IN Daniel and his prophecy, observe these things for the better understanding of this book, and the mind of God in it:
1. As to the author; First, He was a prophet, as appears in the little stone cut out of the mountain without hands, meaning Christ the Messiah and his kingdom, what he should do, chapter 2; likewise chapter 7 to the end of the book: the first six chapters are historical, the last six prophetical. Secondly, As to his lineage, he was one of the royal seed. Thirdly, He was a captive. Fourthly, He was rarely qualified for piety, wisdom, beauty. Fifthly, As to his education, he was trained for three years in learning. Sixthly, His advancement for his parts and wisdom. Seventhly, He was faithful and blameless in the place of honour to which he was preferred. Eighthly, His care and kindness for his companions; he procured their promotion also. Ninthly, His singular holiness and power with God in prayer, Eze_14:14. Tenthly, His faithfulness and constancy in the worship of God, maugre the envy and persecution of his enemies. Eleventhly, The strange providence of God in his preservation and deliverance. Twelfthly, His signal integrity and flourishing state under several kings' reigns, even in critical times and great changes, unto his old age, and beyond the seventy years of captivity.
2. AS to the book itself, both the historical and prophetical part of it, especially the latter, we find, First. Great variety in them. Secondly, Famous predictions; of the Messiah, of dreadful wars, of fearful desolations to countries, and the Jewish nation in particular, for putting Christ to death; great persecutions of the church, by the Grecians and Romans especially, in which Antiochus and antichrist are pointed at. These things are all of such weighty consideration, that our blessed Saviour calls for especial understanding in the reading even of one part of it, Mat_24:15. His chronology and calculations may be called the key of time, relating to the church's sufferings and deliverances. Daniel was the greatest favourite we read of, namely, of the King of heaven, Dan_9:23 Dan_10:11, and of the greatest kings then on earth. He was the noblest pattern of a public heart for the church of God, for whose affliction he was deeply afflicted in the midst of his court honours and employments.