So this Daniel prospered - He had served fine kings: Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-merodach, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus. Few courtiers have had so long a reign, served so many masters without flattering any, been more successful in their management of public affairs, been so useful to the states where they were in office, or have been more owned of God, or have left such an example to posterity.
Where shall we find ministers like Samuel and Daniel? None so wise, so holy, so disinterested, so useful, have ever since appeared in the nations of the earth.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius - That is, to the end of his reign. It is fairly implied here that he was restored to his honors.
And in the reign of Cyrus the Persian - Cyrus the Great, the nephew and successor of Darius. For an account of Cyrus, see the note at Isaiah 41:2. How long during the reign of Cyrus Daniel “prospered” or lived is not said. During a part of the reign of Darius or Cyaxares, he was occupied busily in securing by his influence the welfare of his own people, and making arrangements for their return to their land; and his high post in the nation to which, under Divine Providence, he had doubtless been raised for this purpose, enabled him to render essential and invaluable service at the court. In the third year of Cyrus, we are informed Daniel 12:12-13. From that period the accounts respecting him are vague, confused, and even strange, and little or nothing is known of the time or circumstances of his death. Compare Introduction Section I.
From this chapter we may derive the following instructive
(1) We have an instance of what often occurs in the world - of envy on account of the excellency of others, and of the hoonours which they obtain by their talent and their worth, Daniel 6:1-4. Nothing is more frequent than such envy, and nothing more common, as a consequence, than a determination to degrade those who are the subjects of it. Envy always seeks in some way to humble and mortify those who are distinguished. It is the pain, mortification, chagrin, and regret which we have at their superior excellence or prosperity, and this prompts us to endeavor to bring them down to our own level, or below it; to calumniate their characters; to hinder their prosperity; to embarrass them in their plans; to take up and circulate rumours to their disadvantage; to magnify their faults, or to fasten upon them the suspicion of crime. In the instance before us, we see the effect in a most guilty conspiracy against a man of incorruptible character; a man full in the confidence of his sovereign; a man eminently the friend of virtue and of God.
“Envy will merit, as its shade, pursue;
But, like a shadow, proves the substance true.”
- Pope‘s Essay on Criticism.
“Base envy withers at another‘s joy,
And hates that excellence it cannot reach.”
- Thomson‘s Seasons.
“Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow,
Thou shalt not escape calumny.”
“That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect,
For slander‘s mark was ever yet the fair:
So thou be good, slander doth yet approve
Thy worth the greater.”
(2) We have in this chapter Daniel 6:4-9 a striking illustration of the nature and the evils of a conspiracy to ruin others. The plan here was deliberately formed to ruin Daniel - the best man in the realm - a man against whom no charge of guilt could be alleged, who had done the conspirators no wrong; who had rendered himself in no way amenable to the laws. A “conspiracy” is a combination of men for evil purposes; an agreement between two or more persons to commit some crime in concert, usually treason, or an insurrection against a government or state. In this case, it was a plot growing wholly out of envy or jealousy; a concerted agreement to ruin a good man, where no wrong had been done or could be pretended, and no crime had been committed. The essential things in this conspiracy, as in all other cases of conspiracy, were two:
(a) that the purpose was evil; and
(b) that it was to be accomplished by the combined influences of numbers. The means on which they relied, on the grounds of calculation on the success of their plot, were the following:
(1) that they could calculate on the unwavering integrity of Daniel - on his firm and faithful adherence to the principles of his religion in all circumstances, and in all times of temptation and trial; and
(2) that they could induce the king to pass a law, irrepealable from the nature of the case, which Daniel would be certain to violate, and to the penalty of which, therefore, he would be certainly exposed. Now in this purpose there was every element of iniquity, and the grossest conceivable wrong. There were combined all the evils of envy and malice; of perverting and abusing their influence over the king; of secrecy in taking advantage of one who did not suspect any such design; and of involving the king himself in the necessity of exposing the best man in his realm, and the highest officer of state, to the certain danger of death. The result however showed, as is often the case, that the evil recoiled on themselves, and that the very calamity overwhelmed them and their families which they had designed for another.
