Learn here, my child, how vain
      This world, with all its lies,

Matthew 25: 1-13

Ten virgins clothed in white,
      The Bridegroom went to meet;
Their lamps were burning bright
      To guide his welcome feet.

Five of the band were wise—
      Their lamps with oil filled high;
The rest this care despise,
      And take their vessels dry.

Long time the Lord abode—
   Down came the shades of night—
The weary virgins nod,
      And then they sleep outright.

At midnight came the cry
      Upon their startled ear—
Behold the Bridegroom nigh,
      To light his steps appear.

They trim their lamps; in vain
      The foolish virgins toil—
Our lamps are out, O deign
      To give us of your oil!

Not so—the wise ones cry—
   No oil have we to spare;
But swiftly run and buy,
      That you the joy may share.

They went to buy, when lo!
      The Bridegroom comes in state;
Within those ready go,
      And shut the golden gate.

The foolish virgins now
      Before the gateway crowd;
With terror on their brow
      They knock and cry aloud:—

“Lord, open to our call—
      Hast thou our names forgot?”
Sadly the accents fall—
      “Depart, I know you not.”

Learn here, my child, how vain
      This world, with all its lies,
Those who the kingdom gain
      Alone are truly wise.

How vain the Christian name,
      If still you live in sin:—
A lamp, and wick, and flame,
      No drop of oil within.

Is your lamp filled, my child,
      With oil from Christ above?
Has he your heart, so wild,
      Made soft and full of love?

Then you are ready now
      With Christ to enter in;
To see his holy brow,
      And bid farewell to sin.

Sinners! behold the gate
      Of Jesus open still;
Come, ere it be too late,
   And enter if you will.

The Saviour’s gentle hand
      Knocks at your door to-day;
But vain his loud demand—
      You spurn his love away.

So at the Saviour’s door
      You’ll knock, with trembling heart;
The day of mercy o’er,
      Jesus will say—depart.

R.M. McCheyne, 1841

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