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From Treatise upon the Passion by Thomas More.

St Thomas More on the Real Presence
St Ignatius on Epistle to Ephesians: “Therefore make haste to come oftententimes to this
Eucharistic of Sacrament of the altar, and the glory of God. For when we do that thing
diligently, the power of the devil is expelled, who tourneth his doings into fiery darts to
drive man to sin. And in his Epistle to the Romans faith thus I will not eat meat of
corruption nor I desire not ye pleasures of this world. I long for the bread of God, the
heavenly bread, the bread of life, which is the flesh of Christ the son of the living God.
And I long for the drink of his blood who is love incorruptible and life everlasting.”

Justinus The holy martyr, writing of our faith in his second apology to the unfaithful
Emperor Antonius, sayeth thus of this Blessed Sacrament. “We do not take these things
for common bread, or common drink. But like as by the word of God, Jesus Christ our
saviour being incarnate, had flesh and blood for our salvation, to this food wherewith our
flesh and blood by alteration be nourished after it be consecrate by the same word, we be
taught that it is the flesh and blood of the same Jesus incarnate: for the Apostle in their
books which they call Gospels, did teach that Jesus did so command them, when as he
taking the bread and giving thanks said: do this in remembrance of me, this is my body,
and likewise taking the cup when he had given thanks said, this is my blood and to them
alone did he give them.

Saint Ireneus writeth thus in his fourth booke and 34th Chapter Now shall it appear to
them to be true that Eucharist bread upon which thanks be given, is the body of their
Lord, and the cup of his blood, except they say that he is the son of him that made the
world and a little after he sayeth Now do they affirm that man’s flesh goeth to corruption
and receiveth not life again which is nourished of the body and blood of our Lord.
Therefore either let them change their opinion or abstain from offering from their foresaid

Tertullian also writeth in a book concerning the resurrection of our flesh in this manner:
The flesh eateth the body and blood of Christ that the soul also may be made fat of God.

Likewise, Orgien writeth in his life homily after this manner: When thou doest receive
this holy meate and incorruptible food, when thou does take and enjoy the bread and
cuppe of life, and doeth eat and drink the body and blood of our Lord, then our Lord
entreth under thy house, and therefore humbling thyself, imitate and follow this Centurio
And say with him, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldeth enter under my house, for
where he entreth unworthily there he entreth to the damnation of the receiver.

Saint Cyprian In his sermon which he made of the supper of our Lord, readeth thus. The
Sacraments which of olde were signified from the time of Melchizedech are now set
abroade and to the sons of Abraham doing the works of Abraham, the most high Priest
bringeth forth Bread and wine. This is (says he) my body. Of the same bread and wine
according to the visible form they did eat and drink, but before those words, that common
bread did only serve for the nourishing of the body, and did relieve and sustain corporal
life. But after that our Lady said, “Do this in remembrance of me, this is my flesh and this
is my blood, as often it is done with these words, and with this faith, that heavenly and
supersubantial bread and cup, being consecrated with that solemn benediction, is
profitable to life and salvation of the whole man, being both a medicine to heal
infirmities, and a sacrifice to purge iniquities.

Saint Apllarius (Hillary) also in his eighth book on the trinity:
These … between the father and son bring us in, not in unity of nature but of will. ….
Christ be in us at this day by a unity of nature, or only by a concorde and agreement of
will. For if the word was verily made flesh, and if we also verily receive that word being
flesh being flesh in our Lords meat, how shall he be thought not to be in us naturally, who
both being born manne hath taken upon the nature of our flesh, which is now insperable
from him, and hath also put together the nature of his flesh, and the nature of eternity, and
the sacrament of his flesh to be communicated unto us. And so be we all one: and a little
after: If Christ therefore hath verily taken apon him the flesh of our body and also that
man be born of Mary be verily Christ, and if we also verily receive under a sacrament the
flesh of his body and thereby be one with his father and him, because his father is in him
and he in us: how affirm they the unity to be only in will considering that the property of
nature by the sacrament is the sacrament of perfect unity. We may not speak after man’s
fantasy or the imagination of the world in the things of God; nor may we not by a violent
and shameless exposition of heavenly things …. Cut a wicked and false understanding
rested away from the truth. Let us read the words as they be written and the things that
we read let us understand a right and then shall we exercise the duty of perfect faith. For
the things that we say of the natural very being of Christ in us, (expect we learn them of
himself) foolishly and wickedly do we speak. Thus he himself said my flesh is verily
flesh and my blood is verily drink: he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood he
dwelleth in me and I in him. Of the truth and verity therefore of his flesh and his blood is
there no place left for any man to doubt: for now both by the word of our Lord himself
and by our faith also, verily is it his flesh and verily is it his blood, and these two received
and drunken bring this to pass, that both we be in Christ and Christ is in us.

