AND THE ROYAL SUPREMACY, 1627-41 at stake. If the table was an altar, as Catholics believed, then the sacrament would imply the Roman mass. Joseph Mede, a biblical scholar whose views resembled Laud's, admitted as much: 'The reason, I think, why the name ALTAR is so much scrupled at is, because it is thought to imply Sacrifice'.2 The common people especially were deemed susceptible to this error, for given their ignorance and theological naievete, bread and wine consecrated upon an altar might seem to undergo transubstantiation and then be venerated by them in an idolatrous way. This fear motivated the charges against John Cosin, later bishop of Durham, who was indicted for introducing popish superstitions: 'the words Preist and Altar were taken up by [Cosin], because without preist no sacryfice can be offred, without preist and sacrifyce there is no use of an altar, and without all three, preist, sacrifyce, and altar, there can be no Mass'.3 If, however, the table were indeed a holy, or communion, table, the integrity of the protestant communion as a commemoration of Christ's sacrifice, not the actual sacrifice itself, would be preserved. The Laudians, however, did not believe that the name altar necessarily implied transubstantiation. But they did regard the holy communion as the climactic act of Christian worship, when the consecration of the bread and wine evoked the spiritual, but nonetheless very real, presence of Christ. The table upon which this miracle occurred should therefore be exalted as an altar, a name which would also complement the increase in ritualism which the Laudians preferred. To their enemies, however, this stress on 'empty and superstitious' ceremonialism seemed an 'inundation of ceremonyes, crosses and crucifixes, and chalices, and images, copes and candlesticks, and tapers, and basonns, with a thousand such trynketts which attend upon the mass'. The physical location of the table was also disputed. Under Elizabeth, the table in most parish churches had been kept against the east wall of the chancel but moved toward the nave or into the choir for the communion service and placed 'table-wise', with the ends east-west, so that the congregation might draw near. The anti-Laudians wished to preserve this practice. For them, the holy Joseph Mede, 'The Name Altar anciently given to the Holy Table', in John Worthington (ed.), The Works of the Pious and Profoundly-learned Joseph Mede, B.D. (London, 1677), p. 386. 'Articles again Cosin', in George Ornsby (ed.), The Correspondence of John Cosin, D.D., Lord Bishop of Durham (Durham: Surtees Society, 18), II, 177. Ibid.
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