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respects in perfect harmony with the Scriptures generally, and in no way in conflict with the analogy of faith. To that Divine Master in whose service these Discourses have been prepared, they are also humbly and devoutly dedicated, with the prayer that His blessing may be upon them and upon those who read them, and that their publication may be to His praise, and contribute to prepare many for His glorious appearing and kingdom.
PHILADELPHIA, March, 1862.
P.S.-The Sermon appended to these Discourses is very closely related to them in subject-matter, though written and delivered at an earlier period. It may be considered a part of the exposition of the same general subject, though founded on other portions of Sacred Scripture. It is given in the same service, and with the same intent and prayer, as the Discourses with which it appears.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Larable of the Virgins. .
IN SIX DISCOURSES.
THE SUBJECT PROPOSED-ADJUSTMENT OF THE PICTURE-CHRIST
THE BRIDEGROOM — " THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN'- WHO ARE THE VIRGINS - A PORTRAIT OF THE CHURCH - DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THE TWO CLASSES-THE TARRYING OF THE BRIDEGROOM MISTAKES ABOUT THE TIME OF CHRIST'S RETURN
ANSWER TO THE SCOFFS BASED UPON THEM.
“ Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom,” &c.-MATT. xxv. 1-13.
We have in these words one of the Savior's most interesting and impressive parables. It was spoken on Mount Olivet, but a few days before his death. I call attention to it, at this time, with a view to devote a few Sabbath evenings to its more particular exposition. It is not a neglected portion of revelation. From Augustine and Luther down to the present, many have spoken and written upon it. Books and commentaries for its explanation are not few. It has seemed to me, however, that it is not understood as it ought to be. It also touches upon fields of doctrine, experience, and hope concerning which the popular mind needs more instruction than it receives. I have, therefore, imposed upon myself the task of re-stating its import, and of producing a fresh account of its principal teachings and contents. Should I even fail to establish the conclusions which the terms and implications of the parable appear to me to require, the cause of truth may nevertheless be the gainer by a reopening of the questions involved, and a resurvey of the field.
The material circumstances of this parable present an Oriental wedding-scene, such as was frequent in those days.* It has been debated whether it describes the bridegroom's going to receive his bride, or whether it be the larger and more joyous procession of his return with her to his own house. It most likely includes both. Some of the most valuable versions of the New Testament specify it as the latter. The narrative itself makes the procession terminate in the house of the bridegroom.
It has also been made a question whether the virgins here spoken of were the attendants of the bride, waiting with her at, or going forth with her from, her father's house, or young women of the neighborhood, who were to join the procession as
* See 1 Maccabees ix. 37.
† The Syriac, the Vulgate, the Coptic, the Cranmer Bible, Van Ess, Alioli, Knapp, and three of the MSS., all read “ Bridegroom and the Bride."