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William Tyndale (1494–1536) on the Death of Christ

October 18, 2007

Redeemer of the World:

1) Here therefore it is to be noted diligently, that Christ meaneth, as every man may see, by death. the eating of this bread none other thing than the belief in himself offered up for our sins, which faith only justified! us, which sentence to declare more plainly, and that he would have it noted more diligently, he repeateth it yet again, saying, It is I that am the lively bread which am come down from heaven; whoso eateth of this bread shall live everlastingly. And to put you clear out of doubt, I shall show you in few words what this matter is, and by what ways I must be the Saviour and Redeemer of the world, to give it this life so often How the rehearsed, and therefore now take good heed. Tyndale, “The Supper of the Lord,” in Works, 3:24.

2) And even so verily must they that eat me, that is, believe in me, form and fashion them after my example, mortifying their flesh, changing their living; or else they eat me in vain, and dissemble their belief. For I am not come to redeem the world only, but also to change their life. Tyndale, ‘The Supper of the Lord,” in Works, 3:36

3) How long rill ye be without understanding? It is my spirit, I tell you, that giveth life. My flesh profiteth you nothing to eat it; but to believe that it shall be crucified and suffer for the redemption of the world, it profiteth. And when ye thus believe, then eat ye my flesh and drink my blood, that is, ye believe in me to suffer for your sins. Tyndale, ‘The Supper of the Lord,” in Works, 3:37.

Christ redeemed all:

1) Which two points, that is to wit, the law spiritually interpreted, how that all is damnable sin that is not unfeigned love out of the ground and bottom of the heart, after the ensample of Christ s love to us, because we be all equally created and formed of one God our Father, and indifferently bought and redeemed with one blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ; and that he promises be given unto a repenting soul, that thirsteth and longeth after them, of the pure and fatherly mercy of God, through our faith only, without all deserving of our deeds or merits of our works, but for Christ s sake alone, and for the merits and deservings of his works, death, and passions that he suffered altogether for us, and not for himself: which two points, I say, if they be written in thine heart, are the keys which so open all the scripture unto thee, that no creature can lock thee out, and with which thou shalt go in and out, and find pasture and food everywhere. Tyndale, “Prologue to the Prophet Jonas,” in Doctrinal Treatises, 464.

2) Concerning lending, proceed by the foresaid rule of mercy. Many, in extreme need, yet ashamed to beg, shall desire thee to lend. Unto such, instead of lending give, or say thus, Lo, here is as much as ye require. If ye can pay it again, well, do, and ye shalt find me ready against another time, to lend or give (if need be) as much more. But and if ye shall not be able to pay it again, trouble not your conscience, I give it you. We be all one man’s children: one man hath bought us all with his blood, and bound us to help one another. And with so doing, thou shalt win the heart of him to thy Father. Tyndale, “An exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:306

Redeemed Neighbour:

1) Love God and thy neighbour. And he that loveth his neighbour, in God and Christ, fulfilleth these two; and consequently the ten; and finally all the other. Now if we love our Neighbour in God and Christ, that is to wit, if we be loving, kind, and merciful to them, because God hath created them unto his likeness, and Christ hath redeemed them and bought them with his blood, then may we be bold to trust in God, through Christ and his deserving, for all mercy. For God hath promised and bound himself to us, to shew us all mercy, and to be a Father almighty to us, so that we shall not need to fear the power of all our adversaries. Tyndale, “Prologue Upon the Gospel of Matthew,” in Doctrinal Treatises, 470.

2) And when he is commanded to love his neighbour as himself (Matt. xxii.,) he searcheth that his neighbour is created of God, and bought with Christ s blood’s and so forth and therefore, he loveth him out the of his heart, and if he be evil forbeareth him and with all love and patience draweth him to good: as elder brethren wait on the younger, and serve them and suffer them,, and when they will not come, they speak fair, and flatter, and give some gay thing, and promise fair, and so draw them and smite them not; but if they may in no wise be holp, refer the punishment to the father and mother, and so forth. Tyndale, “Preface to the Reader,” in Works, 2:4-5.

