Andrew Willet on Richard Hooker and transubstantiation

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... In regard whereof we intreat you Mai. Hoo[ker]. to make a fit construction of your words, were you say: Sith we all agree that by the sacrament, Christ doth really and truly in us perform his promise: why do we vainly trouble our selves with so fierce contentions. whether by consubstantiation or else by transubstantiation the sacrament it self be first possessed with Christ or no: a thing which no way can either further or hinder us howsoever it stand, because our participation of Christ in the Sacrament, dependeth on the cooperation of his omnipotent power, which maketh it his body and blood unto us, whether with change or without alteration of the element, such as they imagine, we need not greatly to care nor inquire after. In all which words you seem to make light of the doctrine of transubstantiation, as a matter not to be stood upon or to be contended for, cared for or enquired into:

Which maketh us to marvel how our Church and Reverend Fathers have all this time passed, been deceived. What should cause them to affirm it to be a thing contrary to the plain words of scripture, overturning the nature of the Sacrament, to call it monstrous doctrine: why so many reverend Fathers, as Crammer, Ridley, Hooper, Latimer, Rogers, Bradford, &c. have given their lives in witness against it, if it bee a thing that neither furthereth nor hindreth, a thing not to be cared for, nor enquired after? And here we pray you ingeniously to shew whether your meaning be to bring that side into credit by softening the odiousness of their heresy, and our side into suspicion of peevishness, for standing upon trifles; which the rather we desire to be resolved in, because else where you call the enemies to Transubstantiation Sacramentaries, and labour to shew a certain ubiquity of Christ’s manhood and of his body, and of his soul, which seemeth to us that you would give a gentle construction of Popish opinions, and privily rob the truth of our English creed of her due estimation.

If you call our Reverend Fathers Sacramentaries for oppugning transubst. and they again call the maintainers of it right Sacramentaries and Capernaites (if you have given as good testimony of faithfulness as they) whom shall wee believe? are you not contradictory: and may we think you can favour that side; your words do beat down; shew us then we pray you how such great favours do not prejudice the doctrine of the church of England, or not condemn those millions of learned divines and blessed Martyrs of extreme folly, who have died for the same; and that God should reveal to you only that it was for that which neither furthered nor hurteth? ...

For more, see Andrew Willet on Richard Hooker and transubstantiation.
 
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