Time and For Ever.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Eccles. 3:1.) Every thing under the sun is measured by "times." There is a time to be born, and a time to die. No matter what the purpose which the sons of men may take in hand under the heaven, each has its time, but only its "time." It is not "for ever," and its time passes on and is gone. Well is it if they who are passing through these varied times are exercised by the travail which they occasion. (Eccles. 1:13; 3:10.) But beneath the exercises of these times there is a "work that God maketh from the beginning to the end;" for there is a path which the vulture's eye hath not seen. It is hid from the eyes of the living, but God understandeth the way thereof (Job 29), and this work, wrought in ways of infinite wisdom, is "for ever." "I know that whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it that men should fear before Him." It is done to produce holy fear, the beginning of wisdom in man, and becomes the means of the senses being exercised to discern good and evil in those who otherwise would put good for evil, and evil for good. (Isa. 5:20.) Man cannot find out this work, because his vision is bounded by the horizon of time, and he can but take in by his own powers and senses those things which are thus measured. Very different is God's "for ever." He is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End; and blessed it is to know that as the varied seasons roll round, and a time to weep and a time to laugh succeed each other, that a feeble creature of time, by faith, and through sovereign mercy, can find his dwelling-place in the eternity of God. "Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations … from eternity to eternity thou art God."

The saint now, indwelt by the Holy Ghost, has the mind of Christ. On Him rested the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. Even as a child He grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him. He needed none of the exercises of these times, though He learned obedience by the things which He suffered in passing through them. He judged not by the sight of His eyes, nor the hearing of His ears, but by the divine wisdom with which He was filled; and the saint, as having His mind, is able to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, according as he is filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; but there is the flesh in us, and the needs be of breaking our will, so that we may follow in His steps who said, "I do always those things which please Him," and thus the exercises of the way teach us something of the work which God is doing from beginning to end.

But further, though creation was set up in time, when God made everything beautiful in his season, there is a new creation, which began with a Man raised from the dead in the power of an endless life. In the time scene the first man, who was made a living soul, was set in his creature estate by God, to have and to hold so long as fealty was rendered to the Creator who set him there. Such an estate could be lost, and has been lost; but new creation is no creature estate. Everything there is "of God," and has the stamp of God's "for ever." It is the scene where the Father - blessed source of all that can ever be told out of the divine nature and fulness - is manifested in the Son by the power of the Holy Ghost. This time scene is but the platform on which the work that God maketh from beginning to end is being carried out. The centre of it all is the Word made flesh, the person of the Son - unfathomable mystery known only to the Father. He it is who has been here and known a time to be born, and a time to die. Surely we bow our heads and worship as we behold Him, whose goings forth have been of old, from the days of eternity, and whose Spirit could prophetically utter those words, "My times are in thy hand," take His place in this time scene, and pass through it and out of it, by death and resurrection, to the throne of the Father, where He now is. He is there as the Christ of God, in whom all God's counsels are to be brought out for eternity.

What different thoughts fill our minds as we apprehend these counsels of God, and this time scene which otherwise so engrosses us, as the platform for their accomplishment, and the place too where we practically learn "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" thus learning that though that which is first is natural - a creature, a living soul - yet that the work which God maketh from beginning to end is accomplished by Him who is a quickening Spirit - the second Man, the Lord from heaven. A Man He was, and yet out of heaven. Man in himself is but a creature, and yet in Christ we see him as the object of the counsels of God, and in his history in time is brought out the wisdom and power of God in His ways of accomplishing His thoughts and purposes. T. H. Reynolds.

Man looks not beyond the circumstances which surround him. To tarry in circumstances is unbelief; affliction springs not out of the dust. Satan is behind the circumstances to set us on; but, behind all that, God is there to break our wills.