Matthew 25:1
At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Sermons
The Waiting MaidensAlexander MaclarenMatthew 25:1
Ancient LampsVan Lennep.Matthew 25:1-13
Character Revealed by CrisisW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Christ the Only Grace-GiverT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Christ's Knowing His OwnBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
Christ's LoveT. Shepard.Matthew 25:1-13
Faith is a Lamp; and Yet Faith May not SavePaxton Hood.Matthew 25:1-13
Figure of Christians as VirginsBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
Formalism EasyT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Half the Virgins LostT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
History of a ConversionMatthew 25:1-13
How the Soul Comes to be Espoused to the Lord JesusT. Shepard.Matthew 25:1-13
Knowledge an Oilless LampPaxton Hood.Matthew 25:1-13
Lost OpportunitiesW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
No Grace to SpareDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:1-13
Oil Both in Lamps and VesselsT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Parable of the Ten VirginsMarcus Dods Matthew 25:1-13
Points of Likeness and Unlikeness in the Ten VirginsH. Bonar, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Preparation for HeavenHelps for the PulpitMatthew 25:1-13
ReadinessS. Lavington.Matthew 25:1-13
Reserve of FaithR. Collyer, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Reserve Power Helpful to AchievementR. Collyer, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Reserve Power Revealed in EmergencyR. Collyer, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Reserve Power the Outcome of Daily DisciplineW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
ReservesR. Collyer, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
Righteousness Cannot be SharedT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Saving Grace Likened to OilBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
Scope of the ParableT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Slumbering SaintsBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
Temporary GraceT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
The Believer's Readiness for the Heavenly MarriageH. Allen, M. A.Matthew 25:1-13
The Certainty of Christ's ComingT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
The Coming of the Eastern BridegroomNarrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews.Matthew 25:1-13
The Coming of the Lord JesusBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
The Desirableness of Preparation for Christ's ComingE. Hull.Matthew 25:1-13
The Folly and Danger of Resting Satisfied with the Outward Form of GodlinessJ. Mark.Matthew 25:1-13
The Folly of the FoolishBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
The Gifts of Grace are Chiefly to be Exercised in Order to an Actual Preparation for the Coming of Christ by Death and JudgmentW. Hook.Matthew 25:1-13
The Gospel a Moveable LightDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:1-13
The Gospel the Only True Soul TorchDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:1-13
The Kingdom of Heaven on EarthT. Shepard.Matthew 25:1-13
The Misery of Dying UnpreparedT. Henderson, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
The Mistake of a Little ReligionT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
The Reserve of OilSelected.Matthew 25:1-13
The Spirit as OilT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsW. M. Taylor, D. D.Matthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsExpository OutlinesMatthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsJ. C. Gray.Matthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsJ. Burns, LL. D.Matthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsJ. Burns, LL. D. Matthew 25:1-13
The Ten VirginsW.F. Adeney Matthew 25:1-13
The Trimming of the LampsPaxton Hood.Matthew 25:1-13
The Unconverted in Danger of Mistaking Natural Emotions for True ReligionB. W. Noel, M. A.Matthew 25:1-13
The Use of Divine DelayingsT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
The VirginsJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 25:1-13
The Visible Church is the Kingdom of HeavenBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
The Wise and Foolish VirginsR. WatsonMatthew 25:1-13
Too LateDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:1-13
Torches LightedDr. Talmage.Matthew 25:1-13
Trimming the LampsBenj. Keach.Matthew 25:1-13
Two Kinds of ParablesT. MantonMatthew 25:1-13
Unreal ReligionJohn Trapp.Matthew 25:1-13
Wisdom and FollyT. Manton.Matthew 25:1-13
Works of SupererogationJohn Billingsley.Matthew 25:1-13


I. CHRIST INVITES HIS CHURCH TO SHARE HIS JOY. Here is a festal occasion, and the joy and splendour of it will not be complete unless the virgin friends of the bride go forth to meet the bridegroom with their lamps illuminating the gay scene. More than once is the gospel gladness compared to that of a wedding. Under such an image the service and the warfare of life are for the moment forgotten, and its bright, glad side is brought to light. This too is to be seen in the kingdom of heaven, and its happiness is to be shared by Christ's people.

II. WE NEED PREPARATION TO PARTICIPATE IN THE JOY OF OUR LORD. The virgins must not only be in wedding array, they must have their lamps trimmed and fed for the illuminated procession. The wise virgins were thoughtful enough to take oil for the further supply of their lamps. The preparation of these lamps was a preliminary work. The soul must be prepared to enter into Christ's joy by kindling the flame of devotion, and by providing the oil of grace to feed this flame. If there is no grace on earth there can be no glory in heaven.

III. IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE INADEQUATE PREPARATION. The foolish virgins had their lamps and lit them. There must have been some oil in them. But there was no further supply. If the bridegroom had not tarried, all would have been well. It was his delay that was so fatal. The foolish virgins are like the rocky ground on which the seed sprang up quickly, but on which the green plant only endured for a short time. They represent persons of brief, temporary religious experience. These people have no stores of grace to fall back on. Time reveals their shallowness. We may have grace to live passably for a short time, but the requisite is to endure to the end; to be shining in the light of God whenever Christ shall come.

IV. DILIGENCE IN THE FUTURE CANNOT ATONE FOR NEGLIGENCE IN THE PAST. Seeing that their lamps are going out, the foolish virgins apply for help from their wise sisters. But these virgins are too prudent to part with any of their precious oil. Their conduct strikes us as selfish. But it is human, and as such it is a warning against neglecting God's grace and trusting to the tender mercies of our fellow creatures. Moreover, in the spiritual region we cannot transfer grace. The wise virgins recommend an impossible course, in ignorance, or as a rebuke, or to relieve themselves of the unpleasant importunity of the other five. The course is impossible. The shops are shut at night. Lost opportunities never return.

V. CHRIST MUST DISOWN THOSE WHO WERE ONCE HIS PEOPLE IF THEY HAVE CEASED TO POSSESS HIS GRACE. In their dismay and bewilderment, the foolish virgins clamour for admission to the wedding feast, even though they have not their lamps, for "the bridegroom is so sweet." But they are refused. Does the conduct of the bridegroom seem harsh, the punishment too severe? Let us observe that all things are in proportion. If the offence is slight - only forgetting to fill vessels with oil, so also is the penalty - only to miss a family festival. Translate this into the spiritual realm, and both sides become proportionately aggravated. The offence is negligence as to the exhaustion of grace; the penalty, exclusion from the joy of Christ. Each is negative; each is serious.

