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Matthew 25:3

They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
It is some great thing, some exceedingly great thing, that this oil signifies. Do you think it might be charity? If we try out this hypothesis, we hazard no precipitate judgment. I will tell you why charity seems to be signified by the oil. The apostle says, “I will show you a still more excellent way.” “If I speak with the tongue of mortals and of angels but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” This is charity. It is “that way above the rest,” which is with good reason signified by the oil. For oil swims above all liquids. Pour in water, and pour in oil upon it; the oil will swim above. Pour in oil, pour in water upon it; the oil will swim above. If you keep the usual order, it will be uppermost; if you change the order, it will be uppermost. “Charity never fails.” ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
What is the meaning of “took no oil with them”? What is “in their lamps”? In their hearts. For this reason the apostle wrote, “Indeed, this is our glory, the testimony of our conscience.” There is the oil, the precious oil. This oil is of the gift of God. We can put oil into our lamps, but we ourselves cannot create the olive. See, I have oil. But did I create the oil? It is of the gift of God. So you have oil. Carry it with you. What does it mean to “carry it with you”? To have it within, where it is pleasing to God. Note: those “foolish virgins, who brought no oil with them,” wish to please a human audience by that abstinence of theirs by which they are called virgins, and by their good works, when they seem to carry lamps. But wishing to please human spectators, doing praiseworthy works, they forgot to carry with them the necessary oil. ...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
But if it is good to abstain from the unlawful excitements of the senses, and on that account every Christian soul has received the name of virgin, why then are five admitted and five rejected? They are both virgins, and yet half are rejected. It is not enough that they are virgins but that they also have lamps. They are virgins by reason of abstinence from unlawful indulgence of the senses. But they have lamps by reason of good works. Of these good works the Lord says, “Let your works shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Again he said to his disciples, “Let your loins be girded and your lamps burning.” In the “girded loins” is virginity. In the “burning lamps” is good works. ...

Epiphanius the Latin

AD 403
Those ten virgins, whom the Lord compared with the kingdom of heaven, were set up as an example for all virgins. They went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. This means that they had received the grace of the Holy Spirit. They had come forth as virgins never stained by sin and had left behind earthly matters to meet Christ and the church. “But five were foolish and five wise. For the wise took oil with them along with their lamps. But the foolish did not take oil.” Thus they were foolish, because they were not prepared for the future but only for the present. Thus they were foolish, because they did not have works of compassion. For the oil is compassion. But the wise took oil with their lamps. Thus they were wise, because they took these things not on account of people but on account of God. Thus they were wise, because they were virgins not for the sake of the present but the future. Thus they were wise, because they had works of compassion. Thus they were wise, because they w...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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