John Hooper (d. 1555) on the Death of Christ

   Posted by: CalvinandCalvinism   in For Whom did Christ Die?



Christ sent to die for the world:

1) This scripture not only teaches us the knowledge of salvation, but also comforts us against all the assaults, subtleties, and crafts of the devil–that God would of his inestimable love rather suffer his only Son to die for the world, than all the world should perish. Remaining always, as he was, very1 God immortal, he received the thing he was not, the mortal nature and true flesh of man, in which he died, as Peter saith, I Pet. iv. Irenaeus hath these godly words: “Christ was crucified and died, the Word submitting to be crucified and die.” The divine nature of Christ was not rent, or torn, or killed, but it obeyed the will of the Father. It gave place unto the displeasure and wrath of God, that the body of Christ might die. Being always equal with his Father, he could, if he had executed his divine power, have delivered his body from the tyranny of the Jews.

These words of Irenaeus wonderfully declare unto us what Christ is, and agree with Paul, (Phil, ii.) “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant.” Seeing he was sent into the world to suffer this most cruel death and passion, he would do nothing that should be contrary to his vocation, but, with patience praying for his enemies, submitted himself unto the ignominy and contempt of the cross; suffering pains innumerable, without grudge or murmur against the holy will of his Father: his Godhead hiding itself, until the third day, when it restored the soul again unto the body, and caused it to rise with great triumph and glory, (Rom. i. Mat. xxviii. John xx. Luke xxiv. Mark xvi.) repeating the doctrine, which before his death he preached unto the world, that he was both king and lord, high bishop and priest, both of heaven and of earth. “All power is given unto me both in heaven and in earth: go, therefore, teach all nations” (Matt, xxviii.). John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 19. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

Sins of the world:

1) Paul saith (Phil, ii.), that Christ humbled himself unto the death of the cross. (Heb. ii.) He was made partaker of a man’s mortal nature, that by death he might destroy him that had the empire and dominion of death, that is to say, the devil. John calls him the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. (John i.) All the sacrifices of the old law were figures and types of this only sacrifice, which was appointed by God, to die and to suffer the wrath and displeasure of God for the sin of man, as though he himself were a sinner, and had merited this displeasure. The greatness of this wrath, sorrow, confusion, ignominy, and contempt, neither angel nor man can express; his pains were so intolerable, and his passion so dolorous, his Deity so obedient with the Father’s will, that it was not only a sacrifice, but also a just recompense to satisfy for all the world solely and only, as Christ taught Nicodemus, John iii. as Paul, Heb. vii. viii. ix. x. Isa. liii. and so all the prophets and patriarchs. And such a sacrifice as once for all suffices, Heb. vii.

These two offices of Christ should never be out of remembrance. They declare the infinite mercy of God, and likewise his impartial and equal justice unto all creatures without respect of persons. The token of his mercy may be known in this, that he would not that all mankind should be lost, though in Adam all deserved eternal death. He opened his mercy unto Adam not only by word, but also by the fire that descended upon his sacrifices and his son’s. So to Abraham. Then to the world by the incarnation and death of his only Son, and the promise of grace, and the promise of everlasting life unto such as repent and believe in him.

The sign of his wrath and displeasure unto man is this, that he would not accept man again into his favour for any penance, any sorrow, any trouble, any adversity, any weeping, any wailing, nor for the death of any person, until his own Son, most dearly beloved, by death appeased his displeasure, and became surety to satisfy the justice of God and the right that the devil had unto all mankind. This if man remembered as deeply and as earnestly as the matter requires, it should make his heart full sorry, and bring him unto an honest and virtuous manner of life. It would bring him to consider this example of God’s justice and equity in the appeasing of his own justly conceived wrath, and likewise that he would do no wrong unto his mortal enemy the devil. Except the Son of God had been an equal and just redemption, a price correspondent to make amends and satisfy the faults and guilt of man’s sin, God would not have taken one soul from the right and justice of the devil.

Now of this infallible truth, that Christ hath sacrificed only for sin, and that his death is accounted only sufficient for the salvation of man, the church of Christ is aright instructed by two most necessary articles; first, of justification; and then of the right use of the sacrament of his holy body. John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 41-42. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

2) And as these are good and natural for the body wherein the pestilence dwells; even so is Christ’s medicine in the first of St. Mark a more present and certain remedy for the soul which keeps the body in life, to remove or to remedy the sin of man, which is the cause of all plagues and pestilence; in case this medicine of Christ be used to remove sin, the cause of sickness, as the other is used to remove the effect of sin, which is sickness. As the body is fallen into sickness by too much cold or moisture, either by its nature, that originally was corrupted by Adam, or by our own accustomed doing of sin; so it must be made whole by the heat of repentance and true faith in the merits of Christ Jesus, who died for the sins of the world. CU 233. John Hooper, “Homily to be Read in Times of Pestilence,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 233. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

3) Extracts From a Brief and Clear Confession of the Christian Faith, Contained in an Hundred Articles According to the Order of the Apostles Creed,1 Written by that Learned and Godly Martyr John Hooper.