VI. CHRISTIANS NEED TO CULTIVATE A WATCHFUL SPIRIT. The ten virgins must be all Christians, for they all belong to the intimate circle of friends, and they all have lamps alight at first. The fault of the foolish ones is negligence, carelessness, caused, one would say, by comparative indifference. It is well to be always watchful; but if, like all the ten, we sometimes sleep, at least let us see that we have provided for coming need. - W.F.A.









Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.
I. WE HAVE HERE TWO CHARACTERS CONTRASTED. "Five were wise and five were foolish." That we may define the difference between them, it is needful that we have a clear conception of the things in which they were alike.

1. They all had some knowledge of, and regard for, the bridegroom, and desired to honour him by going forth to meet him as he led home his bride.

2. They all had lamps which at the moment were burning.

3. That while the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. Not until his coming was announced did the difference between them develop itself. In all outward things the wise and foolish virgins were alike; the difference between them was internal. The going out of the lamp is commonly understood to mean the making of a profession, while the absence of the reserve store of oil is supposed to signify the want of sincerity in that profession. This seems to unduly narrow the scope of the parable. For the foolish virgins had a real regard for the bridegroom; they had gone far to meet him, and were disappointed at their exclusion. There was genuineness about them as far as they went; only they did not go far enough. Hence I cannot restrict this part of the story to deliberate hypocrites. I regard the foolish virgins as those who have had some feelings of attachment to Christ, and certain impulses Christward to which they yielded at the time; but they were not constant. Their emotion was a real thing, and when they were acting upon it you could not call them hypocrites; but it was not the right thing. They were animated by impulse, not principle. Their religion did not go down to the lowest depths of their nature; it was a thing on the surface. Their seed fell "upon rocky ground where it had not much earth," etc. They commenced to build a tower, but without counting the cost (Luke 14:28, 32).

II. THAT CHARACTER IS REVEALED BY CRISIS. A man has only as much religion as he can command in the hour of trial. The minor surprises of life are to prepare us for the last emergency.

III. THAT CHARACTER IS A PERSONAL THING, and cannot be given by one man to another, but MUST BE ACQUIRED AND MANIFESTED BY EACH ONE FOR HIMSELF. Character is not transferable. I cannot give you my courage to fortify you for duty. How perilous to leave preparation for these testing times till they have come upon us. Every time we perform duty the soul is made stronger. Here the store of oil is obtained. "Add to your faith virtue" (1 Peter 1:5, 7).

IV. THAT LOST OPPORTUNITIES CANNOT BE RECALLED.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

The great truth here taught, therefore, is that character is revealed by emergency. It is in moments of surprise that a man's true self comes out to view. He is the ablest general who can in an instant find some resource when an ambushed foe starts up before him. He is the most skilful mariner, who, in sudden extremity, can rise to the occasion, and bring his vessel and his crew safely into port. Nothing will more correctly reveal what is in a man, than the coming upon him of some crushing and unlooked-for crisis. Let it be temporal ruin by the failure of all his calculations, or the disappointment of all his hopes; let it be the entrance of the death-angel into his home, and the removal from it of his nearest and dearest earthly friend; let it be his own prostration by some serious illness which puts him face to face with his dissolution: and forthwith the extent of his resources is unfolded, and it is at once discovered both by others and by himself, whether he is animated by unfailing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, or whether he has been deceiving himself, and all the while relying on some other support.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

We all know how true that is in common life. When, in times of danger, some great leader comes suddenly to the front, and shows that he has the very qualities which the occasion needs, it will always be found that he has been preparing him-self — unconsciously, perhaps, but really — for years, by the careful discipline of daily labour, for the work which is now so successfully performed by him. While others were asleep, he was at his toil: and by the study of many earnest months, perhaps also by the labour of many midnight hours, he has been laying up that reserve supply, on which at the moment of necessity he has been able to draw. Thus, though the revelation of his ability may have been sudden, the growth of it has been gradual; and because in times of quiet and safety he kept up the discipline of work, the crisis which swept others into oblivion only floated him into fame.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

You know the story of the ancient sibyl who came to King Tarquin offering for sale nine books which she declared would be of great value to him in the government of Rome. She asked what seemed an exorbitant price, and he would not buy them. On that she retired, and burned three of the books: then she came back, and asked the same sum for the remaining six. He again refused; and she retired, and burned three more, only to come back and ask the same price for the remaining three. Then, by the advice of his councillors, he secured them on her own terms. Now, beneath that old fable there is an important truth; for, the longer we refuse God's overtures, the less these overtures contain, while the demand upon us is still the same for the remainder. How many more of these books of privilege are you going to suffer to be destroyed? And what a motive there is in all this for immediate acceptance of God's offer of mercy!

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

Expository Outlines.
I. THE CHARACTERS DELINEATED.

1. That the visible Church is composed of persons of opposite states and conditions.

2. That it is not always easy to distinguish the truly pious from those who are destitute of the root of the matter. All had lamps. Form one thing, inward life another.

3. That one special feature by which all who possess the wisdom which cometh from above are distinguished, is the provision they make, not only for their more immediate wants, but also for future contingencies.

II. THE IMPORTANT EVENT ANNOUNCED "While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept."

1. A mournful statement — "My Lord delayeth his coming."

2. An arousing cry — "Behold, the bridegroom cometh."

3. A solemn summons — "Go ye out to meet him."

III. The RESULTS WHICH SUBSEQUENTLY TRANSPIRED.

1. A hurried preparation — "Then all those virgins arose," etc.

2. A sad discovery — "Our lamps are gone out."

3. A happy entrance — "Went in with him," etc.

4. An unavailing appeal.

(Expository Outlines.)

I. The soul NEEDS LIGHT. The fact that Christ died to save sinners is the only torch that can scatter the soul's gloom.

II. The soul needs a MOVEABLE light. These torches are in motion. The gospel can be taken anywhere.

III. No MAN HAS ANY LIGHT TO SPARE.

IV. Some people apply for the light WHEN IT IS TOO LATE.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Now there are some people who get one thing out of this parable, and there are others who get another thing; but I get this: the soul needs light. If you see the bridegroom's party coming down the hill, what do you find? Torches. If you see the bridal party coming out of the door, what do you see? Torches. What does the soul in its midnight of sin and suffering need? Torches. Confucius tried to strike a light for China, and he did kindle it; but it went out and left her uncounted millions to make the centuries dismal with their wailing. Zeno, Cleanthes, Aristotle, each struck a light and passed it along from hand to hand, but it went out; and I have to tell you that the universities of the earth, while they have in their chemical laboratories made the blue light, and the green light, and the yellow light, they have never yet been able to make the white light of pardon and peace and hope for a lost world. Peace! where is it? Diving bells have gone two hundred feet down, and not found it in the depths of the sea. Astronomers' telescopes have swept across the heavens and not found it in the air. From a consuming brand of Calvary I pick up the only light for a lost world. The fact that Christ died to save sinners is the flambeau which, flung on the darkness of your soul, will scatter its gloom as by a daybreak. A good many years ago in Washington there were two Congressioners who met once every week to talk about the immortality of the soul; but they despised the Bible. They found no comfort. Their time expired, and they went home. Years passed along. They both visited Washington, and at the same time, and happened to meet at the President's levee. They saw each other at the great distance across the room. They pressed their way through the crowd until they came to each other, and, after years of absence, the first thing that one said to the other was: "John, any light?" "No light." Then this one accosted the other, and said: "Henry, any light? .... No light." They said nothing more; they parted to meet at the judgment: Oh, are there any who have swung off from this grand old gospel, thinking to find rest for their soul? Have you found comfort, peace, joy, heaven? From a score of souls there comes up to me the cry to-night: "No light! no light!"

