M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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the sea" (1 Cor. 10:2). The bondage of Egypt
was a type of the bondage of sin ; the deliverance
of Israel from this bondage by Moses was a type
of the deliverance of the world from the bondage
of sin; Moses as a leader was a type of Jesus
Christ; and baptism into Moses was typical of
baptism into Christ. When, then, were the Israel-
ites made free? Not when they began their march
from Egypt; and not when they halted in front
of the sea. The hosts of Pharaoh are close upon


them, and all are filled with fear. But soon the
sea is opened, and, obeying the command of their
leader, they passed through it — are baptized unto
Moses — and on the other side they realize their
freedom, and sing the song of deliverance. And
so when we forsake sin, and, in full assurance of
faith, are baptized ''into Christ," we are pardoned
and made free men in the Lord. But our freedom,
as in the case of Israel, does not precede, but fol-
lows, our baptism.

"The like figure whereunto even baptism doth
also now save us (not the putting away of the filth
of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience
toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ"
(1 Pet. 3:21). Noah's salvation was from destruc-
tion by the waters of the flood. He did what God
told him to do — prepared an ark — and Jehovah
brought him safely through the waters, and on this
side of them he rejoiced in salvation. And thus,
Peter tells us that baptism saves us. But, lest we
make a mistake, he says our baptism is not "the
putting away of the filth of the flesh," as were
the ceremonial dippings of the old covenant, "but
the answer of a good conscience toward God."
How "the answer of a good conscience"? The
penitent man who is well taught knows that the
Saviour says, "He that believeth and is baptized
shall be saved," and his conscience will never cease
to chide so long as this known duty is neglected.
"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach
the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins"
(Mark 1:4). "The baptism of repentance" is one


which grows out of repentance; is produced because
one is penitent; and such a baptism is for remission
of sins. It is not baptism by itself, but baptism in
connection with repentance.

''Except a man be born of water and of the
Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"
(John 3:5). Our sins are forgiven when we
enter the kingdom of God; but the birth of water
(baptism) and of the Spirit lies between us and
that kingdom, therefore this birth is for remission
of sins.

**As many of you as have been baptized into
Christ have put on Christ" (Gal. 3:27). Out of
Christ we are unsaved ; in Christ we are saved ;
whatever, therefore, puts us in Christ is essential
to salvation; baptism does this, hence it is for the
remission of sins.

"Not by works of righteousness which we have
done, but according to his mercy he saved us by
the washing of regeneration and renewing of the
Holy Spirit" (Tit. 3:5). We are saved by the
washing of regeneration; the washing of regenera-
tion means baptism; therefore baptism is for the
remission of sins.

"Go ye into all the world and preach the gos-
pel to every creature; he that believeth and is bap-
tized shall be saved; but he that believeth not
shall be damned" (Mark 16: 15, 16). This passage
is of special importance, because it is the commis-
sion under which salvation is to be offered to the
world. And we should rejoice that its terms are so
simple that all can understand them. The gospel


is to be preached; those who believe it and are bap-
tized shall be saved; therefore baptism is necessary
to salvation. It may be suggested that it only says
that "he that believeth not shall be damned," not
he that believeth not and is not baptized. That
is true. The unbeliever will be lost, whether bap-
tized or not. As already shown, there can be no
baptism without faith. The man who loves a good
woman and is married is happy, but the man who
loves not is miserable. This is true of him, whether
married or not, hence the phrase "and is married'*
need not be repeated in order to describe his con-
dition. There can be no true marriage without
love, and there can be no Bible baptism without
faith, hence the awful truth that the unbeliever is
lost, and the man who loves not is not happy.

"Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then
Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized
every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for
the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift
of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:37, 38). This Scrip-
ture is also of special importance because it is a
part of the first sermon preached under the commis-
sion of our Lord, and it was preached by a man
supernaturally guided, so that a mistake was impos-
sible. The language is as simple as the world ever
heard. The audience was convinced of the crime of
murdering Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, and
in their desperation they cried out to know what
they should do. The answer is, "Repent, and be
baptized." But that is not all. This was to be
done "in the name of Jesus Christ," this man


whom ye have murdered. And this is not all. He
next tells them the purpose of this repentance and
baptism : it is for the ''remission of sins." And
even this is not all : and he connects with it the
promise of the indwelling Spirit: "And ye shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."

We must hear J. S. Sweeney on this passage.
"Does this language of Peter make baptism a con-
dition precedent to remission of sins? We say it
does, and here we will stand or fall. The contro-
versy hinges on the meaning of the word 'for.' We
say it means 'in order to,' while it is contended by
our opponents that its sense is 'because of.' It will
be granted that it sometimes has the meaning we
give it in this case; and we are ready to admit that
it sometimes means 'because of.' And what is here
said of 'for' may be truly said of the Greek word
it represents. Then, can we ascertain what the
word means in this passage? Happily for the
truth, there is a circumstance in the case which
enables us to determine this question. It is this:
The relation which 'for' expresses here between
baptism and remission, is the same that repentance
sustains to remission, the relation of both to remis-
sion being expressed at once by the same word;
therefore that relation is one. The law to the
believer is, 'Repent, and be baptized for the remis-
sion of sins!' Will any one say that we may read,
'Repent, and be baptized because of the remission
of sins'? Does any one believe in repentance be-
cause of the remission of sins? Not one so believes.
The relation of repentance to remission is that of


a precedent to a subsequent. But the relation of
baptism must be the same, for it is expressed by
the same word, and at the same time; therefore the
relation of baptism to the remission of sins is that
of a precedent to a consequent."

"And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and be
baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the
name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). Saul, the
mighty persecutor, was still in his sins; he was told
to wash them away (figuratively, of course) in bap-
tism; therefore baptism is for the remission of

Let us obey the whole law of pardon, lest the
fate of Eden fall upon us. A false teacher entered
the beautiful garden, and told Adam and Eve that
it was not necessary to do all God said. Most likely
he told them that the clause prohibiting the eating
of fruit from a certain tree was arbitrary, unreason-
able and unphilosophic. They heeded his voice, and
disregarded a plain command ; not plainer, however,
than baptism is to us, and they fell, and brought
death into the world with all its woe. May this
warning make us wise.

Having found that the bap-
6. Subjects of ^jg^ ^^ ^^^ g.^^g j^ immersion.
Baptism ^ , . . r 1 • .

and that it is for the remission

of sins, we next ask, Who should be baptized?
There are two answers to this question: (1) Peni-
tent believers, and (2) infants not old enough to
believe. Those giving the second answer, of course,
do not oppose the baptism of believers. In fact,
the baptism of penitent believers, like immersion.


is not in controversy. It is common ground. Only
the second answer is in debate, and to its discus-
ision we now proceed.

The identity of the covenants is the first argu-
ment generally used in support of infant baptism.
It is claimed that the covenants of the Old and
New Testaments are the same, and that as there
were infants in the first, there are also infants in
the second. Dr. McLean, speaking of the day of
Pentecost, says* "The language is such as would
be used of the continuance of the Old Testament
church. . . . This church was now changed from
a Jewish to the Christian church." In reply to this
let it be said:

o. There Was No True Church During the
Old Testament Times. The people of Israel in
the wilderness were not the church in the Chris-
tian sense of the term, but only in the sense that
they were called out from Egypt and made a sep-
arate body. The conditions of membership did not
involve piety, change of heart, etc. They were
not required to be born again (John 3:5) as in the
Christian church. They were in a large measure
idolaters. It would be much more in harmony
with the facts to call them, not a church, but the
commonwealth of Israel, a semi-religious institu-
tion into which men could enter and remain without
spiritual requirements. Infants were in that com-
monwealth just as they are in the commonwealth
of Texas.

