John Bradford (1510-1555): It is unlawful to observe the mass

From The Writings of John Bradford, chapter on “The Hurt of Hearing Mass”

Among Bradford’s final words at the stake were these: “On England, England, repent!”

Some headings are not the author’s.  There have also been some minor updating of old English words and punctuation.


If Christ is our beloved, then we should abhor the mass, not only in spirit but also in body

If Christ be dear; if His death be dear; if His kingdom and priesthood be dear; if His service be dear; if faith be dear; if His Word, commandment and ministry be dear; then this (the mass) is against them [i.e., Christ] all horribly.  Therefore, it [the mass] cannot be dear or tolerable in any wise, but [rather] detestable and monstrous unto [all of] us all that love Christ and [who] be Christians indeed. How horrible, execrable monstrous and utter detestable, [is the mass] by how much it, under the colour of a friend to Christ and His church, is a most rank and cruel enemy, and therefore no one should be allowed to participate, but all should detest it, not only in spirit (for that is well known), but also in body, as now I will prove by God’s grace.

Reasons from the second commandment

First, out of the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make to thee,” etc. This precept forbids all kinds of outward idolatry, as the first does all kinds of inward idolatry. [Thus, the first and the second commandments together] require God’s true worship, inwardly and outwardly, [to] be observed. But now the mass is an outward idol, and the service of God there used is idolatry. Therefore, they which are present at the mass, honouring it with their corporal [bodily] presence, are open and manifest idolaters, and incur the danger of idolatry (i.e., God’s heavy wrath and eternal damnation). This thing I trow [believe] to be no trifle; only fools make sin a thing of nothing. Howbeit I think best to make this plainer [as follows].

That the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image,” etc., speaks of outward idolatry, as the first, “Thou shalt have none other gods,” etc., speaks of inward and spiritual idolatry, I trust all men with any knowledge [will] easily perceive. For when God in the first commandment tells us what He is unto us, even our Lord and our God, with all that ever He is and has (for He that gives Himself to be ours gives all that ever He has to be ours also), then, of equity, He requires that we should be content with Him, and give ourselves to Him, to be His, with all that ever we have. Therefore, first, we should “have no other gods but He.” That is, we should trust in none, love none, fear none, call upon none, worship none, but only Him which [is] El schaddai, “an omni-sufficient God”, and Jehovah unto us.

Now, because man consists of two parts, soul and body, and because the Lord gives Himself wholly to us, to be our Lord and God, He wills that we give ourselves wholly unto Him, to be His people. And therefore, as in the first commandment, He wholly demands the soul, will, understanding and heart (that is, our faith, fear, love, thankfulness, invocation and inward adoration or worshipping) to be given to Him only, and for His sake, as He shall appoint. So [likewise] in the second commandment, “Thou shalt not make to thyself,” etc., He generally requires, for the outward service of Him, that we should follow His Word in serving Him, and [therefore we should] see it no less than idolatry or image-service whatsoever thing is indented [bargained or agreed for] by man, saint or angel, and not by Him, concerning His worship and service. And to say this truth should be no marvel, for we see that [even in the case of man] there is no acceptable service done to man except it be according to the will of him to whom it is to be done, and not simply according to the will of him that does it.

What pleases men in worship, if not found in His word, is abominable to God.

Now, inasmuch as “none knoweth the will of man but the spirit of man,” and He to whom, by His word or signification, He reveals it, shall not we (yea, must not we of necessity), give so much to God? [If so,] then it is requisite that, in God’s service (for it to be acceptable to God), we must submit to the word of God, and not simply our good intents, the wisdom of man, general councils, custom, doctors, acts of parliament, or goodly outward shows and appearances. As Christ says, “that which is in great estimation before men is abomination before God,” if it be not according to His word.

But of and for the mass where have we God’s word?  Nowhere, alas! As I have already shewed, it is a pitchy, patched poke [bag], made of many a man, and that at divers times, and is clean contrary to God and His word. Therefore, it being done, as it is done, to the service of God, is an abomination and a great idol in God’s sight.

