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can inform us when Christ will come again to the mar. riage supper of the Lamb. The word of God is the means of moral light, to light our steps through moral darkness, up to the coming of the bridegroom to receive the bride unto himself. This I shall proye by the cxix. Psalm, 105, Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” Also, Prov. vi. 23, “For the commandment is a lamp, and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”
6 Oil” is a representation or emblem of faith; as oil produces light by burning, so does faith, in exercise by the fire of love, produce more light, and gives comfort in adversity, hope in darkness, love for the coming bridegroom; and the light of faith assists us to watch for his coming, and to know the time of night, and to go out to meet him: such are called the children of light, becarise they are believers, children of faith, « sons of oil.” “Because of the savor of thy good ointments, thy name is as ointment poured forth; therefore do the virgins love thee," Sol. Song, i. 2. “Faith works by love." See 1 John ji. 27, “But the anointing which ye have received of him, abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” It is evident, that the anointing here, and elsewhere spoken of, means faith, faith in his name,
“ Vessels” represent the persons or mind that believes or disbelieves in the word of God, as in 1 Thess. iv. 4, “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor.” Also, 2 Tim. ii. 21, “If any man, therefore, purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor.”
“ Bridegroom” is the figurative name for Christ; as the prophet Isaiah says, “And as a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. And Christ says, “How can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, while the bridegroom is with them?" alluding to himself. This proves that Christ means himself, in person, by the bridegroom in the parable.
“ The door was shut,” implies the closing up of the mediatorial kingdom, and finishing the gospel period. I shall prove this by Luke xiii. 25—28, “When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know ye not whence ye are Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunken in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets But he shall say, I tell you I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“ Marriage” is the time when Christ shall come the second time without sin unto salvation ; gather his elect from the four winds of heaven, where they have been scattered during the dark and cloudy day; when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe; when the bride hath made herself ready, and the marriage of the Lamb is come, then he will present her to his Father without spot or wrinkle, and there marry the bride before his Father and the holy angels; removes her into the New Jerusalem state, seats her upon the throne of his glory, where she will ever be with the Lord. When this takes place, the whole body will be present; the whole church must be there, not a member missing, not a finger out of joint. She will be perfect in beauty, all over glorious. See Rev. xix. 7.-9, “ Let us rejoice and be glad, and give honor to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Daniel says, “Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the 1335 days.” John says, “ Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection." All these are at one and the same time; and how can we expect to be free from sorrow, mourning, and tears, until the bridegroom comes and moves us into the beloved city ? Rev. xxi. 2-4, “ And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them," &c.
“ Midnight cry" is the watchmen, or some of them, who by the word of God discover the time as revealed, and immediately give the warning voice, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” This has been fulfilled in a most remarkable manner. One or two on every quarter of the globe have proclaimed the news, and agree in the time — Wolf, of Asia; Irwin, late of England; Mason, of Scotland; Davis, of South Carolina; and quite a number in this region are, or have been, giving the cry. And will not you all, my brethren, examine and see if these things are so, and trim your lamps, and be found ready ?
“ Trimming the lamps.” You will recollect, my friends, that the word of God is the lamp. To trim a lamp is to make it give light, more light, and clearer light. In the first place, to translate the Bible would make it give light, in all languages into which it should be translated. Then, to send to or give every family in the known world a Bible would make the Bible give more light. And thirdly, to send out true servants of God who have made the Bible their study, and true teachers, who would teach the holy precepts and doctrines contained therein, and to employ many Sabbath school teachers, would in the hands of God be the means of its giving clearer light. This would be trimming the lamp; and so far as the foolish virgins assisted in translating the Scriptures, in sending them among all nations, and employing missionaries and teachers to teach mankind its principles, so far would they trim their lamp; but if they had no faith in it, their light would be darkness, and the lamp to them would go out. If the friend of the bridegroom should proclaim the approach of him whom they all expected, and should prove it ever so plain by the lamp, but having no faith, the lamp would go out; they would not be ready to enter in to the marriage supper, and the door would be shut. This is undoubtedly the meaning which Christ intends to convey in this parable. I shall, therefore, show,
Il. The time this parable is applicable to.
In the chapter previous our Savior had answered three questions which his disciples had put to him on the mount of Olives, when they came to him privately, “saying, Tell us, when shall these things be?” That is, when Jerusalem should be levelled with the ground. “ And what shall be the sign of thy coming ?” That is, his second coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, as he had before informed them, which is yet future. And of the end of the world,” or, as some translate it, “ end of the age,” to which I am perfectly willing to agree; but what age? is the question. answer, The gospel age, or the kingdom of heaven. See 14th verse, « This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” “ The law and the prophets were until John, since which time the kingdom of heaven is preached." The Jewish economy is no where called the kingdom of heaven; but this expression belongs exclusively to the gospel ; and of course any age in which the gospel or kingdom of heaven is preached can never be applied to the Jewish age. Any novice in Scripture interpretation must readily admit this. These were the questions proposed by the disciples to their divine Master, and were answered in the following manner: From the 4th to the 14th verses inclusive of the 24th chapter of Matthew, Christ informs his disciples of the troubles, trials, persecutions, and distress which they and his followers should suffer, down to the end of the gospel age. He also informs them by what means they must suffer — by false brethren, by deceit, by wars, rumors of wars, clashing of nations, earthquakes, affictions, death, hatred, offences, betrayals, false prophets, coldness, iniquity, famines, and pestilence, and these to the end of the gospel age. From the 15th to the 220 inclusive he alludes to the destruction of Jerusalem, and particularly gives his followers warning of what they shall suffer, and informs them what to do at that time; he tells them what to pray for, and how to escape from the siege, and how to avoid certain consequences which must follow this great tribulation.
From the 23d to the 28th inclusive, he warns his disciples against the error that false teachers would promulgate, that Christ did or would come at the destruction of Jerusalem. He told them plainly to believe it not," for his second coming would be as visible as the lightning, and then every man would be gathered to his own company; so there would be no room for deceit.
In the 29th verse he prophesies of the rise of antiChrist, the darkness and fall of many into superstition and error, and the persecution of the true church. 30th and 31st verse, He gives a sign of his coming, the mourning of the tribes of the earth, and then speaks of his coming and what he will do. 32, Is the parable of the figtree. 33, He enforces it by saying, “ So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the door.” 34th and 35th verses, He gives his disciples a comfortable promise, which was to this amount, that his children should not be all destroyed from the earth. But “ this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” To prove the word generation is so used, I will refer you to Psalm xxii. 30, “A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation." 1 Peter ii. 9, “ A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” The word generation, in the Scriptures, when used in the singular, I believe almost invariably means the children of one parent; as the generation of Adam, children of Adam, chosen generation, children of God, generation of vipers, children of the devil. So Christ, talking to his children, and instructing them only, says, “ This generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." His kingdom shall not be destroyed nor given to another people,
36th verse, He informs his disciples that the day and hour of his coming is known only to God, has never been revealed, meaning day and hour only, whether at midnight, at cock crowing, or in the morning. [Verses 37-44, inclusive, He informs them that his coming will be like the deluge; unexpected to the wicked, as then. He tells them the manner; that he will