19. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.
19. Domine audi, Domine propitius esto, Domine attende, vel, animadverte, et fac, ne moreris propter te, Deus mi, quia nomen tuum invocatum est super urbem tuam, et super populum tuum.
Here vehemence is better expressed, as I have previously observed. For Daniel does not display his eloquence, as hypocrites usually do, but simply teaches by his example the true law and method of prayer. Without doubt, he was impelled by singular zeal for the purpose of drawing others with him. God, therefore, worked in the Prophet by his Spirit, to render him a guide to all the rest, and his prayer as a kind of common form to the whole Church. With this intention, Daniel now relates his own conceptions. He had prayed without any witness, but he now calls together the whole Church, and wishes it to become a witness of his zeal and fervor, and invites all men to follow this prescription, proceeding as it does not from himself but from God. O Lord, hear, says he; and next, O Lord, be propitious. By this second clause he implies the continual and intentional deafness of the Almighty, because he was deservedly angry with the people. And we ought to observe this, because we foolishly wonder at God's not answering our prayers as soon as the wish has proceeded from our lips. Its reason, too, must be noticed. God's slowness springs from our coldness and dullness, while our iniquities interpose an obstacle between ourselves and his ear. Be thou, therefore, propitious, O Lord, that thou mayest hear. So the sentence ought to be resolved. He afterwards adds, O Lord, attend. By this word Daniel means to convey, that while the people had in many ways and for a length of time provoked God's anger, they were unworthily oppressed by impious and cruel enemies, and that this severe calamity ought to incline God to pity them. O Lord, therefore, he says, attend and do not delay. Already God had cast away his people for seventy years, and had suffered them to be so oppressed by their enemies, as to cause the faithful the utmost mental despondency. Thus we perceive how in this passage the holy Prophet wrestled boldly with the severest temptation. He requests God not to delay or put off. Seventy years had already passed away since God had formally cast off his people, and had refused them every sign of his good will towards them.
The practical inference from this passage is the impossibility of our praying acceptably, unless we rise superior to whatever befalls us; and if we estimate God's favor according to our own condition, we shall lose the very desire for prayer, nay, we shall wear away a hundred times over in the midst of our calamities, and be totally unable to raise our minds up to God. Lastly, whenever God seems to have delayed for a great length of time, he must be constantly entreated not to delay. He next adds, For thine own sake, O , my God. Again, Daniel reduces to nothing those sources of confidence by which hypocrites imagine themselves able to obtain God's favor. Even if one clause of the sentence is not actually the opposite of the other, as it was before, yet when he says, for thy sake, we may understand the inference to be, therefore not for our own sakes. He confirms this view by the remainder of the context, For thy sake, O my God, because thy name has been invoked upon thy city, says he, and upon thy people. We observe, then, how Daniel left no means untried for obtaining his request, although he relied on his gratuitous adoption, and never doubted God's propitious feelings towards his own people. He finds indeed no cause for them either in mortals or in their merits, but he wishes mankind perpetually to behold his benefits and to continue steadfast to the end. It follows: --