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.
This ancient story is as vital and beautiful as ever. Each deed of holy courage, each life of truth and purity, lives on in recorded or unrecorded influence. He works (immortal as He who inspired it), in one generation after another with the "power of an endless life." Beautiful the thick blossomed trees of spring, but not to be compared for the beauty of usefulness with the fruit-weighted trees of autumn Beautiful the piety of youth with its sweet promises, but more beautiful the piety of aged men and women when, so many tempests outlived, they "still bring forth fruit in old age." What fruit do we find m Daniel's old age?
I. AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT. In him, and seen to be in him. For be a man's spirit excellent or the reverse, it cannot be hidden. It comes out. The churl, the cruel, the malignant man, may mask the spirit, and hypocritically appear what he is not. But such are often surprised into conduct in which the real bad spirit is revealed; or they weary of playing a part. The spirit of Daniel was the secret of his elevation by Darius. How it showed itself is not told. He was a man of rare sagacity, and of incorruptible integrity. He had a kingly soul, with a spirit that thrilled his very silences, looks, tones, with excellence. We are more as forces in the world, than speakers and toilers. The Spirit we are of is an essential part, the largest part of our influence. It is the eloquence of tone and look and silence — it is ourself. Let the spirit be right and the life will be.
II. FAITHFULNESS TO DUTY. Daniel had enemies. They plot against him. He was faithful to his earthly master, because in all faithful to his Master in heaven. The secret of his faithfulness was that very piety through which his foes sought to assail, and take his life from the earth. There still is the secret of well doing, and continuance in well-doing, whatever be the station.
III. PRAYERFULNESS. Busy had been Daniel's life. But he was never too busy to pray thrice a day. From this habit, not even peril of death could daunt him. Daniel knew that the writing was signed, but it made no difference. For he knew also the helpful and sublime privilege of prayer. The baffled king sought by delay to save Daniel. It was in vain. The den probably was an underground cave. This method of punishment is attested by the discovery of statues and bas-reliefs among the ruins of Babylon. Daniel was willing to meet his fate. Prayer to God was the necessity of his life. Life might be surrendered rather than prayer. Life fruitful is ever life prayerful.
IV. TRUSTFULNESS. What a moment when the aged prophet was cast into the den! Daniel was calm. He trusted in God. From early youth, through manifold perils, Daniel had trusted in his God. He had never been put to confusion, nor would he be now. The angel Jehovah was with him.
(G. T. Coster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.