1. The foolish virgin is indolent and careless,
He looks upon his heart and is well satisfied;
He’s looking forward to his reward in heaven,
But he has not obeyed and not been purified.
But the wise virgin rouses at the message of His coming,
He grasps the grace of Christ to make up all his lack;
He springs into line with wholehearted service,
And forward presses on, and never glances back.
2. The foolish virgin knows theories and doctrines
But is not vitally connected with the Source;
He trusts to feeling and feels that God accepts him,
And has no time to see the error of his course.
But the wise virgin sets all his affections up in heaven,
He knows his goodness comes from Jesus ev’ry day;
He claims no great worth but knows God still loves him,
And feels the privilege of walking in God’s way.
3. The foolish virgin comes up with new ideas
To make himself look good by his own cleverness;
He’s irritated by sins he sees in others,
Does not abhor himself and his unworthiness.
But the wise virgin opens up his heart unto the Spirit,
Which brings the love of God into his needy soul;
He loses himself in love for all others,
And works to save from sin and make the needy whole.
4. The foolish virgin can’t understand God’s message,
It doesn’t suit him so he counts it dry and stale;
This makes him careless in what he brings to build with,
And when the trials come he certainly will fail.
But the wise virgin loves the words that show to him a Saviour,
He glorifies his God for grace all undeserved;
His heart is on fire with oil of great gladness,
And to the world he goes: wholehearted, unreserved.
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The text is based on the following paragraphs about the wise and foolish virgins:
The solemn fate of the five foolish virgins, presented in the parable of the ten virgins, is recorded to warn those who, while professing the faith of Christ, have become cold and backslidden.
The five foolish virgins represent the careless, indolent, self-satisfied professor of religion. They have a calm expectation of entering heaven sometime, yet they have not purified their souls by obeying the truth. They understand the theory of truth, but have no vital connection with God. They trust to feeling, and neglect to search the Scriptures. They are satisfied to walk in the sparks of their own kindling. We are all exhorted to be diligent, that we may make our calling and election sure. But I am greatly troubled, fearing, yes, knowing, that there are many who profess the truth who are not testing their lives and characters by God’s great moral standard of righteousness. They are careless; they have not the oil of grace in their vessels with their lamps. They are cherishing hidden sins, which no human eye can see. They know that they are not pure, and without spot, and should diligently seek God, that they may cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the sight of God….
Those who are represented by the foolish virgins have not this sense of their own unworthiness. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. The same principles of truth are presented in the parable of the two builders,—one built upon the rock, and the other upon the sand. Jesus says: “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. And everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.”
It is not a matter of little consequence to us as to how we hear and how we treat the truth of God. To misunderstand the truth, to fail to appreciate it, because we do not cherish light that comes to us, will tend to make us careless in our character building, and we shall have our foundation laid upon the sand. The wise builder builds upon the Rock Christ Jesus, no matter what may be the inconvenience. He builds not upon human but upon divine merit, accepting the righteousness of Christ as his own, and as his only hope of salvation. The foolish builder built upon the sand, and through his carelessness, or prejudice, or through the deceptions of the natural heart, he cherishes a self-righteous spirit, and places human wisdom in the place where God’s wisdom should have the supremacy; and how terrible are the consequences!
There are many unwise builders, and when the storm of temptation comes and beats upon them, it is made evident that their foundation is only sliding sand. They are left in gross darkness, without faith, without principles, and without foundation. The five foolish virgins had a real interest in the gospel. They knew what was the perfect standard of righteousness; but their energies were paralyzed with self-love; for they lived to please and glorify themselves, and had not the oil of grace in their vessels with which to replenish their lamps. They were often distressed by the enemy, who knew their weakness, and placed darkness before them in the semblance of light. Truth, precious, life-giving truth, represented as oil, appeared to them as unessential, and Satan took advantage of their blindness, ignorance, and weakness of faith, and they had a fluctuating experience, based on uncertain principles.
All who wait for the heavenly Bridegroom are represented in the parable as slumbering because their Lord delayed his coming; but the wise roused themselves at the message of his approach, and responded to the message, and their spiritual life was replenished. Their spiritual discernment was not all gone, and they sprang into line. As they took hold of the grace of Christ, their religious experience became vigorous and abundant, and their affections were set upon things above. They discerned where was the source of their supply, and appreciated the love that God had for them. They opened their hearts to receive the Holy Spirit, by which the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts. Their lights were trimmed and burning, and sent forth steady rays in to the moral darkness of the world. They glorified God, because they had the oil of grace in their hearts, and did the very work that their Master did before them,–went forth to seek and to save those who were lost.
– Ellen White, Signs of the Times, August 13, 1894