“We should make a note of that fact, and let it sink down into our minds.
Rome never changes.
She burned our English Reformers 300 years ago.
She tried hard to stamp out by violence the Protestantism which she could not prevent spreading by arguments.
If Rome had only the power, I am not sure that she would not attempt to play the whole game over again!
Rowland Taylor: Striking and deeply affecting was his last testament and legacy of advice to his wife, his family, and parishioners, though far too long to be inserted here, excepting the last sentence —
“For God’s sake beware of Popery! For though it appears to have in it unity — yet the same is vanity and Antichristianity, and not in Christ’s faith and truth.”
When he was stripped to his shirt and ready for the stake, he said, with a loud voice, —
“Good people, I have taught you nothing but God’s Holy Word, and those lessons that I have taken out of the Bible; and I am come hither to seal it with my blood!”
But I pass on to a point which I hold to be one of cardinal importance in the present day. The point I refer to is the special reason why our Reformers were burned!
The principal reason why they were burned, was because they refused one of the peculiar doctrines of the Romish Church. On that doctrine, in almost every case, hinged their life or death. If they admitted it — they might live; if they refused it — they must die!
The doctrine in question was the real presence of the body and blood of Christ in the consecrated elements of bread and wine in the Lord’s Supper.
Did they, or did they not, believe that the body and blood of Christ were really, that is, corporally, literally, locally, and materially, present under the forms of bread and wine after the words of consecration were pronounced?
Did they or did they not believe that the real body of Christ, which was born of the Virgin Mary, was present on the so-called altar, as soon as the mystical words had passed the lips of the priest?
Did they or did they not?
That was the simple question.
If they did not believe and admit it — they were burned!
There is a wonderful and striking unity in the stories of our martyrs on this subject. … all, without an exception, were called to special account about the real presence, and in every case their refusal to admit the doctrine formed one principal cause of their condemnation.
Wherever the English language is spoken on the face of the globe, this fact ought to be clearly understood by every Englishman who reads history.
Rather than admit the doctrine of the real presence of Christ’s natural body and blood under the forum of bread and wine — the Reformers of the Church of England were content to be burned!
And just as our martyred Reformers went to the stake rather than admit the real presence — so I hold that we should make any sacrifice and contend to the bitter end, rather than allow a materialistic doctrine about Christ’s presence in the Lord’s Supper to come back in any shape into our Communion.
I do deny that any clergyman, however zealous and earnest, has a right to reintroduce Popery into the Church of England. And, above all, I deny that he has any right to maintain the very principle of the Real Presence, for opposing which the Reformers of his Church were burned.
But what are we going to do? The danger is very great, far greater, I fear, than most people suppose. A conspiracy has been long at work for unprotestantizing the Church of England, and all the energies of Rome are concentrated on this little island.
The danger, in plain words, is neither more nor less than that of our Church being unprotestantized — and going back to Babylon and Egypt. We are in imminent peril of reunion with Rome.
In the name of the Lord let us set up our banners. If ever we would meet Ridley and Latimer and Hooper in another world without shame — let us “contend earnestly” for the truths which they died to preserve.
There is a voice in the blood of the martyrs.
What does that voice say?
It cries aloud from Oxford, Smithfield, and Gloucester, “Resist the Popish doctrine of the Real Presence to the death!”