M. M. (Morrison Meade) Davis.

How to be saved : a study of first principles online

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a. It Believes. "For this people's heart is
waxed gross, their ears are dull of hearing, and
their eyes have they closed; lest they should see
with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and
should understand with their heart" (Matt. 13: 15).
"And immediately when Jesus perceived in his



spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he
said unto them, Why reason ye these things in
mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom.
10: 10). These Scriptures teach that the heart
understands, reasons and believes. Let us, for the
present, separate these faculties from the will, the
emotions, etc., and understand them to include
simply the power to examine testimony and render

b. It Loves. "So Absalom stole the hearts of
the men of Israel" (2 Sam. 15:6). By examining
the context it will be seen that Absalom was a mod-
ern-day politician. The handsome young prince,
with "chariots" and horses, and "fifty men to run
before him," was found on the highway pouring
out sympathy for the "dear people" ; and when
one came near to do him "obeisance, he put forth
his hand, and kissed him." Thus he found their
affections, or stole their hearts. "Master, which
is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus
said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with
all thy mind" (Matt. 22:36). In this passage the
heart is meant specially to include the affections.

c. It Wills. "Nevertheless he that standeth
stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath
power over his own will, and hath so decreed in
his own heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth
well" (1 Cor. 7:37). "Every man according as
he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not
grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a
cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:7). Here it is seen that,


in addition to faith and affections, the heart in-
cludes the will.

d. It Condemns. "Let us draw near with a
true heart in full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our
bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:22).
*'For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than
our heart, and knoweth all things" (1 John 3:20).
A fourth element, the conscience, the power that
condemns when we do wrong, is now added to the

Having now learned from the Book that the

heart includes the intellect — the reasoning power;

the affections — the power to love; the will — the

great drive-wheels of humanity, and the conscience

— the inner monitor, which cheers us when in the

right, and chides us when in the wrong — we are

able to decide as to what it is. It embraces the

**inner man" — everything except the flesh and blood

— and includes all that is immortal in man. It

sweeps out natures from their loftiest heights to

their deepest depths, and includes the whole of the

spiritual in its ample scope.

While answering this question,

t/* J^^-l^^ ^j-. let us remember that we have
Heart Changed?

not two sets of faculties, as some

seem to think, one for religion, and the other for

the things of the world. The same powers used

in business and in intellectual and moral matters

are to be used in religion. And when we see how

they are used in these things, we can understand

their use in spiritual matters.



a. The Intellect Is Changed by Testimony.
You are on a jury, and the lawyer wishes so to
change your mind that you will render a verdict
in favor of his client. How does he proceed? He
submits testimony, and asks you to examine it. Is
there any other reasonable and honorable way to
proceed? If not, and man having but one set of
mental faculties, is it rational to expect God to
proceed in a different way when he wants the
mind changed? Suppose the lawyer should comi-
mand you to believe his client innocent, but furnish
no proof; or suppose he should earnestly, tenderly
and eloquently pray for the change in your heart,
and should have others pray for you, and should
induce you to pray, what would you think of him?
You would answer: "The man is either himself
deceived — does not know the nature of man — or
he thinks I do not, and he is trying to deceive me.
I can not believe without testimony." Certainly
not. Neither can you believe in God and Christ
without testimony, hence they have piled it about
you, mountain high, and made it so clear that the
wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein.

b. The Affections Are Changed by Loveli-
ness. We instinctively love the lovely A vine is
prostrate on the ground. You want it to rise, and
you speak to it: "Little vine, get up out of the
dust, so that you may breathe the sweet, pure
atmosphere of heaven." It can not do it. Its ten-
drils are reaching everywhere for a support by
which to rise. You see this, and place the trellis
within reach, and it begins to climb toward the


sun. It needs no command or exhortation, but a
trellis. The babe, cooing on its mother's bosom,
needs not to be told to love her. The heart tendrils
will fasten themselves about her — if she is lovely.
You need not try to make the world love you.
Only be lovely and the world will do the rest. And
so it is in our religious nature. And when Christ,
the fairest among ten thousand and the one alto-
gether lovely, is presented to the heart, it clasps its
arm about the cross, and is lifted up to God. No
wonder the Master said: "And I, if I be lifted up
from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John
12:32); and no wonder that Paul, the prince of
preachers, said: "I determined not to know any-
thing among you, save Jesus Christ and him cruci-
fied" (1 Cor. 2:2).