X. I believe, that this corruption of nature, otherwise called original sin, is the fountain and root of all other sins for which all the miseries and adversities that we endure in this present life, as well in body as soul, do come unto us; yea, and in the end double death, that is to say, both of body and soul. These are the fruits and rewards of sin. But although the same are due and common to all men generally, nevertheless, the Lord through his mercy hath reserved to himself a certain number (which are only known to himself,) which he hath drawn from this corrupt heap, and hath sanctified and cleansed the same in the blood of his Son Jesus Christ, and by means thereof hath made them vessels of election and honor, apt unto all good works.

XIV. I believe and confess Jesus Christ to be the fullness, the end, and accomplishment of the law, to the justification of all that believe, through whom and by whom only, all the promises of the Father are accomplished, yea even to the uttermost. Who also alone hath perfectly satisfied the law in that which no other amongst men could perform; as the law doth command things impossible, which nevertheless man must accomplish, not by working, but through believing. For so is the law accomplished through faith, and not through works; and by this means shall man find the righteousness of faith to be available before the Lord, and not the righteousness of works, which leads nothing unto perfection.

XX. I believe, that the same Jesus Christ is verily Christ; that is to say, the Messiah anointed by the Holy Ghost, because he was the very King, the Prophet, and great Sacrificer, that should sacrifice for all that believe: which also is promised in the law, and is the same of whom all the prophets have spoken. This anointing of Christ is not corporeal, of a material and visible oil, as was that of the kings, priests, and prophets in times past: but it is spiritual, of an invisible oil, which is the grace and gifts of the Holy Ghost, wherewith he is replenished above all others. So that this anointing is descended even unto us, who have felt and proved the sweetness thereof: and by it also we bear the name of Christians, that is to say, ‘anointed.’

XXI. I believe, that this sacrificing of Jesus Christ was not Levitical or carnal, to immolate, offer up, and to sacrifice beasts, kine, and other sensible things, as Aaron and his successors did; but spiritual, to offer and sacrifice himself, that is to say, his body and blood, for the remission of the sins of the whole world. Even as likewise his kingdom is not of this world, carnal, but spiritual; which consists in the guiding and governing of his own by his Holy Spirit, over whom he reigns by his word, and that for the destruction of all his adversaries, which are sin, death, hell, Satan, and all infidels, wicked, and reprobate.

XXV, I believe, that all this (the sufferings of Christ) was done, not for himself, who never committed sin, in whose mouth was never found deceit nor lie; but for the love of us poor and miserable sinners, whose place he occupied upon the cross, as a pledge, or as one that represented the person of all the sinners that ever were, now are, or shall be, unto the world’s end. And because they through their sins have deserved to feel and taste of the extreme pains of death, to be forsaken of God and of all creatures, and to feel the wrath and severe judgment of God upon them; Christ, who was their pledge, satisfying for them upon the cross, hath felt and endured all the same, and that altogether to make us free, to deliver us from all these pains, from the wrath and judgment of God, from condemnation and eternal death.

XXVI. I believe and consider this death and passion, even as I do all other mysteries of Jesus Christ, not only as touching the history, as a pattern and example to follow, as was that of the holy men and women who are dead for the Lord’s cause: but also principally as touching the cause, fruits, and uses thereof; thereby to know the greatness of my sins, the grace and mercy of the Father, and the charity of the Son, by whom we are reconciled unto God, delivered from the tyranny of the devil, and restored to the liberty of the Spirit. This is the glass without spot, to teach us to know our filthiness, the laver or clear fountain to wash and cleanse us, the infinite treasure to satisfy all our creditors: of whom and by whom only, the divine justice is fully satisfied for all the sins of all that have been, be now, or shall be, unto the end of the world. And therefore I do believe and confess, that Christ’s condemnation is mine absolution; that his crucifying is my deliverance; his descending into hell is mine ascending into heaven; his death is my life; his blood is my cleansing, by whom only I am washed, purified, and cleansed from all my sins. So that I neither receive, neither believe any other purgatory, either in this world or in the other, whereby I may be cleansed, but only the blood of Jesus Christ, by which all are purged and made clean for ever.

XXVII. I believe, that Jesus Christ, by the sacrifice of his body, which he offered upon the tree of the cross, hath defaced and destroyed sin, death and the devil, with all his kingdom; and hath wholly performed the work of our salvation, and hath abolished and made an end of all other sacrifices. So that from thenceforth there is no other propitiatory sacrifice, either for the living or the dead, to be looked for or sought for, than the same. For by this one only oblation hath he consecrated for ever all those that are sanctified. John Hooper, Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 417-420. [Some spelling modernized; footnote value modernized and footnote original; and underlining mine.]

4) Further, Christ’s body hath not lost his corporal qualities; but wheresoever he be corporally, there is he with all qualities of a body, and not without qualities, as these dreamers imagine. I will not judge my Savior, that died for the sin of the world, to have a body in heaven, sensible with all qualities of true man, and in the sacrament, without all qualities and quantities of a true body; but abhor and detest with the scripture this opinion as an heresy, so little differing from Marcion, that I can scarce put diversity. John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 70. [Underlining mine.]