It is a very significent fact that the King James
translators do not give us the word "church" in


the whole of the Old Testament; and not in the
New until the sixteenth chapter of Matthew. This
shows that they were unwilling to identify anything
found in Israel with the New Testament idea of
the church.

b. The Church Had Not Been Built During
THE Personal Ministry of Christ. "But whom
say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and
said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living
God. And Jesus answered, and said unto him.
Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father
who is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, that
thou art Peter, and upon this rock [your confes-
sion] I will build my church" (Matt. 16:15-18).
This is fifteen hundred years after the Israelites
had been called out of Egypt, and still the church
is a thing of the future. According to this theory,
it was then old — fifteen centuries old; but accord-
ing to the facts as gleaned from the Saviour, it was
still to be built. Suppose the reader should say to
a friend, as he pointed to a foundation, "On this
foundation I will build my house," would it be
reasonable to understand him to mean that he would
remodel an old house already built? Certainly not.
And yet this language is not stronger than the
language of the Saviour.

c. Differences Between the Covenants. "Be-
hold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will
make a new covenant with the house of Israel,
and with the house of Judah ; not according to the
covenant that I made with their fathers in the day


that I took them by the hand to bring them out of
the land of Egypt; which covenant they brake,
ahhough I was an husband unto them, saith the
Lord. But this shall be the covenant that I will
make with the house of Israel * After those days,
saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward
parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be
their God, and they shall be my people. And they
shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and
every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for
they shall all know me, from the least of them unto
the greatest of them, for I will forgive their
iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more"
(Jer. 31:31-34).

Here is a promise six hundred years before
Christ that "a new covenant" would be made.
Turning to the eighth chapter of Hebrews, we find
that the promise was fulfilled. "In that he saith,
A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now
that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to
vanish away." Such language would not be used
in connection with the "continuance of the Old
Testament church." It is a "new covenant" — not
a renewed one — which was promised and given.
Let us note the points of difference:

(1) Only male children were circumcised (Gen.
17 : 10) ; but both sexes were baptized.

(2) They were circumcised when eight days old
(Gen. 17: 12) ; but no particular age is observed
in infant baptism.

(3) If uncircumcised, the child was "cut off
from his people" (Gen. 17:14), but in the new


covenant Paul says, "If ye be circumcised, Christ
shall profit you nothing" (Gal. 5:2).

(4) If baptism has taken the place of circum-
cision, it is strange that the famous Jerusalem coun-
cil (Acts 15) did not so declare. The matter was
before them, for in their decision, which was
scattered broadcast among the churches, it is said:
"Forasmuch as we have heard that certain which
went out from us have troubled you, saying. Ye
must be circumcised and keep the law," etc. (ver.
24). How easy and natural for them, if such was
the case, to have settled this troublesome matter
for all time by saying that baptism in the new
covenant takes the place of circumcision in the old.
But they did not say it, and that proves, with the
force of a demonstration, that it is not true.

(5) What, then, is true? "He is not a Jew
which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision
which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who
is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the
heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose
praise is not of men, but of God" (Rom. 2:28, 29).
The circumcision of the old covenant was of the
flesh, but that ot the new is of the heart, and hence
we have both it and baptism in the new ; the one
using the blood of Christ and the other the bap-
tismal waters; the one pertaining to the heart and
the other to the flesh.

This arsniment for infant bap-
7. Household ^. , ^ ,

Baotisms "^ ^^^^ ^^ completely over-

turned by L. B. Wilkes in the
"Louisville Debate'' that I give it to the reader:


"To demonstrate infant baptism from household
baptism, my friend must adopt and defend the two
following syllogisms: All households have infants
in them; the apostles baptized some households;
therefore the apostles baptized infants.

''Now observe, if the major premise is not
true, that all households have infants in them,
households might have been baptized, and yet no
infants baptized. The minor premise is true, that
the apostles baptized some households; but it does
not follow, since the major premise is known to
be false, that infants were baptized. The major
premise must be true, and the minor must be true,
else the conclusion sought to be arrived at does not
follow. Yet the conclusion is precisely what my
friend is compelled to prove, or what he has under-
taken to prove.