(Dr. Talmage.)

But I learn, also, from this subject, that the soul needs a moveable light. These torches coming out of the door are in motion. These torches of the bridegroom's party on the hill are in motion, hoisted, lowered, glancing in and out among the leaves, all moveable. The soul needs a moveable light, and in the gospel of Christ we have it. That gospel is not a lamp-post standing on one street. It is not a chandelier hung in one room. It is not a lighthouse set at one harbour. It is a flambeau — a moveable light — something to be carried. And we need to take it into our homes, and we need to take it into our stores and shops, and into our schools, and into our churches, and in the cellars where the poor freeze, and in the garret where the fevered languish, and into the hospital where the wounded die, and far out in the wilderness where the emigrant struggles. Do you know that the lights of this world are stationery, and that soon you and I will have to start on a road where all these lights will fail us?

(Dr. Talmage.)

"Oh," says some one in this house: "I had a very good father and very good mother; if there ever was a good woman, she was; and somehow I hope through their piety to get into heaven." Had they any surplus of piety? None. Had they any goodness to spare? None. You cannot borrow oil out of their lamps. There never was a better man than Jonathan Edwards, but he had no grace to spare for his son Pierrepont, who made an awful shipwreck. President Burr was a holy and consecrated man, but he had no grace to spare for Aaron Burr, whose life was a horrid debauch. And, I suppose, if at the last, all the redeemed of heaven were gathered in a circle, and some poor soul should go round and say: "Have you olive oil to spare? give me some for my lamp?" I suppose they would all answer: "Not so, lest there be not enough for us and for you." "If thou be wise, thou shall be wise for thyself: but if thou scornest, thou alone shall bear it." Every man for himself, every woman for herself.

(Dr. Talmage.)

I suppose every hour of the day and night there are souls going into eternity unprepared. Oh, what excitement it must be about the death-bed, crying out for a lamp, and for the oil, and for the light; throwing; hands out, throwing them up, throwing them around, until the nurse asks, "What do you want, water?" He says, shaking his head: "No." "Bathing of the temples?" He shakes his head: "No." What does he want? Oh, he cannot get his light burning. He must start; he is started; he comes up to the gate of heaven; he knocks; he cries: "Let me in!" He is not admitted. He says: "I want to see the bridegroom." The voices within say: "You can't see the bridegroom; he is busy with the guests now." Says the man: "I must come in; my children are in there. I must come in." A voice within says: "You refused the grace that would have brought you where they are." "But," says the man, "I must come in; all my friends and kindred are in. Hark! now! hear the sound of their voices, and the bounding of their feet. Let me in." And a voice from within says: "You are too late!" It says to one man: "You are twenty years too late;" to another, "you are over five years too late;" to another, "you are a month too late;" to another, "you are a minute too late; " and the mob of destroyed ones outside the door take up the chorus, and cry: "Too late!" And the hot wind of the desert sighs: "Too late!" and the bell in the tower of eternal midnight tolls and tolls: "Too late! too late!" And the torches of the silly virgins begin to flicker and hiss in the storm, and one by one they go out, until in the suffocating darkness they cry: "Our lamps have gone out!" And they go wandering through eternity, ages after ages, feeling out for the light, for comfort, for peace, for hope, but finding none, and crying: "Our lamps have gone out!" and then, turning in another direction, and wandering on, age after age, age after age, feeling for hope, and comfort, and light, and Heaven, but finding none, and crying: "Our lamps have gone out!"

(Dr. Talmage.)

Very miserable is the state of such as these who have grace to get when Christ cometh.

1. All the profession of these virgins is lost.

2. All opportunities and means of grace are now lost, never to be enjoyed more.

3. The door of hope is shut against them.

4. The door of grace is shut.

5. They have now lost their communion with the wise virgins, who are safe within the door.

6. These virgins have now lost their veils. They are discovered to themselves, the king, to the world.

7. These who were in the midnight's sleep, are now in their midnight's darkness.

8. All who profess to be the bridesmen must take heed of resting in aught that is common to them with the foolish virgins. What gifts of grace are chiefly to be in exercise in order to an actual preparation for the coming of Christ by death and judgment?(1) There is always a general and habitual preparedness to meet Christ in hearts that are truly godly, but not always a particular, actual fitness.(2) That though a state of grace is here supposed, seeing grace cannot be exercised where it is not; yet there may be need to have it cleared.(3) Maintain your faith in frequent exercise, and make no less conscience of acting daily faith than you do of daily prayer.(4) This faith doth necessarily work by love.(5) Keep even accounts with God, and still be perfecting that repentance which is the work of every day; and let there be no old reckonings between God and you.(6) Be much in the exercise of goodness, mercy, and works of liberality towards Christ in His needy members, according to your opportunity and power.(7) Exercise diligence and faithfulness in your particular calling.

(W. Hook.)

I. That true religion consists of a lively principle of grace in the heart. Principle and practice are to work together in religion.

II. That many professed Christians content themselves with the mere outward forms of religion. This danger arises from the natural blindness of the understanding; the natural pride of the heart exposes us to it.

III. That many become conscious of this error and seek to remedy it when it is too late.

(J. Mark.)

"Our lamps are gone out."

I. What is implied in this complaint or acknowledgment.

II. Consider how it came to pass that the lamps of some of these virgins had gone out when the cry was heard.

III. Consider when it was that the foolish virgins found their lamps gone out.

1. It was not till after they had burned for a considerable length of time.

2. It was when their light was most needed. The midnight hour.

3. At an hour when they could not be rekindled in time for their intended purpose.

(T. Henderson, D. D.)

I. The MARRIAGE.

1. It exhibits the love of Christ to His:people.

2. The security of His people.

3. It furnishes valuable hints to the Church of Christ. How careful should the bride be to manifest her sincere love to the bridegroom.

4. How many times we have appeared weary of His love.

II. The PREPARATION for this marriage.

1. It is not in any man's excellence in his natural state above others of his fellows.

2. It is not on account of any special dexterity and judicious skill — "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God."

