“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
“Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
“The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
“But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
“And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.
“Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’
“But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
Arise, Go Forth
Ye sleeping souls, awake
From dreams of carnal ease!
Your couch of sloth forsake,
Nor seek the flesh to please;
Far from this land of shadows flee,
And march towards eternity.
Aside each burden lay,
That does your course restrain,
And onward urge your way
From nature, self, and sin;
Prepare the midnight cry to hear,
“The Bridegroom comes, behold Him near!”
Arise, go forth to find
Your true and faithful Lord;
And leaving all behind,
In spirit hear His word.
The pure in heart His presence feel,
‘Tis there He doth Himself reveal.
Within your souls retired,
His precious love enjoy;
And with His Spirit fired,
Your time in prayer employ;
And purchase oil, whilst yet you may,
Lest it should fail you on that day.
Give God alone Thy heart,
For vain is all disguise.
O Lord Thy love impart,
The oil that makes us wise!
To light our souls with holy fire,
Which shall not, e’en in death, expire.
Jesus, Thyself excite
Our feet to run the race—
To watch, and pray, and fight,
Till we behold Thy face!
Nor let us ever tire, nor rest,
Till with Thy full possession blest!
—Gerhard Tersteegen (1697-1769)