In this account of the making of the priests’ garments, according to the instructions given (ch. 28), we may observe, 1. That the priests’ garments are called here clothes of service, Exod. 39:1. Note, Those that wear robes of honour must look upon them as clothes of service; for from those upon whom honour is put service is expected. It is said of those that are arrayed in white robes that they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple, Rev. 7:13. Holy garments were not made for men to sleep in, or to strut in, but to do service in; and then they are indeed for glory and beauty. The Son of man himself came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. 2. That all the six paragraphs here, which give a distinct account of the making of these holy garments, conclude with those words, as the Lord commanded Moses, Exod. 39:5, 7, 21, 26, 29, 31. The like is not in any of the foregoing accounts, as if in these, more than any other of the appurtenances of the tabernacle, they had a particular regard to the divine appointment, both for warrant and for direction. It is an intimation to all the Lord’s ministers to make the word of God their rule in all their ministrations, and to act in observance of and obedience to the command of God. 3. That these garments, in conformity to the rest of the furniture of the tabernacle, were very rich and splendid; the church in its infancy was thus taught, thus pleased, with the rudiments of this world; but now under the gospel, which is the ministration of the Spirit, to affect and impose such pompous habits as the church of Rome does, under pretence of decency and instruction, is to betray the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and to entangle the church again in the bondage of those carnal ordinances which were imposed only till the time of reformation. 4. That they were all shadows of good things to come, but the substance is Christ, and the grace of the gospel; when therefore the substance has come, it is a jest to be fond of the shadow. (1.) Christ is our great high-priest; when he undertook the work of our redemption, he put on the clothes of service—he arrayed himself with the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which he received not by measure—girded himself with the curious girdle of resolution, to go through with his undertaking—charged himself with the curious girdle of resolution, to go through with his undertaking—charged himself with all God’s spiritual Israel, bore them on his shoulders, carried them in his bosom, laid them near his heart, engraved them on the palms of his hands, and presented them in the breast-plate of judgment unto his Father. And (lastly) he crowned himself with holiness to the Lord, consecrating his whole undertaking to the honour of his Father’s holiness: now consider how great this man is. (2.) True believers are spiritual priests. The clean linen with which all their clothes of service must be made is the righteousness of saints (Rev. 19:8), and Holiness to the Lord must be so written upon their foreheads that all who converse with them may see, and say, that they bear the image of God’s holiness, and are devoted to the praise of it.
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