THE PROPHET DANIEL.
"But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king's meat nor with the wine which he drank. Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself." Dan. 1:8.
It is a very common 'question, nowadays, when we see a successful man, to ask what has been the secret of that man's success. Now when we hear of a successful man in the Bible, it is well for us to inquire the secret of this man's success. I think you will find the secret of a Christian man's success in the eighth verse of the first chapter of that prophet Daniel: "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king's meat nor with the wine which he drank. Therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself."
That's a good place to purpose—in the heart. A great many persons purpose in the head, and never get into the heart. What we want to do is to purpose in the heart, and when we do that it turns the current of our whole life. Our life is right if our heart is right. This young man was taken down to Babylon in early life. I do not know just how young, but somewhere about twenty years old, I suppose. He was a poor Hebrew slave, and with others had been taken to the capital by Nebuchadnezzar, who had taken about ten thousand of the best men captive. After he had got them into Babylon, he told the eunuchs to pick out some of the best slaves—those that were skillful and good-looking, and had some natural ability—and ordered that they be educated in the wisdom of the Chaldeans, and in two years they were to stand before him and have some of the meat and wine that he himself partook of. But there was something in the law of their Lord which taught them that they were not to partake of those things, and they could not touch that wine or that meat without violating the law of their God. I am afraid if they had been like a good many Christians of the present time they would have said, "Well, of course, now down in Jerusalem it would have been different. If we were there we would do as the people of Jerusalem, but now we are in Babylon we must do as the people do;" the same as people say, "When you are in Rome do as the Romans do." People are all the time compromising with what is popular and forgetting their God. Now, if any young man ever had any good excuse for obeying Nebuchadnezzar, these young men had. They could have said, We are in exile, in bondage, in slavery, and why can not we do these things? Not only that, but if they had refused to partake of the meat and the wine, the same as Nebuchadnezzar drank, and it came to his ears, he would get angry and could take their heads off. But, thank God, these young men and Daniel had a purpose. He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with a portion of the king's meat nor with the wine which he drank. If you will allow me the expression, I say that that young man had some backbone. He could say No! at the right time. There are a good many men lost because they cannot say No! at the right time. I believe there are more young men who come to Boston who are lost because they cannot say No, than for any other reason. A young man invites another to the theatre, and perhaps he has promised his mother he would not go to such a place, but he has not the courage to say "No." Or perhaps the young man has a room-mate who is a scoffer and he does not dare to get down and pray before that room-mate, simply because he has not got the moral courage. I like moral courage. I think there are hundreds and thousands to-day who are lost for want of moral courage. They dare not take their stand for God. Thank God that these young men had a purpose and dared to proclaim it. Daniel said to the officer who proffered him the wine: "I cannot drink that wine or eat that meat." I can see that officer looking in perfect amazement at the man and saying: "How is it that you can not eat it?" And Daniel saying, probably: "Well, there is something in the law of my God forbidding it." They did not know anything about any other God in Babylon and it must have been a surprise to hear this.
These Chaldeans had no knowledge of any other God. These Hebrew captives might have said: "If we talk of some unseen God, some strange religious feeling that we have, some unknown religion, we will become unpopular and the butt and ridicule of the men that know us. I think that we had better not say anything about our religion, and keep it covered up, and nobody will know anything about it." But, thank God, those men took their stand on God's side; and whenever a man takes his stand on God's side, God will not forsake him. You honor him and he will honor you. And they said, "Take away that wine and that meat and give us pulse if place of it." It seems that God had already brought them into friendship with the officer, for he feelingly said, "I cannot do that for when you come to stand before the king, you will look lean, and not as fat as others, and he will inquire into it and want to know the cause; and when I tell him that you have not drank wine or eaten meat he will be angry and want to know why." Now some men have got the idea that it makes them look well to drink wine and haT* red noses; but these men said, "Give us pulse in place of wine anf1 meat," and at the end of ten days no one looked so fair and well a* these four men, for Daniel carried three other men with him. .Tfap man that is right with God and has got a religion, always has ai> influence with somebody else, and these three men had a purpose Ip their hearts to go with this man Daniel. I will say right here that I think nine-tenths of the people who overcome the first temptation* are the ones that are successful. You take a man who comes to * great city, and if he overcomes the first temptation he has, he ii more liable to overcome others. If nine-tenths of them would only overcome the first they had, they would overcome others; but if they give way to the first temptation, then comes a second and a third, and so on, and the man goes down to ruin, just for want of moral courage to overcome his temptations. Look at the young men in this city who go down to untimely graves on account of their no* overcoming their first temptation, and not having the moral courag* to say no at the right time. Now the second year there is a great fear in Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar has got angry and ordered all the wise men to^ be put to death. I suppose that the first thi» young prince knew of it the officer came around to him and said that he must put him to death, that he was to execute him. and probably Daniel said, "What have I done?" and the officer said, "Have you not heard of the decree of Nebuchadnezzar? He has had a dream, anO all the wise men can not interpret that dream, and therefore he ha» ordered that they should all be put to death. We must take you out and execute you." "Well," says the young man, "he is very hasty; let me see the king," and he is taken into the presence of the king, and he says to him, "Give me a little time and I will tell you youi dream." There is faith for you. He knew that the secrets belongto his God might be answered through prayer. The time is granted It must have been good news to these wise men, and how they musi have looked upon that one man in hopes that he could solve it And Daniel and his comrades pray to the God of heaven, to' their God, that the Almighty might reveal the interpretation of this dream. and if no answer came their faith would not be unshaken.
