Matthew 25* The parable of the ten virgins. (1-13) The parable of thetalents. (14-30) The judgment. (31-46)1-13 The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins weretaken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain thegreat day of Christ's coming. See the nature of Christianity. AsChristians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, alsoto be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wisevirgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the trulywise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Manyhave a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in theirhearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are neededto carry them through the services and trials of the presentstate. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, bythe new-creating Spirit of God. Our light must shine before menin good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unlessthere is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith inChrist, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered andslept. The delay represents the space between the real orapparent conversion of these professors, and the coming ofChrist, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. Butthough Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past thedue time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but theydid not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians growremiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another.Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep fromsleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. Astartling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a callto those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the callto meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for deathhave work to do to get actually ready, #2Pe 3:14|. It will be aday of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how weshall then be found. Some wanted oil to supply their lamps whengoing out. Those that take up short of true grace, willcertainly find the want of it one time or other. An outwardprofession may light a man along this world, but the damps ofthe valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light.Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death ofthe righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace oftheir own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare.The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed souladdresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, inawful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work isundone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes ofhaving oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when weshould use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heavenhereafter, that are made ready for heaven here. The suddennessof death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder ourhappiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Manywill seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vainconfidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations ofhappiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm theChristian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, hisgraces often shine more bright; while the mere professor'sconduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore,attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lordall the day long. 14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have receivedtheir all from him, and have nothing they can call their own butsin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working forhim. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man toprofit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all bereckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, andhave done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It isnot meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a manto Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty andprivilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promotinghis glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christconstrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him thatdied for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible toplease God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purposein religion. They complain that He requires of them more thanthey are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannothelp. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike thecharacter and work of the Lord. The slothful servant issentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied tothe blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace.Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have thethings that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doomis, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way ofexpressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in whatwas said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of theparable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a keyto the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of theirperishing possessions. 31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as anexplanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come,in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlastinghappiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the gloryof his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked andgodly here dwell together, in the same cities, churches,families, and are not always to be known the one from the other;such are the weaknesses of saints, such the hypocrisies ofsinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will beparted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he willshortly distinguish between those that are his, and those thatare not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the greatone between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain forever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. Itis a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this isbut a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints inheaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it forthem in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchasedit for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for thekingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: itis in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul.It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happinesswas for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. Theyshall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got byourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not tosuppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness.Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are herenoticed as marking the character of believers made holy by theSpirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on thosewho do them. The wicked in this world were often called to cometo Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; andjustly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not cometo him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. Thepunishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment;their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good andevil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we maychoose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.
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