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nothing else. It is a vain pretence to say that these things are both allowable and necessary. We know it. But it is more necessary to enter into the depth here opened to us. The soul may be, the souls of many are, as dead to God, and all sense of true happiness, in the decent and reputable use of lawful comforts, as in a more profligate course of life.

39. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Observe this carefully, that you may not trust in the vain plea of wilful ignorance. It was then, as it is now with too many, in respect of gospel-salvation ; they would not know; they despised Noah's preaching, and would take no warning

40. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

One, taken to God, the other, forsaken of God for ever! We need only weigh the difference to see the wisdom of true godliness.

41. Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

Grinding, with hand-mills, was the work of women. 42. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your

Lord doth come.

Or, which is the same thing, the day and hour of your death ; which is the Lord's coming to every individual. But what is watching? Is it being in the faith of Christ, and walking according to his rule ? Is it watching unto prayer and scripture-reading, and keeping your eyes steadily fixed upon the end of your lives ? Look at yourselves, look all about you. Alas ! how few are in such a state of watching!

43. But know this, that if the goodman of the house bad known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

So should we, for our bodies, or worldly goods, if we knew they were in danger. It is a melancholy consideration, and what our Lord is here lamenting, that men should be so much less concerned about their precious souls, which they know will be required of them, and that as the time will certainly come, so it may come before they are aware of it.

44. Therefore be ye also ready : for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Are we ready? If we are, how, and when did our preparation begin ? Or is it still to begin ?

45. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

46. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

47. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

48. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming :

49. And shall begin to smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;

50. The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

51. And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Mark with what concern he bespeaks our attention to what has been delivered in the chapter, knowing the doom of unfaithful servants, and how earnestly he desires we should all be wise managers of our trust; especially the apostles, and succeeding ministers, to whom the words are more particularly addressed.

Jesus, help us; and hear my prayer for you, and for myself. May be enable me to give you your portion of meat, even his own wholesome words and life-giving truths; and dispose you to receive them in the love thereof, as the nourishment of your souls; that when our

Lord cometh, and findeth us so doing, he may pronounce us blessed, and present us to the Father washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, and meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.

SECTION LXIV.

Chap. xxv. ver. 1—13.

PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS.

1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

“ The kingdom of heaven” is Christ's kingdom of grace, as to the different conditions of those who are in it, either intent upon securing the blessings of it to themselves, or, in the main, unconcerned about them; together with their being finally confirmed in it, or shut out of it for ever.

The allusion in this verse is to the custom of the bridegroom's bringing his bride home in the night, and their friends going out to meet them with lamps.

2. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

“Five of them were wise,” for heaven. The Scripture knows of no other wisdom, and was given to teach it. Do you neglect the means of attaining it, scripture-reading, and prayer for the Holy Ghost, to make it wisdom in your hearts? You have it not ; your case is evident; you shut yourself up in wilful blindness.

“ And five were foolish.” Not by downright unbelief, or total neglect of religion ; but contenting themselves with an outward profession, and sleeping over their profession.

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3. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them :

The lamp must be fed; so must the spiritual life, by a constant use of all the means of

grace.

You see at once the folly of thinking you have that life, without a suitable care on your parts to preserve and maintain it.

4. But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

And were therefore wise. The lamp is a profession of faith, and a holy life, and the oil which feeds it is a lively faith, and a continual supply of the Spirit of grace, to be obtained by prayer and earnest seeking.

5. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

Either the wise, at times, as well as the foolish; or all in the sleep of death.

6. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh ; go ye out to meet him.

The cry which is to awaken us all out of our sleep. Hear it now in the depth of your souls. He will, he will come!

7. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

Observe, they are all represented to the last as intending to meet the bridegroom, but the foolish as not knowing how utterly they were unprovided for it. Examine, and make deep search into thyself. What art thou doing in the world, and what is uppermost in thy thoughts? O why wilt thou live and die a deceived man, and expect to meet thy Lord as a friend at his coming, when thou art sunk in such a dead carelessness about it!

8. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of

your

oil : for our lamps are gone out.

They had not faith kindled by the Spirit, and working by love, and their lamps were now gone out for ever. What a dreadful point of time!

9. But the wise answered, saying, Not so ; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

The meaning is, that they had barely enough for theniselves; and that if we have not oil of our own, all the world cannot help us to it.

“ But go ye rather to them that sell.” Who are they? None has this oil but Christ; and he does not sell but give. The price, if any, is self-emptiness and sense of misery. Go to him instantly. It may be too late to-morrow.

10. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage : and the door was shut.

“ And while they went to buy;" and so were out of the way just at the critical time. He would not stay for their return; it was their business to be ready for his coming. “ And they that were ready went in.” Are we ready; humble, faithful believers, and watching against that hour ? Blessed be he that came in the name of the Lord to make us ready, and is now speaking to us for that purpose. “ And the door was shut.” Never to be opened.

11. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know

you not.

They were mistaken; he never had been their Lord, and he would not now be. Behold the confidence of a lazy profession. Lord, open to us now. Discover us to ourselves; open thy kingdom of grace to us in all its privileges ; and open our hearts to receive it, that we may experience all its blessed effects, and be received into thy kingdom of glory.

13. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometli,

“ Watch, therefore," is our Lord's inference and conclusion from the whole. Ponder the word, and let it keep thy soul awake to the great business of thy everlasting interest

VOL. I.

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