Those who say they are against the mass yet attend are grievous sinners

From my strong conclusion above, even those who, by their word, publicly oppose the mass, and yet attend the mass (they be present at it), while in heart “disallow” it, the same, whosoever they be, are grievous sinners, and breakers of the second commandment, and so guilty of the threat following [annexed to the second commandment], namely, of God’s “visitation upon their children for their sins, unto the third and fourth generation.” For, they wallow and worship it [the mass] with their bodies, although they bow not down to it as most men do. For in God’s service there is no mean: he that loves hates not, he that worships not dis-worships, and so contrariwise.

Classes of idolaters include hypocrites, Romanists, the ignorant & those who sin against light

But, to make all “as plain as a pack-staff,” let us note that there are two [main] kinds of idolaters: one known to God only, the other to man also.

  1. To God only are they idolaters which serve God in the sight of man, according to His word, but their hearts are halting [unsteady], deceivable, guileful, and hypocritical in God’s sight.
  2. To man [and God] also are those idolaters which exteriorly worship contrary to God’s word.

Of this latter sort of idolaters there are three diverse kinds:

  1. One (is) of them which be obstinate defenders of their idolatry against God’s word and manifest written verities, which they seeing will not see, etc., and therefore justly of God are blinded, as the wicked bishops and prelates of the papistical [Roman Catholic] church be, with their champions and parasites. These had need to take heed that they sin not “against the Holy Ghost.”
  2. Another sort is of them which are simple and ignorant, who, through common error, are seduced, being persuaded that the thing they do pleases God, and is God’s true service. Such are the simple souls of the country, whose eyes God, I trust, will open in His time, that they may see His truth: as, if they would be so diligent to inquire thereabouts, as they are in going any journey, which to them is unknown, of such as they meet withal, they could not but easily and soon perceive; and therefore ignorance cannot excuse their wilful negligence: howbeit it is not to be doubted but that God in His time, if they reject not His grace, will open to them His truth. Let us, as be careful we confirm them not in their error, by halting and bearing with them in this their evil, so privately after our vocation, and as we would be done by, admonish them of this error, above all things praying unto God for them, that “with their blind guides they fall not” into the pit of perdition. This kind of idolaters is nothing so evil as the other; for the other do sin against the Holy Ghost, it is to be feared, but the error of these is savable.
  3. The third and last sort is of them which indeed know the thing they use is not allowed of God, and therefore in heart they consent not unto it, although outwardly they seem not to disallow it. These are unlike to the second [kind], which act through simplicity and zeal, not according to knowledge; but this third kind do it wittingly, and with a lack of zeal, and yet of knowledge, and therefore surely are much more to be blamed than the second, to whom they cause grievous offence, confirming them [i.e., the ignorant] in their error, that they should continue [sinning] without conscience. And such be our mass-gospellers and popish protestants, which can “serve both God and mammon,” [in effect] take Elias’ part and Baal priests’ part, carry water in the one hand and fire in the other.

Why do such men attend the mass?

I wish that such as these [i.e., the third kind – those that sin against conscience and from a lack of zeal] would consider the causes wherefore they go to the mass, which they know is evil.

  • If they do it of obstinacy and malice, then are they to be reckoned amongst the number of the foremost sort, which are to be suspected of the sin “against the Holy Ghost.”
  • If they do it to get any worldly estimation or promotion thereby, or to keep that which they have gotten (as I fear many do), let them dread that they are doing as Judas did.
  • If they do it for company’s sake or neighbourhood, let them reconsider, and consider into whose company they are called (1 Cor 1:19); and also consider the example of Josaphat [Jehoshaphat] companying with Ahab to his great peril, and other similar examples, whereof the scripture is not barren.
  • If they do it for fear of the loss of goods, name, friends, liberty, life, etc., let them consider that Jesus Christ affirms such are not worthy of Him.

Let them (whether they be public or private persons, learned or unlearned, rich or poor, young or old, master or servant, householder, etc.) consider the horrible greatness of the evil they allow and confirm. Let them consider the examples of God’s plagues upon such as have dissembled [despised] so with God and man, to remove their security, to repent if they be fallen, and to take more heed if they be not fallen. The which thing God grant. Amen.

