Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 29: "To Meet the Bridegroom"
< Prev T. of C.
The class represented by the foolish virgins are not
hypocrites. They have a regard for the truth, they have
advocated the truth, they are attracted to those who believe
the truth; but they have not yielded themselves to the Holy
Spirit's working. They have not fallen upon the Rock,
Christ Jesus, and permitted their old nature to be broken
up. This class are represented also by the stony-ground
hearers. They receive the word with readiness, but they
fail of assimilating its principles. Its influence is not
abiding. The Spirit works upon man's heart, according to his
desire and consent implanting in him a new nature; but the
class represented the foolish virgins have been content
with a superficial work. They do not know God. They
have not studied His character; they have not held
communion with Him; therefore they do not know how to trust,
how to look and live. Their service to God degenerates
into a form. "They come unto thee as the people cometh,
and they sit before thee as My people, and they hear thy
words, but they will not do them; for with their mouth they
show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness."
Eze. 33:31. The apostle Paul points out that this
will be the special characteristic of those who live just
before Christ's second coming. He says, "In the last days
perilous times shall come: for men shall be lovers of their
own selves; . . . lovers of pleasures more than lovers of
God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power
thereof." 2 Tim. 3:1-5.
This is the class that in time of peril are found crying,
Peace and safety. They lull their hearts into security, and
dream not of danger. When startled from their lethargy,
they discern their destitution, and entreat others to supply
their lack; but in spiritual things no man can make up [p. 412] another's deficiency. The grace of God has been freely
offered to every soul. The message of the gospel has been
heralded, "Let him that is athirst come. And whosoever
will, let him take the water of life freely." Rev. 22:17.
But character is not transferable. No man can believe for
another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No
man can impart to another the character which is the fruit
of the Spirit's working. "Though Noah, Daniel, and Job
were in it [the land], as I live, saith the Lord God, they
shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver
their own souls by their righteousness." Eze. 14:20.
It is in a crisis that character is revealed. When the
earnest voice proclaimed at midnight, "Behold, the bridegroom
cometh; go ye out to meet him," and the sleeping
virgins were roused from their slumbers, it was seen who
had made preparation for the event. Both parties
were taken unawares; but one was prepared for the emergency,
and the other was found without preparation. So now, a
sudden and unlooked-for calamity, something that brings
the soul face to face with death, will show whether there is
any real faith in the promises of God. It will show whether
the soul is sustained by grace. The great final test comes
at the close of human probation, when it will be too late
for the soul's need to be supplied.
The ten virgins are watching in the evening of this
earth's history. All claim to be Christians. All have a
call, a name, a lamp, and all profess to be doing God's
service. All apparently wait for Christ's appearing. But
five are unready. Five will be found surprised, dismayed,
outside the banquet hall.
At the final day, many will claim admission to Christ's
kingdom, saying, "We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence,
and Thou hast taught in our streets." "Lord, Lord, [p. 413] have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name
have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful
works?" But the answer is, "I tell you, I know you not
whence ye are; depart from Me." Luke 13:26, 27; Matt.
7:22. In this life they have not entered into fellowship
with Christ; therefore they know not the language of
heaven, they are strangers to its joy. "What man knoweth
the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?
even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit
of God." I Cor. 2:11.
Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are
those words of doom, "I know you not." The fellowship
of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make
you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In
that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on
blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy
could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed
heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness
for its companionship.
We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when [p. 414] the cry is heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom!" and then
gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished.
We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet
be fitted for His companionship in heaven.
In the parable the wise virgins had oil in their vessels
with their lamps. Their light burned with undimmed flame
through the night of watching. It helped to swell the
illumination for the bridegroom's honor. Shining out in
the darkness, it helped to illuminate the way to the home
of the bridegroom, to the marriage feast.
So the followers of Christ are to shed light into the
darkness of the world. Through the Holy Spirit, God's
word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the
life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the
principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men
the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His
character—is to shine forth in His followers. Thus they are
to glorify God, to lighten the path to the Bridegroom's
home, to the city of God, to the marriage supper of the
< Prev T. of C.