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necessity of some new dispensation, to bring them to the practice of virtue and ho. liness, in order to regain the favour of God.

He begins his account with the character of the Gentiles. And these he shews, from a particular enumeration of their several vices, to be so depraved both in mind and morals, as, without the intervention of faith and repentance, to be in the utmost danger of perishing for ever.

The Jews were poffessed of greater ad. vantages ; and thought themselves confequently in a safer condition. They were in covenant with God; and had his law in their hands to direct their conduct. But this law, which they so much gloried in, had no influence on their hearts and lives. Their practices daily contradicted their profession ; and, instead of doing honour

to the name of God, brought it into contempt even among the Heathens. Thus they perverted the means of goodness into an occasion of more aggravated guilt; and by that abuse rendered themselves obnoxious to much greater punishments, than those who offended against a less perfect law.

But they deluded themselves into a fatal fecurity ; and thought it impossible they could ever miscarry while they enjoyed the benefit of circumcision, which entitled them to the privileges of the covenant. To free them therefore from the power of this deceit, the Apostle acquaints them, that “ their circumcision would indeed

profit them if they lived in strict obe“ dience to the law; and faithfully per“ formed the terms of the covenant ;-but " if they became transgressors of the

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66 law, “ law, and indulged themselves in vice " and immorality; their circumcision * would be so far from conveying any f right or benefit to them, that they might

as well not have been circumcised at " all,” Nay, he assures them, that " the “ Heathens themselves, if they led better “ lives than the Jews-if they were more * observant of the law of Nature, than $6 the others were of the law of Mofes, $4 that these Heathens, I say, though they 66 had no circumcision in their flesh, were $6 more truly the children of Abraham ; * and more entitled to the promises of " God; than any of the carnal Jews, wha $ had the mark of circumcision upon * them.” For, as he concļudes in the words of my text, " He is not a Jew, so who is one outwardly; neither is that $ circumcision, which is outward in the Melh; but he is a Jew, who is one in,

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* wardly ; and circumcision is that of the “ the heart, in the spirit, and not in the " letter, whose praise is not of men, but 56 of God.” As if he had said, Every one that is born a Jew, and can plead his admission into the covenant of God, is not therefore the real and proper Jew, to whom the benefits of the covenant belong; nor is that the true available circumcision, which is outwardly apparent in the flesh ; but he is the Jew, the Israelite indeed, who, in the integrity of his heart, yields obedience to the divine laws, and walks worthy of those high privileges, which God has conferred upon him ; and the true acceptable circumcision is that of him, who cuts off the superfluities of naughtiness, and the impurities of sin; —who hath the law of righteousness, of which circumcision is the fign, imprinted on his inner man, on his Soul

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and spirit, -and who' therefore makes it the great business of his life to approve himself to God by a diligent discharge of his various duties.

These are the remonstrances which the Apostle thought fit to make to the Jews. But what are these remonstrances, you'll say, to us Christians? Why, truly, they are important lessons-such as we may greatly profit by, if we are not wanting to our own improvement. For, only change the terms—put the word Christian instead of Jew, and Baptism in the place of Circumçifion, and the text assumes a modern form-exactly fits the present times—and çomes home with full weight into our own bosoms.

Mankind have been always prone to impose upon themselves in religious mat,

ters

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