M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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lower to the higher, from the imperfect to the per-
fect. The grave is the robing-room in which the
soul is dressed for an audience with the Lord of
lords and the King of kings.

Whence, then, this wonderful Book? How came
it with a unity as perfect as that of the human body?
How came it with a vitality which ignores the
passage of time, and though old in years, like its
Lord, still retains the dew of its youth? How came
it with the magic power that blesses everything it
touches? How came it to be perfectly adapted to
all men in all places and in every condition? Why
is it that it refuses to be destroyed, and defies the
might and malice of every foe? Why is it that it
moves in the vanguard of a growing world and con-
stantly taunts its enemies by saying: "Supplement
me ; supersede me ; supplant me, if you can !"
Whence its power to take away the sting of death,
to light up the dark vault of the grave, to unbolt
the gates of the New Jerusalem and usher the soul
into the presence of its Maker and Redeemer? Well
has Alfred M. Haggard said: "I know that no man


made the roses. I know that no man painted the

sunset on the evening skies. In the same way I
know that no man, nor set of men, unaided, have
produced the Bible. It points to God as its Author
as do the flowers and the sunset skies."

Cokimbus never explored South America, but
only touched a few places on the northern coast, and
yet he unhesitatingly pronounced it a continent. As
he gazed on the vast volume of fresh water rushing
through the wide-mouthed Orinoco into the sea, he
Said: "That stream, comrades, never came from an
island; be sure it gathered its vast waters from a
continent." And when we contemplate the influences
flowing from this matchless Book, we instinctively
exclaim: **It came not from man, but from man's


1. Is revelation reasonable?

2. What of the unity of the Bible?

3. What of the vitality of the Bible?

4. What of the utility of the Bible?

5. What of the adaptation of the Bible?

6. What of the indestructibility of the Bible?

7. What of the progressiveness of the Bible?

8. Give the quotation from Haggard.

9. Give the illustration by Columbus.





1. First Want.

a. Baptism of Jesus.

b. Calming the Storm.

c. Feeding the Multitude.

d. Raising of Lazarus.

2. Second Want.

a. The Unbeliever.

b. The Believer.

c. The Penitent Believer.

d. The Backslider.

3. Third Want.

4. Fourth Want.



How TO Study the New Testament.

The whole Bible is from God, and therefore it
should be faithfully studied by his children. But
there are special reasons why we should study the
New Testament. It is the Father's latest and fullest
revelation, including the Gentile as well as the Jew,
and giving us, in fact, what the Old Testament
gives in picture and in promise. It is the constitution
of the new covenant under which we live, and a
full knowledge of this covenant can not be had
except through the New Testam.ent. Much injury
has resulted from the want of a clean-cut distinction
between the Old and New Testaments. Many relig-
ious teachers treat the two volumes as if they were
identical in their teachings. They are as apt to send
a penitent sinner to the Psalms of David or the
wailings of Jeremiah for instruction as to how to
be saved, as to the Book of Acts. And when we
come to the New Testament we often find similar
confusion. They seem to think that the different
parts of the book just happened to get into their
present places; that Matthew might as well have
been the last book as the first and that Revelation
was not necessarily the last section of the volume.
The idea, in many cases, seems to be that these dif-
ferent books of the New Testament found their
several places much as different tracts might find



theirs, when bound together by a publisher without
reference to their contents. But such a conception
is as far from the truth as the east is from the west.
This book is as systematic in its arrangement as any
text-book. Matthew is first because it ought to be
first, and Revelation is last because it ought to be
last, and so of every other book.

Man, spiritually, is a fourfold creature, and the
book is fourfold in its divisions, each division meet-
ing the spiritual wants in the order of their occur-
rence. These divisions have each one great fun-
damental purpose which gives character to them. It
is true they contain many other important things,
but these are subordinate. The Mississippi River,
in its long journey, runs toward every point of the
compass; therefore, it might be truthfully said that
it flows east, west, north and south; and yet, when
speaking in general, it is correct to say that it flows
southward because this is its main course.