(3) We have here a striking instance of what often occurs, and what should always occur, among the friends of religion, that “no occasion can be found against them except in regard to the law of their God” - on the score of their religion, Daniel 6:5. Daniel was known to be upright. His character for integrity was above suspicion. It was certain that there was no hope of bringing any charge against him that would lie, for any want of uprightness or honesty, for any failure in the discharge of the duties of his office, for any malversation in administering the affairs of the government, for any embezzlement of the public funds, or for any act of injustice toward his fellow-men. It was certain that his character was irreproachable on all these points; and it was equally certain that he did and would maintain unwavering fidelity in the duties of religion. Whatever consequences might follow from it, it was clear that they could calculate on his maintaining with faithfulness the duties of piety.
Whatever plot, therefore, could be formed against him on the basis either of his moral integrity or his piety, it was certain would be successful. But there was no hope in regard to the former, for no law could have been carried prohibiting his doing what was right on the subject of morals. The only hope, therefore, was in respect to his religion; and the main idea in their plot - the thing which constituted the basis of their plan was, “that it was certain that Daniel would maintain his fidelity to his God irrspective of any consequences whatever.” This certainty ought to exist in regard to every good man; every man professing religion. His character ought to be so well understood; his piety ought to be so firm, unwavering, and consistent, that it could be calculated on just as certainly as we calculate on the stability of the laws of nature, that he will be found faithful to his religious duties and obligations. There are such men, and the character of every man should be such. Then indeed we should know what to depend on in the world; then religion would be reapected as it should be.
(4) We may learn what is our duty when we are opposed in the exercise of our religion, or when we are in any way threatened with loss of office, or of property, on account of our religion, Daniel 6:10. “We are to persevere in the discharge of our religious duties, whatever may be the consequences.” So far as the example of Daniel goes, this would involve two things:
(a) not to swerve from the faithful performance of duty, or not to be deterred from it; and
(b) not to change our course from any desire of display.
These two things were manifested by Daniel. He kept steadily on his way. He did not abridge the number of times of his daily devotion; nor, as far as appears, did he change the form or the length. He did not cease to pray in an audible voice; he did not give up prayer in the daytime, and pray only at night; he did not even close his windows; he did not take any precautions to pray when none were near; he did not withdraw into an inner chamber. At the same time, he made no changes in his devotion for the sake of ostentation. He did not open his windows before closed; he did not go into the street; he did not call around him his friends or foes to witness his devotions; he did not, as far as appears, either elevate his voice, or prolong his prayers, in order to attract attention, or to invite persecution. In all this he manifested the true spirit of religion, and set an example to men to be followed in all ages. Not by the loss of fame or money; by the dread of persecution, or contempt of death; by the threatenings of law or the fear of shame, are we to be deterred from the proper and the usual performance of our religious duties; nor by a desire to provoke persecution, and to win the crown of martyrdom, and to elicit applause, and to have our names blazoned abroad, are we to multiply our religious acts, or make an ostentatious display of them, when we are threatened, or when we know that our conduct will excite opposition. We are to ascertain what is right and proper; and then we are modestly and firmly to do it, no matter what may be the consequences. Compare Matthew 5:16; Acts 4:16-20; Acts 5:29.
(5) We have, in the case of Darius, an instance of what often happens, the regret and anguish which the mind experiences in consequence of a rash act, when it cannot be repaired, Daniel 6:14. The act of Darius in making the decree was eminently a rash one. It was done without deliberation at the suggestion of others, and probably under the influence of some very improper feeling - the desire of being esteemed as a god. But it had consequences which he did not foresee, consequences which, if he had foreseen them, would doubtless have prevented his giving a sanction to this iniquitous law. The state of mind which he experienced when he saw how the act involved the best officer in his government, and the best man in his realm, was just what might have been expected, and is an illustration of what often occurs. It was too late now to prevent the effects of the act; and his mind was overwhelmed with remorse and sorrow. He blamed himself for his folly; and he sought in vain for some way to turn aside the consequences which he now deplored. Such instances often occur.
