Oil for the lamps.
My soul, you really need this, for your lamp will not continue to burn for long without it. Your snuff will smoke and become an offense if light is gone, and gone it will be if you run out of oil. You have no oil well springing up in your human nature, and therefore you must go to them who sell and buy for yourself, or like the foolish virgins you will have to cry, "My lamp has gone out." Even the consecrated lamps could not give light without oil; though they shone in the tabernacle, they needed to be fed; though no rough winds blew upon them, they required to be trimmed, and your need is just as great. Under the most happy circumstances you cannot give light for another hour unless fresh oil of grace is given to you.
Not every kind of oil could be used in the Lord's service; neither the petroleum that exudes so plentifully from the earth, nor the produce of fish, nor that extracted from nuts would be accepted; only one oil was selected, and that was the best olive oil. Pretended grace from natural goodness, fancied grace from priestly hands, or imaginary grace from outward ceremonies will never serve the true child of God; he knows that the Lord would not be pleased with rivers of such oil. He goes to the olive-press of Gethsemane and draws his supplies from Him who was crushed there. The oil of gospel grace is pure and free from sediment and dregs, and so the light that is fed by it is clear and bright. Our churches are the Savior's golden candelabra, and if they are to be lights in this dark world, they must have plenty of holy oil. Let us pray for ourselves, our ministers, and our churches that they may never lack oil for the light. Truth, holiness, joy, knowledge, love-these are all beams of the sacred light; but we cannot send them out into the darkness unless in private we receive oil from God the Holy Spirit.
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.