5) And as for the literal senses of these words, Hoc est corpus meum, which they say must be understand without any trope or figure, proves nothing. Christ called himself a door, John x.; a vine, John xv.; and yet was neither door nor vine, except ye understand by a door the only gate into heaven, and by the vine the liquor of grace, that comforts every troubled conscience, and quenches the ire and displeasure of God the Father against us for our sins. So likewise in these words, Hoc est corpus meum, there is none other thing to be understand by them, but that bread represented unto his apostles, not only his precious body, but also the manner how and wherefore it should be torn and rent upon the cross: and as they themselves brake the bread between them, so were they the cause that Christ’s body was broken and slain upon the cross; and that by the means and use of this sacrament, there might be always in the church of Christ a token of God’s mercy towards us, and a remembrance of that glorious body that sustained most vile death for the sin of the world. Howbeit, the bread was no more the body, nor the wine his blood, than Christ was a lamb, as John called him, Ecce agnus Dei, qui Joim . tollit peccata mundi,2 John i. So, though he said the wine was his blood, and the bread his body, he meant none otherwise but that it represented his body; and he that corporeally, with true repentance, did eat of that corporal bread and corporal wine in faith, did eat spiritually Christ’s body and blood. John Hooper, “An Answer to the Bishop of Winchester’s Book,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 115. [Italics original; footnotes original; marginal references not included; and underlining mine.]

6) And if thou confer Matthew and Mark with Luke and Paul, thou shalt find that these words cannot be so grossly taken, as men say, without trope or figure. Whereas Matthew saith, xxvi., and Mark xiv., Et accepto poculo, gratiis actis, dedit Hits dicens, Bihite ex eo omnes, hie est enim sanguis mens, qui est novi testamenti, qui pro multis effunditur in remissionem peccatorunv;3 [Matt. xxvi. Mark xiv.]. Luke and Paul saith, xxii., Hoc poculum novum testamentum est in meo sanguine, [1 Cor. xi.]. Here Luke and Paul says plainly that the cup was the New Testament, and attributes the same to the cup that Matthew and Mark attributes unto the wine, and saith that the cup, and not the wine contained in the cup, is the New Testament in the blood of Christ, which was to be shed for the sins of the world. John Hooper, Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 115-116. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; footnote value modified; footnote content original; and underlining mine.]

7) When the matter entreated between two parties is fully concluded upon, it is confirmed with obligations sealed interchangeably, that for ever those seals may be a witness of such covenants, as hath been agreed upon between the both parties. And these writings and seals makes not the bargain, but confirms the bargain that is made. No man uses to give his obligation of debtor, before there is some contract agreed upon between him and his creditor.

No man uses to mark his neighbor’s ox or horse in his mark, before he be at a full price for the ox; or else were it felony and theft to rob his neighbor. Every man uses to mark his own goods, and not another man’s: so God, in the commonwealth of his church, doth not mark any man in his mark, until such time as the person that he marks be his. There must first be had a communication between God and the man, to know how he can make any contract of friendship with his enemy, the living God. He confesses his default, and desires mercy; uses no purgation nor translation of his sin, but only beseeches mercy, and lays Christ to gage,4 and saith, Forasmuch as thou have given thy only Son for the sin of the world, merciful Lord, hast thou not likewise given all things, unto sinners that repent, with him? Then likewise. Lord, forgive me, and be my God, both in faith, and also in thy sacraments: and as truly shall I serve thee during my life, as these words pass my mouth, I renounce the devil, the world, and sin.

Upon this faith and promise made to God, we be marked in God’s mark, and none otherwise. For the church ever teaches amendment of life, before he promise grace. John Hooper, “An Answer to the Bishop of Winchester’s Book,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 136. [Some spelling modernized; footnote original; and underlining mine.]

8) Beside that, they apply it to another end than it was instituted for, and make it of no less value than the death of Christ, who once for all sacrificed himself for sin upon the cross. Heb. ix. x. They cannot tell what this word “offer” means, when they say they offer the Son of God. It is a great matter to offer him. It is to acknowledge the ire of God against the sin of the world, and to submit himself unto this ire, and to be a Mediator between God and mankind: and likewise he must enter the Holy of Holies5 unto God. Therefore it is said, Hob. ix. Per proprium  sanguinem, intravit seniel in sancta sanctorum, aeternam redemptionem inveniens.6 Also, Qui Spiritu aeterno seipsum obtulit inculpatum Deo.7 It is an horrible heresy to say that Christ is offered in the mass for sin. Christ once offered himself.

It is our office to confess and acknowledge that only oblation once offered, and to believe that by the virtue of it God is pleased only, and all our life give thanks to God for it. John Hooper, “An Answer to the Bishop of Winchester’s Book,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 181-182. [Some spelling modernized; footnote values modernized; footnotes original; italics original; and underlining mine.]

