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was of the seed of David, and was them not only from being defiled carried a captive to Babylon in the with the king's meat, but from third year of the reign of Jehoia- being corrupted with the errors kim, king of Judah. He, who is the of that idol trous court. To preRuler of nations and the Head pare Daniel for what he had to of the church, had an important do and suffer in the cause of rework for him to perform in his ligion, God brought him into fastate of captivity. Wonderful vour with the prince of the was the providence of God in fit- eunuchs. This was a direct step ting him for this work, and in to his promotion, while he was introducing him to it. Holding found eminently faithful in the the heart of the king of Babylon service of his God. He was adin his hand, and improving him vanced to posts of honour, which as an instrument of accomplish- he neither sought nor coveted ; ing his eternal purposes, he in- and, unexpectedly to himself, clined him to select from the was enabled to be a kind of captive youths, a number of the nursing father to the people of most beautiful appearance and God in their afflicted state. His promising talents, to be taught precious life was spared, that the learning and tongue of the his prayers might ascend before Chaldeans. Among these were the throne of the God of Jacob, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and during the whole of the seventy Azariah, of whom Daniel was year's captivity. He maintained the chief. For them a daily his integrity, and at the same provision of the king's meat, and time possessed great influence, of the wine which he drank, was under the reign of several kings, appointed. The reason of their even in critical revolutionary being so delicately trained up times. probably was, that they, being in When Darius, the Median, the flower of their age, might be took the kingdom, he appointed allured with the delights of the an hundred and twenty princes, court, and thereby be brought who were set over the whole to forget their father's house and kingdom. Over these were aptheir religion; and, eventually, pointed three presidents, of to be the means of bringing over whom Daniel was first, that the all God's people to idolatry. But princes might give accounts unto the thoughts of the Most High them, and that the king should were not as the thoughts of the have no damage. These presiking of Babylon. While he was dents and princes hated Daniel, correcting his covenant people because he was above them. for their great wickedness, he Their eye was evil, because he took care of the faithful among was good. To support a charge them, and made them to be piti- against him, on account of his ed of those who carried them administration, they found to be captive. He gave Daniel and impossible ; for there was an his friends a double portion of excellent spirit in him, and in that excellent spirit of religion, all his undertakings he was upwhich the Holy Ghost begetteth right and faithful. But they in the hearts of all, who are train- were determined that he should ing up for heaven. This kept be deposed; to effect which, they wickedly and maliciously executed ; because it was an esattacked bim on the ground of tablished custom with the Medes his religion. They contrived to and Persians, not to repeal, but have a decree signed by the
to execute their laws. This king, which would necessarily was the share which was laid for lead Daniel to part with his re- Daniel ; and on obtaining the ligion or his life. A more wick- king's signature to the decree, ed and heaven-daring plot was they supposed that they had never conceived by man.
It this holy man completely in verified the words of the inspir- their hands. Here we see to ed penman; Wrath is cruel, and what lengths the human heart anger is outrageous; but, who will go in wickedness. A can stand before envy?
company of vile men, in power, Concealing their object from agreed to dethrone God, at least Darius, these men went to him for thirty days, and to make it with the flattering language of treason against their king to put courtiers, and addressing them- up one petition to God, in that selves to the proud feelings of time. What contempt of the his heart, as a great monarch, Most High ! drew him into a snare. “ King Having obtained the decree, Darius,” said they, “live foreve their next business was to watch er. All the presidents of the the motions of Daniel, whom kingdom, the governors, and they had devoted to a cruel the princes, the counsellors and death. Now we have a view of the captains have consulted to his situation. He must either gether to establish a royal sta- give up communing with his tute, and to make a firm decree, God, yea, he must deny his God, that whosoever shall ask a peti- or part with his life. There tion of any god or man for ihir- was no other alternative. Did ty days, save of thee, o king, he hesitate what course to take ? he shall be cast into the den of Did he go to them and lay open lions." Such flattering language his embarrassing situation? Did was calculated to make a proud he study to conceal from their monarch blind to all consequen- view the manner in which he
They wished to confer, was disposed to treat his God? as they pretended, great honour No. He was resolved. He on their king; yea, to set him knew that the honour of the true up above all gods. But the real God was publicly attacked, and object was, to destroy an emin that matters were now in such a nently holy man, and the best train that the interest of relig. man in the kingdom. Pleased ion, and the cause of his afflicted with their flattery, and ignorant people, depended greatly on his of their wicked plot, Darius firmness. signed the decree. Now they Although every thing pertainwere prepared to remind him, if ing to this world was at stake, he it should be necessary, as they did not alter the course of his well knew Daniel stood high devotion. When he knew the in his esteem, that it was writing was signed, he went infor his honour and interest, as to his house; and his winwell as his duty, to see this law dows being open in his cham.