3. The preparation is by the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit — "Of Him we are in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness," etc.

III. The END of US all.

(H. Allen, M. A.)

I. The PREPARATION.

1. All were moved by one desire — to welcome the bridegroom, and partake of the banquet. Even the foolish may be right in part.

2. The wise went wholly prepared.

3. The unwise took lamps and vessels, but no oil; perhaps did not examine the vessel. Thought they had enough, etc. The experiment of many seems to be, an attempt at discovering how little religion will suffice for their safety.

II. The DISCOVERY.

1. The light gone out! Night dark. Bridegroom coming. Midnight cry. Terrible thing to have no light of truth, hope, etc., in the night of error, sorrow, death.

2. The oil exhausted. Sad for the heart to be without grace in seasons of perplexity and peril.

3. No oil to be borrowed. He who has most religion, has none to spare; and cannot impart grace to empty souls.

4. Oil must be bought. Those who seek grace at last may find those who might guide and comfort full of engagements.

5. The door shut. Could neither meet the Bridegroom or enter in.

III. The APPEAL.

1. Respectful.

2. Earnest.

3. Heartrending.

4. Fruitless.

(J. C. Gray.)

I. There was A COMMON LIKENESS and resemblance between the wise and foolish virgins, that continued for a considerable time; so THAT THE REAL DIFFERENCES WERE NOT DETECTED TILL THE APPROACH OF THE BRIDEGROOM.

II. THAT THERE WAS A MOST IMPORTANT AND SERIOUS DISTINCTION. "Five of them were wise and five were foolish." Their wisdom was shown in making a proper preparation for the future.

III. THE DELAY IN THE FINAL APPEARANCE OF THE BRIDEGROOM.

IV. BUT THOUGH HE TARRIED LONG, HE CAME AT LAST.

1. At midnight.

2. With a cry.

V. THE CASE OF THE WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM CAME.

VI. THE FINAL RESULT.

(R. Watson)

I. That an unconverted person may make a false profession of religion, as these "foolish virgins" took their burning lamps to do honour to the bridegroom.

2. That an unconverted person, making a false profession of religion, may suppose it to be genuine religion, as these five foolish virgins hoped that their lamps would be burning when the bridegroom came.

3. That those who make such a vain profession are most unwise.

4. That notwithstanding the folly of such conduct many are guilty of it. "Five."

(B. W. Noel, M. A.)

I. THE EVENT. It is of great importance.

1. If we consider the extent of the influence of that event.

2. From the estimation in which it was held by Jesus Christ Himself.

3. From the estimation in which it has been held by the wisest and best of the human race.

4. From the great design of it.

5. It will excite the deepest possible interest.

6. The excitement produced by the Saviour's coming will last for ever.

7. It is not an occurrence of uncertain character.

8. It will be sudden.

II. THE PREPARATION.

1. One part of this preparation consists in previous intimacy with the heavenly Bridegroom.

2. Some congeniality of spirit between your souls and the mind of Jesus Christ.

3. A longing desire for His approach.

4. A diligent discharge of all Christ's commands.

III. THE DESIRABLENESS OF THIS PREPARATION.

1. Out of regard to tranquillity at the time of His coming.

2. Out of respect of gratitude; how much has He done for us.

3. On account of the felicity of being received by Him into the feast.

4. Out of respect to the misery of those not found ready.

(E. Hull.)

I. OUR PARABLE TEACHES THAT HOWEVER LONG AND DEEPLY A MAN MAY SLEEP, HE IS SURE TO AWAKE AT LAST — "Then." Is it not true that to every soul comes the time when God calls-calls plainly, audibly, loudly — "Then "? There are such critical moments in the history of lives — moments when we are justified in saying, "Hark! that is the call of God." Calls of God's providence are like the calls of the hours — they repeat: themselves with renewed power in every stroke; perhaps I may say that God never startled and terrified any soul with the inevitable twelve until it had been deaf to the repeated calls of the preceding hours. Illness, bereavement, etc. To every soul comes the tremendous and inexorable, Then!

II. THERE ARE EPOCHS IN AN AGE WHEN ALL THINGS SEEM TO CALL TO ARISE AND TRIM THE LAMPS, AND WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SEEMS SO NEAR. Amidst surrounding gloom, voices will seem to mark the epoch and to give the call.

III. HEALTHIEST LIVES NEED WARNING. They all arose. Holiest souls have fears, need vigilance, and must use the means. They arose — they were all on their way to meet the Bridegroom; they all passed for a professing Church; they all testified their love to the Bridegroom; they were all called by His name. How little is implied in professions! Not what I say, but what I am, is my security. Do you never fear for yourselves at last? Does the Master never wake thee at night and say, "Where is thy lamp? I gave it thee to guard?" etc.

IV. HOWEVER EXCELLENT AN INSTRUMENT A LAMP MAY BE, IT IS ONLY AN INSTRUMENT. SO they all arose and trimmed their lamps. The ]amp is the turning point of the parable. Alas! a lamp useless! a lamp without oil! No lamp is its own end — and the profession of Christianity is not its own end, and none of the means employed by God are their own end. Lamps are to give light, and for progress, and duty, and comfort. And the trimming implies, obtaining fresh oil, and removing clogging from the wick.

1. Faith is a lamp; and yet faith may not save. It may be wanting in love which purifies the heart, etc.

2. Knowledge is a lamp. It is only instrumental — not its own end, etc.

3. Experience is a lamp. But it needs the oil. Not what I have passed through can avail for me, not my frames and feelings, but what these are before God.

V. EVERY PRIVILEGE BRINGS DUTIES — "They all arose and trimmed their lamps." They had all slept. From few things are we more in danger than from sleep.

1. There is a state of soul, spiritually so-called — indifference of their danger. Let no one suppose he is in a state of security because he knows no fear.

2. They all slept; but even in that case there must have been a difference. The rest in the unwise, the proof of folly, may be, in the wise, the proof of wisdom. The foolish were resting and trusting in the morning, or in the dark lamp without oil; the wise slept, but their lamp was kindled as a night-light, placed by their bedside for fear of the night. They watched for their Lord.

3. Let us trim our lamps. We have no time to sleep. You have a lamp to trim — a soul, a faith. What vigilance is needed! In every other department of life you are awake. Here you sleep. Arise, and trim your lamps.

(Paxton Hood.)

