M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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his native land, lived and died a Frenchman. And
our beloved Washington can never be to another
people what he is to Americans. The vision and
influence of these choice spirits extend far beyond
their nation and time, but they are not universal.
But what they were to their particular people, place
and age, Christ is to all. And this despite the
dominant idea of his people. They thought he was
to be a king, but it was to be emphatically a Jewish
king; he was to reign over the world, but his
throne, with its special privileges, was to be in
Jerusalem. Every teacher, including his father and
mother, endeavored to impress him with this
thought. Yet this young Hebrew carpenter so
conquered the sectarianism about him that he rose
above the walls of separation between Jew and Gen-
tile as completely as if he had lived on another
planet. He is the one universal character, the one
sole cosmopolitan. He was the ideal Jew, or they
would not have tried to force their crown upon
him; he is equally the ideal of the polished Greeks,
who, when they see him in his beauty, forget their
hatred of the Jew in their admiration of him. And
the same is true when he is preached to the war-
like Roman, the liberty-loving German, the dark-



browed African, the clannish Chinaman, the pro-
gressive Japanese, the cultured Englishman, the
elegant Frenchman, the sturdy Scotchman and the
wide-awake American. Each sees in him his ideal.
Like the sun, he can not be monopolized by any,
but shines equally for all.

The virtues just enumerated
5. Completeness ^re not all that are found in the

Character character of Jesus. They are only

specimens. All are there. Not a
single gem is absent from the tiara of moral beauty
which encircles his brow. And they are not only
present, but they are perfectly blended. Nothing
is out of proportion; the symmetry is complete.
There is no one-sidedness in him. No one virtue
towered above the rest, but each was moderated
and completed by its opposite grace. His character
never lost its equilibrium, and hence never needed
readjustment or modification. He was vivacious
without levity; vigorous without violence; serious
without melancholy; dignified without pride or pre-
sumption. He combined the strength of the lion
with the meekness of the lamb, and the wisdom
of the serpent with the harmlessness of the dove.
Every element of character finds in him the hap-
piest harmony — harmony like that in the summer
and winter, and in the day and night.

Let the reader remember that this is wisdom
and purity combined. The brainiest men are not
always the best; and their friends frequently have
to insist that their lack of moral worth should be
atoned for by mental fiber. We are to see the


genius as he soars in the heavens rather than the
sinner as he walks on the earth. Byron could
dwell among the stars, while his heart fed on
carrion. Burns could sing like an angel, but, alas!
he did not live like one. And Burr was brilliant
but bad. Not so with the Christ. His heart is as
pure as his head is clear. His life is without blot
or blemish, and has neither parallel nor approach.
And herein, perhaps more than at any other single
point, is the seat of his power over men. In the
French Revolution, when the mob, wild with rage,
swept like a flood through the streets of Paris, de-
stroying everything in its way, a well-known man,
of pure and noble character, came into its presence
and waved his hand for a hearing. The leader
commanded a halt, and said, "Soldiers, we are in
the presence of a man who represents seventy
years of noble living;" and the mob uncovered its
head and listened. It was a great thing to say of
Jesus, "Never man spake like this man;" but it is
greater to say, "Never man lived like this man."
We close by calling a few of
6. A Few Wit- ^^^ myriads of witnesses who

have testified for him. Some are

friends and some are foes, but as to his purity
there is but one voice. Pilate's wife, with the sel-
dom erring instinct of woman, warned her husband
in these words : "Have thou nothing to do with that
just man." And when Pilate, weak and wavering,
delivered him up to be crucified, he washed his
hands in the presence of the mob he feared, and
said: "I am innocent of the blood of this just per-


son." Judas, the betrayer, brought back the thirty
pieces of silver and cast them at the feet of those
who gave it, saying: "I have sinned in that I have
betrayed innocent blood." The centurion and sol-
diers who executed him said: "Truly this was the
Son of God."