Eusebius Emelenus? In his oration of this sacrament writeth thus
Let all doubt of infidelity pass away, for he that is the author of the gift, is also witness of
the truth of it. For the invisible Priest by his word and secret power, doth change and
convert the visible creatures into the substance of his body and blood, take and eat, this is
my boyd. And repeating the consecration, sayth Take and drink, this is my blood. And a
little after he saith: Let no man doubt but that the former creature may be turned into the
nature of Christ’s body: by his almight power and the presence of his majesty, …. He
seeth man himself made the body of Christ by the workmanship of his heavenly mercy.
For like as any man that cometh to the faith before the words of baptism, is still the bond
of his old sin, but when the words be spoken, by and by is he delivered from all dregs of
sin: even so when the creatures which are to be consecrated by the heavenly words, are
set upon the holy altars there is the substance of bread and wine. But after the words of
Christ there is the body and blood of Christ. For what …. is it for him to be able to
convert and change these creature with his words, which he was able to create and make
of nothing with his word. Yea rather it seemeth to be less miracle, if that thing which he is
known to made of nothing, he be now able to change the same thing already made into a

Saint Basil in his book of those questions, asketh this question, and aswereth it himself by
and by in these words. With what fear, and with what faith and persuasion of mind,
should we receive the body and blood of Christ: the answer, concerning our fear, we have
the Apostle that sayth, he that eatheth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh
damnation to himself. And as concerning our faith, it is taught and framed by the words
of our Lord, who said: This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance
of me.

Hesychius an old author writeth thus in his first book the 22nd chapter upon Leviticus. The
sanctifying of the mystical sacrifice and the transaction or changing of it from the things
sensible to things intelligible,ought to be given and ascribed to Christ, who is the true
Priest, that is to say, we ought to grant and impute to him the miracle wrought in them.
For by his virtue and the word pronounced of him, they be sanctified so as they exceed
and pass all the senses of the flesh.

Saint Ambrose sayeth in the 5th Chapter of his fourth book of the sacraments
The sacrament before it be consecrated is bread. But when Christs wordes be come to it,
it is the body of Christ. Last of al hear him saying, take and eat of this all you, this is my
body. And before the words of Christ the cup is full of wine and water, but when the
words of Christ have wrought there is made the blood that redeemed the people.
Therefore see by what manner and sort, the word of Christ is able to convert all things.
Also our Lord Jesus himself doth testify unto us that we receive his body and blood.
Ought we to doubt to his fidelity and testimony.

Saint John Chrysostom in his 83 homily on St Matthew, writeth thus:
Therefore let us believe God in all things, and not repugne against him, although that
which he sayth, seemeth to our sense and throughtes to be against reason. Let his word
exceed and overcome our sense and reason. Which thing we ought to do in all things, and
especially in the sacraments, not beholding only those things which lie before us, but also
understanding and remembering his words. For we cannot be deceieved by his words, yet
our sense be most easy to be deceived. His words cannot be false, but our sense is
deveived very oftentimes. Therfore because he said this is my body, let us remember in
no doubt or ambiguity, but let us believe and look upon it with the eyes of our

St Hieronimus in his epistle
God forbid that I should speak anything amiss of them who in degree succedyng the
Apostles, consecrate Christ body with their holy mouth, by whole ministry, we be also
Chrstian men, who also having the keys of the kingdom of heaven, after a certain manner,
do judge us before the day of judgement.

St Cyril also writeth in his 10th book of the 13th chapter upon St John’s Gospel after this
Like as if a man should mingle one wax melted by the fire to another piece of wax
likewise melted so that one mass or lump be made of them one both: even so by
communicating and receiving of Christ’s body and blood, he is in us and we are in him.
For otherwise it is not possible for this corruptible nature of our bodies to be brought to
life and incorruption, expect the body of natural life be joined it.

