Hurt of Hearing Mass,
Now, the mass being known to be the device and invention of man, I will briefly shew you that it is the most horrible and detestable device that ever the devil brought out by man.
The Mass is Against Christ’s Priesthood
First, the mass is a most subtle and pernicious enemy against Christ, and that double, namely, against his priesthood and against his sacrifice. His priesthood is an everlasting priesthood, and such an one as cannot go to another. But the mass utterly puts him out of place, as though he were dead forever; and so God is forsworn which said Christ should be “a priest for ever” (Psa. 110), and Paul lieth which affirmeth Christ to live, and to be “on the right hand” of the Father for us (Heb. 7), that by him “we may come to the throne of grace to find mercy to help us in our need” (Heb. 4): for, if these be true as they be most true, the mass priests are to be put down: for, if they be “of the order of Aaron,” then resume they that which Christ hath abolished; if they be “of the order of Melchisedec,” then be they Christ’s. Other orders of priests I read none, save that which all Christians be, to offer up themselves to God and other spiritual sacrifices by Christ, and the order of “priests of Baal,” whose successors indeed the massers be: for else if they were, as they would be taken, of the order of the apostles, then should they be ministers and not massers, preachers and not traitors, as they be both to God and his church: God amend them.
Christ’s sacrifice once made by himself on the tree, on the mount of Calvary, is the full and perfect propitiatory sacrifice, to the sanctification of all them that are and shall be saved, never more to be reiterated and done again, for that signifieth an imperfection. But the mass is called and had for a sacrifice propitiatory, and that such a one as fetcheth pardon a poena et a culpa [from punishment and from guilt], for the quick and dead, and for whom Sir John will. In words or syllables the papists will deny this, but in very deed they do no otherwise, and in the latter end of their canon plainly they call it a propitiatory sacrifice. So that the mass, we see, is altogether against Christ alive, that is, against his priesthood, and against his death, that is, his sacrifice, and therefore a detestable evil I trow.
The Mass Destroys God’s Service and all Godliness of Life
Secondly, the mass is not only a let but also a destruction of the true worshipping of God: for, where the time is past to serve God now, as once he required, with goats, bullocks, etc., and the time is come to serve him rationali cultu [with a reasonable service], as Paul saith, in the offering up of our bodies by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12), and “serving him in spirit and truth” (John 4), unfeignedly fearing his displeasure, trusting in his truth and mercy, and loving his goodness, and out of these in external obedience as he commandeth, the mass, as I say, not only letteth this, but also utterly destroyeth it. For who knoweth not that the very outward work of saying or seeing of mass is taken for a great God’s service? who knoweth not that the outward work of the mass is and hath been applied for the remission of sins of the quick and the dead? And where did they ever teach that the mass was nothing worth either to the doer, or to them for whom [it] is done, without this spiritual service of God, the true fear of God, faith and love of God? No word at all was or yet is spoken hereof. All men may know therefore, if they will, the mass to let, yea, to destroy God’s true service; for what needeth repentance when Sir John will save me by masses, even when the time of repentance is prevented by death? what needeth faith, what needeth goodness of life, what needeth preaching, what needeth praying, what needeth any piety at all, when that the mass hath all, and can and will serve for all? For by it cometh pardon of sins, by it cometh deliverance from hell and purgatory, by it cometh fair weather, by it cometh peace and plenty, by it cometh health for man and beast.
Summa the mass is mare malorum [a sea of evil things], I should have said, mare bonorum [a sea of good things], the most singular, excellent, and incomparable jewel that can be! so that, it being gone, all is gone, the church is lost, the people perish, the faith faileth, and God is not worshipped; but, where it is, all is well, there needeth no preaching, there needeth no hearing of God’s word, praying in spirit, repenting or godliness of life! If so be once a day men come to church to hear mass, to see the consecrating, he that doth this is a good catholic, a child of the church, a man of God, although daily, after he have heard mass, he [be] all day at tavern or alehouse, at tippling, bibbing, &c. Although he use whoredom, swearing, dicing, thieving, polling, bribing, &c., if in the morrow after he come to church, take holy water, hear mass devoutly, and take altar holy-bread, he is sure enough, say the papists. So that, as I said I say again, the mass utterly destroyeth all godliness of life and all God’s service, as by this may something be seen, and as by experience doth now teach us; for it cannot away with that which is the root of all godliness, that is, God’s word, and the true often preaching thereof. The one cannot but send the other out of the way; I mean, either the mass will put the pure preaching of God’s word apart, and then “the people perish” (Prov. 29), or else preaching must put it away, as once it did with us, and still would have done, if we had been thankful to God for preaching and preachers, and if we had had a lust to have lived as we have heard. Just therefore art thou, O Lord, thus to punish us, for we have deserved it. O, “in thine anger remember thy mercy,” “be not angry with us for ever:” “turn to us again, O Lord God of hosts, look merrily upon us, and we shall be saved.” “Thy will be done,” and not mine.