Besides these who saw him in the flesh, let us
hear others of a later day. Rousseau: "If the life
and death of Socrates are those of a sage, the life
and death of Jesus are those of a God." Napoleon :
"I know men ; and I tell you that Jesus Christ is not
a man." Channing: "Jesus not only was, he is still,
the Son of God, the Saviour of the world."
Strauss: "Christ represents within the religious
sphere the highest point, beyond which posterity
can never go." Jean Paul : "Jesus is the purest
among the mighty, and the mightiest among the
pure." Renan: "Whatever may be the surprises
of the future, Jesus will never be surpassed. Re-
pose now in thy glory, thy work is finished, thy
divinity is established. A thousand times more
living, a thousand times more loved since thy
death, than during the days of thy course here
below, thou shalt become the corner-stone of human-
ity, insomuch that to tear thy name from the
world would be to shake it to its very founda-
tions. No more shall men distinguish between thee
and God."


1. Name the seven proofs of superior wisdom.

2. Give Schaff's comment.


3. Mention eight peculiarities of Christ's wis-

4. How account for this wonderful wisdom?

5. What of the law of environment as applied
to the Christ?

6. Name six examples of Christ's purity.

7. What of the "completeness" of the Christ

8. Name nine witnesses on the question of
Christ's divinity.




1. Conceded Facts.

2. Infidel Position.

3. Christian Position.

4. The Trilemma.

a. Were They Deceived?

b. Were They Deceivers?

c. They Were Reliable Witnesses.

5. Corroborative Testimony.

a. Influence of the Resurrection on

the Disciples.

b. Triumph of the Truth.

c. The Lord's Supper.

d. The Lord's Day.



The Resurrection of Christ.

Having seen the power of God manifested in
the miracles of Christ, the knowledge of God in
his wisdom, and the purity of God in his life, we
might rest the claims of his divinity; but we wish
to make certainty doubly sure by witnessing the
climax of proof in his resurrection from the dead.
Paul names the resurrection (Heb. 6:1, 2) as one
of the things belonging to the principles of the doc-
trine of Christ, and he hinges everything on it.
"If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are
yet in your sins" (1 Cor. 15:17). This is the
key to the whole question. If this greatest of all
miracles is true, then there need be no question
about the supernatural; but, if false, we might as
well end the whole matter now and here and give
up all hope. If he rose from the dead, Christianity
is true; if not, it is false.

There are some important
Facts facts conceded by all, which

should be noted in the beginning
of this investigation. It is conceded that Jesus of
Nazareth lived at the time and place ascribed to
him in the New Testament; that he was crucified
in Jerusalem during the reign of Pontius Pilate;
that his body was buried in Joseph's new tomb;
that a great stone was laid at the mouth of the



tomb, and that on the morning of the third day the
body was gone.

On Sunday morning, when it
2. The Infidel ^^^ discovered that the body was
Position , ... . .

gone, the soldiers came mto the

city and reported the fact to the chief priests, and
they called a council and gave large money to the
soldiers, saying: "Say ye. His disciples came by
night, and stole him away while we slept. And if
this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade
him, and save you. So they took the money, and
did as they were taught" (Matt. 28: 11-15).

In support of this position they could command
the testimony of sixty witnesses, an ample number,
who were on the ground — the right place — for the
purpose of guarding the tomb.

But before we hear them, let us remember that
three of the strongest motives ever used by Satan
for the corruption of a witness were used in this
case: disgrace, bribery and death. Every soldier
would shrink from the disgrace of having a body
committed to his care stolen; money has made its
millions swerve from the right ; and all men in their
normal condition love life, and a Roman guard
forfeited his own when he allowed his prisoner to

Let us hear these witnesses. Behold sixty
bronzed veterans filing into the witness-box and each
saying that the body was stolen while they were
guarding the tomb. This is an unreasonable story.
If they had said a large force had overpowered
them and taken the body from them, it would,


Other things being equal, have been reasonable.
But it is not thinkable that sixty veteran soldiers,
familiar with guard duty, in charge of a safe filled
with valuables, would not only sleep — all of them
at the same time — but would sleep so soundly that
thieves could rifle the safe and escape with the
treasure without waking one of them. This is un-

But, bad as this is, it is not the worst. Ask
these gentlemen what they were doing at the time
of the theft, and they say they were sleeping. This
adds absurdity to unreasonableness. If they were
asleep, how did they know that the body was
stolen? And, if stolen, how did they know that
the disciples stole it? Their story is false on its
face; and such witnesses would be ruled out of any
court of justice.

