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The Day of Atonement

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we,

being dead to sins, might live unto righteousness."-1 Pet. ii. 24
Ver. 1, 2. And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the

two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and

died; and the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy

brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within

the veil, before the mercy-seat which is upon the ark, that he

die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy-seat.
ALL the laws about uncleannesses that disqualified wor-

shippers from coming to the sanctuary may have been

delivered after the death of Nadab and Abihu, on pur-

pose to shew, at such a solemn time, how holy is the

Lord, and that he must be approached with fear and

reverence. So now also, while that event is still fresh in

Aaron's remembrance, this command is given, ver. 2.

The event was thus made useful to qualify Aaron more

fully for his solemn duties; he learns, and all generations

after him, how profound must be the reverence wherewith

the Lord is approached. It is thus still that a minister's

afflictions are not in vain; they affect his office; they pre-

pare him for it, as Paul wrote (2 Cor. i. 4) to the Cor-

inthians in his day. It is, at the same time, significant,

that before the Day of Atonement is spoken of, there

should be a spreading out to view of sin, and of death,

which is its desert.

Aaron must enter within the veil only at appointed

times; for within the veil the cloud of glory rests, at

these appointed times,* and Jehovah is there, as it were,

in his inaccessible light. He that comes in must be led in

by God himself. "For through him we have access by

one Spirit unto the Father."
Ver. 3, 4. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place; with a

young bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offer-

ing. He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the

linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen

girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are

holy garments; therefore shall he wash his fesh in water, and

so put them on.
Here is Aaron's personal preparation. After the usual

morning sacrifice (see Num. xxix. 11), and a sacrifice of

seven lambs at the same time--to indicate the complete

offering up to God that was that day to be made, and the

complete dependence on atoning blood that day to be

shewn in all that was done--Aaron approached the holy

place; for ver. 3 says, "come to the holy place." In so

doing, he led along a bullock for his sin-offering, and a

ram for his burnt-offering--both of these for himself, as

an individual, and for his household.† On these he was

to lay his sins. But ere he did this, he retired, and put

off his golden garments, putting on the plain linen ones

--pure, but unadorned--like Jesus on earth, holy, yet in

a servant's form. The priest must put aside both ephod

* It is doubtful if this cloud of glory rested there all the year round, or only


† Some think "his house" (ver. 6), means "the house of Aaron," in its

widest sense, namely, all the body of priests and Levites, as in Ps. cxv. 12.

and breastplate; he appeared simply as head of the

people. He washed himself in water ere he put them

on, that holiness might still be proclaimed by him, though

putting on this unattractive dress; even as our Surety, in

entering Mary's womb, was declared to be "that Holy

One that shall be born of thee."

Ver. 5. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of

Israel two kids of the goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for

a burnt-offering.
These were brought to him by the people after he had

put on his linen robes; and they were for themselves. It

was these that were to be specially typical of Christ's

work; for wherein Aaron offered for himself he could not

resemble Jesus, as Heb. vii. 26-28 declares.

It is to be remarked, that no details are given respect-

ing any of the burnt-offerings of this day. The details

are all confined to the sin-offerings. Hence, though "seven

lambs”* are mentioned, besides " the continual burnt-

offering," yet nothing more about them is recorded. The

ram of Aaron's is mentioned as to be offered, yet no par-

ticulars are given; and the ram of the people is also spe-

cially noticed, but its offering up is not described. The

reason is, all these were "burnt-offerings." Now, on this

day the Lord wished to fix the attention of all upon the

sin-offerings, as it was a day of expiation for the confessed,

defined, specified sins of Israel.†
Ver. 6-10. And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin-offering

which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and

for his house. And he shall take the two goats, and present
* Perhaps there was also a bullock and a ram along with these; see Num.

xxix. 8.

† This seems to me the true reason for the omission. On this point I can find

nothing satisfactory in any of the commentators. Their accounts of these rites

are very confused on the whole.
them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congre-

gation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot

for the Lord, and the other lot, for the scapegoat. And Aaron

shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer

hint for a sin-offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be

the scape-goat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make

an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into

the wilderness.
These verses describe no more than the order and

manner of arranging the transactions of the day--Aaron's

bullock first; then the lot to be cast on the two goats,

whose different destinations are determined.