9) They thought it not enough inwardly to honor the Lord, but did outward sacrifice, to protest and declare unto the world the good judgment, faith, and knowledge they had in the Lord. So should we do: not only know God and fear him inwardly, but also outwardly, with prayer, thanksgiving, and other good works commanded by God, to declare the same, as they did by their sacrifices, before the coming of Christ into our flesh; the which were types and significations of Christ to come, that could not take away the sin of the world, as Saint Paul saith, Hebrews x.: “It is impossible that the blood of calves should take away sin. Christ’s sacrifice, once offered for all, by that once satisfied for all sin.” Heb. ix. “And where as is remission of sin, there needs no more sacrifice.” “It is therefore an ungodly doctrine, that in this time of the now testament teaches any other sacrifice for sin than the only death of Christ. John Hooper, “The fourth Sermon Upon Jonah,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 487-488. [Some spelling modernized; marginal references not included; and underlining mine.]

10) X. Item, that in the sacrament of the body and blood of the Lord there is no transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, or any manner of corporal or local presence of Christ in, under, or with the bread and wine, but spiritually by faith, believing the Son of God Jesus Christ to be made man, and that by his death he might satisfy for the sins of the world. So we receive the confirmation and augmentation of all the merits and deservings of Christ, that merited for us the promises of everlasting life in his pains and passion, that now sits at the right hand of God the Father. John Hooper, “Copy of Bishop Hooper’s Visitation Book,” in Later Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1852), 122. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

11) The cause
why there be
so few sincere
and true
of the Gospel.

But here, alas! is our nature and knowledge much to be lamented and complained upon: for as the knowledge we have of God’s favour and gentleness towards us in Christ (for the most part) consists in the understanding of the mind and talk with the mouth, but the virtue, strength, and operation of the same favour of God is not sealed in our hearts and consciences; even so be the troubles and adversities which God threatens for sin spoken and talked of with the tongue, and known in the mind, but they be not earnestly nor feelingly sealed in our conscience and heart. And of this Comes it, that we neither love God, nor rejoice in his promises, as we ought to do, when we hear or read them; neither yet hate sin, nor be sorrowful for God’s displeasure, as sin and God’s displeasure should be sorrowed and mourned for of Christian men. Hereof also comes it, dearly beloved, that we love no further than in knowledge and tongue, nor hate vice but in knowledge and tongue. But, alas! how miserable is this our state and condition, that knows neither life nor death, virtue nor vice, truth nor falsehood, God nor the devil, heaven nor hell, but half as much as they ought of Christian men to be known. Read you therefore and mark the thirty seventh psalm, and you shall know that it is not enough for Christian men to understand and speak of virtue and vice, but that the virtue must be sealed in the conscience and loved, and the vice kept out of the conscience and hated; as David says, “Leave doing of evil, and do good,” [Psal. xxxvii.]. So likewise he speaks of a feeling Christian man, whose conscience hath tasted how sweet and amiable God is: “Taste and feel,” (says the prophet) “how sweet the Lord is,” [Psal. xxxiv. 8.]. And this assure ‘yourselves, that when ye feel your sins, and bewail the danger and damnation of them, the Spirit of God hath wrought that feeling, and that troubled and broken heart God will not despise [Psal. li.].

Here is your
you broken-
hearted and
afflicted of
the Lord.

And there is no doubt nor mistrust of a sensible and feeling sinner: but in case ho can find in himself no love to the obedience of God, nor desire to do his will by hearing of his word, nor any feeling at all of sin, nor desire to be rid from it by hearing of the law; he hath knowledge in the mind, and speech in the mouth, but no consent and feeling in his heart and conscience. And this knowledge lives with sin, and speaks with virtue: whereas the heart and conscience consents to good, and abhors evil, if the virtue and nature of God’s word by God’s Spirit be sealed in the conscience (and this doth St Paul teach wonderfully), as well by faith, that comes by hearing of God’s word, as also of his precious supper, the sacrament of his body and blood and passion.

What it is
to believe
unto righteousness.

He saith, that “the heart believes to righteousness” [Rom. x.]; that is to say, the conscience and heart of him that is sealed, and assured of the virtue and grace of God’s promises in Christ, believes to righteousness, or is ascertained and knows itself to be righteous and just before God, because it hath consented and received the mercy of God offered in the gospel through the merits of Christ: and then the same faith which God hath sealed in the heart breaks forth by confession; which confession is a very fruit of faith to salvation, as it is written by St Paul in the same place.

Faith sealed
once in the
heart with the
of God’s
mercy can be
no more without
the fruit of well-doing
than the fire
without heat.

