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OIL IN THE LAMP


 Matt. 25: 1-13.
TEN virgins, clothed in white,                    "Lord open to our call -
  The Bridegroom went to meet;                  Hast Thou our names forgot?"
Their lamps were burning bright                Sadly the accents fall -
  To guide his welcome feet.                      "Depart, I know you not."
Five of the band were wise --                    Learn here, my child, how vain
  Their lamps with oil filled high;                    This world, with all its lies,
The rest this care despise,                                    Those who the kingdom gain
  And take their vessels dry.                          Alone are truly wise.
Long time the Lord abode -                      How vain the Christian name,
  Down came the shades of night -                          If still you live in sin:-
The weary virgins nod,                             A lamp, and wick, and flame,
  And then they sleep outright.                    No drop of oil within.
 
 At midnight came the cry                                    Is your lamp filled, my child,
  Upon their startled ear -                                        With oil from Christ above?
Behold the Bridegroom nigh,                     Has He your heart, so wild,
  To light his steps appear.                                      Made soft and full of love?
They trim their lamps; in vain                     Then you are ready now
  The foolish virgins toil -                              With Christ to enter in;
Our lamps are out, O deign                       To see His holy brow,
  To give us of your oil!                               And bid farewell to sin.
  Not so - the wise ones cry -                    Sinners! Behold the gate
  No oil have we to spare;                                        Of Jesus open still;
But swiftly run and buy,                           Come, ere it be too late,
  That you the joy may share.                      And enter if you will.
 
  They went to buy, when lo!                   The Saviour's gentle hand
  The Bridegroom comes in state;                 Knocks at your door to-day
Within those ready go,                             But vain his loud demand -
  And shut the golden gate.                        You spurn His love away.
The foolish virgins now                             So, at the Saviour's door
  Before the gateway crowd;                       You'll knock, with trembling heart
With terror on their brow                                     The day of mercy o'er,
  They knock and cry aloud:-                        Jesus will say - depart.
Robert Murray M'Cheyne, 1841

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