Daniel 6:10
Now when Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house, where the windows of his upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.
Sermons
Character Aided by PrayerD. G. Watt, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Character and Conduct of DanielCharles Leach, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Christian FirmnessJ. Foot, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Constacy in ReligionWilliam Jay.Daniel 6:10
Daniel a Man of Religious PrincipleW. A. Scott, D. D.Daniel 6:10
Daniel and the Den of LionsThomas Coleman.Daniel 6:10
Daniel At PrayerSketches of Four Hundred SermonsDaniel 6:10
Daniel Continuing in PrayerJohn Richardson, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel Facing the Lions' DenDaniel 6:10
Daniel in BabylonT. Jackson.Daniel 6:10
Daniel in BabylonBishop Horne.Daniel 6:10
Daniel in PrayerT.Townson, M. ADaniel 6:10
Daniel, -- or the Believer in PersecutionC. Marshall, M. A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel, a ModelHomilistDaniel 6:10
Daniel: the Man and the BookU. R. Thomas.Daniel 6:10
Daniel's Daily PrayersW. L. Thornton, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel's PietyBeaver H. Blacker, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel's Prayer-ChamberH. T. Robjohns, B.A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel's PrayersRobert Tuck, B.A.Daniel 6:10
Daniel's Time of TrialThe ThinkerDaniel 6:10
Daniel's Undaunted CourageDaniel 6:10
Faithful ServingBishop Huntington, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Fearlessnes and Perseverance in PrayerS. W. Skeffington, M.A.Daniel 6:10
For Young MenA. MacEwen, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Good Prayer-HabitsRobert Tuck, B.A.Daniel 6:10
Lessons from the History of DanielErnest R. Gill.Daniel 6:10
On the Devotions of DanielJ Grant, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Piety and Business CompatibleCharles H. Parkhurst, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Prayer Better than LifeA. Roberts, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Religion in a Busy LifeHenry M. Booth, D.D.Daniel 6:10
Secret PrayerJoseph Cook.Daniel 6:10
The Character of DanielWilliam Girling.Daniel 6:10
The Character of DanielRobert Burns, D.D.Daniel 6:10
The Characteristics of Daniel's PietyR. Brodie, A.M.Daniel 6:10
The Efficacy of PrayerA. O. Wickstead, M.A.Daniel 6:10
The Force of Prayer Exemplified in DanielR. D. B. Rawnsley, M.A.Daniel 6:10
The Man of PrayerA. Gatty, M. A.Daniel 6:10
The Necessity of PrayerE. Martin Venn, B.A.Daniel 6:10
The Open WindowA. H. Thomas, M.A.Daniel 6:10
The Open WindowsG. Onslow.Daniel 6:10
The Opened Window, or Character FormedRobert Tuck, B.A.Daniel 6:10
The Prayer of DanielHenry S. Richmond, M.A.Daniel 6:10
The Propriety of Daniel's ConductWilliam White.Daniel 6:10
The Way of Success in -PrayerW.M. Macgregor, M.A.Daniel 6:10
Windows Towards JerusalemT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Daniel 6:10
Daniel and His EnemiesW. H. Rule, D.D.Daniel 6:1-10
The Power of Christian PrincipleJohn Cumming, D.D.Daniel 6:1-10
The Promotion of DanielJoseph Parker, D.D.Daniel 6:1-10
The Second Throne; or Character HonouredRobert Tuck, B.A.Daniel 6:1-10
The Supremacy of CharacterA. E. Hutchinson.Daniel 6:1-10
Strength of SoulH.T. Robjohns Daniel 6:1-24
Piety in Perilous CircumstancesJ.D. Davies Daniel 6:10-13
Daniel was at this time advanced in years. His principles, good at the first, had grown in strength and mutual support. At his age ha was not to be surprised by alarm nor driven into rashness. His character had been moulded into heavenly shape under the rough handling of oppression and persecution, and now every fibre of his moral nature had toughness and tenacity. He was manly because he was eminently devout.

I. TRUE PIETY FINDS ITS CHIEF EXPRESSION IN PRAYER. Piety shows itself in many acts, some of which, though useful, are accidental; one, however, is essential, viz. prayer. If there be no outgoing of desire from the soul Godwards, there is no real piety; if there be prayer, vocal or silent, there is piety. Pious men, when placed in perilous circumstances on account of their faith, may suspend (sometimes must suspend) overt acts of public worship; they may never relinquish prayer A beggar asking alms, a child thanking its parent, a subject honouring his monarch, - these are earthly acts parallel to prayer. When first the gospel found its way into the hearts of the Malagasy, they did not style themselves Christians - they simply styled themselves the praying people. Prayer is the distinctive mark and badge of piety. What colour is to the rainbow, what saltness is to the sea, what roundness is to the circle, - such prayer is to piety. It is its essential element. It is the breath of spiritual life.

II. TRUE PIETY HAS RESPECT TO MINUTE PRECEPTS. For Daniel to pray was the first principle of his religion. To pray three times a day, to pray with his window open, to pray with his face toward Jerusalem, - these things were non-essentials. Nevertheless, there was a fitness and a propriety in these minuter acts. If not positive commands from God, they were indications of God's pleasure. Daniel had found them helpful to his spirit's health. Such habits of piety had been sanctioned by the most eminent saints who had gone before him. David had ascribed his elevation and his prosperity to the favour of God, and David had been accustomed to pray three times a day. The temple in Jerusalem had contained the only visible symbol of the Divine Presence on earth. Thither the longing heart of every pious Jew turned. On what ground should these pious habits be abandoned? It would not conciliate the unreasonable hostility of Daniel's detractors. The king's decree was not directed against these minor forms, but against prayer itself. Amidst so many unfriendly influences, it is wise to secure every vantage-ground for piety.

III. TRUE PIETY IS SELF-CONSISTENT. When the ridiculous decree of the king was promulgated, Daniel wisely resolved not to alter his course by a single point. He will steer his bark straight for the port of heaven, come what may. To a self-willed man, the temptation would be strong to resist the imperious interference of the king, and to pray more frequently and more prominently than before. To a timid man the inducement would be to close his chamber-window, and clandestinely do that which the new law disallowed. But Daniel leant neither to temerity nor to timidity. He maintained an upright and straightforward demeanour. Every habit of his life had been formed under the guidance of wisdom and discretion, and terror shall not rob him of advantages which experience has given. His loyalty to God is an obligation earlier, stronger, deeper, than loyalty to an earthly king. As God bad been a true and trusty Friend for seventy years and more, it would be base ingratitude to neglect him now.

IV. TRUE PIETY ACTS WITHOUT REGARD TO MAN'S JUDGMENT. In every circumstance of life, God's honour being first secured, the pious man will find a delight in serving his fellow-men. But to attempt to appease malice by abandoning honest principle, would be, in very deed, to "cast pearls before swine," Full well Daniel knew that his enemies were watching his every step, yet would he not submit to the slightest compromise or concealment. These princes and presidents degraded themselves into spies and informers. They watched, as with wolves' eyes, the open lattice of this man of God. Their organs of bearing were made sensitively alive by keen suspicion. As the fowler watches for his prey in the net which he has spread, so these inhuman spies watched for the successful issue of their plot. In breathless haste they press into the council-chamber of the king, and divulge what they have heard and seen. They employ every stratagem that can arouse his anger and enflame his wrath. They meanly point to Daniel's foreign origin. They knavely describe his deed as treason against the king. "This fellow," urged they, "doth not regard thee, O king. He tramples on thy authority, and treats as a dead letter thy royal edict." Not a stone was left unturned by which they might injure the innocent man. Nevertheless, Daniel maintained a dignified and peaceful demeanour. To be right was with him a higher honour than to be respected. He was no stoic. He had all the better feelings of a man. He entertained the good opinion of his fellows at its true value. He would be delighted to enjoy that good opinion if he could have, at the same time, the approbation of his God. But the latter was paramount, transcendent, priceless. And if, as the result of his loyalty to God, men maligned and hated him, much as he lamented the fact, he was content to face the consequence. It is, after all, comparatively a little thing to be approved or reprobated by man's judgment. "He that judgeth us is the Lord." - D.







Now when Daniel knew that the Writing was signed.
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.)

I. HIS PIETY. It was not mere profession. It was in the heart, real, deep, and vital. He had brought his religion into Babylon, and it grew and flourished in that most unfavourable climate. It was tried — and tried severely, and it is only by trials such as those which Daniel endured, that a man's religion is proved to be sincere. He was so devoted, and so holy and excellent a character, because he was a man of prayer. The remarkable thing about his piety is, that it made him a thoroughly consistent character.

II. HIS PERSECUTION. Though he was a good man, he had many enemies. A man may be hated and persecuted, merely because he is religious.

III. HIS UNCOMPROMISING DECISION. He had never yet swerved from the path of duty — that duty which he owed to God, all the time that he had been at Babylon. If lie had yielded, or seemed to yield, by not praying, as he did before, what would his enemies have said of him? Doubtless, that his principles were not worth much, his religion was no better than that of others. What then does he do? Precisely what he did before.

IV. THE BOLDNESS OF DANIEL ARISING FROM HIS CONFIDENCE IN GOD. He looked at the lion's den, and was not afraid of it. He knew that God could be with him there. O this cold, calculating prudence, this worldly forethought! It thinks only of the present. Let it not enter — never let it be once harboured in your breasts. Act with decision, act with uncompromising boldness: do your duty at all times, and under all circumstances, and leave results to God.

V. HIS WONDERFUL DELIVERANCE. The king did all he could to save his servant; and was delighted when he found Daniel's God had proved able to protect him. Adhere then to your principles, at all times and under all circumstances; adhere to those principles that will answer conscience, and practise them at all times, and under all circumstances, and then God will give you his blessing.

(William Girling.)

Daniel's example is left as an encouragement in stripping off the incumbrances of worldlings and sin, so that we may witness steadfastly in our career till we receive the seed of faith, even the salvation of our souls. In Daniel we have a believer persecuted for righteousness' sake, and delivered from the hands of his persecutors, and blessed in his very tribulation.

1. The encouragement this narrative affords us to make a faithful and becoming stand for the truth, and, 2, against any encroachment upon its sacred boundaries. It will be necessary

(1)to make a stand for the truth.

(2)To make a stand for the sufficiency and supremacy of the Scriptures.

(3)To make a stand for the sinner's justification by faith alone.

(4)To make a stand for the fact of Christ's one true holy universal Church.

(5)To make a stand for simplicity and spirituality in the outward circumstances, and inward essence of worship.

(6)To make a stand against the introduction of worldly principles into the Church.

(7)To make a stand against all that would not minister to edification in the devotional exercises of the sanctuary.

(C. Marshall, M. A.)

In all ages the truth has had its champions, those who have stood for righteousness and for God. It seems quite right to say that God has never left himself without witnesses. This text comes from the lip of one who was a brilliant example.

I. DANIEL'S CHARACTER. It may be almost doubted if any one in the Old Testament of whom we learn as much was so entirely free from faults and sins. No one can doubt for a moment that Daniel was subject to the infirmities which mark our poor human nature; but the blemishes are not recorded. The character of Daniel appears all the more beautiful if we consider where and when the owner is supposed to have lived. In an Eastern Court. Learn,

1. This man is a marvellous example to us all. His pure life is a proof that God can keep his people in all positions.

2. This man's good life in high office shows that faithfulness to God is quite consistent with the faithful discharge of proper duties in the highest office. Daniel did not neglect religious duties, yet he did not neglect his duty to his King.

3. This man's conduct teaches us that our first duty is to conscience and God. Here is a man who cares more for God than for his own ease, comfort, and safety. This was the spirit of the martyrs.

II. DANIEL'S TRIALS. His were real. And yet he does not seem to have felt them much. Some of the holiest and best men have had crosses to bear. All the saints of God, ancient and modern, have had them.

III. DANIEL'S CONDUCT UNDER TRIAL. He kept silence while the plot was being hatched. He did exactly what he was accustomed to do when the decree was signed.

IV. DANIEL'S DELIVERANCE. It was as complete and glorious as were his obedience and faith. The deliverance is a remarkable illustration of the power of faith and prayer. More things are wrought by prayer than some men think. Do not lose your belief in a God who hears and answers prayer.

(Charles Leach, D.D.)

I. THIS CASE TEACHES YOU THAT GOD SOMETIMES ALLOWS HIS PEOPLE TO BE PLACED IN SITUATIONS IN WHICH THEY ARE SHUT UP BY HIS PROVIDENCE EITHER TO SUFFER OR TO SIN.

II. LEARN FROM DANIEL TO POSSESS YOUR SOUL IN PATIENCE AND PRUDENCE IN THE DAYS OF SEVERE TRIAL. Daniel adds nothing, by way of insult, to his persecutors, nor of defiance toward his sovereign, nor yet does he omit any thing from fear of danger. He worships God just as he had been accustomed to do. It is sometimes said Daniel did wrong in disobeying a law which had been passed by the highest legislative power in the country. First, I have no sympathy with the "higher law" faction of our times; but it is certainly clear that the foundation of all law is the will of God. Governments are ordained of God. The will of God is aback of and above all social compacts or civil enactments. Secondly, as all the authority which man possesses over man is derived from God, so that authority is limited by the Divine law, and therefore the laws of man only bind when they are not inconsistent with the law of God. The moment any decrees of man require what God has forbidden, or forbid what God has commanded, they cease to be binding upon the conscience, and in such cases it is our solemn duty to protest against them, and to disobey them. Resistance and passive obedience may be pressed to a point when they become sinful. The edict of Darius, thirdly, was tyrannical, and opposed to the plainest commands of God. It would have been, therefore, sinful in Daniel to obey it.

