The Youth’s Instructor


January 16, 1896

Wise or Foolish, Which?


“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. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore; for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” YI January 16, 1896, par. 1

We are now living in a most perilous time, and not one of us should be tardy in seeking a preparation for the coming of Christ. Let none follow the example of the foolish virgins, and think that it will be safe to wait until the crisis comes before gaining a preparation of character to stand in that time. It will be too late to seek for the righteousness of Christ when the guests are called in and examined. Now is the time to put on the righteousness of Christ,—the wedding garment that will fit you to enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. In the parable, the foolish virgins are represented as begging for oil, and failing to receive it at their request. This is symbolic of those who have not prepared themselves by developing a character to stand in a time of crisis. It is as if they should go to their neighbors and say, Give me your character, or I shall be lost. Those that were wise could not impart their oil to the flickering lamps of the foolish virgins. Character is not transferable. It is not to be bought or sold; it is to be acquired. The Lord has given to every individual an opportunity to obtain a righteous character through the hours of probation; but he has not provided a way by which one human agent may impart to another the character which he has developed by going through hard experiences, by learning lessons from the great Teacher, so that he can manifest patience under trial, and exercise faith so that he can remove mountains of impossibility. It is impossible to impart the fragrance of love,—to give to another gentleness, tact, and perseverance. It is impossible for one human heart to pour into another the love of God and humanity. YI January 16, 1896, par. 2

But the day is coming, and it is close upon us, when every phase of character will be revealed by special temptation. Those who remain true to principle, who exercise faith to the end, will be those who have proved true under test and trial during the previous hours of their probation, and have formed characters after the likeness of Christ. It will be those who have cultivated close acquaintance with Christ, who, through his wisdom and grace, are partakers of the divine nature. But no human being can give to another, heart-devotion and noble qualities of mind, and supply his deficiencies with moral power. We can each do much for each other by giving to men a Christlike example, thus influencing them to go to Christ for the righteousness without which they cannot stand in the judgment. Men should prayerfully consider the important matter of character-building, and frame their characters after the divine model. YI January 16, 1896, par. 3

Our precious Redeemer is standing before the Father as our intercessor, and is preparing mansions for all those who believe in him as their personal Saviour. Let those who would meet the divine standard, search the Scriptures for themselves, that they may have a knowledge of the life of Christ, and understand his mission and work. Let them behold him as their Advocate, standing within the veil, having in his hand the golden censer, from which the holy incense of the merits of his righteousness ascends to God in behalf of those who pray to him. Could they thus behold him, they would feel an assurance that they have a powerful, influential Advocate in the heavenly courts, and that their suit is gained at the throne of God. What an experience may be attained at the footstool of mercy, which is the only place of sure refuge! You may discern the fact that God is back of his promises, and not dread the issue of your prayers, or doubt that Jesus is standing as your surety and substitute. As you confess your sins, as you repent of your iniquity, Christ takes your guilt upon himself, and imputes to you his own righteousness and power. To those who are contrite in spirit, he gives the golden oil of love, and the rich treasures of his grace. It is then that you may see that the sacrifice of self to God through the merits of Christ, makes you of infinite value; for clothed in the robe of Christ's righteousness, you become the sons and daughters of God. Those who approach the Father, recognizing the bow of promise, and ask forgiveness in the name of Jesus, will receive their request. At the very first expression of penitence, Christ presents the humble suppliant's petition before the throne as his own desire in the sinner's behalf. He says, “I will pray the Father for you.” YI January 16, 1896, par. 4

Jesus, our precious Saviour, could not see us exposed to the fatal snares of Satan, and forbear making an infinite sacrifice on our behalf. He interposes himself between Satan and the tempted soul, and says, “‘Get thee behind me, Satan.’ Let me come close to this tempted soul.” He pities and loves every humble, trembling suppliant. He revives the spirit of the humble and the contrite. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” YI January 16, 1896, par. 5

Mrs. E. G. White

(To be concluded.)