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unto, Dan. i. 17, 20, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” In all matters of wisdom and understanding, none in the whole Babylonian empire, full of wise men and artists, were to be compared unto Daniel and his companions; and Ezekiel, chap. xxviii. 3, rebuking the pride and arrogancy of Tyrus, with a bitter scorn he says, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel,” or thou thinkest thyself so,-intimating that none in wisdom was to be compared unto him.

[2.] Love to his people. On this account was his most diligent inquiry into the time of their deliverance, and his earnest contending with God, upon the discovery of the season when it was to be accomplished, chap. ix. 1-4. Hence he is reckoned amongst them who in their generation stood in the gap in the behalf of others,—“Noah, Daniel, and Job." Hence God calls the people of the Jews, his people, chap. ix. 24, “Seventy weeks are determined on thy people;" —the people of thy affections and desires, the people of whom thou art, and who are so dear unto thee.

[3.] For his righteousness in discharging of his trust and office, you have the joint testimony of God and man:-his high place and preferment you have, chap. vi. 2. He was the first of the three presidents who were set over the hundred and twenty other princes of the provinces; and the Holy Ghost tells you, that, in the discharge of this high trust and great employment, he was faithful to the utmost, verse 4, "Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.” Which also his enemies confessed, verse 5, “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.”

These qualifications, I say, amongst others, were most eminent in this person who here received his dismission from his employment.

(2.) There is his employment itself, from which he is dismissed; and herein I shall observe these two things:-[1.] The nature of the employment itself; [2.] Some considerable circumstances of it.

[1.] For the first, it consisted in receiving from God, and holding out to others, clear and express visions concerning God's wonderful providential alterations in kingdoms and nations, which were to be accomplished from the days wherein he lived to the end of the world. All the prophets together had not so many clear discoveries as this one Daniel concerning these things.

[2.] For the latter, this is observable, that all his visions still close with some eminent exaltation of the kingdom of Christ ;-—that is the centre where all the lines of his visions do meet, as is to be seen in the close almost of every chapter; and this was the great intendment of the Spirit in all those glorious revelations unto Daniel, to manifest the subserviency of all civil revolutions unto the interest of the kingdom of the Lord Christ.

This, then, is the person concerning whom these words were used, and this was his employment.

2. There is his dismission itself: “Go thou thy ways.” Now this may be considered two ways:-(1.) Singly, relating to his employment only; (2.) In reference to his life also.

(1.) In the first sense, the Lord dischargeth Daniel from his farther attendance on him, in this way of receiving visions and revelations concerning things that were shortly to come to pass, although haply his portion might yet be continued in the land of the living: as if the Lord should say, Thou art an inquiring man; thou art still seeking for farther acquaintance with my mind in these things;—but content thyself, thou shalt receive no more visions; I will now employ Haggai, Zechariah, and others; thou shalt receive no more. But I cannot close with this sense, for,

[1.] This is not the manner of God, to lay aside those whom he hath found faithful in his service. Men, indeed, do so; but God changeth not: whom he hath begun to honour with any employment, he continueth them in it whilst they are faithful to him.

[2.] Daniel was now above a hundred years old, as may be easily demonstrated by comparing the time of his captivity, which was in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, chap. i. 1, with the time of his writing this prophecy, which is expressly said to be in the reign of Cyrus, the king of Persia, chap. x. 1; and, therefore, probably his end was very nigh. And after this you hear of him no more; who, had he lived many days, it had been his sin not to have gone up to Jerusalem, the decree of Cyrus, giving liberty for a return, being passed.

(2.) It is not, then, God's laying him aside from his office simply, but also his intimation that he must shortly lay down his mortality, and so come into the condition wherein he was to “rest” until the end. This, then, is his dismission. He died in his work;—life and employ ment go together. “Go thou thy ways."

Observation I. There is an appointed season, wherein the saints of the most eminent abilities, in the most useful employments, must receive their dismission: be their work of never so great importance, be their abilities never so choice and eminent, they must in their season receive their dismission.

Before I handle this proposition, or proceed to open the following

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words, I shall crave leave to bring the work of God and the word of
God a little close together, and lay the parallel between the persons
dismissed,—the one in our text, the other in a present providence,
which is very near, only that the one lived not out half the days of
the other.
1. Three personal qualifications we observed in Daniel, all which
eminent in the

person our desires.
(1.) Wisdom. There is a manifold wisdom which God imparteth
to the sons of men. There is spiritual wisdom, that, by the way of
eminency, is said to be “from above," James iii. 17; which is nothing
but the gracious acquaintance of the soul with the hidden wisdom of
God in Christ, 1 Cor. ii. 7. And there is a civil wisdom, or a sound
ability of mind for the management of the affairs of men, in subordi-
nation to the providence and righteousness of God. Though both
these were in Daniel, yet it is in respect of the latter that his wisdom
is so peculiarly extolled. And though I am very far from assuming
to myself the skill of judging of the abilities of men, and would be
far from holding forth things of mere common report; yet, upon
assured grounds, I suppose this gift of God,-ability of mind, and
dexterous industry for the management of human affairs,—may be
ascribed to our departed friend.

There are sundry things that distinguish this wisdom from that policy which God abhors; which is "carnal, sensual, and devilish,” James üii. 15, though it be the great darling of the men of the world. I shall name one or two of them.