III. Learn then, young men, THE DUTY OF SURRENDERING YOURSELVES AT ONCE CORDIALLY AND WITH A WHOLE-HEARTED MAGNANIMITY TO THE SERVICE OF GOD. Daniel kept back nothing. He did not waver or hesitate. But as soon as his hour of prayer comes, though he knows the decree is signed, he goes to his chamber, there to offer his protest against this impious decree, and to give his testimony for the supremacy of his God. Why do you peril your life, Daniel, for a mere form? why will you make yourself a martyr for the little matters of keeping your windows open, kneeling down, and speaking your prayers aloud? Surely, you are not going to sacrifice your splendid emoluments and high station by refusing to obey the king for the short space of thirty days. Consider too, O mighty man! chief of the presidents, how valuable your life is to others. Consider how much you owe to your countrymen, whose cause is in your hands, and to the Church of the Living God. Surely, you will not put in peril all these great matters by such obstinacy. How many, or which, or whether any of these pleas were suggested to Daniel, I know not. There are always plausible apologies at hand for treachery to the immortal soul, and treason to God; but no one can doubt how Daniel replied to such cowardly proposals, if indeed any one ventured to name them to him. I would rather refrain from praying altogether, than pretend to neglect it while I was secretly engaged in it.

(W. A. Scott, D. D.)

Homilist.
The character of Daniel is a very noble one. His princely spirit shone in his captivity. He was one of those noble natures that no circumstances can keep from rising to the proper level

I. HIS UNIMPEACHABLE INTEGRITY. Not even his most virulent enemies could find occasion against him or detect a flaw.

II. HIS UNFAILING FIDELITY.

III. HIS UNFLINCHING COURAGE. He served his God without ostentation on the one hand or concealment on the other.

IV. HIS HABITUAL PIETY. He was not hardened by his captivity nor exalted by his honour.

V. HIS CHILDLIKE FAITH. He never distrusted his Lord's purposes, plans or power.

(Homilist.)

Daniel was a heroic believer. He was marked by —

I. FAITH. This was the life of his life.

1. His faith was an early possession. As a youth he believed in right, and in the Invisible God of right. It was this principle that was the moulding force in his boyhood's character, conquering all that was adverse to him in the temptations of his masters, or the example of his companions, and compelling the admiration and trust of those who could not understand the secret spring of his conduct.

2. His faith was cherished in adverse circumstances. Not only was there the temptation to paganism, and materialism, and animalism which Babylonish life cast like so many meshes about the young captive, but there was the deprivation of all the ordinary outward aids to religious faith. No temple, no ceremonial, no sacrifice came to his aid. He had solely to depend on the personal but, thank God, inalienable "means of grace," of private prayer.

3. His faith discovered in him a glorious future. He had visions of the colossal dynasties of men falling under the blessed dominion of the Son of Man.

4. His faith realised the Invisible Present. True faith ever does that, even though it cannot always descry the future. His faith saw God, Duty, Conscience. And so, whilst it was, in its visions of the future, "the substance of things hoped for," it was, in its perception of the present, "the evidence of things not seen." He was marked by, —

II. HUMILITY. He does not talk of his faith; he simply and, as in the act before us, with all the simplicity of naturalness, manifests it. Dr. Pusey strikingly calls attention to this reserve of Daniel "Chief statesman of the first empire in the world, he has not recorded one single voluntary act of his own." Notice,

1. The signs of his humility. He says little of himself or his exploits; his book tells much more of what befell him than of what he did.

2. The producing cause of this humility. It was doubtless his faith, his vision of the unseen present and the unseen future, that hushed and awed and humbled him. Just as grandeur of scenery hushes all thoughtful men, making them feel nothing amid its immensities so the scenery of the invisible world and the sight of the Invisible God abashes all pride, and quickens, in Daniel as in Isaiah, the spirit that cries, "Woe is me: I have seen the Lord of Hosts." Unbelief may be proud, half belief may be conceited, thorough belief is ever reverent and lowly.

III. CONSTANCY. The very name of Daniel has come to be a synonym for resolution and endurance. And deservedly, for his faith enabled him to be firm.1. In spite of subtle temptation. The great ordeal of his life was much more searching than that which came to the three Hebrew youths. They were challenged to open idolatory; and they nobly refused, choosing rather the "burning fiery furnace." Daniel was invited simply to neglect prayer to the true God. He was constant,

2. In spite of protracted trial. There were repeated efforts on the part of the envious and the malign. There was a long-continued captivity. He taught, and he worked, even as he prayed, at the end just "as he did aforetime." He was marked by —

IV. COURAGE. This is involved in constancy, and yet is so conspicuous that it commands separate notice. Evidenced by

1. His openness.

2. His dignity.

3. His calmness. The spirit of the worked towards the godly remains unchanged.

(U. R. Thomas.)

1. In order to succeed in life a man must possess decision of character. Sir Fowell Buxton says, "The longer I live the more I am certain that the great difference between men, between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant, is energy, invincible determination, a purpose once fixed, and then death or victory." The reason why so many men fail in life is want of purpose. They start for a certain goal, and then allow themselves to be diverted from their purpose.

2. Success begets jealousy. Daniel's excellent spirit was a crime in the eyes of the other officials. Scripture says, "Jealousy is the rage of a man." "Substitute for jealousy an everlasting emulation. Seeing others good let us try to be better. Seeing others industrious, let us work more hours. Seeing others benevolent, let us resolve on giving a larger percentage of our means for charity."

3. Learn how to meet trouble. When trouble came, what did Daniel do? He went into his house and prayed. He placed the matter before the Most High. How differently men act when in trouble! The real man does what Daniel did. "There is only one explanation of the mystery of sorrow possible, and that is, that life' is an education." Then learn from each trial.

4. Sin always brings punishment. "It is a terrible thing to have done evil. It comes up again from ten thousand points." Look at the brethren of Joseph after thirteen years. Life is uncertain, and the unexpected often happens. Do not lose everlasting happiness for any earthly consideration. Look at the end — keep your eyes on the unfading crown, and then sin will lose its attraction.

(Ernest R. Gill.)

Such an exalted station as Daniel occupied would put to the test the spirit and, character of this servant of God. There are great temptations in high places. Daniel's integrity and uprightness gave him supremacy above all others. The favour shown to him, a foreigner and a Jew, soon excited an envious spirit in the breasts of the other courtiers. They began to plot against Daniel. They could find no occasion in his official conduct; so they sought to make occasion in connection with his religion. Darius was an easy monarch, ambitious and fond of flattery, and his courtiers thought that by proposing to him a plan that should flatter his pride, show his power over the people, and be a test of their allegiance to him, while they entirely concealed from him their designs against Daniel, they should be able to prevail. They gave him no time to deliberate — no opportunity of consulting with Daniel. They had it all prepared to present before him; they entreat him at once to sign the writing, and the decree: Without suspecting anything of the kind, he consented to sign what his envious courtiers intended to be the death-warrant of the favourite counsellor. How did the servant of God conduct himself under these peculiar circumstances? Daniel saw that there was but one course for him, he must simply and unostentatiously go forward; just do "as he had done aforetime." A striking admonition against subterfuges in duty and devotion; against contrivances at once to quiet conscience, and preserve an immediate self-interest. Here we see what is the real spirit of a genuine religion; it is a firm, decided, steadfast, regard to God and His will, whatever may arise. There is such a thing as a religion which bends to circumstances, which turns with the wind and tide. That which is inward and vital abides under all the varied circumstances in which its possessor may be placed. Real principle stands the test, and becomes the stronger and the brighter the more it is tried. Again notice that the spirit of a true religion is a spirit of devotion. Here was the secret of his consistency and excellency of character; he had much communion with his God, and he drew down wisdom and grace from the fountain above that supplied him for every emergency, guided him through every difficulty, strengthened him for every duty, and supported him in every scene of danger. Learn also, when found in the path of duty, to leave everything with God. Daniel appears not to have been anxious about the event; he was only concerned about pleasing God — all the rest he can leave. The great thing for us all is to know the will of God, and do it.

(Thomas Coleman.)

His Windows
The open window assists our thoughts. As they take wing into the broad expanse, they gain freedom and enlargement; just as a bird imprisoned in a room flings itself with a thrill of song into the free air and sunshine. Sitting there, his mind could spurn the limitations of space and time. The favour or displeasure of the Persian king mattered but little to him. The chamber of life with some of us may seem poor and straitened enough, but God has given us windows in it with a distant outlook upon brighter and fairer scenes. And these windows we must keep open, and sit at them, or kneel at them, forgetting the loneliness and weariness of Babylon's exile in the prospect of some fair Jerusalem of joy, and love, and faith.

1. First and foremost of those windowed outlooks with which God has so graciously endowed us, is that of FAITH. The prophet said he "saw visions of God," and if he did, it must have been through this window of faith, because through it eternal realities become as though they were present. Other windows may become closed or dim; the more reason why we should keep steady and bright this blessed outlook of faith into things spiritual and eternal.

2. There is another window through which the soul may look out upon the ideal and the fair; and that is the window of HOPE. The natural attitude of the human soul is an expectant one. Hope is an important element in the Christian life. Life will go merrily on under the power of a sunbeam on a distant spot in the path. Through the window of hope we see the breaking of a golden dawn upon the distant prospect; the narrow chamber of earthy circumstances gives place to sweeter possibilities, which may become present realities under the transforming influence of Christian hope.

3. Then there is the window of MEMORY. It may be that Daniel was not unmindful of this outlook into past scenes and associations. To be often at the window of memory keeps the heart young amid the ageing and withering influences of the present.

(G. Onslow.)

Daniel had been exalted to very great worldly prosperity, but his soul had prospered too. Oftentimes outward advancement means inward decline. Tens of thousands have been intoxicated by success. Though they bade fair in starting in the race of life to win the prize, they were tempted to turn aside to gather the golden apples, and so they missed the crown. It was not so with Daniel — he was as perfect-before God in his high estate as in his lowlier days; and this is to be accounted for by the fact that he sustained the energy of his outward profession by constant secret communion with God. He was, we are told, a man of excellent spirit, and a man abundant in prayer; hence his head was not turned by his elevation, but the Lord fulfilled in him his promise to "make his servants' feet like hinds' feet, that they may stand upon their high places." Yet, although Daniel preserved his integrity, he did not find a position of greatness to be one of rest. As the birds peck at the ripest fruit, so his envious enemies assailed him; and as the most conspicuous warriors must attract the arrows of the foe, so the honours of Daniel brought upon him the enmities of many. Better to pine with Lazarus than feast with Dives, for the love of God more than compensates for temporary disadvantages. Better an ounce of divine grace than a ton of worldly goods. Though the good things come not as the left-handed blessings of outward prosperity, be thou more than content if thou win the right-handed benediction of spiritual joy.

I. First, let me invite your attention to DANIEL'S HABITUAL DEVOTION: it is worthy of our study. We might never have known of it if he had not been so sorely tried, but fire reveals the hidden gold. Daniel's habitual devotion. We are told that aforetime, before the trial, he had been in the constant habit of prayer. He prayed much. There are some forms of spiritual life which are not absolutely essential, but prayer is of the very essence of spirituality. He that hath no prayer lacks the very breath of the life of God in the soul. Daniel always had subjects for prayer and reasons for prayer. He prayed for himself that in his eminent position he might not be uplifted with pride, might not be taken in the snares of those who envied him, might not be permitted to fall into the usual oppressions and dishonesties of Eastern rulers. He prayed for his people. He saw many of the house of Judah who were not in such prosperous circumstances as himself. He remembered those who were in bonds, as being bound with them. He pleaded, for the return from the captivity, which he knew was ordained of his God. He prayed for the glory of his God, that the days might come when the idols should be utterly abolished, and when the whole earth should know that Jehovah ruleth in heaven, and among the sons of men. We read next, that with all his prayers he mingled thanksgiving. Do observe it, for so many forget this, "He prayed and gave thanks to God." Surely, it is poor devotion which is always asking and never returning its gratitude! Am I to live upon the bounty of God, and never to thank him for what I receive? Good Daniel had learned to praise as well as to pray, and to offer to God that sweet incense which was made of divers spices, of earnest desires and longings mingled with thanksgivings and adorations. It is worthy of notice that the text says, Daniel prayed and gave thanks "before his God." This enters into the very soul of prayer — this getting before God. I shall not care if you do not use a single word, if you feel the majesty of God to be so overwhelming that words are out of place; and silence becomes far more expressive when you bow with sobs and tears, and groanings that cannot be uttered. That little word "his" I must not let slip, however. He prayed and gave thanks before his God. He spake not to God merely as God who might belong to any man and every man, but unto his God, whom he had espoused by a solemn determination. "His God." Why, it seems to me to bring up that word "covenant" — his "covenant God," as though he had entered into covenant with God according to the language of the Most High, "I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Yes, here lies power in prayer, when a man can talk with God as his covenant God. Some other particulars in the text are not quite so important, nevertheless, observe that he prayed three times a day. That does not tell you how often he prayed, but how often he was in the posture of prayer. Doubtless he prayed three hundred times a day if necessary — his heart was always having commerce with the skies; but thrice a day he prayed formally. It has been well said that we usually take three meals in the day, and that it is well to give the soul as many meals as the body. We want the morning's guidance, we need the eventide's forgiveness, do we not also require the noontide's refreshment? If you find from morn till eve too long an interval between prayer, put in another golden link at mid-day. Notice, also, the posture. That, also, is of little consequence, since we read in Scripture of men who prayed on the bed, with their face to the wall. We read of David sitting before the Lord. How very common and acceptable a posture was that of standing before God in prayer! Yet there is a peculiar appropriateness, especially in private prayer, in the posture of kneeling. It seems to say, "I cannot stand upright before Thy majesty; I am a beggar, and I put myself in the position of a beggar; I sue of Thee, great God, on bended knee, in the posture of one who owns that he deserves nothing, but humbles himself before Thy gracious majesty." One more observation. We are told that Daniel kneeled upon his knees with his windows open towards Jerusalem. This was not done with any view to publicity. It may be that nobody could see him, even when his window was open, except the servants in the court. I suppose the house to have been erected as most Eastern houses were, with an open square in the centre! and though he would be looking towards Jerusalem, the windows would be looking into the court, where he could only be observed by those who were residents in the house or visitors on business. Probably his fellow counsellors knew the hour which he usually set apart for devotion, and therefore called in so as to find him in the act. The window being open towards Jerusalem may have been suggested by the prayer of Solomon, when he asked that if the Lord's people were banished at any time, when they sought the Lord with their faces towards that holy place, God would hear them. It may have helped him also to recollect that dear city towards which every Jew's heart turns with affection, even as the needle trembles towards its pole. The thought of its ruin assisted his earnestness, the recollection of its sin humbled him, and the promises concerning it comforted him. He turned towards Jerusalem. And what does this say to us? It tells us that we ought to take care when we pray, to have our window open towards Calvary.