ber toward Jerusalem, he kneel- his usual practice. David did ed upon his knees three times a the same, as appears from his day, and prayed, and gave thanks own words; * Evening and before his God, as he did afore- morning, and at noon, will I time. The piety and sincerity pray and cry aloud; and he shall of Daniel,, in this case, were hear my voice.” strikingly manifested. He did The pious among the Jews not fly to his chamber, like a had three seasons of praying to mad man, and throw open his God, in a day. The first was at windows, that by praying in the nine in the morning, which was view of his enemies, he might their third hour; the second was glory in his courage, and bid de- at twelve, which was called their fiance to their decree. True re- sixth hour; and the third was ligion never courts persecution. at three in the afternoon, which The windows of his chamber, was called their ninth hour. The where he was accustomed 10 last was the time of the evening bow the knee before God, were sacrifice, the hour that Christ ofalready open ; and, under exist- fered up himself a sacrifice for ing circumstances, it would sinners. Daniel, in his high stahave been, in a sense, yielding tion, ordered his affairs, though the point, for him to shut them. numerous, in such a manner, It is expressly mentioned that that they should not binder his these windows were towards Je- solemn devotions. He had his rusalem, the city of his God. particular seasons for prayer, Looking to the prayer made by and so have all, who mean to walk Solomon, when the temple was
with God. If he had restraindedicated, we see why particulared prayer, under these circummention is made, that the win- stances, he would have declared dows of Daniel's chamber were by his neglect, that he regarded open towards Jerusalem. Doubt- man more than God; he would less all the devout Jews in their have sinned against his own captivity, prayed towards the conscience, offended the geneland of their fathers, and the ration of the righteous, and harcity and house of their God. dened his enemies and the eneThere God had promised to ap- mies of his God, by giving them pear, and to accept his people. occasion to triumph and blasThere he had placed his holy pheme. Being resolved, he name. Daniel believed that feared not to be found praying; God, in his own time, would de- his boldness prevented his eneliver his people out of their cap-mies from breaking open doors tivity, and bring them back to obtain proof against him. again. In the midst of all his Here, we behold the faithful honours, riches and employ- man. Here, we see true religments, he did not forget these ion exemplified. Such was the things. Daily, and three times practice of one, who had the tesa day, he carried the cause of timony of a heavenly messenhis people before God. This ger, that he was greatly beloved was not ostentation ; because it of God; of one, who, during was no more than what had been the whole seventy years' captiviVol. II, No. 3. R
ty, was the chariot of Israel and in prayer, you cannot but see the horseman thereof, as Elijah that God is greatly robbed of his was in his day.