Reasons from the third commandment

But now, to bring more reasons to prove that to be at mass in body, and not openly to disallow, it is sin, although the spirit and heart consent not thereto.  We have already shown, out of the second commandment, that it is idolatry.  Now let us see how near it touches blasphemy out of the third commandment, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”. Here we may well gather that, to be at mass in body, and [yet] not in heart, is a breach of this commandment, and thus a sin. For the end of this commandment is not only to inform us how, with our tongues, we should abstain from taking God’s name in vain, but also how we should use the name of God in prayer, confession of God’s truth and religion, thanksgiving and preaching purely the gospel (if we be ministers).

Now, what using of the tongue in thanksgiving is in them which are present at that [mass] which utterly overthrows the true worshipping of Christ and God, without reproving it! What confessing of religion does their tongue exercise, who hold their peace, and with their presence, support that which sets up another salvation than that which Christ brought, and bought dearly by the shedding of His precious blood? What use of their tongue in true prayer have they, which in holding their tongue say “Amen” to all the blasphemous prayers of the mass! If indeed their Christ be between the priest’s hands, if that which the priest does be the self­same sacrifice which Christ did on the cross Himself for our redemption, then they curse God’s name. But if their Christ be “in heaven, on the right hand of the Father,” concerning the corporal presence of His humanity, as He is everywhere by His virtue, grace, and divinity; if Christ’s sacrifice on the cross be but one and never more to be reiterated; in that God hath given them tongues, and now commands them not to use the same in vain, tying them in [i.e., remaining silent, thereby lying through] their teeth, when He would [rather] have them used and exercised in confessing Him before men, I wish they would tell me why they are mute and play mum at this horrible dishonour done to their sovereign Lord, and why take they His name being called on them as on His people in vain. The name of the Lord our God is called upon all that be His people, and that not in vain, but to be called upon, praised, and confessed of them all, when either His glory or their brother’s necessity requires it. But, to omit the necessity to our brethren in this case, which nips the conscience, I trow, where does God’s glory more require that we should confess His name and true service than in the mass (which, of all things that ever was, is most horrible adversary to it)?

I well may conclude therefore, that it is a thorough breach of this commandment, and a taking of God’s name in vain, to be at mass and not reprove it. And God shows what the punishment of this commandment is, when He says that He “will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.” Look well hereon, guiltless though you be before the magistrates here, if, in bodily presence you confirm it, you are not guiltless before God. Choose now therefore whose hands you will fall into: if into God’s hands, that is horrible, and none can deliver you; if into the hand of man, surely they cannot pull as much as one hair of your heads further than your good Father will, who shall make your joy eternal.

Reasons from the fourth commandment

Let us now go to the fourth commandment, of the sanctifying of the sabbath day; and we shall see no less occasion than we have done [considering the second and third commandments], that to go to the mass, not disallowing it publicly in word and deed [i.e., by attending], is a sin and a breach of this commandment also. For in it the Lord requires rest from bodily labour to the end [view] of sanctification, except we should put no difference between the end of rest on the sabbath day appointed to man, from that which is appointed to the beast. The end therefore, I say, of the rest in the sabbath, to man, is sanctification.  That is, man is commanded to rest from bodily labour and other exercises, that he may, with diligence and reverence, hear God’s word in His ministry, learn His law, use  His sacraments and ceremonies as he hath ordained, convent [come together] to common prayer in the place appointed, and other holy exercises, helping to the conservation of the ministry, propagation of the gospel, and increase of love and charity one towards another.  All these things still remain to us commanded in our resting times, from our travails and labours for this life, although the Jews’ seventh day be abrogated and taken away. This considered, who cannot but see the mass, which makes to the profanation and unhallowing both of body and soul, to be forbidden? If the end of my rest [on the sabbath] should serve to sanctification, then it can not serve to the mass, which is abomination. If I may not use my rest simply for the pleasure of my body, which God allows, except I look to another end (namely, that I may be more able to endure the works of my vocation more to God’s glory and my neighbour’s commodity), much more, then, I may not use my rest for the pleasure of another in that which God disallows.

