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The training, diet, and promotion of Daniel. 3 And the king spake unto your faces worse liking than the Ashpenaz the master of his eu- children which are of your sort? nuchis, that he should bring cer- then shall ye make me endanger tain of the children of Israel, my head to the king. and of the king's seed, and of ii Then said Daniel to Melthe princes ;

zar, whom the prince of the eu4 Children in whom was no nuchs had set over Daniel, Hablemish, but well favoured, and naniah, Mishael, and Azariah, skilful in all wisdom, and cun- 12 Prove thy servants, I bening in knowledge, and under- seech thee, ten days; and let standing science, and such as them give us pulse to eat, and had ability in them to stand in water to drink. the king's palace, and whom 13 Then let our countenances they might teach the learning be looked upon before thee, and and the tongue of the Chaldeans. the countenance of the children

5 And the king appointed them that eat of the portion of the a daily provision of the king's king's meat: and as thou seest, meat, and of the wine which deal with thy servants. he drank : so nourishing them 14 So he consented to them in three years, that at the end this matter, and proved them thereof they might stand before ten days. the king.

15 And at the end of ten days 6 Now among these were of the their countenances appeared children of Judah, Daniel, Ha- fairer and fatter in flesh than naniah, Mishael, and Azariah: all the children which did eat

7 Unto whom the prince of the the portion of the king's meat. eunuchs gave names : for he 16 Thus Melzar took away the gave unto Daniel the name of portion of their meat, and the Belteshazzar; and to Hana- wine that they should drink; niah, of Shadrach; and to Mi- and gave them pulse. shael, of Meshach; and to Aza- 17 As for these four children, riah, of Abed-nego.

God gave them knowledge and 8 But Daniel purposed in his skill in all learning and wisdom: heart that he would not defile and Daniel had understanding himself with the portion of the in all visions and dreams. king's meat, nor with the wine 18 Now at the end of the days which he drank: therefore he that the king had said he should requested of the prince of the bring them in, then the prince eunuchs that he might not defile of the eunuchs brought them in himself.

before Nebuchadnezzar. 9 Now God had brought Da- 19 And the king communed niel into favour and tender love with them; and among them with the prince of the eunuchs. all was found none like Daniel,

10 And the prince of the eu- Hananiah, Mishael, and Azanuchs said unto Daniel, I fear riah : therefore stood they bemy lord the king, who hath ap- fore the king. pointed your meat and your 20 And in all matters of wisdrink: for why should he seedom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he that were in all his realm. found them ten times better than 21 And Daniel continued even all the magicians and astrologers unto the first year of king Cyrus.

LECTURE 1364. That our best way to be huppy is to be holy. It was the policy of the king of Babylon to turn to account the good abilities of the most promising of his captives. It was the providence of God which brought it to pass, that through this policy Daniel and his three countrymen rose into such high favour with the king. This is not the first instance of this kind that we have met with in the history of God's people. Joseph in like manner, when sold into Egypt, first gained the confidence of his master, next that of the keeper of the prison, and at length reached unto the place of highest trust and authority in all the realm. Let not then the captive murmur at bis bondage. God may have in store for him so much the greater bonour and felicity, Let him exert himself in breaking the bands of sin. Let him set his heart upon the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. And whether he be promoted to honour in this world, or not, he may be assured of obtaining in the life which is to come a crown of immortal glory.

