Daniel 5* Belshazzar's impious feast; the hand-writing on the wall.(1-9) Daniel is sent for to interpret it. (10-17) Daniel warnsthe king of his destruction. (18-31)1-9 Belshazzar bade defiance to the judgments of God. Mosthistorians consider that Cyrus then besieged Babylon. Securityand sensuality are sad proofs of approaching ruin. That mirth issinful indeed, which profanes sacred things; and what are manyof the songs used at modern feasts better than the praises sungby the heathens to their gods! See how God struck terror uponBelshazzar and his lords. God's written word is enough to putthe proudest, boldest sinner in a fright. What we see of God,the part of the hand that writes in the book of the creatures,and in the book of the Scriptures, should fill us with awfulthoughts concerning that part which we do not see. If this bethe finger of God, what is his arm when made bare? And what isHe? The king's guilty conscience told him that he had no reasonto expect any good news from heaven. God can, in a moment, makethe heart of the stoutest sinner to tremble; and there needs nomore than to let loose his own thoughts upon him; they will givehim trouble enough. No bodily pain can equal the inward agonywhich sometimes seizes the sinner in the midst of mirth, carnalpleasures, and worldly pomp. Sometimes terrors cause a man toflee to Christ for pardon and peace; but many cry out for fearof wrath, who are not humbled for their sins, and who seekrelief by lying vanities. The ignorance and uncertaintyconcerning the Holy Scriptures, shown by many who callthemselves wise, only tend to drive sinners to despair, as theignorance of these wise men did. 10-17 Daniel was forgotten at court; he lived privately, andwas then ninety years of age. Many consult servants of God oncurious questions, or to explain difficult subjects, but withoutasking the way of salvation, or the path of duty. Danielslighted the offer of reward. He spoke to Belshazzar as to acondemned criminal. We should despise all the gifts and rewardsthis world can give, did we see, as we may by faith, its endhastening on; but let us do our duty in the world, and do it allthe real service we can. 18-31 Daniel reads Belshazzar's doom. He had not taken warningby the judgments upon Nebuchadnezzar. And he had insulted God.Sinners are pleased with gods that neither see, nor hear, norknow; but they will be judged by One to whom all things areopen. Daniel reads the sentence written on the wall. All thismay well be applied to the doom of every sinner. At death, thesinner's days are numbered and finished; after death is thejudgment, when he will be weighed in the balance, and foundwanting; and after judgment the sinner will be cut asunder, andgiven as a prey to the devil and his angels. While these thingswere passing in the palace, it is considered that the army ofCyrus entered the city; and when Belshazzar was slain, a generalsubmission followed. Soon will every impenitent sinner find thewriting of God's word brought to pass upon him, whether he isweighed in the balance of the law as a self-righteous Pharisee,or in that of the gospel as a painted hypocrite.
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