I. Review the parable in ITS LITERAL SIGNIFICATION.

II. ITS SPIRITUAL APPLICATION.

1. The Bridegroom is Jesus. This is one of the general Scriptural representations of the Saviour (Psalm 45:10, etc.; Isaiah 44:5; Matthew 22:1, 2; Matthew 9:15; John 4:29). The object of the Bridegroom's affection is the Church (2 Corinthians 11:2, etc.; Ephesians 5:25). Now to render a union possible between Christ and mankind —(1) They must have one nature (Titus 2:14; Titus 3:4).(2) They must have one mind. In our natural state we are alienated, etc. Christ, by the exhibition of His love in the gospel, overcomes this.(3) In conversion the soul is espoused to Christ (Jeremiah 2:2).(4) The marriage celebration is reserved for the Second Advent (Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2, etc.). Conclusion: Consider the dignified Bridegroom. His glory is supreme, His riches are infinite, His beauty unrivalled, His love unspeakable and passing understanding. Are not His claims then irresistible? Reject Him not. Congratulate believers on their choice and portion. Expostulate with those who have forsaken Him.

(J. Burns, LL. D.)

J. Burns, LL. D. .
I. IN THEIR PROFESSIONAL PROBATIONARY CHARACTER — "Who took their lamps." In this, the profession of Christianity is exhibited. Religion is to be manifested. This profession of discipleship and friendship with Christ —

1. Should arise from love to Christ.

2. Must be public and open before men.

3. Must be constant and continued.

4. It must be sustained by Divine grace. A profession without the grace of God in the soul will be joyless, promiseless, transitory.

II. THE DELAY OF THE BRIDEGROOM, AND THE VIRGINS IN THEIR SLEEPING STATE. The early Christians expected His Second Advent in their time. So in many ages since. But the period is not revealed. The virgins "all slumbered and slept." There are no obvious distinctions between the two classes. But the wise prepared for the future. The others were satisfied with the present — had no supply for the coming exigency.

III. THE SOLEMN ANNOUNCEMENT.

1. The period.

2. The pomp and magnificence of His coming. The event is momentous, and the scene truly sublime. All beings in all worlds will be interested in it.

IV. THE AWFUL DEFICIENCY OF THE FOOLISH VIRGINS IS DISCOVERED. What shall they do? We cannot give grace to each other now. How much less, then!

V. THE CONCLUSION OF THE CEREMONY AND THE CONSUMMATION OF THE FEAST. The wise acknowledged, etc. But the foolish labour to supply the deficiency in seeking oil. But "the door is shut."

1. The door of opportunities and means.

2. The door of mercy.

3. The door of hope.

4. The door of heaven.Application:

1. Let the subject lead to solemn examination.

2. To earnestness, and diligence, and vigilance.

(J. Burns, LL. D. .)

Helps for the Pulpit.
The design of Christ in the parable is to induce watchfulness — a state of preparation for death which conducts to the judgment seat of Christ.

I. THE HAPPINESS DESTINED FOR THE FOLLOWER OF CHRIST. This happiness is heaven, with all its enjoyments, etc. It is described in the text, "Went in with Him into the marriage." Implies —

1. Christ's gracious approval of them (John 17:24; Isaiah 42:5; Revelation 19:7, 9).

2. His people will be introduced by Him into heaven as the purchase of His blood, the travail of His soul, and the gems of His crown (John 14:1, 2).

3. They will be guests at the marriage feast. This denotes —(1) The consummation of the union of Christ with His Church, of which they will not only be the observant, but the participant (Isaiah 54:5; Hosea 2:19; Ephesians 5:25-27). This union will never be broken; it is an everlasting bond (Revelation 3:12.)(2) That they dwell in His immediate presence, and in the most intimate fellowship and communion with Him — in a state of eternal rest and joy.(3) High festive enjoyment (Revelation 7:14).(4) Social enjoyment. The guests may come from far, but they rejoice together (Hebrews 12:22, etc.).

II. THE PREPARATION NECESSARY FOR THE ENJOYMENT OF HEAVEN — "They were ready." Alluding to the wise who took oil, etc. This readiness is illustrated by the wedding garment (Matthew 22:11). What is the nature of spiritual preparation for death and an interview with our Judge, etc.?

1. It is Divine. Not self-righteousness; not external.

2. Spiritual enlightenment to discover our sinful, impure, and perishing state; and the method of God's salvation through Christ; and to see its superiority to every other promulgation.

3. Faith in the work of Christ.

4. Inherent righteousness, purity, etc., as effected by Divine energy; developed in practical conformity to the will of God.

5. Constant expectation of, and preparation for, the coming of Christ (2 Timothy 4:8; Titus 2:13). This preparation is real and lasting. It is both inward and outward. Not like the foolish virgins (ver. 7).

III. THE SIGNIFICANT IMPORT OF THE DECLARATION — "And the door was shut."

1. As an intimation of the happiness and security of the wise (Revelation 3:12). Adam was placed in Paradise; but the door was left open, and so he went out again; but in heaven the glorified saint will be shut in.

2. It intimates the doom of the wicked. Heaven will never be seen and enjoyed by sinners. Their probation is ended; their glad time is over. All the means of grace have passed away. The dispensation of the gospel is closed. All instruments employed to convert and to save will be employed no more. The Spirit will strive no more. Hope is for ever past.Application:

1. Be thankful that the means of preparation are propounded by the gospel; "wise" persons Will avail themselves of those means.

2. Let Christians be watchful; trim their lamps; the Bridegroom is at hand.

3. How awful to have the door shut against us I It will either open for us, or close against us.

(Helps for the Pulpit.)

I. This demand touches LIFE itself. Your doctor will tell you that the best thing you can do is to keep as fine a reserve of vitality as you can possibly store away, if you mean to give him a chance when some day he has to pull you through the sore conflict between life and death. How often is it said, "Nothing could be done for him because he had nothing to fall back upon; he used up all his life as he went along." Here then is the first meaning of " oil " in my vessel with my lamp.

II. These reserves mean CHARACTER. We can store up character as we store up life for searching emergencies we store up spiritual substance of manhood.

III. These reserves mean ACHIEVEMENT. The power to do the grandest thing possible to your nature, when you feel you must, or some precious thing will be lost. To cube your power out of the latent stores.

IV. WE CAN STORE UP OTHER AND BETTER THINGS AGAINST THE TRIAL OF THE SOUL. We can store up faith, hope, love, and whatever makes a Christian.

(R. Collyer, D. D.)

