« ZurückWeiter »
for a time, but it is only for a time : to make their fall more dreadful. For the most part, wicked men are punished even in this world ; and, what is more remarkable, God so orders it, that they are often the instruments in punishing themselves ; their own wicked actions hurrying down judgments upon them, and that often in a very surprising and unexpected
On the other hand, good men, those who serve God truly and do their duty in life faithfully, are sure in the end to rejoice. They may be tried for a time, as Daniel was, but it is only to come forth more glorious. This, my child, is generally the case, even upon earth. The wicked are wretched, and the good happy. But even if it should be otherwise here, it is sure to be so in the world to come, when every man shall be judged according to his works ; and they that have done good shall, for Christ's sake, “ go into everlasting life, but they that have done evil into everlasting fire."
But the chief thing, my child, which I would have you learn from this charming story is the duty and the importance of prayer. See what value Daniel
Three times a day he regularly knelt before God. Though rich and great, and in high favour with his king, he knew that he could not be happy without God. He felt that without God he could do nothing that was good, and that he should have been altogether unable, without his help and blessing, to perform his many duties, or to keep himself safe amid so many temptations. Daniel
set upon it.
pray to him.
would rather die than leave off his prayers.
Let his example, by God's grace, sink deep into our hearts. If the wise and holy Daniel could not do without prayer,
how much less should we? We, too, are in the midst of an evil world, and we carry about with us hearts inclined to evil. From these dangers God alone can save us. But then we must
If we pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ, and with sincere hearts, God will hear us, and give us his Holy Spirit to help us to become good, to preserve us from the pollution that is in the world. O then, my child, let us take great care that we do not allow our indolence, or our sins, or any of our employments, not even the best of them, to hinder us from praying to God. So shall he send us more and more of his Spirit's help, to make us delight in his blessed service, and to enable us to glorify him by our holy lives.
SIXTY-FOURTH SUNDAY EVENING.
THE PROPHECIES OF DANIEL.
E. What became of Daniel, mother, after he was saved from the lions' den? Does the Bible tell us any more about him?
M. We do not hear much more of Daniel, excepting that he continued to live prosperously during
the two years that Darius the Mede remained king, and alter his death for a little while also under Cyrus the Persian. It is indeed supposed, and with good reason, that Daniel had a great deal to do with persuading Cyrus to restore the Jews once more to their native country; for now, you know, they were in captivity in Babylon, both Daniel and his countrymen.
But God had said by his prophets, especially by the mouth of Jeremiah, that after seventy years the captivity was to come to an end : nay, more than this, Cyrus had been mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, even by name, in these remarkable words, “Thus saith the Lord of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure ; even, say to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid. For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have called thee by name, I girded thee though thou hast not known me.” And again, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct him in all his ways ; he shall build my city, and let go my captives, not for price nor reward, saith the Lord of Hosts."
Now Daniel, no doubt, was well acquainted with these prophecies, and thought of them with great interest ; indeed, he tells us himself, that in the first year of Darius, he understood from the Scriptures 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 Je. rusalem; and feeling deeply for his country, which had lain so long under the displeasure of the Al.
mighty, he besought the mercy of God upon his people by prayers and supplications, mourning before God for the sins which had brought such afflictions upon them, and humbling himself before him with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.
And he prayed unto the Lord his God, and made his confession and said, “0) Lord God, the great and dreadful God, keeping mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, and have done wickedly; O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us shame and confusion of face, as at this day, to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel that are near and afar off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee; therefore the curse is poured out upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses, the servant of God; for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem.
And now, O Lord, I beseech thee, let thine
anger from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain, because Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach unto all that are about us. Now, therefore, O Lord, hear the prayer of thy servant, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.”
Thus did the holy Daniel intercede for his country with God in humble and fervent prayer, nor is it likely that he kept from Cyrus, with whom he
be turned away
was in such great favour, all knowledge of those prophecies which concerned Jerusalem, especially of those wherein Cyrus. himself was mentioned by
Thus probably he had the satisfaction of thinking that partly by his interest with Cyrus, but still more by his earnest prayers to God, he was helping to bring about the happy event which he so ardently desired; the return of his countrymen from captivity, and the building again of their famous city and her glorious temple.
E. Then, mother, did Daniel return again to Jerusalem ? I hope he did, it would be such a happy thing for him after all his trials among those heathen people. I wonder that so good a man as Daniel should have been allowed to be in captivity at all, mother.
M. This may appear strange at first sight, Edward, but then you must remember that good men do not look for their happiness all in this life. Consider, too, how graciously God was with him, and how much it pleased God to prosper him, so as to raise him above all the people among whom he was at first as a despised captive Jew, and to make him the chief counsellor of so many great princes, from Nebuchadnezzar down to Cyrus. In this way he, no doubt, had opportunities of doing a vast deal of good to those different countries belonging to these kings, over the business of which he presided. Then what a comfort he must have been to his own countrymen, who, in their captivity, must have stood so much in need of that protection which he, in his station, was able to afford them.