Daniel probably knew that some of the king's meat was of a kind forbidden in the Law. Or perhaps he had reason to suppose that both the meat and wine were first offered and consecrated to idol gods, and then served to the king's household. Considerations of this kind must have been the ground of his requesting, that he and his brethren might be fed with pulse and water instead. And it was undoubtedly owing to God's blessing vouchsafed to this holy resolution, that the diet thus adopted produced the opposite effect on their health and appearance, to that which might have been naturally expected. Such miracles are not now to be looked for by us. And yet such principles are now to be practised. Such duties are now to be done. We must watch that in nothing we defile ourselves with sin. We must refuse to partake of such viands as would endanger the soul's health, however fairly they may promise for the vigour of the body. Friends who love us tenderly may press us to share festivities, which we know to be intemperate, or find to be distracting to our thoughts, or wasteful to our time. But let us learn from Daniel the duty of resisting all such temptation. And adapting his language to our own case, Prove us, let us say, and see whether we be not altogether happier, in proportion as we lead a life more holy and self denying, less conformable to the world, less agreeable to the flesh, but more thoroughly devoted unto God. Prove us, yea, and prove also your own selves. Try, and you will assuredly find, that as nothing ministers more to health than happiness, so nothing tends so much to make us happy, as to live at peace with God, through Christ, with a stedfast purpose of heart not to be defiled with sin.

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The dream of Nebuchadnezzar is revealed to Daniel. 1 And in the second year of till the time be changed: therethe reign of Nebuchadnez- fore tell me the dream, and I zar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed shall know that ye can shew me dreams, wherewith his spirit the interpretation thereof. was troubled, and his sleep 10 The Chaldeans answered brake from him.

before the king, and said, There 2 Then the king commanded is not a man upon the earth to call the magicians, and the that can shew the king's matastrologers, and the sorcerers, ter: therefore there is no king, and the Chaldeans, for to shew lord, nor ruler, that asked such the king his dreams. So they things at any magician, or astrocaine and stood before the king. loger, or Chaldean.

3 And the king said unto them, 11 And it is a rare thing that I have dreamed a dream, and the king requireth, and there my spirit was troubled to know is none other that can shew it the dream.

before the king, except the gods, 4 Then spake the Chaldeans whose dwelling is not with to the king in Syriack, O king, flesh. live for ever: tell thy servants 12 For this cause the king was the dream, and we will shew angry and very furious, and the interpretation.

commanded to destroy all the 5 The king answered and said wise men of Babylon. to the Chaldeans, The thing is 13 And the decree went forth gone from me: if ye will not that the wise men should be make known unto me the dream, slain ; and they sought Daniel with the interpretation thereof, and his fellows to be slain. ye shall be cut in pieces, and 14 Then Daniel answered with your houses shall be made a counsel and wisdom to Arioch dunghill.

the captain of the king's guard, 6 But if ye shew the dream, which was gone forth to slay and the interpretation thereof, the wise men of Babylon : ye shall receive of me gifts and 15 He answered and said to rewards and great honour: Arioch the king's captain, Why therefore shew me the dream, is the decree so hasty from the and the interpretation thereof. king? Then Arioch made the

7 They answered again and thing known to Daniel. said, Let the king tell his ser- 16 Then Daniel went in, and vants the dream, and we will desired of the king that he shew the interpretation of it. would give him time, and that

8 The king answered and said, he would shew the king the inI know of certainty that ye terpretation. would gain the time, because ye 17 Then Daniel went to his see the thing is gone from me. house, and made the thing

9 But if ye will not make known to Hananiah, Mishael, known unto me the dream, there and Azariah, bis companions : is but one decree for you: for 18 That they would desire ye have prepared lying and cor- mercies of the God of heaven rupt words to speak before me, concerning this secret; that

Daniel and his fellows should he giveth wisdom unto the wise, not perish with the rest of the and knowledge to them that wise men of Babylon.

know understanding : 19 Then was the secret re- 22 He revealeth the deep and vealed unto Daniel in a night secret things : he knoweth what vision. Then Daniel blessed is in the darkness, and the light the God of heaven.

dwelleth with him. 20 Daniel answered and said, 23 I thank thee, and praise Blessed be the name of God for thee, O thou God of my fathers, ever and ever: for wisdom and who hast given me wisdom and might are his :

might, and hast made known 21 And he changeth the times unto me now what we desired of and the seasons: he removeth thee: for thou hast now made kings, and settethup kings: known unto us the king's matter.

