There were more sacred solemnities in the seventh month than in any other month of the year, not only because it had been the first month till the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt (which, falling in the month Abib, occasioned that to be thenceforth made the beginning of the months in all ecclesiastical computations), but because still it continued the first month in the civil reckonings of the jubilees and years of release, and also because it was the time of vacation between harvest and seedtime, when they had most leisure to attend the sanctuary, which intimates that, though God will dispense with sacrifices in consideration of works of necessity and mercy, yet the more leisure we have from the pressing occasions of this life the more time we should spend in the immediate service of God. 1. We have here the appointment of the sacrifices that were to be offered on the first day of the month, the day of blowing the trumpets, which was a preparative for the two great solemnities of holy mourning on the day of atonement and of holy joy in the feast of tabernacles. The intention of divine institutions is well answered when one religious service helps to fit us for another and all for heaven. The blowing of the trumpets was appointed, 23:24. Here the people are directed what sacrifices to offer on that day, of which there was not then any mention made. Note, Those who would know the mind of God in the scripture must compare one part of the scripture with another, and put those parts together that have reference to the same thing, for the latter discoveries of divine light explain what was dark and supply what was defective in the former, that the man of God may be perfect. The sacrifices then to be offered are particularly ordered here (Num. 29:2-6), and care taken that these should not supersede the daily oblation and that of the new moon. It is hereby intimated that we must not seek occasions to abate our zeal in God’s service, nor be glad of an excuse to omit a good duty, but rather rejoice in an opportunity of accumulating and doing more than ordinary in religion. If we perform family-worship, we must not think that this will excuse us from our secret devotions; nor that on the days we go to church we need not worship God alone and with our families; but we should always abound in the work of the Lord. 2. On the day of atonement. Besides all the services of that day, which we had the institution of, Lev. 16:1-34, and which, one would think, required trouble and charge enough, here are burnt-offerings ordered to be offered, Num. 29:8-10. For in our faith and repentance, those two great gospel graces which were signified by that day’s performances, we must have an eye to the glory and honour of God, which was purely intended in the burnt-offerings; there was likewise to be a kid of the goats for a sin-offering, besides the great sin-offering of atonement (Num. 29:11), which intimates that there are so many defects and faults, even in the exercises and expressions of our repentance, that we have need of an interest in a sacrifice to expiate the guilt even of that part of our holy things. Though we must not repent that we have repented, yet we must repent that we have not repented better. It likewise intimated the imperfection of the legal sacrifices, and their insufficiency to take away sin, that on the very day the sin-offering of atonement was offered, yet there must be another sin-offering. But what the law could not do, in that it was weak, that Christ has done.
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