And after they had prayed they went to sleep. Now I don't think many men of our time, who knew they were to be put to death in the morning, could sleep the night before. They would sit up all night to pray to their God. While he was sleeping, God revealed to Daniel the interpretation, and we find him praising God and magnifying him. God heard his prayers; and when he rose in the morning he was taken to the king, and he said: "O king, I will tell you the interpretation of your dream." There must have been great joy throughout that kingdom. It must have been noised around that he had found the interpretation. And now the young prince stands before that great monarch and goes on to tell him the interpretation: "O king, while thou dost lie with thy head on thy pillow thou dost dream, and in thy dream thou seest a great image." I can imagine at these words the king's eyes flash, and how he cried out with joy. And Daniel said: "This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and arms of silver, and his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away and no place was found for them, and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth." "Yes!" cries Nebuchadnezzar, "that is my dream; I saw that image; now tell me the interpretation." "Well," says Daniel, "The golden head of the great image represents your own government." I suppose Babylon was the largest city in the world. It was sixty miles around. Some say the walls were from sixty-five to eighty-five feet high, and eighty-five feet wide, and that it was one of the most magnificent cities ever seen. That Chaldean government extended all over the world. We talk about the importance of the present day, but I suppose Babylon was, in its glory, one of the most magnificent cities ever seen. It opened into streets one hundred and fifty feet wide and fifty miles long. It was built in a perfect square; the beautiful Euphrates ran right through it, and there was a hanging garden built to please Nebuchadnezzar's wife, who came from a mountainous country. And there was a mountain in it, also, just to please her. The wealth of the world had been brought into this city. The wealth of the world seemed to be centered in this great city. This Chaldean government, Daniel told the king, was to be destroyed by another, and afterward by a third and fourth kingdom, when, at last, the God of heaven was to set up his kingdom. For some time Rome ruled the world, and then it was divided into ten kingdoms, and these ten kingdoms have existed ever since. And Daniel himself lived to see the first overthrow, when the Medes and Persians came in. And centuries after came Alexander, and then the Romans. These dreams, he says, are true. God is coming to set up his own kingdom. When Christ sets
up his kingdom on earth and reigns, then there will be satisfaction. Daniel was put into office, made a great man, and had a great many gifts given him, and became very popular, and was made a ruler or governor of the provinces; and his three comrades, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were also put into office, like Joseph down there in Egypt, and Daniel was even greater than a king.