II. We must now turn to a second consideration, DANIEL'S ACTION UNDER TRIAL. There is nothing that kings and queens are much fonder of than meddling with religion. Though the Prussian king tried to make a number of watches all tick together, and could not do it, yet notwithstanding the experiment and its failure, there are always evil counsellors who would force mens' consciences to keep stroke. Folly is in the throne when monarchs patronise or oppress religion. Caesar always muddles when he meddles with the things of God. When this act of uniformity was passed, several course, were open to Daniel. He might, for instance, have said, "This does not answer my purpose. I have a high position in society. I am chief president over all these dominions, and though I am willing to suffer something for my religion, yet gold may be bought too dear, and therefore I shall cease to pray." He might have found many precedents and many companions. What crowds, when it has come to a question between life and truth, between honour and Christ, have made the evil choice and perished infamously? Daniel does not seem to have raised that question. Yet he might have said, "Well, well, we must be prudent; God must be worshipped certainly, but there is no particular reason for my worshipping Him in my usual room, nor even in the city where I live; I can retire in the evening, or find some more secret spot in my own house, and especially there is no occasion to open the window. I can pray with the window shut, and I shall be just as acceptable before God. I think, therefore, I shall keep my conscience clear, but not obtrude my religion in these evil days." Daniel did not so reason; he was a lion-like man, and scorned to lower his standard in the presence of the foe. He would not seek the secrecy which prudence might have suggested. Still, it might have suggested to him that he could pray inwardly. Prayers without words are just as acceptable to God; could not he do this? He felt he could not, inasmuch as the decree was not inward, and the king's opposition to religion was not inward. He did not believe in opposing outward falsehood by an inward truth. Observe with care what Daniel did. He made up his mind to act as he had done aforetime. Note how quietly he acted. He did not say to any of his enemies, "I mean to carry out my convictions." Not at all; he knew that talk was lost upon them, so he resorted to actions instead of words. Note again, how he acted unhesitatingly — immediately! He did not pause; he did not ask for time to consider what he should do. In matters of perilous duty, our first thoughts are best. When there is anything to be lost by religion, follow out the first thought of conscience, namely, "Do the right." Who needs to question where duty points the way? Where God commands, there is no room for reason to raise cavils. It is never right to do a little wrong to obtain the greatest possible good. You will observe also, that Daniel did not act under excitement, but with a full knowledge of the result. The record expressly hath it — "When Daniel knew that the writing was signed." Many people will do right in a hurry, and under strong excitement will go further than they would have done in cold blood; but Daniel, probably shut out from the council by some crafty device of the counsellors, no sooner heard that the statute stood good than, without parley, his resolution was formed, and his mind made up. I like that word, and most go back to it again "as he had done aforetime." Here he makes no alteration; he takes not the slightest possible notice of the king's decree. If you have worshipped God under the smile of your Christian friends, worship him under the frown of the ungodly. If you have, as a tradesman, pursued a course of honest action in more prosperous times, do not for God's sake, for Christ's sake, tamper with that honest course because the times have changed.

III. Let us turn to the third point, with which we conclude, THE SECRET SUPPORT OF DANIEL. There was something in the man which gave him this backbone; there was a secret something which made him so magnanimous. What was it? It resulted from several things. It sprang from the fact that Daniel's religion was not the offspring of passion, but of deep-seated principle. You will notice that, after this long drought which we have had the flowers in our gardens are drooping much, but the forest trees are as verdant as if showers had been failing every day in the week. Is not this because they strike their roots deeper in the soil, and suck nourishment from provision which is not exhausted by the heat of the sun? So there are some men whose religion is like the flower which lives upon the surface — they soon dry up when the sun of persecution burns; but there are others who, like the forest trees, send down their roots into the deep soil of principle, who know what they know, have learned thoroughly what they have learned, and hold fast what they have received, and these, in the time of trial, are sustained by springs of secret grace, and their leaf is not withered. Because the Holy Ghost has inwrought into Daniel's spirit the principles of faith, he was sustained in the time of trial; but I doubt not that Daniel was also supported by what he had read of the works of God in the olden times. Besides, the prophet's spirit was sustained by what he had himself seen. He had been brought in close contact with the three holy children who were brought before Nebuchadnezzar. His own experience helped to strengthen him. He had this conviction, that God could deliver him, and that if God did not deliver him, yet still such was his love to the God of Israel that he would be content to give himself to die. It is blessed to have such a confidence as this. You good people who are tried, and who may expect to be tried yet more, you will never stand unless you come to this: "God can deliver me; but if he does not deliver me, still I am well content to be a sacrifice for Jesus' sake." Daniel failed not, because his love to his God rested deep in his inmost heart: it had become part and parcel of himself, and, sustained by the two hands of love and faith, he was graciously upborne over the rough and thorny places. Remember that Daniel is a type of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had enemies who sought to destroy him; they could find nothing against him except, "touching his God." They accused him of blasphemy, and then afterwards, as they did Daniel, they brought a charge of sedition. He was cast into the den, into the grave: his soul was among the lions. Now, if Daniel is a type of Christ, and the Lord Jesus is the great representative Man for all who are in him, you, believer, must expect, that there will be those who will attack you, who will assail you especially in your religion.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

That was Daniel's 'native land.' Daniel kept his window open toward Jerusalem, because it was the capital of sacred influences. But Daniel at the window is not standing and looking out, he is kneeling and looking out. Daniel found that a man can see farther on his knees than on tiptoe. There is another Jerusalem toward which you and I will do well to keep our windows open. It makes one heavenly-minded to think much of heaven.

(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

I. Our first point will be that DANIEL'S PRAYERFULNESS WAS THE SECRET OF HIS POWER. Daniel was always a man of prayer. If you saw him great before the people, the reason was because he was great before his God. He knew how to lay hold of divine strength, and he became strong. He knew how to study divine wisdom, and he became wise. We are told that he went to his house to pray. This showed that he made a business of prayer, and finding it neither convenient to his circumstances nor congenial to his mind to pray in the midst of idolaters, he had chosen to set apart a chamber in his own house for prayer. It is well to have, if we can have, a little room, no matter how humble, where we can shut to the door, and pray to our Father who is in heaven, who will hear and answer. He was in the habit of praying thus three times a day. Perhaps he thought that this was prudent economy, for, if he had so much to do, he must pray the more; as Martin Luther said, "I have got so much to do to-day that I cannot possibly get through it with less than three hours of prayer." So, perhaps, Daniel felt that the extraordinary pressure of his engagements demanded a proportionate measure of prayer to enable him to accomplish the weighty matter he had on hand. A singularity in his manner is noticeable here. He had been in the habit of praying with his windows open towards Jerusalem. Thus openly did he ignore the decree! With such a royal courage did he lift his heart above the fear of man, and raise the conscience above the suspicion of compromise. He loved Jerusalem, and his prayers were for it. Hence he looked that way in his prayer. And I think also he had an eye on the altar. We worship with our eye to Christ. Oh, for Daniel's prayerful spirit!

II. We pass on to DANIEL'S DIFFICULTIES, OR THE PRIVILEGES OF PRAYER. Daniel had always been a man of prayer; but now there is a law passed that he must not pray for thirty days, for a whole calendar month. I think I see Daniel as he reads the writing. Not proud and haughty in his demeanour, for, as a man used to govern, it was not likely that he would needlessly rebel; but as he read it, he must have felt a blush upon his cheek for the foolish king who had become the blind dupe of the wily courtiers who had framed a decree so monstrous. Only one course was open to him. He knew what he meant to do; he should do what he always had done. Still let us face the difficulty with a touch of sympathy. He must not pray. Suppose we were under a like restriction. Why, some people will say, "I will give it up." Ah, and there are some who would boastfully say, "I will not give it up," whose bold resolve would soon falter, for a lions' den is not a comfortable place. Many thought they could burn in Queen Mary's days that did not dare to confront the fire. Now it is a great privilege that we enjoy civil and religious liberty in our favoured land; that we are not under such cruel laws, as in other times or in other countries laid restrictions upon conscience; and that we may pray, according to the conviction of our judgment and the desire of our heart.

III. Having thus dwelt upon Daniel's difficulty, I now want to draw your attention to DANIEL'S DECISION. The king says he must not pray. Daniel did not deliberate for a single minute. When we know our duty, first thoughts are the best. I greatly admire one feature in Daniel's decision. He did not alter his accustomed habit in any single particular. Without disguise and without parade he pursued the even tenor of his way. He does not appear to have taken council of his friends, or to have summoned his servants, and charged them not to let any intruder come in. Neither did he adopt any measure to escape his enemies. Not one jot of anxiety did he betray. His faith was steadfast, his composure unruffled, his conduct simple and artless. Doubtless Daniel felt that he was the greatest man in Persia, if he, a worshipper of Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, failed in any degree, he would set a bad example to others, and greatly discourage any poor Jew who might have grace enough to stand out, provided his example led the way. Persons who occupy high positions should know that God expects more of them than of other people. It might be asked, perhaps, "Should not Daniel obey the king?" Certainly kings' laws are to be respected; but any law of man that infringes the law of God is, ipso facto, null and void at once. It is the duty of every citizen to disregard every law of earth which is contrary to the law of heaven. So Daniel felt that the risk of being put into a den with lions was nothing to the risk of being put into hell, and he chose the smaller risk, and in the name of God he went straight on. Look at John Bunyan when they bring him up before the magistrates and tell him he must not preach! "But I will preach," said he, "I will preach to-morrow by the help of God." "But you will be put in prison again." Never mind, I will preach as soon as I get out." "But you will be hanged, or kept m prison all your life." "If I lie in prison," said he, "till the moss grows upon my eyelids, I can say nothing more than this, that with God's help, I will preach whenever I get a chance." Do not tell me that these are non-essentials. To men who will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even the opening or the shutting of a window, if need be, is essential. Be jealous over what are called "trifles." They may be mere straws, but they show which way the wind blows.

IV. Our last point is DANIEL'S DELIVERANCE. With that we will conclude. The evil that threatened Daniel did come. He was to be put into a lions' den, and into a lions' den he was put. So, young man, you say, "I will not do wrong." You hope to escape unscathed. Yet it may be that you will be discarded by your friends, and discountenanced by your associates. Expect it, go through it. If you are a tradesman, and by saying you will not submit to an evil custom of the trade you will become a loser, be willing to be a loser; expect that the lions' den will be there, and that you will be put into it. Daniel came there, but there was not a scratch upon him when he came out of it. What a splendid night, he must have spent with those lions! I do not wonder that in after days he saw visions of lions and wild beasts; it seems most natural that it should; and he must have been fitted by that night passed among these grim monsters to see grand sights. Daniel had a smooth time of it afterwards. The counsellors never troubled him again; the lions had taken care of them. There would be no more plotting against him. Now, believe me, to be decided for the right is not only the right thing but the easiest thing. It is wise policy as well as true probity. If you will not yield an inch, then somebody else must move out of the way. If you cannot comply with their proposals, then other people will have to rescind their resolutions. So you will find that, if you suffer, and perhaps suffer severely at first, for decision of character, you will get speedy recompense for all you endure, and a grand immunity in the future. There will be an end to the indignities that are offered you. Give the world an inch, and it will take many an ell. Be resolved, therefore, that no inch you will give, that to the lions' den you would sooner go than there should be equivocation, prevarication, or anything approaching to falsehood.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The history of the world is mostly the history of individual lives, and the influence they exerted. It is not so much the story of the movements of masses, as of masses under leaders. This may be illustrated in

(1)the characteristics of nations;

(2)the acquisition of new territories;

(3)the influence of one nation on another;

(4)in science and philosophy, in morals and in Church history.This view must, however, be set under due qualifications. It is also true that great men can but find expression for the spirit of their age, as is shown in the case of Luther. The Reformation was in Germany before Luther found it a voice. Daniel one of the best illustrations of this point — on what a man is must depend what he does, and what he is must depend on his relations with God. Daniel is heroic from both the secular and the sacred standpoints. The thing impressed by his story is the value, force, and assured triumph of sterling character. Is character a gift, or a growth? Is it something with which we are endowed, or something which we have to culture? It may be likened to a tree, and under that figure we now consider it.

I. THE ROOTINGS OF CHARACTER. Stability and vigour depend on rooting. The character of Daniel threw down two chief rootings of principle. It held fast by and fed itself on this: —

1. A noble life must be ruled by something better than world-maxims; but to live by them is like trying to make a boat lie still on the heaving sea.

2. No shame, only strength and honour, can ever come by cleaving to God. It is sad and strange that ever young folk should think that shame can attach to a life of faith and prayer. Illustrate by contrasting the tree roots twining only about themselves, or clasping firmly the rich and fertile soil.

II. THE BRANCHINGS OF CHARACTER. The manifestations of it in the duties and responsibilities of life. Character well rooted, shows, above the soil, moral strictness, trustworthiness, judgment, truth. Illustrate Daniel's power of decision, and also Joseph's. Show the relation of decision, as an element of character, to the act of decision in religion.

III. THE FLOWERING OF CHARACTER, or the lighter manifestations of it in the intercourse and relationships of life. Hanging on the branches are such things as peace, joy, purity, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, all the graces of the spirit. Daniel's character then was rightly founded. His decision for God involved a God-fearing, prayer-loving life. Look in at that opened window of Daniel's house, and see how Godly character was nourished. There we find the secret of strength for the overcoming of all temptation. Daniel believed in God, and sought him.

(Robert Tuck, B.A.)