There is little ground for doubting that the rendering

"scape-goat" is the best. But two other views have been

vigorously maintained; one, that the word (lzexzAfE) means

the devil; the other, that it was the Jewish people in their

state of apostasy and rejection. Among the maintainers

of the former view, Faber is by far the most powerful,

for he repudiates the idea of any offering to Satan, and

considers the transaction as intended to signify Christ

handed over to Satan for the bruising of his heel. Heng-

stenberg also maintains this, but applies it differently.*

The latter view is held by Bush, who tries to shew that

it was appropriate, on an occasion that shewed forth

Christ's death and atonement so fully, to introduce his

rejection by Israel as one of the accompaniments of that

momentous transaction.

The objections urged to the common rendering "scape-

goat," however, are, after all, quite unsatisfactory. It is

evidently the most natural meaning. The word, zfA, for a

goat, had just been used, ver. 5, and lzaxA, "to depart, go

away," was likely enough even on account of its similar

sound, to be the term employed to express the fact of the
* See Egypt and Books of Moses.
goat's being dismissed. Then, as to the two strong objec-

tions alleged by some against this view, when examined,

they have no force. For the first is, that if the clause,

"the one lot for the Lord," intimate that the goat is

appropriated to a person, so should the next clause, "the

other lot for (lzexzAfE) Azazel," also signify appropriation to

a person. But the answer to this is, that the proper

sense is not appropriation to, or designation for persons;

it is designation for use, viz. the first for the purpose of

being killed at the Lord's altar; the other for the pur-

pose of sending away to the wilderness. The second ob-

jection is more serious. It is said that the words in ver.

10, vylAfA rPeKayi, never can mean, make atonement with

him," but must mean "for him," as the object. And it is

on this ground mainly that Bush defends his strange idea

of this goat being a type of apostate Israel. But, in

reply, we assert that the words may have the meaning

which our version gives them; and that OdfEBa would

probably have been used if "for him" had been meant,

seeing this is the phrase used all throughout this chap-

ter to express that idea. In Exod. xxx. 30, the phrase

(lfa rPeKi) occurs twice in the sense of "atone over or

upon"--"Aaron shall make atonement upon the horns of

it once in a year;" and "once in the year shall he make

atonement upon it" (vylAfA rP,Kay;). So here, the priest is

to make atonement over the scape-goat, by putting Israel's

guilt upon it ere he sends it away. And if one say, that

surely it is strange that this mode of expression should

occur so rarely, the answer is, the act described by it

occurred rarely, and no other words could better express

the act intended.

Probably, the root of all these objections has been the

secret feeling that there was something quite unsatisfactory
in explaining the passage as a type of death and resur-

rection. How the scape-goat could mean resurrection,

has been secretly felt to be very puzzling. But this diffi-

culty will vanish when we come to see that it does not

mean resurrection. Let us proceed, therefore, to consider

the whole transactions of that memorable day.

Ver. 11-14. And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin-offering

which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself,

and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin-offering

which is for himself And he shall take a censer full of burn-

ing coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his

hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the

veil. And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord,

that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that

is upon the testimony, that he die not. And he shall take of the

blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the

mercy-seat eastward: and before the mercy-seat shall he sprinkle

of the blood with his finger seven times.
All the victims having stood before the Lord--types

of all our race standing before him, shuddering under the

curse--Aaron, first of all, offers for himself and his house.

He takes the sin-offering bullock, slays it on the altar,

and pours out its blood. With the blood he fills one of

the bowls of the altar. Then, with this in one hand, he

places in the other a pan of live coals from the very same

altar--out of the very same flames that had fed upon his

sacrifice--and on this he sprinkles a handful of incense,

whose sweet fragrance instantly fills the courts of the

Lord's house. What a glorious scene for sinners! This

sinner's offering is accepted, The sweet savour breathes

over it and ascends to heaven. The very fire "that

preyed upon the bullock till it was consumed into ashes,

* Notice, the fragrance is drawn out by the fire, to shew that acceptance is

effected by justice itself.

is that which causes this fragrance to be felt; the very

righteousness that sought for an atonement ere it could

forgive delights to proclaim that the law is magnified,

Jehovah glorified, the sinner justified. The holy law,

having met with its requisitions, exults in declaring the

sinner free!

