Matthew 25

* The parable of the ten virgins. (1-13) The parable of the

talents. (14-30) The judgment. (31-46)

1-13 The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were

taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the

great day of Christ's coming. See the nature of Christianity. As

Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also

to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise

virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly

wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many

have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their

hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed

to carry them through the services and trials of the present

state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by

the new-creating Spirit of God. Our light must shine before men

in good works; but this is not likely to be long done, unless

there is a fixed, active principle in the heart, of faith in

Christ, and love to God and our brethren. They all slumbered and

slept. The delay represents the space between the real or

apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of

Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But

though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the

due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they

did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow

remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another.

Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from

sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A

startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call

to those prepared. The notice of Christ's approach, and the call

to meet him, will awaken. Even those best prepared for death

have work to do to get actually ready, #2Pe 3:14|. It will be a

day of search and inquiry; and it concerns us to think how we

shall then be found. Some wanted oil to supply their lamps when

going out. Those that take up short of true grace, will

certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward

profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of

the 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 of

the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of

their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare.

The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul

addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in

awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is

undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of

having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we

should use it. Those, and those only, shall go to heaven

hereafter, that are made ready for heaven here. The suddenness

of death and of Christ's coming to us then, will not hinder our

happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many

will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain

confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of

happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the

Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his

graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor's

conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore,

attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord

all the day long.
14-30 Christ keeps no servants to be idle: they have received

their all from him, and have nothing they can call their own but

sin. Our receiving from Christ is in order to our working for

him. The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to

profit withal. The day of account comes at last. We must all be

reckoned with as to what good we have got to our own souls, and

have done to others, by the advantages we have enjoyed. It is

not meant that the improving of natural powers can entitle a man

to Divine grace. It is the real Christian's liberty and

privilege to be employed as his Redeemer's servant, in promoting

his glory, and the good of his people: the love of Christ

constrains him to live no longer to himself, but to Him that

died for him, and rose again. Those who think it impossible to

please God, and in vain to serve him, will do nothing to purpose

in religion. They complain that He requires of them more than

they are capable of, and punishes them for what they cannot

help. Whatever they may pretend, the fact is, they dislike the

character and work of the Lord. The slothful servant is

sentenced to be deprived of his talent. This may be applied to

the blessings of this life; but rather to the means of grace.

Those who know not the day of their visitation, shall have the

things that belong to their peace hid from their eyes. His doom

is, to be cast into outer darkness. It is a usual way of

expressing the miseries of the damned in hell. Here, as in what

was said to the faithful servants, our Saviour goes out of the

parable into the thing intended by it, and this serves as a key

to the whole. Let us not envy sinners, or covet any of their

perishing possessions.
31-46 This is a description of the last judgment. It is as an

explanation of the former parables. There is a judgment to come,

in which every man shall be sentenced to a state of everlasting

happiness, or misery. Christ shall come, not only in the glory

of his Father, but in his own glory, as Mediator. The wicked and

godly 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 of

sinners; and death takes both: but in that day they will be

parted for ever. Jesus Christ is the great Shepherd; he will

shortly distinguish between those that are his, and those that

are not. All other distinctions will be done away; but the great

one between saints and sinners, holy and unholy, will remain for

ever. The happiness the saints shall possess is very great. It

is a kingdom; the most valuable possession on earth; yet this is

but a faint resemblance of the blessed state of the saints in

heaven. It is a kingdom prepared. The Father provided it for

them in the greatness of his wisdom and power; the Son purchased

it for them; and the blessed Spirit, in preparing them for the

kingdom, is preparing it for them. It is prepared for them: it

is in all points adapted to the new nature of a sanctified soul.

It is prepared from the foundation of the world. This happiness

was for the saints, and they for it, from all eternity. They

shall come and inherit it. What we inherit is not got by

ourselves. It is God that makes heirs of heaven. We are not to

suppose that acts of bounty will entitle to eternal happiness.

Good works done for God's sake, through Jesus Christ, are here

noticed as marking the character of believers made holy by the

Spirit of Christ, and as the effects of grace bestowed on those

who do them. The wicked in this world were often called to come

to Christ for life and rest, but they turned from his calls; and

justly are those bid to depart from Christ, that would not come

to him. Condemned sinners will in vain offer excuses. The

punishment of the wicked will be an everlasting punishment;

their state cannot be altered. Thus life and death, good and

evil, the blessing and the curse, are set before us, that we may

choose our way, and as our way so shall our end be.
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