Chapter VIII.--That its idolatry is as bad; and that no Pagan god ever had so many notorious characters of being an idol, as hath that, which is solemnly and directly adored at every Mass.
Idol is a relative, that here may look towards three things. 1. To the thing which it represents, in which sense the seventy-two interpreters sometimes take idol, image, and carved thing promiscuously. 2. To that religious service, that men will bestow upon it. Thus, that which is an image in a house, where it hangs but for ornament, becomes an idol in a Church, if it be removed thither to be worshipped. 3. To that foolish opinion which sets men upon this worshipping, which is as vain as vanity itself; in which respect the Hebrews used to call idols and false gods that is, Things worth nothing. Whereto the prophet Jeremy alludes, chap. ii. 9. They walk after that which profits nothing, or rather, things that are not at all, or a mere nothing. Which sense St. Paul seems to allude to, when he says, that the idol is nothing. 1 Corinth. viii. 4. That is, idols may be somewhat, as to the material part; for so, they are sometimes brave works of men's hands, statues of gold, &c. Sometimes excellent works of God Himself, as sun and moon, angels and saints: But as to their other formal being of any excellency, which might require Divine worship, they are nothing at all of that which fond worshippers are pleased to conceive of them.
Good authors say of Serapis, [Theodoret, Hist. Ecclesiast. l. 5. c. 22.] the greatest idol of Egypt, that when Bishop Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, was about to beat it down, the people thought that the least stroke offered upon that image, would provoke the God whose it was, to send forthwith plagues among them; and that if it were quite beaten down, the land would shake under that fall. Notwithstanding all this, Theophilus sent for tools, and men fit for his work. When the people saw the blacksmiths with their hammers, they presently cried out, they were undone. But when Serapis' head was cut off, and his body thrown down from that advantageous station, that helped somewhat the huge statue to keep its worshippers in awe; instead of plagues and thunderbolts, they saw nothing but a swarm of mice, which the blow had frighted away out of the body of this God, besides many secret conveyances behind in the wall, by which priests did usually get up, to move and to animate this idol, as occasion did require. Consider therefore this vain image in all its materials: it was something indeed, to wit, an admirable piece of work, but as to that divine power that pagans did conceive of it, it was nothing.
To come nearer our business, take the Virgin Mary for what she is; think she is the most blessed, the most holy, and the most happy of women: and God forbid we should ever either think, or speak otherwise of that glorious chosen vessel; but if you make her a goddess, or a queen [Missal. Paris. pag. 205. ft p. 165.] and mistress of the whole world, who, as mother, [Missal. Par. Miss. de B. M. p. 18.] may command Christ; and raise [Argent. de 7. Excellent. Edit. 1614.] her seat above or near the throne of God the Father; and out of this elevation rescue sometimes from the hands of justice desperate men, after they [Scala Coeli Privil. 2.] have denied Baptism, Trinity, and all sacred things, except herself; and appear to St. Dominick with a troop [Specul. Exemp. titul. Rosar. exemp. 1.] of above a hundred armed angels, to strengthen him against fifteen hundred devils, who tormented an heretic for laughing at her rosary; and come down to purgatory [Bulla Sabbath. John. 22. confirmed by Pope Alexand. V.] punctually every Saturday. On the other side, if you make her come down out of this glorious majesty, either to cure [Specul. Exempl. Tit__l. B. M. Exemp. 18.] the scabs of a young monk; or to visit a sick miller in Germany; [Ibid. Exemp. 52.] or walk about that same country to make her image sing at mass; [Caesarius. l. 7. c. 21.] thus, I say, you shall render the blessed Virgin a mere legend, and if you worship and pray to her upon such accounts, you shall make her also a true idol.
This is the case of Mass worship. What a priest holds, breaks, consecrates, elevates, and adores, is certainly something; to wit, a white thin wafer of the bigness of a Roman penny, dried between two hot irons, by a baker. But if you think that whilst the priest mutters five words, presently parts out of his mouth, or from heaven, a miraculous power, that will destroy the whole substance of this said wafer; and that under its remaining white and round figures, creeps that very body of Christ, which by His ascension hath been carried up to heaven: and further, that being once got in, this new lodging made of figures, &c. wraps it about so strait, that it pulls the new guest, whithersoever the priest, or the rat, or other vermin will carry it; and thus gives him close attendance, as long as it is able to last: all these and other like fancies come to nothing, and this nothing being worshipped, is an idol.
