(52) Why is it that he pronounces a sentence of death on an infant, saying, “Every male child who is not circumcised, who has not been circumcised (or, as the Greek has it, who shall not be circumcised) in the flesh of his foreskin on the eighth day, that soul shall be cut off from his generation?” (#Ge 17:14). The law never declares a man guilty for any unintentional offence; since even those who have committed an unintentional homicide are pardoned by it, cities being set apart into which such men may flee and there find security; for whoever escapes to them is rendered secure and free from danger; and no one has the power to drag him forth, or to cite him before the tribunal of the judge for the deed. Therefore, if a boy is not circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, what offence will he have committed that he is to be held guilty, and suffer the penalty of death? Some persons may perhaps say that the form of the command points to the parents themselves, for they look upon them as despisers of the command of the law. But others say that it has here exerted excessive severity against infants, as it seems, imposing this heavy penalty in order that grown up persons who break the law may thus be irrevocably subjected to most severe punishment. This is the literal effect of the words. But if we look to their inward meaning, then what is male in us is most especially the intellect, and that God here commands to be circumcised on the eighth day, for the reason previously stated, not in any other part, but in the flesh of the foreskin, by this expression symbolically indicating those parts which in the flesh do subsequently become the organs of pleasure and impulse. And on this account it is that he introduces a legitimate reason, warning men that the intellect, which is not circumcised and cleared away from the flesh and the vices of the flesh, is corrupt and cannot be saved. But that this language is not to be applied to the man, but to the intellect, which is thus put in a sound condition, he tells us in the subsequent words, saying, “that soul shall be cut off,” not that human body, or that man, but that soul and mind. Cut off from what? From its generation; for the whole generation is incorrupt. Therefore the wicked man is removed from incorruption to corruption.