And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.
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Consider, on the other hand, I ask you, dearly beloved, God’s loving kindness and his unspeakable kindness to us. In that case pain and distress resulted from the action and no benefit came from circumcision, except simply making people recognizable through this sign and separating them from the other peoples. Our circumcision, on the contrary—I mean the grace of baptism—involves a painless medicine and is the means of countless good things for us, filling us with the grace of the Spirit. It has no limited span as in that other case, but rather in early years, in middle age and in the very height of old age can a person receive this circumcision—not the work of human hands—which involves not simply endurance but laying aside sin’s burden and finding pardon for the faults of all time …. The loving God saw the extraordinary degree of our limitations and the fact that we are suffering from incurable diseases and need a lot of care as well as his ineffable love. [Thus] he is in his provision for our salvation granted us the renewal that comes from the bath of rebirth, so that by setting aside the former person—that is, evil deeds—and putting on the new we may advance along the way of virtue.