Scripture Verse

Then shall the kingdom of Heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. Matthew 25:1

Introduction

portrait
John Newton
1725–1807

Words: John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­iv­er, 1779), Book 1, num­ber 90. The fool­ish vir­gins.

Music: Am­ster­dam James Nar­es, in The Foun­de­ry Col­lec­tion, 1742 (🔊 pdf nwc).

illustration
The Wise & Foolish Virgins
Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale, 1901

Lyrics

When descending from the sky
The Bridegroom shall appear;
And the solemn midnight cry,
Shall call professors near:
How the sound our hearts will damp!
How will shame o’erspread each face!
If we only have a lamp,
Without the oil of grace.

Foolish virgins then will wake
And seek for a supply;
But in vain the pains they take
To borrow or to buy:
Then with those they now despise,
Earnestly they’ll wish to share;
But the best, among the wise,
Will have no oil to spare.

Wise are they, and truly blest,
Who then shall rea­dy be
But despair will seize the rest,
And dreadful misery:
Once, they’ll cry, we scorned to doubt,
Though in lies our trust we put;
Now our lamp of hope is out,
The door of mercy shut.

If they then presume to plead,
Lord open to us now;
We on earth have heard and prayed,
And with thy saints did bow:

He will answer from his throne,
Though you with My people mixed,
Yet to Me you ne’er were known,
Depart, your doom is fixed.

O that none who worship here
May hear that word, Depart!
Lord impress a godly fear
On each professor’s heart:
Help us, Lord, to search the camp,
Let us not ourselves beguile;
Trusting to a dying lamp
Without a stock of oil.