Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem…
This incident yields us a glimpse of the ordinary tone and temper of Daniel's mind. "As he did aforetime." Piety gets reckoned sometimes as a supernumery grace, as though, without it, religion could reach as fine a point as is needful, practical, or practicable. The general scope of piety is not hard to appreciate. It is a subjective matter. It relates less to what a man is seen to do outwardly to relations than he is supposed to sustain inwardly. Daniel's piety betrayed itself by his thrice daily devotions, and otherwise. It consisted not so much in his belief in God, as in his constant intimacy with Him. He was a man whose integrity was beyond question; but quite beside this, God stood near to him, and was very real and personal to him. Piety denotes the holy affection with which we draw nigh to God, and in response to which he draws nigh to us. The common disesteem of piety proceeds from its supposed inutility. Character is rated as an utility, piety only as a luxury. Nowadays the utilities and the humanities are sharply discriminated. Piety is treated as a kind of annex to character. Another ground of the disfavour is that piety is so easily shammed. Piety is a matter between man and God, and so can be assumed with considerable ease and safety. But the greatest hindrance to piety is the half-formed, suspicion, that piety, all things taken into account, is not exactly practicable. Very likely we have not any of us got this matter so exquisitely adjusted that we can both pray in such a way as not to lose interest in our business, and do business in such a way as not to lose interest in our prayers. There are two or three principles, in the recognition of which all successful efforts at adjustment of piety and business will have to proceed.
1. A Christian, to be such in anything like its New Testament sense, has left him no choice to stop short of anything less than spiritual-mindedness. Devoutness, prayerfulness, entrance into God's intimacy, or call it by whatever name you will, is not a thing that Gospel Christianity can don and doff at its option. Christianity is not believing that there is a God; it is believing God; and so, fresh from the start, it is a matter surely personal between him and us. We begin to be Christians by drawing near to God. If we are trying to be Christians without being spiritually-minded Christians, we are attempting to compose the music of our religious life in a key nowhere set in the Holy Word. Such piety is no matter of unpractical extravagance. And our existence is not met by listening on occasion, to the devout supplications and spoken communings of any who may happen to be standing in fellowship with God. His spiritual-mindedness is valid for him, not for ethers. Devoutness is not transferable.
2. Whatever our secular occupation may be, provided always it is a proper one, that we are to thrust ourselves into with just the came intensity of energy and heartiness of resolve! We shall never make a success of life, and compose its contradictions, by entering into its business pursuits with half- heartedness. It is in us, whatever vocation we have chosen, to enlist in it all our powers. We run against ineradicable instincts when we do otherwise. Of course, there is an extreme to which this might be pushed that would work mischief. Much confusion has come from assuming that secular life and religious life, necessarily work at cross purposes, so that what is taken from one is added to the other. On the contrary, a man's chances for holiness are bettered by his laborious intercourse with things, as certainly a man's chances in business are enhanced by his intimacy with God. Piety regularly retrogrades when it draws away from the business and contracts of secular life. Hermit religion is spindling and stalky, like wheat grown in the shade.
(Charles H. Parkhurst, 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.