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CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES
In this chapter we have directions concerning three great annual religious occasions, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Each of these had been previously instituted; and the chief reason of their mention here is for the enumeration of the sacrifices to be offered upon each occasion. The chief treatment of the topics which these occasions suggest will be found in other volumes of The Preacher’s Commentary, chiefly in that upon Leviticus. And as we have already explained the moral significance of the different kinds of sacrifice (see pp. 98, 99, 115, 116), and considered the relations and proportions between them (see pp. 271–279), the chapter only requires brief treatment from us.
Numbers 29:1-4.29.6. The Feast of Trumpets and its offerings (comp. Leviticus 23:24-3.23.25; Numbers 10:1-4.10.10; and see pp. 156–160).
Numbers 29:7-4.29.11. The great Day of Atonement and its offerings (comp. Leviticus 16:0; Leviticus 23:26-3.23.32).
Numbers 29:12-4.29.40. The Feast of Tabernacles and its offerings (comp. Exodus 23:16,—“the Feast of Ingathering;” Leviticus 23:34-3.23.36; Leviticus 23:39-3.23.43; Deuteronomy 16:13-5.16.15; Deuteronomy 31:10-5.31.13).
THE FEAST OF TRUMPETS: HOW TO BEGIN A NEW YEAR
The Feast of Trumpets is “the feast of the new moon, which fell on the first of Tizri. It differed from the ordinary festivals of the new moon In several important particulars. It was one of the seven days of Holy Convocation. Instead of the mere blowing of the trumpets of the Temple at the time of the offering of the sacrifices, it was ‘a day of blowing of trumpets.’ In addition to the daily sacrifices and the eleven victims offered on the first of every month, there were offered a young bullock, a ram, and seven lambs of the first year, with the accustomed meat offerings, and a kid for a sin offering. The regular monthly offering was thus repeated, with the exception of one young bullock.” Let us notice—
i. The time of the celebration. “And in the seventh month, on the first day of the month.” The seventh month was called by the Jews in later times Tizri, but in the Old Testament Ethanim (1 Kings 8:2). Tradition unanimously affirms it to have been the first month of the civil year. Religious celebrations were more numerous in this month than in any of the others. “It formed,” says Scott, “a kind of vacation between the harvest and the ensuing seed-time; and these solemnities during that season might intimate, that the ordinances of God are the rational refreshment from the fatigue of business; and that religion does not at all interfere with our true interest even in this world.” (a)
ii. The meaning of the celebration. “There seems to be no sufficient reason to call in question the common opinion of Jews and Christians, that it was the festival of the New Year’s Day of the civil year, the first of Tizri, the month which commenced the Sabbatical year, and the year of Jubilee.”—Bibl. Dict.
Taking this view of its meaning, we regard the paragraph before us as illustrating the manner in which we should begin a New Year.
I. With special attention to religious duties and privileges.
This day was to be marked by rest from ordinary labours, and by a religious assembly. “Ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work: it is a day of blowing the trumpets unto you.” Additional sacrifices were to be offered on this day. “Ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord,” &c. (Numbers 29:2-4.29.5). And these were to be in addition to “the burnt offering of the month,” &c. (Numbers 29:6). It is eminently appropriate to enter upon a new year with religious meditation, and by offering to God the sacrifices of praise and prayer and of beneficence to man. The assembling in “holy convocation” also is as becoming in us, and as helpful to us, as it was to the Israelites. (b)
II. With humble confession of sin and prayer for pardon.
The Israelites were to offer “one kid of the goats for a sin offering, to make an atonement for them” (Numbers 29:5). See p. 115. And in entering upon a new year it is wise to seriously review our past lives, to mark where we have rebelled against the holy will of God, how often and sadly we have failed in our duty, &c.; to humbly acknowledge our sin unto God; and to seek forgiveness from Him through our Great Sin-Offering. In this way we should commence the year with our sins forgiven and our souls cleansed by the blood of Christ. (c)