The truth is, of all idols that ever were worshipped by Pagans, there is none so open and exposed to all the reproaches and censures of holy men in scripture, as is this which Roman Catholics adore solemnly at every Mass: and if this which they thus adore, were truly Christ, one might safely aver (what even to think were blasphemy) that neither prophets, nor holy fathers, in their speeches against heathenish gods, either considered well what they said, or ever thought well of their Saviour.
1. To begin with their original: when the prophet Isaiah inveighs against them who worship gods made by a carpenter, of a tree which the worshippers had planted, and after hewn into pieces, whereof one was to heat an oven, and the others to make a god, c. xliii. v. 14, 15. 17, can any rational man think that the Holy Ghost did foresee, that all true worshippers in the times of the Messias, were to adore a God every morning made of, and every morning inclosed within, somewhat of that wheat, that first countrymen had sown, and bakers baked into wafers, of which afterwards an apothecary was to take some to wrap pills in, and a priest all the rest to consecrate into a God? And if the taking, that for a god, which before the consecration was but a stock, is a pagan blindness fit for a prophet to wonder at, v. 18, is the adoring that for a Saviour, which immediately before the uttering of some few words, was a thin wafer, such clear understanding as may become a Catholic? "Here," saith honest Minutius, [Minutius in Octav.] "pagans melt brass, they cast it, they set it up, they fasten it, it is yet no god; they polish it, they adorn it; neither is it yet a god: but see now, they consecrate it, and pray to it, then as soon as men will have it to be a god, it is a god." Was this wise man blind, not to see that pagans might return the same raillery? Christians sow wheat, they cut, gather, and thrash it, 'tis no Christ yet; they grind it, they sift it, they bake it, it is but a wafer; they set it upon an altar, they elevate it, and cross it several times; no wonder yet: at last they speak five words upon it, presently ten miracles break forth, and among a hundred wafers, which are all like one to another, that which they are pleased to think upon, is their Saviour.
Where was the wit and judgment of holy fathers, St. Chrysostome, [Chrysost. in Natal. tom. 5. p. 517. edit. AEton.] Arnobius, [Arnob. l. 6.] Tertullian [Tertull. Apolog. c. 12 initio.] (if they had then Rome's Mass worship) when they charged pagans with flat madness, for lodging their gods in images, and for dreaming of consecrations, which might turn the fate of vile materials into gods, or shut these venerable gods in vile vessels; not perceiving in the mean while, that if Christians did then, what Roman Catholics do now, both ancient Christians, and new Catholics fall visibly to worse follies? For the blindest pagans never dreamed in the consecrating of their idols, to turn effectually the substance of brass, stone, or timber into the very nature of their gods; as these, who think and talk always of converting the whole substance of wafers into the whole body of Christ. Pagans could change by their idol worship, the glory of the incorruptible God into images, Rom. i. 23, made of vile materials: but they did not intend, by any help of miracles, to change this vile material into any god. This extraordinary attempt was never owned, as I can remember, during the times of Pagan Rome. And Pagans did acknowledge their wood and stones, even after they had consecrated them into their gods, to be no more [Arnob. l. 6. Porphyr. apud Euseb. de Praep. Evang. pag. 6. edit. Steph. Celsus apud Orig. l. 7. pag. 37. Athanas. Oration. cont. Gent. pag. 17. ed. Comelin.] than seats and domiciles made of wood and stone, where their gods did love to appear; and where their assisting power, which they did call numen, was wont to work.
This being so, all both reproaches and ironies, which holy prophets throw on idols, fall twenty times more heavy upon what is adored at Mass. For example, if with Jacob, you laugh at Laban, Gen. xxi. 30, for serving gods that a man or woman can steal away; or at the Egyptians with Isaiah, ii. 20, for worshipping that at one time which they must cast to moles at another: or at the Babylonians, Isaiah xlvi. 7, for carrying on their shoulders their gods, who otherwise could not help themselves: or at Bel and Nebo's priests, Isaiah, xlvi. 1, 2, because their gods fall to the ground, and are carried away captive: these idolaters will tell you, that all such reproaches are gross mistakes: that they are not so mad as to think that brass or timber can make a god; and that when these materials fall to the ground, or are stolen, or carried away by soldiers, their gods are neither shut in, nor tied up to their own images. This indeed was not sufficient to exempt Laban, Egypt, and Babylon from the burthen and lash of the holy prophets. For when these Pagans worshipped either their Bel, or their Serapis, it was then just with them, as it is now with downright Catholic Pilgrims at the lady of Loretto; the gods and the wooden images in their popular devotions most commonly went together. But however it is far more than Roman Catholics will or can say for what they do. 1. What Roman Catholics adore, is exposed to all the insufferable abuses that any dumb idol can receive. It falls oftener than ever Nebo did to the ground; witness the injunction [Missal. Rom. de Defect. in Minist. Caut. 15.] of scraping the ground where it falls. It is sometimes stolen away, as the poor gods of Laban were; witness Pope Innocent's [Innoc. III. Decretal. l. 3. Titul. 44. c. 1.] decree, that it be so well kept, that no rash hand may approach it. Witness also the sad complaint, that [Alex. Gerardiu. Itiner. sub fin.] a bishop made to Charles the Fifth, that his Church was so slenderly built, that the very body of the Lord was not safe from thieves and witches. It is sometimes carried away captive, as were the Heathenish Gods, whom Pagan Rome had conquered; witness St. Louis [Jovius.] the Ninth who, being beaten, and in great distress, surrendered it for a pawn, into the hands of the Sultan, who carried it away to Egypt.