What was the good of praying at this window that looked towards Jerusalem? Jerusalem was five hundred miles away across the wide Assyrian plain. You could not see it from Babylon. You brought it no nearer by gazing into the blue distance. Why be so careful about this open window? At best it was a piece of sentiment. And what use is there in idle sentiment? But all sentiment is not idle. There is a kind of sentiment which is foolish and worse than useless. But sentiment will sometimes prove to be of extraordinary power, and there is a sentiment which is not inconsistent with the finest manhood and the most impressive dignity of character. If it helped him, when he was praying, to remember that there, far away in the distance, was Jerusalem, why should he not accept the help? We may not think that it would have helped us very much. We may say that we could have prayed anywhere. But that is not the question. If it helped him, that was enough. There was a great deal in his circumstances and pursuits to shut out from him the vision of his early days. And if, among all the scenes of his daily life, in which was so much that was distracting, so much that was evil, it helped him, and kept him true to the past and true to God, to have that window open, who is going to smile at him? Who will condemn him? I think, on the contrary, that we might well imitate him. We who may be carried by the force of circumstances far away from our old home, and from things that were sacred to us in our childhood, may very fitly and reasonably see to it that we do not let those old and sacred things pass utterly away from our thoughts. It is good for us, too, to have an open window towards Jerusalem. There are those who, amid the stress and storm of life, have lost all remembrance of their Jerusalem. It is out of sight, out of mind. Heaven lay about them in their infancy. God seemed to be near to them when they were little children. Things spiritual and eternal were realities. The eye was clear. The ear was open to the divine voices. The heart was warm. The conscience was sensitive. Life was full of sacred meanings. But they were carried into a new world where other voices were heard and other influences were at work. Then the shades of the prison-house began to close upon them. The spiritual eye grew dim. Who can guess how many people there are to-day, middle-aged, prosperous people, who have been cut adrift from the Jerusalem of their early days and have almost forgotten how they once felt. They are much to be pitied. It is the experience of Daniel which suggests the association of these two things. For Jerusalem was to him first his old home, and next, in a special sense, the home of God on the earth. And there must be many whose experience would compare with his in this respect. They are to be congratulated. For there is nothing for which we have better reason to be thankful in after-life than for fathers and mothers who made us feel in our childhood that God was about us, and that our home was the gate of heaven. There are those who do not seem to believe in any such necessity. It was said by Napoleon that Jerusalem did not come within the sphere of his operations. It is what many say in effect. They do not trouble about religion. They can do well enough without it. They have plenty to interest them in this wonderful world without the religious interest. It may not be so with others. Very well. Let each follow where his own taste and fancy lead him. Let him who is religiously disposed occupy himself with religious matters. As for them, they prefer to concern themselves with things of a more practical kind. I think, however, that those who talk in that light fashion are making a very grave mistake. For, after all, life must be a dull and poor affair if we are wholly without religion. Alas for us, if we are without any kind of heavenly vision! Man cannot live by bread alone. If, then, it is our wisdom not to forget Jerusalem, what are some of the windows through which we may look towards that fair city? Prayer, let me say first, is such a window. Heaven lies about us now, and ever will, as the air and the sunlight are about the houses we dwell in. But if we keep the windows shut, the air will not come in; and if we keep the shutters up, the light will not come in. Therefore, men throw back these shutters, and fling open wide the windows, that the glory and the freshness of the sunlight world out of doors may come in. And that is what we do when we pray. Obedience is another window by which we may look into this divine glory. If you are living a selfish and worldly life, you cannot expect to have any deep sense or clear vision of eternal things. You are refusing to listen to the voice of the Highest. But repent and obey the call of duty, and as you follow where duty leads you will begin to get some glimpse into the deep things of God. The way of duty is the way of peace, and it is the way of light. Let any man follow Christ closely, and the moment will come when Christ will, as it were, turn and look upon that faithful follower and make him feel that he is indeed at the gate of heaven. There are many causes that may account for it. But the rule is that obedience to duty is a true window to the soul, a window that looks towards God, and through which God will shine upon us for our infinite comfort and help. Another window that looks towards Jerusalem is the Bible. What does the Bible mean to us, I wonder? It means different things to different persons. Another window looking towards Jerusalem is Sunday. The world for many is like Babylon. It is full of cares, full of distractions, full of appeals to elements other than the highest in human nature, and their pleasures and recreations, though, it may be, innocent enough, are often not such as to raise and dignify the soul; and it is well if when they come into church they find it to be as the delectable mountains from which the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem may be at least dimly descried. A church may serve many noble uses and not the least profitable is that which it serves when it enables men who are often in darkness, and who feel that they are remote from the best and highest things to look for a little time into the world of spiritual realities, and to feel, upon the jaded mind and dull heart, the vivifying breath of the Spirit of God.

(A. H. Thomas, M.A.)

And prayed.
Every man ought to form, early in life, good religious habits, and especially habits in relation to private, personal and intercessory prayer. They should be carefully arranged in view of his actual daily circumstances, opportunities, and needs, they should be maintained with a stedfast regularity, even at heavy cost of self-denial, and there should be a constant and a holy anxiety lest they should degenerate into mere forms, and the spiritual life and feeling in them fade down, or fade out.

I. MAKE GOOD PRAYER-HABITS. It is of the first importance that these should be formed early in life; and you may well be reminded of the duty that lies on all parents, school teachers, and often nurses, in regard to the shaping of early prayer-habits. When life has become fixed, relations are settled, and habits are formed, it is hard indeed to get new shapings and fittings when the duty of daily prayer is brought home to us. Those parents do an unspeakable good for their children, who, from the dawn of intelligence, make prayer as essential as daily bread. Prayer habits should be formed carefully, with due estimate of our circumstances, and relations, and opportunities. And our prayer-habits should, include all the kinds of prayer which make up this Christian duty. There are proper habits of confession, of thanksgiving, of petition, and above all, of intercession; and they will never come to any man as an accident; they are the blessed fruitage of thought, and strife, and care.

II. WHEN YOU HAVE MADE GOOD PRAYER-HABITS, YOU MUST KEEP THEM. It is only necessary to state this very important addition, and to say: Beware of slight negligences and failures. There is nothing in our life which we need to maintain so resolutely. Let Daniel show you that quietly, simply, unostentatiously, you should persist in praying just when, and where, and how, you have arranged to pray.

(Robert Tuck, B.A.)

It may be said,

1. That Daniel was chargeable with rebellion, because knowingly, and avowedly he violated a law which had been passed by the highest legislative power in the country. We reply that God is the supreme lawgiver, that all the authority which man possesses over man, is derived from God, and limited by the divine law, and therefore the laws of man only bind when they are not inconsistent with the law of God. The moment they command what God has forbidden, or forbid what God has commanded, they cease to be obligatory upon conscience, and in such cases, so far from being sinful to disobey them, to do so is a solemn duty. The edict of Darius, being palpably opposed to the plainest commands of God, Daniel, in refusing to serve such a law, only acted the part which was incumbent on every loyal subject of the Most High.

2. It may be said, that Daniel might have prayed unto God in the heart, in despite of his enemies, and God would have heard him. Or, if he wished to pray unto him with the lips, he ought to have retired into some secret place; or at least, if he prayed in his own chamber, he should have allowed the windows to remain closed during these thirty days. Was it not, therefore, sinful in him to pray so ostentatiously as he did? Was not this unnecessarily to expose his life to danger? Was it not to forget that God is a spirit, and to place too much dependence upon that bodily service which profiteth little? We remark that, while the Scriptures assert that bodily service profiteth little, they nowhere assert that it profiteth nothing. There are occasions, when bodily exercise profiteth much, in which it is even a better test of a person's devotedness to God, than the inward frame of his mind. When God calls upon us to believe with the heart unto righteousness, no outward action, such as fasting, or praying with an audible voice, or the giving of our goods to feed the poor, or even the giving of our bodies to be burned, will be accepted by him as a substitute for faith. On the contrary, when God in his providence calls upon us to make confession of him before men, no inward frame of spirit, neither faith, nor love, nor self denial, nor heavenliness of mind, will be accepted by him as a substitute for our open and visible adherence to the cause of his truth, and of his glory. In a time of trial, a testing-time, it is not the reward feeling of loyalty to God, it is the outward manifestation of this; it is not the image of God in the heart, it is his "name on the forehead," which proves an individual to belong to the "called, and chosen, and faithful." Apply these remarks to the case in hand. Praying to God in the spirit was not prohibited, but only such prayer as came under the observation of men. Persons were not interdicted from believing in God, but only from rendering to him .the outward acts of homage that were due unto his name. The point, therefore, on which the authority of God and man came into collision, was about the external acts of Divine worship. God had said "In all thy ways acknowledge thou me, and I will direct thy steps." Darius and his nobles, on the other hand, said, thou shalt not ask a petition of God for thirty days. In the present instance, therefore, loyalty to God could not be evidenced by what was inward, but only by what was outward, not by believing with the heart, but by confessing with the lips. The attitude of Daniel's body while praying, nay, the position of the windows of his chamber, was as important in the sight of God as the inward devotion of his soul. If he had shut his windows, if he had ceased to kneel, if he had ceased to speak to God with his lips, and rested content with the utterances of the heart, this would have been to homologate (approve, give assent to) the impious decree, and to deny God before men. That edict invaded the rights of Jehovah, not by prohibiting them from worshipping him in their hearts, but by forbidding them to worship him with their bodies. Bodily-service was therefore the only evidence of heart-loyalty to God, and worship that was purely spiritual would have been looked upon as the homage of a coward and a traitor — of a man who wished to serve two masters. Considering the weight of Daniel's character, and the importance of his situation, it will appear that a peculiar responsibility attached to his conduct in this emergency. Any indecision, any appearance of compliance with the decree, would have been productive of most baneful consequences. We may learn, from the passage before us, that God sometimes places his people in such situations that they must either sin or suffer. Learn also, that when God, in his providence, couples our performance of any duty, with circumstances of trial, the discharge of the duty thus circumstanced, is the test of our fidelity. And we may learn, that even when the performance of duty exposes to danger our adherence unto God should be open and avowed.

(William White.)

Dean Stanley writes, — "Daniel is, to all outward appearances, an Eastern sage rather than a Hebrew prophet. Well did the traditions of his country-men represent him as the architect of Ecbatana, or even of Sura, as buried in state — not, like the other saints of the captivity, in a solitary sepulchre, but in the stately tower which he himself had built, in the tombs of the Kings of Persia. Well did the mediaeval legends make him the arch-wizard interpreter of dreams. Rightly did the Carthusian artist at Dijon represent him amongst his exquisite figures of the prophets in the garb, posture, and physiognomy of an Oriental magnate. Well did Bishop Ken, when he wished to pourtray an ideal courtier before the Stuart Kings, take the man greatly beloved: 'Not of the sacerdotal but royal line; not only a courtier and a favourite, but a minister — one that kept his station in the greatest resolutions, reconciling policy and religion, business and devotion, magnanimity and humility, authority and affability, conversation and retirement, interest and integrity, heaven and the court, the favour of God and the favour of the King.'"

I. DANIEL AS A MAN OF PRAYER. It was his characteristic feature. How regular and stedfast he was in private prayer. He was willing to suffer, but he would not give up his prayer. What a strength for toil and duty he found it ever to be! Note his example of praying in the very midst of daily business.

II. DANIEL AS AN INTERCESSOR. So a type of Christ. He took up his nation's burden on himself; made himself a representative, and pleaded with God on the nation's behalf. In the same way good people now take upon their own hearts the troubles and sins of their times, and speak to God just what the people around them ought to be feeling and saying. Illustrate by the work of the High Priest, and of Jesus, our Great High Priest. Without being appointed to the office, each one of us may become an intercessor.

III. DANIEL AS A CONFESSOR. Or as one who gives an example of making confession. This is the sign of penitence and humility. Only when men have learned thus the lessons of God's judgments can his restorations come. How full, sincere, and hearty are Daniel's confessions! Observe that in our Lord's prayers, or conversations, there is no sign of confession. Explain why, and why confession is such a necessary part of our prayer.

IV. DANIEL AS A PLEADER. Especially dwell upon his example of importunity, as illustrating our Lord's parable of the unjust judge. The pleading is to be found in verses 18, 19 shows how graciously God hears and answers such prayers as Daniel's.

(Robert Tuck, B.A.)

Ill success in prayer is so common that men scarcely know it is ill success; they pray and nothing comes of it, so they are not disappointed. They take fruitlessness as the rule, and do not travel back to ask why prayer should be fruitless. In the history of opinion, Daniel has an unique place. When we look to Daniel for teaching we look to a man placed by his own age, which is apt to find out a man's inconsistency, supreme in spiritual achievement. What was, then, the meaning of Daniel's ritual in prayer?

1. He sought to place himself in the presence of God. To look away towards Jerusalem was to be delivered from servitude to the splendours of Babylon by the apprehension of a greater splendour. We need to remember the disadvantages with which we commonly start in our prayer; how disinclined our spirits are, and how ill the common circumstances of life prepare us for it. Our tempers have have been fretted, our interests scattered, our judgments debarred; we have been meeting men on a low level of mutual mistrust, or in the interchange of social frivolities. And all of this has to be got rid of before prayer can have its perfect work. The larger soul in us must be called out, that we may even see what the objects of prayer may be. There are prayers offered which, without intention, exhibit every possible fault. They are irrelevant to the situation, asking what is not needed, and omitting what is needed; they are fretful instead of jubilant; their tone is distrustful, as if God were trying to outwit us. And nothing can sweep such prayers away except the noble use of memory. How can you thank God if you have not sought to remember all His benefits? What could Daniel look to? One object filled the hearts of all the Jewish patriots, a lamentable object. Their glorious city, of ancient story, and solemn observance, was desolate. The city was a heap of ruins; desecrated by sin first, and now by heathen conquest, and the land kept Sabbath in an awful loneliness. And Daniel strained his eyes across the endless plains, that sight filled his mind, and drew from him the importunate cry: — "How long, O Lord? " If his daily life furnished no other matter for prayer, there was matter enough in this.