The first spiritual want of one

I. First Want . j • / - u • ^- -i. i .. x

studymg Christianity relates to

Christ. An educated Hindoo, with a clear head and
good heart, having heard of the Christian religion,
lands in New York for the purpose of investigating
it. The first Sunday morning finds him listening to
a Presbyterian preacher. When he analyzes the ser-
mon he finds that its central thought is that of a
great person called by various names: Christ, Jesus,
Saviour, Lord, etc. At night he hears a Methodist
preacher, whose sermon in many respects is different
from the other, but both are identical so far as this
central thought is concerned. He continues to hear


eminent men for months, and they differ in a thou-
sand minor details, but are a unit concerning the
Christ. He is to their theology what the sun is to the
solar system — its center; the point around which all
things else revolve, and from which they receive
their light and life. He now selects a competent
teacher, and his studies begin in earnest.

This teacher, that this first want of his may be
supplied, directs him in a careful study of the first
division of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John. He has him witness the baptism
of Jesus, with the visible dovelike descent of the
Spirit, and the audible voice from the skies.

a. Baptism of Jesus. "Then cometh Jesus from
Galilee to Jordan to be baptized of John. But John
forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of
thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering
said unto him, Suffer it to be so now, for thus it
becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he
suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized,
went up straightway out of the water, and lo, the
heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the
Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting
upon him. And lo, a voice from heaven, saying,
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased"
(Matt. 3:13-17).

His pupil is deeply impressed, and asks for fur-
ther instruction.

b. Calming the Storm. He is next shown the
Lord as he hushes the sea into silence. "And the
same day, when the evening was come, he said unto
them. Let us pass over unto the other side. And



when they had sent away the multitude, they took
him even as he was in the ship. . . . And there arose
a great storni of wind, and the waves beat into
the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the
hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow ; and they
awoke him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou
not that we perish? And he arose and rebuked the
wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the
wind ceased, and there was a great calm" (Mark

The tired Saviour is asleep in the little boat.
The storm-king arouses the waves and the sea be-
comes so furious that the disciples, experienced sea-
men, familiar with such dangers, moved with fear,
awoke him, saying, ''Master, carest thou not that
we perish?" Arising from his hard bed, filled with
the majesty and mercy of Jehovah, he waves his
hand and says, 'Teace, be still!" and the wild winds
cease their roaring, the mad waves crouch at his feet,
and the sea, calm as an infant's slumber, permits
the frail vessel to pass on in safety to the shore.
The teacher asks what he thinks of One whom the
winds and the waves obey. He answers, "He is
w^onderful; but let me see more of him."

c. Feeding the Multitude. They now go to a
desert place to see him feed the five thousand on five
loaves and two fishes. "When Jesus heard of it [the
death of John] he departed thence by ship into a
desert place apart; and when the people had heard
thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude,
and was moved with compassion toward them, and


he healed their sick. And when it was evening, his
disciples came to him, saying. This is a desert place,
and the time is now past; send the multitude away,
that they may go into the villages, and buy them-
selves victuals. But Jesus said unto them. They
need not depart ; give ye them to eat. And they say
unto him. We have here but five loaves and two
fishes. He said, Bring them hither to me. And he
commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass,
and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and look-
ing up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave
the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the
multitude. And they did all eat, and were filled:
and they took up of the fragments that remained
twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were
about five thousand men, besides women and chil-
dren" (Matt. 14:13-21).

The young Hindoo witnesses this remarkable
scene with great astonishment and awe. He sees the
hungry throng of five thousand men, with probably
as many more women and children — ten thousand
in all — seated on the soft grass; he sees the little
pittance of food brought to Jesus ; he beholds him
looking up to God, and hears his strange, sweet voice
as he blesses it ; he then watches him as he gives it
to the disciples, and they to the multitude ; and he
notices how these starving people devour it. And
when all are fed, he is astonished to find that more
food remains that they had in the beginning.

