Ready for the Bridegroom
The Christian should be prepared for all that can happen. As one that is dead to the world, and risen with Christ, as one that is united to Christ, and living in fellowship with Christ; as one that witnesses for Christ, and is to share in the coming glory of Christ — he should be ready for anything, and everything.
Especially should he be ready for the coming of his Lord. His life, in one view of it, should be a going forth to meet and to welcome his Lord; that so when he comes he may share in the happiness and honor of the wise virgins, of whom we read, "But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut!" Matthew 25:10.
THE EVENT. It is called a wedding banquet, one of the most joyous events among men. Jesus has married our nature, when he took it into union with himself, in the womb of the virgin. So that now he is one with us, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh. God and man are one Christ. He has betrothed our persons, this was done through the gospel, and by the agency of the Holy Spirit. We are solemnly engaged to him, and he is pledged to us. We are to be his — and his forever. He is to be ours — and ours to all eternity.
He will come to be publicly wedded to his glorious and glorified church. Then shall she be beautiful and glorious indeed. Then as represented in the song, she will look forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun. Then he will display all his riches and honors, shining forth as the heir of all things, as the brightness of glory, as the image of the invisible God. Then, all his beloved people, will be filled with joy unspeakable and pleasure inconceivable. O it will be a glorious day, when Jesus looks upon the Church he has loved, and for which he laid down his life, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing — the perfection of beauty, the very counterpart of himself.
THE HAPPY VIRGINS. They were ready. As cleansed from all sin in his precious blood, and purified from every stain by the operation of the Holy Spirit. As clothed with the magnificent robe of the Savior's righteousness, and the beautiful garments of salvation. As anointed with the holy unction, or the Spirit's grace and gifts. As adorned with all the virtues that can beautify humanity, and the graces that can dignify the Christian name.
Having a well-trimmed lamp,
shining with the light of knowledge,
supplied with the oil of grace.
Thus washed and robed, anointed and adorned, and letting their light shine before men — they were ready. Therefore they went in with him to the wedding banquet, and enjoyed what they had long wished and prayed for — a full sight of him in all his glory and beauty! It was now their privilege to stand before him accepted, approved, and blessed. They were now acknowledged as his, and honored as his beloved bride. They were now to be everlastingly shut in with him, free from sin, and filled with holiness, while sorrow, sickness, pain and death, Satan and every foe are shut out! Full of holiness, light, and love — they are happy; perfectly and eternally happy.
THE DISMAL DOOM OF ALL BESIDE. "The door was shut!" Saints are shut in. Sinners are shut out. All within are safe — and safe forever. All without are miserable — eternally and unspeakably miserable. Forever excluded from God's presence, shut out from the Savior's wedding feast, they can never take part in the celestial service. Worse than this; they are shut out where hope expires, and black despair forever reigns; where rest can never be enjoyed, or comfort be ever tasted. They will be shut in with devils, and the souls of the damned, and shut in with them forever!
How sad, to be so near to Christ — and yet to be separated from him forever! To be so near, even at the door of the wedding chamber — and yet never allowed to enter it.
How searching is this subject, how it urges upon us the duty of self-examination, and presses home upon us the solemn question, Am I ready?
How glorious, how unutterably glorious, it will be, to be admitted with Jesus, to share in all the happiness and the honors of Jesus, and to be forever with the Lord. Holy Spirit, am I ready? Am I prepared for an event so solemn, so sublime, so glorious? Heart-searching God, search, O search my heart, and see if all is right there, and as a display of your infinite grace, prepare me for that glorious day, so that when Jesus, as the Bridegroom comes — I may be ready and go in with him to the marriage, before the door is forever shut.
If anyone reads these lines, who is not ready, O Lord prepare that soul, and let not one of my readers come too late, and find the door shut — and shut forever!