The Youth’s Instructor


May 21, 1903

Lessons from the Life of Daniel—3

Early Training of Daniel and His Companions


Among the children of Israel who were taken as captives to Babylon at the beginning of the seventy years’ captivity, were Christian patriots, young men who were as true as steel to principle, who would not be corrupted by selfishness, who would honor God at the loss of all things. Upon these loyal and true young men the Lord looked with great pleasure. They had to suffer with the guilty, but in the providence of God this captivity was the means of bringing them to the front. Their example of untarnished integrity, while captives in Babylon, shines with heavenly luster. YI May 21, 1903, par. 1

Among those who remained true to God after reaching the land of their captivity, the prophet Daniel and his three companions are illustrious examples of what even youth may become when united with the God of wisdom. A brief account of the life of these four Hebrews is left on record for the encouragement of those who are called upon to endure trial and temptation. YI May 21, 1903, par. 2

After his return from the conquest of the Israelites, King Nebuchadnezzar “spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes; children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego.” YI May 21, 1903, par. 3

It was not their own pride or ambition that had brought these young men into the king's court, into companionship with those who neither knew nor feared the true God. They were captives in a strange land, placed there by Infinite Wisdom. Separated from home influences and sacred associations, they sought to acquit themselves creditably, for the honor of their downtrodden people, and for the glory of him whose servants they were. These youth had received a right education in early life, and now they honored the instructors of their childhood. With their habits of self-denial were united earnestness of purpose, diligence, and steadfastness. YI May 21, 1903, par. 4

The education which these four youth had received in Judea was not after the order of the worldly schools, but according to the purpose and plan of God. The school in which they were educated was not after the order of the schools existing before the destruction of the old world by a flood,—schools in which infidel sentiments prevailed, and in which nature was acknowledged and worshiped above the God of nature. These youth were brought up in homes where they were taught the fear of the Lord. YI May 21, 1903, par. 5

Daniel's parents trained him in his childhood to habits of strict temperance. They taught him that in every act he must conform to nature's laws; that his eating and drinking had a direct influence upon his physical, mental, and moral nature; that he was accountable to God for all his capabilities; and that by no unwise course should he dwarf or enfeeble his powers. As the result of this teaching, God's law was exalted in his mind and reverenced in his heart. YI May 21, 1903, par. 6

And such an early education was to Daniel and his three companions the means of their preservation. The lessons learned in their earliest years led them to determine to avoid being corrupted in the courts of Babylon. The truth was truth to them. Its principles were stamped upon their hearts. They understood that with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. The first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,” was truth to them, and it must be obeyed. YI May 21, 1903, par. 7

In the schools established under God's direction, the fear of the Lord was the foundation of all true education. The knowledge of God had been handed down from generation to generation. In Abel, whom Cain killed, and afterward in Enoch, Seth, Methuselah, Noah, and many others, the Lord had faithful witnesses, just men, who kept his fear before their generation. Their memories were not feeble and treacherous. They had received the words of instruction from Adam, and these they repeated to their children and their children's children. Much important history and truth was expressed in song. YI May 21, 1903, par. 8

Daniel and his companions were familiar with the lives of Abel, Seth, Enoch, and Noah. They cherished the truths that had been passed down from generation to generation. The image of God was engraved upon the heart. When surrounded by an atmosphere of evil, these youth remained uncorrupted. No power or influence could sway them from the principles they had learned in early life by a study of God's word and works. YI May 21, 1903, par. 9

Young men and young women, study the history of Daniel and his companions. Their lives should inspire you with a determination to be true to God. You must be either loyal or disloyal to him. Christian integrity is strengthened by serving the Lord faithfully. Uplift the standard on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Make no compromise with evil. The line of demarcation between the obedient and the disobedient must be plain and distinct. Firmly determine to do the Lord's will at all times and in all places. YI May 21, 1903, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White