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THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS.
"THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the bridegroom; and five of them were wise, and five were foolish : they that were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them; but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made-behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye out to meet him: then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out! But the wise answered, saying, not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut. Afterwards came also the other virgins, saying, Lord open unto us! But he answered and said, Verily, I know ye not."-"The better to understand the sense of this parable, we should do well to observe what the custom at marriages was, to which our Saviour seems to allude. When the bridegroom was to bring home his bride-which was generally the conclusive ceremony, and done in the nighttime-the young women of the city to which she was to come, went to meet her with lighted lamps. She too, according to her quality, had her companions and servants attending her. Most of our travellers inform us, that, among the eastern people, especially the Persians, this manner of conducting the bride home, with lamps and lighted torches, still prevails. None need be told that, by the bridegroom, we are to understand our Saviour Christ; by the bride, his Church; by the virgins, Christians in general; and by the oil in the lamps, the necessary qualifications of Faith and good Works."Calmet's Commentary.
BEFORE Christ was nailed to the cross, the executioners offered him a potion of vinegar, or probably sour wine, mixed with gall, but he refused to drink it. They then stripped him; and having crucified him between two common thieves, an inscription was fixed over his head, at the command of Pilate, Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews;-it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. The soldiers having now completed the execution of our blessed Lord, divided his garments among them; casting lots for his coat, because it was one entire piece, woven without seam. During this transaction, the chief pries, rulers, and soldiers, derided him with bitter mockery. His only reply to their cruel revilings was a petition to his heavenly Father to forgive them. One of the malefactors, upbraiding his companion for insulting the suffering Jesus, was promised by the Saviour immediate admittance into Paradise. Meanwhile there stood by our Saviour's cross, the Virgin Mother, Mary the wife of Alphæus, Mary Magdalene, and John his beloved disciple, to whose care and protection the crucified Redeemer recommended his sorrowing mother; and from that time forward he maintained her in his own home, and paid her all the respect due to a parent. Jesus at length having suffered the extremity of human agony, "when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost *." While these things were passing, the sun withdrew its light, stars were visible in the heavens, and a general consternation prevailed. The darkness continued until three in the afternoon, at which time our blessed Lord expired, when a terrible earthquake took place, the veil of the Temple was rent from the top to the bottom, the dead arose from their graves, entered into Jerusalem, and "appeared unto many."