And where this faith is so kindled in the heart, there can be none other but such a fruit following it. And as possible it is to have fire without heat or flame, as this virtue, faith, without the fruit of well-doing. And that is it that St Paul saith to the Corinthians: “As often as ye eat of this bread, and drink of this cup, shew ye the Lord’s death until he come,” [1 Cor. xi.]. Wherein St Paul requires a knowledge of Christ in the receiver, not only in his mind that he know Christ died for his sin and the sin of the world, and to speak and declare the same death with his tongue unto others: but this is the chief and most principal commodity of Christ’s holy supper (which men now ungodly call the mass), that the virtue and benefit of Christ’s death, as it is appointed for the remission of his sins, be sealed and fully consented unto in his conscience.

When right
and assured
sense of God’s
mercy are joined
together, note
what they work.

And this knowledge of Christ’s death, with the assurance of the virtue, strength, and power thereof in the heart, will and ought to inflame us to thanksgiving, and to preach and teach unto others those commodities of Christ’s death, that we know and feel first in ourselves within our own spirit and heart. John Hooper, “An Exposition of Psalm 23,” in Later Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1852), 217-219. [Some reformatting; some spelling modernized; marginal comments and references cited inline; original footnotes not included; and underlining mine.]

Isaiah 53:5-6:

1) After that this king has opened in this hymn, that God’s nature is not only to seek the lost sheep, but also, when

he has found him, to feed him; then he adds, after what sort he feeds him: “So that I shall lack nothing,” says the prophet. Here is the declaring of the great Shepherd’s pasture, wherewith he feeds the flock of his pasture. Christ expresses the same wonderfully, in the opening of his office and doctrine unto the world in St. John, (x.) by saying; “I came that they might have life, and have it most abundantly.” And talking with the poor woman of Samaria, he told her that the drink he would give her should be water of life. And to the Capernaites he said, that the meat which he would give them should work eternal salvation. As these properties are in God the Shepherd, as the prophet hath marked, even in the like sort are the contrary conditions in man, the sheep he speaks of; for as the nature of God is to seek, so is the nature of man to go astray. As the prophet saith, (Psalm cxix.) “I have strayed like a wandering sheep.” And even so Isaiah writes of all mankind: (chap, liii.) “All we have erred, as sheep going astray.” Christ our Savior also, in St. Matthew, (chap, ix.) bewails the people of the world, that stray as sheep that have no shepherd. St. Peter likewise saith unto his countrymen that he wrote unto, (1 Peter ii.) “Ye were as sheep that went astray; but ye be converted now unto the Shepherd and Pastor of your souls.” John Hooper, “An Exposition of the Twenty-Third Psalm” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 243-244. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

Lamb of God (sample):

1) This distinction of mediators, to be one of expiation for sin, namely, Christ; and another for intercession, namely, the saints departed, is naught: it repugns8 the manifest text of the scripture. It is the office only of Christ to be the mediator for sin, and likewise to offer the prayers of the church to his Father. (John i.) “Behold the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world.” As concerning; intercession, he commands us to ask only in his name, and prescribed the manner how to ask, and what to ask. (Luke xi.) John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 34. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; footnote value modernized; footnote content original; and underlining mine.]

2) The Paschal lamb was eaten standing, which signified Christ not to be come that should give rest, peace, and quietness. Christ with his apostles used this sacrament, at the first, sitting; declaring that he was come who should quiet and put at rest both body and soul; and that the figure of the Passover from thenceforth should be no more necessary; and that men should travel no more to Jerusalem once in the year, to seek and use a sacrament of the Lamb to come, that should take away the sins of the world. John Hooper, “The Sixth Sermon Upon Jonah,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 172. [Some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

3) The outward behavior and gesture of the receiver should want all kind of suspicion, shew, or inclination of idolatry. Wherefore, seeing kneeling is a shew and external sign of honoring and worshiping, and heretofore hath grievous and damnable idiolatry been committed by the honoring of the sacrament, I would wish it were commanded by the magistrates, that the communicators and receivers should do it standing or sitting. But sitting, in mine opinion, were best, for many considerations. The Paschal lamb was eaten standing; which signified Christ yet not to be come, that should give rest, peace, and quietness. Christ with his apostles used this sacrament, at the first, sitting; declaring that he was come that should quiet and put at rest both body and soul; and that the figure of the Passover from thenceforth should be no more necessary; nor that men should travel no more to Jerusalem once in the year, to seek and use a sacrament of the Lamb to come, that should take away the sins of the world. John Hooper, Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 536-537. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

4) XX. Item, Christ in the substance of our nature took flesh of the substance of the Virgin Mary without the seed of any man, like unto us in all things, except in sin, from the which he was clear and void, as well in his body as in his soul: for he came to be a Lamb without sin, that with his own immolation and sacrifice he might take away the sins of the world; for, as St John saith, “There was no sin in him;” and on the other side, “If any of us shall say that we have no sin in us, we shall seduce ourselves.” John Hooper, “Copy of Bishop Hooper’s Visitation Book,” in Later Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1852), 124. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

Christ came to redeem man:

1) The glory that touches God alone is, that this troubled prophet pondered, in the heaviness and anguish of his mind, the number and strength of his enemies, the devil, the flesh, sin, the world, and the bitter accusation of God’s laws, that truly accused and painfully grieved his conscience for sin. On the other side, in faith, he considered how the scripture declared that God was merciful, even unto the greatest sinners of the world. And he learned, also, by the word of God, that God had made promise unto sinners to be merciful. He considered further, that God had many times been merciful towards sinners. And he found likewise by the scripture, that God, to perform his mercy, would not spare his own dearly beloved Son, to redeem man from his sin with his own precious blood and painful death.

