Elder T. S. Dalton

The article below is from the book “A Treatise On Salvation” By Elder T.S. Dalton. The book has preserved many of the points of his debate with Elder T.R. Burnett, Disciple or Church of Christ: which took place in 1886 and was published in 1897, by The Gospel Advocate Publishing Company. The book here, “A Treatise On Salvation” was published after Elder Dalton’s death (Elder Dalton went to be with his Lord in 1931).

The thoughts set forth in this writing were published by “The Baptist Bible Hour Publications” of Cincinnati, Ohio, sometime in the 1950's or 60's (Estimated, as the publication is not dated), and are rarely available in book form today.

These articles were written in a time, when there were sundry discussions and debates between the Primitive Baptists and those who advocated for “Universal Atonement and a Conditional Salvation.”


“Eternal Salvation is Unconditional Because:” By Elder T.S. Dalton (dec.)

Third Premise:

Our next Premise is, "Salvation is unconditional, because the sinner is not able to perform conditions," in proof of which please read Rom. 5:6: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

What can a person do without strength ? Suppose that salvation were dependent upon the condition that the sinner would perform the smallest act that the mind could possibly conceive of, how can the poor soul perform the act without strength? Now, my Arminian friend, if you can think of something that a man can do without strength, that must be the condition of salvation. There is nothing that a person can do without strength; therefore salvation is not conditional. Let us have some Scripture; Jer. 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots ? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."

If the Ethiopian can turn himself white, then can the man that is dead in sin, and led captive by Satan, release himself, and perform conditions in order to his eternal salvation. The Ethiopian cannot turn himself white, neither can the leopard change his spots; therefore, the man that is accustomed to do evil cannot learn to do good.

From the force of the above language we are reminded of the doctrine as taught by Paul in Romans 3: "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one; there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways: and the way of peace have they not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes."

The above surely represents the sinner as being in rather a bad condition to perform conditions in order to his eternal salvation. Now if the Ethiopian can change his skin, and the leopard his spots, then the above-described persons can cease to do evil and learn to do well. The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, therefore the above-described persons cannot perform conditions in order to bring about their eternal salvation. And to require it of them is simply to shut heaven's doors to all of Adam's apostate race. But Paul draws this conclusion from the above premise, "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall be no flesh justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe : for there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God."

But in this age of wisdom (?) men have ceased to declare the righteousness of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and are declaring the righteousness of the poor sinner, that if he will do certain things that are right in the sight of God that God will remit his sins and give him salvation; and then if he will persevere to the end in faithfulness, God will give him eternal life and the joys of heaven because he has done it. And yet they will lean upon the Lord and say salvation is all of grace. That God requires good works of His people the Bible abundantly teaches, which we propose to show at the proper time, before we shall have closed these articles, but the burden of this will be to prove that God does not require of thorns that they bear grapes, or of thistles that they bear figs. Jesus says they cannot do that and then tells us what He means by saying, "The evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil, and the good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good," and for us to require an evil, sinful mortal to perform good deeds in order to secure His eternal salvation is simply to expect that which Jesus says cannot be. Therefore, we conclude that our eternal salvation is not based upon creature conditions but alone upon the righteousness, mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We feel willing therefore to trust all in His hands, and take shelter under His righteousness, as the "shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

Next: Fourth Premise