(a) Many of our acts are rash. They are performed without deliberation; under the influence of improper passions; at the suggestion of others who would be thought to be our friends; and without any clear view of the consequences, or any concern as to what the result may be.
(b) As an effect, they often have consequences which we did not anticipate, and which would have deterred us in each instance had we foreseen them.
(c) They often produce reset and anguish when too late, and when we cannot prevent the evil. The train of evils which has been commenced it is now too late to retard or prevent, and they now inevitably come upon us. We can only stand and weep over the effects of our rashness and folly; and must now feel that if the evil is averted, it will be by the interposition of God alone.
(6) We have in this chapter an affecting instance of the evils which often arise in a human goovernment from the want of something like an atonement, Daniel 6:14, following As has been remarked in the notes, cases often arise when it is desirable that pardon should be extended to the violators of law See the notes at Daniel 6:14. In such cases, some such arrangement as that of an atonement, by which the honor of the law might be maintained, and at the same time the merciful feelings of an executive might be indulged, and the benevolent wishes of a community gratified, would remove difficulties which are now felt in every administration. The difficulties in the case, and the advantage which would arise from an atonement, may be seen by a brief reference to the circumstances of the case before us:
(a) the law was inexorable. It demanded punishment, as all law does, for no law in itself makes any provision for pardon. If it did, it would be a burlesque on all legislation. Law denounces penalty it does not pardon or show mercy. It has become necessary indeed to lodge a pardoning power with some man entrusted with the administration of the laws, but the pardon is not extended by the law itself.
(b) The anxiety of the king in the case is an illustration of what often occurs in the administration of law, for, as above observed, there are cases where, on many accounts, it would seem to be desirable that the penalty of the law should not be inflicted. Such a case was that of Dr. Dodd, in London, in which a petition, signed by thirty thousand names, was presented, praying for the remission of the penalty of death. Such a case was that of Major Andre, when Washington shed tears at the necessity of signing the death-warrant of so young and so accomplished an officer. Such cases often occur, in which there is the deepest anxiety in the bosom of an executive to see if there is not some way by which the infliction of the penalty of the law may be avoided.
(c) Yet there was in the case of Darius no possibility of a change, and this too is an illustration of what often occurs. The law was inexorable. It could not be repealed. So now there are instances where the penalty of law cannot be avoided consistently with the welfare of a community. Punishment must be inflicted, or all law become a nullity. An instance of this kind was that of Dr. Dodd. He was convicted of forgery. So important had it been deemed for the welfare of a commercial community that that crime should be prevented, that no one ever had been pardoned for it, and it was felt that no one should be. Such an instance was that of Major Andre. The safety and welfare of the whole army, and the success of the cause, seemed to demand that the offence should not go unpunished.
(d) Yet there are difficulties in extending pardon to the guilty;
(1) if it is done at all, it always does so much to weaken the strong arm of the law, and if often done, it makes law a nullity; and
(2) if it is never done, the law seems stern and inexorable, and the finer feelings of our nature, and the benevolent wishes of the community, are disregarded.
(e) These difficulties are obviated by an atonement. The things which are accomplished in the atonement made under the Divine government, we think, so far as this point is concerned, and which distinguishes pardon in the Divine administration from pardon everywhere else, relieving it from all the embarrassments felt in other governments, are the following:
(1) There is the utmost respect paid to the law. It is honored
(aa) in the personal obedience of the Lord Jesus, and
(bb) in the sacrifice which he made on the cross to maintain its dignity, and to show that it could not be violated with impunity - more honored by far than it would be by the perfect obedience of man himself, or by its penalty being borne by the sinner.
(2) pardon can be offered to any extent, or to any number of offenders. All the feelings of benevolence and mercy can be indulged and gratified in the most free manner, for now that an atonement is made, all proper honor has been shown to the law and to the claims of justice, and no interest will suffer though the most ample proclamation of pardon is issued. There is but one government in the universe that can safely to itself make an unlimited offer of pardon - that is, the government of God. There is not a human government that could safely make the offer which we meet everywhere in the Bible, that all offences may be forgiven: that all violators of law may be pardoned. If such a proclamation were made, there is no earthly administration that could hope to stand; no community which would not soon become the prey of lawless plunder and robbery. The reason, and the sole reason, why it can be done in the Divine administration is, that an atonement has been made by which the honor of the law has been secured, and by which it is shown that, while pardon is extended to all, the law is to be honored, and can never be violated with impunity.
