Matthew 3:13. Then cometh Jesus Who was now about thirty years of age, from Galilee Where he had long lived, in a retired manner, unto John, to be baptized of him Not in testimony of his repentance, or for the remission of sins, for, being without sin, he neither needed repentance nor remission; but that he might honour John’s ministry, and acknowledge his commission to baptize, and might confirm the institution of baptism by water. He thus, also, offered himself to receive that testimony which he knew his heavenly Father would give him, and conformed himself to what he appointed for his followers; for which last reason he drank likewise of the sacramental cup. Thus the apostolical constitutions inform us that Christ was baptized, not that he needed any purgation, but to testify the truth of John’s baptism, and to be an example to us. We may consider this as a plain argument that baptism may be rightly administered to, and received by those that are incapable of many of the chief ends of it, provided they be capable of some other end for which it also was designed. For Christ, being without sin, could neither repent nor promise amendment of life; being the wisdom of the Father, he could be taught nothing; being the Christ, he could not profess he would believe on him that should come after him, that is, on himself. He, therefore, was baptized, 1st, to testify that he owned the Baptist as one commissioned by God to perform this office; 2d, that by this rite he might profess his willingness to fulfil all righteousness; and, 3d, that by this he might be initiated into his prophetical office, and consecrated to the service of God. Therefore, though infants can neither be taught, nor believe, nor give the answer of a good conscience, at baptism, yet they may be baptized; 1st, that by this ceremony they may be obliged to observe the laws of that Jesus, into whose name they are baptized, even as, under the Mosaic dispensation, the infant, by virtue of circumcision, became a debtor to observe the whole law of Moses, Acts 15:5; Galatians 5:3; Galatians 2:0 dly, that by this rite they may enter into covenant with God, of which they are declared capable by Moses, Deuteronomy 29:11.
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