But, to make this more evident, no man of any reading or godly consideration of the scriptures cannot but see the principal thing God in this commandment did respect was the ministry of His word and sacraments, by the which God gathers His church, increases it, and conserves it.  Therefore, of all things He could worst away with [i.e., bear or endure] the breach of this commandment. Read how he commanded a man to be “stoned to death” for “gathering sticks on the sabbath-day” and in the prophets, how he cried out [that] all was marred when this commandment was broken. Now the mass (before I have shewed) is the only “weeding worm” and “rooting sow” of the gospel and sacraments for being truly preached and ministered, so that, wheresoever the one is, the other cannot be. True preaching [compared to] massing, true using Christ’s supper [compared to the “priest’s dinner” [the offerer of the mass], are contrary as light and darkness. The mass is the end of Satan’s commandment, directly impugning [going against] the end of God’s commandment.  It therefore follows that, just as mass doers grievously offend, so mass hearers and seers, without disallowing it openly, run into the same peril and vengeance of God (that is, to the gathering of stakes to be burned in hell-fire).  Look well therefore hereon. The pope and his prelates say, ‘If thou come not to hear mass, but disallow it, thou shalt fry a faggot in Smithfield”. God Almighty saith, “If thou keep thee not from the mass, or if thou come to it, and do not openly disallow it, thou shalt fry a faggot in hell-fire”.

Choose now whether you will take heed [to what is warned in the proverb], “In flying from the smoke you will [go] into the fire.” Make not man your god, but fear the Lord and “sanctify him in thine heart.” Pray, “O Lord, knit and enforce my heart truly to fear thee.”

As now out of the first table [of the Law], [where] I have shewed that every commandment therein is broken by hearing and seeing mass (for there is no commandment broken but the first commandment is broken [as well]), so could I show out of the second table, that it is a breach of all and every commandment there.

Reasons from the fifth commandment

[The fifth commandment] confirms [i.e., points to] the evil act of a magistrate when he sees [permits] men, without gainsaying [opposing], [to] obey his [evil] law, as though it were good and godly.  Likewise, they which hear mass, at the commandment of the magistrate, are partakers also of the magistrate’s evil by their disobedience to God in this point confirming the law.  For if they would disallow it, and obey God more [i.e., rather] than man, [even] giving their heads to the block rather than to hear or see [the] mass, it would result in the wicked law being challenged.  Thus the magistrate would call the matter into a further enquiry, and so the truth to [might] take place. And hereof will I write an history.

How disobeying a magistrate can turn darkness to light

In the time of Valens the emperor, which favoured the opinion of Arius [the heretic], and laboured that the same [doctrine] might be received of the whole empire, there was at Edessa, a city of Mesopotamia, a church whereto the Christians of right judgment did resort [opposing Arianism]. The emperor, being there, commanded the lieutenant of the city to put so many to death as did resort thither, being greatly displeased that he [i.e., the lieutenant] had used no greater tyranny against them. Now this lieutenant, rather favouring the Christians than otherwise, gave warning that they should not resort to the church the next day, because he was commanded to slay them. Howbeit they, not considering so much death as the confession of their faith, resorted more to the temple than ever they did [previously].  When the lieutenant, with a band of men, went to the church to execute the emperor’s commandment, he chanced to see a woman running with a child in her hand, which she haled [drew forcibly] to come, that the lieutenant, marvelling at her haste, commanded one to call her. She being come, he demanded whither and wherefore she hasted so with the child. She answered that it was to the church (whither he was going to execute the emperor’s commandment).  The lieutenant asked her whether she had heard what he was commanded to do. She answered, “Yes.” He then replied, “Then are you not afraid?” “No,” she said, “I pray [to] God [that] I may give my life in so good a cause”. “Why,” he replied, “do you take your child with you?” – She answered, “So that he may die with me. For I would rather take him with me to God than leave him behind for you to carry him to the devil, if he should believe your false religion and do as you do.” The lieutenant, hearing these words, and amazed to hear and see the constancy of the woman, caused him to return immediately to the emperor, who hearing it, ceased from his cruelty.

This history is written in the seventh book of the Tripartite History, the thirty-second chapter. I have rehearsed this account for this purpose: that men might see hereby, how constancy to God’s cause could not but cause the magistrate the more to consider what he commanded.

But, to return to my former treatise, to go to mass, or to church where mass is, breaks, you see, the first commandment of the second table [i.e., the fifth commandment].