2. It is exposed both to a greater number, and a worse kind of contumelious usages, than have ever been heard of idols. 1. Never idols were eaten up, or swallowed down by their own worshippers, except these two, the golden calf, and the Mass-God. But here is the great difference between these two sorts of worshippers; they who worshipped the calf, took it but for a representative of God, and when they had it down their throats, they were presently convinced that this god was but an idol. This was a convincing evidence, which Moses had learned of Noah, as Noah had learned it of God; when, as Holy Fathers [S. Theodoret. in Genes. interrog. 55.] take it, God by distinguishing clean and unclean, in order either to prevent, or to convince idolatry, gave mankind ground for this rule "that neither the things which are unclean, nor the things that are eaten, as being clean, must be adored or thought to be gods." This rule stood in the Church of God, till transubstantiation put it down for Mass cannot abide such doctrine. Here, Noah, Moses, and God himself are confuted.And when they thought to have sufficiently kept off paganism, by throwing their gods among meats, that do fall down to men's bellies, as Isaiah did afterwards by throwing them among such things as should be cast to bats and moles, xlvi. 7; Roman priests take up the quarrel, and maintain by what doth happen often at Mass, that gods may be gods still, though they should fall into worse places. If heathenish gods fall but to the ground, though it be but seldom, and by mischance, holy prophets will laugh at them and when the Mass-God falls into worse filth, which is often, and of due course, whensoever it is vomited up, good Catholics will [Missal. Rom. de Defectib. c. 10. num. 14. Si Sacerdos. Suarez de E__char. Disp. 46. sect. 8. §. Sequitur tertio. "Ex usu Ecclesiae si contingat evomi ab infirmo, adoratur et habetur ut verum Sacramentum."] adore it. So certain and evident it is, that those holy prophets and these good Catholics are not led by the same spirit.
Secondly, lest you should reply, that the mouths, and throats, and stomachs of consecrated priests have privileges; for some say, that priests do complete essentially the sacrifice, [Bellarm. de Miss. l. 1. c. 27.] when they eat it, which without question laymen do not; it is now generally agreed amongst them, that the most lewd and beastly laymen, do both swallow down, and afterwards cast up sometimes, this self-same adorable object. Bonaventure, indeed, and some few more, once had the simplicity to startle at this. But Pope Gregory the XI. [Direct. Inquisit. p. 2. q. 10.] and the whole school, have long since undeceived all Roman Catholics of that error: so that now it is publicly taught, that, if not a man only, but even the vilest vermin, can nibble at consecrated bread, she goes away with this Mass-God, [Gabr. Vasquez Disp. 195. c. 5.] and keeps him, whether in her mouth, or stomach, or guts, for as long as she can keep that crumb of bread. Therefore are these two rules prescribed: [Missale Rom. De defectibus, c. 10. n. 5. and 14.] 1. That the priest lick, or take up most reverently, if he can, what hath been thus miscarried. 2. And that when either flies or spiders chance to fall into the chalice, because these little beasts cannot drink so little, but they drink him whole, and have him in their little guts, the priest must by all means swallow down these flies, and spiders, if he can do it without the endangering of his life. Once was the time, that whole Egypt was made ashamed of the stateliest god they had, as soon as they saw mice creeping out of the belly of their god: what would they therefore have done, if they had seen their god creeping down, as the Mass-God doth, into the belly of these mice?