[1.] A gracious discerning of the mind of God, according to his appearance in the affairs wherein men are employed, Mic. vi. 9, “The LORD's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." It is the wisdom of a man, to see the name of God, to be acquainted with his will, his mind, his aim in things, when his providential voice crieth to the city. All the works of God have their voice,-have their instruction;-those of signal providences speak aloud; they cry to the city, Here is the wisdom of a man: he is a man of substance, a substantial

that can see his name in such dispensations. This carnal policy inquires not into, but is wholly swallowed up in the concatenation of things among themselves; applying secondary causes unto events, without once looking to the name of God, -like swine following acorns under the tree, not at all looking up to the tree from whence they fall.

man,

[2.] Such acquaintance with the seasons of providence as to know · The Hebrew word translated “wisdom” stands alone in the text, without " man;" Tum, derived from one or mm; Sanscrit, as; Pers., ess; Latin, ekse, esscntia, opes,—substance. See Fürst's Concordance.-Ep.

the duty of the people of God in them, 1 Chron. xii. 32, "The children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” This it is indeed to be a man of understanding, -to know in any season the duty of Israel, that they may walk up to acceptation with God in the performance thereof;—a thing which is neither prescribed in the rules nor followed in the practice of men wise only with that cursed policy which God abhors. To have a mind suited unto all seasons and tempers, so as to compass their own selfish ends, is the utmost of their aim.

Now, in both these did this gift of God shine in this deceased saint.

1st, He ever counted it his wisdom to look after the name of God, and the testification of his will, in every dispensation of providence wherein he was called to serve. For this were his wakings, watchings, inquiries. When that was made out, he counted not his business half done, but even accomplished, and that the issue was ready at the door: not, What saith this man? or, What saith that man?—but, What saith the Lord ?—that being evident. He consulted not with flesh and blood, and the wisdom of it; whereof, perhaps, would he have leaned to it, he was as little destitute as any in his generation,

-I mean, the whole wisdom of a man. The name of God was as land in every storm;-in the discovery whereof he had as happy an eye, at the greatest seeming distance, when the clouds were blackest and the waves highest, as any.

2d, Neither did he rest here. “What Israel ought to do" in every season, was also his inquiry. Some men have a wisdom to know things, but not seasons, in any measure. Surely a thing in season is no less beautiful than a word in season ;-"as apples of gold in pictures of silver." There are few things that belong to civil affairs but are alterable upon the incomprehensible variety of circumstances. These alter and change the very nature of them, and make them good or bad; that is, useful or destructive. He that will have the garment that was made for him one year serve and fit him the next, must be sure that he neither increase nor wane. Importune insisting on the most useful things, without respect to alterations of seasons, is a sad sign of a narrow heart. He of whom we speak was wise to “ discern the seasons,” and performed things when both themselves and the ways of carrying them on were excellently suited unto all coincidences of their season. And, indeed, what is most wisely proposed in one season may be most foolishly pursued in another. It had been wisdom in Joshua not to have made any compact, but to have slain all the Gibeonites; but it was a folly sorely revenged in Saul, who attempted to do the same. He who thinks the most righteous and suitable proposals or principles that ever were in the world (setting aside general rules of unchangeable righteousness and equity, compassing all times, places, ways, and forms of government), must be performed, as desirable, because once they were so, is certainly a stranger to the affairs of human kind.

Some things are universally unchangeable and indispensable amongst men, supposing them to live answerable to the general principles of their kind:-as, that a government must be; without which every one is the enemy of every one, and all tend to mutual destruction, which are appointed of God for mutual preservation;—that in government some do rule, and some be in subjection;—that all rule be for the good of them that are ruled; and the like principles, that flow necessarily from the very nature of political society.

Some things, again, are alterable and dispensable merely upon the account of preserving the former principles, or the like. If any of them are out of course, it is a vacuum in nature politic, for which all particular elements instantly dislodge and transpose themselves to supply. And such are all forms of governments amongst men; which, if either they so degenerate of themselves that they become directly opposite, or are so shattered by providential revolutions as to become useless, to their proper end, may and ought to be changed, and not upon other accounts. But now for other things in government, -as the particular way whereby persons shall be designed unto it,—the con. tinuance of the same persons in it for a less or greater proportion of time,-the exercise of more or less power by some sorts, or the whole body of them that are ruled,—the uniting of men for some particular end by bonds and engagements, and the like occasional emergencies

, --the universal disposal of them is rolled on prudence to act according to present circumstances.

(2.) Love to his people. This was the second qualification wherein Daniel was so eminent. And our deceased friend- not to enter into comparison with them that went before—had clearly such a proportion as we may heartily desire that those who follow after may drink but equal draughts of the same cup. That his pains, labour, travail, jeopards of his life, and all that was dear to him, relinquishment of relations and contentments, had sweetness and life from this motive, even intenseness of affection to his people, the people of whom he was, and whose prosperity he did desire, needs no farther demonstration than the great neglect of self and all self-concernments which dwelt upon him in all his tremendous undertakings. “Vicit amor patriæ,” or certainly he who had upon his breast and all his undertakings self-contempt so eminently engraven, could not have persisted wrestling with so many difficulties to the end of his days It was Jerusalem and the prosperity thereof which was preferred to his chief joy. Neither,

(3.) Did he come short in righteousness in the administration of

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