But the tissue of absurdities connected with their

story is not yet complete. If the body was stolen,

why did they not require the timid disciples to bring

it back? One public exhibition of that mangled

form — so well known — would have settled at one

fell blow, and for all time, the story of Jesus and

the resurrection.

The witnesses in this case are

^* r^ .. "^ ^^^ more than five hundred, and they

Position , . . , , . ^

saw him frequently durmg a

period of forty days after the resurrection, and

talked and ate with him. The number is ample, as

in the other case, and their means of knowledge

all that could be desired. And in addition to this,

and of the most vital importance, remember that


there were no motives for them to testify falsely.
But, on the other hand, everything which is hard
to bear, and which men instinctively try to avoid — ■
shame, persecution and death — stood out luridly
before them as their inevitable fate.

The truth must be somewhere
4. The Trilemma j^ ^^.^ trilemma : they were de-
ceived, they were deceivers, or they were reliable

a. Were They Deceived? Their mental condi-
tion forbade deception. Every one of them, inclu-
ding those keen-visioned women, expected an earthly
kingdom. That was why the mother of James and
John requested the chief places for her sons; that
was why Peter and others, thinking all was lost,
returned to their fishing-boats; that was why the
two disciples, on their way to Emmaus, were so
sad and hopeless. And up to the time of his ascen-
sion this thought clung to them: "Lord, wilt thou
at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts
1:6). The resurrection of Jesus was as far from
their thoughts as his visible appearance is from the
thought of the reader of these lines at this time.

They saw him too often to be deceived. I have
been preaching in this city for twenty-four years;
have associated with the people in the church, on
the streets, and in their homes ; have been with them
in their glad days and their sad ones — at the mar-
riage altar, and by the open grave — and they know
me. Suppose I should disappear, and be gone for
three days; after which, for a period of forty days,
I should meet and mingle with five hundred of


them, talking and eating with them, would they
know me? This is the parallel as to Christ, and it
must carry conviction to the heart of every unbiased

"But did they not doubt?" (Matt. 28:17).
Yes, some of them did doubt. But what of it?
That fact makes them the more reliable as wit-
nesses. It shows that they were not the credulous
dupes some would have us believe them to be, but
honest searchers after truth, ready and determined
to sift all the facts regarding the resurrection. And
let it never be forgotten that after this examination
their doubts vanished. Thomas, the chief doubter,
after the fullest possible examination of the case,
cried, "My Lord and my God!" (John 20:28).
And of the others, after a similar investigation, it
was said: "And none of the disciples durst ask
him. Who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord"
(John 21:1-12).

b. Were They Deceivers? There was no
motive for deception, and sane men like these al-
ways act from motive. No one had offered them
money as they did the soldiers; and there was no
popularity to gain, for it now looked like a lost
cause. On the other hand, they had all to lose.
But, in spite of this, if he did not rise, they told
a deliberate falsehood, and one diametrically
opposed to their every interest, both for time and
for eternity. Would you do such a thing as this?
They gave the highest possible evidence of their
honesty. As soon as they began to preach the
resurrection their persecutions began. They were


thrust into prison, but released with the command
to desist from their preaching. Then they were
scourged. Soon Stephen became the first martyr,
and with his dying breath he declared that he saw
the risen Christ standing on the right hand of
God. Next James was beheaded, and Peter was
waiting for the day of execution. And thus it
continued until nearly all of them were slain; but
not one of them changed his testimony; not a single
one of them turned "state's evidence."

c. They Were Reliable Witnesses. The
truth must be in this third horn of the trilemma,
for there is no other reasonable explanation of their

Greenleaf, perhaps the highest authority on evi-
dence that ever lived, has thoroughly sifted this
evidence, and here is his conclusion: "Let the wit-
nesses be compared with themselves, with each
other, and with surrounding facts and circum-
stances; and let their testimony be sifted as if it
were given in a court of justice on the side of the
adverse party, the witnesses being subjected to a
vigorous cross-examination. The result, it is con-
fidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction
of their integrity, ability and truth. In the course
of such an examination the undesigned coincidences
will multiply upon us at every step in our progress;
the probability of the veracity of the witnesses and
of the reality of the occurrences which they relate
will increase until it acquires, for all practical pur-
poses, the value and force of demonstration."