But Aaron's next step is yet more wondrous. He

advances to the Holiest of All, passing through the Holy

Place, blood and sweet incense all the time held up in his

hands; yea, not only a censer full of incense, but a cup

of it, besides, held in his hand. The light from the golden

candlestick directs his reverent step to the veil, which he

draws aside. Forthwith the bright cloud of glory pours

its full radiance upon him--too bright for his feeble eye,

were it not softened by the cloud of incense that arises

from the censer in his hand. Thus enveloped, he sprinkles

the blood on the mercy-seat seven times. But what a

moment was this! It is his own sins that he is thus con-

fessing; his own death, his own deserved wrath, is what

is spread out before the Lord in that sprinkled blood!

His tears drop on the floor as he again and again spreads

out this symbol of his life forfeited and of his life saved.

It seems that offering of incense was always accompanied

with prayer (Rev. viii. 4); it was so here. Elijah's prayer

for rain, when seven times in succession he urged the plea

that in the end prevailed, was not more awfully earnest

than Aaron's now. When first he sprinkles the blood,

oh, how deep his agony! "0 God, be merciful* to me

a sinner!" Yet oh, how sweet his hope as he waves the

censer over it, and feels the savour of life! Again and

again he thus presents his atonement, till the seventh
* The very word there used seems to point the finger to the “i[lasth

the mercy-seat. It is i[la
time ends the whole transaction, and he stands alone with

God, justified, accepted, loved, and blessed. Happier

man than Adam! More holy spot than Eden! Happier

man, because escaped from the curse for ever, and en-

tered into an everlasting fellowship with the Almighty.

More holy spot, because encircled with such amazing dis-

coveries of the infinite perfections of holiness. In every

way more blessed! for here are springs from the Godhead

gushing forth as they never did in Paradise--new forms

of love, joy, peace, blended with righteousness, and wis-

dom, and truth.

It was thus with Jesus in atoning for others. He all

along carried the blood and the sweet incense* with him.

If he is baptized in Jordan, lo! the cloud of incense

ascends "This is my beloved Son." If he talk of his

decease, which he is to accomplish at Jerusalem, lo! again,

"This is my beloved Son." If he is troubled in the

temple, and the consuming fire be felt, in his bones, lo!

the incense again, "I have glorified thee, and will glorify

thee again." He enters the sepulchre, rending asunder

the veil; then, lo! the cloud of incense settles on his

head! All is favour now; God meets with man, and

man rests on God! "It is finished."

Christ's resurrection may have been typified by Aaron's

coming out to the court again, after thus entering the
*”Incense,” because of its smell being pleasing, is the type of service offered

acceptably; see Rev. viii. 4; Ps. cxli. 2. But here notice, that in Rev. v. 8,

the “golden vials" are not censers. The censer is, in the Septuagint, "to>

purei?on;" and “ta purei?a” (2 Kings xxiv. 15) are distinguished from "taj


saints see Christ about to enter on his glorious reign, and forthwith take their

harps to praise, and also hold up their bowlfuls of still unanswered prayers, be-

cause these prayers will be fully granted now. As Ps, lxxii. 20. The saints here

do not intercede for others; they have no censers; they only present their own

prayers to the high priest.

Holiest. He came forth, and once more stood at the

altar. And now he prepared to offer for the people.

Ver. 15-17. Then shall he kill the goat of the sin-offering that is

for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, and do with

that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle

it upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat. And he

shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the un-

cleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their trans-

gressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle

of the congregation that remaineth among them in the midst of

their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the taber-

nacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atone-

ment in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an

atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the

congregation of Israel.
He now kills the people's sin-offering, confessing, over

it their uncleanness, transgressions, and sins. He enters

the Most Holy Place, as before, to sprinkle the blood.

