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One word more and we have done.
All means of grace are in themselves small things for effecting the salvation of souls.. But some are conipara. tively mighty through the efficient agency of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel, faithfully and solemnly preached, is mighty through God for demolishing in the world and in the individual heart the kingdom of sin and Satan,bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Sermons, tracts, and periodical publications from the press, though occupying a humbler place, are often blessed as co-operative means in the ecovomy of grace. With the work which we here present to the public, it is a day of small things. But if showers of useful contributions should be atiracted to its pages, and the sunshine of patronage, extended to its circulation, we hope this light soil may produce some piety and virtue among
young; and it is our hearts desire that it may be increased to thirty, sixty, and even a hundred fold.
ORIGINAL BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES..
Biography, if tolerably written, is well adapted to instruct and
edify all ages, and especially the young.' We propose, frequently, to give biographical sketches, some of which, like the following, will be original; others selected.
IMMENSE sacrifices and efforts have been made by mankind, to immortalize themselves. The avenues to the temple of Fame have been thronged with ber rotaries. Among these, some have expected
d that their names would be perpetuated in her records by the accumulaton of riches, some by a display of magnificence and splendour in their mansions or equipage, some by military exploits, and some by munificent benefactions to public institutions. Others have taken a humbler, yet surer road to the attainment of worldly fame : They have wearied the flesh with much study by the midnight lamp ; they bave thirsted for the name of being eminently: learned, and they have had their reward. But what are all the eulogies of worldly fame which mortals ever
received, compared with the heavenly testimony given to Daniel ;-0 MAN GREATLY BELOVED.
This prophet's history is worthy of being minutely examined. We must however limit ourselves to some general outlines and a few striking incidents in his history.
When Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judea, in the reign of Jehoiakim, he imposed on the Jewish monarch a tribute, he carried a part of the treasures of the temple to Babylon, and gave orders that some of the seed royal, some princes, and some other youths, distinguished for their science and wisdom, should be carried to his own court. Among the youths thus selected, were Daniel, Hanani. ah, Mishael and Azariah.
Whether these young men were among the nobility or not, they were among those in repute for learning. This little band were all ardently pious; and their hearts were firmly knit together in brotherly love. Though the other three will be had in everlasting remembrance, for their attachment to the cause of God, in opposition to idolatry, yet Daniel filled the most conspicuous place. He was the person singled out to receive the honourable testimony“ O man greatly beloved.”
There were traits in this prophet's character which rendered him amiable and lovely in the estimation of all discerning men with whom he was conversant. His great wisdom united with modesty and affability endeared him to many. In the courts of several successive sovereigos he held a high rank. And it deserves to be remembered, that EARLY PIETY exacts a tribute of respect even from the irreligous.
But the phrase GREATLY BELOVED expressed the moral feelings of Jehovah towards Daniel. So distinguished a testimony in his favoor may well lead us to inquire why he was beloved of God, and WHAT ADVANTAGES resulte ed from it.
Let us consider FOUR reasons WAY DANIEL was great. ly beloved of God. He was eminent for his SoBRIETY, his HUMILITY,
his DEVOTION, and his INTEGRITY. Daniel was eminent for his SOBRIETY. In the season of youth there are peculiar temptations to lightness, vanity and self-indulgence. This was the reason why the inspired preacher used a sacred irony in addressing youth. “Rejoice O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine beart, and in ihe sight of thine eyes ; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment." This was the reason why Paul instructed Timothy" Exhort young men to be sober minded." "This virtue of sobriety Daniel early manifested by refusing to gratify his appetites and passions, at the expense of his understanding and his heart. At his suggestion, he and his three pious companions, obtained permission of their keeper, the prince of the king's eunuchs, to make an experiment for ten days whether they could not be more healthy and fairer, by using a vegetable diet, and drinking pure water, than by feasting on the high seasoned Aesh and drinks ing the wine which had been devoted to their use.
