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[1.] For the first, the Holy Ghost beareth ample testimony thereunto, 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.

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[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, ver. 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, ver. 3. 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.'

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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 só, 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 employment 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 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 were very eminent in the person of 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 subordination 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 iii. 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; Micah vi. 9. 'The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, the man of wisdom shall see thy name, hear 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 man, 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.

[2.] Such acquaintance with the seasons of providence, as to know 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.

1. He ever counted it his wisdom to look after the name of God, and the testification of his will, in every dispensa

tion 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.

2. Neither did he rest here: what Israel ought to do in every season, was also his inquiry; some men have a "visdom 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 two 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 unchangeable and indispensable amongst men, supposing them to live answerable to the general prin

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