"His statement is that infant baptism is author-
ized by the word of God. This will require another
syllogism, growing out of the previous one; viz.,
if the apostles baptized any infants, then infant
baptism is authorized by the word of God. The
apostles did baptize some infants; therefore infant
baptism is authorized by the word of God. The
minor premise states that they did baptize some
infants, and the conclusion is that, therefore, infant
baptism is authorized by the word of God. But,,
in order to reach this conclusion, it must be shown
that there are infants in all households, which we
know is not true. If there were infants in all
households, then by proving that the apostles bap-
tized households, it would follow that they baptized


infants; but since we know that there are house-
holds with no infants in them, it does not follow
that the apostles baptized infants from the fact that
they baptized households."

This logic is conclusive, and the case might rest
here; but we will corroborate it by an examination
of some of these households. In the household of
Cornelius (Acts 10:46) they heard, they spoke with
tongues, and they magnified God; hence there were
no infants there. In the household of Lydia (Acts
16 : 14, 40) all were old enough to be comforted
by the words of the apostle; hence there were no
infants there. In the case of the jailer (Acts 16:
34) all rejoiced and believed; hence there were no
infants there. In the case of Crispus (Acts 18:8)
all believed; hence there were no infants there.
And in the case of Stephanas (1 Cor. 1:16; 16:
15) they "addicted [gave] themselves to the min-
istry;" hence there were no infants there. And
so of the other households.

Let us close this refutation by an appeal to
modern experience. An Illinois preacher has bap-
tized three households of jailers in vvhich there
were no infants. Another has baptized ten house-
holds, and yet he never baptized an infant. And
doubtless hundreds of my readers have had much
the same experience.

a. It Reverses the Divine
8 Objections to ^^^^ .^^j^^^ therefore the
Infant Baptism , ,-!-.,•

Lord knew how the Pharisees

had heard that Jesus made and baptized more dis-
ciples," etc. (John 4:1). "Go ye therefore and


teach [make disciples] all nations, baptizing them,"
etc. (Matt. 28:19). These Scriptures show that
the order of the Saviour in his work, and the
order to be followed by the apostles in theirs, was
to teach first, and then baptize the taught. The
commission, according to the theory of infant bap-
tism, should read, "Go ye therefore and baptize all
nations, and then teach them," etc.

b. It Obliterates the Distinction Between
THE Church and the World. If infant baptism,
from this day, should become universal, and should
so continue for a single generation, every infant
having been baptized, the church and the world
would be one, and the spiritual distinction which
God desires to exist between them would be blotted

c. It Does No Good. What does a child gain
by being baptized which it might not gain without
baptism? What does it lose without baptism that
it might not lose with it? What is either gained
or lost in time or eternity by having the child bap-
tized, or by a failure to have it baptized? Whether
baptized or not, it is saved; hence its baptism is
meaningless and profitless. Two little children,
pure as when God gave them to the earth, are
sleeping side by side in the cemetery; one was bap-
tized, and the other was not. What difference did
it make in this life? and what difference will it
make in the life beyond?

d. It Ignores the Power of Choice. This is
one of our royal privileges. We are not machines,
driven or dragged hither and thither according to



the whims and caprices of another; but we are men
made in the image of God, and endowed with the
power of saying '"Yes" or "No" even to our
Maker. But infant baptism ignores this high pre-
rogative, and the child is baptized whether it wills
or not, and generally much against its will. Sup-
pose a young man should attend a series of meet-
ings, but would not become a Christian. After
much teaching, preaching and exhortation have
failed, a number of his friends seize him, and,
against his most earnest protest, baptize him. Every
one would call this an outrage, and such it would
be. But how much worse to baptize against his
will one who weighs 150 pounds, or one of half
that weight? You answer that the cases are the
same. Well, how much worse to baptize one of
seventy-five pounds against his will than one of
100 pounds? The answer is that they are both
equally bad. Then, if it is wrong to baptize one of
100 pounds against his will, how can it be right to
baptize one of ten pounds?