(3) The plan of pardon by the atonement secures the observance of the law on the part of those who are pardoned. This can never be depended on when an offender against human laws is pardoned, and when a convict is discharged from the penitentiary. So far as the effect of punishment, or any influence from the act of pardon is concerned, there is no security that the pardoned convict will not, as his first act, force a dwelling or commit murder. But in the case of all who are pardoned through the atonement, it is made certain that they will be obedient to the laws of God, and that their lives will be changed from sin to holiness, from disobedience to obedience. This has been secured by incorporating into the plan a provision by which the heart shall be changed before pardon is granted: not as the ground or reason of pardon, but as essential to it. The heart of the sinner is renewed by the Holy Spirit, and he becomes in fact obedient, and is disposed to lead a life of holiness. Thus every hinderance which exists in a human government to pardon is removed in the Divine administration; the honor of law is secured; the feelings of benevolence are gratified, and the sinner becomes obedient and holy.
(7) We have in this chapter Daniel 6:16 an instance of the confidence which wicked men are constrained to express in the true God. Darius had no doubt that the God whom Daniel served was able to protect and deliver him. The same may be said now. Wicked men know that it is safe to trust in God; that he is able to save his friends; that there is more security in the ways of virtue than in the ways of sin; and that when human help fails, it is proper to repose on the Almighty arm. There is a feeling in the human heart that they who confide in God are safe, and that it is proper to rely on his arm; and even a wicked father will not hesitate to exhort a Christian son or daughter to serve their God faithfully, and to confide in him in the trials and temptations of life. Ethan Allen, of Vermont, distinguished in the American revolution, was an infidel. His wife was an eminent Christian. When he was about to die, he was asked which of the two he wished his son to imitate in his religious views - his father or his mother. He replied, “His mother.”
(8) The righteous may look for the Divine protection and favor Daniel 6:22; that is, it is an advantage in this world of danger, and temptation, and trial, to be truly religious; or, in other words, those who are righteous may confidently expect the Divine interposition in their behalf. It is, indeed, a question of some difficulty, but of much importance, to what extent, and in what forms we are authorized now to look for the Divine interposition in our behalf, or what is the real benefit of religion in this world, so far as the Divine protection is concerned; and on this point it seems not inappropriate to lay down a few principles that may be of use, and that may be a proper application of the passage before us to our own circumstances:
(A) There is then a class of Scripture promises that refer to such protection, and that lead us to believe that we may look for the Divine interference in favor of the righteous, or that there is, in this respect, an advantage in true religion. In support of this, reference may be made to the following, among other passages of Scripture: Psalm 34:7, Psalm 34:17-22; Psalm 55:22; Psalm 91:1-8; Isaiah 43:1-2; Luke 12:6-7; Hebrews 1:14; Hebrews 13:5-6.
(B) In regard to the proper interpretation of these passages, or to the nature and extent of the Divine interposition, which we may expect in behalf of the righteous, it may be remarked.
I. That we are not to expect now the following things:
(a) The Divine interposition by miracle. It is the common opinion of the Christian world that the age of miracles is past; and certainly there is nothing in the Bible that authorizes us to expect that God will now interpose for us in that manner. It would be a wholly illogical inference, however, to maintain that there never has been any such interposition in behalf of the righteous; since a reason may have existed for such an interposition in former times which may not exist now.
(b) We are not authorized to expect that God will interpose by sending his angels visibly to protect and deliver us in the day of peril. The fair interpretation of those passages of Scripture which refer to that subject, as Psalm 34:7; Hebrews 1:14, does not require us to believe that there will be such interposition, and there is no evidence that such interposition takes place. This fact, however, should not be regarded as proof, either
(1) that no such visible interposition has ever occurred in former times - since it in no way demonstrates that point; or
(2) that the angels may not interpose in our behalf now, though to us invisible. For anything that can be proved to the contrary, it may still be true that the angels may be, invisibly, “ministering spirits to those who shall be heirs of salvation,” and that they may be sent to accompany the souls of the righteous on their way to heaven, as they were to conduct Lazarus to Abraham‘s bosom, Luke 16:22.
