the edification of the hearers. The apostles understanded Christ, when he celebrated his supper; therefore do these papists swerve from Christ in their mass.
III. There is no communion, but it is made a private table, and indeed ought to be a communion. For where they be many priests which will communicate, they do it not in one table or altar, but every one of them have their altars, masses, and tables.
To make that private, which Christ made common, and willed to be communicated, may seem to be the workmanship of Antichrist himself. The canons of the apostles do excommunicate them which being present at common prayer, &c do not also receive the holy communion. . . But the papists say, “We do it privately, because we do it for others.”
From Certain Godly, Learned, and Comfortable Conferences between Nicholas Ridley and Hugh Latimer, During the Time of their Imprisonment (1556); found at http://anglicanhistory.org/reformation/ps/ridley/latimerconference1.pdf.