Thirdly, What Rome adores, fares sometimes worse; and this must happen when the priest's stomach cannot digest what it receives, its natural ferment being depraved or overthrown; for in that case whatever is eaten, must be cast off crude and unaltered, and so discharged by the usual evacuation of nature. "Where is the wise man," [Contar. Catech. Christ. Inter. 14. Sotus 4. Sent. d. 12. q. 1. a. 3.] says Cardinal Contarenus, "who can doubt it? since the virtue of consecration holds out as long as the thing which is consecrated, that is, the accidents of Bread and Wine." And therefore some here put in a caveat against lienteries, [Pal__d in 4. d. 9. q. 1. a. 2.] and such like indispositions: that no man, being troubled with such weaknesses, presume to eat the Sacrament, for fear of throwing what he adores, whither I am sure no Pagan worshipper would throw his God.
Pious and learned Origen demonstrates against Celsus, [Origen. contr. Cels. l. 7. s__b init.] the uncleanness of that spirit which inspired Pagan prophets, by the unclean parts he entered: and, upon the same ground, one may guess at the holiness attributed to this God of Bread, by the same parts that he goes out of. I cannot write to this purpose, what a civil man could not read, or a pious one but think of, and therefore forbear to dilate on it. Learned men know, what rabbins say about the worshipping of Baalpeor. This new idol is twice as bad; for certainly neither ancient, nor modern expositors thought hitherto, that Holy Scripture should call a Deity, Bosheth, and Gillulim, that is, God of shame and dung, upon such a literal and proper account.
Lastly, as here are heavier charges laid upon this, than ever were upon any Pagan idol; so hath a Roman priest much less to say, to shift them off, than a Pagan. He cannot deny (as a Pagan can) but that this very thing, which is so infamously abused by all creatures, and of all sorts, is the direct object of his best adoration, [Missal. Rom. Can. pag. 303. 304. 310.] and the very God (not his sacrament or image only) whom he worships and looks full in the face, when he falls on his knees at the elevation of the host. Neither can a Roman priest deny, as can a Pagan in some degree, but that the Roman consecration is both more destructive, and more binding, than the Pagan hitherto is known to have been. I say more destructive, both to the consecrated wafer; for it destroys its whole substance; and proceeds to the very body and soul, which it drives into the room of that evacuated substance, since it deprives them of the actual use of all their senses and faculties. The body hath eyes, and cannot see; it hath hands, and handles not, &c., and so forth all along the perfect description made twice, Psal. cxv. and. cxxxv. of an idol: whereas Pagans, first, never destroyed their gold and silver, when they consecrated them into images; and secondly, when they called their gods into them, and got them in, they never pretended to enchant them in any manner, that should make those spirits more senseless and lifeless when they were in than when they were out.
I say also, the Roman Church must acknowledge their consecration to be more terrible, than the Pawn enchantment, not only in destroying, but also in binding; for though consecrated images were called sometimes bodies, which these spirits did animate, because sometimes they made them speak; yet were they properly but seats, and houses, which they were pleased to haunt. So that when Pagan or Christian conquerors did carry away these images out of their towns; it was no more than if his holiness would remove old, St. Patrick out of Ireland, or our Lady from Loretto. These heathenish spirits were not at all carried in fetters, like true captives; they had the liberty to follow the triumphing chariots at a distance; and hover far or near about their captive images, as sea plovers about their brood. Nay more, they had liberty to fly far and wide over the whole face of the world: it was enough, if now and then, they would visit their old abodes. Whereas at Mass, the Deity is entangled as a bird within a net, so pitifully immured and sealed up within these consecrated figures, that whosoever can catch the wafers, catches therewith what they contain, God, and Christ and Saviour together. And whereas old Romans did bring into their Pantheon, (that was a temple for all gods, among their other conquests) the idols of most nations: now, by a contrary revolution of affairs, a Turk, a Jew, a witch, a rat, a bird in a wood, any thing that can but bite, may carry away this Roman god.
