M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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it is not the best, and yet is not bad. The word
rendered "substance" means that which stands
under a structure, as its support or foundation.
Hence, faith is the foundation on which things we
hope for stand. The evidence of things not seen
is the assurance that such things do exist. As we
look forward to the beautiful temple of Hope,
secure from every storm, and backward through
the dim and shadowy past and see it, though in-
visible; or peer into the tangled present and behold
God's hand leading and shielding at every step, we

101



102 HOW TO BE SAVED

realize something of what faith is. It is the mighty
prop on which the past, the present and the future
all rest.

But Edward Robinson's definition, in his great
"Lexicon of the Greek New Testament," is better,
and perhaps the best ever given. He says: "Faith
is confidence as to things hoped for, conviction as
to things not seen." According to this definition,
faith has to do with two classes of things : things
hoped for, and things unseen. As regards the
unseen things, the word is wonderfully inclusive,
and embraces everything in the past, the present
and the future, of which we have no knowledge.
Covering all such things, our faith is a "conviction,"
or assurance, that they do exist. As to the unseen
things of the past we do not hope for them, but
we do hope for many of the unseen things of the
future. And when faith rests on these unseen
objects of the future, then its second element is
brought into action — confidence as to things hoped
for. Aided by these two definitions, it would seem
that we might have no doubt as to the correct
meaning of this great word.

. On this subject there has been

Prrduced?^ ^"^^ harmful teaching by theo-
logians. It has been taught that
man, being totally depraved, has no ability to believe,
and therefore must w^ait for God's good time, when,
in some miraculous way, he will give him faith. He
has been told that he is as dead spiritually as
Lazarus was physically, and that he can no more
exercise a moral faculty without special divine aid



FAITH 103

than Lazarus could rise from the grave without the
almighty power of the Saviour. The impression
has been made that God has, as it were, an immense
storage-battery in the heavens, and when he wills
he touches it and flashes faith into the hearts of
men much as we shock them with electricity. And
so they are taught to pray for it, and expect it
to come to them directly and irresistibly. If this
is true, there is no such thing as human respon-
sibility, and God can not be just and condemn man
for unbelief.

But let us thank God that this baneful theory,
now fast taking its flight from the haunts of men
(Heaven hasten its going!), is false. If faith is
the belief of testimony, then testimony must precede
it, and man must possess the power to examine this
testimony. The jury is not asked for a verdict
without testimony. Their faith in the guilt or
innocence of the prisoner comes not in some mys-
terious and independent manner, but according to
the laws of the mind. And if one has not the
power to exercise these mental powers, he is not
eligible to jury service, and neither is he amenable
to law. This is the clear, strong voice of reason;
and, as is ever the case, it is in perfect accord with
that of revelation.

Our faith in God did not come in this way. It
is not the result of agonizing anxiety; of anxious
prayer by ourselves and others; of strange dreams,
visions or fleshly sensations, or anything of the kind.
But when we were little children our mothers, in
answer to our curious questions as to who made



104 HOW TO BE SAVED

the sun and moon and stars and mountains and seas,
opened the old family Bible and read its first verse
to us: "In the beginning God created the heaven
and the earth." And so it came from God's word.
And our faith in Jesus came in the same way.
These mothers read to us the story of his birth,
his life, his death and his resurrection in the old
Book, and we believed it.

Let us, therefore, have a few Scriptures in
proof of this declaration.

"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them
also who shall believe on me through their word"
(John 17:20). The Saviour had been praying for
his disciples, and now his great, loving heart looks
forward and embraces the vast army of believers
yet to come, who would believe on him through
their word. And if our faith come not through
their word — the gospel — we are not included in
that prayer.

"Many other signs truly did Jesus, which are
not written in this book, but these are written that
ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God, and that believing ye might have life through
his name" (John 20:30, 31). From this fine
passage we get three important points: (a) Faith
comes by hearing the gospel; {b) we are not to
believe in dogmas, theories, speculations of men,
etc., but in Christ; (c) the purpose of this faith
is to give us life.

