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Cyrus from their bulwarks. However he persisted' for nearly two years, till at length gaining intelligence that a great annual festival was to be kept in Babylon, on which it was usual for the Babylonians to spend the whole night in drunkenness and riot, he thought it a proper time to surprise them, which he did, by breaking down a dam that was between the river, and a famous canal; by which means be drained off the water, so that the river soon became fordable, and two parties of soldiers marching by the channel of it, and finding the gates open, they entered and advanced to the palace, where they slew the king. The inhabitants soon yielded to the conqueror, and Cyrus became master of the place, and thus concluded his conquests, after a war of twenty-one years. His victories were so extensive, that his empire was the greatest that had ever been in Asia; and to the honour of Cyrus it is related, that he conquered still more by his humanity and courtesy than by his sword.

Thus ended the Babylonish empire, after it had continued from the reign Nabonassar 200 years, just 50 years after Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the Temple at Jerusalem. The head of Gold, which Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of, was now broken to pieces, according to the prediction of Daniel*; and the stone (cut out without hands) which smote it, became a great mountain, as he foretold.

Cyrus, as long as his uncle lived, allowed him a joint tide in the empire, and yielding him the first place of .honour in it, though he was the principal agent under Divine Providence in obtaining it, Cyaxares accordingly was called King, and distinguished by the name ©f Darius the Median. . .

• . .5

-,. , r • Daniel, ii. - .. ,. i .

..K 3 After

After Cyrus had settled his affairs in 'Babylon, h« went to Persia; and in his return through Media married the daughter of Darius the Median; Darius theu accompanied him to Babylon; on their arrival, they took counsel together for the settling of the whole empire. . .' ... . .

SECTION LVIII. • :'

WISTORT OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE UNDER THE JOINT GOVERNMENT Or DARIUS AND CYRUS.

From Dan. Chap. vi.

'.,'. 'j . *

It pleased Darius to set oyer the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes which should be over the whole kingdom; • ;: .; .

And over these three presidents ;. of whom Daniel was first: that the princes, might give accounts unto them, and the king should havte flo damage.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princest because an excellent spirit was in hira; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom ; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault fbu-ftd ••m hini< -•. .iir,M

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it aguiast.hkn concerning the;law of his Gob.

Then these presidents iif\& princesassemMeeUogether to the king, and said thus unto bim, King Darius, live for ever.

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and thcprinces, the counsellors, and the captains, have

consulted consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save ofthecy O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.

Now Oking, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house: and his windows being operun his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. ..

Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree. Hast thou not signed a decree that every man that shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions i The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.

Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou bast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and he set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. ,'

Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king tlrat the law of the Modes and Persians is, that no decree nor statute which the king eatublisheth may be changed.

K 4 Then

Then the king Commanded, and they brought Da-niel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king: spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually he will deliver thee.

And a stone was brought and laid upon the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet,. and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning DanielThen the king went to his palace, and passed thenight in fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him, and his sleep went from him.

Then the king arose very early in the morning,. andwent in haste unto the den of lions.

And when. he came to the den, he cried with a la-; tuentable voice unto Daniel; and the king spake:-and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is:'. thy God whom thou servest continually able to deliver thee from the lions ?. ,„ a '' Iju.l . . :r ,

Then said Daniel unto the king,. Oking, live for ever*. . My God- hath sent his angel and hath shut the lionsmouths, that they have not hurt me :. forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and' also before thee, 0 king, have I done no hurt. , .

Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no mannerof hurt was found upon him because he believed in his= God. . . . ... /

And the king commanded, and they brought those men; which had accused Daniel,.and theycast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives: and the lions had the-mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, or ever they came to the bottom of the den. . .

Then king Darius wrote unto all the people, nations,, r and. and languages, that dwell in all the earth, Peace be multiplied unto you. ;.. .'.

. I make a decree, that in every dominion of my kingdom, men tremble and fear before the Goo of Daniel; for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall never be destroyed, and his

. dominion shall be even unto the end.

He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs «nd wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from- the power of the lions.

So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.

Daniel was renowned throughout the east country for his wisdom; and having great experience, he was

. certainly a very proper person- for the high office to which he was appointed- He had been employed full sixty-five years as prime minister under the kings of Babylon: the high station of chief of the presidents placed him next to the king in dignity. Cyrus was gone to settle some affairs in Syria when the cruel plot, related in this section, was concerted against Daniel.

It is pleasing to readKthat Daniels inflexible honesty and faithful service, met with a proper reward. The reason which Darius gave for placing him in a post of

. distinction, reflects honour on himself as well as on

Daniel. -.. , - :'u ~ . . .'

.': But we find that ev,en.th& extraordinary merit of this good prophet could not secure him from that envy which is usually the attendant of favourites. Unable to bear the lustre of his superior merit, , and impatient to obtain for themselves the honours which were 60 liberally bestowed on. him, the courtiers determined to : watch for aa.opportunity of bringing him into disgrace \£nu K 5 with

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