3) If I hate the law, so I break it in mine heart, and both hate and dishonour God the maker thereof. If I break it outwardly, then I dishonour God before the world, and the officer that ministereth it. If I hurt my neighbour, then I dishonour my neighbour and him that made him, and him also that bought him with his blood. And even so, if I hate my neighbour in mine heart, then I hate him that commandeth me to love him and him that hath deserved that I should at the leastway for his sake love him. If I be not ready to help my neighbour at his need, so I take his due honour from him, and dishonour him, and him that made him, and him also that bought him with his blood, whose servant he is. If I love such things as God hath lent me, and committed unto mine administration, so that I cannot find in mine heart to bestow them on the uses which God hath appointed me, then I dishonour God and abuse his creature in that I give more honour unto it than I should do, and then I make an idol of it, in that I love it more than God and his commandment, and then I dishonour my neighbour from whose need I withdraw it. Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas Moore’s Dialogue,” in Works, 2:60.

4) Concerning thyself, oppress not thy subjects with rent, fines, or custom at all, neither pill them with taxes and such like, to maintain thine own lusts; but be loving and kind to them, as Christ was to thee, for they be his and the price of his blood. But those that are evil doers among them and vex their brethren, and will not know thee for their judge and fear thy law, them smite, and upon them draw thy sword, and put it not up until thou hast done thine office; yet without hate to the person, for his master s sake, and because he is in the first regiment thy brother, but to amend him only; or if it cannot be but that thou must lose one to save many, then execute thine office with such affection, with such compassion and sorrow. of heart, as thou wouldest cut off thine own arm to save the rest of the body. Tyndale, “An Exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:299.

5) But I must do my work for the love of my neighbour, because he is my brother, and the price of Christ s blood, and because Christ hath deserved it, and desireth it of me, and then my reward is great in heaven. Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas Moore’s Dialogue,” in Works, 2:369

6) And he that giveth one of these little ones but a cup of cold water for my name s sake, shall have his reward. If a king minister his kingdom in the faith of this name, because his subjects be his brethren and the price of Christ s blood, he pleaseth God highly; and if this faith be not there, it pleaseth him not. And if I sew a shoe truly in the faith of his name, to do my brother service, because he is the price of Christ s blood, it pleaseth God. Thus is faith the goodness of all works. Tyndale, “An Exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:373.

7) But if thou have devotion to help thy brother in all his misfortunes, because he is the image of God and price of Christ s blood, then thy devotion certifieth thee that thou art in the favour of God or state of grace. Tyndale, “Exposition of First Epistle of St. John,” Works, 2:425.

8) And because I can neither do service nor pleasure unto his own person, my neighbour is set before me, to do God service and pleasure in him, and to be to him as Christ is in me, because he is my brother, To bought with Christ s blood as I am. And I consent unto that law, and love it ere I come at the deed, and long after the deed. deed according to this law, I am sure that I love him truly. Or else if I examined not my love by this law, I might be deceived. For some love their neighbours for pleasure, profit, glory, and for their doing service only, as our spiritualty love us, and of that blessed love, do their busy cure to keep us in darkness: which love is a sign that a man hateth God and his neighbour thereto, and loveth himself only. But God s law is, that I should abstain from mine own pleasure and profit, and become my neighbour s servant, and bestow life and goods upon him, after the ensample of Christ. Tyndale, “Exposition of First Epistle of St. John,” Works, 2:467.

9) For we can refer nothing unto the honour of God; neither is his law or will written in our members or in our hearts: neither is there any more power in us to follow the will of God, than in a stone to ascend upward of his ownself. And beside that we are as it were asleep in so deep blindness, that we can neither see nor feel in what misery, thraldom, and wretchedness we are in, till Moses come and wake us, and publish the law. When we hear the law truly preached, how that we ought to love and honour God with all our strength and might, from the low bottom of the heart; because he hath created us, and both heaven and earth for our sakes, and made us lord thereof; and our neighbours (yea our enemies) as ourselves inwardly from the ground of the heart, because God hath made them after the likeness of his own image, and they are his sons as well as we, and Christ hath bought them with his blood, and made them heirs of everlasting life as well as us. And how we ought to do whatsoever God biddeth, and abstain from whatsoever God forbiddeth, with all love and meekness, with a fervent and a burning lust from the centre of the heart, then beginneth the conscience to rage against the law, and against God. No sea, be it ever so great a tempest, is so unquiet. Tyndale, “A Pathway to Holy Scripture,” in Works, 2:499.

