You, brethren, have other things to do than to be wasting your time about unprofitable disputes [Calvinism vs. Arminianism]".
You are all at this very moment vessels of wrath, or vessels of mercy: you are now, even whilst I am speaking to you, under the hands of the Potter. You are actually upon the lathes, preparing and fashioning, either for vessels of honour, or vessels of dishonour. The question that most concerns you is, for which you are preparing? and how you may know for which you are destined? In order to ascertain this, you need not look into the book of God’s decrees, but simply examine the state of your own hearts.
For what are you preparing? Are you diligently seeking after God from day to day? Are you living by faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ, washing daily in the fountain of his blood, and renewed daily by the operations of his Spirit? Are you progressively advancing in the enjoyment of his presence, the performance of his will, and the attainment of his image? Are you, in a word, beginning to live the life of heaven upon earth? This will mark you vessels of honour: and the want of this is sufficient to stamp you vessels unto dishonour. It is not necessary that you should be committing any flagrant sins in order to constitute you vessels of wrath: it is quite sufficient that you are not growing up into Christ as your living Head, and devoted altogether to his service and glory. Let these inquiries then occupy your mind, and trouble not yourselves about the “secret things which belong only to your God.” Whether you are pleased with the Potter or not, he is going on with his work; and in a short time he will cut you from the lathe, and fix your everlasting destinies. But, blessed be his name! He is able to change both your form and use: and, if you call upon him, he will do it; and he can do it as easily as a potter can mar the clay which has been formed only for a degraded use, and fashion it into a vessel of the most dignified description. Whilst you are upon the lathe, nothing is impossible: and who can tell but that you have been suffered, even to this hour, to fit yourselves for vessels of wrath, in order that God may be the more glorified in the change that shall be wrought in you? Yes, perhaps the hour is now come for Saul’s conversion: perhaps this is the hour when he has decreed to humble you in the dust before him, and to make you a vessel of honour that shall display, almost beyond all others, the riches of his glory? O lift up your hearts to him, and pray, that at this time his grace may be magnified in you, and that you may be monuments of his love and mercy to all eternity.
But perhaps with others the hour is come, when the measure of your iniquities shall be filled, and when, like Pharaoh, you shall be made signal monuments of God’s wrath and indignation. What a fearful thought! The Lord grant that it may not be realized in any of you. But beware! His mercy and forbearance will have an end; and that end may be much nearer than you expect. Let not one hour more pass unimproved: but “seek ye the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him whilst he is near.”
As for you who have reason to hope that you are already vessels of mercy, O! bless and praise your God. Remember, ye were taken from the same mass of clay, as others, who bear a very different shape. Remember, too, to whom you owe the distinction that has been conferred upon you. Had you been left to yourselves, you would have been in as degraded a state as any. It is God, and God alone, who has made you to differ, either from others, or from your former selves. Give him then the glory of his rich and sovereign grace, and seek daily to become more and more “vessels of honour, meet for your Master’s use [Note: 2 Timothy 2:20-21.].”]