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Here, they practice circumcision upon a child to procure it Divine benevolence; there, they pour water upon his head to wash away the crimes which he could not yet have committed; in other places he is told to plunge himself into a river whose waters have the power to wash away all his impurities; in other places certain food is forbidden to him, whose use would not fail to excite celestial indignation; in other countries they order the sinful man to come periodically for the confession of his faults to a priest, who is often a greater sinner than he.

The left panel represents the Ascension, Christ being borne upwards by eleven cherubim in a solid cloud; the right panel by far the best, I think shows the Circumcision, where the painter has set himself various difficulties of architecture and goldsmith's work for the pleasure of overcoming them, every detail being painted with Dutch minuteness and yet leaving the picture big; while the middle panel, which is concave, depicts an Adoration of the Magi that will bear much study.

So is the less widely known controversy as to circumcision and the declaring certain kinds of flesh unclean by the Jews. To advertize any remedy or operation, you have only to pick out all the most reassuring advances made by civilization, and boldly present the two in the relation of cause and effect: the public will swallow the fallacy without a wry face.

And the uncircumcision by nature which fulfilleth the law shall condemn thee, who through the letter and circumcision art a transgressor of the law. For not he who is outwardly such, is the Jew; neither is that which is outward in the flesh, circumcision. But he is a Jew who is such inwardly; and circumcision is of the heart, in spirit, not in letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God.

The conference agreed that the Jews should be permitted to keep their ancient customs for the time being, so long as they did not regard those customs as conveying God's justification of the sinner. The false apostles were dissatisfied with the verdict of the conference. They did not want to rest circumcision and the practice of the Law in Christian liberty.

I prove, 'That faith, and a life becoming the law of the ten commandments, should be the chief and most solid argument with true churches to receive saints to fellowship. 5. I prove, 'That circumcision in the flesh, which was the entering ordinance of old, was a type of circumcision in the heart, &c.

Why was their name, for all that, blotted out, and this day only kept alive in the churches? The day on which Christ was born of a virgin; the day of his circumcision, the day of his baptism, and of his transfiguration, are not by their names committed by the Holy Ghost to holy writ to be kept alive in the world, nor yet such days in which he did many great and wonderful things.

Jesus indeed submitted to the baptism of John, as He had suffered Himself to be circumcised; but circumcision and the washing with water ought to be abolished by the baptism of Christ, that baptism of the Spirit, that ablution of the soul, which is the salvation of mankind.

All the covert allusions had evoked something terrifying, but at the same time impressive. In his imagination the ordeal had grown into something that constituted the great barrier of his life, so that one passed over to the other side as quite a different being; it was something after the fashion of the mysterious circumcision in the Bible, a consecration to new things.

Those present were under the impression that the father was holding the child on his knees during the circumcision; in reality, however it was Elijah. After the rite was completed, Elijah handed the infant back to the father with the words: "Here is thy child. Take good care of it, for it will spread a brilliant light over the world."

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