1. Give four figures in proof of immersion.

2. Give four facts in proof of immersion.

3. Give four other proofs of immersion.

4. Give the diagram argument.

5. State the false theory as to the design of

6. What is the true theory on this question?

7. Give some proofs of this theory.

8. Give J. S. Sweeney's argument.


9. What is the covenant argument for infant
baptism ?

10. Answer this argument.

11. Give L. B. Wilkes' argument on household

12. State the objections to infant baptism.




1. Character and Method of Witnesses.

a. God's Spirit.

b. Man's Spirit.

2. What Is the Testimony?

o. Not a New Revelation.

b. Not Feelings.

c. Not Sincerity.

d. But the Joint Testimony of God and


3. A Picture.



Evidence of Pardon.

When a child does wrong, sees his error, repents,
and asks his father's forgiveness, can he not, and
should he not, know whether he has been forgiven?
It would seem that a good father would so speak
to his penitent boy as not to leave him in doubt.
And will our Father in heaven do less? Surely not.
And therefore I believe that when we repent of
our sins, and turn to him for forgiveness, he will
speak to us in words so simple and clear that we may
know we have been pardoned.

This conclusion is reached in another way : God
wants us to be happy; but this can not be without
a knowledge of forgiveness ; therefore, he will fur-
nish us that knowledge. Should this penitent boy
be in doubt as to his forgiveness, to the extent of
that doubt he would be unhappy. Hear his sad
soliloquy: "At times I think father has forgiven me,
and often I doubt, hence my joy fluctuates with
every phase of hope. Oh that I had something
solid on which to rest this hope !" And when he
sings, his favorite song will be the one which I used
to sing when groping in darkness and doubt at this
verv point:

" 'Tis a point I long to know,

And oft it causes anxious thought :
Do I love the Lord or no?
Am I his or am I not?"


There have been thousands of people in the
past, and there are thousands to-day, who have
been faithful, or are now faithful in their service
of God, and yet they never had comfort at this

An additional proof of this point is found in
the New Testament teachings, where all is the most
confident assurance. **We are always confident,
knowing that while we are at home in the body,
we are absent from the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:6).
"Being then made free from sin, ye become the
servants of righteousness" (Rom. 6:18). "In
whom we have redemption through his blood, the
forgiveness of sins" (Eph. 1:7). ''Knowing, breth-
ren beloved, your election of God" (1 Thess. 1:4).
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to
make your calling and election sure" (2 Pet. 1 : 10).
"Hereby we do know that we know him, if we
keep his commandments" (1 John 2:3). "Beloved,
now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet
appear what we shall be: but v>^e know that when
he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall
see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). "We knozv that
we have passed from death unto life, because we
love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). Not a single
note of doubt or uncertainty here, but all the lan-
guage of confidence.

But how may we secure this knowledge and
enjoy this assurance? In order to do this, let it
be remembered that this is not a question of dreams
or fleshly sensations, but one of fact, and as such
it must be settled by testimony. And Paul fur-


nishes the key to the problem in these words: "The
Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we
are the children of God" (Rom. 8: 16). Note the
fact that there are two witnesses, and not one, as
many suppose. God's Spirit does not testify to
our spirit, but the two spirits testify jointly. If I
testify to you, there is but one witness; but if I
testify with you, there are two.

a. God's Spirit. When the
I. Character and lawyer shows that the witnesses
Method of the • . u- r . . r ui

Witnesses agamst his client are not reliable,

his case is safe, regardless of
their testimony. But if this can not be done, and
the testimony is conclusive, the case is lost. Let
the same rule apply here; and in its application
we ask: (1) Is the witness trustworthy? and (2)
How does he testify?

Applied to God's Spirit, the first question can
not be discussed. His is the Spirit of truth, the
fountain of all spiritual knowledge, and hence it
can not be doubted. We therefore raise the second
question. How does he testify? "But when they

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