Thus weighing the strength of the devil and sin on the one part to condemn, and the strength of God’s mercy in Christ Jesus on the other part to save, and perceiving the riches, abundance, and strength of God’s mercy to be more available to save than all the power and strength of the devil and sin to condemn; for the great victory that God takes over such strong enemies, the prophet triumphs in the glory of God joyfully and thankfully; extolling him for his mercy and power, who has broken the serpent’s head, and spoiled him of his prisoners. So we use to do, when any man by valor defends us from our enemies; we extol and magnify him for his victory and conquest. John Hooper, “An Exposition of the Sixty-Second Psalm,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 322. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

2) The sincere
use of the
Lord’s supper.

As concerning the use of this sacrament and all other the rites and ceremonies that be godly, they should be so kept and used in the church, as they were delivered unto us of the high bishop Christ, the author of all sacraments. For this is true, that he most godly, most religiously, and most perfectly instituted and celebrated the supper, and none otherways than the evangelist doth record. The best manner and most godly way to celebrate this supper is to preach the death of Christ unto the church, and the redemption of man, as Christ did at his supper, and there to have common prayers, as Christ prayed with his disciples; then to repeat the last words of the supper, and with the same to break the bread and distribute the wine to the whole church; then, giving thanks to God, depart in peace. John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 61. [Some spelling modernized; marginal headers cited inline; and underlining mine.]

Christ came to redeem the world:

1) A fine gloss and free interpretation cannot make an ill thing good. If I should say, an image provokes devotion, or that holy water teaches that the blood of Christ was sprinkled for my sins, and the holy bread teaches that Christ’s body was torn for my sins, what shall these glosses excuse the deed? Nay, nay, Christ, who died for our sakes, would not have his death preached this way; but out of the scripture by the tongue of man, and not out of the decrees of bishops by a drop of water or a painted post. He that took the pains to die and suffer his passion for the redemption of the world solely and only, solely and only has taken the pains to teach the world how and which way they should keep this passion in mind, and he left it unto the world in writing by the hands of his holy apostles; unto which writing only he has bound and obligated his church, and not to the writings of men. John Hooper, “A Declaration of Christ and his Office,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 30. [Some spelling modernized; and underlining mine.]

2) If a man then should ask: What faith and opinion should the Christian have concerning the presence or absence of Christ’s body in the sacrament? Answer. The body of Christ should be considered two ways, first, as it was born of the blessed virgin, being indeed our very natural brother: Then as it was offered upon the cross for the redemption of the world. And as thus offered and put to his sufferings upon the cross, we consider him in the sacrament; for the bread there used is called the body of Christ broken; and the wine the blood-shedding. But the presence of Christ’s natural body–or the opinion of his presence,–so little profits, that in reality it rather hurts and harms, as Christ said: “the flesh profits nothing;” (John vi.) and again, “It is expedient that I go away.” John Hooper, “The Sixth Sermon Upon Jonah,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 166. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

3) There are a great many at this day, as there were before our time, that know and speak of such consolation, as is contained in the letter and outer bark of God’s word; but in their consciences they feel not indeed the consolation thereof As Judas preached abroad, with the rest of his companions, consolation to the lost sheep of the house of Israel; but he showed unto others that he felt it not himself So did the pharisees, when the scripture was read every Saturday in their synagogues, show that Messiah should come to redeem the world; yet they themselves, for the most part, felt not the consolation which the scripture testified of Christ. Even so, at this present, many read this psalm almost daily, whereof if it be in English, he that understands only the English tongue perceives great consolation in the letter of it, and also in the prophet Asaph, that used the psalm; yet when need should be, the inward consolation of the psalm, by many is not felt. The cause is, that either they understand it not, or else mark it not: either they think, as the papists teach, that to say or sing the psalm without understanding and feeling of it in the spirit, is sufficient for the work itself; and thus it pleases God, ex opere operate,9 as they term it. John Hooper, “An Exposition of the Seventy-Seventh Psalm,” in Writings of Dr. John Hooper (London: The Religious Tract Society, [1800s]), 370-371. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]

4) They would stablish the carnal presence of Christ’s body in the sacrament by the words of Christ, John vi: Panis quem ego daho caro mea est, quam ego dabo pro mundi vita. “The bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” They say, that the first part of Christ’s words is a promise unto the church, to eat his precious body in the sacrament, Panis qmm ego daho caro mea est;10 and that Christ performed this promise in his last supper, when he made the bread his body: and the rest of the words, quam ego daho pro mundi vita,11 is a promise that his body should be slain for the redemption of the world. Thus they interpret the words of Christ, because dabo is twice repeated. “By the first dabo he promised his real and corporal body in the sacrament: by the second dabo he promised the death of his body.” So that they would these words, Hoc est corpus meum, should be the fulfilling and deliverance of Christ’s promise, John vi: Panis quem ego dabo caro mea est.12 Read the whole sermon of Christ, John vi., and then thou shalt perceive that this interpretation cannot be admitted. John Hooper, “An Answer to the Bishop of Winchester’s Book,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 155. [Some spelling modernized; footnote values in original irregular; footnotes original; italics original; and underlining mine.]