The next thing that Nubuchadnezzar did that tried the faith of these men, was to put up. a golden image on the plain of Dura. I don't know but what this very image that he had been dreaming about induced him to put this one up. His purpose was to have an idol that the world might worship, and thus pass his name down to posterity. The image, I believe, was one hundred and ten feet in height, and some think it was really built of gold. It looked like gold anyway. It was nine feet wide. There were hundreds and thousands and tens of thousands that came to see it, and then there was a proclamation sent forth to the corners of the world, and all nations and languages and tribes were summoned to the dedication or unveiling of it, as we say now of monuments. They came up to worship the image that Nebuchadnezzar had put up on that plain. And the decree had gone forth that every one should come and bow down and worship that golden image. And, therefore, there came another time when the law of God came into conflict with the law of Nebuchadnezzar. Now at this time, perhaps1, Daniel was in Egvpt or in some other empire on important business. We know that he was not then at the dedication of this image to bow down to it; but then, his three friends were there, and his influence was there. The hour had come, and you can see the governors, the sheriffs, the princes, and the wise men of the whole realm gathered there to worship this golden image. And when they hear the sign, the music, the cornet, or the flute, they are to bow down and worship that image. But these men do not. Of course they had enemies. You can not find a man who serves God in any age but he has enemies. The man that loves Christ will be persecuted. The man that stands up to honor God will have enemies, and these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, had enemies, but they had taken their stand already that they would not eat of the meat or drink of the wine of Nebuchadnezzar, and they were not going to bow down to this image, although the whole world was going to. I suppose that if you and I had been there we would have been so weak-kneed that we would have first dropped down and worshiped it; that we would not have had the moral courage to take our stand for God. But, thank God, these men had the moral courage. The hour had come, and all of them were on their knees, but they could not all have kept their heads down, because some must have had their heads up to have seen these men who did not bow down. They were, jealous of them and wanted to get rid of them. They knew they were not go
ing to worship that image. Of course these three men sat there. They had gone as far as they could and obeyed the king as far as the law of their God allowed. But they would not bow down; they could not do it. They had the law of Sinai in their minds. The Lord God had said that they should not bow down to any graven image or have any other God but him. Afterwards their enemies came to Nebuchadnezzar and told him how these men had not obeyed his decree, and Nebuchadnezzar probably said, "Who are they?" and they said, "Why, these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego." The king ordered them into his presence, and they are brought to him, and he says to them, "Is it true that you will not bow down to that image I have put up on the plain? I will give you one more opportunity, and when you hear the sound of the cornet, or the flute, if you bow down you will save your lives, and if not I will cast you into the furnace, and who is the God that is able to deliver you from my hands?" I do not know who was the spokesman on the occasion; perhaps it was Shadrach, and he was as calm as a summer evening, and he said, "My God is able to deliver us." There is faith for you. "Our God is able." Thank God for such moral courage. If we had a few men in Boston like that, that dared to take their stand and have a purpose, it would be the best thing we could have. Let them stand by God, and let infidels say what they may. Let these men catering for popularity take their stand for God and say: We will not bow down to images. Well, that settles it! The king gets angry and says: "Let the furnace be heated seven times hotter than ever, and cast these men into it, clothes and all. We don't want anything left of them." The fire leaped up and about them; but yonder was sitting the Great Shepherd, and he sees three of his little lambs in trouble, and he cjime from his throne and looked after them, and they came forth unharmed. And the king said, "Ye sons of the Living God, come forth." And he ordered them to be brought out at once, and they came without even the smell of fire upon them. All that the fire had done was to burn off their chains. The devil can not make a fire so hot that it will scorch one hair of our heads when the living God interposes his hand. He will take care of his own. And they came walking, not running. Perhaps they said, with the prophet Isaiah: "Though I am encompassed with fire or pass through the valley of the shadow of death, yet will I trust in the Lord." Let us bear in mind this thing, that there is never anything lost by standing to what is right. Let us not be ashamed of our God. If we take our stand on God's side, he will help us. Look at Joseph. They cast him into prison, but he had the Lord with him. He had rather be put into prison if he had God with him, than to be outside without God. I wish that I had time to go on with this subject, but I must come to King NebuchadnezzarH second dream. When he had his first dream, his wise men told Lin; that if he could tell them that dream, they would give him its interpretation. Now this dream he remembered, and he told it to them, but they were not able to tell him the interpretation thereof. Therefore, Daniel was sent for, and the dream was told to him, but he was astounded at it. The Scripture says that Daniel for one hour was astonished. But the king told him to tell him all about it, and then Daniel told it. The king had a dream that he saw a tree in the earth whose branches reached to heaven, whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof large, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whgse branches the fowls of heaven had their habitation. And their king saw a messenger coming down from heaven and he hewed down the tree and destroyed it; and the king wanted Daniel to tell him what it meant. And Daniel told him that that tree represented his government, his empire, his kingdom, that then extended over the known world, and that God was going to destroy it on account of his sin and iniquity, and then the prophet began to preach righteousness right there to the king, Nebuchadnezzar, in which he told him how the king of Nineveh repented, and how God heard his prayer, and he returned from his captivity. He preached to this great king righteousness, and we are told that on account or his exhortations with him, this great calamity was averted for one year. But at the end of twelve months Nebuchadezzar, walking in the palace of his kingdom,said: "Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty?" And even while he said this, a voice fell from heaven, saying: "Oh, King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken, the kingdom is departed from thee." It is supposed that his reason reeled, and that he tottered from his throne and left the palace and went into the field, and he lived there with the beasts, "and seven days passed over him." How many that is we do not know.