The sixth commandment

[Mass attendance] is a murdering of the soul, and mass-mongers are procurers and abettors of others to fall into the destruction of their souls. (Through their attendance,] the obstinate papist triumphs and is confirmed, the strong gospeller is weakened, and the weaker gospeller is utterly overthrown by [a confessor] going to mass, who has knowledge of the truth.

The seventh commandment

Moreover, they are bawds [i.e., women in charge of brothels], causing the spouses of Christ to become Satan’s whores.

The eighth commandment

Besides this, they that are “mass hunters” are receivers and concealers of theft, spoiling of Christ and His glory; yea, undoubtedly they are traitors and guilty of high treason against God.

The ninth commandment

Last of all, they are false witnesses against their neighbours, against God’s church (as though the mass-church were the [true] catholic church), yea, against Christ and His word, by their going to mass. By their presence, they falsely-show that the mass is a true service of God and a badge of His church, while they lie to their own consciences, and so condemn themselves.

The tenth commandment

As for the last commandment of lusting, this is an inward thing [of the heart], as is the first commandment.  And although going to the mass is an outward act, yet there is no sin counted [i.e., considered] outwardly which is not first broken inwardly.


And thus it is plain enough, I trow [i.e., believe], that the hearing or going to church where mass is, or seeing of mass, although in spirit it be abhorred, is no small sin, but such a sin as breaks all God’s law generally and every commandment particularly. O then how grievous a sin is this! Look well on it, my dear brethren, to whom my simple counsel, “in the tender mercies of God I beseech you,” is as follows:

If “he that continueth not in all things written in God’s law be accursed,” alas, how terribly is he accursed that continueth in nothing [at all], but is a transgressor in all things! And such be popish protestants, mass-gospellers, or, as they should be called, “bodily mass-mongers” and “spiritual gospellers”.

Further reasons not to attend

Now, although my arguments from the decalogue (the ten commandments), are enough to settle this matter, yet I will add some more reasons with divers sentences, in such brevity as I can.

