Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem…
The grandeur of the Book of Daniel is not only the sweep of these majestic visions which opened the mysteries of future time, but the vivid portrait it holds before us of a man who has all the springs of his actions in faithfulness to God: — A man so thoroughly forgetful of himself that the one only question which rises in him, when anything is to be done or suffered, is whether that thing is his Lord's will. If it is, no doubt remains; nothing is to be said or thought about costs and consequences. If it is not, no consequences will justify it. The probable consequences of our actions are one proper test, among others for deciding, in doubtful cases, before we act, whether a given course is, or is not according to God s will; but when that last point is once settled, whether by Scripture, an enlightened conscience, or any rightful authority, the expected consequences can never furnish ground for hesitation. What is right is to be done. What will come of doing right — whether dens of lions or chairs of state — is not our concern. Still, the weakness of human virtue makes men more prompt and stedfast in well-doing, if they know beforehand how it will come out, and that no hurt will be found upon them. Recall Daniel's four great experiences. Each of these four sorts of hostility to Christian faithfulness has its ever-present examples.
1. The royal meat, dishes, and wine-vessels, in the low opportunities of the flesh, tempting the senses to excess
2. The golden image set up on the plains of Dura, as the thousand-fold attractions of outward possession and prosperity, office and station sanction the lust of them.
3. The princely court and crown and ceremony of Babylon, over-riding common consciences, in the whole fascination and imposing influence of earthly power, invested with the highest advantages and brilliant paraphernalia of social distinction.
4. The decree of an idolatrous worship, in everything among us which goes to put man in place of God, man's opinions in place of Gospel truths, and human fancies for a revealed and justified faith. We need not use the hard names, which describe the extreme indulgences and servitudes of these four formidable passions; we need not say, gluttony, avarice, sycophancy, or infidelity. Let us choose moderate words, and try to put it home to ourselves fairly, just as it is. Look at the same four thus: sins of the appetites; sins of selfish accumulation; sins of inordinate desire for position; sins of religious laxity and negligence. These beset us all, with all the artful and boundless possibilities of growth, mastery, perdition of the soul. Over all these perilous tempters we are shown here one steadfast and victorious master — religious fidelity. It wears in this saintly prophet a peculiar charm. It is a fidelity intensified, yet without boasting or pretension, incorruptible without self-confidence, fixed without obstinancy, patient without pusillanimity, invincible in front of men and princes, but humble and docile as the pet of' the Lord. For a fidelity like this there is an involuntary and almost universal admiration among men that fall farthest short of it. So far the best sentiments of human nature second the requirements of our religion. Place a Daniel, an Elijah, a Gideon, or a Joshua before them, and they see, they confess the stamp of greatness on his spirit. So far the Bible and the soul answer to each other. The same divine hand that has wrought this feeling into the common human heart has woven traces of it into human history.The four successive steps which mark the birth and growth of each great cause, institution, or reformation among men, are these:
1. The great truth wakened m the mind of some man or men, in the form of an idea, and a faith by the Spirit from whom all good gifts come.
2. The jealous and the selfish opposition of worldly interest — the Pharaohs and Caesars and Herods, the Nebuchadnezzars and Belihazzars, the scribes and Pharisees, of Society, of the state, and even of the church — carrying on a determined warfare with the light.
3. The triumph of fidelity, brave and patient.
4. The general recognition and confession of the glory and beauty of the faithful life. Only let in time enough after a man sacrifices himself for a true principle, and the common testimony of men will honour him. More than that, it will not effectually and unanimously honour anything else on earth, but such fidelity. It is one of the most striking proofs that a righteous God really rules the earth, to see this constant reversal of human judgements going on — the humble exalted, and the rejected canonised. Recall the case of Bernard Palissy, a poor, but thinking and believing mechanic of France, thrown into the old Bastile, on St. Bartholomew's day, for his Protestanism. Charles the Ninth came to visit and threaten him in the prison, saying to him, "Palissy, I am forced to give you up to death, unless you renounce your religion." "Forced!" answered the triumphant prisoner; "they that force you, King Charles, cannot force me. I can die, and so I am free. But you and all your nation cannot compel me, simple potter as I am, to bend my knee to an idol, or a lie." Everybody knows whence the spirit in that man came, and everybody acknowledges its power. Men are heard to say, "There are terrible times coming." It may be so, we know nothing of the future. But prosperity is a harder test of fidelity to Christ than misfortune. But instead of looking out for dangers that shall imperil men's souls when worse days come, we should be wiser if we were looking for them just where we are. In business, in politics, in company, in families, in schools, the question will have to go forth once more like a dividing sword, "Who is on the Lord's side?" Many persons are now pleading for mild and liberal exhibitions of Christian conviction. The greater truth is, we are all servants answerable only for doing declared duties, for confessing Christ before men, and seeking not our own glory, and being found faithful unto death. Ours is not to order results, but to do duties. The prophet stands in just this trial-place of his holy independence The special peril of this sort of character, is that it becomes conscious of its strength, proud of its independence, and before it is aware, substitutes the human heroism of self-reliance for the holy fidelity of Christ's self-sacrifice. How many high examples of Christian courage have fallen by that cunning temptation — the humility of the cross vanished! See in Daniel the graceful freedom from that ostentation of conceited and opinionated firmness. Christian fidelity is as meekly dependent on God as it is fearless of his enemies.
(Bishop Huntington, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in 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.
WEB: When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house (now his windows were open in his room toward Jerusalem) and he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before.