Again the teacher seeks an opinion, and again
his pupil expresses wonder, but asks for more evi-
dence before rendering a verdict.


Before leaving this miracle, let me say that it
is one of the greatest the Saviour ever wrought. It
is easy to deceive the eye, the ear and the touch;
but not so of the appetite of a hungry man. You
can not convince him that he has been fed until you
feed him. If you think you can, try it with the
hungry schoolboy, as he comes bounding home from
school. And yet Jesus, with these few loaves and
fishes, convinced these hungry thousands that they
had been fed.

d. Raising of Lazarus. The resurrection of
Lazarus (John 11:1-46) is next studied. The
Christ, with the sympathy of a man and the power
of God, cries with a loud voice, ''Lazarus, come
forth!" And the arms of Death are broken, and the
dead, alive again, is restored to his weeping sisters.
Doubt now vanishes, and the young man joyfully
proclaims : 'Tt is enough ! It is enough ! I believe
in Jesus as the Son of God and the Saviour of men !"

Thus the first want of the spiritual nature, ''Who
is Jesus?" is met and supplied by the first division
of the New Testament — the Gospels. "Many other
signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples,
which are not written in this book; but these art
Vs'ritten that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ,
the Son of God; and believing ye might have life
through his name" (John 20:30, 31). "Believe me
that I am in the Father and the Father in me, or else
believe me for the very works' sake" (John 14: 11).
"Rabbi, we believe thou art a teacher come from
God ; for no man can do these miracles that thou
doest except God be with him" (John 3:2).


Some years ago this writer made this same argu-
ment to one Vv'ho had recently lost twin children —
Willie and Lillie — and had buried them together in
the same grave, and had placed at the head of the
little mound a twin monument in marble bearing the
names of his lost jewels. This father was very
near and dear to me by ties of kindred, and I was
exceedingly anxious to win him to the Christ. When
the argument was finished, I asked him what he
thought of it. Ke answered, **I hardly know what to
think of it." I urged him to give a definite answer;
for he had listened to it carefully, and was capable
of rendering an intelligent decision; but he would
not, still claiming that his mind was not quite clear
on the subject. I then asked him to imagine a man
claiming the power to raise the dead, a power
W'hich is found only in God, standing by the grave
of his little children. This man has advertised that
he is going to call these children back to life; and
you and your wife, and a large company of your
neighbors, are standing near him, watching and
M^aiting to see the result. The strange man lifts his
eyes reverently toward God, and thanks him that
he has always heard him, and then he pleads for
the sake of those about him that he will hear him
once more. After a pause, when a solemn hush,
like the silence of the tomb, has settled down over
all, the stranger, looking toward the grave where
the bodies of the little twins were resting, cries in
a clear, strong voice, "Willie and Lillie, come forth !"
Instantly the grave opens and your children do come
forth, Willie twining his little arms about your neck.


and Lillie clasping hers about the neck of her mother.
'•Under these circumstances," I asked, 'Svhat would
you think of this strange and wonderful man?" And
again he answered that he did not know. But I am
sure that he did know ; and that he would have fallen
at his feet and worshiped him as a divine being.

It is popular in some circles to ignore the miracles
altogether; to throw them out of court, as unworthy
of consideration by this cultured age. But, before
agreeing to this wholesale slaughter of Bible evi-
dence, let it be remembered that the people among
whom they were wrought did not deny them. They
attempted to discount them by ascribing them to
Beelzebub (Mark 3:22); but it was a later age —
much later — that discarded them altogether. Sup-
pose a young man, after much research and pro-
found thought (?), decides that the battle of Get-
tysburg is a myth; no such conflict ever occurred.
But when he closes his eloquent address, an old, bat-
tle-scarred veteran of Pickett's division, who lost
an arm in that famous charge, says : "Young man,
that was a fine speech, but it is false ; there was such
a battle, for it was there I lost my good right arm."
Whom shall we believe? The man who was on the
ground when the battle was fought, or the man who
was born forty years later?

