Notes of an Address at Quemerford 1886

Matthew  25:1-13

W. J. Lowe June 1886.

It is upon my heart to say but a few words in connection with what has been already before us. The Lord is, I feel, distinctly calling us back to the first principles of the truth. It is a solemn thing, and the effect of the terrible opposition of the enemy against the truth, that we get occupied with its surroundings, or its results, oftentimes even with details of action connected with it, in such sort that our attention is turned away from the truth itself, and it becomes commonplace, as that which we think we know and have rather left behind on the ground of its being quite elementary. Yet when we come to look at it in the presence of the Lord, it is perhaps the thing [in which] we are most feeble. I do not refer to statements of truth such as you might get in a catechism; the important thing is to have the truth as it is presented in the scriptures.

We have just been reading, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” It is worthy of remark that in the Gospels we read about the “Bridegroom,” not about a Bride; but in the Epistles, when the Lord is gone up to His place in glory, we hear of the “bride” or “wife,” but not of the Bridegroom; Christ is presented rather as the Lord of the church. The Spirit of God, especially in the dispensational Gospel, Matthew, attracts the heart to a Person who is presented in the character of  “Bridegroom.” That supposes a Bride evidently - no doubt the earthly one - but it is not with this that we are occupied. The Spirit sets forth the Bridegroom, and thus forms in the heart divine preparation [without which] there can be no true knowledge of the church as “the Lamb’s wife,” nor the true capacity for receiving the revelation of it. The heart is prepared by feeding on Him in whom all the truth is made known, who is Himself “the Truth.”

In the similitude of the kingdom of heaven in chapter 25, the Lord presents Himself as One already known as “the Bridegroom:” see chapters 9:15; 22:2-3. It is in reference to what He is that the virgins go out. This is essentially Christian; it is different from Jewish hope. The Jews were to await Messiah’s coming to them on earth to accomplish the promises. But these leave everything, and go out to meet One who does not propose to give them an earthly portion. He is rejected; they have part with Him in this, as in all else, and leave everything here to go to meet Him.

Ten go forth. It is not to get something for themselves, nor that they may be brought into some place of favour and blessing, but to meet the Bridegroom. It is no question of His coming to settle things here; they go out to meet Him that they may be partakers of the joy of His heart, and the witnesses of His satisfaction in that which yields its highest expression manward. They are tested as to whether they are able to maintain that attitude during the time that He tarries. Here is a first principle of the deepest importance, it gives us the simplest and most elementary aspect of what waiting for the Lord is.

Alas! we read, “They all slumbered and slept;” but yet God in His goodness does not allow them to be found sleeping. At midnight there is a cry made, “Behold, the Bridegroom; go ye out to meet him! Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.” A solemn thing is brought out here. The sense of His coming is upon each of their souls now, at any rate. When this immediate prospect of appearing before Him is really brought home to them, there are five of those who went out at the first, who feel and own that they are not in a condition in which they can stand before Him: “Our lamps,” say they, “are going out.” The others have no fear. Up to that moment they might well have compared themselves one with another: they were all virgins, they all had lamps burning, there was nothing outwardly that made any sensible difference between them that a human eye could discern. But what a change was wrought in all their feelings by the necessity of standing before Him! It can be no question, then, of what I think or of what anyone else thinks, but of what the Lord thinks. Have you and I in our souls this sense of having to stand before Him who is the Judge of everything? And have we from God the perfect love which casts out fear, gives perfect assurance in view of judgment, and carries the heart on with joy to meet Him who has, at infinite cost, given us in Himself a personal and eternal interest? Have we got that which will keep the lamp burning, not merely through the darkness of this world, so that we may be morally irreproachable in man’s eye, but which will enable us to go confidently to meet Him before whom everything is naked and open? Have we His word wrought out in power in our souls by His Holy Spirit?

 The truth as it is presented in scripture is what we need to get hold of. One is struck by the delight the Spirit of God takes (especially in Matthew) in keeping the heart occupied with the One who characterises all our position and present portion before God. We are brought into association with Himself. It is to Him that the Father testifies, to Him that the Holy Ghost gathers.

The Lord lead our hearts into this, beloved brethren, that we may be more constantly occupied with Him in whom the Father found all His delight.