Matthew 25:13. Watch, therefore, &c. See, therefore, that your mind be always awake and watchful, and that you maintain an habitual readiness for the coming of the bridegroom, not presuming on preparations to be made hereafter, lest you meet with a sad disappointment: for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh To receive his prepared people to himself, and for ever to exclude the backslider, the hypocrite, and the sinner, from the glories and joys of his heavenly kingdom; or when he cometh to call you hence by death, or to summon you to his bar. Remember your life is a vapour, which appeareth for a little while, and then vanisheth; work while it is day, before the night come when you cannot work. Take care especially that you have oil in your vessels, and that you keep your lamp burning, for unless you attend to these things you watch in vain; these being the great, and indeed the only distinguishing difference between the wise and the foolish virgins here spoken of. Upon the whole, in this parable the characters and final judgment of the subjects of the kingdom of heaven are described, that is to say, of persons who have enjoyed the outward dispensation of the gospel, and by professing themselves to be Christians, pretended to honour Christ. Some, with the fair light of an outward profession in their hands, have the principles of the divine life in their hearts, a stock of oil to keep that light continually burning, both pure and clear, by which means they persevere in holiness to the end. But others, having the blaze of a profession, and nothing to keep it alive, it must needs end in smoke and darkness, failing them when they have most occasion for it. The midnight cry, raised at the coming of the bridegroom, shows, not only that the day of judgment will take place when by the generality it is not looked for, but how suddenly and unexpectedly some are called away by death, so that little or no preparation can be made for the awful event in the confusion and perplexity of a death-bed sickness. In this parable, therefore, our Lord has taught us that unless we persevere in grace, having it always in possession, and even in exercise, as occasion requires, we shall be excluded from the abodes of the blessed without remedy, though we may have expressed considerable zeal and diligence in the service of Christ for a time: also, that the grace of other men, and their piety and virtue, will stand us in no stead at the hour of death or at the day of judgment. To conclude, as the parable represents the suddenness with which Christ frequently comes to call individual persons off the stage of life, it shows us both the folly and danger of delaying true and vital religion to a deathbed, and powerfully enforces habitual watchfulness upon all men, in every age, from the consideration of the uncertainty of human life; and strongly enforces the advice of Eliphaz, Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; and more especially the declaration and exhortation of Christ, Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown: for, if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
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