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ted to the marriage feast, which was always held at night." It will appear perfectly evident from this relation, that the parable is founded altogether on the events of an eastern marriage. There were ten virgins who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Five are represented as having been wise, because they were prepared for the coming of the bridegroom; the other five were foolish, because they were not prepared. The cry was made at midnight, "go out to meet the bridegroom." The wise went out to receive him, and went in with him to the marriage; the foolish were excluded, because, not having watched for his approach, nor made ready for it, they did not arrive in season.2
1 Kenrick's Expos. Matt. xxv. 1.
2 The following accounts of eastern weddings will be interesting to the reader, and serve to illustrate the parable before us. The first fsee A. Clarke's Commentary on Matt. xxv. 6,) is taken from the Zend Avester, vol. ii. p. 558.
"On the day appointed for the marriage, about 5 o'clock in the evening, the bridegroom comes to the house of the bride, where the mobed, or priest, pronounces for the first time the nuptial benediction. He then brings her to his own house, gives her some refreshment, and afterwards the assembly of her relatives and friends, reconduct her to her father's house. When she arrives, the mobed repeats the nuptial benediction, which is generally done about midnight; immediately after, the bride, accompanied with a part of her attending troop (the rest having returned to their own homes) is reconducted to the house of her husband, where she generally arrives about three o'clock in the morning. Nothing can be more brilliant than these nuptial solemnities in India. Sometimes the assembly consists of not less than 2000 persons, all richly dressed in gold and silver tissue; the friends and relatives of the bride, encompassed with their domestics, are all mounted on horses richly harnessed. The goods, wardrobe, and even the bed of the bride are carried in triumph. The husband, richly mounted and magnificently dressed, is accompanied by his friends and relatives, the friends of the bride following him in covered carriages. At intervals during the procession guns and rockets are fired, and the spectacle is rendered grand
It will be hardly possible for the careful reader to mistake the true application of this parable. By consulting verse 13 he will perceive that Jesus himself made the application of it. In deducing the lesson he meant to enforce, he said, "WATCH, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Compare this with verse 42 of chap. xxiv. It is evident, that the design of the Saviour was to teach his followers watchfulness, in view of his coming to destroy the Jewish state.
The phrase 'kingdom of heaven,' should here be understood somewhat as the word 'church' is now generally used, viz. to signify the professed followers of Christ. They were represented by the virgins, those who watched for their master's com
beyond description, by a prodigious number of lighted torches, and by the sound of a multitude of musical instruments."
Mr. Ward has giver the following description of a Hindoo wedding, which forms a striking parallel to the parable before us. "At a marriage, the procession of which I saw some years ago, the bridegroom came from a distance, and the bride lived at Serampore, to which place the bridegroom was to come by water. After waiting two or three hours, at length, near midnight, it was announced, as if in the very words of scripture, behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him. All the persons employed now lighted their lamps, and ran with them in their hands to fill up their stations in the procession; some of them had lost their lights, and were unprepared, but it was then too late to seek them, and the cavalcade moved forward to the house of the bride, at which place the company entered a large and splendidly illuminated area, before the house, covered with an awning, where a great multitude of friends, dressed in their best apparel, were seated upon mats. The bridegroom was carried in the arms of a friend, and placed on a superb seat in the midst of the company, where he sat a short time, and then went into the house, the door of which was immediately shat, and guarded by sepoys. I and others expostulated with the door keepers, but in vain. Never was I so struck with our Lord's beantiful parable, as at this moment' and the door was shut.'" Ward's view of the History, &c. of the Hindoos, vol. iii. pp. 171, 172.
ing by the wise virgins, and those who were regardless of that event by the foolish. Christians were too proue, like these virgins, to slumber. Paul, in writing to the Romans, endeavored to awake them. It is high time to awake out of sleep." Rom. xiii. 11. Addressing the Thessalonians, the same apostle said, "For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. *** * * Therefore, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober." 1 Thess. v. 2, 6. By the coming of the bridegroom in splendor, with his attendants, Jesus represented his own coming, in his glory, with his angels, or messengers, at the destruction of the Jews. As the wise virgins entered with the bridegroom to the marriage, so the watchful Christians entered into the enjoyment of all the blessings which accrued to the church from that signal destruction of its enemies which took place at the coming of Christ; and as the foolish virgins were excluded from the marriage, so the heedless, sleeping professors, who did not watch for their Lord, were excluded from the blessings which the watchful enjoyed, and were shot out in darkness and misery with the hypocritical Jews, the avowed enemies of Jesus = Christ. Kenrick will be found to confirm the views here advanced. Remarking on verse 13, he says, "These last words, as well as what the parable begins with, shew that it refers to the coming of Christ, for the destruction of Jerusalem, and not to his coming at the general judgment; for he concludes with the same exhortation which he bad subjoined to the account which he gave, in the
1 This author believed in a general judgment,' so called, in the future state, and applied the parable of the sheep and goats, Matt. xxv. 31-46 to that event.
former chapter, of the signs of his coming in that event his language there was, ver. 42, 'watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.' The intention of the parable is to enforce the necessity of watchfulness, by showing the distinction which will be made in that day, between those by whom it was practised, and those by whom it was neglected. The wise virgins, who were prepared for the bridegroom when he came, and were admitted with him to the marriage feast, are sincere Christians, who by the constant practice of the duties of piety and virtue, would secure his favor, and being always prepared for his coming, would escape the judgments that were coming upon the Jewish nation. The foolish virgins, are those who profess themselves Christians, but want those substantial virtues which are necessary to recommend them to the favor of Christ, and, when he came, would be disowned and rejected by him, and suffered to perished with others.?
This is all it is necessary to say on this parable, in this place; since it will be brought forward again, in the course of the examination of Matt. xxv. 31-46.
1 Exposition on Matt. xxv. 13.
Parable of the Unfaithful Servant.
MATT. XXV. 14-30.-LUKE XIX. 11-27.
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man`travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came, and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents; behold, I have gained besides them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came, and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents besides them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and 'faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came, and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art a hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strewed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. His lord answered and said, unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest tha! I reap where I sowed not, and gathered where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury, Take therefore the talent from