Reserves of life or light, of courage or character, of insight or endurance, or whatever the demand may be, for failing here, it is as when wells fail in a dry time, because they have no deepness or power to reach the perennial spring. That in our common life we may do as well as those about us, or even seem to be doing better, if we are reckless as to these reserves, while others are carefully storing them away. But such times are no test of a man or a manhood, any more than the piping times of peace, when they flame out in scarlet and gold about London, are a test of the Queen's guards; or than our own men were tested when they went southward through our streets with their music and banners. It is Waterloo and the Crimea, Chancellorsville and Ball's Bluff, and such grim backgrounds as these against which they must stand, before the matchless manhood of such men can come into bold relief and reveal itself finally. And so we can all run easily enough through our easy-going times, make good headway as we imagine, and hold our own with the best, but these days have no virtue in them to reveal this secret of our reserved power. They are like the main part of a voyage I made once across the Atlantic, in which the weather was so pleasant and all things ran so easily that I suspect the most of us felt about equal to the captain, and concluded it was no great thing to run a steamer after all, when you once got the lines. But when a great storm struck us as we passed Cape Race, and all night long the good ship shuddered and punted through the wild waters, and when, next morning, peering deckward, we saw the faithful fellow standing by the mainmast with his arms twisted about the ropes, swinging in the tempest, watching it with steady eyes, alert and cheerful, though he had been on deck all night, turning his ship round in the teeth of the tempest and the trough of the sea, so that she might escape the awful strain and the avalanche of waters which were filling men with dismay, then we knew our captain. The reserves were coming out. Here was a man nothing could daunt, and who, if the worst had come, would, no doubt, have seen still to our safety so far as he was able, and been the last to leave the wreck. That man had light in him and life equal to the demand — oil, in a word, in the vessel with his lamp, and so he brought the good ship, at last, to her haven, and won the "Well done."

(R. Collyer, D. D.)

When the great Duke of Bridgewater undertook to construct those canals which lie at the root of the vast wealth of modern England, and had their part in the splendour of this metropolis, he found the strain so hard at last that he was glad to get a note accepted for five pounds. He gave up his princely mansion, lived in a small house, and clad himself so humbly that one day as he was standing by a great pile of his own coal, a boy, thinking he was a common person, cried, "Here, man, give us a lift with this sack!" He loved his bit of humour, so took hold with the boy, and got for his thanks, "Ah, man, thou's big enough, but thou's lazy!" He came at last to the end of his reserves of money and courage, and on a Saturday night, sitting with Brindley, who had borne the burden with him, the mighty engineer said, "Well, Duke, don't be east down, we are sure to pull through." They did pull through, and Brindley found the strength for it in the last drips of oil in the vessel, but he found it; and the result was the first splendid stroke which set England on her feet, and gave you the port you wanted in Liverpool.

(R. Collyer, D. D.)

Because, to speak first of faith, we need not merely enough to live on through our ordinary experiences, but stores of it to fall back on and draw on when ruin and disaster seem to have it all their own way. When we wake up suddenly to wonder whether God can be in heaven and we so forlorn on the earth; whether the Christ was not mistaken in His abiding confidence, and all the saints; and what better thing there can be left than just to grit our teeth and bear it. Millions have struck the same troubles, but have risen out of them through their reserves into the very life and light of God. No disaster has overcome them utterly; no trial broken them clean down. It was no matter that the heavens were black as midnight, except for the fierce pain of it — or that " from out waste nature came a cry and murmurs from the dying sun;" the reserves were there, and they drew on them to the last, and went in to the joy of the Lord. Poor creatures some of them, who could give no reason why they should hold on so and stay so cheerful, any more than the fountain can give a reason for its flowing, or the plant you find in some deserts for its store of cool water! They have been sending out roots far and wide, tapping the secrets of reserved power and storing up the treasure, and now nothing can exhaust them. The old Bible has been drawn on, and the stores open to them outside in thought and life; and, above all things, the inward and inexhaustible fountains of God's own blessing. No danger of the oil giving out; it burns clear away until they pass beyond the veil.

(R. Collyer, D. D.)

Parables are of two sorts.

1. Argumentative; wherein some notable reason is couched, or ground is laid for some excellent encouragement in our converse with God, by showing what falleth out among men. In these argumentative parables, the parts of the parables are not to be strained, but the scope and parable itself is to be regarded.

2. Representative. This sort yields us a notable delineation of some heavenly matter, by laying the scene of it among earthly affairs; for God is feign to lisp to us in our own dialect, and speaks as we can understand. This parable is of the latter sort.

(T. Manton)

1. The thing compared — the "kingdom of heaven."

II. The comparison itself — "likened to ten virgins." Who are described

(1)by their quality or state;

(2)by their number — ten

(3)by their rank or distribution — five wise, five foolish;

(4)by their work or employment — they went forth to meet the bridegroom;

(5)by their preparation for that work — they took their hand-lamps.

(T. Manton.)

I. Profession must not be neglected; both the wise and the foolish took their lamps with them. Burning profession is two-fold, vocal and real; by word and by life.

II. Profession of godliness, though never so glorious, should not be rested in, without a saving work of grace upon the heart to maintain it. Grace must show forth, but withal it must have a bottom within; as a fountain or spring sendeth forth streams to water the ground about it, or the heart sendeth forth life and spirits to every faculty and member, so the graces of the Spirit in believers show forth in their carriage and behaviour, to make their tongue drop that which is savoury, their actions orderly and even, their carriage in all relations and affairs grave and serious. 'Tis well when all this hath a bottom, that there is a principle of life within, to diffuse this virtue into every part of their conversations.

(T. Manton.)

The Spirit doth not give a draught, but the spring; not a dash of rain that is soon dried up, but a well; not a pond, that may be dried up at length, but a fountain that ever keepeth flowing, so that we shall never thirst more. Not a petty refreshment for a season, but His Spirit to dwell in us as a full fountain, to flow forth for the refreshment of himself and others. Though the ocean be in God, yet there is a river in the saints.

(T. Manton.)

It may be good words without practice; or practice without principle. Many talk welt; their notions are high and strict, but observe them narrowly, and you will find them cold and careless; like the carbuncle, at a distance it seemeth all on fire, but touch it, and it is key-cold. "Be warmed, be clothed " will not pass for charity, nor opinions for faith, nor notions and elevated strains for godliness. You would laugh at him that would think to pay his debts with the noise of money; and instead of opening his purse, shake it: 'tis as ridiculous to think to satisfy God, or discharge our duty, by fine words, or heavenly language, without a heavenly heart or life. 'Tis not enough to do good, but we must get the habit of doing good; to believe, but we must get the habit of faith: to do a virtuous action, but we must have the habit of virtue; to perform an act of obedience, but we must get the root of obedience.

(T. Manton.)

A form is easily gotten and maintained. Painted fire needs no fuel to keep it in. Vanishing affections are soon stirred. All excellent things have their incident difficulties, and. nothing is gotten without diligence, labour, and serious-mindedness.

(T. Manton.)

The grace of temporaries is good of its kind, but must not be rested in. 'Tis like priming the post, to make it receptive of other colours, 'tis an inchoate, imperfect thing.

(T. Manton.)

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."

(Selected.)

I. Reason saith He may come. Argue from —

1. the nature of God.

