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A LETTER of that moſt religi­ous and pious Prince K. Edward the ſixth to Nicholas Ridley Biſhop of London, for the taking downe of Altars, and ſetting up the Table in the ſteed thereof, ſubſcribed by nine of the ſaid Kings Privie Councell, together with the ſaid Kings ſix reaſons for the ſame alteration; All which are ſet forth in the Eccleſiaſticall Hiſtory, containing the Acts and Monuments or Martyrs, written by M. John Fox, and may there be read in the life of that ever bleſſed King.

London, Printed 1641.


A Letter of that moſt Religi­ous and pious Prince King Edward the ſixth to Nicholas Ridley, Biſhop of London, for the taking downe of Altars, and ſetting up the Table, &c.

RIght reverend Father in God, right truſty and welbeloved, wee greet you well;

And where it is come to our knowledge, that the Altars within the moſt part of the Churches of this Realme, being already upon good and godly con­ſiderations taken downe, there doe yet remaine Altars ſtanding in divers other Churches, by occa­ſion wherof much variance and contention ariſeth amongſt ſundry of our Subjects, which if good fore-ſight were not had, might perchance engen­der great hurt and inconvenience: Wee let you wit, that minding to have all occaſion of conten­tion taken away, which many times groweth by thoſe and ſuch like diverſities; and conſidering that amongſt other things belonging to our Roy­all Office and care, Wee doe account the greateſt to be to maintain the cōmon quiet of our Realme, Wee have thought good, by the advice of our2 Counſell, to require you, and nevertheleſſe eſpe­cially to charge and command you for the avoyd­ing of all matters of further contention and ſtrife, about the ſtanding or taking away of the ſaid Al­tars, to give ſubſtantiall order throughout all your Dioceſſe, that with all diligence, all the Altars in every Church or Chappell, as well in places exemp­ted, as not exempted, within your ſaid Dioceſſe be tken downe, and in the ſteed thereof a Table to be ſet up in ſome convenient part of the Chancell within every ſuch Church or Chappell, to ſerve for the miniſtration of the bleſſed Communion; and to the intent the ſame may be done without offence of ſuch our loving Subjects, as be not yet ſo well perſwaded in that behalfe, as we would wiſh, wee ſend unto you herewith certaine conſiderations gathered and collected, that make for the purpoſe, the which, and ſuch others as you ſhall think meet to be ſet forth to perſwade the weake to embrace our proceedings in this part, wee pray you cauſe to bee declared to the people by ſome diſcreet Preachers, in ſuch places as you ſhall think meet, before the taking downe of the ſaid Altars, ſo as both the weake conſciences of others may be in­ſtructed and ſatisfied as much as may be, and this our pleaſure the more quietly executed; For the better doing whereof, we require you to open the fore-ſaid conſiderations in that our Cathedrall Church in your owne perſon, if you conveniently may, or otherwiſe by your Chancellor, or ſome other grave Preacher, both there, and in ſuch other3 Market Townes, and moſt notable places of your Dioceſſe, as you may think moſt requiſite.

  • Edward Somerſet.
  • Thomas Cranmer:
  • William Wiltſhire.
  • Iohn Warwick.
  • Iohn Bedford.
  • William North.
  • Edw. Clinton.
  • Hen. Wentworth.
  • Thom. Ely.

Reaſons why the Lords Board ſhould rather be after the forme of a Table then of an Altar.

