Daniel 8* Daniel's vision of the ram and the he-goat. (1-14) Theinterpretation of it. (15-27)1-14 God gives Daniel a foresight of the destruction of otherkingdoms, which in their day were as powerful as that ofBabylon. Could we foresee the changes that shall be when we aregone, we should be less affected with changes in our own day.The ram with two horns was the second empire, that of Media andPersia. He saw this ram overcome by a he-goat. This wasAlexander the Great. Alexander, when about thirty-three years ofage, and in his full strength, died, and showed the vanity ofworldly pomp and power, and that they cannot make a man happy.While men dispute, as in the case of Alexander, respecting thedeath of some prosperous warrior, it is plain that the greatFirst Cause of all had no more of his plan for him to execute,and therefore cut him off. Instead of that one great horn, therecame up four notable ones, Alexander's four chief captains. Alittle horn became a great persecutor of the church and peopleof God. It seems that the Mohammedan delusion is here pointedout. It prospered, and at one time nearly destroyed the holyreligion God's right hand had planted. It is just with God todeprive those of the privileges of his house who despise andprofane them; and to make those know the worth of ordinances bythe want of them, who would not know it by the enjoyment ofthem. Daniel heard the time of this calamity limited anddetermined; but not the time when it should come. If we wouldknow the mind of God, we must apply to Christ, in whom are hidall the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; not hid from us, buthid for us. There is much difficulty as to the precise time herestated, but the end of it cannot be very distant. God will, forhis own glory, see to the cleansing of the church in due time.Christ died to cleanse his church; and he will so cleanse it asto present it blameless to himself. 15-27 The eternal Son of God stood before the prophet in theappearance of a man, and directed the angel Gabriel to explainthe vision. Daniel's fainting and astonishment at the prospectof evils he saw coming on his people and the church, confirm theopinion that long-continued calamities were foretold. The visionbeing ended, a charge was given to Daniel to keep it private forthe present. He kept it to himself, and went on to do the dutyof his place. As long as we live in this world we must havesomething to do in it; and even those whom God has mosthonoured, must not think themselves above their business. Normust the pleasure of communion with God take us from the dutiesof our callings, but we must in them abide with God. All who areintrusted with public business must discharge their trustuprightly; and, amidst all doubts and discouragements, they may,if true believers, look forward to a happy issue. Thus should weendeavour to compose our minds for attending to the duties towhich each is appointed, in the church and in the world.
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