The Ten Virgins.


     Seated upon the Mount of Olives, which was over against the temple, with his disciples around him, Jesus seeks to make clear in a prophetic discourse the deeper mysteries of the kingdom of God. Through his favorite medium, by parables, he endeavors to imprint upon their minds the special truths connected with his second coming to our world. The sun has set behind the mountains, and the heavens are curtained with the shades of evening. A dwelling house is lighted up brilliantly, as though for some festive scene. The lights shine from the open spaces, and an expectant company wait around, indicating that a marriage procession is soon to appear. In many parts of the East wedding festivities are held in the evening. The bridegroom goes forth to meet his bride, and bring her to his home. By torchlight he will bring her along the streets from her father's house to his own, where a supper is prepared for the guests invited to the wedding.    

     Lingering near the bride's house are ten young women, in attire suitable for the occasion. Ten was the usual number who were chosen as bridesmaids. Each of the bridal attendants has a lamp and a small vessel for oil. Their lamps are lighted, and as hour after hour of waiting goes by, they grow weary of watching, and, one after another, they fall asleep. About midnight the sleepers are awakened with the cry, "Behold, the bridegroom cometh." They exchange their slumbers for life and activity. They spring to their feet. The wedding procession is in sight, with the brilliant torches shining, and they can hear the joyous music as they approach. The ten virgins seize their lamps, and begin to trim them to go forth; but five of the watchers have been wise and five foolish. Five have neglected to fill their vessels with oil. They have not expected the bridegroom to tarry so long, and have not prepared for the emergency. They are in distress, not because they see that their lamps are going out, but because they know that there is nothing in their vessels by which to replenish them. They address a piteous appeal to those who have provided themselves with oil; but they are denied, for the wise virgins have only enough to fill their own lamps, and they are bidden to hasten away and buy oil from the dealer. And while they are away on this errand, the bridegroom comes. The wise virgins, with lamps trimmed and burning, join the procession, and go in to the wedding, and the door is shut.    

     Soon after the door is shut, the foolish virgins come, knocking for admittance to the banquet hall, but they meet with an unexpected answer to their call. The Master of the feast says, "I know you not." There is no evidence given that the foolish virgins did obtain oil, but there is abundant evidence that they did not enter into the marriage feast, but were left standing outside in the empty streets in the blackness of the night.      

     Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins to represent the condition of the church before his coming, and the question that concerns each one of us is, Are we among the five wise or the five foolish virgins? Without going into the details of the parable, we may ask ourselves, What is our condition before God? Those that were wise went in to the wedding. We shall make it manifest what is our true condition by our conduct and conversation. Jesus has warned us as to what should be our position at this time. He says, "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."  ST, August 6, 1894