2. The providence of God.

3. The feelings of conscience.

4. Show the conveniency of such a day.

II. If doubtful to reason, 'tis sure to faith. Faith argueth —

1. From Christ's merit and purchase.

2. From Christ's affection to us.

3. From the affections of His saints to Him, which Christ will satisfy.

4. From the constitution of His Church.

5. From His promise.

(T. Manton.)

The Lord tarrieth sometimes when men think He should come sooner. To come late is many times the best time. God keepeth back His best blessings for a while, and detaineth them long in His own hands before they come to us. Therefore wait His leisure. Expectation is tedious, and reckoneth every minute. Strong desires are importunate, and usually we go by an ill count; not by eternity, but time. The timing of all things is in God's hand; not left to our foolish fancies, but His wise ordering. The dial sometimes goeth before the sun; so doth our time before God's time. We would make short work for faith and patience, and so our graces would not be found to praise and honour.

(T. Manton.)

These are often elegant in form and elaborate in design. They are covered at the top, where there is a hole for pouring in the oil, while another at the side receives the wick; there is often a handle large enough to pass one finger through, for the purpose of holding it. These lamps are often adorned with graceful designs of heathen deities, or mythological subjects, of animals, and birds, and comic scenes. These were evidently hand-lamps, intended to be carried about the house; but when they were required to burn for a considerable time, they needed to be replenished, and a small eathern jar filled with oil was set near the lamp, as it now is, from which a new supply was added whenever the light grew dim. It was thus in the parable of the ten virgins; when the lamps had burned down with the long delay of the bridegroom, "the wise" virgins were enabled to replenish theirs, which "the foolish" could not do.

(Van Lennep.)

In Egypt, as well as other Oriental countries, the same usage still prevails: — "We heard the sound of music and mirth, and running to the window observed the glare of torches in the street. We were told that it was 'the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride.' Some of us instantly set out to witness the spectacle of an Eastern marriage. The bridegroom was on his way to the house of the bride. According to custom, he walked in procession through several streets of the town, attended by a numerous body of friends, all in their showy Eastern garb. Persons bearing torches went first, the torches being kept in full blaze by a constant supply of ready wood from a receiver, made of wire, fixed at the end of a long pole. Two of the torch-bearers stood close to the bridegroom, so that we had a view of his person. Some were playing upon an instrument not unlike our bagpipe, others were beating drums, and from time to time muskets were fired in honour of the occasion At length the company arrived at the entrance of the street where the bride resided. Immediately we heard the sound of many female voices, and observed by the light of the torches a company of veiled bridesmaids, waiting on the balcony to give notice of the coming of the bridegroom. When they caught sight of the approaching procession they ran back into the house, making it resound with the cry, 'Halil, halil, halil!' and music, both vocal and instrumental, commenced within. Thus the bridegroom entered in, and the door was shut! We were left standing in the street without, 'in the outer darkness.' In our Lord's parable, the virgins go forth to meet the bridegroom with lamps in their hands, but here they only waited for his coming. Still we saw the traces of the very scene described by our Lord, and a vivid representation of the way in which Christ shall come to His waiting Church, and the marriage supper of the Lamb begin."

(Narrative of a Mission of Inquiry to the Jews.)

I. IN WHAT RESPECT THE VISIBLE CHURCH MAY BE COMPARED TO A KINGDOM.

1. Because it is under kingly government.

2. Because it is a distinct state from any other kingdom or sort of government.

3. Because every kingdom consisteth of divers sorts.

4. Because the same laws bind all sorts of persons within the compass of the kingdom.

5. Because ignorance of laws is not allowed in excuse of wrong-doing.

6. Because in every kingdom there is a statute book, and officers to govern.

7. Because in a kingdom all who violate the laws are called to account and punished.

II. WHY IS THE CHURCH CALLED THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? Because —

1. Its constitution and laws are not of this world.

2. The same King reigns as in heaven.

3. The doctrine, faith, order, rule, and government promote a heavenly life, and so lead to heaven.

4. The saints are the subjects of heaven.

5. The Church is the figure of heaven.

6. The Church ought to show the glory of heaven begun below.

(Benj. Keach.)

Apply to both the male and female sex.

1. They are chaste and not defiled.

2. They are commonly the younger sort, and are of yielding or complying temper.

3. They are often (perhaps) tempted, but they yield not.

4. They are often espoused.

5. They delight to be clean and neatly dressed.

6. Virgins espoused have cordial affection, or dear love, to their bridegroom.

7. They love and delight in the company of each other.

(Benj. Keach.)

It consisteth —

I. In their attaining to some degree of the knowledge of the way of salvation, and yet having no interest in the blessed Saviour.

II. In that they had the means but never used it; a price in their hands, but no heart to improve it.

III. To sleep in harvest, or come to the market when it is over, certainly argues great folly in such persons.

IV. Their folly consisteth in running the greatest hazard, and yet thinking themselves safe.

V. It is not great folly to refuse to cut off a corrupt and rotten member, when told that death will inevitably ensue, or their life must go if it be not done.

VI. Their folly consisteth in believing the father of lies, and in trusting in their own hearts, when nothing is more deceitful.

VII. To value the good opinion, and having the approbation of men above the love of Christ, and the approbation of God, is folly with a witness.

VIII. Their folly consisteth in losing the love, both of God and the world, and in exposing themselves to the wrath of God and men.

(Benj. Keach.)

Grace is here compared to oil, from the qualities or nature thereof.

1. Oil is of a softening, a mollifying and healing nature.

2. Oil is contrary to scorpions, and expels poison; so is grace contrary also to Satan, that old serpent, and it also expels the poison of sin, and Satan's temptations.

3. Oil will not mingle or incorporate with other liquid things, but it will be always upper:most.

4. Oil is of a reviving nature, and opens obstructions, causing a man to breathe freely, so grace revives the soul.

5. Oil is of a feeding and fattening nature, as well as beautifying.

6. Oil makes the lamp burn, feeds it, and continues its light; so the grace of God in a believer makes his life, profession, and conversation to burn, and give much light.

(Benj. Keach.)

1. Sleep or spiritual drowsiness riseth from those gross vapours which seize on and clog the soul.

2. Slothfulness, or a careless and dull frame, hath a great tendency to produce sleep.

3. Wearisomeness, as when a man is tired out with his work, makes him sleepy in religious duties.

4. A dark and cloudy day easily puts us into a drowsy frame.

5. An apprehension that it is a great while to day, makes a man settle down to sleep again.

6. When a man apprehends no danger, he is apt to slumber in security.

7. Some distempers or diseases which seize upon the body cause an unusual sleepiness.

8. Surfeiting and drunkenness cause immoderate sleep.

9. A sleepy company that a man may be in will infect him with sleepiness.

10. Long watching tends to produce immoderate sleepiness.

(Benj. Keach.)

