Matthew 25:1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven, &c. Our Lord, having fully informed his disciples of the circumstances and general season of his coming to destroy the Jewish place and nation, that lively, earnest, and strong figure of his future coming to judge the world; he passes, as we have seen, by a natural transition, to a declaration of that dread event; of the watchfulness necessary thereto; and of the punishment to be inflicted upon those who should neglect so to watch and prepare for their Lord’s coming. Referring to these events, he here proceeds to say, Then When the Lord shall thus come to execute judgment on the Jewish nation, or to judge mankind in general, and punish the wicked servant, shall the kingdom of heaven The gospel kingdom, or the state of things in the visible church, particularly the character, conduct, and lot of the subjects of that kingdom; be likened unto ten virgins Or may be represented by the character, conduct, and fate of virgins at a wedding. In order to understand this parable, we must remember that here is an allusion to the customs of the Jewish marriages, as well as those of the other eastern countries. “With them it was usual for the bridegroom to bring home his bride in the evening, sooner or later, as it might happen. And that she might be received properly at his house, his female friends of the younger sort were invited to come and wait with lamps, till some of his retinue, despatched before the rest, brought word that he was at hand; upon which they went forth, with their lamps trimmed and burning, to welcome him, and conduct him with his bride into the house. And for this service they had the honour of being guests at the marriage-feast.” To ten such virgins our Lord compares the candidates for the heavenly kingdom, the complete number of all Christian professors: he mentions ten, because this, it seems, was the general number appointed at their weddings to wait upon the bridegroom. And he compares professors to virgins, to signify the purity required in the Christian character, or perhaps merely because the allusion in the parable so required it. Which took their lamps, &c. The lamp means a religious profession, and every one may then be said to take up this lamp, when admitted into the outward church by baptism; and went forth to meet the bridegroom The bridegroom means the Lord Jesus in this parable, as well as in that recorded Matthew 22:2, &c.; and every one that professes to expect and prepare for his coming, whether to call men hence by death, or to summon them to his bar. may be said to go forth to meet him.
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