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CHA P. IX.
The Circumcision of our LoID
HAT Festival doth the Church celè-
4. The Circumcifion of our Lord Jefus Chrifi, who, when eight Days were accomplished, fubjected himself to this Law, and first thed his facred Blood for us.
Q. What was Circumcifion?,
A. A Rite of the Jewish Law, whereby that People were received into Covenant with God, as Chriftians are by Baptifmm. It was first enjoined to Abraham, as a Token of the Co- Gen. 1. venant God made with him and his Pofterity. 10. It was renewed by Joshua, when the Ifraelites Joh. 5.2. entered the Land of Canaan; it having been difufed for forty Years during their fojourning in the Wilderness.
Q. When was Circumcifion to be administered?
A. On the eighth Day, because the Mother Lev. 11. being unclean feven Days, and the Child by 2, 3. touching her pertaking of the fame Misfortune, was not till then fit to be admitted into Covenant; nor by Reafon of its Weaknefs could it well endure, before that Time, the Pain of the Operation. The Jews laid fuch Strefs upon Buxtorf. this, that Circumcifion before that Time was Synag. counted no Circumcifion; and after that Time it Jad. 4.
was of leffer Value; hence they thought it neceffary, rather than defer it beyond the stated Time, to perform it on the Sabbath-Day, though all Work was on that Day forbidden.
Q. What was the Punishment threatened for neglecting this Rite?
A. That Soul was to be cut off from God's People; which, as the Jews generally interpret, fuppofed a Man to neglect it when he came to a fitting Age to understand the Obligation of it. For when Mofes's Child was uncircumcised, the Angel fought not to kill the Child, who was uncircumcifed, but Mofes, the Father, who should have circumcised it.
Q. What was the original Design of Circumcifion?
A. That every Son of Abraham might bear in his Body the Seal of the Inheritance of the Land of Promife, and the Badge of Diftinction from all other People, with which all that wère marked, profeffed their Refolution to obey the only true God, Creator of Heaven and Earth; and that this vifible Sign might put them conftantly in Mind of their Duty, and make them ftrive after the invifible Grace which it fealed, the Inheritance of Heaven, and walking as the Peculiar of the Lord.
Q. Why was it to cease after the Coming of Chrift?
A. The Neceffity of the Change of it appears from the appropriated and peculiar Ends of the Rite. For when there was to be no more Diftinction betwixt the Children of Abraham and other People, and no one Land more peculiarized than another, but of every Land and Nation he that feareth God and worketh
eth Righteousness is accepted of him; that Badge of Appropriation, and Seal of Singularity, muft either clean come to nothing, or become unneceffary.
Q. What doth Circumcifion figuratively repreSent to us?
A. That as our Birth is impure by Reafon of Original Sin, fo we ought to lay afide all Filthi- Jam. t. nefs, and Superfluity of Naughtiness, putting off 21. the Body of the Sins of the Flesh, by the Circumcifion of Chrift, mortifying the Pleasures of the Body, which bewitch the Mind, and make us Captives to Sin and Death.
Q. What Rite of Admiffion into the Chriftian Church anfereth to that of Circumcifion under the Law?
A. The Sacrament of Baptifm, called by Col. 2.11, St. Paul, The Circumcifion of Chrift, whereby the Children of Chriftian Parents are made Members of Chrift, and obliged to obferve the Laws of the Gospel Institution; as the circumcised Infant, by that Rite, became a Debtor to ob- Ac$15.5. Jerve the whole Law of Mofes. By this Means Gal. 5. 3. the Children of Belivers are entered into Covenant with God under the Gofpel, as they were under the Law by Circumcifion; and that Infants are capable of this foderal Relation, is plainly declared by Mofes; and fince they Deut. 29! are the Offspring of Adam, and confequently obnoxious to Death by his Fall, how can they be made Partakers of that Redemption which Chrift hath purchafed for the Children of God, if they do not enjoy the Advantage of that Method which is alone appointed by Chrift for them to become Members of God's Kingdom? For Jefus himself hath affured us, Except
John 3.5. cept one be born of Water and of the Spirit, be cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. And therefore it was the conftant Custom of the Primitive. Church to adminifter Baptifm to Infants for the Remiffion of Sins. And this Practice was efteemed, by the best Tradition, to be derived from the Apostles themselves.
Q. Why was Jefus Chrift circumcifed, who was holy, and without Sin?
A. That he might thereby be efteemed the Son of Abraham, and be the better qualified to do good among his Countrymen the Jews, by bearing this Mark of Diftinction which they fo 'much valued, as to defpife thofe that wanted it; and that he might fulfil the whole Law, and fhew that he came to bear the Punishment due to our Sins, and to expiate them with his Blood.
Q: What Name was given unto the Son of God when he was circumcifed?
A. The impofing a Name being one of the Circumftances that attended Circumcifion, even from the first Inftitution of it, as many think,
our Lord was then called Jefus, according to Luk.1.31. the Direction of the Angel before he was conceived in the Womb: And the Reafon of it is Mat.1.21. given by the Angel, because he should fave bis People from their Sins.
Q. What is implied in his faving us from our Sins ?
A. That by his Death he fhould deliver us from the Punishment due to Sin, and reconcile us to God; and that by his Grace he fhould deliver us from the Power and Dominion of Sin, by enabling us to repent of it, and to mortify it. Q. Is the Name of Jefus worthy of all Honour?
A. At the Name of Jefus every Knee shall bow. The bowing of the Knee was counted a Gen. 41. Teftimony of Reverence; and it was very ho- 43nourable to excite fuch Marks of Refpect, not only to fuch as were prefent, but to fuch as were abfent, upon the mentioning of their Names. And it was the Cuftom of the World in feveral Religions, to exprefs fome kind of Reverence when that which they acknowledged for their God was named.
Q. What bath the Church enjoyed when we bear that holy Name mentioned in Time of Divine Service?
A. That due and lowly Reverence fhall be Can. 18. done by all Perfons prefent, as hath been accustomed; teftifying by thefe outward Ceremonies and Geftures, their inward Humility, Chriftian Refolution, and due Acknowledgment, that the Lord Jefus Chrift, the true and eternal Son of God, is the only Saviour of the World.
Q. What may we learn from the Obfervation of this Festival?
A. The Neceflity of fpiritual Circumcifion, or the Change of Heart and Life, which our Lord hath made the Condition of Salvation; in order to which the mortifying our corrupt Affections and finful Lufts is neceffary. It teaches us alfo great Humility of Soul, whereby we fhould be ready to facrifice our Reputation, rather than neglect our Duty; after our Saviour's Example, who, in order to fulfil the Will of God, took upon him not only the Form of a Servant, but the Appearance of a Sinner.
Q. What is farther implied in Spiritual Circumcifion?