(c) We are not authorized to expect that God will set aside the regular laws of nature in our behalf - that he will thus interpose for us in regard to diseases, to pestilence, to storms, to mildew, to the ravages of the locust or the caterpillar - for this would be a miracle and all the interposition which we are entitled to expect must be consistent with the belief that the laws of nature will be regarded.
(d) We are not authorized to expect that the righteous will never be overwhelmed with the wicked in calamity - that in an explosion on a steam-boat, in a shipwreck, in fire or flood, in an earthquake or in the pestilence, they will not be cut down together. To suppose that God would directly interpose in behalf of his people in such cases, would be to suppose that there would be miracles still, and there is nothing in the Bible, or in the facts that occur, to justify such an expectation.
II. The Divine interposition which we are authorized to expect, may be referred to under the following particulars:
(a) All events, great and small, are under the control of the God who loves righteousness - the God of the righteous. Not a sparrow falls to the ground without his notice; not an event happens without his permission. If, therefore, calamity comes upon the righteous, it is not because the world is without control; it is not because God could not prevent it; it must be because he sees it best that it should be so.
(b) There is a general course of events that is favorable to virtue and religion; that is, there is a state of things on earth which demonstrates that there is a moral government over men. The essence of such a government, as Bishop Butler (Analogy) has shown, is, that virtue, in the course of things, is rewarded as virtue, and that vice is punished as vice. This course of things is so settled and clear as to show that God is the friend of virtue and religion, and the enemy of vice and irreligion - that is, that under his administration, the one, as a great law, has a tendency to promote happiness; the other to produce misery. But if so, there is an advantage in being righteous; or there is a Divine interposition in behalf of the righteous.
(c) There are large classes of evils which a man will certainly avoid by virtue and religion, and those evils are among the most severe that afflict mankind. A course of virtue and religion will make it certain that those evils will never come upon him or his family. Thus, for example, by so simple a thing as total abstinence from intoxicating drinks, a man will certainly avoid all the evils that afflict the drunkard - the poverty, disease, disgrace, wretchedness, and ruin of body and soul which are certain to follow from intemperance. By chastity, a man will avoid the woes that come, in the righteous visitation of God, on the debauchee, in the form of the most painful and loathsome of the diseases that afflict our race. By integrity a man will avoid the evils of imprisonment for crime, and the disgrace which attaches to its committal. And by religion - pure religion - by the calmness of mind which it produces - the confidence in God; the cheerful submission to his will; the contentment which it causes, and the hopes of a better world which it inspires, a man will certainly avoid a large class of evils which unsettle the mind, and which fill with wretched victims the asylums for the insane.
Let a man take up the report of an insane asylum, and ask what proportion of its inmates would have been saved from so fearful a malady by true religion; by the calmness which it produces in trouble; by its influence in moderating the passions and restraining the desires; by the acquiescence in the will of God which it produces, and he will be surprised at the number which would have been saved by it from the dreadful evils of insanity. As an illustration of this, I took up the Report of the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, for the year 1850, which happened to be lying before me, and looked to see what were the causes of insanity in regard to the inmates of the asylum, with a view to the inquiry what proportion of them would probably have been saved from it by the proper influence of religion. Of 1599 patients whose cases were referred to, I found the following, a large part of whom, it may be supposed, would have been saved from insanity if their minds had been under the proper influence of the gospel of Christ, restraining them from sin, moderating their passions, checking their desires, and giving them calmness and submission in the midst of trouble:
d Loss of property
d Dread of poverty
d Intense study
d Domestic difficulties
d Grief for the loss of friends
d Intense application to business
d Religious excitement
d Want of employment
d Mortified pride
d Use of opium and tobacco
d Mental anxiety
d (d) There are cases where God seems to interpose in behalf of the righteous directly, in answer to prayer, in times of sickness, poverty, and danger - raising them up from the borders of the grave; providing for their wants in a manner which appears to be as providential as when the ravens fed Elijah, and rescuing them from danger. There are numerous such cases which cannot be well accounted for on any other supposition than that God does directly interpose in their behalf, and show them these mercies because they are his friends. These are not miracles. The purpose to do this was a part of the original plan when the world was made, and the prayer and the interposition are only the fulfilling of the eternal decree.
