favorite poet of Presbyterian Scotland, in his Tam O?Shanter, names among objects from hell ?Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns.? The Westminster Confession, in declaring that ?elect infants dying in infancy? are saved, implies that non-elect infants dying in infancy are lost. This was certainly taught by some of the framers of that creed.?
Yet John Calvin did not believe in the damnation of infants, as he has been charged with believing. In the Amsterdam edition of his works, 8:522, we read: ?I do not doubt that the infants whom the Lord gathers together from this life are regenerated by a secret operation of the Holy Spirit.? In his Institutes, book 4, chap. 16, p. 335, he speaks of the exemption of infants from the grace of salvation ?as an idea not free from execrable blasphemy.? The Presb. and Ref. Rev., Oct. 1890:634-651, quotes Calvin as follows: ?I everywhere teach that no one can be justly condemned and perish except on account of actual sin. To say that the countless mortals taken from life while yet infants are precipitated from their mothers? arms into eternal death is a blasphemy to be universally detested.? So also John Owen, Works, 8:522 ? ?There are two ways by which God saveth infants. First, by interesting them in the covenant if their immediate or remote parents have been believers and secondly, by his grace of election, which is most free and not tied to any conditions. I make no doubt but God taketh unto him in Christ many whose parents never knew of or who despised of the gospel.?
(g) Since there is no evidence that children dying in infancy are regenerated prior to death, it would seem that the work of regeneration is be performed by the Spirit, in connection with the infant soul?s first view of Christ in the other world seems most probable. As the remains of natural depravity in the Christian are eradicated, not by death but at death through the sight of Christ and union with him, so the first moment of consciousness for the infant may be coincident with a view of Christ the Savior. This accomplishes the entire sanctification of its nature.
<470318> 2 Corinthians 3:18 ? ?But we all, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit?;
<620302> 1 John 3:2 ? ?We know that if he shall he manifested, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.? If asked why more is not said upon the subject in Scripture, we reply that it is according to the analogy of God?s general method to hide things that are not of immediate practical value. In some past ages, moreover, knowledge of the fact that all children dying in infancy are saved might have seemed to make infanticide a virtue.
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