ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
Consider first, that on this day we keep the Octave of the birth of Christ, together with the festivity of his circumcision. when being yet but eight days old, he began to shed his sacred blood in obedience to his Father’s will; subjecting himself to that most painful and most humbling ceremony, and bearing therein the resemblance of a criminal, as if he, like the rest had stood in need of the circumcising knife for the expiation of sin. Christians, learn here, from your infant Saviour, the lessons he desires to teach you in his circumcision; his unparalleled humility, his perfect obedience and conformity to his Father’s will; his patience in suffering, and his ardent love and charity for us. He came to discharge the immense debt we owed by our sins to his Father’s justice, by shedding the last drop of his blood in expiation of them; and behold he has here given us an earnest of this payment, by submitting himself this day to the knife of circumcision.
Consider 2ndly, and set before your eyes this divine infant, this innocent lamb of God, this beloved of your souls, beautiful beyond the children of men, all embrued in his own most sacred blood; and suffering in that tender age the cruel smart of a most sensible wound. O how sensible indeed to him! O how sensible to the loving heart of his blessed Virgin Mother! See with what affection she embraces him: se with what anguish of heart she bewails his sufferings: see with what tender compassion she strives to afford him all the comfort she is able. Learn of her the like affections of love and compassion for your suffering Lord.
O my soul, embrace, with her, thy infant Saviour, bleeding for thee. ‘A bloody spouse thou are to me,’ said Sephora to Moses, Exod. iv. 25: when to deliver him from the hand of the angel that threatened him with death, she touched his feet with the blood of her child whom she had just then circumcised. O how truly is our dear Redeemer a sponsus sanguinum, a bloody spouse to our souls, for whom he gives now this first fruit, and for whom he will one day give all his blood, to rescue us from the hand of the destroying angel! O blessed be his divine charity for ever!
Consider 3rdly, that it is the duty of all Christians to imitate our Lord’s circumcision, by a spiritual circumcision of the heart, which God so often calls for in the Scriptures, and always preferred before the carnal circumcision. This spiritual circumcision requires of us a cutting off, or retrenching, all disorderly affections to the world and its pomps; to the mammon of iniquity, and to the flesh, and its lusts; and a serious application of our souls to a daily mortification of our passions and corrupt inclinations. My soul, let us heartily embrace, and daily put in practice, this circumcision of the heart.
Conclude to make a return of thy heart to thy infant Saviour, who began on this day to shed his blood for thee; but see it be a heart purified, by a spiritual circumcision, from all such affections as are disagreeable to him.