Blind souls:

1) Men say it is neither commanded neither forbidden by the scripture, that the sick should use the sacrament in their private houses. The words of Paul, Ego accepi a Dommd13 &c., with the texts afore rehearsed, shows not only how the supper should be celebrated, but also where it should be celebrated. Sufficiat nobis traditio apostolica.14 Let us conform ourselves unto them, as near as we may. Would to the Lord that there were no more ceremonies in the doing of this sacrament, or any other in the church, than the scripture makes mention of. Then, blessed and fortunate were the poor ignorant people, that now bite and gnaw the bitter bark, and never taste the sweetness contained within these external signs: and no marvel. Their curates be as wise as they. The blind leads the blind into ignorancy. Such godly preachers hath their mother, tho holy church, appointed to have the charge of those souls that Christ redeemed with his precious blood. Parson and vicar, patron and bishop, shall bewail, doubtless, this horrible sin, to deceive the people of God of his most holy word.

Were the givers of benefices so good unto their tenants, or poor people of the parishes, as they be unto their dogs and horses, it were well: for no man gives his dog to keep, but unto him that hath skill how to diet him, and to keep him in breath, to maintain his course, to save him. He wax not mange his horse unto him that best can skill to handle him as well in the stable as in the field. Every thing in the world is better provided for than the soul of man. Good mariners for the ship, politic men for the commonwealth, an expert physician for the body, a pleasant cook for the mouth, a well-practiced captain for the war. None in any affairs concerning the body shall be admitted unto any office, but apt and convenient persons, the best that may be got. In the church of Christ it is no matter passed of who bear office, though he know no more what appertains to the charge that is committed unto him, than the least of his parish. They take great pain to visit the sick, and to minister the sacraments: it were better they never came anear the sick with the sacrament, except they knew better what a sacrament meant, and could shew them God’s promises, which are not only sealed, but also openly declared unto the church by the sacraments. John Hooper, “An Answer to the Bishop of Winchester’s Book,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 173-174. [Some spelling modernized; italics original; footnote value modernized; footnote content original; and underlining mine.]

2) The second sort that abuse this holy name of God be those, that under the pretense and name of God, his word, and his holy church, seek their own glory and profit. As the pope, under the title and pretense of God’s ministry, hath gotten himself not only a bishopric, but also the whole monarchy, in manner, of all Europe; a richer kingdom than any prince of the world; which never ceased from his beginning to move Christian princes to most cruel and bloody war, under the cloak and mantle of God’s name. What means and craft hath ho found to maintain this whorish and antichrist[ian]’ seat of abomination; idols, peregrinations, masses, dispensations, absolutions, defensions of all things abominable; tyrannies against virtue, establishments of his own laws, abrogations of God’s laws, emptying of heaven, and filling of hell, blessing of things exterior, oil, bell, bread, water, with other that be not cursed, and cursing of the souls that Christ redeemed with his precious blood; with a thousand more such abominations, under the name and pretense of God and his holy church, the which neither the patriarchs, neither the prophets,

Christ, neither his apostles, never knew of, as both the Testaments doth bear record. . John Hooper, “A Declaration of the Ten Commandments,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 325. [Some spelling modernized; footnote not included; italics original; bracketed insert original; and underlining mine.]

Merchandizing souls:

1) Let them that trade the course of merchandise in their vocation, beware of this danger. Such as hath the cure of souls beware they hold not their stipends, and deserve them not. Such as be servants, that they eat not their masters’ bread, and receive their wages for naught. As for those men that give their wages to such as live an evil and unoccupied life, as the most part of the nobility doth now-a-days; it is against God’s laws to keep any such in their house, for they maintain illness which is forbidden, 1 Thess. iv. 2 Thess. iii.; and the servant that receives it commits theft, for he is commanded to labor with his hands to feed himself and other [1 Thess. iv. 11. 2 Thess. iii. 7.]. Though it be used of princes, potentates, and all men of the world, yet that excuses not the fault before God: for it was never read in the law of God, nor in the law of any man that had knowledge in a commonwealth, that an ill man was accounted as any member thereof; as ye may read in Plato and Aristotle, what persons be meet to dwell in a commonwealth. How unruly a sort of people the evil men be, thou may see by the writings of Cicero, when the empire of Rome fell out with itself by sedition, libro vi. de republican and in an Epistle ad Varronem: Crudeliter enim otiosis minahantur; eratque iis et tua invisa voluntas, et mea oratio. No man should retain the wages of his servant, but satisfy always his covenants. John Hooper, “A Declaration of the Ten Commandments,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 389-390. [Some spelling modernized; bracketed insert original; and underlining mine.]