2. After exercise in the thought of the presence of God, there is no discipline so necessary as this of letting visions of need rise before the mind. There should be pity given to the man who says he does not know what to pray for, and ampler pity for his neighbour who asks for what he does not want. The world is full of need, and its cry rises continually before God, sounding in the ears of all who can hear. There is no need of seeking or of refining in petitions; one day of life brings us into contact with need of all sorts — the helplessness of little children, the sigh of men overtasked, the care which has furrowed the brow and bent the shoulders, the satisfaction with a selfish life, the servitude to evil passion; there is no crushing the images of need which flit past our eyes even in the street. And a little thought deepens the awe; in ourselves we know so dark a world of discontent and defeat, of reproach and fruitless effort, of fear and sin, and all the men and women about us repeat the same story. And outside is a whole world of gloom, of life without colour or joy, of men without God or hope. And rising a little, we see to the farther horizons embracing the great world which does not know the very name of Christ, and which is full of horrid cruelties. We may not shut our eyes to it in prayer; the world needs joy. And as we watch like Daniel, the thoughts of that overwhelming need thronging in upon us will wring from us prayers rising to passion. To have all that sorrow pressing on our heart would bring madness with it; our comfort is in being permitted to share the burden with Him whose heart is pierced as ours, and who by His strength has marked for it all a blessed end.

(W.M. Macgregor, M.A.)

God's people are not often found in the high places of the earth. They do not covet such distinctions. But when he is pleased to call them to posts of worldly honour, he gives them strength according to their day. Daniel's elevation was remarkable. What a testimony do worldly men sometimes give to the value of religious characters! Darius the Mede soon found out his value. But he had enemies. He had only one vulnerable point — one point in which his character was open to attack from an ungodly world. His enemies said, "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'" What a testimony did these men give unconsciously to the character of him they hated. But how could these men make Daniel's religious character a handle against him? Explain their ingenius plot. How did Daniel meet it? He was a man of prayer — he lived by prayer — he was frequent, fervent, zealous in the exercise — his hours of prayer were his most precious hours — and as for parting with this privilege, as for laying it aside for thirty days together, he would sooner part with life itself. Let worldly people plead necessity as an excuse for interrupting their devotions; the godly man knows no necessity so great as that of seeking God from day to day. Might not Daniel have evaded such a law as this, by praying to God in secret? He evidently felt that this was an occasion to show that he was not ashamed of his religion, and not to be deterred from it. He would not even seem to be obedient to a wicked law which went to rob the God of heaven of the worship due to him. Note the description given of Daniel's prayers. One thing to remark, upon, is their frequeney — three times a day. Another thing is, he prayed before his God — prayed as in God s presence, as one who was really speaking to his God. Daniel's prayers were attended with thanksgiving. This is the Apostle's rule. (Philippians 4:6). Notice his posture. "Kneeled." A posture surely best befitting creatures like ourselves when we go as beggars to our Great Creator. Daniel prayed with his face toward Jerusalem. That circumstance in his devotions we are not called to imitate. The rule for us to follow is to have an eye to Christ in all our prayers. The rest of Daniel's history is a grand exhibition of what the Lord can do both in his saints and for them. Questions.

1. What do you think of Daniel?

2. What do you think of Daniel's God?

(A. Roberts, M.A.)

Daniel made no secret of his prayers; he might have made excuses to his conscience, he might have said to himself that during those thirty days it would be better for him to pray without the possibility of being observed; to keep up his prayers secretly, and avoid openly breaking the King's decree. But Daniel was too honest to make to himself any such false excuses; he was not ashamed to confess his God openly. He prayed and gave thanks before his God. Faithful as Daniel was to the King, and attentive as he was to his interests, there was a point at which his obedience stopped. In all worldly matters he was ready to give way, but once bid him dishonour his God, and he was instantly inflexible. No love of worldly prosperity, no fear of human punishment could shake him. Here you see the secret of Daniel's character. He was a man of prayer. Daniel knew what it was to draw near to God — day by day to live in his presence — to look up to him — to seek his favour and protection — to make him and not man the standard to which he referred all his thoughts and words and actions. This has ever been the mark of the saints of God in all the ages. And if there is any true life in our soul, we also shall live in the constant habit of prayer. Consider what prayer is. It is the link which connects us with the next world — with the unseen yet ever present God, in whom we live and move and have our being. Once give up prayer, and you cut yourself off from God, you create a silence between your soul and God, you become a stranger to God, and God Ceases to speak to you. But if we are really in earnest about our prayers, we may be quite sure that the devil will raise up obstacles in our path — that he will endeavour to hinder us in one way or another. Sometimes he tries to frighten us. But why should any of us be ashamed of our religion, or of saying our prayers? Sometimes it will seem to people that they have not time to pray; that their duties are so numerous, and so pressing, they have no leisure, no time to themselves. This is almost certainly a false excuse. It is entirely their own fault that they do not find or make time. Our time, really, very much depends on ourselves. If it is the ease, that we have very little time we can call our own, yet let us do our diligence gladly to give God of that little. There are those who complain that they are much hindered by wandering and idle thoughts in prayer, and perhaps they are tempted to think that it would be better to leave off praying than to go on in spite of the thoughts which trouble them in their devotions. But something may be done in this matter by a vigorous effort on our own part; a great deal lies in the power of the will. There are others who are tempted to give up prayer, because they do not, as they say, find such comfort and enjoyment in prayer as they expect. They cannot attain a sense of God's presence; they seem dull, and cold, and lifeless in their prayers. This may be the effect of some sin or self-indulgence, and if so, the remedy lies in greater strictness of life, and watchfulness over self; but it may be also that it is a trial sent by God to test their faithfulness. Let them persevere. And let us not be discouraged if God does not at once answer our prayers — if we ask, and for a time receive not. It is certain that God hears every prayer addressed to him. He will be sure to answer, in his own wise way. You can scarcely go wrong, if you continue instant in prayer; if you give up prayer you enter on the road which leads to destruction. Let nothing then be allowed to hinder you from your prayers.

(S. W. Skeffington, M.A.)

Daniel was equally distinguished for probity in his secular calling, as for fidelity towards God. If you would act your part well on great emergencies, it is necessary that you should attend to everyday duties. To overlook them is at once a proof of something radically defective in the judgment and character.

I. THE REGULARITY OF HIS DEVOTION. In a man of leisure this praying three times a day would have been less remarkable. Daniel was not in private life. But, without being neglected, business was made to yield to piety. Prayer, so far from increasing his difficulties, was his consolation under them. It is the mental inquietude of a life of business which much more than bodily exertion tends to oppress the faculties.

II. THE PLACE OF HIS DEVOTION. It would have been less wonderful had Daniel been thus regular in religious observances at Jerusalem. There were all the incitements which place and example supply. But the unpropitious character of Daniel's situation did not influence him in the discharge of his duty.

III. THE POSTURE OF HIS DEVOTION. No particular attitude is essential to the acceptance of the petition of a sincere suppliant. If the inward, spiritual qualities essential to devotion are wanting, it matters not what are the outward positions. But everything should be avoided that savours of irreverence, or which is incompatible with fixedness of mind in devotional exercises. Kneeling is well suited to the nature of the exercise — prostration of body will correspond with humility of mind!

IV. THE HEROISM OF HIS DEVOTION. It was the heroism of the confessor and martyr rather than of the soldier. Apparently reasonable excuses for yielding a little in this matter of prayer might have been found. Daniel allowed no weak accommodation to circumstances. We are not to do evil that good may come. Disobedience to what God enjoins, can never be required in order to the fulfilment of his purposes.

V. THE GRATITUDE OF HIS DEVOTION. He "prayed and gave thanks." Prayer has been well defined as the "offering up of our desires to God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgement of his mercies." The situation of Daniel might appear, at first sight, ill adapted to the exercise of thanksgiving, however proper on fitting occasions, that duty might be. But a devout heart will discover reasons for gratitude when others can perceive nothing but occasions of lamentation. No condition of life is really so disastrous as to be incapable of suggesting motives of thankfulness to a spiritual mind. For the stream of life has always its interminglings of alleviation and comparative good. He could think of past mercies; and that he had been kept by divine grace. And he could be thankful for an opportunity of bearing witness to the religion of the God of Israel. Improvement.(1) Let Christians in general, and persons in active pursuits in particular, learn regularity in the exercises of devotion.(2) Let us cultivate a regard for the authority of God, as a motive to devotion.(3) Let us cultivate faith in prayer.(4) Be grateful that you are exempted from the evils which Daniel experienced.

(R. Brodie, A.M.)

Daniel is one of the brightest and loveliest characters of Scripture biography. He seems to have been the only prophet who enjoyed a large share of worldly prosperity.

I. THE DEVOTIONS OF DANIEL.

1. The character of his devotion. In token of his humility, and of his veneration for the divine majesty whom he approached, he kneeled on his knees. See also his confession of sin; recognition of the divine mercies; and pleading importunity. Daniel's prayers were pious and patriotic. They were accompanied with thanksgiving. Praise is comely.

2. The scene of Daniel's devotions. His chamber. He chose seclusion: yet his windows were open towards Jerusalem. Not that he courted attention, but that he conformed to the established mode of Jewish devotion.

3. The seasons of his devotion. Three times a day. Prayer is a preparation for our every-day duties in life. Daniel is an example to men of business.

II. THE SPIRIT IN WHICH DANIEL MAINTAINED HIS DEVOTIONS. He was faithful to his God and his religion. The Prime Minister was not compelled to profess the State idolatry. Daniel acted most advisedly. His spirit was one.

1. Of enlightened piety. Martyrdom he held preferable to the suspension of his hallowed communion with God.

2. Of courage. He feared God, and none but God. He braved all dangers, uninfluenced by the favours of his royal benefactor. Allowing no temporising considerations. His was the courage, of piety.

3. Of prudence. He did not invite persecution. Nothing insolent, nothing ostentatious, nothing disloyal, was in Daniel. He obeyed the monitions of conscience. He prayed, as before.

III. THE RESULTS.

1. To Daniel.

2. The spread of Jehovah's honour. The name of the living God is made known in all the empire.

3. The restoration of Judah followed the prayers of the faithful; e.g., of Daniel.

(W. L. Thornton, M.A.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
1. DANIEL'S DEVOTIONS. He prayed. Prayer is said to be a calling, crying, knocking, seeking, asking, making supplication, pouring out of the heart, lifting up of the soul, lifting up holy hands, making intercession, etc. Daniel

1. Humbled himself when he prayed. The being whom we address, the circumstances in which we stand, the punishment we deserve all serve to inspire us with humility.

2. He confessed his sins, and the sins of his people, when he prayed; So did David and Jeremiah. This is the most effectual way to obtain pardon.

3. He deprecated punishment, and implored mercy, when he prayed. Sin deserves punishment, — God might justly pour out his indignation upon us. We have no appeal but to his mercy, through the blood of the covenant.

4. He pleaded with God when he prayed. We may plead with God also; plead his mercy, his promises, the sacrifice of his Son, and his glorious intercession in heaven.

5. And Daniel gave thanks. We can always find reasons and subjects for thanks to God. Daniel thanked him for what he was in himself — for what he did in the kingdom of providence, and for what he had done for him.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH HE PERFORMED THEM.

1. He went into his house, and into his chamber. The Jews were accustomed to set apart rooms as oratories, or places of devotion. Each house had generally one of these rooms, a chamber, most removed from noise and disturbance. Retirement is necessary to prayer.

2. He prayed and gave thanks three times a day. He evidently had stated times for private devotions.

3. He kneeled upon his knees and praised. The position of the body is not of so much importance in devotion as the disposition of the mind. The Scriptures sanction different attitudes of prayer.

4. He looked towards Jerusalem when he prayed. The meaning of this will be understood by referring to the consecration of the temple. (Kings 1 Kings 8:44-48) Hence all those who were in Jerusalem turned towards the temple when they prayed, and all those who were in foreign lands opened their windows toward Jerusalem in performing their devotions.

5. Daniel's prayers were regularly performed. "As he did aforetime." Inconstancy is the fault of multitudes. There was a decision of character, and a uniformity of conduct, in Daniel, which all should be anxious to emulate.

III. THE PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED.

1. Be was in a foreign land, far from his native country.

2. He was surrounded by the most; inveterate and designing men, who meditated his ruin. Men who envied his popularity sought to find occasion against him, and did their utmost to persecute him, even unto death. Yet he maintained his integrity, stuck close to his devotions, and served his God with a constancy that nothing could destroy.

3. He was in high life, surrounded with temptations to pride, infidelity, idolatry, and a whole train of evils that swarm amidst the splendours and dissipations of a court. But he was innocent from the great transgression of apostatizing from God.

4. He was involved in most important business. He had the affairs of a kingdom to transact. How often is the urgency and press of business made an excuse for the neglect of religion.

5. He was prohibited from praying by a cruel, senseless and atheistical decree. But nothing could shake the steadfast purpose of Daniel's soul.

IV. THE INFERENCES TO BE DRAWN FROM THE WHOLE.

1. Whoever you are, and wherever you live, learn (if you serve God) to prepare your heart for temptation. Enemies you have. Temptations you must endure.

2. Whatever snares may be laid for your feet, never swerve from the line of duty.

3. The way of duty is the way of safety.

4. Persecutors often defeat their own object.

5. The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

We have here recorded an action of great piety and religious courage. The account here given of the prophet's piety, who "kneeled upon his knees three times a day," is a description of his religious exercises, not only for thirty days, but during, his whole life. "He prayed, and gave thanks, as he did aforetime." And upon this knowledge of his usual and daily course of devotion, the plot of his enemies was founded. We here see a person of great endowments of nature, and improvements of learning, eminent for skill in civil and sacred affairs, taking more delight in the humble exercise of prayer, than in all those high speculations of science for which his mind qualified him; or in the public honours, to which has station entitled him; or in the ease and repose, which his great age seemed to require, in the vacancies of business. For this exercise, he allotted a considerable part of every day; and seems to have made his high offices, and large employments, a reason for increasing, rather than an excuse for omitting his prayers. Another thing that offers itself to our consideration, is the firmness and deliberate courage of this good man. His usual exercises of devotion were now under the interdiction era law, and he was not one of those who pay no deference to the laws of men: the proper power of the magistrate he allowed, but not that of commanding what God forbade, or of forbidding what he commanded. The firmness and fortitude are shown in his continuing in all simplicity his fixed prayer habits. He retired. He kneeled. He did this three times a day. He both prayed, and gave thanks.