  1. “He that is not with me is against me,” says our Saviour, “and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad,” Matt 12:30 & Luke 11:23. Now in that the mass [host] is neither Christ, nor in any point with Him, but, of all things on earth, most against Him (as before I have showed), let them that go to mass mark what they do by this sentence [i.e., judgement] of Christ; and, if they be not wilfully blind, they shall see that they are against Christ, that is, [they are] antichrists in this point, and gather with the devil.
  2. “Woe be to him,” saith the Truth (Matt 17), “by whom an offence doth come,” that is, him which does or says anything whereby any [persons] are justly occasioned to evil, letted [i.e., hindered] to do good, or confirmed in their naughty doctrine and customs. “It were better for such,” Christ says truly, “to have a millstone hanged about their neck, and to be cast into the bottom of the sea.” And will you yet go to mass, to occasion [i.e., influence] others to go with you, to let [hinder] the godly which would not go if you did not, confirming the papists in their idolatry?
  3. Paul wills us to “glorify God in our souls and our bodies,” (1 Cor 6:20), thus requiring the body to be applied to the setting forth of God’s glory as [is required for] the soul; and no marvel, for God has made it “His temple, that His holy Spirit should dwell therein,” (1 Cor 3:16) and gave His precious blood also, that it might be in eternal felicity with the soul. Yea, He has coupled our flesh in Himself unto His Godhead, to be one Person, one Christ, God and man, so great is the dignity thereof. And therefore, worthily warned Paul that we should keep ourselves clean from all that which would stain, not “the spirit” only, but also “the flesh” and body (2 Cor 7:1). So any man [who has, as it were, only] “half an eye” may see that mass-sayers and seers in body, though the spirit be absent, little consider what they do.
  4. Paul would not allow a Christian to come to the table in the idol’s temple, lest thereby “the weak brother might perish.” (1 Cor 8:9-11). If so, would he allow coming to mass, which is another manner of [similar] matter (1 Cor 10:21)?
  5. If the thing were indifferent or lawful to be present at mass in body, [while] in mind disallowing it, yet the end of our liberty is not what we may do, but what is best to be done, what most edifies, seeing that going to mass is so far from edifying that it destroyeth, easily may we see that it is not to be used [i.e., done].
  6. But, alas! this is far from lawful. It is a “Beth-aven” (Hosea 4:15), “an house of iniquity” and Paul wills that they that “call on the name of the Lord should depart from iniquity” (2 Tim 2:19). How then should they come to mass if they should depart from it?
  7. “If I should build up again that which I pulled down, I then should make myself an offender,” says the apostle (Gal 2:18). Therefore what be they then that, by going to mass, build it up again? Whereas those who avoid it, and speak against it, have holpen {i.e., helped] to pull it down.
  8. “What agreement is there between light and darkness? what concord is with Christ and Belial?” (2 Cor 6:15) with the Christian and the pope’s minion (the mass I mean), “with the temple of God and idols?” posits Paul. “Wherefore come away from the mass,” saith the Lord, “and separate yourselves from them that come to it”, “and I will receive you.”
  9. Paul would have the Corinthians to shun the company of whoremongers and idolaters. Would he now license them to come and company with massers in their chiefest idolatry? This were to make Paul’s preaching, not “yea, yea, and nay, nay,” (Matt 5:37) but “yea and nay” (1 Cor 5:11).
  10. “If any man come unto you,” says St John, “and bring not this doctrine with him,” you should not so much as greet him, lest you be partakers of his evil. (2 John 1:10-11) And what doctrine is more contrary to God and His gospel than the mass? Thus we cannot support mass-sayers, but rather we should not receive them if they should seek us, except [lest]we would communicate with [i.e., participate in] their evil.
  11. “No man that putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back is meet for God’s kingdom” (Luke 9:62) much more then are we unmeet if we “look back,” but [instead] run and go back to see and hear that which justly we have forsaken.
  12. What happened to Core and his allowers [i.e., followers], when he took on the priesthood without [a] calling? And will nothing happen to our arrogant massers, that, without calling, take upon them Christ’s priesthood, and to such as allow and seem to allow them? Head the history,(Numbers 16).
  13. John the evangelist dared not tarry in the house where Cerinthus the heretic was, which denied Christ’s manhood; and indeed the house fell, and slew him [Cerinthus] and all that ever remained in the house with him. And shall not we fear God’s vengeance, to be in company at mass with her minions, which deny Christ [as] both God and man, making their own handiwork as good as He, yea, He himself, they say.
  14. 0 deaf ears, that will not hear the blast of the angel’s trump, warning us to come from amongst these whorish Babylonians, belly-god massmongers, lest we perish with them! “Come out from her, my people,” saith God (Rev 18:4). If you be one of God’s people, you must come [out] from [among] her. (But, if you be not, [then] tarry still!)
  15. Yea, He not only commands us to come out from her, but to declare ourselves to be open enemies against her. “Reward her,” saith He, “as she hath rewarded you.”
  16. 0 Lord God! that men think it be a trifle to make their bodies, (instead) of Christ and His church, the members of antichrist of Rome and His church (1 Cor 6:15).
  17. Will men never consider that they shall “receive according to that they do in their body, be it good or bad,” and not simply according to their conscience?
  18. Read how earnestly God commands the destruction even of the dearest friend, that shall but devise or counsel you to “go after a strange god” (Deut 13:6-9), as the mass and the god therein is.
  19. When you go to mass, you go even to the devil, for you depart from verity [truth], and so from God. Now there is no mean [i.e., half-way point]: if you are not with God, you are with the devil. But if you say that, in conscience you do not depart from the verity [i.e., truth], yet you do it [i.e., not depart] in body. Be sure, as said before, that you shall “receive according to that [which] is done in the body.”
  20. Lot’s wife looked but back, and was “turned into a salt stone” (Gen 19:26). And so are the hearts of our popish protestants, I fear, who are hardened from fearing God, in that they look, yea, go back again to their sodomitical minion.
  21. The good father Mattathias would in no point dissemble, as though he had worshipped; but our mass-gospellers are far unlike to him.
  22. We pray to be “delivered from evil,” Libera nos a malo, [Deliver us from evil;] (Matt 6:13), and yet those, knowing the mass to be evil, resort unto it [i.e., evil].