This he does on the mercy-seat, and also on the floor

before it, or on the side of it; thus filling the Holiest with

the cry of atoning blood. Over it he stands, confessing

Israel's sin, with strong crying and tears; he enumerates

their departures from the holy law, and spreads out

before God, in the light of his countenance, their endless

sins, their transgressions of every form, their uncleannesses

of deepest dye. But that blood sprinkled there raises

its cry--the life of the Living One is taken for the guilty

--and to this blood Aaron points for pardon. This is

none other than a Gethsemane! The Man of Sorrows,

bearing our sins, is here. "0 God, thou knowest my

foolishness, and my sins are not hid from thee " (Ps.

lxix. 5). "Surely he bath borne our griefs and carried

our sorrows." "The Lord laid on him the iniquity of us

all." And his precious life-the life of the true Living

One--is taken for our life, and is poured out before the

Lord. The cry of blood was to rise both from the floor

below, and the mercy--seat above; so, the Saviour's atone-

ment pleaded for us both from earth below, while he was

here, and in heaven above, when he ascended.

This act of the high priest's was reckoned to be a

cleansing of the Holy Place itself. For the presence of

guilty Israel defiled the courts, and the bringing in of

their case in the person of their representative was

reckoned as a defilement. Therefore, there was need of a

cleansing; and this took place when their representative

was accepted, and all he confessed was thoroughly for-

given. The forgiveness went forth in all its power

through the Holy Place, carrying cleansing virtue with

it to the worshippers, and to the ground whereon they

stood. But thus we see how it is written in Heb. ix. 23,

that heaven needed purification if sinners were to enter

"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things

in the heavens should be purified with these; but the

heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than

these;" viz. as ver. 24 declares, by Christ himself enter-

ing into them with the sacrifice himself.

This may shew us, by the way, why God not only

drove out the man from Eden, but removed Eden itself

very soon. The place was polluted by having been the

scene of the Fall--polluted by the most heinous of sins.

While all this was transacting, no one! whatsoever was

to be seen in the court of the tabernacle round the holy

place--the Most Holy. It was to be evident that the

priest alone made atonement, and none else. On one

man dependeth their atonement. How often would the

idea of another Adam cross their minds--all leaning on

One! And oh, how tremblingly alive would they be to

the danger of that one man, their representative, failing
in any point of duty that day! If he fail, Israel's guilt

remains. The high priest himself feels his awful respon-

sibility; if he sin in this matter, he quenches the light

of Israel, extinguishes their hopes, sends them away in

blank despair. This one person is intrusted with their

life and their all. And thus the Holy Spirit painted

Jesus to the view of those who had clear, Abraham-like

faith. He will be alone in his undertaking, "One for

all." Heaven and hell will look on intensely interested;

for "now is the judgment of this world;" now is the

crisis in the hopes of perishing men. He himself feels the

awful responsibility, and often, often as he goes onward,

raises a cry, "Make haste to help me, 0 my God!" "0

my strength, haste thee to help me!" "Save me from

the lion's mouth!" All alone he stands on Calvary; nay,

not one draws near to offer help; his own Father keeps

aloof, and the Mediator cries, "Lover and friend hast

thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into dark-


The priest entered in awful solemnity, pressed beneath

such a weight; Jesus also, in like manner, entered in

fear and anguish. But on this very account, to us all

bitterness is past; we go boldly into the Holiest of All

through that blood.

Ver. 18, 19. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before

the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of

the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put

it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall

sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and

cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children

of Israel.
Some consider the altar of incense to be here meant,

simply because it is said, "the altar that is before the

Lord." But this expression determines nothing. Nay,

it applies to the altar of sacrifice, as being under his

special eye (see chap. iv. 24; or i. 5). The holy and

most holy have been purified already; we are told now

of the purifying of the courts and the altar.

Strange that the altar should need to be purified! And

yet what spot had more connexion with sin? Was not

every sin confessed there? Was not every sin laid down

there? Was not that the spot where wrath was ever

falling? Here is a strange combination--sin, and the

atonement for sin. It may have been typical of the fact,

that the foulest sin and the fullest atonement were found

at the cross. Never was sin committed equal to that of

the men who put Christ to death. Hell's darkest ma-

lignity and man's consummate infatuation and enmity

were brought together to form this sin. And yet his

dying took away sin. Thus, the eye of God sees on that

spot, at one moment, the blackest of sins, and the most

glorious atonement. Or, perhaps, it was meant simply

to shew how he that was to make the atonement would

himself contract no pollution. The altar purified is an

imperfect way of shewing that Christ continued spot,


Once more; the courts where the altar stood shared

in this purification. Earth must be purified, because

stained by sharing in the murder of the Son of God;

