The Mass is a Travesty of the Lord’s Supper
by William Hoste (1860-1938)
The Mass is a travesty of the Lord’s Supper, which is a feast of remembrance, not a sacrifice of renewal. There was no altar at the first supper and no sacrifice. It is asserted that the words used by our Lord, “Do this”, means “Sacrifice this”, but the word is the ordinary one “to do”, and confessedly never bears the sense of “sacrifice” in any of its 540 occurrences in the New Testament.
It is quite unnecessary, as has been remarked a thousand times, to force the words, “This is My body” to mean that our Lord actually held His own body in His hand at that moment. To say He did so “sacramentally” explains nothing. It is as the late Lord Salisbury said of “evolution”, “a comfortable word”, but no one can conceive what it means, and it is therefore no true idea at all. But to say our Lord was speaking symbolically does convey a clear sense, and is a legitimate interpretation of His language.
I call as my witness the Apostle Peter, who quotes Isaiah’s words, “All flesh is grass”, as “All flesh is as grass” (Isa 40: 6, 1 Pet 1:24). On the same principle the words, “This is My body”, may well signify, “This is as My body”, i.e., “This represents My body. This is the symbol of My blood”. If it be retorted that such arguments have been brought forward from time immemorial, we may remind our opponents that an unanswered argument loses no cogency by being old. It is noteworthy how men who, like the Romanist, systematically oppose the reading of the Scriptures, or like the Ritualist deny their unique authority, will clutch, like drowning men, at a word of Scripture when they can use it to prop up their peculiar tenets.
The sacrifice of Christ needs no repetition, as Peter again witnesses, “Christ also,” he writes, “hath once suffered for sins.” Listen also to the testimony of the author of the Hebrews: “Nor yet that He should offer Himself often…For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world; but now once in the end of the age hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself…Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many;…by the which will we are sanctified by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all….But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God…For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (1 Pet 3: 18; Heb 9:25-28; 10:10-14).
Where is there a hint in the New Testament of any repetition, sacrificial or sacramental, of the propitiation of Christ? But, objects someone, “We do not believe that the sacrifice is repeated, but re-offered. It was made once; it is offered often.” But it is precisely against the “re-offering” that the above Scriptures bear witness. “Not often”, “once”, “once for all” are terms which need not be questioned. To say the sacrifice was made once at Calvary and is being offered today is logically to suppose that the crucifixion has lasted from then till now. The once for all offering of Himself on Calvary forms the ground work of Christ’s present intercession and advocacy, and of all our blessing.
Happy they who can bow to the plain declarations of Holy Scripture and reject mere human theories. “Let God be true, and every man a liar.”