"Peter rose up and said, Men and brethren, ye
know that a good while ago God made choice among
us that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the



FAITH 105

word of the gospel, and believe'* (Acts 15:7).
Language could not be clearer than this. If God
chose that the Gentiles should hear the gospel and
believe, then we should not expect faith independ-
ent of the gospel. But this Scripture is specially
important because it is a part of the account of the
conversion of Cornelius and his household, where
there was a supernatural outpouring of the Holy-
Spirit. But Peter teaches that their faith was not
the result of this miraculous gift of the Spirit, but
of the Word which he preached to them.

"These were more noble than those in Thes-
salonica, in that they received the word with all
readiness of mind, searching the scriptures daily,
whether these things were so. Therefore many of
them believed" (Acts 17:11, 12). The Thessalo-
nians rejected the truth, and organized a rough
mob to resist it. But the Bereans "received the
word with all readiness of mind" ; and they searched
the Scriptures like miners search for gold; and
this they did daily, giving it a continuous hearing.
"Therefore many of them believed." Here we see
the sure highways of faith: an honest heart, a can-
did hearing, and a searching investigation.

"So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing
by the word of God'' (Rom. 10:17). This is so
plain that it is hazardous to try to make it plainer.
If it said that faith comes by feeling, or by the
direct operation of the Spirit, we would so teach.
But it says it comes by hearing the word of God,
and this is the end of controversy to the man who
believes.



106 HOW TO BE SAVED

It stretches from the cradle
3* "^p^^^""^^* °^ to the grave, and is present at
almost every step in the pilgrim-
age from the one to the other. It enlarges the
horizon of the senses. If we were confined to the
sphere of these, how circumscribed life would be.
It would not be as broad as that of the animals
about us, for their instincts are stronger than ours.
But we can believe. In infancy, as we begin life's
journey, it is by faith. Having little instinct, and
no reason or experience, our only guide is faith
in mother. She must teach us about nature and her
stern laws — how fire will burn, water will drown,
knives will cut, and poison will kill. And when
we enter the schoolroom, faith in the teacher is our
guide. But for this we could not learn the alphabet
and multiplication table, and would never know the
joys of literary life or experience the science of
numbers. All the wealth of history, the beauty of
the classics, and the heights and depths of philoso-
phy would forever remain veiled to us. And in
business life faith in our fellow-man is guide. It
is the working principle in commercial life. The
diflference between the merchant prince and the
petty trader is that one can go only so far as he
can see, and the other sweeps out far beyond the
boundaries of sight and sense and takes into
account the relations of things, time, space, quality,
quantity, seasons, races, latitudes. In a word, he
makes the whole world contribute to his success.
Ninety-nine per cent, of modern business is done
through checks. We buy goods we have never seen,



FAITH 107

and sell them to men who are strangers to us.

In every bill of goods we buy, and in every draft
we draw, we have to trust some one. If faith in
the commercial world should be destroyed to-day,
the wheels of tra^c would stop and there would be
universal bankruptcy in less than a year. It is
the mutual faith of husband and wife that makes
home possible. Cut the faith principle, and the
home, and all society, would fall to pieces like
beads when the string is broken. And but for
faith, the state could not stand, and the nation
would fall. Faith, therefore, is not an arbitrary
thing, but it is rather that which restores man to
the state of his primitive integrity.

But its scope includes much more than the prac-
tical things of every-day life. It is so vast that it
almost staggers us when we contemplate it. With
F. D. Power we can say: "Wider than the earth,
broader than the sea, longer than all time, stretching
into the eternal past and down through the eternal
future, is the area of faith. By this we live in
every age and clime, hold converse with men of
every nation, and become contemporary with all
generations. By this we know how worlds were
made ; how man came into being under the hand of
his Maker; how the patriarchs, fathers and proph-
ets lived and loved and suffered and died; how
Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, taught, worked
miracles, gave himself on the cross, came forth from
the tomb, and ascended; how the gospel was
preached, and men believed, repented and obeyed.
Further, by faith we get the vision of unborn ages,