Unto all this, what the Roman clergy can principally say for themselves, is that the Blessed Saviour whom they say they adore at Mass, falls into this deadish condition that exposes Him to these abuses, quatenus est in Sacramento, only as it is either offered to God by the Sacrifice, or given to communicants by the Sacrament of Mass: but that nevertheless He continues to be at the right hand of His Father, both in the possession of a most glorious life and strength; and above all injuries. I do not here dispute, whether the same body, which is at the right hand of God, can at the same moment of time, be here beneath upon an altar: nor whether the same body, which here at Durham is lifted up, to be adored, by one priest, may at London at the same time be thrown into the fire by another to stop the flame; or delivered in the Holy Land into the hands of a Sultan, for the security of his money; nor whether twenty consecrated wafers, whereof one is danced about among witches, another at the same time is devoutly carried to a dying man, another hath some other fate, &c., in twenty several places, can contain one and the same man; as if you would fancy that twenty or forty shells can contain all severally, one and the same little oyster; I answer in one word to what is said; that the glorious Saviour, who sits at the right hand of His Father, and there sees and governs all things both in heaven and earth, is Christ, the great and eternal God: and if you suppose Him to be with his body and soul, in the Sacrament, and, as being there, not to be able either to help Himself or help others; certainly as being there, and as being such, you make Him a perfect idol. For of these two manners of being, to wit, the sacramental in a wafer, and the natural in heaven, which they do presuppose to be so equally both real and independent [Becan. de Sacram. c. 17. q. 13. n. 7.] the one from the other, that Christ is pretended to be both as really and as absolutely in the wafer, as in heaven; his natural and glorious presence in heaven doth not impede his desolate presence in the wafer. Here He lies still as destitute of all actual use of life, and strength under the hands of a Roman, as if He was not there with his Father. Christ reigning among and above all angels, doth not rescue the poor captive [Jovius sup.] whom a Turkish sultan carries away, nor the poor wretch whom a fly can as easily swallow [Missal. Rom. De defect. § Si Musea.] as it can drink: nor a more pitiful creature, [Joh. Gerson. de Com. sub utraq. pag. 102. Periculum in longis barbis laicorum.] that did hang about the beard of rude untrimmed laymen, before strict order had been given, that they should take the Sacrament but in one kind. Concomitancy, or identity of one body in thousand places, and such other pretty toys, that Mass-priests must call to their help, do no more rescue Christ from being in the guts of twenty butter-flies, for all his being among angels, than this being of his among angels, is, as they say, hindered by his being in the guts of butter-flies. If these and other like passages are as real as they are pretended to be, Roman priests, who would offer to bring the blessed Saviour to such straits, are as bad as Typhon himself, and all his brothers, the giants, who forced all the gods of those times to hide themselves in crocodiles: and their consecrations at Mass may go beyond the cruelty of all enchantments known any where.
But if nothing of all this be true, if the whole theory of the Roman Mass, be a long dream of groundless impossibilities, there neither is, nor ever was pagan idolatry like the Roman, as even Jesuits sometimes [Coster. Enchirid. de Euchar. c. 8. § Decima, pag. 301. Edit. Colon. Agripp. 1587.] confess. And those heathen, who worshipped senseless stocks and stones, can say a great deal more for themselves, than they who worship a consecrated wafer. For they who worshipped wood and stone, as once most part of the world did; or rams, and hawks, and snakes, as the inhabitants of Egypt did; they were hereto persuaded in consideration of somewhat else, greater than any thing that could be contained in them. Among the idolaters of all ages, except only the Manichees, whom St. Augustin [Augustin. contra Faustum, l. 20. c. 9.] makes worse than Pagans, because these worshipped always something that was, though it was not God; and those adored mere fictions (namely Christs hanging on tops of trees) which neither were gods, nor any thing else: except these Manichees, I say, the whole Vatican in all its ancient manuscripts cannot find one Pagan example, that ever adored, as the true direct object of devotion, such a small senseless ungodlike substance, as is contained in a wafer.
Against this, the last refuge of Roman Catholics is to defend themselves, by pleading good intention, and say they directly worship what is contained in this wafer, because they take it for their Saviour. So might they plead, who worshipped the sun, and moon, (common idols of ancient times;) for they would not have looked up twice towards them, as upon objects of supreme worship, if they had not thought them to be true gods. And in this case, the Pagan hath this advantage for his excuse, that he can see in the splendor, motion, and influences of these great and noble bodies, more probabilities to betoken a God, and so both to deceive, and defend himself, than the Roman can ever perceive in a wafer. In other cases, I ingenuously confess, the Pagan may have the worse; because in thinking to serve a god, they commonly served a devil: whereas the Roman serves but a wafer. But in this, they are both alike, that both worship a mere creature instead of the blessed Creator, and that neither ignorance, nor good intention can excuse their idolatry. Otherwise, if that ignorance, which commonly misguides intentions, and causes all idolatry, could excuse it also in any considerable measure, there would be found no damnable idolater in the whole world, if he hath a religion, and hath not made himself guilty before of the sin against the Holy Ghost: a rare sin in the world, whereas idolatry is common. For it is hard to find any one Pagan who will confess that he ever adored his base idols without this good intention, of adoring what he thought a god.
