Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.…
Oil, in Scripture, is the symbol of inward grace. Regarding the virgins as types of Christian disciples, whatever is merely outward in Christian profession is the lamp and light; whatever is inward and spiritual is the oil reserved in the vessels. The lesson is, be watchful and careful over the nourishing of the inner life. The foolish virgins are not hypocrites, but those too easily satisfied with profession, and too negligent of soul-culture. Illustrate —
1. Setting out on profession. Some take up Christian life seriously, others lightly and confidently. Some inquire how it is to be maintained, others rest in present emotions, and vaguely hope all will go well.
2. Waiting on through years of Christian living. Profession has to be tested, and the test is, "keeping on living." Continuance is the severest of tests.
3. Failing or succeeding when the waiting-time is over. All will be well now, and all will be well for ever, if the life of love, and devotion, and trust, be kept up in our souls. How Jesus will find us when he comes depends on the " oil in our vessels."
Parallel VersesKJV: Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.