Let it also be remembered that the greatest
miracle of all would be that He who is the chief of
all miracles should have wrought no miracles. "You
may as well expect the sun to send forth darkness as
to expect ordinary works from such an extra-
ordinary being."


But more important still, let it never be forgot-
ten that when we give up miracles we give up
Christianity. If there be no miracles, then there was
no incarnation, no resurrection, and no ascension,
and without these there is no Christianity.

Knowing himself a sinner,
2. Second Want ^^^ ^^^.^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ Saviour,

the second spiritual want voices itself in the ques-
tion, "What must I do to be saved? Here is salva-
tion, how can I appropriate it?" His teacher turns
him to the Book of Acts, the second division of the
New Testament. Here he finds perhaps a half-mil-
lion people with this same want in their hearts and
this same question on their lips ; and he finds that
all of them heard the gospel, believed it, repented
of their sins and were baptized in the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

This second division of the New Testament, like
all the divisions of this Book, is rich and varied in
its teachings ; but clearly its chief purpose is to show
the man in sin how to be saved. That this is its
main purpose is evident in the fact that most of the
space is devoted to this subject. "The greater part
of the book," says Prof. J. W. McGarvey, "consists
in detailed accounts of conversions to Christ, and of
unsuccessful attempts at the same." After sketch-
ing the many accounts of conversions, and attempted
conversions, this distinguished Bible teacher, the
most eminent in the world on the Book of Acts, says :
"Undoubtedly, then, the writer's chief design was to
set forth to his readers a multitude of cases of con-
version under the labors of the apostles and apos-


tolic men, so that we may know how this work, the
main work for which Jesus died, and the apostles
were commissioned, was accompHshed. The cases
recorded represent all the different grades of human
society, from idolatrous peasants up to priests, pro-
consuls and kings. They represent all the degrees
of intellectual and religious culture ; all the common
occupations of Hfe; and all the countries and lan-
guages of the then known world, thus showing the
adaptation of the one system of life and salvation to
all the inhabitants of the earth."

Those who are away from God and living in sin
may be classified as unbelievers, believers, penitent
behevers and backsliders ; and each of these classes
has an example or examples illustrative of his con-
dition in the Book of Acts, and showing him how to
be saved from his sin.

o. The Unbeliever. The case of the Philip-
pian jailer (16:16-34) illustrates the unbeliever.
He was in the darkness of heathenism, and had to
be taught the whole of the plan of salvation: faith
to change the heart; repentance to change the life
and baptism to change the state or relationship.
Faith and baptism are both declared, and repentance
is clearly implied, in the washing of the stripes of
Paul and Silas.

b. The Believer. The story of Pentecost (2: 1-
40) illustrates the man who has faith in Christ, but
has not obeyed him. These people are not told to
believe, but to repent and be baptized, which would
complete their obedience, and deliver them from sin.

c. The Penitent Believer. The case of Saul


of Tarsus (9:1-18 and 22:1-16) illustrates the
story of one who has both believed and repented,
and hence his obedience is completed by his bap-

d. The Backslider. The case of Simon (8: 1-
24) illustrates the condition of those who obey the
Lord, but afterwards turn from him and go back
into sin. He is not told to believe or be baptized,
but to repent and pray to God for forgiveness.

Thus is precept illuminated by example, the most
effective way of teaching, and also the most success-
ful manner of moving men to action.

Supposing the young Hindoo to have grasped
the truth and obeyed it, he is now a Christian and the

Of his spiritual nature asserts
3, Third Want .. ,r n\'^ a c

Itself. Gratitude for mercies re-
ceived, a consuming desire to tell others of his
Saviour, and an intense yearning to know more of
him, and to become more like him, is the great pur-
pose of his life. The song of his heart is:

"More about Jesus would I know,
More of his grace to others show ;
More of his saving fullness see.
More of his love who died for me.

"More about Jesus let me learn,
More of his holy will discern ;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things oi Christ to me.

"More about Jesus, in his word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing his voice in every line,
Making each faithful saying mine."