(T.Townson, M. A .)

It is peculiarly pleasing and useful, to be able to contemplate an instance of genuine, decisive, impartial, persevering, unrebukable religion before God and the Father. Such an one we have in Daniel. He had doubtless his infirmities; for there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not; but nothing is alleged against him. I do not remember that any other individual recorded in the Scriptures has entirely escaped censure.

I. THE EMPLOYMENT OF DANIEL. It was pious. He prayed and gave thanks before his God. He was not one of those who are satisfied with morality without godliness. He well knew, that our greatest connections are with God; and that with him we have principally to do. He was a good neighbour, a good citizen, a good master and a good magistrate; but this did not excuse him from the worship of God.

1. He prayed. Prayer is the breathing of the desire towards God. Words are not essential to the performance of it. The expediency, the necessity, of prayer, results from our indigent, and dependent state. We need mercy and grace. God has determined, and revealed, the method in which he will communicate the blessings he has promised. In this appointment, his wisdom appears as conspicuous as his sovereignty; and his goodness as clearly as his wisdom. Nothing can be so beneficial to us as prayer is, not only by the relief it obtains, but by the influence it exerts; not only by its answers, but by its energy. Beyond everything else that is instrumental in religion, it improves our characters, it strengthens our graces, it softens and refines our tempers, it contributes to our spirituality, and promotes our holiness.

2. He gave thanks. This should always attend prayer. Whenever we go to God for new favours, we should be careful to acknowledge old ones. While we implore deliverance, we should be grateful for alleviations and supports. I am sorry to say, that this is so commonly neglected. There is no state that does not require gratitude. There is always much more to be grateful for, than to complain of — however afflicting our circumstances may be.

3. Daniel did all this "before his God." By which we are to understand, that he placed himself in his religious exercises under the eye of Jehovah, and realised his presence. When we engage in devotional exercise, whether public or private, we are considered as withdrawing from the world, and appearing more immediately before God. And to impress our minds with this truth is the way to secure our profit. It will banish hypocrisy, and formality and carelessness; and unite our hearts to fear God's name.

II. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE ACTION.

1. As regards the place. "He went into his house." Every house not only may be, but should be, a house of prayer. In every family there ought to be an altar. And Daniel worshipped God alone, in privacy.

2. The posture. "He kneeled." Though "bodily exercise profiteth little," God is to be glorified in our bodies, as well as in our spirits. Kneeling seems to be the most proper and advantageous posture of devotion. It preserves us more from distraction, it is more expressive of reverence, humility and submission.

3. The direction in which he performed his devotion. His windows were open towards Jerusalem. Here we see the love a pious Jew bore to his native land, and the city of his solemnities. He hoped for the release and restoration of the Jews. Hence in his prayers he always remembered Zion, and would give God no rest till he established, and till he made Jerusalem a praise in the earth. A public spirit is a great excellency.

4. The Frequency of the exercise. He did it "three times a day." This is little enough, considering the demand, "Pray without ceasing." Habitual devotion is what we should seek to maintain; but, with many people at least, that which may always be done, is never done.

5. The constancy and invariableness of the practice. "As aforetime." There was nothing new in it. It was not an extraordinary fervour, produced by the spur of the occasion. It was not occasional impulse; but the regular effects of principle and disposition. Daniel was a man of vast business but he could find time for prayer — three times a day.

III. THE KNOWLEDGE THAT ENHANCED THE VALUE OF THE PERFORMANCE. We all know that an action we admire, would not discover the same degree of principle in all circumstances. When a man is surrounded with honour and applause — then — to think of himself soberly — this evinces his humility. When a man is insulted and injured — then — to rule his own spirit, and render blessing for cursing — this marks his patience and meekness. When a man sees his danger, but says "none of these things move me," this is the trial and the triumph of his conviction and resolution. Daniel knew that the writing was signed, yet he determined to stand his ground. Whence we learn, that no danger should hinder a man from doing his work. Some, no doubt, would press Daniel to yield. Some would plead loyalty. Some would plead usefulness. Some would have recommended a plan of accomodation. When Sir Thomas Abney was Mayor of London, he made no scruple at the Lord Mayor's feast, to rise in the evening and inform the company that he was going to withdraw, to perform the worship of God in his family, after which he would return again. Daniel by his example, rendered himself peculiarly useful. He obtained by this example the most distinguished honour. Whatever the world may think, there is a reality in religion; and it more than indemnifies its followers.

(William Jay.)

Daniel, as his enemies expected, honoured God rather than man, set at nought the imperious mandate, and punctually performed his accustomed devotions with a fearlessness of the results that did him honour.

1. THE COURAGE AND STEDFASTNESS OF DANIEL. Christians in any state, should, to a certain extent, submit, for the sake of quiet, even to overstrained demands, and to regulations which their judgment may disapprove. Yet there are bounds to this forbearance; and a faithful servant of God will be content to endure any extremities, though with due reverence to the powers that be, sooner than comply with orders that violate conscience, or that clash with the discharge of paramount and higher duties.

II. THE RETIREMENT OF DANIEL, AND HIS SPIRIT OF DEVOTION. What was his moral regimen? Retirement. Three times a day he withdrew into solitude, to compose his thoughts, to plume his ruffled spirits, to adjust his principles, and to commune with his God.

III. THE TOPICS OF HOLY DANIEL'S MEDITATION AND DEVOTION. There would be direct reflection towards his active services; for he would judge contemplation to be preparatory to usefulness, as the leaves precede the fruit. This eminent example is pregnant with various instruction. Note the courage and stedfastness, the importance of devout retirement, which is the nursery of genius, the school of meditation, the forge of profound thought, of lofty enterprise, and of solemn purpose. Note also the religious turn of Daniel's meditations. Indicated by his looking towards Jerusalem as he prayed.

(J Grant, M.A.)

The text states the result of the scheming of his enemies, so far as Daniel's conduct was concerned. He altered not his course in the smallest degree. We observe in him no levity; no sarcastic defiance of the unrighteous law; no vain boasting of his superior religious knowledge; but a calm, serious, steady perseverance in the worship of God, which he knew that he could not neglect without exposing himself to a punishment infinitely more terrible than any that the courtiers of Babylon could devise, or the King of Babylon inflict.

I. THE NATURE OF DANIEL'S DEVOTIONS. "He prayed, and gave thanks before his God."

1. He prayed of all religious duties there is not one that is more important than prayer. It is, in fact, essentially connected with the origin and progress of personal goodness, with all spiritual blessings and enjoyments; and with the right discharge of our several obligations. Prayer is the grand means of receiving acceptance with God, and a participation of his holiness. The promises of Scripture are addressed to our faith, and their fulfilment is granted to persevering and believing prayer, and to that only. Numerous are the duties enjoined on us by the law and gospel of God. We cannot render to him acceptable obedience but under his gracious aid; nor will that aid be vouchsafed but in answer to prayer. Various are the evil influences which are perpetually erected upon the minds of good men, to draw them aside from the path of obedience. By the power of God only can they be preserved. The seasonable interposition of that power is to be sought in earnest prayer. Many are the sorrows connected with our present state of probation. Only by prayer can these afflictions be sanctified. It is by prayer especially that the people of God express their sympathy with the general misery of the world. Man was created for intercourse and communion with God. Whatever may be the dictates of what is called "natural religion," the revelation which God has made of himself in his word directly tends to impress the minds of men with the necessity of prayer, and to encourage them in this holy duty.

2. He "gave thanks before his God." Thanksgiving to God is a very delightful part of religious duty, and one which always accompanies the excuse of true prayer. The men who pray aright receive many blessings from God; and these kindle their hearts feelings of lively gratitude to the Giver of all good. The spirit and habit of thanksgiving to God are peculiar to those who, being born from above, are made new creatures. Thanksgiving to God refers to the benefits which we have received from him. These benefits are numerous beyond calculation; they are inconceivably great; and they are all absolutely unmerited and free. Daniel's thanksgivings were not interrupted by any of the calamities that he met with.

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THEY WERE PERFORMED.

1. They were performed in his chamber. He courted not the public attention. There are sins, imperfections, wants, and temptations, of which we are individually conscious, and which it is our duty fully and freely to confess to God; yet many of them it would be highly improper distinctly to specify, either in the domestic assembly, or the public congregation.

2. His devotions were performed on his knees. No wise man will despise the outward decencies and proprieties of divine worship. With reverence end humility all our attitudes, the very tones of our voice, should strictly correspond.

3. Daniel performed his devotions with his face towards Jerusalem. Partly because of his affectionate regard for his native land. It seems, however, to have been a common Jewish custom.

4. His devotions were performed with frequency and regularity. This is a proof of sound wisdom, as well as of an eminently devout spirit.

5. His devotions were performed with unswerving fidelity and perseverance. The history of Daniel presents(1) a proof of the power and sufficiency of divine grace.(2) Observe the manner m which he obtained the grace.(3) Be careful to show the benefits of prayer in the uprightness of your lives.(4) Note how the "Lord trieth the righteous."

(T. Jackson.)

Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God. Though. an unbending advocate for truth and righteousness, though a thorough opposer to idolatry, he was raised by a holy providence to the first station under the Persian Monarch. It is worthy of notice that the ungodly ordinarily assail the servants of the Most High, in those particulars respecting which God has claimed their services. Obedience to the moral law, or to any positive statute of Christ's Kingdom, has often been an occasion of calling forth their severe censure, and awakening a determination to overthrow them. There was one characteristic of Daniel which had not escaped the knowledge of these presidents and princes. They knew that he was a man of prayer, They understood that he was so attached to his work, as not easily to be driven from it. They supposed that he could not live thirty days without prayer. You will readily see what opinion the Babylonian idolaters had of the piety of Daniel. Here was a time when the mind of Daniel must have been brought to look distinctly at the consequences of perseverance in calling upon God. He could look forward to the day when, from his high elevation in the government, he should be taken and cast alive into the den of lions. See how he might have reasoned with himself, and excused, yielding, and giving up his prayer habits for a time. He might have adopted the opinion that, under such circumstances, compliance with forms is not essential. But the prophet could not be turned aside from true worship of Jehovah. He never seems to have sought for a way in which he might evade, on the one hand, a full performance of his duty to God, and on the other, the vengeance of Babylon. It is as impossible to have a spirit of prayer, which does not put its possessor into the attitude and the work of prayer, as it is to have a principal of natural life which does not set the heart to beat, the blood to circulate, and the limbs to move. Prayer should ordinarily put into undivided and combined use the feelings, the thoughts, and the tongue. This last was the manner in which Daniel prayer. Will you now go to Daniel's God, and take him to be your God? The care which he showed to Daniel, the protection which he gave to this servant in an hour when the ungodly rushed upon him to destroy him, ought to commend him to your affection and confidence. He is worthy to be believed, obeyed, and adored. To those who call on his name, he will surely reveal himself in hours of calamity and distress. But remember the example of the prophet and walk in his steps. In some respects the lives of the saints illustrate portions of duty, which could not be exemplified by our Lord Jesus Christ. Though Jesus was a perfect example of obedience to the law, and in this respect ought to be followed, yet he could not be a pattern of the exercise of the Christian graces, for he had no occasion to repent, believe, or humble himself for sin. But all these Christian graces are illustrated in the feelings and actions of the ancient saints; and hence they are set before us everywhere in the New Testament as examples. While you meditate on this wonderful man, and on his wonderful deliverance, walk in his steps. Be neither intimidated, nor flattered, nor deluded into an abandonment of such prayer as that of the prophet. Let the warmth of internal piety control, and bring them into the work of supplication; and as it flows forth, let it employ your members as instruments of righteousness, and let your tongues call upon God, and speak his praise.

(J. Foot, D.D.)

To be prepared for the future, and to make some provision against the contingencies and misfortunes of life, is a duty, the propriety of which we all admit. The same principle operates on most of us with regard to religion. We have a consciousness, a conviction that existence does not terminate with death, and therefore to the prudent and thoughtful the future seems to demand the most anxious attention and most careful preparation. There is, therefore, in most minds, a desire to secure some ground of hope, some interest in the favour of that great and awful Being into whose hand we are again to commit the disembodied spirit, and who regulates all the affairs of the world, and the business of life. It must be the height of human felicity to have in addition to other grounds of confidence, the persuasion that we are under the mighty guardianship of God, and have, in the assurance of his power and love, a remedy for those evils which are beyond bureau control. Christ came to sweep away at once every obstacle and every doubt as to the character of God. We require you to associate God with all your affairs, to look to Him in all your distresses, to rely upon Him in all your difficulties. The Almighty is just what the psalmist describes when he calls Him a "refuge," and a "very present help in trouble." Man, from his circumstances and necessities, is constantly in need of such a refuge, of timely aid, of present help. It is of importance to know how this assistance may be reached, how this shelter may be secured. The answer is simple and obvious, by prayer. Prayer is the password which admits us into the presence of God; prayer is the spring which sets in motion the beneficent machinery of the invisible world, the summons which stirs the throng of ministering spirits, and causes them to rush down to our rescue. Prayer is the putting forth an appeal which, though weak in its argument, is irresistible with God, which moves Him at once to exercise His power on our behalf, and His mercy in our salvation. Daniel came to be placed in circumstances of great danger, and had a wonderful escape. The enemies of Daniel were just those which everybody finds who is in a better position than his neighbours. The charm which he employed, the miraculous help he called forth, was simply — "He kneeled upon his knees, and prayed before his God, as he did aforetime." Such is an instance which the Scriptures supply, to show the power and success of prayer. It only remains for me to urge you to acquire and make trial of the prayerful gift. We are all more or less acquainted with the duty, but not many of us are aware of its comfort and value. When a man's heart is filled with the love of God, he delights in prayer he derives his happiness from it. Prayer is with him the breathing of the soul — the means by which he obtains his spiritual food — the channel by which he carries on converse with his dearest and best friend. What food is to the body, what sunshine is to the earth, what health is to the sick, and joy to the sorrowing, such is the privilege and happiness of prayer to the Christian believer. Hence Daniel would allow nothing to hinder him from his prayers. He could bring himself to do without comforts and luxuries, so as to live on pulse and water; he could afford the loss of rank and honours, and the favour of his sovereign; he could even risk the peril of the lion's den, but he could not live without conversing with his God." This too is the custom, this the solace, of the true believer now. Whatever the form of temptation which assaults him, whatever the sorrow that befals him, he can find relief from all. If you approach him in prayer, all his power, and all his goodness will be exercised on your behalf.

