on Exodus 28 :2
For glory and for beauty - Four articles of dress were prescribed for the priests in ordinary, and four more for the high-priest. Those for the priests in general were a coat, drawers, a girdle, and a bonnet. Besides these the high-priest had a robe, an ephod, a breastplate, and a plate or diadem of gold on his forehead. The garments, says the sacred historian, were for honor and for beauty. They were emblematical of the office in which they ministered.
1. It was honorable. They were the ministers of the Most High, and employed by him in transacting the most important concerns between God and his people, concerns in which all the attributes of the Divine Being were interested, as well as those which referred to the present and eternal happiness of his creatures.
2. They were for beauty. They were emblematical of that holiness and purity which ever characterize the Divine nature and the worship which is worthy of him, and which are essentially necessary to all those who wish to serve him in the beauty of holiness here below, and without which none can ever see his face in the realms of glory. Should not the garments of all those who minister in holy things still be emblematical of the things in which they minister? Should they not be for glory and beauty, expressive of the dignity of the Gospel ministry, and that beauty of holiness without which none can see the Lord? As the high-priest's vestments, under the law, were emblematical of what was to come, should not the vestments of the ministers of the Gospel bear some resemblance of what is come? Is then the dismal black, now worn by almost all kinds of priests and ministers, for glory and for beauty? Is it emblematical of any thing that is good, glorious, or excellent? How unbecoming the glad tidings announced by Christian ministers is a color emblematical of nothing but mourning and wo, sin, desolation, and death! How inconsistent the habit and office of these men! Should it be said, "These are only shadows, and are useless because the substance is come." I ask, Why then is black almost universally worn? why is a particular color preferred, if there be no signification in any? Is there not a danger that in our zeal against shadows, we shall destroy or essentially change the substance itself? Would not the same sort of argumentation exclude water in baptism, and bread and wine in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper? The white surplice in the service of the Church is almost the only thing that remains of those ancient and becoming vestments, which God commanded to be made for glory and beauty. Clothing, emblematical of office, is of more consequence than is generally imagined. Were the great officers of the crown, and the great officers of justice, to clothe themselves like the common people when they appear in their public capacity, both their persons and their decisions would be soon held in little estimation.
on Exodus 28 :2
on Exodus 28 :2
28:2 The priests garments were made for glory and beauty - Some of the richest materials were to be provided, and the belt artists employed in making them, whose skill God, by a special gift, would improve to a very high degree. Eminency, even in common arts, is a gift of God; it comes from him, and, ought to be used for him. The garments appointed were, Four, which both the high - priest and the inferior priests wore, viz. The linen breeches, the linen coat, the linen girdle which fastened it to them, and the bonnet; that which the high - priest wore is called a mitre. Four more which were peculiar to the high - priest, the ephod, with the curious girdle of it, the breast - plate of judgment, the long robe, and the golden plate on his forehead. These glorious garments, were appointed, That the priests themselves might be minded of the dignity of their office. That the people might thereby be possessed with a holy reverence of that God whose ministers appeared in such grandeur. That the priests might be types of Christ, and of all Christians who have the beauty of holiness put upon them.