honour. That holy Being, Reader! pause, and ask your.' whom Daniel delighted to serve, self, whether you possess any and who took such particular portion of the excellent spirit of notice of his constancy in prayer, Daniel. Perhaps you profess, . no doubt takes particular notice as he did, to be the friend of of all your neglects of the duty. God; and yet stand chargeable He weigheth the actions of men, with great inconstancy in your and pondereth all their goings. secret and family devotions, ex- Supposing your conscience cusing yourself on account of allows you to say, that you neythe multitude of your arocations, er omit the morning and evening and the crowd and hurry of your sacrifice in your house, only at business. But is it rational to those times when strangers, who conclude, that in the compara- are not religiously disposed, are tively small sphere in which you present. Would this shield you move, your hands are more ful froin blame? Would this fully than were Daniel's ? Upon him satisfy you, that you possessed the management of an extensive a spirit of prayer? Compare kingdom, of an hundred and such a practice with the conduct twenty provinces, principally de- of Daniel. He failed not to pray, volved, and yet he found time when he knew he was among the and a
heart to be frequent enemies of God, and when he and constant in his devotions. was conscious that they were He wisely regulated all his af- seeking occasion to deprive him, fairs, and failed nut of drawing not only of all his honours, but near to his God, three times, er- his life. Seriously consider this ery day. In what light, then, example, and let the reproof will you
view your real charac- which it may administer be as ter, if you find it in your heart sced sown on good ground. wholly to dispense with family
H. worship, on account of worldly
Laurel concerns ? Will you not have reason to fear, that you are des
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM A titute of that excellent spirit, which appeared in Daniel, and
ON THE account of wbich he was
DEATH OF THEIR LOVELY INgreatly beloved of God? Trying, as such a conclusion may be, it is naturally drawn.
“I will be a God to thee, and to But are you ready to say, thy seed.” that you do not wholly dispense unto me, and forbid them not, for of
a gafter the little children to come with the worship of God in your such is the kingdom of heaven.”:, house; that you commonly seek the divine favour, at least once
Oct. 21, 1801. every week? Admitting that you can say this, consistently with My very dear Friends,'**** truth, still, comparing such a HAVE I'not reason to,
offer practice with Daniel's constancy you my congratulations, thet
PIOI'S FRIEND' TO CHRISTIAN
vour amiable and beloved babe greatest good, had from eternity has become an angel? His con- inscribed on the book of life dition is indeed happy. God has both the day of his birth and of conferred upon him the crown of his death. The plans of God, victory before he has been engag- all-wise and all-merciful, have ed in the perilous warfare ; has been accomplished ; and if yours bestowed upon him the joys of have been frustrated, they have heaven before he had experience been frustrated in love. ed the miseries of life; has I know that such bereave. shielded him from the influence ments are painful; that the of temptations before he could heart is tortured in relinquishing feel their power.
I well rec- all its fond hopes, in committing ollect the expressive smiles of to the dust, a dear child, who, we the dear boy, as he lay on the trusted, would survive to close breast of his mother, and listened eyes,
and receive to her tender addresses : he is last breath. But I know also now in a securer place. He re- that grace can regulate these poses on the bosom of that Sa- feelings of nature. I say, reguviour who " gathereth the lambs late then, for their extirpation in his arms and carrieth them in is not required by Christianity. his bosom.” He is admitted to his Our Master, who wept at the heavenly converse, and “ follow- tomb of his friend, permits us eth him whithersoever he go- to weep over the graves of our eth.” 0! though we are still connexions; and to indulge evetossed about on this tempestuous ry sorrow that is consistent with ocean, yet it is joyous to reflect, an entire submission to his holy that one whom we thus loved will. Let your graces then, my has safely arrived at the haven dear friends, be exercised. Let of eternal rest. And what an faith draw aside that veil, which unspeakable honour has God conceals from our view the glothus conferred upon you, in mak- ries of heaven : you will then ing you the instruments of behold your child praising God bringing into existence a being, without interruption and without who was born for immortal glo- sin ; receiving in his soul the Ty? A being, who is now partak- perpetual communications of diing, and ever will partake of vine love, and looking with pity those pleasures, which are wor- upon the unsatisfactory enjoythy to be the gift of a God, wor- ments of earth. Oh! what cruthy to be the purchase of the blood elty would it be to wish for a of his Son! I recollect how careful moment, that he should again ly you have inscribed on your reg- be struggling with the miseries, ister the birth-day of your child. the temptations, and the sins I read those plans, which you of earth. Let hope anticipate formed for the regulation of his the day when you also shall be future, conduct. He has had a released from this prison of more careful and wise director. clay, and admitted to the kingHis heavenly Father, who loved dom of your God. Oh! what him still more tenderly than you delight will you then feel in did, and who could not err in the again pressing your child to choice of means to promote his your bosom, ' with a certain