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by Dr. John Thomas
"All the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession" is the promise; but the indisputable fact is that Israel have only possessed a part of it for a limited and turbulent period.
In Solomon's days, when the nation was at its zenith under the law, the land was jointly possessed by Israel, the Tyrians, and the remains of the Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc. ; but when the age of the covenant arrives, Israel under Shiloh will possess it all; "and there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of Hosts".
No uncircumcised person was permitted to be a member of Abraham's family.
Home-born, or purchased, slaves, as well as sons, were to be alike circumcised, or else to be cut off; for he that was uncircumcised on the eighth day after the first circumcisions were instituted, or not at all, had broken the Lord's covenant.
This was a great calamity; for none but circumcised persons can inherit the promises.
This may startle; but it is strictly true.
It will, however, be remembered that true circumcision is of the heart.
Circumcision of the flesh is but an outward sign of Abraham's circumcision of heart; and every one who would inherit with faithful Abraham must be circumcised of heart likewise.
When he was circumcised of heart his faith in God was imputed to him for remission of sins that were past.
His former idolatry, etc., was forgiven, and the body of the sins of his flesh put off.
Now, a man believing what Abraham believed, with the same effect on his disposition and life, is also circumcised of heart, when, in putting on Christ, he is "circumcised with the circumcision made without hands by the circumcision of Christ," performed on the eighth day according to the law.
In putting on Christ, his faith is counted to him for righteousness as Abraham's was.
"The body of the sins of his flesh," is cut off.
The foreskin of his heart is circumcised, and he is the subject of "circumcision in the spirit"; and his praise, though not of men, is pronounced of God.
Now, I respectfully inquire, will a man who understands the signification of circumcision of the flesh, and the nature of circumcision of the heart jeopardize his reputation for soundness of mind by saying that infant-sprinkling, even if a spiritual practice, was divinely appointed in the room of circumcision in flesh or spirit?
That the immersion of a man of the same faith and disposition as Abraham's is connected with circumcision, I have shown; to such a man, immersion into the glorious name is the token of his justification by faith, as circumcision of the flesh was to Abraham.
It is, indeed, a substitute for circumcision of the flesh; but the accompaniment also for circumcision of the heart: and as all of Abraham's faith were to be cut off from his people who were not circumcised in flesh, so all of his faith now will be cut off who are not immersed; for immersion is the appointed, and only appointed, means of putting on the circumcision of Jesus Christ by which the body of the sins of the flesh are put off.
But this is a very different affair to infant-rhantism coming in the room of circumcision of the flesh.
Suppose it did, then the law of circumcision must have become the law of the substitute -- that is, of infantsprinkling.
The rhantized subject, then, is bound to keep the whole law, and in default thereof comes under its curse.
The immersion of an unbeliever amounts to nothing.
To such a person it is no token.
What shall we say, then, of the rhantism of an infant?