But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro…
It is not necessary to decide to what period of the world's history the text has reference. There have been several crises in human affairs at which it has found at least a partial fulfilment. We may apply the prediction to our Own age with the fullest propriety. There was never so much going and coming, and never so vast a growth of knowledge. Deal with that special form of Knowledge which is called science. Science may be described as the knowledge of nature reduced to system. It examines facts, arranges or classifies them, and tries to detect their hidden law. Science is a fact of modern growth. It has sprung forth full armed in these latter days. The world of Greece and Rome was wonderful in its way, but it had no science, in our modern sense of the word. Science dates very much from Bacon. Not entirely. There were other men of science before him. And science has grown wonderfully. It has amazingly enriched human life. It has quickened, too, all the neutral powers. What is there that we do not tabulate and catalogue? To this progress of science we can make no objection. People who object against science in reality do not know what they mean. "What's the use of screaming at the calm facts of creation?" said the wise American. If fact is on one side, and our dislikes or prejudices, or narrow theories, are on the other, it requires no prophet to tell which shall win. For fact proves itself. I do not admit that there is any inconsistency or opposition between religion and science. They may look at the same facts from different points of view. Yet, though perfectly at one, science and religion are not quite the same thing. Science is related to religion as one sister is to another. There are many questions of which you can scarcely tell whether they are properly scientific or religious. Yet religion is more than science. You may be steeped up to the lips and the eyes in science, and be without religion altogether. Science has a message which, as far as it goes, is a true gospel, a real good news. It promises a great increase of human convenience and comfort. The world is not nearly so pleasant a place to live in as it might be. It promises to give us subjects of thought and investigation which will add greatly to the interest of life. And nobly is the promise fulfilled. It promises a vast enlargement of our view of the world. It will widen the boundaries of thought as to the facts of this wonderful universe; by revealing both the infinitely little and the infinitely great. It promises a great amelioration of our social arrangements. I accept to the full the gospel of science. But no science can fill the place of the Saviour. Science is only for time; it has no gospel as to eternity. Science has no gospel for the sinful and suffering millions. Science has no power of moral inspiration, no spiritual force which can lift the soul of a tempted, sinful man to goodness, holiness, purity. Do not oppose science, but go beyond science, enter the spiritual world. Draw near to God and to His Christ, and then, when knowledge shall vanish away, you may be found doing the will of God, and so may abide for ever.
(J. F. Stevenson, LL.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.