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Chapter II.

At that time, Nabuchodonosor had a dream marvelous for that insight330330    “mysterio futurorum mirabile.” into the future which it implied. As he could not of himself bring out its interpretation, he sent for the Chaldæans who were supposed by magic arts and by the entrails of victims to know secret things, and to predict the future, in order to its interpretation. Presently becoming apprehensive lest, in the usual manner of men, they should extract from the dream not what was true, but what would be acceptable to the king, he suppresses the things he had seen, and demands of them that, if a real power of divination was in them, they should relate to him the dream itself; saying that he would then believe their interpretation, if they should first make proof of their skill by relating the dream. But they declined attempting so great a difficulty, and confessed that such a thing was not within the reach of human power. The king, enraged because, under a false profession of divination, they were mocking men with their errors, while they were compelled by the present case to acknowledge that they had no such knowledge as was pretended, made an exposure of them by means of a royal edict; and all the men professing that art were publicly put to death. When Daniel heard of that, he spoke to one of those nearest to the king, and promised to give an account of the dream, as well as supply its interpretation. The thing is reported to the king, and Daniel is sent for. The mystery had already been revealed to him by God; and so he relates the vision of the king, as well as interprets it. But this matter demands that we set forth the dream of the king and its interpretation, along with the fulfillment of his words by what followed. The king, 98then, had seen in his sleep an image with a head of gold, with a breast and arms of silver, with a belly and thighs of brass, with legs of iron, and which in its feet ended partly with iron, and partly with clay. But the iron and the clay when blended together could not adhere to each other. At last, a stone cut out without hands broke the image to pieces, and the whole, being reduced to dust, was carried away by the wind.


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