108 HOW TO BE SAVED

the ransomed coming to Zion with songs and ever-
lasting joy on their heads, the new heavens and
the new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.
*Faith is the evidence of things not seen.' Well
does Toplady call it the 'eye of the soul.' For, as
we stand by the deep chasm called the grave, it
bridges it, and in an instant we are in the land
where there are no graves, and the loved one is
ours once more. The astronomer from the ob-
servatory in his home looks into the upper depths
and sees thousands of shining worlds. He climbs
the mountain-top, and the number is multiplied.
Still unsatisfied, he goes into the world's greatest
observatory, and with its most powerful glass looks
again and finds them multiplied almost infinitely.
But has he seen all? No. But here he must stop,
not for want of worlds to see, but for lack of vision
to see them. But not so the Christian. When the
eye of sense fails him, by the lens of faith he
looks into the invisible things of God and revels
in the glory of heaven. Faith is glorified reason;
the imagination in its luminous hours."

What we believe is far more
% 'th^^ ° important than how we believe.
The pipe through which the water
is brought is important, but not so much so as the
fountain from which it comes. If the fountain be
pure, then health and happiness are produced, but,
if impure, disease and death. It is not strange,^
therefore, that the Bible holds up Jesus as the
object of faith. "And I, if I be lifted up from the
earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).



FAITH 109

"As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have eternal life. For God so loved the world that
he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be-
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlast-
ing life" (John 3:14-16). "Let all the house of
Israel know assuredly that God hath made that
same Jesus whom ye have crucified, both Lord and
Christ" (Acts 2:36). "Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house"
(Acts 16:31).

Man loves the concrete rather than the abstract,
and he is never so strong as when the guiding prin-
ciple of his life is embodied in a mighty personal-
ity. See this exemplified in the heroes who followed
Wellington and Napoleon, and Lee and Grant, to
danger and death rather than desert their leaders.
By nature we are hero-worshipers. Doctrine, even
though it come from God, and principles, though
born in heaven, are never at their best until asso-
ciated with a magnetic leader. This is why the
Father has put everything spiritual in the Christ, so
that Christ is Christianity and Christianity is Christ.
"In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead
bodily, and ye are complete in him who is the head
of all principality and power" (Col. 2:9, 10). And
this is why the apostles in their preaching would
know nothing but Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And this is why the church under their ministry
swept over Europe and Asia like an army with
banners. And this is why our preaching has been



lie HOW TO BE SAVED

so blessed of God. We have held up Christ instead
of dogma, and preached the gospel rather than the
philosophies, speculations and traditions of men.

Radium, the new substance now so much dis-
cussed in the scientific world, gives off light with-
out heat, and thus symbolizes intellectual faith.
There is often cold intellectuality without warmth,
love or spiritual life. Light and heat should be
combined. The pulpit and the pen should be knowl-
edge aflame with love.

The faith that saves is not simply a mental assent.
Paul once so preached before Felix that he trem-
bled, but he was not saved. "The devils also believe
and tremble," but they remain devils still. It must
be a faith that leads to penitence, obedience, and a
new life in the Saviour. As the sick man puts him-
self unreservedly in the hands of the physician,
ready to do what he commands and refrain from
what he forbids, so must the sin-sick soul surrender
to the great Physician, and all will be well.

Review.

1. Give two definitions of faith.

2. How is faith produced?

3. Give five Scriptures bearing on this ques-
tion.

4. What is the scope of faith?

5. Who is the object of faith?

6. Define the faith that saves.

7. Describe faith in the every-day life.

8. Describe faith in the hour of death.



VII.

REPENTANCE



in



OUTLINE— CHAPTER VII.

1. What Is Repentance?

a. Not Sorrow.

b. Not Sorrow and Confession Com-

bined.

c. Not Godly Sorrow.

d. Not Reformation.

e. It Is Sorrow for Sin Resulting in

Reformation.

2. Why Should Men Repent?

a. Because God Commands It.

b. Because of God's Goodness.

c. Because of God's Warnings.

d. Because the Impure Can Not Enter

Heaven.

3. Fruits of Repentance.

a. Confession of Sin.

b. Prayer for Forgiveness.

c. Restitution.

d. New Life.



112



VII.

Repentance.

