The Youth’s Instructor


May 26, 1898

The Unseen Watcher—No. 2


There was in the palace a woman who was wiser than them all,—the queen of Belshazzar's grandfather. In this emergency she addressed the king in language that sent a ray of light into the darkness. “O king, live forever,” she said; “let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed: there is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers: ... now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 1

“Then was Daniel brought in before the king.” Making an effort to brace himself, and to show his authority, Belshazzar said: “Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry? I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.... Now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 2

Daniel was not awed by the king's appearance, nor confused or intimidated by his words. “Let thy gifts be to thyself,” he answered, “and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor.... But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.... And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 3

“This is the writing that was written, Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 4

Daniel did not swerve from his duty. He held the king's sin before him, showing him the lessons he might have learned, but did not. Belshazzar had not heeded the events so significant to him. He had not read his grandfather's history correctly. The responsibility of knowing truth had been laid upon him, but the practical lessons he might have learned and acted upon had not been taken to heart; and his course of action brought the sure result. YI May 26, 1898, par. 5

This was the last feast of boasting held by the Chaldean king; for he who bears long with man's perversity had passed the irrevocable sentence. Belshazzar had greatly dishonored the One who had exalted him as king, and his probation was taken from him. While the king and his nobles were at the height of their revelry, the Persians turned the Euphrates out of its channel, and marched into the unguarded city. As Belshazzar and his lords were drinking from the sacred vessels of Jehovah, and praising their gods of silver and gold, Cyrus and his soldiers stood under the walls of the palace. “In that night,” the record says, “was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 6

Could the curtain be rolled back before the youth who have never given their hearts to God, with others who are Christians in name, but who are unrenewed in heart and unsanctified in temper, they would see that God's eye is ever upon them, and they would feel as disturbed as did the king of Babylon. They would realize that in every place, at every hour in the day, there is a holy Watcher, who balances every account, whose eye takes in the whole situation, whether it is one of fidelity, or one of disloyalty and deception. YI May 26, 1898, par. 7

We are never alone. We have a Companion, whether we choose him or not. Remember, young men and young women, that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, God is there. To your every word and action you have a witness,—the holy, sin-hating God. Nothing that is said or done or thought can escape his infinite eye. Your words may not be heard by human ears, but they are heard by the Ruler of the universe. He reads the inward anger of the soul when the will is crossed. He hears the expression of profanity. In the deepest darkness and solitude he is there. No one can deceive God; none can escape from their accountability to him. YI May 26, 1898, par. 8

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me,” writes the psalmist. “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I can not attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 9

Day by day the record of your words, your actions, and your influence, is being made in the books of heaven. This you must meet. “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” YI May 26, 1898, par. 10

I send you the note of warning to take heed. You are appointed to be “laborers together with God.” This responsibility you may ignore; but your action in so doing will bring its sure result. God has given to each of you your work. He has given you faculties, means, light, and knowledge, and he holds you accountable for the way in which you use these powers. “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?” YI May 26, 1898, par. 11

Mrs. E. G. White