  23. “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom 14:23). But if you go to see or hear mass, though but in [your] body, [it is] “is not of faith,” for faith hangs on God’s Word, and God’s Word is opposed to the mass. Therefore, it is sin.
  24. “Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth” (Rom 14:22). Mark by the contrary whether our mass-gospellers are not unhappy and accursed by Paul’s judgment.
  25. “Halting,” says the apostle, “hindereth, yea, bringeth out of the way.” And what other thing is it to go to mass in body, and to be away in spirit, but a plain “halting,” a “serving of two masters?” (Matt 6:24), which none can do, if Christ be true.
  26. If Jehu were judge, these bodily massers should drink with their brethren the Baalites. Read the history (2 Ki 10:18-25), and see whether he judged not, of their outward coming, whose servants they were.
  27. “He that denieth Christ before men shall be of him denied before God” (Matt 10:33). But mass hearers “deny Christ before men” in fact and deed (although in tongue they profess otherwise). For there are three kinds of denial: in heart, in word, and in deed. In heart, [they sin] as the wicked do, saying, “There is no God” (Psa 14:1 & Psa 53:1); [also] in word (Matt 10:33 & Mark 8:38); and in deed (Titus 1:15-16). Now, though the mass-gospellers do not, as they say, deny God’s truth in heart and in word, yet they, by going to mass, do it in deed.  Let them take better heed [of] what they do, lest in deed Christ deny them at the last day.
  28. Paul to “the belief of the heart” (Rom 10:9), requires “the confession of the mouth.” Therefore, our popish protestants think this instructive is not required. But yet Christ says, “He that is ashamed of me,” (that is, of my true religion and gospel) “before this faithless generation, I will be ashamed of him before the angels of God in heaven” (Mark 8:38). O [what a] heavy sentence!
  29. He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled therewith, says Solomon (Eccl 13:1). And shall not their bodies be something smutted with the filthiness of the mass, that honest it with their presence?
  30. In the old law, the touching of a carrion defiled him that touched it, at least for a day (Hag 2:13 & Lev 11:14). Now, there is no carrion so stinking in God’s sight as the mass. Let him that goes, however he be minded, or abids in the church where it is, know [i.e., understand] that he is defiled so foul that all the holy water in Rome, Paris, and London, cannot purge him therefrom.
  31. Unto these our popish protestants I cannot but say, as Elias said, “How long will you halt on both knees? If God be God, follow him.” If the mass be God and God’s ordinance, follow it [in body and spirit].
  32. When Elias lamented that all [i.e., everyone] was gone astray but he, [and] all were defiled with Baal (although in heart there were many [that] hated Baal, as they thought, and would have confessed if Jezebel had not been [living]), God said that he had “left seven thousand which had not bowed their knee to Baal” (1 Ki 19:18). He did not say, “which in heart hate Baal,” but, “which hath not bowed their knee to Baal;” of that outward sign demonstrating [i.e., showing them to be] His servants. And so now let us not think, good brethren, any to be His true worshippers but [those] such as not only in heart, but also in deed, detest the mass.
  33. David says that God will not suffer “the sceptre of the ungodly”, to lie long on the lot of his children, lest his people “should stretch forth their hands to iniquity.” He does not say “their hearts,’ but “their hands,” of the bodily fact noting his people.
  34. St Paul wills us to “separate ourselves from such as teach other doctrine, and will not consent to the sound doctrine of our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:17). Wherefore, in that the massers teach another doctrine than Christ or his apostles ever taught, and by their massing depart from the sound doctrine of Jesus Christ, by God’s commandment we must separate ourselves from them, who are no part of Christ’s catholic church.
  35. Peter would that we, being “an holy people” (1 Pet 2:9,12), should be pure, not in a piece [i.e., in part], but “in all our conversation [i.e., activities/conduct];” and Paul would that we should abstain ab omni specie mali, “from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess 5:22), being as light (or lanterns) in the midst of a froward generation, and not darkness as that [the mass] be. And how may this be? By “holding fast the word of God,” and following it, for so he teaches.
  36. Azarias, Dan 3, and his two companions knew they could not but displease God, if, with any outward show, they would have seemed to allow the idol Nabugodonozer [i.e., Nebuchadnezzar] caused to be set up, and therefore hazarded the fire. Our mass-gospellers will not do [similarly], to alter and turn the queen’s heart, the very opposite of which the three men did not obey Nabugodonozer’s precept, which thereafter God turned his [i.e., the king’s] heart.
  37. The body shall not be partaker of the sentence given to the soul in judgment of that whereof in this life it is not partaker with the spirit and soul. This is Tertullian’s reason, in Liber de resurrectione carnis.
  38. “If thine eye be single,” and true faith in your heart, then all your body and actions cannot but be pure (Luke 11:34). But, “if they be dark,” it is a token that your eye and “light within thee to be darkness.” This argues [i.e., shows that] faith to faint in them which defile their bodies in being present at the mass. As it is impossible [for] light to be in an house and not to show itself at [through] the slifters [clefts, crevices], door, and windows of the same, so is it impossible for true faith of God’s gospel to be in the heart of any man which, coming to mass, does not utter it by something, whereby men may perceive the light of faith inwardly in the bosom. Therefore, Christians are called “towns set upon hills,” “candles upon bushel-tops,” and commanded that “their light should shine before men.” Yet these massing-gospellers do not allow, but [rather] think that a man can carry faith in the heart, and not utter it at the mass in word or deed.  This is no more possible than a man to carry fire in his bosom and not burn his clothes.
  39. “Our fellowship,” says St. John, “is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). He does not say, “with the mass,” which is mere darkness. Therefore, to signify the same, God has suffered them to show it by the candle-light they must have at it, and further, that they that go to it know not whither they go, nor what they do. “Our fellowship,” I say, “is with God the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” yet so that we must “walk in light,” for else “we lie, and the truth is not in us.” “If any man,” says he, “walk in darkness” (as, God knows they do, which be at mass, and reprove it not openly), and “saith he hath fellowship with God, the same is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

