James Nisbet Commentary - Daniel 10:19 - 10:19

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James Nisbet Commentary - Daniel 10:19 - 10:19

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‘Peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me.’


The great question is—What is the secret of spiritual strength? How is it to be attained?

Doubtless, it is a gift; but how are we to get the gift?

Notice the order of the words of the heavenly messenger when he spoke to Daniel. They are suggestive. He places ‘peace’ before ‘strength.’ ‘Peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.’ ‘Strength’ must have a foundation. And in proportion as you feel quite at peace with God, you have a foundation. In this, as in everything else, pardon, and the sense of pardon, come first. Then you are upon a rock. But how can you be strong if you have none of the great eternities which your soul requires? If you cannot say of God—‘My God!’ If you are not safe for another world! If you are disturbed and shaken with many doubts! There must be quietness: and there is no real quietness till the soul sits pardoned at the feet of Christ.

I. Therefore the beginning of ‘strength’ is to be at peace.Do not doubt God’s love. Accept, as a sinner, the free grace of the sinner’s Friend. And do not be afraid to be happy.

Then, having Christ, you can fulfil the Apostle’s command to the Ephesians, ‘Be strong.’ And in that it is a command, notice three things. First, we shall not have it without an effort. Secondly, that it is within our reach. And thirdly, that we are responsible for its possession. ‘Be strong.’

But St. Paul does not only say ‘Be strong,’ for that would be mockery, but he adds that which makes it possible,—‘Be strong in the Lord.’ Now, what does that mean?

II. It is to have ‘the Word’ drawn upon, and its promises.—‘Be strong in the written Word.’ Work with the promises, and you will be ‘strong.’ No one who has not yet tried it can tell how the Bible, or even one verse of the Bible, can strengthen a man—his intellect, his will, his affections. If a man will but let God’s Word come in, and sink, and dwell in his heart, it will do its own work there of itself, and make you a strong character.

See how it acted with Daniel; how effectually! how rapidly! ‘Peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my Lord speak; for Thou hast strengthened me.’ ‘The Word.’ It was the instant power of ‘the Word of God.’

Peter, speaking of ‘the Word,’ says, ‘Exceeding great and precious promises, whereby we are made partakers of the Divine nature.’ And what is ‘the Divine nature’? Omnipotence.

III. Then there is the Presence of Christ.—Think what it would be—if we could only realise it—if you had Christ always at your side. ‘Fear not! I am with you.’ How brave and strong a little child can be when it holds a hand it loves! Moses: ‘If Thy Presence go not with us, take us not up hence.’ ‘My Presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest,’ that is ‘strength.’ Christ with us.

IV. But you have more than that. You have Himself.Himself in you, and you in Himself. Actual oneness; and by that oneness His strength runs into your weakness. The energy of that life and of that heart flows into you by virtue of mystical union. What a marvel! What an unfathomable fountain of infinite power! ‘What can I not do, if I am one with Christ?’ It ceases to be an hyperbole. It is a literal fact. ‘I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me.’

V. But there is a further secret of strengthexercise, the use, the faithful use of what you possess.—The agitation of the tree strengthens the branch, and makes the root firmer.

The limb I move most, and use most, is the limb which has the greater power. And the grace which is turned to best account in active service grows the fastest. If you were a busier Christian you would be a stronger Christian. The imbecility of your mind is very much because you do not work enough for God. God gives you many things which become paralysed by disuse! Partly by natural cause and effect, but still more by the supernatural grace which is added, ‘workers for God’ ‘grow strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.’

If anything is decaying in you, consecrate it, and employ it, and it will revive. A thousand things in us only wait to be more spread out; to be more given to some high purpose; to be more devoted to Christ and His Church. Go to duty, and the strength will come with the going.

Here, then, are five great strengtheners; peace, the Word of Christ, the Presence of Christ, and union with Christ, and an active, useful life.

Rev. Jas. Vaughan.


‘At the best we are all very weak Christians; else, why do we so vacillate. Why do we so vary with our company—religious with the religious, and worldly with the worldly? Why is to-day no rule for to-morrow? Why are we so turned by a word, or a smile, or a laugh? Why do we fall so often and so sadly? Why are we conquered again and again by some old sin which we thought was dead? Why do we take so little by our prayers? Why is faith so impotent? Why, after all these years, and all these voices that have been speaking to us, within us and about us, and all this patience and mercy and love of God, why are we still such mere babes in grace, if we are alive at all? And why have we done so little good to anybody? Why have we no influence? Why have we no great work to show for God?

Weakness! weakness! Weak resolutions! weak perseverance! weak affections! weak faith!