It might have been seven years until his reason returned to him, and at the end of this time his reason returned to him again. And he blessed thfi Most High and praised and honored him. And he gathered around him his counselors and lords, and he sends out auother proclamation. He had sent out a good many before, but it seems he had never got home to himself. He had said what other people should do, but had never subjected himself to any high authority. It was altogether different from any other he had sent out.
He says in the fourth chapter of Daniel, 34th, 35th, and 36th verses:
"And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever—Whose dominion is an everlasting dominion and his kingdom is from generation to generation.
•*And all the inhabitant* ot the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of haaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say unto him, 'What doestthoui"
"At the same time my reason returned unto me, and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me, and my counselors and my lords sought unto me and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me."
Now these are the last words we hear of that great king that are on record:
"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
Those are the last words we have recorded of him, but it gives us, it seems to me, an insight into what had taken place in his heart— that he had become a new man; that he was altogether different, and no doubt it was all through the efforts of the faithful Daniel, and no doubt in that heavenly world, Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel now walk together. It was because of this man Daniel being firm and standing by his God—that was the secret of his success. For it is said that if we are wise, and win many to Christ, we shall shine like the firmament of heaven, and like the stars in the night. God gave him the privilege of leading that first monarch and ruler of the whole world at that time to him. We lose sight of Daniel now for about fifteen years; where he was or what he was doing we do not know. The next time we hear of him is at the feast of Belshazzar. Belahazzar is supposed to be a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar. . In the Bible he is called the son, but they used to call grandsons, sons. Now we read of his having a great feast, and thousands being called together from different parts of his empire to attend it. We have only one short chapter in the Book of Daniel which tells us his history, but that gives the whole story. The wicked, you know, don't live out half their days, and Belshazzar died, and did not reign a great while. While he was feasting and rioting with the people, Cyrus' army was besieging the city. I suppose Belshazzar thought his army was strong enough. While they were besieging him he kept right on drinking and carousing in the banquet hall. But in the midst of the feast all at once the audience is hushed; there is no more blaspheming now, no more cursing, no more drinking, no more praising of gods of gold and of silver, of brass and of iron, of wood and of stone. It was all hnshed. What has caused it? I can see the king turn deathly pale, his knees smite together, as he looks yonder on the writing. Over against the king upon the wall of the palace there is a finger writing upon that wall. It is the same finger that wrote at Sinai. It is the writing of the God of Sinai. He •ends for the wise men of Babylon to tell him the interpretation and offers them a great reward, and he offers to make the man that can read it the third officer in his kingdom. They come and look and try to interpret that handwriting, but no uncircumcised eye can read God's writing. That is the reason so many infidels and scoffers today can not understand the Bible; they try to make it out, but fail. At last the king tells the queen that there is no man in the kingdom thai can read that writing unless it is Daniel, who interpreted the dreams of Belshazzar's grandfather. And Daniel was sent for, and I can imagine as his eyes glanced upon that writing that it appeared very familiar to him. He did not have any trouble to read it "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin." "Tell me the interpretation," tb« king cries, "and I will give you anything you want, and make you the third ruler in my kingdom." But Daniel says: "Give your gifts to another; I will interpret it. Mene means: 'Thy God hath departed from thee.' Tekel—' Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.'" Sinner, suppose God put you in the balance of the sanctuary this morning and weighed you, and you found you had not God and Christ in your soul. "Upharsin—' Thy kingdom is divided.'" It is given over to the Medes and Persians. And that night Belshazzar's blood flowed with the wine. That very night Cyrus' army was turning the river Euphrates off into another channel, and battering away at the walls of the city; and Darius, the king of the Medes and Persians, succeeded to Belshazzar's throne. And Darius put one hundred and twenty men over the different provinces of this empire. How he knew Daniel we do not know. Perhaps he had met him when he was Prime Minister for Nebucadnezzar, and perhaps he had met him on some official business. We know that Darius had great confidence in Daniel. And after he puts one hundred and twenty princes over the different provinces, he puts over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was the first. Daniel was to rule the men in the whole empire, and was really the ruler. There was no one greater in the empire except Darius. We find that another great trial came across Daniel's path. But he had been tried when he first came to Babylon, and God was not going to desert him now. These one hundred and twenty princes had become jealous of Daniel. You never found a successful man, in the history of the world, but he had some enemies! Why, George Washington had enemies! We have been commemorating his life and celebrating his birthday, but he had a great many enemies in his day. Many were jealous of him. There was no reason for it; the man stood all right. He was true to God; but he had enemies, and we find that these princes had become jealous of Daniel. He looked over their accounts, and I do not know but he saw that they did not cheat the government. I do not know but they might have had some Indian contracts and could not make so much money out of the government as they could desire. They could not defraud the government because of Daniel's watching them. No doubt they argued that if they could have some one in place of this old Hebrew here they could make enough in a few years out of the kingdom to retire from business; but now they could not, on the salary the king gave them.