The truth is; there may happen mistakes, which good intentions will in some measure expiate: as either when error cannot be avoided, what application or care soever a man will use to prevent it; or when sometimes the suddenness of a thing prevents all application and care. Thus far one may pardon that devout woman, John xx. 15, who at the first encounter took Christ for a gardener. And that blessed apostle, Revel. xxii. 8, who, being dazzled and overcome, with glorious apparitions, worshipped an angel, thinking he had been the Saviour. But there are some other mistakes, which might have been, either prevented at the first, or corrected and restrained in the progress, if there had been no want of honest endeavour about the knowing of the truth. Thus a foolish woman may take one in the dark for her husband, whom, if she had had but the patience to hear him speak, she might forthwith have, known to be no other than her neighbour. And thus millions of men receive into their hearts the first religion which their countries afford, which upon better inquiry, if they would have been at that trouble, they might have found to be no better than profaneness. All such mistakes argue a vice within the heart, namely stupidity, and willful unconcernedness about good and bad, which sometimes is as inexcusable, as the very sin which they cause. Who can excuse a Pharisee, for throwing stones (although ignorantly, and upon that ignorance out of great zeal, Acts iii. 17,) upon Jesus; when so many prophets and more miracles, if they would have examined them, proclaimed openly He was the Christ? Who can excuse either an Egyptian, if he take a leek for his God: or a Roman, if he takes what he eats, and sometimes [Missal. Rom. de Defect. &c. c. 10. nu. 14. Si Sacerdos evomat.] spews, for a glorious Saviour; when his faith, his reason, and all his senses do bid him to take it for bread? And if he cannot yet discern it with all these helps, the very birds and flies, that feed on it, will help him out of his error (as say holy Fathers, [Minutius in Octav. Quanta de Diis, &c. The very rats and bats know better than you, (Pagans) that your gods have neither sense nor knowledge: for they sit upon them, and would, if you did not fright them away, nest in their mouths, Edit. Oxon. 1631. p. 75.] who used to laugh at such heathenish follies) and teach him better, what this God is.
As for the sincere intention here pretended, it is altogether inconsistent with such mistakes: there is no honest intention in that woman, who in the dark ventures herself with everyone promiscuously as her husband: nor in that blind worshipper, who rather than to examine truth, will take stone, bread, brass, wood, or any thing else for his Saviour. [St. August. in Psal. cxiii. Quantò magis, &c. It were better for you (Pagans) to worship snakes, and other beasts, that understand your gods better than you do, &c. Theodoret Psalm. cxiii. eutelesteroi toinun, &c. These heathenish gods are not only viler than the artificers who made them, but also than the smallest vermin, &c. St. Athanas. orat. cont. Gent. eita proskunounteV, &c. They are not ashamed to adore as gods such stones as they tread under their feet; and sensible and rational worshippers will fall down, and pray before things destitute of all use of sense and reason, &c.] It being certain, that an earnest and true intention in a woman, of dealing faithfully with her husband; or in a worshipper of applying his heart to none but to the true and living Lord, would permit no room for such mistakes.
The Roman Church hath at this day two most special objects for the choicest devotions; the blessed Virgin, and the Sacrament. After that Catholics have bestowed on her all expressions of faith and adoration, that David could bestow on God, they excuse themselves from idolatry by their acknowledging that the blessed Virgin is a creature and not a God; as if a woman surprised in bed with her neighbour, should cry out, it is not adultery, because she knows she doth not lie with her husband. And when they bestow upon a consecrated wafer, the same direct and terminated adoration which is due to Christ, they hope they will be excused from plain idolatry by good intention and ignorance, because forsooth they would not have worshipped a silly wafer, if they had known it to be but a wafer. So, choose whether of the two you please, either knowing or not knowing will justify these worshippers: and the harlot between knowledge and ignorance, like a rat running to and fro between joint stools, shall never be taken in her sin.
In the mean time, whatever they know or know not, this is certain and unanswerable, that if by their consecration they reduce the blessed Saviour to that pitiful condition of being enclosed in a wafer, and thereunder being exposed to all the dishonours that attend such a pitiful condition, their Mass is a detestable tragedy, and themselves most cruel actors. And if their consecration hath no such real effects, but consecrated bread is still bread; then what can their worshipping of this wafer be else, than such a complete idolatry, as the whole world hath not the like? But I return to the Sacrifice.