The Firſt Reaſon.FIrſt the Forme of a Table ſhall more move the ſimple from the ſuperſtitious opinions of the Popiſh Maſſe unto the right uſe of the Lords Supper; for the uſe of an Altar is to make Sacrifice upon it, the uſe of a Table is to ſerve for men to eat upon. Now when we come to the Lords Boord, what doe wee come for? to Sacrifice Chriſt a­gain, and to Crucifie him again, or to feed upon him, that was once only crucified and offered up for us? If wee come to feed upon him, ſpiritually to eate his body, and ſpiritually to drinke his blood, which is a true uſe of the Lords Supper, then no man can deny but the form of a Table is more5 meete for the Lords Boord, then the forme of an Altar.

mhe Second reaſon.ITem, Whereas it is ſaid that the Book of Com­mon Prayer maketh mention of an Altar where­fore it is not lawfull to aboliſh that which the Book alloweth, to this it is thus anſwered, The Book of Common Prayer calleth the thing whereup­on the Lords ſupper is miniſtred indifferently a Table, an Altar, or the Lords Boord, without pre­ſcription of any forme thereof, either of a Table or of an Altar; ſo that whether the Lords boord have the forme of an Altar or of a Table the Book of Common Prayer calleth it both an Altar and a Table; For as it calleth it an Altar whereupon the Lords Supper is miniſtred a Table and the Lords boord, ſo it calleth the Table where the holy Commu­nion is diſtributed with lauds and thanksgiving unto the Lord, an Altar, for that there is offered the ſame ſacrifice of praiſe and thankſgiving, and thus it appeareth that there is nothing either ſaid or meant contrary to the Book of Common Prayer.

The third Reaſon.THirdly, the Popiſh opinion of Maſſe was that it might not bee celebrated but upon an Altar or at the leaſt upon a Super-Altar to ſupply the6 fault of the Altar, which muſt have had his prints and Character, or elſe it was thought that the thing was not lawfully done; but this ſuperſtiti­ous opinion is more holden in the minds of the ſimple and ignorant by the forme of an Altar then of a Table, wherefore it is more meete for the a­boliſhment of this ſuperſtitious opinion, to have the Lords Boord after the forme of a Table then of an Altar.

The Fourth Reaſon.FOurthly, The forme of an Altar was ordai­ned for the Sacrifices of the Law and there­fore the Altar in Greeke is called〈…〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉quaſi Sacrificii locus, but now both the Law and the Sa­crifices thereof doe ceaſe, wherefore the Forme of the Altar uſed in the Altar ought to ceaſe with­all.

The Fifth Reaſon.FIftly, Chriſt did inſtitute the Sacrament of his body and bloud at his laſt Supper at a Ta­ble and not at an Altar, as it appeareth manifeſtly by the three Evangeliſts, and St. Paul calleth the comming to the holy Communion the comming unto the Lords Supper, and alſo it is not read that any of the Apoſtles or the primitive Church did ever uſe any Altar in miniſtration of the holy7 Communion; wherefore ſeeing the form of a Ta­ble is more agreeble to Chriſts inſtitution, and with the uſage of the Apoſtles and of the Pri­mitive Church, then the forme of an Altar, there­fore the forme of a Table is rather to be uſed then the forme of an Altar in the adminiſtration of the Holy Communion.

The Sixth Reaſon.FInally it is ſaid in the Preface of the Book of Common Prayer, that if any doubt doe ariſe in the uſe and practiſing of the ſame Book, to ap­peaſe all ſuch diverſity, the matter ſhal be referr'd unto the Biſhop of the Dioceſſe, who by his diſ­cretion ſhal take order for the quieting and appea­ſing of the ſame, ſo that the ſame order be not contrary to any thing contained in that book.

After theſe letters and reaſons received, the forenamed Nicholas Ridley, Bp. of London, conſe­quently upon the ſame did hold his Viſitation, wherein, amongſt other his Injunctions, the ſaid Bp. exhorted thoſe Churches in his Dioceſſe where the Altar then did remaine to conforme themſelves unto thoſe other Churches which had taken them downe, and had ſet up in ſtead of the multitude of their Altars, one decent Table in e­very Church: Upon the occaſion whereof there aroſe a great diverſity about the form of the Lords Boord, ſome uſing it after the form of a Table, and4 ſome of an Altar, wherein when the ſaid Biſhop was required to ſay and determine what was moſt meet, he declared, he could do no leſs of his boun­den duty for appeaſing of ſuch diverſity, & to pro­cure one godly uniformity, but to exhort all his Dioces unto that which he thought did beſt agree with Scripture, with the uſage of the Apoſtles, and with the Primitive Church, and to that which is not only not contrary unto any thing contained in the Book of Common Prayer, as is is before pro­ved, but alſo might highly further the Kings moſt godly proceedings, in aboliſhing of diverſe vaine and ſuperſtitious opinions of the Popiſh maſſe out of the hearts of the ſimple, and to bring them to the right uſe taught by holy Scripture of the Lords Supper, and ſo appointed, he the forme of a right Table to be uſed in his Dioceſſe, and in the Church of Paul brake down the wall ſtanding then by the High Altars ſide.

BY the preceding paſſages, the whole World may ſee, that in all times there will bee Champions found to defend all o­pinious; you ſee how Tables did then cry downe Altars, and how Altars of late have thruſt out Tables, and Biſhops defending both according to the Current and humour of the time, or rather according to the in­diſputable command of the Metropolitan;5 to whoſe papall pride and Lording greatneſs all the reſt of the Prelats by oath and Cano­nicall obedience are ſlaviſhly ſubſervient. Which uſurped and inſufferable dominati­on hath beene the chiefe cauſe of all the〈◊〉troubles and Innovations both in Chur••〈…〉Common Wealth: But it is hoped that〈…〉generating order of Biſhops (under〈…〉this Kingdome groanes) will by this P•••••ment be either wholy taken away, or b•••ded within ſuch Limits, that their Lor••…power, pride, and cruelty, ſhall ſwell••••more above the banks of moderation to t••ruine of the Church and Common Wealth. 〈◊〉if any Dutifull ſonne of the Church will ſtanup in the defence of that order, and invocatthe Holy Apoſtles to juſtifie the inſtitution and antiquity of Epiſcopacie; if that ſhall bee yielded, then let them be reduced to that Primitive condition; or (becauſe they have ſo much abuſed bounty of Princes) for ever loſe the plea and Title.


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TextA letter of that most religious and pious prince K. Edward the sixth to Nicholas Ridley Bishop of London, for the taking downe of altars, and setting up the table in the steed thereof, subscribed by nine of the said kings Privie Councell, together with the said kings six reasons for the same alteration; all which are set forth in the Ecclesiasticall history, containing the Acts and monuments of martyrs, written by M. John Fox, and may there be read in the life of that ever blessed king.
AuthorEdward VI, King of England, 1537-1553..
Extent Approx. 12 KB of XML-encoded text transcribed from 6 1-bit group-IV TIFF page images.
SeriesEarly English books online.
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(EEBO-TCP ; phase 2, no. A83068)

Transcribed from: (Early English Books Online ; image set 156896)

Images scanned from microfilm: (Thomason Tracts ; 28:E157[16])

About the source text

Bibliographic informationA letter of that most religious and pious prince K. Edward the sixth to Nicholas Ridley Bishop of London, for the taking downe of altars, and setting up the table in the steed thereof, subscribed by nine of the said kings Privie Councell, together with the said kings six reasons for the same alteration; all which are set forth in the Ecclesiasticall history, containing the Acts and monuments of martyrs, written by M. John Fox, and may there be read in the life of that ever blessed king. Edward VI, King of England, 1537-1553., England and Wales. Sovereign (1547-1553 : Edward VI). [2], 5 [i.e. 9], [1] p. [s.n.],London :Printed 1641.. (Pages 8, 9 misnumbered 4, 5 respectively.) (Reproduction of the original in the British Library.)
  • Altars -- Early works to 1800.
  • Communion table -- Early works to 1800.

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  • Text Creation Partnership,
ImprintAnn Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) : 2011-04 (EEBO-TCP Phase 2).
  • DLPS A83068
  • STC Wing E186
  • STC Thomason E157_16
  • STC ESTC R212699
  • EEBO-CITATION 99871284
  • PROQUEST 99871284
  • VID 156896

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