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  • Chapter IX.—The spiritual meaning of circumcision.

    Chapter IX.—The spiritual meaning of circumcision.

    He speaks moreover concerning our ears, how He hath circumcised both them and our heart. The Lord saith in the prophet, “In the hearing of the ear they obeyed me.”1548

    1548 Ps. xviii. 44.

    And again He saith, “By hearing, those shall hear who are afar off; they shall know what I have done.”1549

    1549 Isa. xxxiii. 13.

    And, “Be ye circumcised in your hearts, saith the Lord.”1550

    1550 Jer. iv. 4.

    And again He says, “Hear, O Israel, for these things saith the Lord thy God.”1551

    1551 Jer. vii. 2.

    And once more the Spirit of the Lord proclaims, “Who is he that wishes to live for ever? By hearing let him hear the voice of my servant.”1552

    1552 Ps. xxxiv. 11–13. The first clause of this sentence is wanting in Cod. Sin.

    And again He saith, “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, for God1553

    1553 Cod. Sin. has “Lord.”

    hath spoken.”1554

    1554 Isa. i. 2.

    These are in proof.1555

    1555 In proof of the spiritual meaning of circumcision; but Hilgenfeld joins the words to the preceding sentence.

    And again He saith, “Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of this people.”1556

    1556 Isa. i. 10.

    And again He saith, “Hear, ye children, the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”1557

    1557 Cod. Sin. reads, “it is the voice,” corrected, however, as above.

    Therefore He hath circumcised our ears, that we might hear His word and believe, for the circumcision in which they trusted is abolished.1558

    1558 Cod. Sin. has, “that we might hear the word, and not only believe,” plainly a corrupt text.

    For He declared that circumcision was not of the flesh, but they transgressed because an evil angel deluded them.1559

    1559 Cod. Sin., at first hand, has “slew them,” but is corrected as above.

    He saith to them, “These things saith the Lord your God”—(here1560

    1560 The meaning is here very obscure, but the above rendering and punctuation seem preferable to any other.

    I find a new1561

    1561 Cod. Sin., with several other mss., leaves out “new.”

    commandment)—“Sow not among thorns, but circumcise yourselves to the Lord.”1562

    1562 Jer. iv. 3. Cod. Sin. has “God” instead of “Lord.”

    And why speaks He thus: “Circumcise the stubbornness of your heart, and harden not your neck?”1563

    1563 Deut. x. 16.

    And again: “Behold, saith the Lord, all the nations are uncircumcised1564

    1564 This contrast seems to be marked in the original. Cod. Sin. has, “Behold, receive again.”

    in the flesh, but this people are uncircumcised in heart.”1565

    1565 Jer. ix. 25, 26.

    But thou wilt say, “Yea, verily the people are circumcised for a seal.” But so also is every Syrian and Arab, and all the priests of idols: are these then also within the bond of His covenant?1566

    1566 Dressel and Hilgenfeld read, “their covenant,” as does Cod. Sin.; we have followed Hefele.

    Yea, the Egyptians also practise circumcision. Learn then, my children, concerning all things richly,1567

    1567 Cod. Sin. has “children of love,” omitting “richly,” and inserting it before “looking forward.”

    that Abraham, the first who enjoined circumcision, looking forward in spirit to Jesus, practised that rite, having received the mysteries1568

    1568 Literally, “doctrines.”

    of the three letters. For [the Scripture] saith, “And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.”1569

    1569 Not found in Scripture: but comp. Gen. xvii. 26, 27, Gen. xiv. 14.

    What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred.1570

    1570 Cod. Sin. inserts, “and then making a pause.”

    The ten and the eight are thus denoted—Ten by Ι, and Eight by Η.1571

    1571 This sentence is altogether omitted by inadvertence in Cod. Sin.

    You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because1572

    1572 Some mss. here read, “and further:” the above is the reading in Cod. Sin., and is also that of Hefele.

    the cross was to express the grace [of our redemption] by the letter Τ, he says also, “Three Hundred.” He signifies, therefore, Jesus by two letters, and the cross by one. He knows this, who has put within us the engrafted1573

    1573 This is rendered in the Latin, “the more profound gift,” referring, as it does, to the Gnosis of the initiated. The same word is used in chap. i.

    gift of His doctrine. No one has been admitted by me to a more excellent piece of knowledge1574

    1574 Literally, “has learned a more germane (or genuine) word from me,” being an idle vaunt on account of the ingenuity in interpreting Scripture he has just displayed.

    than this, but I know that ye are worthy.


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