(e) God does interpose in behalf of his children in giving them support and consolation; in sustaining them in the time of trial; in upholding them in bereavement and sorrow, and in granting them peace as they go into the valley of the shadow of death. The evidence here is clear, that there is a degree of comfort and peace given to true Christians in such seasons, and given in consequence of their religion, which is not granted to the wicked, and to which the devotees of the world are strangers. And if these things are so, then it is clear that there is an advantage in this life in being righteous, and that God does now interpose in the course of events, and in the day of trouble, in behalf of his friends.
(9) God often overrules the malice of men to make himself known, and constrains the wicked to acknowledge him, Daniel 6:25-27. Darius, like Nebuchadnezzar, was constrained to acknowledge him as the true God, and to make proclamation of this throughout his vast empire. So often, by his providence, God constrains the wicked to acknowledge him as the true God, and as ruling in the affairs of men. His interpositions are so apparent; his works are so vast; the proofs of his administration are so clear; and he so defeats the counsels of the wicked, that they cannot but feel that he rules, and they cannot but acknowledge and proclaim it. It is in this way that from age to age God is raising up a great number of witnesses even among the wicked to acknowledge his existence, and to proclaim the great truths of his government; and it is in this way, among others, that he is constraining the intellect of the world to bow before him. Ultimately all this will be so clear, that the intellect of the world will acknowledge it, and all kings and people will see, as Darius did, that “he is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom what shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be unto the end.”
The deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions had been used of God to create a favorable impression upon the mind of Cyrus the Great. The sterling qualities of the man of God as a statesman of farseeing ability led the Persian ruler to show him marked respect and to honor his judgment. And now, just at the time God had said He would cause His temple at Jerusalem to be rebuilt, He moved upon Cyrus as His agent to discern the prophecies concerning himself, with which Daniel was so familiar, and to grant the Jewish people their liberty. PK 557.1
As the king saw the words foretelling, more than a hundred years before his birth, the manner in which Babylon should be taken; as he read the message addressed to him by the Ruler of the universe, “I girded thee, though thou hast not known Me: that they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside Me;” as he saw before his eyes the declaration of the eternal God, “For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me;” as he traced the inspired record, “I have raised him up in righteousness, and I will direct all his ways: he shall build My city, and he shall let go My captives, not for price nor reward,” his heart was profoundly moved, and he determined to fulfill his divinely appointed mission. Isaiah 45:5, 6, 4, 13. He would let the Judean captives go free; he would help them restore the temple of Jehovah. PK 557.2
In a written proclamation published “throughout all his kingdom,” Cyrus made known his desire to provide for the return of the Hebrews and for the rebuilding of their temple. “The Lord God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth,” the king gratefully acknowledged in this public proclamation; “and He hath charged me to build Him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, ... and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering.” Ezra 1:1-4. PK 558.1Read in context »
“Ye are the light of the world.” What an impression was produced upon Darius by the conduct of Daniel! Daniel lived a pure and holy life. God was first with him. Whenever real Christianity reigns in the heart, it will be revealed in the character. All will take knowledge of such, that they have been with Jesus. The undivided affections must be given to God. TM 443.1
We need a thorough reformation in all our churches. The converting power of God must come into the church. Seek the Lord most earnestly, put away your sins, and tarry in Jerusalem till ye be endowed with power from on high. Let God set you apart to the work. Purify your souls by obeying the truth. Faith without works is dead. Put not off the day of preparation. Slumber not in a state of unpreparedness, having no oil in your vessels with your lamps. Let none leave their safety for eternity to hang upon a peradventure. Let not the question remain in perilous uncertainty. Ask yourselves earnestly, Am I among the saved, or the unsaved? Shall I stand, or shall I not stand? He only that hath clean hands and a pure heart shall stand in that day. TM 443.2Read in context »