Let us glance at some


a. The Influence of the

^' rr?"S °^^ ^^* Resurrection on the Disciples.

It must be sadly confessed that
before the resurrection his disciples were anything
but ideal followers of their Master. They were
slow to learn, and selfish; and in his hour of sore
need one betrayed him and others forsook him and
fled. And when he was crucified what would one
naturally expect of them? Would we not expect
them, crushed in spirit and disappointed in hope,
to disperse and sink into oblivion, 'leaving only
the record of another prophet's failure to be
reckoned with that of Theudas, and Judas of
Galilee, and similar sporadic flashes of Jewish
fanaticism"? But we find nothing of the kind.
Those arrant cowards became bold as lions, defying
both the religious venom of the Jew and the polit-
ical rage of the Roman. Their soul-vision is un-
clouded, and their voices ring out, clear-toned like
trumpets, as they proclaim the sweet story of their
risen Lord. All this must be accounted for. Every
effect has a cause, and this effect could "no more
have risen out of nothing, or come about by chance,
than our great modern railroad system could have
arisen spontaneously in a land where iron was
unknown, or have been developed without the brain
of a Watt and the genius of a Stephenson."

b. The Triumph of the Truth in the Face
OF Opposition. Ballard forcefully says: "If we
can imagine a lion, a tiger and a wolf uniting in
desperate effort to destroy a lamb — and failing — we
should but have a fair parallel to that which


actually happened in human society at the com-
mencement of the Christian era. The practical alli-
ance betwen Jewish hate, Roman might and Greek
subtlety, against the infant Christian faith, is abso-
lutely without parallel in history." But in the
face of this mighty alliance, the new doctrine spread
with wonderful rapidity. The first sermon gained
three thousand converts; a second sermon, five
thousand; and soon these converts were no longer
counted, but referred to as multitudes, so that in
the brief record of the Book of Acts not less than
half a million Christians are made. And within
twenty-five years after the crucifixion the unhesita-
ting belief in the resurrection was established among
all Christians throughout the then known world.

Alany of these converts were from the Jews,
including priests, and other great men like Saul of
Tarsus. And if the reader thinks men of this kind
are easily converted, let him try to induce some
modern rabbi to accept the Christ.

And as to the persecutions encountered in this
work, neither the language of men nor angels can
do justice to their horror, or to the heroism of those
who endured them. But a single quotation from
Lecky must suffice: "We read of Christians bound
in chains of red-hot iron, while the stench of the
unconsumed bodies rose in a suffocating cloud to
heaven; of others torn to the very bone by shells
or hooks of iron; of holy virgins given over to the
lust of gladiators, or the mercies of the panderer;
of two hundred and twenty-seven sent on one occa-
sion to the mines, each with one leg severed by


a hot iron, and an eye scooped from the socket;
of fires so slow that the victims writhed for hours
in their agony; of tortures prolonged and varied
through entire days. For the love of their divine
Master, for the cause which they believed to be
true, when one word would have freed them from
their sufferings."

c. The Lord^s Supper. On the night of his
betrayal the Saviour instituted this Supper (Matt.
26 : 26-30) , and from that day to this it has been
observed wherever Christianity has gone. In fact,
this institution has always been a part of the Chris-
tian religion. It is a significant fact that wherever
this bloodless feast has been spread, there bloody
sacrifices have ceased, and the sense of sin has
been greatly intensified. When the sun rises, even
men put out the other lights; and so when the
sacrifice of Calvary is made, all minor sacrifices are

What is the cause which produced this unique
institution? It could not have been borrowed from
Judaism, for it ignores the very heart of their
memorial rite : the bloody sacrifice. It would also
shock the Jews to have the Messiah represented in
any sense as a sacrifice. Neither could it have
come from Greek or Roman mythology, for there
was nothing there to suggest it. And if Christ did
not rise from the grave, the disciples would not
observe it, for in that case it was the proclamation
of a failure on the part of their Lord. But they
did observe it, and wherever they went preaching
"Jesus and the resurrection," this memorial feast


was made a prominent part of the worship of the
churches which they estabHshed.