Repentance, the second step on the way to par-
don, has a prominent place in the gospel of the Sa-
viour. It has been called the goddess of the erring,
whose tearful voice is ever whispering: Salvation
from sin, not in sin. And while we are struggling
to answer this voice, we behold heaven, but we feel
hell. Nothing is more difficult than true repentance.
It is not so difficult to get men to believe. The
testimony is so simple and strong that it convinces
the honest and intelligent hearer in almost every
case. Neither is it difficult to get the penitent
believer to be baptized. When he fully surrenders
to the Lord, he is anxious thus publicly to show
his faith in him. The real difficulty is with
repentance. It is no easy matter to induce the
will, especially when it is in the wrong, to change.
Sin so blinds the eye that it sees but dimly, and so
muffles the ear that it hears imperfectly, and it so
paralyzes the will that, like a palsied arm, it seems
unable to act. Hence the power to so teach and
preach as to make men repent is the power for
which the teacher and preacher ought always to
pray. But when we do repent, the reward is so
rich that we forget the rough way over which we
have had to travel, and the bitter cups we have had
to drink, for it is our second innocence.

113



114 HOW TO BE SAVED

a. It Is Not Sorrow. Many

I. W at s emotional people seem to think

Repentance? , , , , • 11

that when the heart is convulsed

and the tears flow freely, they have repented. But
this is not necessarily true. Such emotions may be
connected with genuine repentance, and they may
not. Some men exercise repentance and never
weep, and some weep and never repent. Sorrow
is an essential element of repentance, but in itself
it is not repentance. The alphabet is an essen-
tial part of an education, but he who only knows
these twenty-six characters when he sees them,
but does not know how to combine them into
words and sentences, is not educated. Herod (Matt.
14:1-11) made a hasty and wicked promise to
the daughter of Herodias, and when he found
that it involved the head of John the Baptist,
he was "sorry." But he did not repent, but went
forth in spite of his sorrow, and became a murderer
in the sight of God and men.

b. It Is Not Sorrow and Confession Com-
bined. The sorrow of Judas so wrought upon him
that he ''brought again the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned
in that I have betrayed the innocent blood" (Matt.
27:3, 4) ; but he did not repent. Instead, he "de-
parted, and went and hanged himself." Here is
confession coupled with sorrow, and still no repent-
ance. Solomon says: "He that covereth his sins
shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and for-
saketh them shall have mercy" (Prov. 28:13).

Judas uncovered his sins, but he did not forsake



REPENTANCE 115

them. His was remorse rather than repentance.

c. It Is Not Godly Sorrow. "Now I rejoice,
not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed
to repentance; for ye were made sorry after a god-
ly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in
nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to
salvation not to be repented of; but the sorrow of
the world worketh death" (2 Cor. 7:9, 10). If
godly sorrow worketh repentance, it is not itself
repentance, but its cause, and sustains to repentance
the relationship of cause to effect.

d. It Is Not Reformation. There can be no
repentance without reformation, but there may be
reformation without repentance. A wicked and
worthless young man might find his evil ways the
only objection urged by the parents against his mar-
riage to their daughter, and there might be tem-
porary reformation in order to overcome this objec-
tion, but no repentance. In his case there would
be no sorrow for sin — that sorrow that worketh
repentance to salvation.

e. What, Then, Is Repentance? If it is not
sorrow ; if it is not sorrow coupled with confession ;
if it is not godly sorrow; and if it is not reforma-
tion, what is it? It is sorrow for sin resulting in
reformation of life; it is ceasing to do evil and
learning to do well (Isa. 1:16, 17).

Let us see this definition in the light of two
illustrations. The Ninevites were a wicked people,
and God sent Jonah to preach to them. They heard
him ; they believed what he preached ; they humbled
themselves in the dust, fasted and put on sackcloth ;



116 HOW TO BE SAVED

and they turned from their sins, and God forgave
them (Matt. 12:41; Jonah 3:1-10).

The story of the prodigal son also is a lucid illus-
tration. He left home and "spent his substance in
riotous living"; he came down to wretchedness and
want, and, while sorrowing over his sin, he deter-
mined to arise and go to his father and say unto
him: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before thee, and am no more worthy to be called
thy son. Make me as one of thy hired servants.
. . . And he arose and went" (Luke 15:11-24).
His sorrow led to penitence, and his penitence
ripened into reformation, and he was saved.

