Claims and Pretensions of the Catholic Apostolic Church: No. 3

John 6:51
Beloved Brother,—Having briefly examined the doctrines held on redemption and regeneration, we will now examine the doctrine held by the Catholic Apostolic Church on the. Holy Eucharist. What we find, then, in the tracts you sent us is the doctrine and ritual of the Mass, but, as they profess, a little improved. But all the main features of the Mass are there. It is surprising that they publish the approval of a Romish bishop. The bishop says, " Nothing more resembles Rome.” " What a combination! The most precious jewels of Rome—authority and her church worship—stolen from her.... and, in spite of this, the scriptures held pre-eminent.... Would you believe it? I am surprised at myself in wishing that you should triumph rather than Protestantism;” and much more of the same kind.
Is not the publishing of this letter approval of the flattery? The bishop is also delighted with the circumspection that keeps back what would alarm Protestants. What significant blanks! We were surprised to find these tracts seeking covertly to spread the deadly error of the Romish Mass, though it is covered with most subtle and flowery language.
We find the teaching on the Lord's supper, or Eucharist, the exact contrary of scripture.
I. They hold that it is " the bond of universal life, and the means whereby men are partakers of it." "Partaking of it, that life is transmitted to us.” Not prayer, or hearing the word, but " A mode of RECEIVING Christ by eating and drinking. Something peculiar that is not in prayer, that is not in hearing of the word." As with many of the Romanists, they refer to John 6 Some of the learned Romanists admit -as is most clearly the fact—that the Lord does not speak in this chapter of His supper, but of Himself, und that as the true bread which came down from heaven. He says, " I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever" Now the question is this: Could the Lord Jesus possibly mean these words to be understood literally? He could not, He did not mean that He was at that moment not truly a man, but a loaf of bread. If, then, He was speaking figuratively of Himself, did He not continue to do so? Three things were necessary for our salvation: that He should come down from heaven—that alone was not enough; He must die, His blood must be shed for our sins; and then He must return into heaven. These are just the three things He sets forth in these figures. His incarnation, His death, and His return to heaven. Could He for one moment mean to teach that either He was literally bread to be eaten, or that it was literally His flesh that must be eaten, or His blood literally drunk? Impossible! for He assures us, " It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." We have shown, in a tract (lately published) on the Mass,* that the literal gross interpretation of these words was not the doctrine held by the early church. Now read these words of Jesus: " Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, bath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." Now if these mean receiving Christ by eating and drinking, as these tracts teach, with Rome, then mark, it would follow that all the ungodly (" Whoso") who eat the bread, and drink the wine, both have eternal life, and are absolutely safe for eternity! Is there a man on earth that believes this? Reader, do you believe these tracts, or scripture? For where is there a single text to confirm this literal sense of this chapter? That it is in believing the words of Christ life eternal is imparted to us, this is confirmed everywhere. Does not Jesus teach the very opposite of these, tracts? "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my words, and believeth on him that sent me, hath eternal life."
(* Morrish: London.)
Yea, is not this the very subject in hand in this chapter 6? “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life" What is it to believe the record that God gave of His Son? "This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life." Have you heard the words of Jesus? Do you believe God that sent Him to die for your sins, and that raised Him from the dead for your justification? Then you have eternal life. If you have eternal life, is it not, then, most certain that you have not to obtain it by eating and drinking?
If we examine the institution of the supper by the Lord, there is not one thought of imparting, or obtaining, life. It is emphatically the Lord's death that we announce, and that is before us. So, in 1 Cor. 11, Christians are told: "This do in remembrance of me.....For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come." Mark, it is still literal bread and wine, showing in figure how He has taken the place of the paschal lamb. As we have said elsewhere, a figure in scripture may at least be known by this—that it cannot be literal, as it would not be true. The Lord could not mean that He was a loaf of bread. He was not. He could not mean His own literal flesh and blood when He said, "This is my body." That loaf was no more literally His body, than that He was a loaf from heaven. And when He said, " For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins," He could not mean this literally, as it would not have been true; His blood was not then shed. If we simply take the scriptures as they are on the subject, then nothing can be more blessed than for those who have eternal redemption through His death, to show forth that death, in the Lord's supper, until He come.
