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insolent and proud conceit, he had of his own knowledge and understanding, as if he were wiser than Daniel, and that there was no secret that could be hid from him: which sheweth to how great an height the fame of Daniel's wisdom was at that time grown, since it now became spoken of by way of proverb through all the east. And yet... he could not at this time exceed six and thirty years ”b. Josephus says, “ Daniel having gained the universal esteem of a person highly in favour both with God and man, erected a stately fabric at Ecbatana, the Capital of Media; a work every way wonderful, as well for the structure and strength of it, as for the beauty. The Building is still to be seen, and looks as fresh and as firm at this instant, as if it had been finished but the day you first saw it: Whereas, it fares with other edifices as with human bodies, time wears them out and disfigures them" Hence it is clear, that Daniel's wisdom was not confined to things divine and political, but reached also to arts and sciences, and particularly to Architecture. According to St. Jerom, this Building was erected, not at Ecbatana, but at Susa; For “ the copies of Josephus that are now extant, do indeed place this building at Ecbatana, in Media, but St. Jerom, who gives us the same account of it, word for word, out of Josephus, and professeth so to do, placeth it in Susa, in Persia; which makes it plain, that the copy of Josephus, which he made use of, had it so, and it is nost likely to have been the true reading. For Susa being within the Babylonish empire, the Scripture tells us that Daniel had sometimes his residence there,
b Prid v. i p. 80.
e Jos. L. 10. e. 12.
and the common tradition of those parts hath been for many ages past, that Daniel died in that City, which is now called Tuster, and there they shew his monument even to this day," :
Nor was Daniel less eminent for his PIETY than his wisdom; his regard for his God was not to be shaken either by the allurements of a court, or the persecutions of his enemies. Ezekiel (xiv. 14.) ranks him with Noah and Job: of the former it is said ( Gen. vi. 9), “Noah was a just man, and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God;” And of the latter (Job, i. 1.), that he “was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil." And such also was Daniel's character; for he grew “to so great a perfection and eminency, in all righteousness, holiness, and piety of life, in the sight both of God and man, that he is by God himself, equalled with Noah and Job, and reckoned with these two to make up the three, who of all the Saints, that had till then, lived upon the earth, had the greatest power to prevail with God in their prayers for others. And yet he was then but a young man; for allowing him to be eighteen, when he was carried away to Babylon, among other children, to be there educated and brought up for the service of the king...thirty two at this time must have been the utınost of his age. But he dedicated the prime and vigour of his life to the service of God, and that is the best time to make proficiency therein." e No fear of death could prevent Daniel from rendering to God the duty of prayer and thanksgiving : His enemies laid a snare, by which they hoped to de
d Prid. an. 534.
é Idem 592.
stroy him; but the fear of the lion's den availed not to prevent the discharge of his duty, for “ he kneeled upon
his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime" ( Dan. vi. 10.) And the God whom he served shut the mouths of the lions, preserved the life of his faithful servant, and proved his power to save and defend his people, under the greatest difficulties and persecutions.
In Daniel we also see a real Patriot. Though removed from his own country at an early age, yet he was ever anxious for its welfare and happiness. The temple, the city, and the people of God lay near his heart; and, therefore, we find him, with such earnestness, seeking their deliverance from captivity, by prayer, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. The honours granted to him by various Monarchs, did not make him indifferent to his own people and country; nor did the distinction and fame which he acquired, lessen his humility, or make him forget the distress of others. He employed his influence at Court for the advantage of his nation; and he intercedes with God to have mercy upon the people of his covenant. He says, “Now, therefore, o our God, hear the prayer of thy Servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name... O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name” (Dan. ix. 17–19). No change of place or circumstances ever drew bis affections from the temple and worship of Jehovah, or from bis country and nation: He lamented their afflictions, and employed his influence to remove them.
That Daniel was a PROPHET, in the fullest sense of the word, is proved not only by his writings, but by the express testimony of our Lord ( Mat. xxiv. 15. Mark xiii. 14): He says, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet, stand in the holy place, ... then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains." The testimony of Josephus is also very full to our purpose: He says; Daniel “had this singular blessing attending him, over and above his excellent gift of PROPHECY, that he lived in a high degree of reputation, both with King and People; and at his death, left an immortal memory behind him, to his everlasting honour. For we find by his writings that are yet extant, and in daily use and reading, that beyond all question God admitted him into express colloquies, and revealed to him not only the sum and substance of things to come, as was usual to other PROPHETS, but the very time when such or such an event should come to pass. And whereas other Prophets were more, exercised in the foreboding of calamities, and consequently drew upon themselves envy and ill will both from Princes and People; Daniel, on the contrary, made friends of both, by the good things he told them, which they took delight to hear. And then for the certainty of the event, all Mortals are agreed upon it, that he spake from the dictate of an INFALLIBLE SPIRIT, as may be abundantly gathered also from the writings
which this great Prophet hath left behind him... So that when I consider the Predictions of Daniel, I cannot forgive the ignorance and irreverence of those people that make it their profession to decry Provia dence, as if God took no care of us; for how is it possible there should be such a correspondence betwixt a thing foretold at one time, and fulfilled so many ages after: if, according to their opinion, every thing were left to Hap-hazard?”! What the very learned Prideaux has said respecting Daniel will well apply here: “He was a very extraordinary person both in wisdom and piety; and was favoured of God, and honoured of men, beyond any that had lived in his time. His prophecies respecting the Messiah, and other great events of after-times, are the clearest, and the fullest of all that we have in the Holy Scriptures, in so much that Porphery, in his objections against them, saith, they must have been written after the facts were done. For it seems they rather appeared to him to be a narrative of matters afore transacted, than a prediction of things to come, so great an agreement was there between the facts, when accomplished, and the prophecies which foretold them.”] It is probable that Daniel lived to the age of about ninety one years: For “in the third year of Cyrus, in the first month of that year Daniel did give himself up to mourning and fasting for three weeks together. After this, on the twenty fourth day of that Month; he saw the vision concerning the success of the kings of Persia, the empire of the Macedonians, and the conquests of the Romans,
f Jos. L. 10. c. 12,
& Prid. an. 534.