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with his sovereign. But no just ground of complaint could they find; they therefore made his piety a snare, and so fur obtained their wicked ends as to get the king to sign a decree which they had no doubt would effect his ruin.
Darius suffered his pride to prevail on him to adopt a measure, which he certainly ought on many accounts to have rejected.
"Had Daniel regarded the dictates of worldly policy, he would have peaceably acquiesced in the orders of the court, paid the expected homage to his sovereign, and defeated the designs of his enemies. Or had he listened to the whispers of timidity and cowardice, he would have retired from the public eye, and formed some pretence for not appearing before the king, and have contented himself with worshipping his God in eecret. But the holy prophet was too sincere and zealous a servant of the Most High God to be capable of deserting his cause in the hour of danger; or to pay divine honours to a mortal like himself. No sooner did he know that the writing was signed, than he went io !iis house, and offered his petitions to the King of Kings, as he was accustomed to do. What an excellent example has this good prophet left us, to maintain a steady determination, whenever our situation requires if, to sacrifice ease, profit, and honour, and even life itself,, to principle; and whiit encouragement to do so may we derive from his miraculous deliverance!
"We need not fear that we shall be losers upon the whole by a faithful adherence to religious duties; for, though miraculous interpositions are not to be expected at present, virtue will yet meet its reward. It may possibly in some cases expose us to ridicule and reproach, nay even to danger; yet let us not be dismayed. The virtuous man has that within which will sustain him
under the severest shock of affliction, render him impenetrable to the sharpest darts of malice, and enable him to look at threatening death without dismay. The virtuous man has an Almighty Patron, who will not suffer his enemies finally to triumph over him; a faithful guardian who will protect him in the hour of darkness, guide him through the vale of death, and hereafter bring forth his righteousness as the light, and his judgment as the noon-day."
It is remarkable that, by means of Daniel, Darius was made acquainted with the supremacy of the Lord God, and there is reason to suppose that Cyrus received intimation of divine truths by the same channel*
SECTION LIX. f
Daniel's Vision Of The Four Beasts^."" From Daniel, Chap. vii. In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel bad, a dream and visions of his head upon his bed : then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters.
Daniel spake, and said, I saw in my vision by night, and beheld, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea.
And foi:r great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings : and I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
Antl behold, another beast, a second like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh.
After this I beheld, and lo, another like a leopard,
which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the
beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.
K 6 After
After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth; it devoured and brake in pieces and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
I considered the horns; and behold, there came up among them another little horn, beforetf'whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.
I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.
These great beasts, said he, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.
Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass: which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.
And thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and brake it in pieces.
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS. By these revelations God had manifested to the world, -that grandeur, empire, and glory, are His: that Hebestows stows them on whomsoever He pleases, and withdraws them in like manner, to punish the abuse of them. We also learn from these revelations, that God's design in subjecting states to such astonishing revolutions is to teach men that they are in His presence as nothing: that He is alone the Most High, the Eternal King, the Sovereign Arbiter, who acts as He pleases, with supreme power both in heaven and earth.
"God, to make these important truths still more sensible, shewed to Daniel in a vision four dreadful beasts, rising from a vast sea, in which the four winds combat together with fury. Under these symbols he represents to the prophet the origin, the characteristics, and fall, of the four great empires which were to govern the world successively.
"The prophet then related more particularly the character of each of these empires. After having represented the empire of the Babylonians under the image of a lion, and that of the Medes and Persians under the form of a bear, greedy of prey, he draws the picture of the Grecian monarchy under the image of a spotted leopard, with four heads and four wings; the Roman empire is then described under the image of a fourth beast, exceeding dreadful, with ten horns, and great iron teeth, stamping and devouring all before it." The histories of these nations shew that these symbols exactly agreed with them *.
DANIEL'S PRAYER FOR THE RESTORATION OF ISRAEL.
From Daniel, Chap. ix.
* Rollin's Ancient History.
the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;
In the first year of his reign, I Daniel, understood by books the number of the years whereof the Word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.
And I set my face unto the Lord God to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
And I prayed unto the Lord my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments;
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments.
Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.
O Lo Rd, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day: to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are neai«, and that are afar off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee.
O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee.
To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; neither have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in his laws which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by de