10) Notwithstanding though the rulers which God hath set over us command us against God, or do us open wrong, and oppress us with cruel tyranny, yet because they are in God’s room, we may not avenge ourselves, but by the process and order of God s law, and laws of man made by the authority of God’s law, which is also God s law, ever by an higher power, and remitting the vengeance unto God, and in the mean season suffer until the hour be come. And on the other side, to know that a man ought to love his neighbour equally and fully as well as himself, because his neighbour (be he never so simple) is equally created of God, and as full redeemed by the blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ. Out of which commandment of love spring these: Kill not thy neighbour: defile not his wife: bear no false witness against him; and finally, not only do not these things in deed, but covet not in thine heart, his house, his wife, his man servant, maid servant, ox, ass, or whatsoever is his. Tyndale, “A Pathway to the Holy Scripture,” in Works, 2:507-508.

Redeemed souls perishing:

1) Who can give honour to that that slayeth the soul of his brother, and robbeth his heart of that trust and confidence, which he should give to his Lord that hath bought him with his blood? Tyndale, Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount,” in Works, 1:327.

2) By which praying, and other like blindness, M. More may see that buzzing in Latin on the holy days helpeth not the hearts of the people. And I wonder that M. More can laugh at it, and not rather weep for compassion, to see the souls for which Christ shed his blood to perish. And yet I believe that your holy church will not refuse at Easter to receive the tithes of all that such blind people rob, as well as they dispense with all false gotten good that is brought them; and will lay the ensample of Abraham and Melchizedec for them. Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas Moore’s Dialogue,” in Works, 2:131.

3) Now answer me, by what reason canst thou make an heretic of him, that concludeth nought against God, but worketh with God and putteth that block out of the way, whereat his brother, the price of Christ s blood, stumbleth and looseth his soul? They put not down the images for hate of God and of his saints, no more than Hezekiah brake the brazen serpent for envy of the great miracle that was wrought by it, or in spite of God that commanded it to be kept for a memorial. But to keep the people in the true faith only. Now, seeing we may be all without images, and to put them down is not against God’s commandment, but with it; namely, if they be abused, to the dishonour of God and hurt of our neighbours; where is charity, if thou which knowest the truth and canst use thine image well, wilt not yet forbear thine image and suffer it to be put out of the way, for thy weak brother’s sake whom thou seest perish therethrough? Tyndale, “Answer to Sir Thomas Moore’s Dialogue,” in Works, 2:191.

4) Will they then have their ceremonies honourably spoken of? then let them restore them to the right use, and put the salt of the true meaning and significations of them to them again. But as they be now used, none that loveth Christ can speak honourably of them. What true Christian man can give honour to them that taketh all honour from Christ? who can give honour to that that slayeth the soul of his brother, and robbeth his heart of that trust and confidence which he should give to his Lord that hath bought him with his blood? Tyndale, “An Exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:266.

5) Though every man’s body and goods be under the king, do he right or wrong, yet is the authority of God s word free and above the king: so that the worst in the realm may tell the king, if he do him wrong, that he doth nought and otherwise than God hath commanded him, and so warn him to avoid the wrath of God, which is the patient avenger of all unrighteousness. May I then, and ought also, to resist father and mother and all temporal power with God s word, when they wrongfully do or command that hurteth or killeth the body; and have I no power to resist the bishop or preacher, that with false doctrine slayeth the souls, for which my master and Lord Christ hath shed his blood. Be we otherwise under our bishops than Christ and his apostles, and all the other prophets were under the bishops of the old law? Tyndale, “An Exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:269.

6) Now if truth be not in thy words, thou shamest thine heavenly father, and testifiest that thou believest that he is no righteous judge, nor will avenge unrighteousness; but that he is wicked as thou art, and consenteth and laugheth at thee; while thou deceivest thy brother, as well created after the likeness of God, and as dear bought with the precious blood of Christ, as thou. And thus through thee (a wicked son) is the name of thy father dishonoured, and his law not feared, nor his promises believed. Tyndale, “An Exposition Upon Matthew,” in Works, 2:291.