When Jesus comes out from the Holiest of All, then it is

that he shall purify these courts. It shall be a thorough

cleansing; even as the blood was "seven times" put on

the altar's horns, till in this manner the cry for pardon, or

rather the cry of atonement accepted, had "seven times "

sounded through all the courts of the tabernacle from the

four "horns"--the emblems of strength and power.
Ver. 20-22. And when he hath made an end of reconciling* the

holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar,

he shall bring the live goat: and Aaron shall lay both his hands

upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the

iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions

in† all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and

shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilder-

ness. And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities

unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the

Aaron is now to shew atonement in another form.

To leave no doubt that sin has been carried away, there

is to be a putting away of it which the people can see,

as there had been one unseen in the Holy of holies. The

live goat is brought forward, and all Israel hear the high

priest's voice confessing their sins and iniquities and trans-

gressions. Most solemnly, and no doubt even with weep-

ing, did Aaron confess his people's sins over the head of

the scape-goat. He felt on his heart the load which he

was laying on the victim.

These confessed sins being thus laid on its head, the

goat stood laden with the curse. Against it alone will

the lightning be directed now--on this one point will

vengeance fall. Israel is now clear--the stroke must

slope over their heads toward their substitute. And a

“fit man,” one appointed for the purpose, leads it away

down the courts, in presence of all the people, slowly and

carefully, till he has gone out of sight and reached the

wilds of some rugged spot, or uninhabited waste. The
* May Col. i. 20, "By him to reconcile all things to himself which are in

heaven," be explained by a reference to the above transactions?

† LkoL;, perhaps, " according to all their sins." As if he were reading the

pages of the book of remembrance, he must read according to what has been

actually before him.

‡ Some "regio invia," or gh? a]batoj, as the Septuagint render it.

"fit person" returns and attests that he left it there; and

Israel feels the joy of pardon. Wrath against these con-

fessed sins will now alight in the desert, not upon them.

“The Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all,” is

their song.

We may remark the opinion of a learned man, that

Jesus, driven into the wilderness to be tempted of the

devil after the scene of his baptism, where our sin was

openly confessed by him as laid on himself, is the anti-

type of what follows in the scape-goat. We think, how-

ever, much more is meant.

Follow the scape-goat, and see its doom. Is there not

here a criminal led along? There is something that

speaks of the Man of Sorrows, made sin for us. Is there

not here a criminal led away to unknown woe? There

is something that speaks of one "made a curse for us."

Why is he left alone, defenceless, trembling amid a wil-

derness? There is here enough to remind us of Jesus

left to suffer without sympathy. "He looked on his

right hand, and there was none; refuge failed him; no

man cared for his soul." The scape-goat's solitary cry is

re-echoed by the barren rocks, and the howling of beasts

of prey terrifies it on all sides; the gloom of night

settles down upon it and shrouds it in deeper terror.

Perhaps, too, it was not uncommon for Jehovah himself

to direct his lightning's stroke toward this victim, and to

cause it to perish amid the tempest's roar. Wounded by

beasts of prey, from whom it has scarcely escaped, it is

now stretched on the ground by a stroke from that

thunder-cloud (for "lightnings in the right" are frequent

in that country at this season), its eyes glaring with con-

vulsive fear, and its piteous cries echoing through the

dismal wilderness. Perhaps it was generally thus that
the sin-bearing scape-goat died. "Lover and friend host

thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into dark-

ness." And to Israel there was the same meaning in its

suffering unto death as the thief saw in a dying Saviour.

"That victim's sufferings are my sufferings," would a

man of Israel say, even as Ambrose has said of the thief

on the cross, "Scivit latro quod illa in corpore Christi

vulnera non essent Christi vulnera, sed latronis " (Serm.

de salv. latr.) "The thief knew that those wounds in

the body of Christ were not the wounds of Christ, but

of the thief."
Ver. 23-28. And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the con-

gregation, and shall put off the linen garments which he put

on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them

there: and he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place,

and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt-

offering, and the burnt-offering of the people, and make an

atonement for himself, and for the people. And the fat of the

sin-offering shall he burn upon the altar. And he that let go

the goat for the scape-goat shall wash his clothes, and bathe

his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. And

the bullock for the sin-offering, and the goat for the sin-offering,

whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy

place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall

burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.