The Mass Horribly Perverts Christ’s Supper
Thirdly, the mass is not only besides Christ’s institution and ordinance, but it is utterly against it, and perverteth it horribly; I mean this as concerning the supper and sacrament of Christ’s body and blood: for, where he did ordain his supper to be a memorial of his death and passion, and therefore in the celebration thereof “the Lord’s death should be preached out till he come” (1 Cor. 11), as Paul writeth, I pray you, who heareth anything hereof in the mass? Nay, they are wise enough to keep in that: for, when that is spoken of, men cannot but see thereby forgiveness of sins to come to such as believe freely, and so falleth their mart. Christ ordained his supper to be celebrated and received of the congregation; and therefore Paul willeth the Corinthians to tarry one for another, that they might all receive together: but all men see that here is no such thing. Choose the people whether they will come or no, Sir John is akin to the tide; he will tarry no man, if he have a boy to answer him, ‘Amen.‘ Or, if he tarry for the people, yet get they no part with him, all is too little for himself, where Christ yet biddeth them, “Do this,” that is, ‘Distribute and give, take and eat,‘ as he did. Christ ordained this supper to be a taking matter, “Take, eat,” saith he: but the mass is a looking matter, ‘Peep, see, look, stoop down before,‘ &c. Christ would the celebrators of this his supper to be assured that his body was broken for them, and his blood shed for their sins, as they are assured and in possession of the bread they eat, and the wine they drink: but, lest they should be certain thereof, the mass and her minion the priest will spare nothing to the people to eat or drink with him. No, at no time the people must have their right; for the cup they may none kiss, and yet Christ bade them “all drink of it,” so is his will. But our papists have another will, which the mass-mongers will more willingly follow than God’s will, because they are of his swine, and not of Christ’s sheep, which will not follow a stranger. Christ never meant that one should receive the sacrament more for another, than he would one should be baptized for another. I would wish the mass-priests were awhile in corporal food so served, as they serve their brethren in spiritual food: I mean, that the people should dine and sup for them another while, to see if that would feed them. O that men had as great a feeling of the hunger of the soul, as they have of the hunger of the body! surely they would not then be thus mocked.
But, because herein I would but touch and go, this shall suffice to the diligent for an occasion to see the mass to be a let, yea, an overthrow of Christ’s institution concerning his supper: for now people think they serve God in coming to see the sacrament; but, if they knew they displeased God if they gave not themselves to the often and diligent receiving it with reverence (as divers canons compel, and the doctors cry out thereof), the mass which marreth all could not be in place. For it cannot be but either the mass must drive away the right use of the Lord’s supper, or the Lord’s supper rightly used must drive away the mass: for the Lord’s supper rightly used is when the congregation gathered together receiveth the sacrament in both kinds [i.e. bread and wine], as Christ instituted; but the mass is when one priest, like a churl, choppeth up all alone, and blesseth the congregation with the empty chalice, saying, Ite missa est [Depart, it is the dismission], after the pope’s ordinance. The one of these two cannot but drive away the other, as experience teacheth us again here in England, a just punishment for our unthankfulness and horrible contempt of such an heavenly banquet: we were but “swine,” and therefore not meet that such a “pearl” should long be put before us. The stinking mass with the garlic and onions of Egypt were a thousand parts more meet for us than God’s pure manna, wherein was all kind of heavenly taste. — O Lord, forgive us, and be merciful unto us; and, when thy good will shall be once more, put us in trust with thy manna again. We will no more murmur, good Lord, but with thankfulness and diligence fill up our omers [c.f. Ex. 16:16-36] daily, till we come into the land of promise, thy heavenly rest and joy.
The Sacrament in the Mass is an Idol
I will not now speak how that the sacrament in the mass, used to another purpose and end than Christ ordained it, yea, to an end clean contrary, as already I have showed, is no more Christ’s sacrament but a devilish idol; even as if a man should carry about with him, or before him, the water of baptism, as though the Holy Ghost were there enclosed, and so now were men to worship the water. This which hitherto I have spoken shall serve to give men occasion to weigh with themselves, how great and detestable an evil the mass is.
We see plainly that it is against Christ himself, against his priesthood and so his kingdom, against his death and sacrifice, and so against our redemption, against his worship and true service, against faith, against prayer, repentance and the ministry of God’s word, against his ordinance, institution, commandment and gospel. I pray you, what can be worse than such an one? If ever there was idol, who seeth not this to be Beelzebub, the chief of all idols? If ever antichrist had child or daughter, this mass is the most pestilent and pernicious: under the name of Christ it destroyeth Christ; under the title of God’s service it destroyeth God’s service; under the colour of the church it destroyeth the church.
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, in that this, the mass I mean, is against them all horribly, it cannot be dear or tolerable in any wise, but detestable and monstrous unto us all that love Christ and be Christians indeed; and that so much more horrible, execrable monstrously and utter detestably, by how much it, under the colour of a friend to Christ and his church, is a most rank and cruel enemy; and therefore of none should be allowed, no of none should be, but detested not only in spirit (for that is well known) but also in body, as now I will prove by God’s grace. [c.f. Why It Is Sinful To Attend A Papal Mass]