(A. O. Wickstead, M.A.)

It has commonly been taught that prayer consists of four parts — adoration, thanksgiving, confession, petition. There is a fifth part, total surrender to God. If you would know whether there is anything in prayer, try an experiment of prayer of the genuine sort. At a later stage of the progress of the soul towards the attitude of the complete consent of all its faculties to the supremacy of conscience, it usually happens that secret meditation and secret prayer have been measurably reduced to a habit.. The time then speedily comes when, not merely in glimpses of light, but with considerable steadiness, the man desires to see the truth, even in relation to his own most secret sins; a period arrives when he is no longer willing to feed himself upon sophistries; he wishes to face the facts of existence as they are. This wish is propounded when he is most completely alone, and most penetratingly conscious of the Divine Omnipresence. The point to be proved is the. value of secret meditaton, and. prayer. The single proposition by which the point is proved, is that secret meditation and prayer have a peculiar adaptedness to secure the commencement of continuation of Christian. life in. the soul. This proposition is itself supported by four considerations.

1. Their peculiar adaptedness to promote religious thoughtfulness.

2. Their peculiar tendency to secure the supremacy of conscience.

3. Their peculiar adaptedness to preserve in the soul a sense of the Divine Omnipresence.

4. Their influence is attested by all that is known of the inner life of the best examples of religious experience among men. It is no new theological doctrine that God changes the soul according to the laws of the soul.

(Joseph Cook.)

The Thinker.
1. In the eagerness of rationalism to discredit the Book of Daniel, exception has been taken to the practice of praying at the three points of the day. Such a devotional plan is said to have filtered from India "into the neighbouring countries of the West," and that not until Maccabean times. But the objector had forgotten Psalm 4:17, or has to move it also to a later date. To ascribe this praying thrice to a Parsee origin is to forget that Parsee worship is a worship not merely at the turning-points of the day, but a worship of those portions of time.

2. This chapter contains a vivid picture of human nature, corrupt nature. The fact than Daniel was placed "above the presidents and princes" excited their envy. But what a witness we have in Daniel's integrity, that his enemies could find nothing to lay hold of except "concerning the law of his God." Then the shadow creeps again across the scene; and the intoxication of power, and the fascination of flattery and vain glory, is a sickening spectacle of human folly and deceit. See how Daniel behaved under the circumstances.

I. HIS CALMNESS.

1. There was enough to call up resentment. He was marked out as a victim by a secret cabal.

2. He did not angrily complain or demand any explanation. He retired to his chamber and prayed to God.

3. Calmness is the result of confidence in God.

4. Prayer was nothing new; it was the prophet's habit. The affairs of state, and the vast concerns which demanded his attention, did not thrust aside the claims of God. He found time for prayer, and turned to the fountain of light for guidance in the discharge of his daily duties.

II. HIS DEVOTION.

1. Its regularity. "All nations and all faiths of cultivated men have chosen the twilight hour, morning and evening, for their devotion." Though the midday prayer was not so general, yet pious souls at noontide refreshed themselves with an act of divine communion.

2. The posture. Kneeling. The higher spirituality which affects to disregard the posture of the body in acts of worship, finds no countenance in the Scriptures.

3. The direction. "Toward Jerusalem." Perhaps in obedience to the law (Deuteronomy 12:11), or to the Sotomonic injunction (1 Kings 8:44). Thus reminded of God's promises.

III. HIS COURAGE.

1. The open windows are evidence that Daniel did not wish to hide his actions.

2. His faithfulness to God is more meritorious when his history is taken into account. Lessons.(1) The warning against the subtle sin of envy must not be over-looked.(2) The calmness of the prophet, and his immediate turning to God at this dire crisis, have the link of connection which has cause to effect. Calmness in difficulties is the product of confidence in and communion with God.(3) Daniel's devotion is exemplary in its regularity, reverence and direction. The windows open "towards Jerusalem" should remind us of the heavenward gaze of the soul in time of prayer.(4) Those who plead circumstances as an excuse for their moral and spiritual failure should contemplate the courage and faith- fulness of Daniel amid an environment full of difficulty and danger.

(The Thinker.)

It is always interesting to catch a glimpse of the private life of a distinguished man. A public career is seldom a revelation of character. History is constantly reversing the partial imperfect judgments of a passing generation: Heroes are destroyed or ennobled, as conduct is traced to its motives, and as motives discover character. A single passage of Holy Scripture conducts us to the private room of an Oriental statesman, and permits us to observe his daily life.

1. We see a statesman at prayer. Prayer is the best evidence of religion. Religion begins in the prayer of penitence, and it culminates in the prayer of "fellowship with the Father, and with his Son, Jesus Christ." Therefore we have a right to conclude that Daniel was a religious man. He had ever been loyal to God, and had ever enjoyed the restraints and encouragements of religion. He held firmly to the religion of his ancestors. He was not ashamed to be known as a godly man! His career was certainly a remarkable one. The religion of the Bible, as we see it in Daniel, is adapted to a busy life. Indeed, the concerns or occupations of a busy life demand the restraints and encouragements which this religion imposes. Besides religion places the present life in true relations to another the future life. Religion consoles us when we are disappointed, and cheers us when we are sad, and makes us conscious of God's help and blessing, and teaches us the great lesson that to be is better than to yet; to possess a noble character is the purpose of our existence. The offering of a noble character is the best tribute that a mortal can render to God, who creates, preserves, redeems, and sanctifies.

2. As we observe that the windows of Daniel's chamber are open toward Jerusalem. There the glory of God rested upon the mercy seat, which could be reached only through the appointed mediation of the High Priest. The redemptive idea was thus emphasized. Jerusalem was the city of redemption, because it had the temple. The pious emotions of devout men turned instinctively to Jerusalem, where the sacrifices were constantly offered. And through Christ we have access to the Father. His redemption is a constant appeal. The redemptive element in the divine character is always attractive. Men do not get very near to God, nor do they ever keep very near to him, unless they feel the constraint of redemptive love.

3. As we learn that Daniel is accustomed to kneel in his chamber three times each day, we are impressed with the necessity of frequent and stated seasons of prayer. Note the frequency and the regularity of this busy man's prayers. Have your stated seasons of prayer, and then believe that, at any hour, and in any place, you may cry unto God, and that he will hear you.

4. As we watch the enemies of Daniel, who rejoice that they have succeeded in their designs against him, we realise that the calm fulfilment of duty will ever meet with opposition, which God is able to over-rule. When Daniel knew that the work of his enemies was accomplished, what did he do? Moved calmly forward with the momentum of his devoted life, entering his chamber each day as usual, and praying there as he had been accustomed to pray. The pressure of an emergency was not to be the occasion of his fall. He was in God s hands. And the duty of prayer was evident. The conclusion of the whole matter is, to bring God consciously into life; to live with reference to his approval; to exercise a wise discrimination; to advance calmly but steadily; to be religious in the market place, and in the parlour, as well as in the sanctuary — such are a few of the lessons which we may carry away with us as we turn from the Chamber of Daniel, and go again to meet the toil and the conflict of a busy world.

(Henry M. Booth, D.D.)

From this event in Daniel's life we learn,

I. PRINCIPLE IS THE CENTRAL POWER OF LIFE. The principle which distinguishes morally between men is a conviction of the difference between right and wrong, ascertained on good grounds, and carried out in the details of life. The orderly, irreproachable character of Daniel's behaviour in ordinary matters is remarkable. We sometimes meet people with great principles who do not seem to have discovered the application of them to their usual habits. It is by doing small and common things with uncommon care that we form the habits by which the highest end is attained. Daniel's conduct was guided by principle. This will become plain if we notice where he lived. His neighbours were pagans, and their scoffing jests, and unrestrained licentiousness were at variance both with the profession and the practice of a godly life. Mark also how Daniel was occupied. The common excuse for the neglect of religious duties, that men have no time for them; strikingly refuted by the instance before us. Then look at what Daniel was threatened with. Principle must have had a strong hold of his heart to enable him to resist his fears. There were so many loopholes by which a less resolute heart might have escaped the danger. Seldom is a situation outwardly so sublime as Daniel's; but we greatly err if we forget that there are parallels to it on every side of us. If there are no lions' dens, there are the snares of business, and the power of fashion, and the fear of the world's laugh.

II. PRINCIPLE IS NOURISHED BY HABITS OF DEVOTION. Daniel's case not only enforces the duty of prayer, but explains its nature, and in every aspect in which we look at him as he prays, we are instructed by the sight. See what we learn about the manner of prayer. The need of privacy and retirement. The attitude — kneeling. The frequency of the praying. Observe what we can gather concerning the matter of prayer. In so far as it consisted of supplication, we easily imagine what he would pray for. He addressed God as "his God." How instructive it is to learn that Daniel gave thanks. Three thoughts in conclusion.

(1)True prayer cannot exist without faith.

(2)Faith cannot exist without prayer. prayer is the first, the best, the habitual exercise of faith.

(3)Young men have need of both faith and prayer.Let them try the good old plan of principle as the central power, and prayer as the unfailing oil by which that principle is lighted. It was thus that our ancestors made such strong men in contending for their faith. They were men of one Book, and they were much given to prayer. Let young men take with them faith in Daniel's God, with prayer to Him as their Father and Friend, and they will step forth to labour on the opening fields of life, hearing their Master's voice, "My son, go work to-day in my vineyard."

(A. MacEwen, D.D.)

Are we taught to pray that those good things which by nature we cannot have, may yet by the goodness and peace of the Spirit be worked in us? Then there is offered to us the life of Daniel — the man especially of prayer, and by a consideration of the circumstances in which Daniel was placed, the fidelity with which he persisted in supplication to God, and the deliverances which were wrought for him, we learn how very much the prayer of the righteous availeth, and that God is indeed both a hearer and an answerer of prayer. This prayer was the characterising pecularity of Daniel.

1. No changes of life, or of abode, or of companions, could interrupt or shake the constancy of his adoration to God, and his hourly sense of dependence upon the Almighty.

2. Notice the example which Daniel has set us in his habit of prayer. How frequently he prayed. The posture he assumed in prayer. His indifference to the observations of wicked men. In conclusion, I would explain what are the blessings which you may look for, if you do imitate him

(A. Gatty, M. A.)

Daniel appears from first to last to have kept innocent, and to have done what was right before God. The explanation is in the text. Daniel was a man of prayer. The Lord whom he sought upheld his goings. This was the secret of Daniel's strength, his habit of daily earnest prayer.

1. When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his chamber and set open its windows toward Jerusalem. That opening of the window was a mark that Daniel kept true to the worship of his fathers, and was not to be induced by any threat or promise, to go after other gods and serve them. In this, he is a pattern to us.

2. The text says, he "kneeled upon his knees." His custom was to worship God with his body, soul and spirit; to omit nothing in his act of worship, which might serve to express the earnestness of his supplication, and the depth of his humility.

3. Notice the frequency of his prayer. "Three times a day." At nine, at noon, and at three in the afternoon. No doubt, Daniel lived a life of constant communing with God; but, with this, he had fixed hours for distinct acts of devotion. How is it then that we are found neglecting prayer? We might all of us find a few minutes in every day, for lifting up our heart to God.

4. Daniel had long been in the habit of praying. He did now only what he had been accustomed to do aforetime. Prayer was not a new thing to him — not something taken up in haste, and on an emergency, but the regular daily practice of his life. This teaches us a lesson. If we are to know the privilege and blessing of communion with God — if we are to have God always at hand for our support and succour, we must accustom ourselves betimes to call upon him.

(R. D. B. Rawnsley, M.A.)

There is an instance of true courage rising out of right principles. It was not defiant, not obtrusive; but calm, cool, strong. Daniel was eighty-five years old. Though great, he bowed before God. Though busy, he found time to pray. Though wise, he did not escape envy.

I. LOOK AT HIS WORSHIP.

1. It was his established custom. Not commencing with the danger. Not ceasing before the danger.

2. It was in his chamber. Where he retired into his individuality. Where he returned to his nationality. Where he reverted to his inferiority.

3. It was on his knees. (18). So Stephen (Acts 7:60); Peter (Acts 9:40); Paul (Acts 20:36); Christians at Tyre (Acts 21:5); Solomon (1 Kings 8:54); Jesus (Luke 22:41). The attitude of humility. The posture of reverence. The position of creaturehood.

4. It was towards Jerusalem. His Father's God. His native temple. His heart's home.

5. It was three times a day. So David (Psalm 55:17). Punctuality. Continuity. (21). Frequency.

II. LOOK AT HIS TEMPTATION. The king asks no homage. The cessation only for a season. The conditions very severe.

III. LOOK AT HIS SUPPORT. God may interpose. If not, death sets him free for heaven. Whether he lives or dies, God glorified.

IV. LOOK AT HIS DELIVERANCE. His own heart cheered. Israel's spirits raised. The monarch's testimony given. Jehovah's name made known. The servant of God stands out in glorious contrast. Flatterers, plotters, are round him. He in his integrity, sincerity, simplicity, faith, has shamed them all.

(John Richardson, M.A.)