III. With grateful acknowledgment of the Divine mercies.
The Israelites were commanded to offer a “meat-offering of flour mingled with oil,” &c. (Numbers 29:3-4.29.4). The meat-offerings, like the peace-offerings, were eucharistic (see pp. 99, 116). How appropriate is it for us at the very beginning of the year to review the mercies of the past! Think of God’s mercy in sparing our sinful lives; in forgiving our many aggravated offences; in sustaining us by the constant exercise of His power; in enriching us with countless gifts of His grace, &c. Let us reflect upon His mercy in all this until our heart grows warm with holy fire; and then let us pour out unto Him the offerings of our fervent gratitude. We are not fit to enter upon any year until we have heartily and devoutly blessed God for His great kindness to us in the past. (d)
IV. With complete consecration of ourselves to God.
“Ye shall offer a burnt offering for a sweet savour unto the Lord,” &c. (Numbers 29:2). See pp. 98, 115, 116. An extra burnt offering was required from the Israelites, at the Feast of Trumpets. May we not infer from this that, at the commencement of the year, there are special reasons why we should consecrate ourselves to God, or renew such consecration, if it has already been made? We suggest as such reasons—
1. “The multitude of His mercies” to us. We have said that they should be reviewed at this time; and the review should lead to our self-consecration to Him. “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God,” &c. (e)
2. The abridgment of our opportunities. The past years have borne away with them many opportunities of usefulness, &c. “Much of our time has run to waste.” We ought to have devoted ourselves to God long ago. “Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep.” (f)
3. The uncertainty of the future. How many who commenced last year well and strong in body, were called away by death before its close!
“Tomorrow, Lord, is Thine,
Lodged in Thy sovereign hand;
And if its sun arise and shine,
It shines by Thy command.”
“Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.”
i. Let the people of God begin the year by renewed and more fervent devotion to Him.
ii. Let those who have not hitherto given themselves to Him do so at once, completely, and for ever.
(a) The times of the festivals were evidently ordained in wisdom, so as to interfere as little as possible with the industry of the people. The Passover was held just before the work of harvest commenced, Pentecost at the conclusion of corn-harvest and before vintage, the Feast of Tabernacles after all the fruits of the ground were gathered in. In winter, when travelling was difficult, there were no festivals.—S. Clark, M.A., in Bibl. Dict.
(b) We stand in the first Sabbath of the new year. It is a time for review and contemptation. He is a genius at stupidity who does not think now. The old year died in giving birth to this: as the life of Jane Seymour, the English Queen, departed when that of her son, Edward VI., dawned. The old year was a queen, this is a king. The grave of the one and the cradle of the other are side by side.—T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.
(c) For illustrations on this point, see pp. 356, 359.
(d) In the dew drops that top every spike of grass, sow the sward with orient pearl, and hang like pendant diamonds, sparkling in the sun from all the leaves of the frost, you see the multitude of His mercies. He crowns the year with His bounty. We have seen other streams dried up by the heat of summer, and frozen by the cold of winter—that of His mercies never. It has flowed on; day by day, night by night, ever flowing; and largely fed of heavenly showers, sometimes overflowing all its banks. To this, and that other one, has the past brought afflictions? Still, may I not ask, how few our miseries to the number of our mercies; how far have our blessings exceeded our afflictions; our nights of sleep, those of wakefulness; our many gains, the few losses we have suffered? For every blow, how many blessings? and even when He smote with one hand, did not a gracious God hold up with the other? Who has not to sing of mercy as well as judgment; aye, much more of mercies than judgments? Let us not write the memory of these on water, and of those on the rock.—Thomas Guthrie, D.D.
(e) Beloved, remember what you have heard of Christ, and what He has done for you; make your heart the golden cup to hold the rich recollections of His past lovingkindness; make it a pot of manna to preserve the heavenly broad whereon saints have fed in days gone by. Let your memory treasure up everything about Christ which you have heard or felt, or known, and then let your fond affections hold Him fast evermore. Love Him! Pour out that alabaster box of your heart, and let all the precious ointment of your affection come streaming on His feet. If you cannot do it with joy, do it sorrow fully; wash His feet with tears, wipe them with the hairs of your head, but do love Him, the blessed Son of God, your ever tender friend.—C. H. Spurgeon.
