Armchair Sermons: M’Cheyne’s Last Sermon, The Vessels of Wrath Fitted to Destruction, part 1

What We’re Going To Be Doing…
I am newly acquainted with Robert Murray M’Cheyne and I already love him! This is the first full sermon of his that I have read and it is fantastic. I was drawn to read it first because of the text of Scripture he preaches on, Romans 9:22,23. I did not realize it was the last sermon he ever preached until after I read it. Even more remarkable to me was the footnote at the bottom of the page that said:

The following sermon preached on the afternoon of March 12, 1843, was the author’s last in St. Peter’s. “It was observed, both then and on other occasions,” says Andrew Bonar, “that he spoke with peculiar strength upon the sovereignty of God.” The following evening McCheyne’s illness commenced and on Saturday, March 25, he went to the Saviour whose glory he lived to proclaim.

If you do the math, M’Cheyne died thirteen days after he preached this sermon in which “he spoke with peculiar strength upon the sovereignty of God.”

For Me Personally
On a personal note, when my father died last October, I could tell that his death was near. Not because of any special insight I had. But because of the fruit of his Christian walk. Let me explain. The last few months of his life were wrought with the most stress I think he had ever been under in his whole life. There was a solemn gravity to his perseverance. He had not the vitality of life any longer that seemed to fade as though God had decided not to restore it. With quiet and reserved patience he continued  through the trials until ultimately, he died. His whole life, my father had had a tremendous amount of energy with a tenacity to accomplish his work whether at work or home, so when the end came, I could tell his death was close. Why am I telling you all of this? Because up until now, I had felt as though I missed something. I was looking for something in my Dad’s death that would be an encouragement about death, his last words, which there weren’t any, some glimpse that he was seeing glory as he was passing, something, anything, but there was absolutely nothing, no signs at all. I felt cheated by this as much as by the fact that his death was out of the blue and as seemingly untimely as it was. But after I read this sermon and even after that, when I read the footnote about this being M’Cheyne’s last sermon just thirteen days before he died, there certainly was a peculiar strength toward the end. Then I realized that the encouragement was not in the dieing but in the living with a peculiar strength up until he died. This was the sign I was given but did not see, could not see until now. Oh the glory of Christ that is seen in the way we have lived, especially in the trials that God may take us through in order to bring us home. It is as though God is reaping His harvest by pulling us up to Him and as He is pulling, His glory is seen even more vibrantly than ever because it is being seen by a thinned, worn out veil of human flesh which must needs be shed. I hope you enjoy this sermon and are blessed. I will make several posts on this as I will be posting it in segments in its entirety with commentary. God Bless!

The Vessels of Wrath Fitted to Destruction

“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory?” – Romans 9:22,23

In a former discourse, brethren, I attempted to show you that the reason why God will punish the wicked eternally is, because he loveth righteousness. It is said in the eleventh Psalm, “Upon the wicked He shall rain snares, fire, and brimstone, and an horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup, for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness.” I then tried to show you, that God has created hell, and will maintain it for ever, not because He loves human pain – I believe it is not so, nor is it because He is subject to passion, as men speak of passion – but because the righteous Lord loveth righteousness.

And I showed you, as you will remember, what a certainty hell is to the wicked. If it had its origin in the love of human pain, then you might have hoped that it would have an end; or, if it proceeded from passionateness, then it might cool; but ah! when it proceeds from Jehovah’s love of righteousness, I see, brethren, in that a reason why “the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

There is a second question which no doubt has occurred to you: why are there any left unpardoned at all? Why was Adam left to fall? Could God not have held him up? Or, if it was necessary that Adam should fall, in order that Christ might die, why are not all saved? Surely there is efficacy in the blood of Christ to pardon all – why, then, are not all saved? There are many answers to that question which we will know in a higher state of being; but here is one; “What if God, willing to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory?” You will notice, brethren, that in these words the apostle Paul tries to give an answer to that question. He does not answer it directly, he employs a “what if”.

If you would like to the read the entire sermon now, click here.

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