But the strangest thing is yet to be said; viz.,
that this custom arose on the very spot, and imme-
diately following the time, of the crucifixion.
Ebrard says that *'in the whole sphere of criticism
there is no absurdity more uncritical than the idea
that a rite which universally prevailed should have
grown up accidentally and gradually, especially a
rite of such marked peculiarity." But if we accept
the New Testament account of the origin, purpose
and promulgation, then all is simple and reason-

d. The Lord's Day. From the beginning (Gen,
2:3) the Sabbath day was sacred. But it received
an added sanctity when the Jews made it com-
memorative of their deliverance from Egyptian
bondage (Deut. 5:15). Men naturally love and
venerate ancient customs, often simply because they
are ancient. But this day is not only hoary with
age, but it commemorated two of the grandest
events in the history of the world; yet it gives
place to the Lord's Day, and becomes commemora-
tive of two grander events: the new creation in
Christ, and deliverance from sin. And this monu-
ment, like the Supper, began in Jerusalem, and just
one week after the resurrection of the Christ. It
would be absolutely impossible to induce the Ameri-
can people to observe the fourth of June instead of
the fourth of July in commemoration of the
Declaration of Independence; and it would be
equally impossible to induce them to so observe


the fourth of July, if no such Declaration ever took
place. Yet the best people of the world for nine-
teen centuries have been observing the Lord's Day;
have reared a monument in memory of an event
which never occurred, if so be that Christ rose
not. The tall white shaft, the highest monument
in the world, which lifts its pinnacle into the clouds
over Washington City, could never have been built
if Washington had not been the savior of his
people; neither could these two towering monu-
ments, the Lord's Supper and the Lord's Day, have
had their glorious history and sacred significance
if Christ had not been ''declared the Son of God
with power by the resurrection from the dead"
(Rom. 1:4).

It is said that Charlemagne at his own request
was buried in a sitting posture, clothed in royal
purple and ermine, with his crown on his head and
his scepter in his hand. Years afterward the tomb
was opened, but, alas! little was left of his imperial
glory. The crown had fallen from his bleached
brow, the scepter lay in the dust at his feet, and
his royal robes had rotted about him. Not so with
King Jesus. God had said that his body should
not be left in the grave, and the holy One should
not see corruption; and so on the morning of the
third day he burst the bars of the tomb and came
forth, bringing life and immortality to light through
the gospel; and now lives and reigns and rules as
the Lord of lords and the King of kings.



1. What is Paul's estimate of the resurrection?

2. Name five conceded facts concerning the

3. State the infidel position.

4. What three motives were used to corrupt
their witnesses?

5. What story did these witnesses tell?

6. What would have been the result if they
had presented the body of Jesus?

7. What is the Christian position?

8. State the trilemma, and discuss it.

9. What is the testimony of Greenleaf?

10. State the four points of corroborative tes-






1. What Is Faith?

2. How Is Faith Produced?

3. The Scope of Faith.

4. The Object of Faith.




Having established beyond a doubt the divinity
of Christ, we next examine in detail the steps lead-
ing to salvation in him. We begin with the first
step, faith.

Paul answers this question as
I. What Is Faith? f Qn^^^g . ..^^^ ^^-^^ jg ^^e sub-
stance of things hoped for, the evidence of things
not seen" (Heb. 11:1). This passage has suffered
much at the hands of the scholarship of the church,
and, like the poor woman of whom the Saviour tells
us, who had suffered much at the hands of the
physicians, it is generally unimproved by their
treatment. Some of them say that it is not a
definition, but a description, of faith. But as a
definition, though about four hundred years old,

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