(f) Whatever the joy and peace of a Christian’s death-bed, there will always be a feeling of regret that so little has been done, or rather so little attempted for Christ. And while His firmament glows with the dawnings of eternity, and the melody of angels is just stealing on his ears, and the walls of the bright city bound his horizon—if one wish could detain him in the tabernacle of flesh, oh! it would not be the wish of tarrying with the weeping ones who cluster round his bed; and it would not be the wish of providing for children and superintending their education, or of perfecting some plan for their settlement in life; he knows that there is a Husband for the widow and a Father of the fatherless. The only wish which could put a check on his spirit as the plumes of its wing just feel the free air; it is that he might toil a little longer for Christ, and do at least some fraction more of His work before entering into the light of His presence. And what, then, is the reminding him that “now is his salvation nearer,” but the admonishing him that whilst thousands upon thousands are bowing down to the stock and the stone, and vice is enthroned on high places, and an unholy covenant is made between evil spirits and evil men, to sweep from this globe the name of the believer, there is a swift lapsing of the period during which he may act out his vows of allegiance; that nerve and sinew, time and talent—all must be centred more fixedly than ever in the service of Christ; lest his dying day find him recreant or indolent, and he is summoned to depart ere he have done the little which with all his strenuousness he might possibly effect for the Lord and His kingdom.—H. Melville, B.D.
Some of you are spending your last January. You have entered the year, but you will not end it. Somewhere you will shut your eyes in the sleep that knows no waking. Other hands shall plant the Christmas-tree and shake the New Year’s greeting. It will be joy to some, sorrow to others. I would leave in your ears five short words of one syllable each—“This year thou shalt die.”—T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.
THE GREAT DAY OF ATONEMENT; ITS MORAL SUGGESTIONS
The whole of the ceremonies of this day are described in Leviticus 16:0. Our business is to attend to the moral suggestions of the paragraph under present consideration.
I. That it is our duty to set apart some time for serious reflection upon our sins.
The Israelites were required to set apart this one day in every year for the special remembrance of their sins, and for humiliation and atonement because of them. To seriously reflect upon our sins is a duty we owe—
1. To ourselves. Unless our sins be forgiven, they will prove our ruin; unless we sincerely repent of them, they will not be forgiven; unless we recognise and feel them, we cannot repent of them; and unless we consider our life in relation to them, we shall not recognise and feel them, for they are apt to escape our notice, and we are prone to overlook them, or to call them by soft names. Hence the need, &c.
2. To God. He calls upon us to consider our ways, to repent of our sins, to turn from them, &c. It is both our duty and interest at times to pause, examine our ways, &c. (a)
II. That reflection upon our sins should lead to humiliation because of them.
The day of atonement was sometimes called the “feast of humiliation” amongst the Jews, who upon it were required to humble themselves before God on account of their sins. Self-examination and reflection on our sins will be unproductive of any good result unless they lead to penitential sorrow because of them. Without true repentance the knowledge of sin tendeth to spiritual death rather than life. (b)
III. That humiliation because of our sins should lead to the mortification of our carnal appetites.
“Ye shall afflict your souls,” was one of the Divine commands to Israel concerning this day. “The expression to ‘afflict the soul,’ appears to be the old term for fasting; but its meaning evidently embraces, not only abstinence from food, but that penitence and humiliation which give scope and purpose to the outward act of fasting.”—Speaker’s Comm. Fasting is good religiously only when bodily abstinence is an expression of spiritual penitence. We do not affirm that fasting is a Christian duty. Even amongst the Jews, on this solemn day, children and sick people were exempt from the obligation. But it is the duty of the Christian to keep carnal passions under the control of spiritual principles, and not to allow bodily appetites to damp the ardour of spiritual aspirations. Thus did St. Paul: “I keep under my body,” &c. (1 Corinthians 9:27; Galatians 5:24; Colossians 3:5-51.3.6). (c)
IV. That true penitence leads to gratitude and personal consecration to God.
Special burnt-offerings, expressive of self-consecration, with their meat-offerings, expressive of thankfulness, were to be offered unto the Lord on this day. “Ye shall offer a burnt offering,” &c (Numbers 29:8-4.29.10) (d)
V. That our penitence, even when it is true in itself and in its expressions, is imperfect, and needs the merits of the Saviour’s sacrifice.
The Israelites were commanded to offer “one kid of the goats for a sin-offering; beside the sin-offering of atonement,” &c. (Numbers 29:11). Our approaches to God in penitence and prayer and praise are defective and faulty. “Though we must not repent that we have repented, yet we must repent that we have not repented better.”