The result proved that abs temiousness in food and drink, is more favourable to bodily health, to mental vigour, and to personal comeliness, than luxurious living or the free use of fermented spirits. It is recorded as an imperishable honour in the history of Daniel that he ehose plain living, because the glory of God, and his own usefulness, could be most promoted by it, when his own appetites and the king's commandment were on the side of his self-indulgence. Like the pious son of Jacob, he chose self-deniał, rather than to sin against God. The duties of sobriety and self-deniał are so frequently and so strongly inculcated in the Scriptures, that we may here discern one important reason why this youthful prophet was beloved of God.
Another reason for this was, that Daniel was eminent for his HUMILITY. Notwithstanding the distinguished honours which were lavished upon him by men, we find nothing in his history which indicates pride, but much which proves himr humble:
And when so many temptations from without, and the common nature of depraved men within, were opposed to the exercise of bumility in him, it was the more acceptable to God.
But when we reflect on the peculiar wisdom, and supernatural prescience, with which he was favoured of God, we may still more admire his deep humility. After the Lord had in answer to prayer, revealed to him the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, we hear him diselaiming all merit, in this remarkably modest language to the king, But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom, in that I have more than any living, but for the sake of others.” When called by Belshazzar, to read the portentous characters inscribed by the hand of an invisible being, and promised the highest honours and immunities beneath the crown royal, he answered the king," let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another, yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known the interpretation." But Daniel's humility is most conspicuous in the language which be was accustomed to use in prayer. Observe the deep contrition manifested by this holy prophet, when seeking the Lord God in behalf of the desolations of Zion,“ We have sinned and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments. O Lord righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us eonfusion of face as at this day." Here we discover the same deep selfabasement which our Lord commended in the publican.
The clear discoveries which Daniel had of the infinite purity of God, made him habitually feel his own unworthiness and vileness, and these considerations tended to keep him truly humble. Even when his envious and malicions enemies, had plotted his destruction, we find neither imprecations nor criminations in his meek lips. The Scriptures assure us, that God resiste eth the proud, but giveth more grace to the humble. " For thus saith the High and Lofty One, that inhabit. eth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the bigh and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." These feelings of Jehovah towards contrite souls, disclose an important reason why the humble Daniel was a man greatly beloved of God. But Daniel was a man eminently DEVOTIONAL.
He was sincerely and ardently attached to the study of the Inspired writings which were then possessed. His study of the Scriptures excited a lively spirit of prayer, and again praver brought him back to the law of the Lord with delight. No trait in Daniel's character is more prominent than his prayerfulness.
When the king's displeasure against his magicians,
exposed all the reputed wise men of Babylon torbe slain; Daniel with his three pious companions spent much timu in fervent prayer to God, and were answered in mercy.
When Daniel understood by the writings of the prophet Jeremiah that seventy years were appointed to humble the Jews,in the desolation of their holy and their beautiful bouse, where their fathers worshipped God, and that these years were nearly expired, “ He set his face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplication with fasting, and sackloth and ashes." A kuowledge that God had purposes, quickened him to pray fervently for their accomplishment. Indeed we find repeated mention made of the prayers and fastings of this holy man of God. But what establishes his character beyond all doubt as one eminently devotional, is the fact that no fear of the king's decree against calling on God, and no apprehensions of danger from being thrown into a den of lions, could deter him from his accustomed devotions. For when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his window being open iá his ebamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed and gave thanks to God.” He knew that it was his duty to pray, and he decided to obey, God, rather than man, and leave. the consequences to the disposal of him who does all things well. Such unshaken confidence in God, producing prompt and cheerful obedience and exciting new fervours in his petitions and praises to the Most High, might lead us to the conclusion, that he was greatly beloved of God.
FINALLY; Daniel' was eminent for his INTEGRITY. It seems to have been his habitual study, to render unto Cesar the things that are Cesar's, and unto God the things that are God's.
To each of the sovereigns who were favoured with his counsels, he rendered the respect and affection of a dutiful subjeet. He could without flattery give honour to whom honour was due. Bnt hie understood the dignity of the prophetic office; and was too entirely under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, not to faithfully declare the whole counsel of God, whether pleasing or painful to: his fellow men. When interpreting a dream of Nebu. hadnezzar's, he gave this bold and faithful advicte: