M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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Online LibraryM. M. (Morrison Meade) DavisHow to be saved : a study of first principles → online text (page 11 of 11)
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deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye
shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same
hour what ye shall speak, for it is not ye that
speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh
in you" (Matt. 10:18-20). This teaches that the
Spirit testifies through words.

"Which things also we speak, not in the words
which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy
Spirit teacheth" (1 Cor. 2:13, 14). Here, again,
this witness testifies in words. Having ascertained


that the first witness is reliable, and that he testifies
through words, we next inquire as to

b. Man's Spirit. Possibly some reader ques-
tions the fact that man's spirit witnesses to himself.
Let us hear Paul again: "I say the truth in Christ,
I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness
in the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 9:1). The same verb
is used here as in Rom. 1 : 16. Is this witness also
reliable? Can we rest confidently on this testimony
as on the other? A man murdered his wife.
Suborned witnesses, skillfully instructed by a shrewd
lawyer, proved that he was forty miles from her at
the time of the murder, and was therefore innocent.
But the spirit of the man knew the testimony was
false, and that he was guilty. And if the angels
and the redeemed had corroborated the false wit-
nesses, the spirit of the man would still have re-
mained the same. And, upon the other hand, if the
husband had been innocent, no amount of testimony
could have convinced his spirit of guilt. This great
question did not depend on outside testimony. And
thus it is seen that the spirit of man is trustworthy.

A word of caution: I do not mean to say that
one may not do wrong, and still have his spirit
encourage him in the wrong. This will be cleared
a little later. I only mean to teach that his spirit's
testimony is always in harmony with the facts as it
knows them. If a child knows nothing but affusion
as baptism, its spirit will testify in favor of affusion.
But let the facts be fully given, and it will declare
for immersion. Is not this the highest type of a
witness ?


How does this witness testify? Like God's
Spirit, it testifies through words, or their equivalents.
A man is before a jury. He knows all the facts
in the case pending. But he refuses to speak in
answer to the questions of counsel and court. How
long will it require to ascertain the testimony of
his spirit? It can never be known until he chooses
to coin it into words.

Two important questions are now settled; viz.,

both of our witnesses are absolutely reliable, and

both testify, not through fleshly sensations, dreams,

etc., but through words. Well may we tremble if

the testimony is against us ; and well may we rejoice

if it be in our favor.

a. It Is Not a New Revela-

3. What Is This ,;r ^ r-u • 4. ..

rj^ . ^ TiON. Many expect Christ to

Testimony? -^ \ 1 ,.j

speak to them to-day as he did

to the timid woman who touched his garment (Matt.
9 : 20) , saying, *Thy faith hath made thee whole ;'*
or to the palsied penitent (Mark 2:5), saying, "Son,
thy sins be forgiven thee;" or to the dying thief
(Luke 23:43), saying, "To-day thou shalt be with
me in paradise." The written word as found in the
Bible is not enough. They expect the still small
voice to make a new revelation to them. They
seem never to have read these plain words:
"According as his divine power hath given unto us
all things that pertain unto life and godliness," etc.
(2 Pet. 1:3). Notice the time of the verb— "hath
given;" not, "will give." Almost two thousand
years ago "all things" pertaining unto life and god-
liness had been given; the forgiveness of sins per-


tains unto "life and godliness"; therefore all things
on the subject have already been given. Why
expect a new revelation? It is as unreasonable as
to expect a special telegram to confirm a well-
attested letter from a friend. If you will not
believe his letter, what evidence has he that you
will believe his telegram? If we will not believe
the word of God in the Bible, why would we believe
a special message from the same source?

b. It Is Not Our Feelings. Multitudes rest
this great mattei on the frail basis of fleshly feel-
ings. If they feel good, they are forgiven; if they
feel bad, they are not forgiven. They forget the
feelings are largely dependent on health, the weath-
er, our surroundings, etc. But salvation is independ-
ent of all these. We may be saved in health or in
sickness; in good weather or bad; and in spite of
surroundings. They forget, also, that feelings are
deceptive. As Jacob listened to the false reports
ot his sinful boys, and looked upon the bloody
coat ot Joseph, he felt that his child was dead.
But his feelings deceived him. They seem not to
understand that feelings are an effect, and not a
cause. God forgives. This is a cause. The for-
given soul is happy. This is the result. We do
not know we are forgiven because we are happy,
but we are happy because we know we are forgiven.
But let no one conclude that we ignore, or even
place a light estimate on, feelings. A religion that
does not make one feel happy is a false religion.
When God forgives, every emotion of the soul leaps
for joy, and the lips sing the praises of Jehovah.


c. It Is Not Our Sincerity. Jacob was sincere
when he said his boy was dead, and that he would
see him no more this side the grave. Paul was as
sincere when persecuting the church as he was,
later, when he defended it, and gave his life as a
sacrifice lor Christ. Can you not recall cases in
your own life, and in the lives of your friends, in
which you were sincerely in the wrong? This fine
element of character — sincerity — is found alike in
the bosoms of those whose causes are just, and
those whose causes are unjust, and hence it proves
only the moral integrity of the man, and not the
righteousness of his cause.