VI. That the sacrifices of the ceremonial law were unable to take away sin.
The fact that in addition to the sin-offerings of the great ceremonies of this day (Leviticus 16:0), another sin-offering was required, most impressively displays the insufficiency of the legal offerings, in themselves, to secure pardon and cleansing from sin for the offerers. “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (comp. Hebrews 10:1-58.10.18). “We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” (e)
Thus all the suggestions of this paragraph lead us up to our Lord and Saviour. He is the true hope of the penitent soul. He is the only and the all-sufficient Saviour from sin. Seek Him; trust in Him; live to Him.
(a) We should weigh our own spirits. In the remembrance that our hearts are “deceitful above all things.” we should, in that duty, go carefully and faithfully to work; not satisfied with a mere surface look; not regarding the word and the action merely, but jealously tracing each, as in the sight of God, to its secret source within; testing that source by the application of Bible criterions; desiring to detect not merely motives that are un-mixedly evil, but every secret adulteration of motives that are in the main good—every alloy—every deteriorating ingredient; “keeping our hearts with all diligence;” and looking forward to that day, when the equal balances of Heaven shall try—both in deed, and in principle and motive—“every man’s work of what sort it is.”—Ralph Wardlaw, D.D.
(b) As certain fabrics need to be damped before they will take the glowing colours with which they are to be adorned, so our spirits need the bedewing of repentance before they can receive the radiant colouring of delight. The glad news of the Gospel can only be printed on wet paper. Have you ever seen clearer shining than that which follows a shower. Then the sun transforms the raindrops into gems, the flowers look up with fresher smiles and faces glittering from their refreshing bath, and the birds from among the dripping branches sing with notes more raptorous, because they have paused awhile. So, when the soul has been saturated with the rain of penitence, the clear shining of forgiving love makes the flowers of gladness blossom all around. The stops by which we ascend to the palace of delight are usually moist with tears. Grief for sin is the porch of the House Beautiful, where the guests are full of “the joy of the Lord.”—C. H. Spurgeon.
(c) The flesh warreth against the spirit; and the enemy is never so effectually vanquished, as when he is reduced by famine. That hunger is not holiness we are ready to admit; but that it may easily be improved into a glorious mean or instrument of it, universal practice has asserted, and general experience confirmed. The prophet, therefore, does not barely say (Joel 2:15-29.2.18), “proclaim a fast,” but “sanctify,” that is, hallow or render it holy; make it subservient to moral and religious purposes, by availing yourselves of that humble, and serious, and recollected frame of mind, which bodily mortification has a natural tendency to produce; and let it lead you to godly sorrow, heartfelt repentance, and strenuous resolutions of immediate reformation.—W. Busfield.
It is true that there is no direct and positive command given by Christ that you should abstain from animal and vegetable food, and the drinking of water; but lest the flesh-pampering man should be too eager to avail himself of this silence, or make a screen of such a supposed authority, I ought to say, that it is in full and manifold proof that such national self-denial, accompanied with sincere faith and humility, has restrained the hand of the Lord from national judgments; and moreover, that although the practice of fasting degenerated into the Pharisaism of monkish austerities, it was observed by the Church of Christ in its simplest, purest, and healthiest estate; and that the more pious and holy of the followers of Jesus have left behind them strong testimonies to its value and efficacy.—T. J. Judkin.
The Church of God would be far stronger to wrestle with this ungodly age if she were more given to prayer and fasting. There is a mighty efficacy in these two Gospel ordinances. The first links us to heaven, the second separates us from earth. Prayer takes us into the banqueting house of God; fasting overturns the surfeiting tables of earth. Prayer gives us to feed on the bread of heaven, and fasting delivers the soul from being encumbered with the fulness of bread which perisheth. When Christians shall bring themselves up to the uttermost possibilities of spiritual vigour, then they will be able, by God’s Spirit working in them, to cast out devils, which to day, without the prayer and fasting, laugh them to scorn.—C. H. Spurgeon.
(d) Illustrations on this point will be found on pp. 93, 101, 117, 344.
(e) For an illustration on this point see p. 141 (b).
THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES; ITS MEANING AND LESSONS
This institution is introduced here simply for the purpose of giving directions as to the offerings to be presented during the feast; and nothing is said of its origin, or design, &c. Notice—
i. The number of the offerings pre-scribed. The offerings required upon this occasion were far more numerous than those of any other festival. During the seven days of the feast, fourteen rams, ninety-eight lambs, and no less than seventy bullocks were sacrificed to the Lord; being twice as many rams and lambs, and five times as many bullocks, as were offered at the Feast of Passover; and in addition, on the eighth day were offered one bullock, one ram, and seven lambs.
ii. The daily distribution of the offerings. The arrangement as to the number of bullocks to be offered each day is peculiar. On the first day thirteen were to be offered, on the second day twelve, and so on, reducing the number by one each day, till on the seventh day seven were offered. This arrangement was instituted, and the total number was also fixed at seventy, probably to bring into prominence the number seven, “the holy symbolical covenant number, by way of intimation that the mercies of the harvest accrued by virtue of God’s covenant.” Bishop Wordsworth, however, suggests “that the gradual evanescence of the law till the time of its absorption in the Gospel is here presignified in the law itself.” And from the fact that at the solemnities of the eighth day, which closed the Feast, only one bullock was offered, Matthew Henry makes a similar suggestion: “It is hereby intimated to them that the legal dispensation should wax old, and vanish away at last; and the multitude of their sacrifices should end in one great sacrifice, infinitely more worthy than all of them.”
Having repeatedly spoken of the general significance of these offerings, we proceed to notice briefly—
iii. The meaning of this Festival. From the fact that the Feast was celebrated in booths, and is always designated by this word (booths, Heb., succoth), Dean Stanley argues “that it did not commemorate the tents of the wilderness, but probably the ‘booths’ of the first start (Succoth, Leviticus 23:43; Exodus 13:20), the point of transition between the settled and the nomadic life.” But this view attaches too great importance to the use of a word, and is not in harmony with the statements of the Scriptures as to the meaning of the Feast. We will endeavour to point out the meanings assigned to it in the Scriptures, and the corresponding lessons which it conveys to us.
I. It was a memorial of their emancipation from Egypt, teaching us that we should cherish the memory of former mercies.
That it was such a memorial appears from Leviticus 23:43, “That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt.” “The tents of the wilderness furnished a home of freedom compared with the house of bondage out of which they had been brought.” The remembrance of God’s gracious dealings with us should be piously fostered by us.
1. Gratitude urges to this. To forget the kindnesses bestowed upon us is basely ungrateful.
2. Reason urges to this. The recollection of past mercies inspires confidence and hope in present difficulties and needs. To forget them is folly. (a)
II. It was a memorial of their life in the wilderness, reminding us that our present condition is that of strangers and pilgrims.
“And ye shall take you on the first day the fruit of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, &c. That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths” (Leviticus 23:40-3.23.43). “Now the booth in which the Israelite kept the feast, and the tent which was his ordinary abode in the wilderness, had this in common—they were temporary places of sojourn, they belonged to camp life. The seven days of abode in the booths of the festival was thus a fair symbol of the forty years of abode in tents in the wilderness.” It suggests, that “here have we no continuing city.” We are dwellers in tents, not in mansions. Life in this state is brief even at the longest. “Our days upon the earth are as a shadow and there is none abiding.” (b)
But the Feast was to commemorate the blessings of their life in the desert; blessings such as are given to us in our pilgrimage.
1. Divine guidance. “The Lord went before them,” &c. “The pillar of the cloud departed not from them by day,” &c. (Nehemiah 9:19). The same is promised to us (Psalms 32:8; Proverbs 3:6; Isaiah 58:11). (c)
2. Divine support. “Forty years didst Thou sustain them in the wilderness,” &c. (Nehemiah 9:21). And still He supports His people (Psalms 84:11; Matthew 6:25-40.6.34). (d)
3. Divine protection. The pillar of the cloud and of the fire was a protection. The Lord also made them victorious over their enemies. In our pilgrimage He defends us (John 10:28; Romans 8:31; Romans 8:37-45.8.39; 1 Peter 3:13). (e)
III. It was a thanksgiving for rest and a settled abode in the Promised Land, suggesting the certainty and blessedness of the rest which remains for the people of God.
This aspect of the Feast is clearly expressed in the Speaker’s Comm.: “No time in the year could be so suitable for the Israelites to be reminded of the wonderful Providence which had fed and sheltered them in the wilderness, where they had no land to call their own, and where there was neither harvest, nor gathering into barns, nor vintage, as the season in which they offered thanksgiving to Jehovah for the fruits of the ground, and consecrated the crops newly stored in. In this way the transition from nomadic to agricultural life, which took place when the people settled in the Holy Land, must have tended to fulfil the meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles. From that time the festival called to mind the long and weary wanderings in contrast with the plenty and comfort of settled possession.” A comparison of Leviticus 23:40 with Revelation 7:9, suggests that to the inspired Seer of Patmos the Feast of Tabernacles was a figure of the perfect rest and joy of heaven. Hengstenberg says that the “palms” of Revelation 7:9, “are beyond doubt those of the feast of tabernacles.” There are at least three points of analogy—
1. Rest. With this Feast all labour ceased, and winter, the period of rest, began. In heaven the Christian rests from his wanderings, rests from weary labours, rests from the struggle against sin, &c. (f)
2. Reward. At this Feast the Israelite had gathered in the entire harvest, had secured the reward of his labours. In heaven the Christian shall reap a rich reward for all his toils on earth, &c. (g)
3. Rejoicing. This was the most joyful of all the Jewish feasts, “They joy before thee, according to the joy in harvest.” The redeemed in heaven have “entered into the joy of their Lord.” (h)
IV. It was a thanksgiving for the completed harvest, teaching us to receive the precious fruits of the earth as the kind gifts of a bountiful Providence.
“The feast of ingathering, in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field” (Exodus 23:16). “When ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the Lord seven days” (Leviticus 23:39). “Thou shalt observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine,” &c. (Deuteronomy 16:13-5.16.15). Learn from this, that in the harvest we should gratefully recognise the result of the blessing of God upon our labours. He giveth us “rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). See sketch on Numbers 28:26-4.28.31. (i)
(a) For illustrations on this point, see pp. 407, 416, 417.
(b) Illustrations on Life, a Pilgrimage, will be found on pp. 163, 409.
(c) This point is illustrated on pp. 152, 154, 164.
(d) Illustrations on the dependence of man and the support of God appear on pp. 154, 155, 276.
(e) This point is illustrated on pp. 105, 154, 164, 176.
(f) The rest of inaction is but the quiet of a stone, or the stillness of the grave, or the exhaustion of a spent and feeble nature. But there is a nobler rest than this. There is rest in health; there is rest in the musical repose of exquisitely balanced powers; there is rest to the desiring faculties when they find the thing desired; there is rest in the rapture of congenial employment; rest in the flow of joyful strength; rest in the swift glide of the stream when it meets with no impediment. Such is the rest of the glorified. Perfect beings in a perfect world, rejoicing in their native element, having no weakness within, and no resisting force without, to check the outflow and expression of their loving natures; their activity, therefore, being easy, natural, and necessary, as light is to the sun, and fragrance to the flowers of spring—activity to them is rest. “Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord; for they rest,” not from their works, but only “from their abours.” It would be a labour for them not to work. To hush their music, and to stop their action, would be to them intolerable toil; they would be “weary with forbearing, and could not stay.” So they “rest;” yet “they rest not day nor night.”—C. Stanford, D.D.
Another illustration on this point appears on p. 420.
(g) An illustration on the Rewards of heaven appears on pp. 6, 7.
(h) For an illustration on the Joys of heaven see p. 169.
(i) There is a point at which we must give up and stand still, and say, “We can do no more.” That is a matter of certainty in your common daily life; and out of it will come such reflections as these: I have nothing that has not upon it God’s signature and superscription. I can work; but my work may come to nothing. I may sow my seed, but if He withhold the baptism of the dew and the rain, and the benediction of the sunlight, all my labour will came to nothingness, to mortification and pain! This must have some meaning. There must, in such a combination of circumstances as these, be a purpose which I ought to know, and understand, and work by. If a man once be started on that course of reflection, the probability is, that he who begins as a reverent inquirer, will end as a devout worshipper,—Joseph Parker, D.D.
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Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Numbers 29". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent