Ye shall afflict your souls. - Leviticus 23:27,29,32
Whilst Aaron was making the solemn atonement for the people, confessing their sins on the victims and sending them away, the camp was pervaded with the atmosphere of the Sabbath rest. No servile work was done on penalty of death. Probably for the most part the people abode in their tents. No sound was heard save sighs, and groans, and cries of penitence. The people afflicted themselves for their sins.
Sin is forgiven by God, but it should not be forgotten by us. - We should remember it, in order to refresh our memory of God's great grace in patting it away; in order to deepen our sense of gratitude and to promote our self-humiliation; in order to make us watchful and careful in our daily walk and conversation. Holding the hand of our Saviour, we need not dread to look down into the abyss from which He has redeemed us. We shall turn from it to Him with tenderer love and gratitude.
Repentance is once for all; penitence is perennial. - We repent when we turn from the kingdom of darkness to that of God's dear Son; it is the act of the will, the utter reversal of the course we had been pursuing. But we are penitent after we have seen the face of Jesus: it is the act of the emotions; the sense of Christ's love and of our unworthiness together makes us weep, as the forgiven sinner did at His feet.
Penitence does not purchase forgiveness, but accompanies and follows it. - Could our tears forever flow, they could not bring God's pardon into our souls. That is secured by the offering of our Substitute on Calvary. But being forgiven, we wash His feet with our tears, we break our alabaster boxes on His head, and love much.