LECTURE 1365. Of praying to God and giving Him thanks. The arbitrary decree of the king served to shew the vanity of the pretended skill of his magicians. If they had any art by which to interpret his dream, they might have been able by the same art to find out what he had dreamt about. But this they confessed was a thing past all ability of man. For bere there was no room for subterfuge. The king could not but know whether they told him his dream aright; however easily he might have been beguiled by a pretended interpretation of it. This appears to have been the principle on which he issued his merciless ordinance. The same ungovernable passion, and most unjustifiable exercise of sovereign authority, served to bring to light the reality of a divine inspiration, not in the magi of Babylon, but in the prophet of the house of Judah. That which the idolaters confessed to be the prerogative of "the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh," was imparted to a buman being, in reply to fervent and faithful and united prayer. “A rare thing,” and most marvellous, indeed it was, for one to say what another had been dreaming of, for the Jewish captive to tell unto the Babylonish king this secret of his sleeping thoughts. But nothing is too hard for the Lord. Nothing is too high for prayer to reach unto, if borne upon the wings of faith. Let us ask, up to the full extent of all that God has promised to give us. And when He gives, let us not forget to render humble thanks. Let us pray, and beseech our brethren to pray with us, for saving knowledge of the truth. Let us thank God in their behalf, and in our own, for having revealed the deep and secret things, that belong to our everlasting peace. Glory be to his holy name, for all his wisdom and all his might! For all the order of his providence, for all the gifts of his grace, for all that we now know, and believe, and hope, and for all that we shall hereafter see face to face, and enjoy to all eternity, glory be to his holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord !

any wis.

Daniel telleth unto the king his dream. 24 Therefore Daniel went in to pass hereafter: and he that unto Arioch, whom the king revealeth secrets maketh known had ordained to destroy the to thee what shall come to pass. wise men of Babylon: he went 30 But as for me, this secret is and said thus unto him ; De- not revealed to me for stroy not the wise men of Ba- dom that I have more than any bylon : bring me in before the living, but for their sakes that king, and I will shew unto the shall make known the interpreking the interpretation. tation to the king, and that thou

25 Then Arioch brought in mightest know the thoughts of Daniel before the king in baste, thy heart. and said thus unto him, I have 31 Thou, O king, sawest, and found a man of the captives of behold a great image. This Judah, that will make known great image, whose brightness unto the king the interpretation. was excellent, stood before thee;

26 The king answered and and the form thereof was terrible. said to Daniel, whose name was 32 This image's head was of Belteshazzar, Art thou able to fine gold, his breast and his make known unto me the dream arms of silver, his belly and his which I have seen, and the in- thighs of brass, terpretation thereof?

33 His legs of iron, his feet 27 Daniel answered in the pre- part of iron and part of clay. sence of the king, and said, The 34 Thou sawest till that a stone secret which the king hath de- was cut out without hands, which manded cannot the wise men, smote the image upon his feet theastrologers, the magicians, the that were of iron and clay, and soothsayers, shew unto the king; brake them to pieces.

28 But there is a God in hea- 35 Then was the iron, the clay, ven that revealeth secrets, and the brass, the silver, and the maketh known to the king Ne- gold, broken to pieces together, buchadnezzar what shall be in and became like the chaff of the the latter days. Thy dream, summer threshingfloors; and the and the visions of thy bead upon wind carried them away, that thy bed, are these ;

no place was found for them : 29 As for thee, o king, thy and the stone that smote the thoughts came into thy mind image became a great mountain, upon thy bed, what should come and filled the whole earth.

LECTURE 1366. God's goodness both in saving and revealing. That the dream of the king of Babylon was miraculous is past doubt. And yet in working this miracle it appears that God was pleased to follow, in a certain degree, the usual course of nature. For our dreams usually partake of the nature of our waking thoughts. And Nebuchadnezzar, it seems, had been thinking, as he lay down to rest, “what should come to pass hereafter." A very likely subject of reflexion, for one who found himself exalted to such a pitch of worldly greatness; to say within himself, How long will my kingdom last? to picture up to himself its continu

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