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§ 258. Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. (Matt., xxv., 1-13.)

The parable of the virgins was designed to set vividly before the disciples the necessity of constant preparation for the uncertain time of Christ’s second advent, without at all clearing up the uncertainty of the time itself; thus harmonizing exactly with all his teachings on the subject. It is certainly, also, the representation (so often made by Christ) of the idea of Christian virtue under the form of prudence; and illustrates the connexion between Christian prudence and that ever-vigilant presence of mind which springs from one constant and predominant aim of life. But we must distinguish between the fundamental thought of the parable and its supplementary features. It may be that one of these latter is the fruitless application of the foolish virgins to the wise for a supply which they might have secured for themselves by adequate care and forethought; yet, perhaps, Christ, piercing the recesses of the human heart, and seeing its tendency to trust in the vicarious services and merits of others, may have intended, by this feature of the parable, to warn his disciples against such a fatal error.

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