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Christ and John the Baptist were circumcised exactly upon it. 2. It is evident from the gospel that it was usual to name the child the day he was circumcised, since John the Baptist and JESUS CHRIST, were named upon the performance of this ceremony,
We learn from the same history, that it was commonly the father, or some near relation, that gave the name. 3. Circumcision was reckoned so absolutely necessary, that it could be done in any place, in private houses, as well as in the synagogues ; and by all sorts of persons, provided they were Jews, and qualified for it. There was notwithstanding a man appointed for this employment, who did it in the presence of several witnesses, that the initiation might be more solemn and authentic. 4. It is not well known, whether it was the custom, in the time of JESUS Christ, that the child should have a God-mother that brought him to the door of the synagogue, and no farther, because she was not allowed to go in, and a Godfather that held him during the ceremony. Which was accompanied with prayers and vows, and before and after it there were great rejoicings. As
necessary as circumcision was while the ceremonial law remained in force, it became as indifferent and unnecessary upon the abrogating of that law by the destruction of the temple. Till that time the apostles allowed the Jews converted to Christianity, the use of it, but they expressly ordered that this yoke should not be put upon the necks of the Gentile converts. And therefore St. Paul, who hath fully proved how unprofitable and unnecessary it is', and who makes it consist only in regeneration, of which it was a figure', thought it however, proper to have Timothy circumcisedt, because his mother was of Jewish extraction ; and would not, on the other hand, suffer this ceremony to be performed on Titus, because he was a Greek“. Wherein this apostle hath given the church in all ages a most excellent pattern,
either of condescension, or resolution, in insisting upon or omitting, things indifferent, according to the variety of times and circumstances.
It is generally supposed that baptism succeeded circumcision, though there is nothing said about it in the gospel. There is indeed a great conformity between these two ceremonies. 1. Baptism is the first and initiating sacrament of the Christian Religion, as circumcision was of the Jewish. 2. It is by baptism men are consecrated to Jesus Christ, admitted into the Christian religion, and publicly received as members of his church. 3. Baptism is a token of our regeneration, of our dying to sin, and rising again unto righteousness in Jesus CHRIST'. But these ceremonies disagree also in some particulars. 1. Baptism is administered to both sexes*. 2. There is no particular day or season appointed for baptism; grown persons were at first instructed in the principles of religion before they were baptized, and to some this sacrament was not administered till they were at the point of death. But this custom is of a later date than the apostolical age. 3. Water was never used in circumcision. It is true that the child was carefully washed, and the persons that made the offerings purified themselves, but then it was in order to fit and prepare themselves for the ceremony, and not upon account of the ceremony itself, wherein wine and not water was used.
We may then safely affirm, that baptism hath some conformity both with circumcision and the baptism of the proselytes, which have been spoken of before.
() Rom. vi. 3. Gal. iii. 27. 1 Pet. iii. 21.
* We learn from history, that among some nations the women were circumcised. But in instituting this ceremony the law had chiefly the men in view, whose condition was of course the same as that of the wives. The gospel acknowledges no such distinctions as these, they being merely political.
OF THE HOLY SEASONS.
Before we give an account of the Jewish festivals, it will be proper to say something of their of the Jewish years, months, weeks, days and hours. Years. The Hebrews were wont at first to reckon time from some remarkable epochas. As 1. The lives of the Patriarchs or other illustrious persons a.
2. The coming out of Egypt'. 3. The building of the temple 4. The years of their kings. 5. The beginning of the Babylonish captivityd. 6. The rebuilding of the temple after their return from captivity. In process of time they had other epochas, as the times of Alexander the Great, and of the monarchies that sprung up out of the ruins of his empire. Ever since the compiling of the thalmud, the Jews have reckoned their years
from the creation of the world. The year was by them divided into a holy or ecclesiastical, and a civil year. The first began in the month of Nisanor Abib, which answers to part of our March or April
, because this was the time of the year when the children of Israel came out of Egypt. From this also they reckoned their feasts. The second began in the month of Tisri, about the middle of our September, because there was an ancient tradition among them that the world was created about that time. All contracts were dated and the Jubilees counted according to this year.
