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Daniel 2:22

22. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

22. Ipse patefecit profunda et abscondita cognoseit quod in tenebris, 136136     Lies hid.Calvin. et lux cum eo habitat. 137137     Or, in his power. Calvin.

 

He pursues the same sentiment, and confirms it, — that all mortals receive from God’s Spirit whatever intelligence and light they enjoy; but he proceeds a step further in this verse than in the last. He had said generally, that, men receive wisdom and understanding by God’s good will; but here he speaks specially; for when a man’s understanding is rare and unusual, there God’s gift shines forth more clearly; as if he had said — God not only distributes to every one according to the measure of his own liberality, whatever acuteness and ingenuity they possess, but he adorns some with such intelligence that they appear as his interpreters. He speaks, therefore, here, specially of the gift of prophecy; as if he had said, God’s goodness is conspicuous, not only in the ordinary prudence of mankind, for no one is so made as to be unable to discover between justice and injustice, and to form some plan for regulating his life; but in Prophets there is something extraordinary, which renders God’s wisdom more surprising. Whence, then, do Prophets obtain the power of prophesying concerning hidden events, and penetrating above the heavens, and surpassing all bounds? Is this common to all men? Surely this far exceeds the ordinary ability of man, while the Prophet here teaches that; God’s beneficence and power deserve more praise, because he reveals hidden and secret things; and in this sense he adds — light dwells with God; as if he had said, — God differs very much from us, since we are involved in many clouds and mists; but to God all things are clear; he has no occasion to hesitate, or inquire, and has no need to be hindered through ignorance. Now, we fully understand the Prophet’s meaning.

Let us learn from this passage to attribute to God that praise which the greater part of the world claims to itself with sacrilegious audacity, though God shews it to belong to himself. Whatever understanding or judgment we may possess, we should remember that it was first received from God. Hence, also, if we have but a small portion of common sense, we are still equally indebted to God, for we should be like stocks or stones unless by his secret instinct he endued us with understanding. But if any one excels others, and obtains the admiration of all men, he ought still modestly to submit himself to God, and acknowledge himself the more bound to him, because he has received more than others. For who knows himself fully but God? The more, therefore, he excels in understanding, the more he will lay aside all claims of his own, and extol the beneficence of God. Thirdly, let, us learn that the understanding of spiritual things is a rare and singular gift of the Holy Spirit, in which God’s power shines forth conspicuously. Let us guard against that diabolical pride by which we see almost; the whole world to be swollen and intoxicated. And in this respect we should chiefly glorify God, as he has not, only adorned us with ordinary foresight, enabling us to discern between good and evil, but raised us above the ordinary level of human nature, and so enlightened us that we can understand things far exceeding our capacities. When Daniel pronounces light to be with God, we must supply a tacit antithesis; since he indicates, as I have already said, that men are surrounded by thick darkness, and grope about in obscurity. The habitation of men is here obliquely contrasted with the sanctuary of God; as if the Prophet had said, there is no pure and perfect light but in God alone. Hence, when we remain in our natural state, we must necessarily wander in darkness, or at least be obscured by many clouds. These words naturally lead us not to rest satisfied in our own position, but to seek from God that light in which he only dwells. Meanwhile, we should remember how God dwells in light unapproachable, (1 Timothy 6:16,) unless he deigns to stretch forth his hand to us. Hence, if we desire to become partakers of this divine light, let us be, on our guard against audacity, and mindful of our ignorance; let; us seek God’s illumination. Thus his light will not be inaccessible to us, when, by his Spirit, he shall conduct us beyond the skies. He afterwards adds —


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