c. The Will Is Changed by Motives. A man
woos and wins the heart of a lovely woman, and he
solemnly vows to be a true husband. But the
vows are broken, and her heart is crushed. The
light from her eye goes out; the tint fades from
the cheek, and her laughter is changed to sobs and
sighs. With every hope blasted, and surrounded by
the ruins of all that she once held dear, and with
her little ones about her, she cries in the depths of
her desolate heart, not with her lips: "Precious
children, but for you I would launch myself into
awful eternity. Your father, once so good and
true, has become a wreck — a helpless, hopeless
wreck — and I am desolate indeed." This man is
your friend; and you would rescue him, and light
again with joy and love that little cottage home.


He loves his wife and cliildren ; he knows his duty ;
and in his better moments he desires to be to them
again what he once was — a true husband and father.
But, oh, how weak! His will power is shattered,
and he is no longer a match for the tempter.

What does he need? How can you rescue him?
His mind does not need changing, and his affections
do not need rekindling. But his will power needs
to be aroused. How shall this be done? You
tell him of his sorrowing wife and precious chil-
dren, and of their love for him and need of him.
And as you plead with him he weeps and despises
himself as a covenant-breaker and a weakling. He
clenches his teeth, bites his lips, and, with almost
superhuman effort, once more rallies his broken
powers, sends up a petition to God for help, and,
like the prodigal, says, "I will arise!" And he
does, in the strength of Jehovah, rise and become
a man again. How was it done? The motives
connected with wife and babies, coupled with help
from on high, enabled him to rise. And so, when
the Father would change our wills and nerve us
for life's great battles, he presents motives embrac-
ing every good thing in this life and in the life to
come — motives high as heaven, deep as hell, broad
as the universe, pure as Jesus, and strong and last-
ing as the pillars of the throne of glory.

d. The Conscience Is Changed by Right-
doing. A child disobeys mother and is unhappy.
And conscience, with a scourge of small cords,
lashes the little one into an agony. With swollen
eyes she tosses on her bed, for the sweet angel,


Sleep, refuses to come. The guilty bosom, like
the boiling sea, is tumbling, rolling and groaning
under the mad chastening of the storm.

What is her trouble? and how shall it be
remedied? Her trouble is wrong-doing, and its
only cure is right-doing. Let her steal up to
mamma's side, throw her arms about her neck, beg
her forgiveness, while she promises to be a better
girl, and all will be well. The dark clouds will
vanish, the angry waves will become calm, the
fearful thunders will hush, the fierce lightnings will
cease, and the sunlight of sweet peace will once
more fill the soul.

When the conscience of Zacchasus condemned
him, he promised to undo the wrong by bestowing
half his goods upon the poor, and by restoring four-
fold for all his fraudulent gains, and peace came
to his heart and home. When the prodigal son
fully realized his sin, he retraced his steps, and
found peace and pardon and plenty awaiting his
return. And thus it must ever be. When we sin
against God or man, the conscience, if not dead,
will chide, and continue to chide until, so far as we
are able, we undo the wrong.

Would you have your heart changed? Remem-
ber its importance. It is the hinge on which eternal
destinies turn. No change of heart means no peace
of soul on earth, and no home in heaven. Its
importance can not be exaggerated.

