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Therefore I make a decree,That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

Then the kmg promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the. province of Babylon.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

The golden statue, which we here read of, was, including its pedestal, thirty yards in height, and is supposed to have been dedicated by Nebuchadnezzar to Bel his idol; though it is not improbable that it was rather an image of himself, to which he required Divine honours to be paid in consequence of his dream.

This ambitious king seems to have forgot in the prosecution of his conquests the Almighty God, whose Supreme Power he formerly acknowledged.

The punishment of being thrown into a burning fiery furnace was usual in Chaldea, and must have been very dreadful ; besides on this occasion it was heated to an uncommon degree.

If ow great must have been the faith and piety of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, which enabled thein to adhere to their duty, in defiance of the threats of Nebuchadnezzar, and the torments prepared for them.

Among the Apocryphal writings we have the following which is called The song of the Three Holy Children whether it contains the very words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, is not known : but it-accords so well with this part of sacred history that it may be received by way of illustration.

THE SONG OF THE THREE HOLY CHILDREN.

THEN these three menJell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. And they walked in the

midst midst of the fire, .praising God, and blessing the Lord. Then Azarias stood up, and prayed on this manner; and opening his mouth in the midst of the fire said, Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers: Thy name is worthy to be praised and glorified for evermore. For Thou art righteous in all the things that Thou hast done to us: yea, true are all Thy works, Thy ways are right, and all Thy judgments truth. In all the things which Thou hast brought upon us, and upon the holy city of our fathers, even Jerusalem, Thou hast executed true judgment: for according to truth and judgment didst Thou bring all these things upon us, because of our sins. For we have sinned and committed iniquity, departing from Thee. In all things have we trespassed, and not obeyed Thy commandments, nor kept them, neither done as Thou hast commanded us, that it might go well with us. Wherefore all that Thou hast brought upon us, and every thing that Thou hast done to us, Thou hast done in true judgment. And Thou didst deliver us into the hands of lawless enemies, most hateful forsakers of God, and to an unjust king, and the most wicked in all the fuorld. And now we cannot open our mouths, we are become a shame and a reproach to Thy servants, and to them that worship Thee. Yet deliver us not up wholly, for Thy name's sake, neither disannul Thou Thy covenant; and cause not Thy mercy to depart from us, for Thy beloved Abraham's -sake, for Thy servant Isaac's sake, and for Thy holy Israel's sake; To whom thou hast spoken and promised, That Thou wouldst multiply their seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that liefh upon the sea shore. For we, O Lord, are become less than any nation, and be kept under this day in all the icorld because of our sins. Neither is there at this time prince, or prophet, or leader, or burnt-offering, or sacrifice, or oblation, or incense, or place to sacrifice before Thee, and to find mercy. Nevertheless, in a contrite

heart heart and an humble spirit let us be accepted. Like as in the burnt-offerings of rains and bullocks, and like as in ten thiuiand of fat lambs, so let our sacrifice be in Thy sight this day, and grant that we may wholly go after Thee; for they shall not be confounded that put their trust in Thee. And now we follow Thee with all our heart, we fear Thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to shame; but deal with us after Thy loving kindness, and according to the multitude of Thy mercies. Deliver \ its also according to Thy marvellous works, and give glory to thy name, O Lord; and let all them that do Thy servants hurt, be ashamed; and let them be confounded in all their power and might, and let their strength be broken; and let them know that Thou art Lord, the only God, and- glorious over the whole world.And the king's servants that put them in, ceased not to make the oven hot with rosin, pitch, tow, and small wood; so that the fame streamed forth above the furnace, forty and nine cubits. And it passed through and burnt those Chaldeans it found about the furnace. But the angel of the Lord came down into the oven, together with Azarias and his fellows, and smote the fame of the fire out of the oven; and made the midst of the furnace, as it had been a moist whistling wind, so that the fire touched them not at all, neither hurt nor troubled them.Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying, Blessed art Thou, 0 Lord God of our fathers: and to be praised and exalted above all for ever. And blessed is Thy glorious and holy name: and to be praised, and exalted above all for ever. Blessed. art Thou in the temple of thine holy glory: and to be praised and glorified above all for ever. Blessed art Thou that be~ holdest the depths, and sittest upon the cherubims: and io be praised and exalted above all for ever. Blessed art Thou on the glorious throne of Thy kingdom: and

io to be praised and glorifiedfor ever. Blessed art Thott in the firmament of heaven : and above all to be praised and glorified for ever. 0 all ye the works of the Lord bless ye the Lord : praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord: praise and' exalt Him above all for ever. O ye angels of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 all ye waters that be above the heaven, bless ye the Lord -.praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 allye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise v and exalt Him above all for ever. Oye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord: prahe and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 every shower and dew, bless ye the Loud: praise and exalt Him above all . for ever. 0 all ye winds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Loud: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 ye dews and storms of snow, bless ye the Lord : praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all forever. Oye ice and cold, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. Oye frost and snow, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 ye lightnings and cl-ouds, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 let the earth bless the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 ye mountains and Utile hills, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 all ye things that grow on the earth, bless yethel^ouv. praise and exalt Him al ire ell for ever. O yc fountains, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 yc seas and rivers Vol. IV, H bleubless ye the Lord: praiseand exalt Hint above all for ever. O ye whales, and all that move in the waters, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Hipn above all for ever. O all ye Jowls of the air, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O all ye beasts and cattle, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all forever. 0ye children of men, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O Israel, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye priests of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. O ye servants of the Lord, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless ye the Lord : praise and exalt Hini above all for ever. O ye holy and humble men of heart, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever. 0 Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, bless ye the Lord: praise and exalt Him above all for ever : for He hath delivered us from hell, and saved us from the hand of death, and delivered us out of the midst of the furnace and burning Jlame: even out of 'the midst of 'the Ji're hath He delivered us. O give thanks unto the Lord, because He is gracious :for His mercy endureth for ever. 0 all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods, praise Him, and give Him thanks: for His mercy endureth forever.

What a striking example does this section afford of the interposition of providence in favour of true and inflexible piety.

On this occasion God literally fulfilled his promise by the mouth of Isaiah ; When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burnt: neither shall theJlame kindle upon thee*.

* Chapter xliii. 2. . ,

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