St Augustine upon the 33rd Psalm writeth thus
He bare himself in his own hands. How and by what means (my brethren) this might be
possible, who can perceive and understand? For who is born in his own hands? A man
maybe born in the hands of another: but with his own hands no man may be born. How it
might be understood literally of David, I cannot find nor perceive: but how it might be
verified of Christ, we find, for Christ bore himself in his own hands, when he
commendeth his own body and said on this way, this is my body. For Christ bore that
body in his hands. This is the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ and his humility is greatly
commended unto men.

Saint Augustine in his 118th Epistle to Januarius
It appears clearly that when the disciples first of all received the body and blood of our
Lord, they received it not fasting, but what then, should we therefore wrongfully accuse
the Church, because it is always received of none but such as are fasting. For from that
time forth, it hath pleased the Holy Ghost in that honour of so high a sacrament, the body
of our Lord should be taken into the mouth of a Christian man before any bodily meat.
For upon this casue, this custom is kept, throughout all the world.

Saint Gregory writeth in his 22nd Homily thus, alluding to the pascall Lambe which was
the figure of this sacrament.
What is the blood of the lamb you have learned not now by hearing but by drinking,
which blood is put upon both posts, when it is drunk and received, not only by the mouth
of the body, but also by the mouth of the heart: for the blood of the lambe is put upon
both the posts, when the sacrament of his passion is received with the mouth for
redemption, and also is thought upon with a mindful and attent mind for imitation. For he
that so receiveth the blood of his redeemer that he willl not yet imitate and follow his
passion, he hath put the blood but upon one post, which ought to be put upon both of the

St Bede in his book said thus
There appeareth the form of bread, where the substance of bread is not. Neither is there
any other bread, than the bread which descendeth from heaven.

Theophilactus upon the 26th Chapter of St Matthew writeth thus,
Furthermore saying, this is my body, he showeth that the bread which is sanctified upon
the altar, is the very body of our Lord, and not a figure answering to it. For it is change by
an unspeakable working, although it seemed bread to us that be weak and abhor to eat
raw flesh, especially the flesh of man, and therefore it appeareth bread, but it is flesh.
Saint Anselm in the second book of the body and blood of our Lord and in the second
chapter, sayth thus:
In those kinds of bread and wind, either there is no substance, or else it is the substance of
our Lord’s body and blood, or else our faith is of no effect or force. Here have you good
Christian readers heard, the very plain open words of the old Holy Doctors, by which we
may plainly perceive and see, that they were of the same self belief of old that we be now,
and which that ever been the belief of Christ’s whole Church since the institution of the
blessed Sacrament unto this day. And many year was it ere ever any man began to doubt,
but that Catholics aswell as other that were yet in sundry other points heretics agreed
together all in one, that in this blessed sacrament is the very body and blood of Christ.
For like as it was known to the Apostles by the teaching of our saviour Christ himself,
and so forth unto the primitive Church or congregation of Christian people, that were
gathered together in many parts of the world in the Apostles days, so was the self same
truth taught by the Apostles themselves. First fully and thoroughly by mouth and tradition
or delivered without writing, and afterward by writing conveniently also. Of the
understanding of which writing there could at that time no doubt or debate arise, for as
much as the whole people knew the truth of the thing before the writing of the apostles or
evangelists by the faith that the Apostles and evangelists had taught them before by
And so .. and teaching the sacraments, and understanding without any difficulties the
words of the Scripture therin, by their foretaught and from time to time kept and
continued lived in unity and concord of belief concerning this blessed sacrament, no man
gained saying the very blessed body and blood to be therin, even after that many fold
were fallen in many other points from the true Catholic faith. And this appeareth very
plain, by that we see both Saint Hyrieneus confound the Valentinians, and saint Hillarius
confound the Arians, and Saint Augustine confound the Manichees by certain arguments
grounded upon the verity of the very body and blood of our blessed saviour in this holy
sacrament: which had been …. Well, nothing to the purpose, if those three sects of
heretics had not agreed with those three holy Saints, and with the Catholic Church, that in
the sacrament is the very body and blood of Christ.