They could never get rich. Of course, if they could get rid of this man they could plunder the government. A great many think it is not dishonest to take what belongs to the government, and it don't trouble their consciences; and these princes wanted to get this man Daniel out of their way, and so they formed a conspiracy to destroy him. They raked up his whole past life when he had been with Nebuchadnezzar, but they came to the conclusion that they could not find anything against him, except touching the law of his God. I consider that a greater encomium for him, that he stayed by the law of his God, than could be given to any statesmen of the country. He had kept the accounts right and had not committed any peculations; he had not put any nephews or brothers into office that had defrauded the government, aud there he was standing alone in that great city for God and the majesty of the law. They found no occasion to condemn him. There was not a solitary man that could injure his reputation. He had been true to the government and to his Goil. They could only say that he had abided by the law of his God. These wicked princes, knowing that Daniel would worship no one but the God of Israel, thought if they could get Daniel to do something to trap him, so that he would be destroyed, it would be just the thing. They were not going to have Daniel cast into a furnace, as his disciples were in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, but they thought if they could get him cast into the den of lions, they would soon make way with him. I suppose they had a secret council together. Perhaps it was all night. When men want to do something mean, they want to do it in the dark. You can see these princes having a meeting and conspiring together, and perhaps one of them was a lawyer acquainted with the laws of the Medes and Persians, and they thought if they could only get a decree signed by Darius, that no man should worship any God or anybody else for thirty days but Darius, he should be cast into the den of lions. "Remember," they said to one another, "and don't tell your wives and daughters, because if you want to keep it private, don't let the women know it." They got a decree drawn up to be signed by the king, and the penalty was that the one who violated it should be cast into the lions' den. I can see these one hundred and twenty princes writing that document carefullv, line by line, sentence by sentence, so that there should be no mistake, because they knew that Darius loved Daniel, and if there was any chance by which he could save him and keep the law he would do it. And they decreed that Darius should sign it without calling upon his prime minister or chief secretary, because they knew that if he read it he would not sign it. And they also knew that Daniel worshiped the God of the Hebrews, and was not going to disobey the law of his God. Probably they sent three or four princes to the palace, and they probably told Darius what a mighty man he was, and how the whole population loved him. They knew his weak point, and they probably told him if he signed the decree for nobody to call upon any other God but him it would hand his name down to posterity, and that mothers would teach their children to pray to Darius, and instil his name into their minds and make him their God, and that it would lift him up from the position he held to make him a God, and all in the kingdom would bow down and worship him.
And they might have argued that if it was kept thirty days it would become the universal religion and hand his name down to generations. If you want a man to do a mean thing, just touch his vanity. These princes had touched Darius' vanity. He thought he would like to have all the people worship him. He thought it was a very fine suggestion. They did not wait for him to read it all. He could see no objection, and put hia signet of the Government upon it, and one of the princes might have said after he had done that, in a tone of mockery: "The laws of the Medes and Persians alter not. They can not be changed." Darius, of course, approved of them all. And you can see this man going out of the palace elated, saying: "Daniel has looked over our accounts long enough." He had watched their accounts to see that no damage came to the Government. The news soon spread that Darius had signed such > decree. I can just see the man going into the office of the secretary. I can see his gray locks and beautiful white beard, as he sat there at his desk, and, perhaps, looking over the accounts of these very men who were conspiring against him. This messenger comes to Daniel and says: "Have you heard of the conspiracy to destroy you?" "No; what is it?" "Why, these one hundred and twenty princes have got Darius to sign a decree that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or any man within thirty days, save of the king, shall be cast into the den of lions." I am afraid if some of us bad been there, some of the Christians of the nineteenth century, we would have said; "Now, look you, don't be too religious; don't be too conscientious; don't you let them catch you praying for the next thirty days on your knees at your open window. (You know it was the custom to pray with an open window toward Jerusalem.) These princes have spies and will report it to the king." Or they might have said: "It will be ruinous to the Government. Don't you pray to the God of the Hebrews, or if you do, don't you do it at an open window. If you are determined to pray, hadn't you better pray with your shutters closed? Put some paper in the key-hole so that nobody can peek in and see you. Get into your bed and pray silently and they won't hear you. Call upon your God secretly, and it will be just as