People imagine that Daniel went into his house, and opened his windows that everybody might see him. This was not the fact. To have done so would not have been religious courage, but foolhardiness and ostentation. Such conduct would have been mere bravado, a trifling with death. Religious courage is a calmer, wiser, braver thing. In a warm climate, the windows would be, as a matter of course, open, as we throw wide our windows in the summer. In later times, perhaps at the time of the captivity, the houses of Jews were built with an upper chamber, a room not in common use, a room in which to receive guests, and to which the people of the house might retire for meditation and prayer. Dr. Robinson's description of the house of the American consular agent at Sidon may help us to conceive aright of Daniel's house at Babylon. "His house was a large one, built upon the eastern wall of the city; the rooms were spacious, and furnished with more appearance of wealth than any I saw in the country. An upper parlour, with many windows, on the roof of the proper house, resembled a summer palace, and commanded a delightful view of the country towards the east, full of trees and gardens and country houses, quite to the foot of the mountains." Into such a chamber Daniel was wont to retire. Perhaps this was known to be the habit of his life. The windows (similar to our venetian blinds) were usually open, so they must be open now, for to seem to forego a duty or a principle is to forego it!

(H. T. Robjohns, B.A.)

One of the first things we notice about Daniel is his persistence in prayer to his God. He was a man, not of intermittent but of constant prayer. In the Old Testament we find examples of prayer, but not express commands to pray. Daniel not only prayed regularly, but he persisted in doing so, in the face of the enmity of the great ones of the kingdom, in defiance of the very edict of the Viceroy, Darius himself, and with the knowledge that he would be exposed to great peril, perhaps to loss d life in consequence. Though he was not actually a martyr, he was one in spirit, if not in reality. It is not always easy to find sufficient moral courage to persist manfully in one's duty to God in the face of difficulties and dangers. The world in general attaches a higher value to physical than to moral courage; but in this, as in so many other cases, its judgment is quite wrong. There are sure to be many occasions in our daily life, in which we shall all need this moral courage. Some of us have it naturally in higher degree than others: but the weakest of us has a way to obtain strength from God, in which he can clothe himself as in unpenetrable armour — and that way is prayer. Another trait in Daniel is the unostentatious manner of his piety. We do not read that he ever paraded his love of God before the eyes of those who were around him, or. that he made a show of it in public. His religion was of that quiet and unobtrusive kind which insensibly wins the hearts of those who behold it, and convinces them of its earnestness and reality. The same spirit of modest and retiring devotion he showed all through his life. It would be well indeed if Daniel's modest and unobtrusive piety were imitated more generally than it is now-a-days. We live in an age of deception and sham. Men appear to have arrived at the conclusion that no success can be achieved in any way without constant advertisement — self-advertisement. It seems to have come to this — that no man is to be considered worthy of any regard who does not trumpet forth his own merits in the loudest key. Not only in public but in private there seems to be a lessening of that reverent respect which should enshroud all that relates to God and his holy religion. There is another lesson we may learn from the history of Daniel, and that is, that God will not forsake those who truly love and worship him. But if we would have Daniel's reward, we must also have Daniel's faith; and if some now-a-days think that they are forsaken by their Heavenly Father, they must search and try their hearts and see whether the fault be not their own, before they presume to doubt the power of the Almighty to help them, for he will not listen to those who pray to him to him with their lips and not their hearts, as he has commanded them to do. The Jewish prophet did not try to temporise, to obey Darius and the dictates of his own conscience at the same time — he saw clearly what his duty was, and persisted manfully and honestly in carrying it out. Let us too try to serve God with singleness of heart, and uprightness of purpose, let us be, as Daniel was, prayerful, resolute, full of genuine and unostentatious piety, so that we may have the continual countenance of God with us, as he had.

(E. Martin Venn, B.A.)

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.)

If we consider the prophet's situation, it will surely teach us much concerning both the frequency and the mode in which we ought to pray. Daniel was in a heathen country. He had much and laborious occupation. His situation was one of danger. The question now before us is not so much whether we ought to pray, as in what manner we should fulfil this essential duty. Remember that upon this occasion he was in much tribulation. Yet with all his prayers he offered also a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. Let us abhor the sin of ingratitude. Perhaps you complain that the duties of your station in life, duties which you cannot lesson or omit, render it impossible for you to give that attention to those religious services which you feel to be due from the creature to his Creater. Take a lesson from busy Daniel, O that we may have his wisdom in discerning that no intensity of business can justify or palliate the neglect of prayer and praise. Learn also that this man who prayed "three times a day," acted thus "as he did aforetime"; and our services should be systematic, frequent, and persevering. There was no unusual fervour in Daniel's prayers and praises under these unusual and unexpected trials. If rule and system be necessary to the success of worldly transactions, surely, we might infer their important use in all the concerns of religion. As to the mode or manner of prayer, we notice that Daniel, when he prayed, attended to certain forms. He opened the windows of his chamber. He kneeled upon his knees. He looked towards Jerusalem. Enough has been said to prove that, however willing Daniel was to obey the laws of the land when not in opposition to the laws of God, he was determined, if the case required, to die rather than dishonour his God; being anxious only that God should be magnified in his body, whether it were by his life, or by his death.

(Beaver H. Blacker, M.A.)

In every age there have been witnesses for God men who have stood pre-eminent among their brethren for piety, rising above the ordinary level of spiritual attainment, and shedding around them, in the midst of darkness, the steady light of a holy conversation. The exigencies of times required that such faithful witnesses for the true God should be raised up by a special providence, should be qualified for the task assigned to them, and carried through all its difficulties with credit to themselves, and to the cause in which they were embarked. The histories of such eminent individuals are preserved, on the imperishable record of inspiration, for the instruction of future ages. Their examples are held forth as models of imitation; and in this manner, "though dead," they "still speak to the world and to the Church," in the language of reproof, of encouragement, and of faithful admonition. The words of the text stand connected with a very distinguished character.

1. The history of Daniel. One of the children of the captivity, who showed early signs of genius. A circumstance soon occurred which at once proved the strength of his faith, and the supernatural character of his gifts, while it brought him into notice, and paved the way for his future advancement. Interpreting the forgotten dream of the king. His exalted station only rendered his piety more conspicuous, and its practical exertions useful on a larger scald. When Darius became King, he honored Daniel with high trust. Then came the envious scheme to destroy him, which seemed to succeed. It was a scheme characterised at once by impiety and absurdity. Daniel remained calm and unmoved amid the dangers which now surrounded him. The paramount rights of conscience and God, he fails not to respect. God defends his faithful servant. The time of man's extremity is often the time when God signally interposes in behalf of his people, and at this particular time and place, a supernatural testimony to the true religion, in the person of its distinguished representative, was essentially necessary. The effect on the mind of Darius was deep and powerful.

2. Lessons of practical piety, which the conduct of Daniel, in the instance before us, is designed and fitted to furnish to our minds.(1) An edifying example of well-principled and well-regulated devotion. Daniel, though a great man, was not ashamed to acknowledge a higher and greater than himself; to cherish towards him the sentiments and feelings of ardent piety, and to bow the knee in his presence, in the attitude of prayer. Prayer he recognised as a duty, and cherished as a source of consolation. Along with his petitions he "gave thanks." This was his ordinary practice.(2) A noble example of stedfastness in the faith. Daniel knew that the decree was signed, and even a man of sincerity in the main might have thought himself warranted, in a case so trying, to have used a little management to secure his life, and yet not violate his principles. Plans and schemes, plausible as they might appear, would not do for Daniel. They all proceeded on the principle of concealment, or omission of duty, or a change in the usual manner of doing it, and all from the fear of man, which bringeth a snare. Daniel was a public man, and the representation of the more religious part of his countrymen, and the most prominent witness to the honours of the true God, in the midst of surrounding idols. The eyes of many were, therefore, on him; and had he failed, or appeared to fail now, when his principles were brought so decidedly to the test, "it would have been as when a standard bearer fainteth." Individuals of less decided character, and moving in a lower and more obscure sphere, might act with caution and reserve, but Daniel, who was a veteran in the army of the saints, and who had so many eyes upon him, must act with more courage, and for this very reason too, that he knew the law to be made expressly for him. He resolves not even to come short of his ordinary and accustomed duty. Our temptations to hide our religion from others are trifling in the extreme when compared with Daniel, and the good men of other days. So that our guilt is exceedingly magnified if it be so that we conceal our religious views for fear of displeasing those whom we wish to serve. Even now the disciples of the Redeemer may be called to suffer persecution. The sneer of ridicule may be pointed at their superior sanctity. In the ordinary commerce of life, there will be trials of faith, and Christians may be called to hold fast their integrity, at some considerable expense. The world loves consistency, and Daniel, through a long life of tried integrity, commanded the respect of his most determined enemies.(3) We have in Daniel a practical illustration of the grand principles whence all true devotion, and all genuine piety must flow. Daniel prayed with his window open towards Jerusalem. Here is in this the pious recognition of Jehovah, as, in the most affecting and important sense, the God of Israel. The mercy seat is recognised as the symbol of divine mercy to mankind, and as typical of that "throne of grace," sprinkled with the blood of the Redeemer, to which "we have access with boldness, through the faith of him."

(Robert Burns, D.D.)

Never, surely did the spirit and power of devotion shine forth with greater lustre, than at this time, in the person of Daniel, upon his knees, in such circumstances. Nothing ever ought to make us omit our daily devotions. It had been no wonder to have seen Daniel devout in Jerusalem. For there was the temple, the true church and worship. But he was now in a strange, heathen land. Perhaps, we think we have too much business upon our hands, to spare time for our devotions. Time is very precious with most people, when they are to perform their devotions; and if they have not enough for everybody, they generally make free, in the first place, with their Creator. Let these men of business consider the case of Daniel. It would puzzle one to conceive a man in a situation that would afford him less leisure. Yet all this business did Daniel discharge faithfully and punctually, and found time to pray, and give thanks before his God, thrice every day constantly. And this he continued to do, even when the law was passed, which made it certain death. We may learn from this great example, as to the place, posture, time, and matter of our daily devotions. Prayer and thanksgiving were the two parts of Daniel's daily service. Constancy in prayer can open the way to all blessings.

(Bishop Horne.)

Evidently trials of moral integrity and earnest religiousness have been as keen in days of old as in our own time; and the power whose tone and force they embalm is a power which is available for us.

I. THE CHARACTER REQUIRED OF RELIGION IN THE WORLD IS A COMBINATION OF FIDELITY TO GOD AND FIDELITY TO MAN — OR GODLINESS WITH UPRIGHTNESS. There maybe fidelity to man where there is not fidelity to God; but we cannot reverse this statement, and yet accord the truth. For a man to be faithful to his Lord, and unfaithful or deceiving towards his fellow-men, is simply impossible. The impenetrable gulf is, however, attempted. The man who fulfils what is due to his fellow-men, and also that which is due to God — who wears the worthiness belonging to morality, and the dignity belonging to spirituality — he alone represents the true character of religion in the world. Like a stately, tree, he strikes his roots downwards to draw all that is adapted to his life from the soft; and spreads his boughs, and opens his leaves, to catch the rain and the light of heaven. Such an one was Daniel. His enemies regarded him as a servant of God so firmly attached to him, that he would endure any loss in preference to being unfaithful. Surely such should be the views taken of every religious man.

II. HIS RELIGIOUS CHARACTER IS OFTEN DISLIKED. Daniel was no favourite with the other officers of the Median despot. I do not doubt that the dislike was rather to his uprightness than to his godliness. The secret homage which is paid to righteous proceedings prevented those high officials from directly attacking Daniel's administration. They scheme to overturn it by means of his fear of God. Uprightness is certainly worth something in our market, though it is not found at every stall. It may be as well to add that there is often a qualification of this dislike, in that worldly men are not always unwilling to use the consciousness and ability of a godly man. In trying circumstances they are known to pass by their most intimate friends and confide their cases to him who, by his fidelity to God and man, has been a butt for their frivolity, yet compelled their respect.

III. THERE IS A WAY OF SECURING THIS RELIGIOUS CHARACTER. Supposing a man to be the possessor of the right character, how is he to maintain it notwithstanding all oppositions? Undoubtedly by his help who has impressed the character upon him. One of the methods he has chosen is prayer. Daniel was not wrongly judged by his enemies, and his course sets prayer in its human aspect before us. How prayer keeps step with the unswerving march of God's established laws, neither Scripture nor speculation determines. God enjoins, teaches, and hears prayer, and our concern is more with the right employment of this mighty instrument than with the way in which it operates on the government of God, if it is to be a support to godliness and uprightness.

1. Prayer demands a decisive step. Daniel went to pray at once. He went to pray undisguisedly.

2. Prayer must express various convictions. Daniel made it the medium of showing dependence upon, and the gratitude towards God. He affords an instance of the morally sublime. The conviction that God can help forms our addresses to him into requests; the conviction that he has helped, and will help, constitutes the framework of thanks.

3. Prayer should have suitable aids. Daniel kneeled, with his face toward Zion.

4. Prayer should be frequent. Daniel set apart three times a day for this exercise. And he did so, not under the pressure of threatening calamity, but from a settled desire of his soul.

(D. G. Watt, M.A.)

When we contemplate the character of Daniel, one thing to be remembered is, that by the grace of God he was what he was. He was not only a moral and virtuous man, in the highest degree in which morality and virtue have ever been displayed by men, but he was a man of spiritual godliness. With God's special grace, Daniel could not have been what Daniel was, any more than Paul would have been what he became by grace. There was spiritual life in his soul. Without the regenerating, and sanctifying, saving grace of God, you may be amiable in your disposition and conduct, respected and honoured as useful members of society, but you cannot, because you are such, conclude that the life of God is in your souls. The chief points in the religious character and conduct of Daniel are his courage and consistency. See in him the wide difference between godly fear, and natural cowardice and terror. Godly fear was the very thing which made Daniel brave and fearless? The true fear of God, is another name for the love of God. This fear, this love, dismissed all other fear from Daniel's soul. If there is one situation more than another in which it is difficult to hold peaceful communion with God, it is where we know and feel ourselves to be watched by the eyes and ears of scoffers, who hate personal religion, and ridicule prayer, and what they think overmuch righteousness. But Daniel's soul was able, resolutely and devoutly, to meet such circumstances, and to rise above them; so courageous, so consistent, so calm was he in the service of God, through the grace which was given to him. See also, in Daniel, how the grace of God is able to preserve a man, as it did him, in the midst of earthly prosperity and power, from the manifold snares which surround them.

(Henry S. Richmond, M.A.)

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