A young woman was intense-
ly interested in her salvation, and
she became so wrought up over the question of a


change of heart that her friends feared for the
safety of her mind. Many attempts were made
to meet her difficulty, but all failed. Finally, an
old preacher, who had no diploma or eccelsiastical
titles, but a man of rugged common sense, who
knew his Bible and humanity, came that way. The
parents besought him to help their darling daughter.
He gladly made the attempt. And he soon learned
that her trouble grew out of confusion of thought
as to a change of heart. She had no conception as
to what the heart was, and hence was totally igno-
rant as to how it was changed. She had been taught
that every conversion was the result of miraculous
power, and she was waiting and praying for God
to put forth that power and save her soul. But,
being a woman of good mind, she soon learned the
way of the Lord more perfectly. He asked her if
she believed in God and Christ and the Bible, and
she said she did. *'Well," said he, "that part of the
mind which believes is all right. You do not want
it changed, for then you would no longer believe
in your Creator, Saviour and their Book." She
saw the point, and agreed with her new preacher.

He then asked if she loved God, Christ, the
Bible, and everything good; and was assured that
she did. "Then," said the preacher, "you do not
want that part of the heart which loves — the affec-
tions — changed, for then you would hate these
things." Again she agreed with him, and urged
him to go on with his instructions.

He next asked as to her purpose in life: had
she determined to be a Christian? She answered


that that was her supreme purpose. "Then, your
will needs no change," he said. "Your purpose is
pure and heavenward, and it would be ruinous to
change it." Once more she grasped his clear logic,
and begged him to go on.

He now asked if her conscience gave her
trouble, and was told that it almost drove her wild.
"The only way to stop its lashings," said he, "is
to undo the wrongs of the past as far as possible,
and faithfully do the right in the future." She
confessed her Saviour, and was baptized, and be-
came a bright and shining light in the church. The
conscience, the only section of the heart in rebellion,
was changed, and she was at peace.

How is it with you? H your faith and afifec-
tions and purposes are all pointing to God, as is true
in many cases, and yet you are not happy, follow
the example of this girl, and your heart will also
be flooded and sweetened with the joys of heaven.


1. How can we tell what the heart is?

2. What four things does the heart do?

3. How is the intellect changed?

4. How are the affections changed?

5. How is the will changed?

6. How is the conscience changed?

7. Give an example illustrative of the change.





1. Origin of the Confession.

2. Scope of the Confession.

a. "Thou art the Christ."

b. 'The Son."

c. "Of the Living God."

3. The Confession and Baptism.

4. Why We Should Make the Confession.

a. For Our Own Good.

h. For the Good of Others.

c. For the Good of Christ.



The Confession.

Now that the atmosphere about conversion,
change of heart, etc., has been cleared up, we are
ready to consider the question of the confession.

Confession and baptism are so intimately related
that a Scriptural discussion of the one involves the
other. They are related to each other as sorrow
and repentance, as love and marriage. There may
be sorrow without repentance, and there may be
love without marriage; but there can be no repent-
ance without sorrow, and no marriage without
love. Sorrow and love precede repentance and
marriage, and make them possible. And so is
confession related to baptism, and hence it should
be studied in connection with that ordinance. But
for our present purpose it is probably best, so far
as possible, to study it as a distinct theme.

. . When Christ appeared among

* ^ f ? * men they formed different opin-
Confession . ^ ^

ions regarding him, just as they
do to-day. Some thought him good, and others
thought him bad; some said he was human, and
others said he was divine; some thought him a
teacher sent of God, and others that he was a
deceiver of the people, and so they would express
themselves. One would say, "I believe he is the
Messiah;" another, "I believe he is a prophet;" and



still another, "I believe he is an impostor." Thus
a line was drawn, and his enemies agreed "that if
any did confess that he was the Christ, he should
be put out of the synagogue" (John 9:22). The
Saviour accepted the test and said: "He that con-
fesses me before men, him will I confess before
my Father in heaven; but he that denies me before
men, him will I deny before my Father in heaven"
(Matt. 10: 32, 33). Thus the confession, as regards
men, originated naturally, and served to identify
the followers of Christ; and on this account it
became associated with baptism, the ordinance in
which the sinner in symbol was separated from the
service of Satan and dedicated to the service of