well as to pray at an open window." I am afraid that that would have been our advice, but do you think that this man who had served God all these years was going to deviate a hair's breadth from his custom? He had taken his stand on the Lord's side, and he was not going to deviate from it. Let all the devils in hell form a conspiracy against him, he would not. If he had got to go into the lion's don, his God was going there with him. I can just imagine how indignant he was at the suggestion. The Scripture tells that after the decree was signed, the old man went to his room three times a day and prayed to his God three times a day. He had time to pray. There are a good many business men nowadays in Boston who have not got time, they think. Statesmen and politicians have not got time to pray. You go to Washington and start a prayer-meeting there, and they would laugh at the idea, and say, We are Senators and Representatives; we have so much business we have no time to pray; but this person found time. This man, who was the chief man in that kingdom, found time—you might say a ruler of the whole world at that time. I doubt whether or no there was a man living in his day so busy as this man, and he found time. He had not only the king's business to attend to, but his own private affairs also, and had to watch these one hundred and twenty rascals to keep them from stealing from the Government, and yet he prayed three times a day as aforetime, and he prayed with his windows open toward Jerusalem. When that temple was dedicated in the days of Solomon, we are informed that God had promised to answer the prayers of those who prayed with their windows open toward Jerusalem. What cared Daniel for the lion's den! He was on his way to heaven, and that den had no terror for him. He is not going to lose his soul, and so he prays; and if there had been any reporters in those days they would probably have got that prayer in the next edition. These princes were watching. They had two men there probably to take it down. "Now listen, now see if he prays to Darius." He goes down on his knees and lifts up his voice toward heaven, and prays to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, and to the God of his fathers, but before he gets through he prays for this kingdom, he prays for Darius, but not to him. It is all right to pray for kings, and we ought to pray more for this country. Let us pray for our rulers. We ought to find time. This prophet found time to pray every day. I have no doubt he prayed every day for the king and for that nation. While he is praying his enemies are taking down his prayer, and after he gets through they go to the princes and say: "Here is the prayer; we heard the prayer; he prayed for ten minutea, but never called upon Darius at all. He prayed for the Hebrew God to bless the kingdom, but he did not pray to the king." And away these men go to tell the king of it, saying: "Oh, Darius, live forever. Do you know there is a man in your kingdom who won't obey?" "Won't obey me! Who is it?" "Why, that man Daniel." And the king says: "Of course he won't bow down and worship me. I might have known he would not have done it. How could I have done such a thing?" Instead of condemning Daniel, 'he condemns himself. He walks up and down in great agony and begins to realize what the effect of that decree is to be. But these princes say, sardonically: "The laws of the Medes and Persians alter not." They perhaps twit him of it. They have got him. Darious loved Daniel very much, but he did not love him so much as your Darius and mine, our Christ, loves us. Our Christ went down into the lions' den and kept his law, and for hours Darius set his face against delivering up Daniel; but these wicked princes held him to his decree, and he would not break the law. They probably said: "If you break that, your kingdom will pass from you. The law must be kept. The law of the Medes and Persians does not alter." So the king gave the command to the princes to cast Daniel into the lions' den. You might see, if you had been there, that old man led along the streets of Babylon and guided by some mighty men of the Chaldean army. He is cast into the den, and they put a stone upon the mouth of the den. Then these princes probably rejoiced that they had got Daniel out of the way. But Daniel had confidence in his God, and we can see him sleeping calmly with his head on one of the lions for a pillow. He slept more calmly than the king. When morning came, the king orders out his chariot and rolls through the streets of the city until he comes to the den. There he calls out to Daniel and asks him if his God has delivered him. And hark! there is his voice. God has sent down an angel and saved Daniel, and he came forth unharmed. And the king is exceedingly glad, and takes him in his chariot back to the palace, and they were two joyful men. God stood by him. He was on the Lord's side. Oh, who is on the Lord's side here to-day? If you will take your stand on his side he will deliver you from temptation, trial, and darkness. When Daniel died he went to heaven. I do not believe he was a stranger there; for all knew him, for he was greatly beloved of God. If we stand up for what is right in the sight of God, God will bless us, and we will be in constant communion with him. Let us pray to Daniel's God.