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to be the resemblance of God; his resemblance is coveted, as the highest attainment; heaven is desired, as the condition of those who resemble him ; and the intoxicating cup of pleasure is refused, not that the mortal palate might not find it sweet, but because vice presents it. When the habit of the mind is formed to these views and these sentiments, then, and not before, the Christian character, in the judgment of St. Paul, is perfect ; and the perfective quality of this disposition of the mind lies principally in this circumstance, that it is a disinterested love of virtue and religion as the chief object. The disposition is not the less valuable nor the less good, when it is once formed, because it is the last stage of a gradual progress of the mind which may too often, perhaps, begin in nothing better than a sense of guilt, and a just fear of punishment. The sweetness of the ripened fruit is not the less delicious for the austerity of its cruder state ; nor is this Christian righteousness to be despised, if, amid the various temptations of the world, a sense of the danger as well as the turpitude of a life of sin should be necessary not only to its beginning but to its permanency.
The whole of our present life is but the childhood of our existence: and children are not to be trained to the wisdom and virtues of men without more or less of a compulsive discipline; at the same time that perfection must be confessed to consist in that pure love of God and of his law which casteth out fear.
We have now seen, that the perfective quality which the apostle ascribes to the Christian's desire of improvement consists much in these two properties,
that it is boundless in its energies, and disinterested in its object. A third renders it complete; which is this, – that this appetite of the mind (for such it may be called, although insatiable, and, in the strictest sense of the word, disinterested,) is nevertheless rational ; inasmuch as its origin is entirely in the understanding, and personal good, though not its object, is rendered by the appointment of Providence, and by the promises of the Gospel, its certain consequence. Upon the whole, it appears that the perfection of the Christian character, as it is described by the apostle, consists in that which is the natural perfection of the man, - in a principle which brings every thought and desire of the mind into an entire subjection to the will of God, rendering a religious course of life a matter of choice no less than of duty and interest.
DANIEL, iv. 17.
This matter is by the decree of the Watchers, and
the demand by the word of the Holy Ones ; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. *
The matter which the text refers to the « decree of the Watchers,” and “the demand of the Holy Ones,” is the judgment which, after no long time, was about to fall upon Nebuchadnezzar, the great king of whom we read so much in history, sacred and profane. His conquest of the Jewish nation, though a great event in the history of the church, was but a small part of this prince's story. The kingdom of Babylon came to him by inheritance from his father : upon his accession he made himself master of all the rest of the Assyrian empire; and to these vast dominions he added, by a long series of wars of unparalleled success, the whole of that immense tract of country which extends from the banks of the Euphrates westward to the sea-coasts of Palestine and Phoenicia, and the border of Egypt. Nor was he more renowned in war than justly admired in peace, for public works of the highest utility and magnificence. To him the famous city of Babylon owed whatever it possessed of strength, of beauty, or convenience, - its solid walls with their hundred gates, immense in circuit, height, and thickness, - its stately temple, and its proud palace, with the hanging gardens,- its regular streets and spacious squares,
* Preached in the Cathedral Church of St. Asaph, on Thursday, December 5. 1805; being the day of public thanksgiving for the victory obtained by Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson, over the combined fleets of France and Spain, off Cape Trafalgar.
the embankments which confined the river, — the canals, which carried off the floods, — and the vast reservoir, which in seasons of drought (for to the vicissitudes of immoderate rains and drought the climate was liable) supplied the city and the adjacent country with water. In a word, for the extent of his dominion, and the great revenues it supplied, - for his unrivalled success in war, — for the magnificence and splendour of his court, - and for his stupendous works and improvements at Babylon, he was the greatest monarch, not only of his own times, but incomparably the greatest the world had ever seen, without exception even of those whose
are remembered as the first civilizers of mankind, — the Egyptian Sesostris and the Indian Bacchus. But great as this prince's talents and endowments must have been, his uninterrupted and unexampled prosperity was too much for the digestion of his mind : his heart grew vain in the contemplation of his grandeur : he forgot that he was a man; and he affected divine honours. His impious pride received indeed a check, by the miraculous deliverance of the three faithful Jews from the furnace to which they had been condemned. His mind at first was much affected by the miracle ; but the impression in time wore off, and the intoxication of power and prosperity returned upon him. God was therefore pleased to humble him, and to make him an example to the world and to himself of the frailty of all human power, - the instability of all human greatness. I say, an example to the world and to himself; for it is very remarkable, that the king's own conversion was in part an object of the judgment inflicted upon him : and, notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary, upon no ground at all, by a foreign commentator of great name, it is evident, from the sacred history, that object was accomplished ; and it was in order to the accomplishment of it that the king had warning of the impending visitation in a dream. That a dispensation of judgment should be tempered with such signal mercy to a heathen prince, not, like Cyrus, eminent for his virtues, however distinguished by his talents, is, perhaps, in some degree, to be put to the account of the favour he showed to many of the Jews his captives, and in particular to his constant patronage of the prophet Daniel. At a time when there was nothing in his situation to fill his mind with gloomy thoughts, “ for he was at rest in his house, and flourishing in his palace,” he saw in a dream a tree strong and flourishing : its summit pierced the clouds, and its branches overshadowed the whole extent of his vast dominions; it was laden with fruit, and luxuriant in its foliage ; the cattle reposed in its shade, and the fowls of the air lodged in its branches ; and multitudes partook of its delicious fruit. But the king saw a celestial being, a Watcher, and a Holy One, come down from heaven ; and heard