Later in the Master's ministry the confession
received an emphasis which gave to it the greatest
possible importance. Benjamin Franklin made one
of the most daring and far-reaching experiments
ever made by man. A cluster of clouds hung over
his head, and he gazed wistfully upon them, long-
ing for light on a scientific question. Finally he
let fly a paper kite with a metallic chain attached.
He waited, watched and wondered, and finally ap-
plied his knuckles to the chain, and the sparks of
the wild lightning played about him ; and had the
stream been a little stronger, the bold philosopher
would have died on the spot. And so clouds of
opinions filled the heavens about the Saviour.
Some said he was John the Baptist; some, that he
was Elijah; others, that he was Jeremiah; and
many, that he was one of the prophets. Everything


was vague, hazy and misty, and, wanting some-
thing definite, he sent out two questions — kite-Hke
— and they brought back hght and truth of infinite-
ly more value than that secured by Franklin.
"Whom do men say that I, the Son of man, am?"
(Matt. 16:13). And the answer came that he
was some great personage ranking with the old
heroes and prophets of the past. Another ques-
tion quickly follows : "But whom say ye that I
am?" (ver. 16). You have had the best oppor-
tunity to know me: what do you say? You, for
three years, have been at my side and seen much
of my work: what of the worker? During that
time you have known my teaching: what of the
teacher? Peter, the foreman of the jury, or, as
Chrysostom calls him, "the leader of the apostolic
choir," answered : "Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God" (ver. 16).

Great question! Great answer! Peter is at his
best. Never before or afterward does he rise to
a loftier height. His vision pierces the very heav-
ens, and his voice is the echo of Jehovah. The
heart of Columbus was filled and thrilled with
joy as he looked for the first time on the New
World; and so was Balboa, as, from a lofty moun-
tain crag in Panama, his eyes first saw the Pacific
Ocean. Marvelous as were these discoveries, they
are not to be compared with that which now burst
upon the vision of Peter. It was the sun of all
light, the chief of all truth, and contained within
its rich bosom the incarnation, the atonement and
the resurrection. It had been hid from the wise

156 Plow TO BE SAVED

and prudent and revealed to a babe. The proph-
ets had not all seen it clearly. To the rabbi he was
a root out of the dry ground, and with no beauty
that he should be desired. The eyes of the philoso-
phers were "holden" so that they only saw a man
• — a religious enthusiast — when the Son of God
stood in their midst. But Simon Peter discovered
the glorious truth, and proclaimed him Lord of
lords and King of kings. No wonder the Lord
pronounced a blessing on him, the like of which
is not to be found in all the Book: ''Blessed art
thou, Simon, son of Jonah : for flesh and blood
hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which
is in heaven" (ver. 17). The Psalms begin with the
words, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the
counsel of the ungodly," etc., and the Sermon on
the Mount with the words, "Blessed are the poor
in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
But these are benedictions on a character, while
this is a blessing on an individual. And what makes
this more remarkable is that we seek in vain for
another called "blessed" by the lips of our Lord.

It is not strange that from this time forth he
tells his disciples plainly of his death. He sees
himself comprehended by, and enthroned in, the
human heart, and he can safely leave the rest to
his faithful followers, and he will return to the

Christianity is a symmetrical

' ^ ? . system of truth, harmonious and

Confession -'

complete, and, as such, must

have a great common center. The sun is the center


of the physical universe, and around him all the
planets revolve. Destroy this fact, and our system
of astronomy is destroyed; but accept it, and we
thereby admit the laws of gravitation and attrac-
tion, the centripetal and centrifugal forces, and
acknowledge that the earth and all her sister
planets revolve round him, and borrow from his
brightness all light and luster. Mohammedanism
as a religious system has its fundamental truth,
the common center which gives character to all its
teachings. The truth is: Mohammed is the proph-
et of God. Accept this, and the whole system is
accepted; reject it, and all is rejected. The con-
fession is to Christianity what the sun is to the
Copernican system of astronomy, and what the
belief in Mohammed is to Mohammedanism. It is
its great fundamental principle — the foundation on
which the church rests — the one central truth to
which all others are subordinate, and from which
they receive their life and power. That this may
be seen, let us analyze this confession :