And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his

flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
All that was absolutely required toward the people's

forgiveness being now done, no doubt through the assem-

bled congregation there ran a thrill of joy and expectant

hope. All felt the heavy burden raised off their per-

sons; and they now only waited for the final issue--the

appearing of Aaron in his robes of beauty. Thus far it

was as when Jesus cried, "It is finished:" but one thing

remains; let him return in his glorious person, no more

connected with sin, shining in the beams of the Father's

love. This he did on the third day when he rose.

Aaron had gone into the Holy Place, and there laid

aside his linen garments, and washed his person in pure

water, preparatory to his coming forth again--a type of

Jesus laying aside the likeness of sinful flesh, and ceasing

from all connexion with sin. Putting on his other gar-

ments, which were embroidered with gold, he appeared

in for glory, for the sunbeams fell bright and dazzling on

his golden mitre and on his gold-adorned vestments,

expressive of the acceptance and favour of God shining

on him as representative and head of Israel. As their

accepted intercessor, he completed that day's solemn

atonement by offering up his own burnt-offering and the

burnt-offering for the people, shewing thereby that there

was free access opened up to Israel by One; and that

One stood as priest over them. Then in sight of all he

burnt "the fat;" that is, the two kidneys and the fat

on them (iii. 10), and all the fat about the inwards, that

the blazing flame of these portions of the sacrifice might

indicate the dedication of his whole heart and inmost

desires, all sent up in one flame to God. And while he

was thus engaged, the man who had carried away the

scape-goat shewed himself at the gate of the camp, testi-

fying that he had fulfilled his commission. So truly had

the sin laid on the goat been transferred to it, that this

man was polluted by being at its side! So in Num.

xix. 8. But having bathed himself in pure water, to

shew that all connexion between him and the sin-bearing

goat had ceased, he now entered among; the worshippers

as a man who could testify that their sins had been laid

there and were carried away.

Last of all, the relics of the offerings already presented

viz. of the bullock and goat sin-offering, are removed.

The sacrifices were offered, the blood sprinkled, the scape-

goat sent to its desert; the burnt-offerings were blazing

on the altar; the fat of the offerings were consuming

away; the conductor of the scape-goat present to testify

to the completeness of the transference of sin--like mini-

sters who are eye-witnesses of Christ's sufferings, and

partakers of the effects. What then remained, but only

to remove the relics of the sacrifices that began that day's

solemn proceedings? It is soon done. The relics are

carried out of the camp and burnt there, in the place of

the curse (see chap. iv. 12), leaving all Israel assured that

their own and Aaron's sins are for ever gone--the smoke

bending its curling volumes towards the wilderness, as

far from view as the scape-goat that had borne thither

their heavy load. And thus, all done, the sun sets in

stillness over a calm, solemnised, and peaceful camp.

It had been a wondrous day from the very first dawn

to the last streak of setting sun. At the third hour of

the morning (nine o'clock) every street or way of the

camp had been trodden by a people going up to peculiar

service--each moving along serious and awe-struck. As

many as the courts could contain enter--specially aged

men and fathers of Israel; the rest stand in thousands

near, or sit in groups under green bushes and on little

eminences that overlook the enclosing curtains. Some

are in the attitude of prayer; some are pondering the

book of the law; some, like Hannah, move their lips,

though no word is heard; all are ever and again glancing

at the altar, and the array of the courts. Even children

sit in wonder, and whisper their inquiries to their parents.

The morning sacrifice is offered; the priest's bullock and

ram standing by, and other victims besides. They wait

in expectation of what is to follow when the smoke of the

morning lamb has melted into the clouds. They see the

lots cast on the two goats, the priest enter the sanctuary

with his own offering, and return amid the tremblings of

Israel, who all feel that they are concerned in his accept-

ance. They see one goat slain and its blood carried in.

The scape-goat is then led down their trembling ranks,

out of the camp; and at length Aaron re-appears to their

joy. The murmur of delight now spreads along, like the

pleasant ruffling of the water's surface in the breeze of a

summer's evening. The silver trumpets sound--the even-

ing lamb is offered; Israel feels the favour of their God,

and returns home to rest under his shadow. "0 Lord,

thou wast angry with me, but thine anger is turned away,

and thou comfortest me."

