The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/A Declaration of the Council of Basil touching the first Article of the Communion

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A Declaration of the Council of Basil touching the first Article of the Communion.

In the name of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, upon the sacrament of whose most blessed Last Supper we shall treat, that he who hath instituted this most blessed sacrament of unity and peace, will vouchsafe to work this effect in us, and to make us that we nuiy be one in the said Lord .Jesus our head, and that he will subvert all the subtleties of the devil, who, through his envious craftiness, hath made the sacrament of peace and unity, an occasion of war and discord; that, while Christians do contend touching the manner of communicating, they be not deprived of the fruit of the communion. Whereupon St. Augustine, in his Sermon upon Infants, in the decree 'De consecrat.' distinct. 2. 'Quia passus,' saith thus: 'So the Lord Jesus Christ certified us, and willed that we should appertain unto him, and consecrate the mystery of our peace and unity upon the table. He that receiveth the mystery of unity, and doth not keep the bond of peace, doth not receive a mystery for himself, but a testimony against himself.' This we thought good above all things to be premised, that the general custom of the church, which your fathers and you also in times past have observed, hath a long time had and still useth, that they who do not consecrate, communicate only under the kind of bread. This is to set up the church above the Scripture.Which custom being lawfully brought in by the church and holy fathers, and now a long time observed, it is not lawful to reject, or to change at your will and pleasure, without the authority of the church. Therefore, to change the custom of the church, and to take in hand to communicate unto the people under both kinds, without the authority of holy church, is altogether unlawful; for holy church, upon reasonable occasions, may grant liberty unto the people to communicate under both kinds. And every communion, which, being attempted without the authority and license of the church, should be unlawful, when it is done with the authority of holy church, shall be lawful, if other things let it not; because, as the apostle saith, 'He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation.'

The holy communion requireth amendment.Whereupon St. Isidore, of the second distinction upon the Consecration, writeth thus: 'They who live wickedly, and cease not daily to communicate in the church, thinking thereby to be cleansed, let them learn that it doth nothing at all profit them to the cleansing of their sins.' And St. Augustine, in the same distinction, saith, 'Holy things may hurt the evil, for unto the good they are salvation, but unto the evil, damnation.' There are besides this many other Holy authorities. Holy things nothing profit the wicked.The apostle Judas was amongst those who did first communicate, but, forasmuch as he received unworthily, having that sin of treason in his heart, it did profit him nothing; but the devil, by and by, exercised the more wicked, power and authority over him. This is declared by a great reason. Which of you is it, that if you should receive your lord into your house, would not with all diligence and care study to make clean and adorn his house, The reverend receiving of the sacraments.that he may receive the lord honestly? Much more he that shall receive the Lord and Saviour into the house of his soul, ought diligently to make clean and deck his soul, to cleanse it by the sacrament of penance, with sorrow and contrition of heart, humbly, purely, and truly confessing his sins, and receiving due satisfaction and penance, to adorn and deck the same with the puqjle or rich array of devotion, that the heart being so purged and adorned with fervent desire, he may come to that most holy sacrament, whereby God reconcileth all the world unto him.

Wherefore the most sacred synod admonisheth, exhorteth, and commandeth, that all priests should diligently exhort and admonish the people, and that they should use all their care and endeavour, that no man come to that most blessed sacrament, except he be duly prepared with great reverence and devotion, lest that which is received for the salvation of the soul, redound to the condemnation, through the unworthy receiving thereof.

Receiving under one kind, for avoiding two perils. Error grounded upon error. Causes why to minister under one kind.Moreover, doctors do say, that the custom of communicating unto the people only under the kind of bread, was reasonably introduced by the church and holy fathers, for reasonable causes, especially for the avoiding of two perils—error and irreverence. Of error, as to think that the one part of Christ's body were in the bread, and the other part in the cup; which were a great error. Of irreverence, forasmuch as many things may happen, as well on the part of the minister, as on the part of the receiver: as it is said, that it happened when a certain priest carried the sacrament of the cup unto a sick man, when he should have ministered, he found nothing in the cup, being all spilt by the way, with many other such like chances. We have heard, moreover, that it hath often happened, that the sacrament consecrated in the cup, hath not been sufficient for the number of communicants, whereby a new consecration must be made, which is not agreeable to the doctrine of the holy fathers; and, also, that oftentimes they do minister wine unconsecrated for consecrate wine, which is a great peril. By this means then, it shall be brought to pass, that if you will effectually receive the unity and peace of the church, in all other things besides the use of the communion under both kinds, conforming yourselves to the faith and order of the universal chuch, you that have that use and custom, shall communicate still, by the authority of the church, under both kinds; and this article shall be discussed fully in the sacred council, where you shall see what, as touching this article, is to be holden as a universal verity, and is to be done for the profit and salvation of the christian people: and all things being thus throughly handled, then, if you persevere in your desire, and your ambassadors do require it, Receiving in both kinds, permitted to the Bohemians.the sacred council will grant license in the Lord unto your ministers, to communicate unto the people under both kinds; that is to say, to such as be of lawful years and descretion, and shall reverently and devoutly require the same: this always observed, that the ministers shall say unto those who shall communicate, that they ought firmly to believe, not the flesh only to be contained under the form of bread, and the blood only under the wine, but under each kind to be whole and perfect Christ.