a. "Thou art the Christ." Many seem to
think that "Christ" is a part of the name of Jesus,
and hence use the words "Jesus Christ" as they
use "George Washington." But it is no part of
his name. Jesus is his name, and it was divinely
given (Matt. 1:20). Christ is his official title.
Edward King is the name of a man. But Edward
the king is much more. It means that he is the
ruler of his people. Christ means anointed. The
three synonymous words — "Messiah," which is
Hebrew; ''Christos," which is Greek, and "Christ,"


which is English — all mean the ''Anointed One," a
term familiar to every Jew. So when Peter says,
"Thou art the Christ/' it meant that he was the
"Anointed One." And they knew that but three
classes of their rulers — prophets, priests and kings
• — were installed by anointing, and hence Jesus was
declared to be their prophet, priest and king, and
thus met the threefold wants of men — a power to
deliver from ignorance, guilt and bondage. As
Prophet he teaches, as Priest he atones and inter-
cedes, and as King he liberates from the fetters
of sin, rules over us, and leads to battle, victory
and glory. He is pre-eminent. We are to hear
no other prophet, to look to no other priest and to
obey no other king.

b. "The Son." Not a son in the sense in
which all are sons; but as the Son in a peculiar
sense — the divine and only Saviour.

c, "Of the Living God." The besetting sin
of the Jew was idolatry. Under the very shadow
of Sinai, and while the Ten Commandments were
still ringing in their ears, one of which specifically
condemned it, they worship the golden calf. And
ever afterward, till finally cured by the bitter bond-
age of Babylon, they were continually falling into
this terrible sin; hence the significance of the phrase
"the living God." He is not the son of some lifeless
god, such as could be seen on every hand, but of
the living God, the Maker and Preserver of all

That additional force and dignity may be given
to this confession, let us hear a little further. God,


who speaks through the Spirit, angels and men, sel-
dom speaks in person. In the beginning he spoke,
and a world sprang into existence. In Eden he
spoke, and a family with language and religion was
organized. After twenty-five hundred years his
chariot of cloud paused over Horeb, and he spoke
again, and a nation was organized. Fifteen cen-
turies more pass by, and, as his Son comes up
from his baptism in the Jordan, he again breaks
the silence of the heavens and says: "This is my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And
a little later, on the mount of transfiguration, he
repeats the same words and adds, "Hear ye him."
And Paul, looking forward to the consummation
of all things, says : "God hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow,
of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things
under the earth, and that every tongue should con-
fess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father" (Phil. 2:9-11).

It is generally conceded that
3. The Confession .^ ^^^ ^^^j ^^^^^^ ^^^ ^^^^^^_

and Baptism . ■'

sion was used as a test of the

fitness of candidates for baptism. In Acts 8 : 29-39

we have, in all probability, the apostolic custom in

this matter. The eunuch is convinced of the divinity

of the Lord, and as they approach a suitable place

for baptizing, he says, "See, here is water; what

doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said,

If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.

And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus



Christ is the Son of God," and immediately he was
baptized. Admit that this clause, bringing out the
confession, is an interpolation, still it is of great
value. The object of the interpolator was to fill up
a historic blank, so that the baptism should not
appear abrupt, and, in supplying the blank, he
would insert the usual custom. Now, if the inter-
polation harmonizes with the Scriptures, it receives
all needed corroboration. We have already seen
how the confession, in the early ministry of Christ,
located his friends. We have also seen that, when
made by Peter, it was declared to be the founda-
tion on which the Church was to be built. The
eunuch, a stranger to Philip, is asking for admission
into the Church, and it is most natural that the
test be applied. The confession of Timothy was
evidently made in connection with his baptism.
"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal
life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast con-
fessed a good confession before many witnesses'*
(1 Tim. 6: 12). The two thoughts here mentioned
of his call, which is by the gospel (2 Thess. 2: 14),
and by laying hold on eternal life, make this

The historians of the early Church corroborate
this view of the confession. Irenseus (A. D. 107)

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