II. With these tracts, as with Rome, the Lord's supper is "The great memorial sacrifice, offered continually.” It is known to many that the Holy Ghost has, daring these late years, opened up the scriptures in a wondrous manner, and shown how the sacrifices of the law all pointed to the one sacrifice once offered on the cross. In reading these tracts, the first and second time, we understood them to apply to the one true sacrifice of Christ. On going over them again, we see that the whole value of those types is transferred to the Eucharist, or Mass!! The eye is fixed on the Holy Eucharist. It is the great sacrifice of all sacrifices. "All other services are derived from, or based on, this service." The sin offering, the burnt offering, the peace offering, &c, these are different aspects of His sacrifice; but the sacrifice is the Eucharist; or Mass! " The Holy Eucharist, therefore, is a summary of all types which exhibit the atonement and sacrifice of Christ."
Further, these tracts teach that all the detail of the Jewish worship is "developed into perfect order and beauty in the christian church.” This deadly error perverts the entire meaning of all scripture on this subject, in the pretended answer of the antitype, the Eucharist, to all the sacrifices of the law? Is not this a deception of Satan? Thus we have an angel who alone goes into the holy place—"the representative of the angel of the covenant." This angel is the celebrant, who offers the great sacrifice of the Eucharist. The people are outside the sanctuary! At last the consecrated elements are received by the faithful. "In this act we trace again the analogy to the types of the law. It is essential to the idea of a sacrifice that the sacrifice should be consumed; all the Jewish sacrifices were consumed, though in various ways; and so this holy and unbloody sacrifice,” &c. Thus their great sacrifice, offered continually, and consumed, is a more elaborate continuance of Judaism in the Mass, and all supposed worship connected with it. They assure us " the whole object of St. Paul’s teaching on these matters is to show the close connection that exists between the Jewish and Christian worship. He points to the law as 'the shadow of good things to come."
Whilst the high priest went into the holiest once a year alone, the Holy Ghost by that signified that the way into the holiest was not yet made manifest. But now the Lord Jesus, by His one sacrifice, has obtained eternal redemption for us; and now we—that is, all true believers—have boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus. What the law could not do, with all its sacrifices, Jesus has done by His one sacrifice. He hath perfected us forever, in perpetuity, so that God remembers our sins no more. God in His word says," There is no more offering for sin;” " There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins." Shall we doubt that God speaks the truth in these scriptures—that believers are not perfected by that one sacrifice—that they must continually offer this great sacrifice? God says without shedding of blood there is no remission. They deny it, who offer the oblation of the "holy and unbloody sacrifice." It is remarkable how this sets aside the eternal efficacy of the one sacrifice for sins, and puts in its place the continued sacrifices often repeated, which can never take away sins. We must see that, if we believe God, there neither can be any more sacrifices for sins, neither can the believer need them.
If you are forever perfected by the one sacrifice, how can you need another? It is surely in vain to tell a Christian that their Eucharistic service is superior to any other. A table of comparison is given to show how far even they are superior in ritual to the Mass of Rome! One infinite, atoning sacrifice of the Son of God excludes all others. God has received Him to glory. Death has no more dominion over Him. He dieth no more. All that believe Him are justified from all things. No, no, we must not give up the word of God, and embrace the soul-destroying delusions of Rome.
We trust enough has been said to warn any Christian from being deceived. They can have no idea what the atoning sacrifice was—the Lord of glory made sin for us, forsaken of God on the cross—who can talk of " The great memorial sacrifice, offered continually." Is Christ often put to death? Is His blood often shed? Is He still forsaken of God? Mark, without this there would be no atonement. The fact is this, the Romish Mass is the very opposite of the disciples coming together to break bread. It is a denial that God has accepted the sacrifice once offered for our sins. Hence, in the Eucharist they constantly bring sin to remembrance, and continually use vain repetitions for mercy, never knowing what it is to be worshippers with a purged conscience.
[Our Extracts have been taken from tracts sent to us, purporting to have been issued by the Catholic Apostolic Church; and as it is generally held that the above Church arose from, and holds the same doctrines as the late Mr. Irving, the extracts in the March No., pp. 79, 80, were taken from the " Christian Witness " (vol. ii. pp. 122-121).) We have since been informed by a defender of these C. A. Church Tracts that the extracts from Mr. Irving s writings do not apply to the above church.—Ed.