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oil here, “We are made unto God kings and priests.” The priest in his first preparation for the priesthood was washed, but in his completed preparation for the priesthood he was annointed : and there is that two-fold application of God's Spirit in the Church ; in our entrance into the Church we are baptized, for an admission to the Lord's table we are confirmed. The one symbolizes the washing of the Spirit; the other the anointing of the Spirit. A man is not entitled to the Lord's table by simple baptism, he is confirmed as an admission to that holy communion; and our ever blessed Saviour fixes our thoughts upon this two-fold work of the Spirit when he says, “ he dwelleth with
you and shall be in you.” And St. John tells us the spirit was not yet given because that Jesus was not yet glorified. That there is a gift of the Spirit subsequent to our faith and our acceptance by faith : “in whom, says the apostle, after that ye believed ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Individually, therefore, the great teaching of this parable is a solemn admonition to us to enquire whether we have the unction of the Spirit of God. We have all had that which is symbolized by the washing of the Spirit of God, for the experience of every one of us teaches us that God is speaking in us by his holy Spirit. The profane man has the voice of God within him warning him of the danger of sin ; the careless man has the voice of God within him, occasionally making him solemn, and telling him to flee from the wrath to come. Every man has his measure of the Spirit of God given to him, to enlighten, to instruct, and to guide. Jesus is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world : but every man has not the oil of God's Spirit within him : this, and this only, is that which seals us as his children unto everlasting life and blessedness. He who hath anointed us and sealed us is God, who hath also given to us the earnest of the Spirit. This is that witness of the Spirit, the comfort of them that are sanctified by the blood of Christ, as the apostle says in the 10th chap. of Hebrews, “ Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; after that he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days saith the Lord, I will put my law into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” That unction of God's Spirit is declared to be like the oil that maketh man's face to shine; it heals our spiritual diseases as well as makes to shine our outward character; and this is that unction, brethren, which indeed it becomes us to ask ourselves whether we have in deed and in truth this mark of God's children or no. We may not by it be able to understand the dark mysteries of scripture perhaps, nor to interpret the difficult symbols of all the obscure prophecies: or by it understood the ancient history of the nations, or the various questions that may be raised respecting theological truths: but he that has the teaching of that Spirit is taught of God to come to Jesus Christ his Saviour and only Redeemer; he is enlightened of God to see Christ at the right hand of God, as truly to see him with the eye of his mind as the dying martyr of old did with the eye of his body. And seeing the Son he is taught of God to believe on him, to commit all his whole being to him, saying, with him who declared, “ I know in whom I have believed, that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him unto that day.” Surely we must all know whether we have this confidence in Jesus which is indeed the sealing power of God's holy Spirit. Every one of you must know
whether at this moment you are able thus to look up to Christ, able to come to him, feeling the drawing of his Spirit; able to see him, having the light of his Spirit; able to love him, having the love of his Spirit shed abroad in your hearts ; able to live with him; having the oil of his Spirit, making your lives to shine by the unction of that blessed Spirit upon you, and having the healing power of his Spirit, taking away gradually the spiritual diseases that defile and disgrace the character of our Christian profession, and making us more and more to progress towards that spiritual health which is indeed the power of God's holy Spirit.
The unction of the Spirit is also referred to here as belonging to a community, and here our Saviour speaks of oil in the vessel and oil in the lamp, and the need of a continual supply of oil from the vessel to the lamp. There is in that a very blessed and a very deep teaching, which will profitably occupy our thoughts this evening; for the means of providing the oil is indeed a most important truth, and very clearly taught us in the figures of the prophetic word. Brethren, let us take these truths home to our hearts, and let us ask ourselves earnestly, solemnly ask ourselves, do we thus feel the power of the grace of the Son of God ? Do we thus believe on him ? Do we thus receive from him that
power which is able not only to make us wise unto salvation, but to do all things through Christ that strengtheneth us? Where is the need of complaining of weakness to him that has the grace of Christ at hand to strengthen him? Where is the need of walking in darkness to him that has the light of Christ's Spirit to shine upon him? Where is the need of living in sin to him that has the life of Christ's Spirit to give him spiritual life? When is the need of trembling for want of evidence to him that has the holy Spirit standing by ready to seal lain. ** Christ has promised; "for if ye, being evil, know hari *w things unto your children, how much *** ar lateuly Father give the holy Spirit to 1 H 1 si si » »
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THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM,
THE TEN VIRGINS.
“ They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them : but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps."
That must be indeed a great self-deception which could bring the soul into the presence of the Saviour and not know its need of acceptance until it was there. Cain came before the Lord with an offering, and, as far as we can judge of the state of society then, he had nothing to induce him to come but his own inward feelings, and yet Cain came and presented an unaccepted offering before the Lord. Had there been no plain visible manifestation of the divine favour to Abel, Cain might have gone away a self-satisfied and yet unaccepted worshipper. These virgins are represented as going out to meet the bridegroom, and it is not until their going out to meet him that they find they have no oil in their vessels. It seems to us an extraordinary folly that they would venture to go without first asking themselves whether they had oil; and if our blessed Saviour were to come this night it seems to us as if not one of us would venture voluntarily to walk out to meet him except we were quite sure of