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ven, all whose works are truth;" and to feel that "those that walk in pride, He is able to abase.(45)
SOME years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar became king of Babylon; after he had been a few years king, he made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and when they were all assembled to drink wine together, the king sent for the vessels of gold and silver which had been set apart to the Lord in Solomon's temple: and these vessels, which had been looked upon as holy things at Jerusalem, and used only by the priests in the service of the Most High, were brought forward, and out of them did Belshazzar and his idolatrous court drink, while they praised the gods of gold and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone. But while they were thus openly sinning
against the only God, and giving themselves up to their own evil hearts, He who had humbled king Nebuchadnezzar, who "is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity," was preparing for them a punishment,-for, in the midst of their rioting, the boldest of them were struck with great fear, and the king's face was changed with alarm, and he trembled, so that his knees smote one against the other, for God caused the fingers of a man's hand to appear upon the wall and write some words which they all saw, but which none of them could read.
Then did the king send for all the wise men, and to the man who should explain these fearful letters did he promise that he should be clothed with scarlet, have a chain of gold about his neck, and become the third ruler in the kingdom.
But these promises were vain, the handwriting was from God, and these wise men of the world could not read it. Think for a moment what must have been the terror and dismay of the king and his people; of those very men who had been only a short time before trusting in their own might, full of their own strength, and whose hearts were lifted up with pride; but who were now made to feel
that there was a Power above them, at whose will they trembled.
When the queen heard what had come to pass, she went into the banquet hall, and said unto the king, "There is a man in thy kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods, and in the days of thy father, light, and understanding, and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him."
"Then was Daniel brought in before the king," and those gifts offered to him which had been before promised to the man who should make known this writing. But Daniel said unto the king, "Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another, yet will I read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation." The prophet then put him in mind of the power and might of Nebuchadnezzar, of his pride of heart, and how he had been brought low, saying, yet "thou, his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this, but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven, and thou hast praised the gods of silver and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand thy
breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified." Daniel then, in the wisdom which God had given to him, explained the meaning of those words which had spread such fear among all around. They were a judgment from the God of heaven and earth upon the proud king of Babylon, giving him to understand that the days of his kingly pride and power were at an end, for he had been weighed in the balances, and found wanting, and his kingdom had been divided among the Medes and Persians. Then was Daniel made the third ruler in the kingdom; but the power of Belshazzar was at an end, for on that very night was he killed, and the city taken by Cyrus, king of Persia, by whom it was given to Darius, king of the Medes.
When Darius first began to reign in Babylon, he set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty princes, and over them were three others, the first of whom was Daniel; but these men were envious of him, and sought to find some fault in him, of which they might accuse him to the king, but they could not, because he was faithful in all his dealings with the people, "neither was there any error or fault found in him." "" Then said these
men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God." They knew that not even to save his life would he deny the only God, nor shrink from his duty to Him, whatever it might cost him: "these wicked men, therefore, went to Darius, and gained from him a promise, that whosoever should ask any thing of any god or man for thirty days, except of the king himself, should be cast into the den of lions.
Their request was granted; and when Daniel.h ..heard of it, he went into his own house, and, with his windows open, three times each day he knelt down, with his face towards Jerusalem, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done before. His enemies told this to the king, who then repented that he had made such a rash decree, and would have set it aside; but they said unto him, "Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no decree or statute which the king establisheth may be changed."
Then was Daniel thrown into the den of lions; and the king said unto him, "Thy God, whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee." Darius went