“For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”—2 Corinthians 6:2.
E FREQUENTLY HEAR the question discussed as to which are the best times. Some are perpetually singing the praises of the “good old times;” though, if one reads the page of history, it does not appear that the old times deserve any very special praise, unless oppression, ignorance, persecution, and abundant suffering deserve to be the theme of song. It is the common habit of the fathers, with tears in their eyes, to say, “The former days were better than these,” but we have the wisdom of Solomon on our side when we tell them they do not enquire wisely Concerning this. “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.” (Ecclesiastes 7:10.) Others there be who are always boasting of the present eventful period. There was none like it: this is the era of invention and of progress, the age of liberty and of light, when slavery must cast away her fetters, and superstition must hide herself among her congenial associates, the moles and bats. But I cannot perceive that this century is so much the age of gold as to need any very enthusiastic praises. Its greatest virtues are counterbalanced by greater sins; and the progress which has been made towards liberty, has scarcely kept pace with its advance towards licentiousness: the barriers have been broken down, it is true, but in some places the bulwarks have fallen too. Many there be who with bright eyes are looking forward to the future, and their declaration is, that the “good time is coming,” if we but “wait a little longer;” if we will but look ahead, till this beast shall have been slain, that vial shall have been poured out, and the other seal shall have been broken, then it is that we shall arrive at halcyon times. We agree with these watchful waiters: the age of gold is yet to come; the Advent is the world’s best and brightest hope, insomuch that every lover of his kind, may importunately cry out, “Come quickly; yea, come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
But there is one thought which should not leave us when talking about times and seasons, namely, that now, now, just now, this present flying moment, that second which is being recorded by the ticking of yonder clock, is the only time which we have to work with. I can do nothing with the days that are past, I can do nothing with the days future—yet I reach out towards them—but I cannot improve them. The past and present are fields far beyond the reach of my culture. I can neither plough nor sow the future, nor can I prune and correct the past. For practical purposes, the only time I have is that which is just now passing. Did I say I had it? While I said I had it, it is gone, like the meteor which dashes adown the sky, or the eagle which flies afar, or the swift ships which disappear beyond the horizon.