Souls perishing (sample):

1) XX. As concerning the ministers of the church, I believe that the church is bound to no sort of people, or any ordinary succession of bishops, cardinals, or such like, but unto the only word of God; and none of them should be believed [Eph. iv.] but when they speak the word of God. Although there be diversity of gifts and knowledge among men, some know more, and some know less: and if he that knows least, teach Christ after the holy scriptures, he is to be accepted; [Gal. i.] and he that knows most, and teaches Christ contrary, or any other ways than the holy scriptures teach, is to be refused. I am sorry therefore with all my heart to see the church of Christ degenerated into a civil policy: for even as kings of the world naturally by descent from their parents must follow in civil regiment, rule, and law, as by right they ought; even so must such as succeed in the place of bishops and priests that die, possess all gifts and learning of the Holy Ghost, to rule the church of Christ, as his godly predecessor had; so that the Holy Ghost must be captive and bondman to bishops’ sees and palaces. And because the Holy Ghost was in St Peter at Rome, and in many other godly men that have occupied bishoprics and dioceses; therefore the same gifts, they say, must needs follow in their successors, although indeed they be no more like of zeal nor diligence than Peter and Judas, Balaam and Jeremy, Annas and Caiaphas to John and James. But thus I conclude of the ministers, of what degree or dignity soever they be, they be no better than records and testimonies, ministers and servants of God’s word and God’s sacraments; unto the which they should neither add, diminish, nor change anything. [Matt. xxviii. 1 Cor. iv. Acts i.] And for their true service and diligence in this part they should not be only reverenced of the people, but also honored by the magistrates, as the servants of God. And I believe that as many souls as perish by their negligence or contempt of God’s word, shall be required at their hands [Ezek. ii. xxiii.]. John Hooper, “The Confession and Protestation of John Hooper’s Faith,” in Later Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1852), 90-91. [Some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; and underlining mine.]

2) Even as we be blind and unthankful for God’s favorable mercies, wherewithal he follows us in health, wealth, and prosperity; so be we blind and insensible for his most just plagues, wherewithal lie persecutes and punishes us in sickness, scarcity, and troubles: and now, amongst other tokens of his displeasure and wrath, hath sent us, in divers places one of the extreme plagues that ever he devised to punish man withal in this life [Ezek. xiv.]–the plague of pestilence: forasmuch as he means thereby not only to kill and destroy the bodies of such as by this plague he purposes to take out of this mortal life; but also, without repentance and turning to his mercy in Christ before death, the soul of such as depart from hence must needs perish by God’s just judgment. And not only this to be the end of such as it pleases God to strike to death by this his servant and messenger, the plague of pestilence; but also, the like danger of his displeasure remains to me, and to all other that have the cure and charge of the people’s souls in this the king’s majesty’s most noble realm, over whom God and he hath made us watchmen and overseers, to admonish and warn the people of all dangers and plagues that God shall send for their punishment [Ezek. xviii. xxxiii.] In case we admonish not in time the people committed unto our charge of such plagues as for sin he purposes to punish us withal, their loss and damnation shall be required at our hands. John Hooper, “An Homily to be read in the time of pestilence,” in in Later Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1852), 159. [Some spelling modernized; marginal references cited inline; and underlining mine.]

General interest:

1) Oh that people, for whom Christ hath shed his most innocent blood, would understand and perceive this sensible and manifest abomination, why they believe these seductors and deceivers of Christian souls, that hath not as much as one iota or prick of the scripture to help themselves withal! Read, read, I beseech thee, Christian reader, Matthew xxvi. Mark xiv. Luke xxii., and see how far their abominable mass is from the word of God and think, who was the priest that ministered this sacrament, and what people received it. Then shalt thou find the Son of God, the wisdom of the Father, the Light of the world, the Lamb that died for thy salvation, to be minister of this holy sacrament, and the church or people that received it to be the elect and chosen apostles, Christ’s friends, that taught the gospel in all the world, and died for the same, as testimonies of the truth. Acts ii. Then doubt not but thou wilt soon perceive this idolatry; except (which God forbid!) thou doubt, whether Christ and the apostles be the true, old, and catholic church, or not. John Hooper, “A Declaration of the Ten Commandments,” in Early Writings of Bishop Hooper (Cambridge: CUP, 1843), 312. [Some spelling modernized and underlining mine.]


1“Very,” frequently means “true.”

2[Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. John i. 29.]

3And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it, for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt.]

4[Lays to gage, accepts the challenge.]

5[Holy of holynis, in the original]

6[Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.]

7[Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God.]

8Opposes, denies.

9For the work which is performed.

10[The bread that I will give is my flesh.]

11[Which I will give for the life of the world.]

12[The bread that I will give is my flesh.]

13[I have received of the Lord, &c. 1 Cor, xi, 23]

14[Let apostolical tradition suffice us.]

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