Jesus does not desire those who have been purchased at such a cost to become the sport of the enemy's temptations. He does not desire us to be overcome and perish. He who curbed the lions in their den, and walked with His faithful witnesses amid the fiery flames, is just as ready to work in our behalf to subdue every evil in our nature. Today He is standing at the altar of mercy, presenting before God the prayers of those who desire His help. He turns no weeping, contrite one away. Freely will He pardon all who come to Him for forgiveness and restoration. He does not tell to any all that He might reveal, but He bids every trembling soul take courage. Whosoever will, may take hold of God's strength, and make peace with Him, and He will make peace. MH 90.1
The souls that turn to Him for refuge, Jesus lifts above the accusing and the strife of tongues. No man or evil angel can impeach these souls. Christ unites them to His own divine-human nature. They stand beside the great Sin Bearer in the light proceeding from the throne of God. MH 90.2
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses “from all sin.” 1 John 1:7. MH 90.3Read in context »
Study the history of Joseph and of Daniel. The Lord did not prevent the plottings of men who sought to do them harm; but He caused all these devices to work for good to His servants who amidst trial and conflict preserved their faith and loyalty. MH 487.1
So long as we are in the world, we shall meet with adverse influences. There will be provocations to test the temper; and it is by meeting these in a right spirit that the Christian graces are developed. If Christ dwells in us, we shall be patient, kind, and forbearing, cheerful amid frets and irritations. Day by day and year by year we shall conquer self, and grow into a noble heroism. This is our allotted task; but it cannot be accomplished without help from Jesus, resolute decision, unwavering purpose, continual watchfulness, and unceasing prayer. Each one has a personal battle to fight. Not even God can make our characters noble or our lives useful, unless we become co-workers with Him. Those who decline the struggle lose the strength and joy of victory. MH 487.2
We need not keep our own record of trials and difficulties, griefs, and sorrows. All these things are written in the books, and heaven will take care of them. While we are counting up the disagreeable things, many things that are pleasant to reflect upon are passing from memory, such as the merciful kindness of God surrounding us every moment and the love over which angels marvel, that God gave His Son to die for us. If as workers for Christ you feel that you have had greater cares and trials than have fallen to the lot of others, remember that for you there is a peace unknown to those who shun these burdens. There is comfort and joy in the service of Christ. Let the world see that life with Him is no failure. MH 487.3Read in context »
In the study of the Bible the student should be led to see the power of God's word. In the creation, “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” He “calleth those things which be not as though they were” (Psalm 33:9; Romans 4:17); for when He calls them, they are. Ed 254.1
How often those who trusted the word of God, though in themselves utterly helpless, have withstood the power of the whole world—Enoch, pure in heart, holy in life, holding fast his faith in the triumph of righteousness against a corrupt and scoffing generation; Noah and his household against the men of his time, men of the greatest physical and mental strength and the most debased in morals; the children of Israel at the Red Sea, a helpless, terrified multitude of slaves, against the mightiest army of the mightiest nation on the globe; David, a shepherd lad, having God's promise of the throne, against Saul, the established monarch, bent on holding fast his power; Shadrach and his companions in the fire, and Nebuchadnezzar on the throne; Daniel among the lions, his enemies in the high places of the kingdom; Jesus on the cross, and the Jewish priests and rulers forcing even the Roman governor to work their will; Paul in chains led to a criminal's death, Nero the despot of a world empire. Ed 254.2
Such examples are not found in the Bible only. They abound in every record of human progress. The Vaudois and the Huguenots, Wycliffe and Huss, Jerome and Luther, Tyndale and Knox, Zinzendorf and Wesley, with multitudes of others, have witnessed to the power of God's word against human power and policy in support of evil. These are the world's true nobility. This is its royal line. In this line the youth of today are called to take their places. Ed 254.3Read in context »