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Lecture Twenty-eighth.

WE said, yesterday, that the nobles who laid snares against Daniel were inspired with great fury when they dared to dictate to the king the edict recorded by Daniel. It was an intolerable sacrilege thus to deprive all the deities of their honor; yet he subscribed the edict, as we shall afterwards see, and thus put to the test the obedience of his people whom he had lately reduced under the yoke by the help of his son-in-law. There is no doubt of his wish to subdue the Chaldees, who up to that time had been masters; and we know how ferocity springs from the possession of authority. Since then the Chaldees had formerly reigned so far and wide, it was difficult to tame them and render them submissive, especially when they found themselves the slaves of those who had previously been their rivals. We know how many contests there were between them and the Medes; and although they were subdued in war, their spirits were not yet in subjection; hence Darius desired to prove their obedience, and this reason induced him to give his consent. He does not purposely provoke the anger of the gods; but through respect for the men, he forgets the deities, and substitutes himself in the place of the gods, as if it was in his power to attract the authority of heaven to himself! This, as I have said, was a grievous sacrilege. If any one could enter into the hearts of kings, he would find scarcely one in a hundred who does not despise everything divine. Although they confess themselves to enjoy their thrones by the grace of God, as we have previously remarked, yet they wish to be adored in his stead. We now see how easily flatterers persuade kings to do whatever appears likely to extol their magnificence. It follows:

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