How intensely interesting, to have seen this day kept in

Jerusalem! The night before, you would have noticed the

city become silent and still, as the sun set. No lingerers

in the market; no traders; no voice of business. The

watchmen that go about the city sing the penitential

Psalms, reminding themselves of their own and the city's

secret sins, seen through the darkness by an all-seeing

God; and the Levites from the temple sing responsively

as they walk round the courts. When the sun has risen

over the Mount of Olives, none go forth to the streets;

no smoke rises from any dwelling; no hum of busy noise;

for no work is done on a holy convocation day. The

melody of joy and health ascends from the tabernacles of

the righteous. But at the hour of morning sacrifice, the

city pours out its thousands, who move solemnly toward

the temple, or repair to the heights of Zion's towers, of

the grassy slopes of Olivet, that they may witness as well

as join in all the day's devotion. They see the service

proceed--they see the scape-goat led away--they see the

priest come out of the Holy Place; and at this comfort-

ing sight every head in the vast, vast multitude is bowed

in solemn thankfulness, and every heart moves the lips

to a burst of joy. The trumpet for the evening sacrifice

sounds; Olivet re-echoes; the people on its bosom see

the city and the altar, and weep for very gladness; all

know it is the hour for the evening blessing. When the

sun set, an angel might have said to his fellow, "Look

upon Zion, the city of solemnities! behold Jerusalem, a

quiet habitation!"

Ver. 29-34. And this shall be a statute for ever unto you, that

in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall

afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of

your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you.

For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you,

to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before

the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye

shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever. And the priest

whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to mini-

ster in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the

atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy

garments. And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanc-

tuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of

the congregation, and for the altar; and he shall make an

atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the con-

gregation. And this shall bean everlasting statute unto you,

to make an atonement for the children of Israel, for all their

sins, once a year. And he did as the, Lord commanded

We see, in ver. 29, that the true heart-service of the

day was enjoined as much as the external observances--

as much “afflicting their souls,”* as “doing no work at

all.” Nor was the presence of strangers to be the least

hindrance ; our friends must join us in God's service,

but no politeness must lead us to leave God for them.

Once a year all these rites were to be observed. The

seventh month was to be to them as memorable as the

seventh day of every week. The prophet Isaiah very

sorely reproves the neglected observance of this holy day

in chap. lviii. He says, ver. 3, “In the day of your Fast

ye find pleasure,” not afflicting your souls, "and exact all

your demands of labour," instead of doing no work at all.

God saw them in their houses, and observed that they

secretly carried on their worldly business, and that their

soul was unhumbled. Hence, he says, "Ye shall not fast

as ye do this day. Is it such a fast that I have chosen,

a day for a man to afflict his soul?" That is, is it such

a fast as yours? Is that like a day of soul-affliction?

your bowing down your head as a bulrush? And ye

have added external rites of your own, to hide the in-

ward leanness, "putting sackcloth and ashes under you"

(ver. 5). "Nay," saith the Lord, "loose the burdens

which ye wickedly impose on the poor, and set free

the bankrupt,† and thus make the day a real Sabbath.

Also, let the poor have food (ver. 7), and help thy im-

poverished brother. Then, indeed, thou mayest expect

to feel the joy of the Expiation-day (ver. 8, 9), and all

the year long thou shalt be kept and blessed" (ver. I I,
* See chap. xxiii. 29.

† This may refer to the times when the year of jubilee, "the year of

release," began on the evening of the day of atonement. Giving food to the poor

(ver. 7) marked the year of jubilee also (Ex. xxiii. 11). The prophet chooses such a

time, when there was doutle obligation on a Jew, in order to shew their hypo-

crisy in a more marked form.

12). As surely as morn arose, after the atonement-day

was done; and as surely as in the year of release that

morn was ushered in with the joyful notes of jubilee, so

certainly should they have reaped the blessing. Oh! if

thou wouldst keep all his solemn Sabbaths, how blessed

wouldst thou be (ver. 13, 14), and thy land a land of

fruitfulness to thee!

Happy art thou, 0 Israel, a people saved of the


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