Kis teacher now directs him in the study of the
Epistles, the third division of the New Testament.
Beginning with Romans, each of these twenty -one
books is studied, and they are found to be directed
to Christians to show them how to hve the Christian
life. He hears Paul talking to a young man like
himself, and saying, "Study to show thyself ap-
proved unto God, a workman that needeth not to
be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2
Tim. 2: 15). Again he hears this father in the gos-
pel exhorting his son in these words : "These things
I write unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly ;
but if I tarry long, that thou may est know how thou
oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and
ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3: 14, 15). He also
reads from the Roman letter (1:1, 2): "I beseech
you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that
ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, accept-
able unto God, which is your reasonable service."
And from 1 Cor. 3 : 9, he reads : "For we are laborers
together with God; ye are God's husbandry, ye are
God's building."

His soul revels in the richness of these and kin-
dred Scriptures, and he is soon active and useful in
the church. Wherever duty calls he responds, and
whenever the door of opportunity opens he enters
in. He grows in grace and in the knowledge of
the Lord Jesus Christ, and becomes a pillar in the
temple of God.

The Christian of to-day ought to learn anew this
old lesson, for we are saved to serve. In spiritual


things as in natural, the inexorable law of life is do
or die. The unused arm withers, the unused eye
loses the power of vision, and the idle brain loses
the power of thought. The Jordan waters, as they
come down from the snow-covered mountains of
Lebanon, are clear as crystals, beautiful as diamonds,
and full of life. But when they enter the fatal sea
and become inactive, they die.

The Master's life, the model for the lives of his
disciples, was one of service. At the early age of
twelve he said: **I must be about my Father's busi-
ness" (Luke 2:49). In the midst of his ministry,
he said: *'I must work the work of him that sent
me while it is day; the night cometh, when no man
can work" (John 9:4). When Peter would sum
up in a single short sentence the key to His wonder-
ful Hfe, he says, "He went about doing good" (Acts
10: 38). There will be but two classes at the judg-
ment: those who did and those who did not (Matt.

The supreme want of the church is workers:
active, tireless, consecrated and strong, who can be
relied upon ; men and women not only built on the
rock, but of the rock: granite Christians (1 Pet. 2:
5). The task committed to her hands is nothing
less than the salvation of a lost world: a gigantic
undertaking. To bring it thus far has cost the blood
of an army of martyrs, and the sacrifice of the Lord
Jesus Christ. May we pray and labor for power
sufficient for this great task.

A little child was asked why she wished to be a
painter. "That I may help God paint the skies and


clouds at sunset," was the reply. But God wants
Ko such help. In arching the skies, in piling up
mountains, in painting the rainbow, and in the thou-
sands of other works, he has no human partner. He
asks not our help in burnishing the sun, in keeping
the moon and stars in their orbits, or in beautifying
and sweetening the roses, and in making gorgeous
the garments of the birds. But in the greatest of
all work, the saving of souls, he honors us by making
us his coworkers.

Now let us at a single bound pass over a half
century of time, and find ourselves in the house of
this same man, now fourscore years of age. The
eyes once so clear and bright are now dim ; the ears
once so sensitive to sound are now dull; the hair
once black as the raven's wing is now white as
snow ; and the manly form once erect and strong
rxow stoops and staggers under the weight of years.
He is no longer able to meet with his brethren in
public worship; his active work has all been turned
ever to others; and, sitting there on the summit of
a long and fruitful life, he gazes yearningly into the
future. He has been so busy hitherto that he has
had little time for thoughts of this kind. His old
teacher is still at his elbow, and he recognizes in all
this the

„ , ,„ Of his spiritual nature; and he

4. Fourth Want xi_ -o 1 r t-, 1 •

opens the Book of Revlation, the

fourth division of the New Testament, the pro-
phetic department, that this want may be supplied.
He reads to him: "Blessed are the dead who die in
the Lord from henceforth ; yea, saith the Spirit, that


they may rest from their labors ; and their works da

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