The trimming of the lamp denotes the cleansing of it, and the taking off of the dead ashes that hinder the light, or prevent its burning so clearly as otherwise it would, Now what is this, "but the putting away of all iniquity by faith and unfeigned repentance. Our conversation, or lamp of profession, is subject to gather filth, and the dead ashes of corruption often hinder the shinings of our lives, to the glory of God. Unbelief, deadness, earthliness, and self-confidence is like to a thief in the candle, or dead ashes in the wick of a lamp, and therefore must be snuffed by mortification, lest the spirit of God be grieved and depart from us, as to His quickening and comforting influences.

(Benj. Keach.)

Doctrine: The Lord Jesus will come again, or appear the second time.

1. Prove that Christ shall or will come again.

2. Give some reasons why the Lord Christ will come again.

3. Show how He will appear.

4. Lay down a few of the signs of His coming.

5. Show how we may be said to be ready.

6. Who are they that will not be ready?

7. Show what may be meant by shutting the door.

(Benj. Keach.)

1. The Lord Jesus did not know them to be His sheep.

2. He knows them not so as to approve of them.

3. Knowledge sometimes refers to love and affections.

4. Knowledge is sometimes taken for intimate communion, and they are such that never had this knowledge of Christ, or Christ of them.

(Benj. Keach.)

No man can be benefited by another man's grace and good works (I mean as to his personal and eternal salvation); none has any grace to spare for another, nor, if he had, has he any right or capacity to transfer or communicate it.

I. No mere man in this life can fully and perfectly obey all the commandments of God, for how should a morally imperfect creature yield a full obedience to an every way perfect law?

II. Though we cannot perform full and entire obedience to the law of God, yet this is still due from us to the Author of our being. Though we have lost our power to obey, God has not lost His right to command and require obedience of us.

III. The obedience which God requires of us, is principally and chiefly that of the soul and inward man, and secondarily that of the body and outward man; which latter is of no value, but as it flows from, and is expressive of, the former.

IV. The least defect in our obedience, much more an habitual revolt from God, is death by the original law, the law of innocency given to Adam in and at his creation; and habitual and final disobedience is no less so by the law of grace, the gospel remedying the law; and that with farther aggravation on account of unbelief, and our rejecting the only remedy, which infinite wisdom and love has provided for us, and. offered to us.

V. The impotency which we all labour under to fulfil the law of God, and perform His commands, is owing to the corruption of our natures, derived to us from the fall of our first parents, whereby we lost the image of God, and became as unstable and weak as water, naturally disinclined for every, and disabled for any good work.

VI. Though no mere man hath, or ever can, fulfil the law of God, yet our Lord Jesus Christ hath perfectly obeyed it, and hath also suffered the curse due to our transgression of it, in such a way as to render it fit for God to forgive all them that believe on His name.

VII. Though believers cannot perfectly obey all the commandments of God in this life, yet they are aiming at it, and making daily progress towards it.

(John Billingsley.)

I. Wherein doth this readiness consist?

1. Habitual readiness is to have "oil in their vessels" — that is, grace in the heart. Those who have a work of grace upon their hearts,

(1)have been effectually called;

(2)are justified by His grace;

(3)are sanctified by the Spirit;

(4)preserve herein to the end.

2. An actual readiness. When gracious souls have notice of their Lord's coming, they endeavour to put themselves in the best posture to receive Him. They are

(1)sober;

(2)vigilant;

(3)watch unto prayer.

II. What is implied in the saints entering in with Christ to the marriage?

1. They shall enter into the nearest relation to Jesus Christ.

2. They shall enter into the joy of their Lord.

III. When Christ and His saints are entered into heaven, there will be neither going out nor coming in for ever. Application —

1. There will be a certain and final separation between empty professors anti real saints.

2. What a grievous loss will they sustain, who do not thoroughly attend to religion!

3. What a mercy it is that the door of the sanctuary is still open.

(S. Lavington.)

They get the same name, virgins; they wear the same dress; they are on the same errand; they all have lamps; they all have vessels; they all slumber and sleep. They have thus many features in common. Man could not discern the difference, at least for the time. The peril of mere externalism is that which our Lord points out here. No doubt there must be externalism. Religion must have an outside as well as an inside. The lamp must not only have oil, but it must burn; the external must indicate the internal. And we may say that our Lord intimated the necessity of a thorough consistency and completeness in the outward religious life of a man, so that, as a fair external is no excuse for internal unsoundness or incompleteness, so a sound internal is no excuse for an inconsistent life. Our Lord, then, here depicts

(1)a complete externalism;

(2)a beautiful externalism;

(3)a deceptive externalism;

(4)a prolonged externalism;

(5)an unavailing externalism.Up to a certain point in a man's life, or character, or religion, externalism may avail; but beyond that it gives way; it exhibits its unprofitableness. This externalism may not always be hypocrisy, but it is imitation. It is not the flower in its natural colour and growth, but painted, artificial Though in most respects they were all alike, yet there was a difference. It was within; it was imperceptible from without; it could only be discovered when the bridegroom came. Only then the want came out in the foolish. Then was it seen who were wise, and who were foolish. That day is the day of certain and unerring detection. It is the day of weighing in the balances. It is the separation of the false from the true Thus a man may be very much like a Christian, and yet not be one. He may come very near the kingdom, and yet not enter in. He may have all the outward features of a Christian, and yet be lacking in the main one. He may have the complete dress of the saint, and yet not be one. He may have a good life, a sound creed, a strict profession; he may be one who says and does many things excellent; he may be a subscriber to all the religious societies in the land, a member of all their committees, or a speaker at all their meetings, and supporter of all their plans; he may profess to be looking for Christ's coming, and going forth to meet the Bridegroom, yet not necessarily a Christian! He may lack the oil, the Holy Spirit.

(H. Bonar, D. D.)

While spending a week recently in the society of a number of faithful pastors from the Canton of Vaud, one of them, at a public meeting, related to us the conversion of a lady in his parish. She was one of those who live only for this world; the thoughts of her sins had never caused her uneasiness; she was careful and troubled about many things, but neglected the one thing needful. One night, while alone in her room, she saw the lamp which lighted it suddenly go out. Although she was alone, she said aloud (thinking only of the accident which left her in the dark), "There is no oil in the lamp!" The words thus spoken echoed in the room and sounded in her ears, but with a new sense. She recalled the parable of the five foolish virgins who had no oil, and whose lamps had gone out at the coming of the bridegroom; and from that moment, day and night, the word of God remained in her soul, as an arrow remains in the side of a stag who flies away from the hunters. It recurred to her constantly — "No, I have no oil in my lamp! My God I what will become of me?" She was filled with fear; then she began to pray, and continued in prayer until God answered her favourably, and gave her His peace.

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