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and consciences, pure and bright, in constant and diligent readiness for His coming, --which coming is that uncertain hour when death may call us away into the presence of our Lord.
The foolish virgins are those who, from idleness and indifference, neglect His command to prepare for that coming: and the wise are those who, with gratitude for the divine invitation, take care to keep alive in their hearts the holy flame that is to light them to Heaven :- but how is this to be done? That we are also told — by providing ourselves with oil which will replenish our lamp when it is ready to languish and die. By the oil is meant the grace or help of God, promised to all who ask for it, and which will enable you to meet your Saviour at death with your light burning.
But if you neglect to provide your
self with this most necessary assistance, your lamp, like those of the foolish virgins, must certainly go out, and
you will be left in the darkness of despair.
You have heard the invitation of your Saviour,“ Suffer little children to “ come unto me.” Do
you fully accept it, and resolve that you will from this time carefully watch your lamp, and pray to Him for His grace that it may burn brightly when He comes to call you ? He
be nearer to you than you
think:- little children die as well as old people; and happy are those who, like the Wise Virgins, are ready at a moment's warning,— who await the coming of their Lord with prepared hearts.
Prepare to meet thy God.”
Amos, iv. 12.
THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN.
I TOLD you that the chief priests and rulers of the Jews had been for some time waiting for a favourable oppor. tunity, in the absence of the people, to seize on the Lord and take him prisoner: but this was difficult to do; for, during the day, He was constantly surrounded by the multitude, who would have resented any attempt to do Him an injury; and the solitary places to which He frequently retired, were not known except to His own followers and disciples.
But now, as the time of His appointed sufferings drew near, the opportunity they had for so long sought, was to be afforded them by the treachery of Judas Iscariot, who was one of our Saviour's apostles.
This man was worldly-minded and very covetous, and he thought that he should get a high reward if he were to deliver the Lord Jesus into the hands of his enemies. With this proposal, therefore, he went to them, which they eagerly embraced, and offered to give him thirty pieces of silver, if he would undertake to lead a band of men to seize his Master when he was in solitude.
So Judas promised he would; and it was not long before he was enabled to fulfil his wicked engagement.
The passover was at hand; and on the day it was to be celebrated, our Saviour assembled His disciples, to partake of it with them for the last time.
It was while they sat at table, that the Lord, who perfectly knew all that was going to happen, turned to His disciples, and looking round upon them, said, in a voice of sorrow and distress,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, “ that one of you shall betray me.”
The disciples, in amazement, looked upon one another, as if endeavouring to read in each other's countenance who could be guilty of such deep ingratitude; and then, one by one, tremblingly enquired, -“ Lord, is it I ?”
“ It is he," said the Lord, “ to whom “ I shall give a sop, when I have dipped “ it:” and he dipped the sop, and give it to Judas, who, filled with rage