But, to make an end of collecting any more reasons to prove what all wise men [must] plainly see, [I shall say] that they [i.e., attenders] who grievously offend [Christ] by their presence [at] God’s greatest enemy upon earth (i.e., the mass), and do not disprove and disallow it, [must do so] not only in heart, but also in deed.  [And they must do so also in] word openly.  For all who attend the mass honour it in word, when the priest prays especially for all that be there present, and, as they [i.e., those in attendance] affirm, receiving for all, and also [the priest] turning himself divers times to the congregation with his “Dominus vobiscum”, the clerk answering in the name of all, “Et cum spiritu tuo”, and other words.  Therefore, the standers by, if they do not openly disprove, are partakers with the priest of his idolatry and false serving of God.

As Paul saith, “They which eat of the sacrifice are partakers of the altar;” they which are at the mass are partakers of the mass, that is, [they are]:

  • Idolaters;
  • false worshippers of God;
  • blasphemers of Christ;
  • destroyers of his death, merits, sacrifice, priesthood, and kingdom;
  • destroyers of the ministers of His gospel and sacraments;
  • destroyers of faith, repentance, and all godliness; and
  • summa, they are antichrist’s.

Antichrist’s, I say, in body though they feign [pretend] their heart to (be) Christ’s: but Christ and antichrist cannot dwell together; and therefore, if they be there and hold their tongue, they cannot but cry one day, Va mihi quia tacui, “Woe is me because I held my tongue.”

O, that the latter end of the first [epistle to the] Corinthians, [at the] tenth [chapter], were well weighed! That is, how that, in worshipping God contrary to His word, as the massers do, we have fellowship with devils. Then I trow [i.e., believe] his exhortation would take place, where he says, “See that you give none occasion of evil to any man,” but seek to please that way which may help to the salvation of others, and not to the destruction of others; as all they do which, being at mass and see[ing] their brethren take it for service to God, it being [rather] a very devil’s service, lay a pillow and a cushion under their knees and elbows, to hold on still, and so to increase God’s further vengeance, as in England—in England—we do.

O Lord, be merciful unto us, and forgive us, open our eyes that we may see thy truth, and work in our wills that we may embrace, love, and have lust to it to live it, confess it, and suffer gladly loss of friends, name, goods, and life for it.

Amen, Amen.