That the reader may know that this conclusion
is in harmony with the best scholarship, we will
hear Isaac Errett : "The Greek word translated
'repentance' indicates change — conversion. It im-
parts change of mind or disposition, and that, too,
for the better. We have, indeed, more than one
Greek word translated by this term 'repentance.'
One of them indicates a change, whether for better
or worse. But that word, expressing the will of
God concerning us, uniformly in the New Testament
denotes a change for the better. We are sometimes
asked what is the difference between faith and
repentance, since they are both expressive of
change? We reply that the Idea of change is not
contained in the word 'faith,' although it usually
implies a change; it is rather expressive of rest, of
trust, of simple confidence. But the word 'repent-
ance' is expressive of change. Faith respects that
which is true ; repentance, that which is right. Faith



REPENTANCE 117

looks away from falsehood and error to the truth;
repentance looks away from sin to righteousness
and holiness."

o. Because God Commands
2 Why Men ^^ ,,j^^ ^j^^^ ^^ ^^^^ ignorance
Should Repent ^ , . , , ,

God winked at; but now com-

mandeth all men every where to repent" (Acts 17:
30). There is but one safe thing to do with a
commandment of God, and that is to obey it. It
must not be resisted, ignored, neglected or trifled
with. It is Jehovah who commands, and all his
commandments are righteous, and he has the power
to punish disobedience.

b. Because 7 God's Goodness. "Despisest thou
the riches of his goodness and forbearance and
longsuff ering ; not knowing that the goodness of
God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4).
God is not only a King to command, and a Judge
to inflict the penalty of disobedience, but he is a
loving Father; yea, more, he is father and mother
in one (Isa. 66:13), and his "goodness and for-
bearance and longsuffering" will be extended to all.
Beecher says: "When a man undertakes to repent
toward his fellow-man, it is repenting straight up a
precipice; when he repents toward lav/, it is repent-
ing in the crocodile's jaws; when he repents toward
public sentiment, it is throwing himself into a
thicket of brambles and thorns ; and when he repents
towards God, he repents toward all love and deli-
cacy. God receives the soul as the sea the bather,
to return it again, purer and whiter than he took
it."



118 HOW TO BE SAVED

c. Because of God's Warnings. "Suppose ye
that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the
Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I
tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all
likewise perish" (Luke 13:2, 3). All have sinned,
and, therefore, all must repent. The king on his
throne, the beggar at his gate, the mother and her
child, the father and his son, the murderer, the
slanderer, the pirate, the respectable, the poor wretch
covered with crime — all have sinned and come short
of the glory of God. But he warns all, and if we
will hear and heed, he forgives; if not, we perish.
Men often in hot passion punish, and then warn.
In the home — how sad that it is so — the parent's
blow is frequently first and the word of warning
follows. This is the rule with despots and tyrants,
especially when the rebellious subject is weak. They
crush him first and reason with him later. There is
no previous warning and no time for repentance.
Not so Vv'ith our God. He will not cut down the
fruitless tree that cumbereth the ground, until it
has been dug about and dunged (Luke 13:8); he
will not drown a wicked world until it is fully
warned of the impending doom; Sodom shall not
perish until righteous Lot has lived within her
borders; Nineveh shall not fall until Jonah has
preached in her streets ; Babylon shall not be
crushed till Daniel has lived in her midst ; and Jeru-
salem shall not be ground under the tyrant's heel
until she has received a thousand warnings. How
many warnings from the Bible, from the pulpit and
press, from sickness and sorrow, and from in-



REPENTANCE 119

numerable other sources, have been received by
all, and how shall we escape if we heed them not?
d. Because the Impure Can Not Enter
Heaven. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the
Lord? or who shall stand in his holy place? He
that hath clean hands and a pure heart" (Ps. 24:
3, 4) ; "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall
see [enjoy] God" (Matt. 5:8). Heaven is a place
of purity, and none but the pure can be happy-
there. If the ignorant are ill at ease among the
learned, and the coarse among the refined, how
could the sinner, unforgiven, be happy among the
redeemed? If by almighty power the Lord should
suddenly transfer the profligate, the blasphemer and


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