A cruel illustration of this thought took place-
recently in one of our State prisons. The boy was
not very bright, and some of his fellow-prisoners
brought him what he thought was a regular pardon
from the Governor. He believed it was genuine,
and he leaped and danced for joy, and stood at
the door watching for an officer to come and lead
him out. He was happy as if it had been true, but
his happiness did not last. His feelings deceived

It the evidence of pardon is not in a new
revelation, and not in feelings, and not in sincerity,
what is it?

d. It Is the Joint Testimony of These Two
Witnesses. One points out the way to pardon,
and the other assures us that we have walked in
that way. God's Spirit says we must believe, which
changes the heart; and man's spirit says we must
repent, which changes the life; and man's spirit


says he has repented. God's Spirit says we must
be baptized, which changes the state or relationship ;
and man's spirit says he has been baptized. And
when changed in heart, Hfe and relationship, he is
"a new creature in Christ Jesus."

Now that we have this vital point made clear
as sunlight, imagine an honest and intelligent Chris-
tian testing himself. He looks within and asks
himself if he has believed; and the answer is in-
stantaneous, and without one vestige of doubt, that
he does believe. There is no more doubt on this
point than there is as to his existence. He knows
that he is a believer. Looking within again, he
asks himself as to his repentance; and the answer
is as prompt and as free from doubt as before, that
he has repented. With equal certainty he inquires
as to his baptism, and thus the entire question is
settled. To doubt now is either to question his
own consciousness, or to disbelieve the word of
God. And while reason reigns and rules he can
not do the former, and until he becomes an infidel,
he can not do the latter.

A man is in the penitentiary.
3. A Picture j^.^ ^^-^^^^^ petition the Governor,

and he is pardoned on certain conditions. With a
happy heart he starts to his home. The sherifif of
his county, not knowing of his pardon, meets him
on the highway, and commands him to halt. "Why
do you halt me?" says the man; "I have been par-
doned." "What evidence can you give of your
pardon?" answers the sheriff. "Well, Mr. Sheriff,"
says the man, "it is a strange story I have to tell.


but it is true. Last night about twelve o'clock,
when all was dark and still in my cell, suddenly a
light brighter than yonder sun shone about me, and
I heard a voice saying, 'John Smith, you are a
pardoned man.' " The sheriff coolly responds: *T've
no doubt you think you saw and heard all this,
and doubtless it would be all right in religious cir-
cles, but it is a little too fanciful for the courts of
Caesar, and you may consider yourself under arrest."
But the man, laying his hand on his heart, con-
tinues: "Mr. Sheriff, I feel that I am pardoned."
"I do not question your feelings," answers the
sensible but not oversentimental sheriff, ''but feel-
ings, like visions and voices, are not good evidence
in our courts," and he is about to proceed with
his prisoner to the jail. "Hold, Mr. Sheriff!" cries
the man with much vehemence, "I declare to you
that I am thoroughly honest and sincere!" "That
may be true," replies the officer, "but, like every-
thing else you've said, it is unsatisfactory as evi-
dence in our courts, and therefore it is my duty
to arrest you;" and his stern face indicates busi-
ness; when the ex-convict pulls from his pocket a
paper, saying: "Here is evidence which I know
you will accept." And it proves to be a pardon
from Governor Colquitt, of Texas, bearing the seal
of the State, in which the man is pardoned pro-
vided that on or before 1 P. M. of December 1,
1913, he leave the State and never returns. "This
is all right," says the sheriff. "Why did you not
show it at first and save all this trouble?"

At 12:30 p. M., December 1, he crosses the Rio


Grande River at El Paso, and takes up his abode
in Mexico. You meet him an hour later, and ask
him if he has been pardoned. What would he say?
Would he answer that he thought so? he hoped so?
he felt so? Certainly not. His answer would be
prompt, clear and positive. He would say, *'Yes.''
And then, if you should ask for the evidence
on which he based this confident answer, he would
tell you that Governor Colquitt promised his pardon
on certain conditions, and that he had complied
with those conditions. The spirit of the Governor,
the pardoning power, had named the conditions of
pardon, and the spirit of the man assured him that
he had faithfully observed them ; and therefore
he had the highest posible evidence of forgiveness.
Let the Governor represent God, and the pardoned
man the sinner, and we have not only a true pic-
ture of this most important principle, but one so
simple that all can understand.


1. Does God desire our happiness?

2. How many witnesses testify in our study?

3. How do they testify?

4. Give the negative side of the answer.

5. Give the positive side of the answer.

6. Illustrate the whole question.




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Online LibraryM. M. (Morrison Meade) DavisHow to be saved : a study of first principles → online text (page 11 of 11)