It would be little to our purpose to give an account of the solar and lunar years* of the Jews,
(a) Gen. vii. 11.
() Exod. xix. 1. Numb. xxxiii. 38. 1 Kings vi. 1.
(c) 2 Chron. viii. 1. (d) Ezek. xxxiii. 21. xl. 1. (e) Exod. xii. 1, 2.
* The solar year consisted of 365 days, 5 hours, and some minutes. The lunar year was of 354 days, 8 hours, and some odd minutes, according to the Jewish computation.
or of their way of intercalatingt. This is a very obscure and intricate point, about which neither the Jews themselves, nor the most learned Christian writers are agreed.
The Jewish year consisted of twelve months, unless Of their it happened to be intercalary, for then it
had thirteen. The ancient Hebrews were wont to regulate their months by the course of the sun, and each of them had thirty days. But after their deliverance out of Egypt, they made use of lunar months, which were sometimes, of thirty, and at other times of tuenty-nine days. The time of the new-moon was formerly discovered by its phasis or first appearance, as it is still at this day, by the Caraites; but the Rabbinists or traditionary Jews have recourse to an astronomical calculation to find it out. The names and order of the Jewish months, according to the ecclesiastical computation, are as follow.
The Ist abled (Nisan}
The 1st called (Nisan
March and April, The 2d (Jyar or Ziph.) April and May. The 3d ( Sivan)
May and June. The 4th ( Tamus,)
June and July. The 5th (Ab or Av.) July and August. The 6th (Alul.)
August and September The 7th ( Tisri.)
Septemberand October, The 8th Marchesvan
October and November. or Bul.) The 9th (Cisleu.)
Novemb.and December. The 10th ( Tebbeth.)
Decemberand January. The 11th (Schebbat.) January and February. The 12th ( Adar.) J February and March.
The origin of weeks is of the same standing as the
Answers to part of
+ To intercalate was the adding of a month to the year, between February and March ; which was done, when the corn could not be ripe at the passover, nor the fruits at the pentecost.
world itselff. The Jews had two sorts of them, some consisting of seven days, and others of seven years.
These are called in Scripture weeks of years. At first the Hebrews had no particular name for the days of the week. They were wont to say, the first, the second day of the week, &c. as is evident from several places of the New Testaments, We learn from the revelations of St. John', that the first day of the week was as early as that time called the Lord's-day, because it was on that day, our blessed Lord rose again from the dead.
There are two sorts of days ; the natural, which is the space of four-and-twenty hours, from
Of days. one sun-set to another; the other called artificial or civil, consists of twelve hours , from the rising to the setting of the sun. The civil day, that is the sun's stay above the horizon, was by the Jews divided into four parts", each of which consisted of three hours, that were longer or shorter according to the different seasons of the year. The first was from six o'clock in the morning till nine. And therefore they called the third hour', what we call nine o'clock, because three hours were past from sun-rising to that time. The second part of the day lasted from nine of the clock till noon.
The third from noon till three. This they called the ninth hour of the day", because it actually was the ninth from the morning. The fourth was from three o'clock till six in the evening. They gave the name of hour to each of these four parts, as well as to the hours properly so called. Some authors are of opinion, that the four parts of the day were otherwise divided by the Jews. Whether they were, or not, it is of little moment.
But it will be very proper here to reconcile St. Mark, who affirms ", that
(5) Gen. ii. 2, 3. viii. 10. xxix. 27, 28. Levit. xxiii. 8. (9) Matt. xxviii. 1. Mark xvi. 2. Acts xx. 7. 1 Cor. xvi. 2. (h) Rev. i. 10. (i) John xi. 9. (k) Nehem. ix. 3. (1) Matt. xx. 3. (m) Ibid. ver. 5. (n) Mark xv. 25.