Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 18, 1956

I Took My Brother's Advice

C. D. Plum, Columbus, Ohio

Glad I Did

Recently 'Brother Fred E. Dennis wrote in the Gospel Advocate: "In 1926 I read the first volume of 'Tabernacle Sermons' (by Hardeman, C.D.P.). I was a young preacher. It was an inspiration. Six years later I gave it another reading. It thrilled me. This morning before breakfast, almost twenty-five years later, I finished reading it again. I would to 'God that every preacher, especially every young preacher, would secure this book and read it carefully. It will do you good. It will give you a clearer insight into what real gospel preaching is . . . ."

I want to go on written record that I endorse here what Brother Dennis wrote about the first volume of "Hardeman's Tabernacle Sermons." 'I have every volume of the "Tabernacle ;Sermons" by Hardeman. The preaching is fine. I, too, have read volume one over and over again. But upon 'Brother Fred's advice, I picked up this volume one and reread it once more. In the past I have marked many things in this volume that was food to my soul. They are STILL food to my soul. I shall call attention to only a few of such things in this book upon which my soul was fed.

1. The tribute Brother Hardeman paid to the Bible, in his first subject in this book: "The Bible," still floods my eyes with tears. After speaking of McGuffey's readers, Smiley's arithmetics, and Barnes' series of histories passing with time, Brother Hardeman says of the Bible: "The Bible knows of no such thing as passing while the ages come and go. It is ever fresh, like unto a mountain spring from which our fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers slaked their thirst in generations gone by; and still, to us, the same spring offers that drink afresh, and it will continue to offer it to those yet unborn." Dear God, what a tribute to the Book, and not one word amiss. (You must pardon me while I wipe my eyes. I don't read such glowing tributes to God's Book as this every day.) And again, from the same sermon I quote: "The Bible has, indeed, been an anvil on which many a hammer has absolutely been worn out." How true!

2. Now let us turn over to page 76, where the subject is: "Federalists and Anti-federalists." This, indeed, deserves a careful reading. If we would all read and heed this lesson we would not have the threat of division hanging over the brotherhood. It is easy to see, and rightly so, that Brother Hardeman, at the time he preached this sermon was standing with Thomas Jefferson, the "strict constructionist" regarding our Constitution. Jefferson and his party proposed to be governed strictly by what "was written" in the Constitution, and declared there was danger in "going beyond." Brother Hardeman speaks boldly and tells us Jesus has announced a constitution — God's word — and has given it unto the world. Brother Hardeman declares this constitution is not "subject to amendment." That it is "infallible." Brother Hardeman fights against being governed by so-called "sanctified common sense." He asks the question: "Are we going to respect the constitution or not?" Brother Hardeman was in favor of respecting the "silence" of this constitution — God's word. He advocates that we "walk by faith" not by sight. Hear him: "Just so in matters of religion. We have wandered away on far-off discussions of petty differences. What is the principle? Go back of all these and it resolves itself in this: Shall I construe God's word strictly, shall I be governed by what Cod says, or shall I be privileged to do anything under heaven just so God, in so many words, does not declare: 'Hardeman, thou shalt not'." In bringing this great sermon to a close, Brother Hardeman sums it up like this: "Let us not, therefore, be wise above that which is written. Possibly this will help us to understand I John 1:9, which says: 'Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine (or teaching) of Christ, hath not God.' God forbid that I should be led by my own lusts, my own appetites, and my own pleasures to transgress, or go beyond, the authority of the book of God."

"My obligation, therefore, toward the Bible is the obligation that Mr. Jefferson felt toward the Constitution — viz., it is the supreme law of the land; I must do what the Constitution says, and not presume to go beyond it. The only safe course in life for you and for me is this — viz., take God at His word, believe what He says, become and be just what God requires; and then, His word still our guide, let us live as He directs, worship according to His decree, and practice those things, AND THOSE ONLY, for which there is authority in His word." Brethren, Brother Hardeman, or no other man, can speak truth more plainly.

But turn with me a moment to Brother Hardeman's sermon on "Reformers and Restorers," in this book. Of missionary societies Brother Hardeman said: "A society unknown unto the word of God divine. I beg of you, my brethren, to remember that the church of God is heaven's missionary 'INSTITUTION. (Isn't the same church God's benevolent institution? C.D.P.) Let us not supplant it, but let us work through it, AND THROUGH IT ALONE." (How about doing all our benevolent work through this same church ALONE? C.D.P.) But Brother Hardeman continues in this same sermon, on this same subject, in his masterful way by sayings: "Let us not organize something unknown and unauthorized. LAY THESE ASIDE, AND TAKE OUT FROM THE SERVICE THAT WHICH PROFESSEDLY AND ADMITTEDLY IS NOT COMMANDED OF GOD, and LEAVE OFF. THE HUMAN MACHINERY, the overhead expense of which is immense. Then what? Upon what God says I will strike hands and take a stand to live and die, and fight it out on that line, if it takes all the summers of our existence.

May I humbly say: "Here's my hand Brother Hardeman. Brother Dennis, I'm willing to fight it out on that line — "live or die." Here's my hand, my other dear brethren. I'm for the church, I'm off human machinery for life. Brother Hardeman has taught me many great lessons, but none greater than in the first volume of his sermons. And just before my tears blot out my vision again let me say, "May the human machinery of 'societies,' 'homes,' and 'camps' in religion that is dividing the Lord's church decrease, and may the church stand out as the one, 'and only one,' institution through which we may glorify God."