Page images

tures say,


with guilt. Paul and Silas were cast into prison and fastened in the stocks, on account of their religion. But nothing could disturb their mental peace—their heaven-born repose. They joyfully sung psalms, and lifted up their voices in prayer to God in the calm enjoyment of a pure unsullied conscience. They suffered afflictions that were, under the government of God, to work out for their good. There were no doubt others in that prison justly suffering for their crimes. To them it was punishment. Because the former were suffering affliction, the latter, punishment. The scrip

“Great peace have they that love thy law; and nothing shall offend " There is no peace,


my God, to the wicked;" and he who says there is, contradicts Jehovah.

If you would, my young friends, avoid punishment, avoid sin. If you would be happy, and enjoy a long and tranquil life, follow carefully the directions of our text; for rest assured that a contrary course of conduct will not only involve you in misery and wretchedness, bnt bring you to á premature grave. Let us then take warning, and not become our cutioners. Let us make tħe most of life we may, and not turn our present existence, which is one of heaven's choicest blessings, into a curse. Let us do good in our day and generation, and render ourselves blessings to mankind, by living soberly, righteously and peaceably in the



world? Let us do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God-visit the widow and the fatherless in their affliction, and keep ourselves unspotted from the world.


And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will..

Daniel iv; 32. That reason, as well as revelation, teaches an overruling providence, very few deny. There must exist in nature an omnipotent and benevolent Being to keep all her works in harmony-to touch the most secret and subtle springs of the vast machinery of the universe-to regulate seed time and harvest, summer and winter, day and night; and to throw the enrapturing charms of countless variety not only over the landscape, but over all that we behold in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath. Globes roll in the paths assigned them, and by some udseen hand are wisely kept from interfering in their orbits, and disturbing each other's motions. These facts demonstrate the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent,

and Benevolent Being; and every event, transpiring in the government of the world, proclaims an omnipresent Jehovah

He not only works in the majesty of the lightning, and in the grandeur of the storm regulating and directing the whole in its sublime career, but he notices the fall of a sparrow, and numbers the very hairs of our head. Events, the most trivial in their nature, are the objects of his notice, as well as those of the most momentous character. Were not this the case, universal disorder and ruin would soon find their way into his works, break the chain of events, and reduce all, that we now admire, from its present harmony and glory, down to its general confusion and chaos. This conclusion is unavoidable, because some of the greatest events that have transpired in the world, owe their existence to something of a very trivial nature.

If God did not, in the general government of the world, direct also small events, then he could not be the author of those great events which flow from them. On this principle there inight transpire countless events of the greatest magnitude without the direction and superintendance of Deity. The admission of this is but practical Atheism. It is acknowledging a God in words, but in works denying him. It alike makes chance the governor of the world to those who acknowledge such a God, as to those who wholly deny his existence.

In our text a presiding Deity is solemnly recognized by the prophet Daniel, and his supremacy over the affairs of men is throughout the whole chapter most strikingly set forth before the Assyrian king. He had dreamed a dream which none of the wise men of Babylon were able to interpret. Daniel was called to him ;

who after making known to that proud monarch his destiny involved in that dream, expostulates with him on his conduct. He did not threaten him with endless punishment in the immortal world, but informed him that there was a God that ruled the heavens, and presided over the affairs of men; and exhorted him to forsake his iniquities. This is his language: “And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots, thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. Wherefore, o king! let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor, if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

At the end of twelve months, he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by the might of my power and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying,

[ocr errors]

O king Nebuchadnezzar! to thee it is spoken; the kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the heasts of the field; they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."

Nebuchadnezzar was the Son of Nabopolasser, and the second king of Assyria. He was Regent with his father in the Empire 607 years before the birth of our Lord; and the next year, he raised a powerful army, marched against Jerusalem, and took Jehoiakim, king of Judah, prisoner. While making preparations to carry him and his subjects into captivity, in Babylon, Jehoiakim. solemnly promised submission, and begged the privilege of holding his throne under the sceptre of Nebuchadnezzar. This favor was granted, and he was permitted to remain at Jerusalem. after this, he made an unsuccessful attempt to throw off the Assyrian yoke and regain his former independence. This brought on the general captivity of the Jewish nation, which lasted 70 years.

Nebuchadnezzar extended his conquests till he subjugated the Ethiopians, Arabians, Idumeans, Philistines, Syrians, Persians, Medes, Assyrians,and nearly all Asia to his sceptre. These splendid conquests, and being now king of kings, lift

Three years

« PreviousContinue »