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with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear unto thee: I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his feed after him *."—" In Isaac shall thy feed be called." It was perpetuated in the family of Isaac and Jacob, until the end for which the feed of Abraham was separated from the rest of mankind was accomplilhed.—Should any enquire, Why did this ordinance extend only to males? I would answer, It was so ordered, to shew, that an actual participation of sacraments is not essential to salvation: For females were as really the daughters of Abraham as males were his sons, when they acted faith upon those promises which were made to him: And, although they were not circumcised formally, in their own persons; yet were they circumcised virtually, in their fathers and husbands: So they might not be given in marriage to the uncircumcised. This ordinance was also confined to males, to shew the imperfection of that œconomy: Under that œconomy the preference was given to males j but, under the better one, " there is neither male nor femalej. for ye are all one in Christ Jesus j*."

3. Th £ time for the celebration of this ordinance to infants, fixed by divine appointment, was the eight day: "He that is eight days old shall be circumcised." God did not re

* Gen. xvii. 21^ and verse 19. f Gal. iii. 28.

Y 2 quire quire it sooner, out of regard to the tender infant; and he would not suffer it to be deferred any longer, lest men should contemn it, by deferring it for ever. If any did, God appointed him to be Cut Off from among his people *: That is, the parent who neglected to circumcise his child should be held as a heathen-man and a publican, by the Church of Cod, until he complied with the divine institution. The original word does not always import a cutting off by death; but the suspending or dissolving a relation, whether it be by excommunication or otherways. And Paul seems to allude unto it, when he said unto the Galatians, "I would they were even Cut Off that trouble you j-."

* The original word is m3, and, literally, signifies to lop off a branch from a tree. But it is niqre frequently used in a metaphorical sense. When God himself is laid to Cut Off, it seems to import death from his immediate hand: At other times it may import death at the hands of men. It cannot always be taken either in the one or the other of these fenses, however; but must sometimes signify A Cutting Off" by church-censure. In the case before tis, the persons, who neglected to circtimcise their feed, were to be excluded themselves from the society of the Church, as conteumers of the initiating seal of God's Covenant; and their feed kept out of it until they were circumcised by others: Or, if it was neglected till they grew up, until.they did it themselves. \ ide Gilesp. Aaron's Rod. Lib. 1. chap. v. ' Leidekk. I)c Rep. Heb. Lib. II. cap. viii. thes. 7.

-f Gal. v. 12.

II. It was also proposed, on this head, to, /hew, How this, ordinance Ratified this cove~ nant. It was not an insignificant nte; but nobly expressive of privileges conveyed by this transaction, and also a seal for the confirmation of it.

1. Circumcision" sealed this covenant, as it prefigured the blood and righteousness of the Messiah, by which the promises should be ratified in due time: "and he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith, which he had, being yet uncirenmeued *.." As Abraham was a type of Christ, because the promises were made unto him-ag well as unto Christ; so he was likeways a type of him, as he and all his covenanted feed shed their blood for the ratification of these promises. But their being typical in one respect does not imply, that they were so in all things: For they enjoyed spiritual privileges, as well as typical ones; and they performed moral as well as ceremonial worship in like manner.

2. Circumcision sealed this covenant, as it contained an emblematical representation of mortification of the body of sin, which is one of the distinguished blessings of it. In this sacrament there was a cutting ossa part of the natural body; and the thing signified is ex

* Ilom, iv. ti

pressed pressed by the name of this ordinance, in the sacred oracles*. Hence, the precept, circumcise the fore-lkin of your heart, is of the fame import with " Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth.

3. This ordinance confirmed the covenant, as, by the observance of it, persons declared their acceptance of covenant-promises and privileges; and their engagement to the performance of all covenant-duties. Accordingly, the circumcised person became bound to fulfil the whole law. Circumcilion was not only a token for good to the person, as it gave the worthy receiver an assurance of the accomplishment of God's promises; but also a badge of the profession of die true religion, restored to, and preserved in the family of Abraham.

FOURTHLY, The Occasions of this Covenant are to be considered in the last place.

1. This covenant-renovation with Abraham obtained after he had been guilty of Adultery with Hagar. This part of his conduct: implied in it a complication of evils. It was not only a distrust of God's promise respecting his feed, by taking improper means for the accomplishment of it; but also a down-right violation of jhat order which God established,

* Dcut. xxx. 6.

when when he created man male and. female. Tho' the patriarch was a gr&at believer; yet he greatly failed in that very grace in which he excelled: Though he was strong in faith; yet so weak as to yield to Sarah's solicitations, when {he proposed an unlawful expedient for the accomplishment of a former covenantgrant. But his transgression could not make the covenant of none effect. This renovation of it was a new proof of God's sovereignty and faithfulness.

2. It was renewed after Abraham had been chastised for his adultery, by the discord which took place in his family. While Hagar valued herself on her conception, her mistress was despised in her eyes: and her contempt of Sarai could not fail to draw down her mistress's resentment, both on Abraham and the handmaid. Abraham delivered the hand-maid into the power of her mistress: Sarah afflicted her so severely, that she fled from her presence; and would have gone back to her native country, had she not been prohibited by an angel of the Lord. These vehement contests could not but fill the patriarch's mind with bitter remorse; and leave a sting in his conscience for violating, at once, the law of nature and his marriage-covenant.

3. In one word, This covenant-renovation obtained in the ninetieth and ninth year of A

braham's

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