Sufficient Expiation:

1) So oft as ye shall eat thin bread and drink of this cup, see that ye be joyous, praise, and give thanks, preaching the death of the Lord, &c which declared, and every one exhorted to prayer, he would preach them purely Christ to have died and been offered upon the altar of the cross for their redemption, which only oblation to be sufficient sacrifice to appease the Father’s wrath, and to purge all the sins of the world. Then to excite them with humble diligence, every man unto the knowledge of himself and his sins, and to believe and trust to the forgiving Christ’s blood; and for this so incomparable benefit of our redemption, (which were sold bondmen to sin,) to give thanks unto God the Father for so merciful a deliverance through the death of Jesus Christ, every one, some singing and some saying devoutly, one or other Psalm or prayer of thanksgiving in the mother tongue. Tyndale, “The Supper of the Lord,” in Works, 3:66.

Sins of the world:

1) And he is the satisfaction for our sins, and not for our sins only, but also for all the world’s.

That I call satisfaction, the Greek calleth hilasmos, and the Hebrew Copar. And it is first taken for the suaging of wounds, sores, and swellings, and the taking away of pain and smart of them. And thence is borrowed for the pacifying and suaging of wrath and anger, and for an amends making, a contenting, satisfaction, a ransom, and making at one, as it is to see abundantly in the Bible. So that Christ is a full contenting, satisfaction and ransom for our sins. And not for ours only, which are apostles and for our disciples of Christ while he was yet here; or for our sins?? which are Jews or Israelites and the seed of Abraham; or for ours that now believe at this present time, but for all men’s sins, both for their sins which went before and believed the promises to come, and for our’s which have seen them fulfilled, and also for all them which shall afterward believe unto the world’s end, of whatsoever nation or degree they be. For Paul commandeth, (1 Tim. ii.) To pray for all men and all degrees, saying, that to be acceptable unto our Saviour God, which will have all men saved and Christ gave come to the knowledge of the truth, that is some of nations and all degrees, and and not the Jews only. For (saith he) there is one God, and one Mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus, which gave himself a redemption and full satisfaction for all men.

Let this therefore be an undoubted article of thy faith: not of an history faith as thou believest a gest of Alexander, or of the old Romans, but of a lively faith and belief, to put thy trust and confidence in, and to buy and sell thereon, as we say, and to have thy sins taken away, and thy soul saved thereby, if thou hold it fast; and to continue ever in sin, and to have thy soul damned if thou let it slip; that our Jesus, our Saviour that saveth his people from their sins, and our Christ, that is our king over all sin, death and hell, anointed with fulness of all grace and with the Spirit of God, to distribute unto all men, hath, according unto the Epistle to the Hebrews and Christ is all the Scripture, in the days of his mortal flesh, with fasting praying suffering, and crying to God mightily for us and with shedding his blood, made full satisfaction both a pana et a culpa (with our holy father’s leave) for all the sins of the world; both of their’s that went before, and of their’s that come after in the faith; whether it be original sin or actual: and not only the sins committed with consent to evil in time of ignorance before the know ledge of the truth, but also the sins done of frailty after we have forsaken evil and consented to the laws of God in our hearts, promising to follow Christ and walk in the light of his doctrine. Tyndale, “Exposition of First Epistle of St. John,” Works, 2:406.

2) The whole study of the devil and all his members is, to destroy the hope and trust that we should have in Christ s flesh, and in those things which he suffered for us in his flesh, and in the testament and pro mises of mercy which are made us in his flesh. For the Scripture testifieth that Christ hath taken away the sin of the world in his flesh, and that the same hour that he yielded up his spirit into the hands of his Father, he had full purged, and made full satisfaction for all the sins of the world. So that all the sin of the world, both before his passion and after, must be put away through repentance toward the law, and faith and trust in his blood, without respect of any other satisfaction, sacrifice or work. For if I once sin the law rebuketh my conscience, and setteth variance between God and me. And I shall never be at peace with God again, until I have heard the voice of his mouth, how that my sin is forgiven me for Christ s blood sake. And as soon as that I believe, I am at peace with God, (Rom. v.) and love his law again and of love work. Tyndale “Exposition of First Epistle of St. John,” Works, 2:453-454.

1 Tim 2:5:

1) Paul saith, (1 Tim. ii.) One God, one mediator (that is to say advocate, intercessor, or at-one-maker) between God and man: the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all men. Peter saith of Christ (Acts iv.) Neither is there health in any other: neither yet also any other name given unto men wherein we must be saved. So now Christ is our peace, our redemption or ransom for our sins, our righteousness, satisfaction, and all the promises of God are yea and Amen in him; (2 Cor.i.) Tyndale, “Of Miracles and Worshipping of Saints,” in Works, 1:321.

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