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The Ten Virgins -- Matt. XXV PDF Print E-mail
Written by John R. Respess   

GOSPEL MESSENGER 

Butler, Ga., July 1894

The parable of the ten virgins was spoken, as it seems to me, by Christ as if he had been preaching from the 13th verse of the chapter,which reads, "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." He had been discoursing on the subject of being ready in the previous chapter, and had said, "Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh."--Matt. xxiv. 44 And as if to illustrate and make plain his meaning, he spoke the parable of the virgins as showing how it would be at his coming; how, that as some of these virgins would be ready and enter with the bridegroom into the marriage, and that others, equally as pure morally, would not be able to enter in, so it would be at his coming.

The virgins were used to show that even religious people would be disappointed, for these virgins represent professors of religion. They all had lamps and took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom; and they all waited, and slumbered and slept while the bridegroom tarried.

But there was a difference between the wise and the foolish virgins; a difference that showed the wisdom of the one set and the ignorance, presumption and foolishness of the other set. The wise virgins had a consciousness of their needs, and took oil in their vessels with their lamps, but the foolish virgins felt no such need, and took no oil with them. And it all depended upon having the oil when the midnight cry arose, for without it they would have all failed. When the critical hour arrived the light of mere letter profession expired with the expiring midnight hour; it did not and could not shine unto the perfect day.

And that will be the case at that day when the Son of man cometh; it matters not how brightly our professions have shined, nor how confident we are that we will be accepted, the light of our righteousness or of the law, will not hold out to the kingdom of heaven. We must have grace to hold out to the end and to the other world, and to link us on to it, or all our works and professions will be only a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal.

The lamps of the wise virgins or the believers in spirit, which they represent, burned brighter at the midnight hour, for they trimmed them. Like the widow's meal and oil (1 Kings xvii), the light did not give out, but her meal and oil lasted until the Lord sent rain upon the earth; because God had said it would and she believed Him and was leaning upon His promise or grace; she was living upon something that could not fail; and that is what we must have.

The foolish virgins no doubt went forth boldly and confidently to meet the bridegroom, having no doubt of their acceptance. When I was a boy, there were many people about Macon, Ga., who put on their robes and went forth to meet Christ, as it was said He was going to make his advent on a certain day. But he did not come, and if he had come may it not have been with them as with the foolish virgins?

The foolish virgins went and bought oil and came back, but the door was shut. They cried "Lord, Lord, open to us," but he answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not." The door of salvation will never open to those knocking in their own righteousness, for Christ does not know them; they are not his sheep, for he knows his sheep and they hear his voice. Those foolish virgins were not regenerate persons; they were not known as such by Christ; the wise virgins were, and were accepted as such, and entered in to inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world.---R.

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