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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.”15481548    Ps. xviii. 44. And again He saith, “By hearing, those shall hear who are afar off; they shall know what I have done.”15491549    Isa. xxxiii. 13. And, “Be ye circumcised in your hearts, saith the Lord.”15501550    Jer. iv. 4. And again He says, “Hear, O Israel, for these things saith the Lord thy God.”15511551    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.”15521552    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 God15531553    Cod. Sin. has “Lord.” hath spoken.”15541554    Isa. i. 2. These are in proof.15551555    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.”15561556    Isa. i. 10. And again He saith, “Hear, ye children, the voice of one crying in the wilderness.”15571557    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.15581558    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.15591559    Cod. Sin., at first hand, has “slew them,” but is corrected as above. He saith to them, “These things saith the Lord your God”—(here15601560    The meaning is here very obscure, but the above rendering and punctuation seem preferable to any other. I find a new15611561    Cod. Sin., with several other mss., leaves out “new.” commandment)—“Sow not among thorns, but circumcise yourselves to the Lord.”15621562    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?”15631563    Deut. x. 16. And again: “Behold, saith the Lord, all the nations are uncircumcised15641564    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.”15651565    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?15661566    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,15671567    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 mysteries15681568    Literally, “doctrines.” of the three letters. For [the Scripture] saith, “And Abraham circumcised 143 ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.”15691569    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.15701570    Cod. Sin. inserts, “and then making a pause.” The ten and the eight are thus denoted—Ten by Ι, and Eight by Η.15711571    This sentence is altogether omitted by inadvertence in Cod. Sin. You have [the initials of the, name of] Jesus. And because15721572    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 engrafted15731573    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 knowledge15741574    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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