Infants

I think it at least highly probable, that when our Lord says, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14), He does not only intimate the necessity of our becoming like little children in simplicity, as a qualification without which (as He expressly declares in other places) we cannot enter into His kingdom, but informs us of a fact, that the number of infants who effectually redeemed to God by His blood, so greatly exceeds the aggregate of adult believers, that comparatively speaking, His kingdom may be said to consist of little children. The apostle speaks of them as not having “sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression” (Romans 5:14), that is, with the consent of their understanding and will. And when he says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” he adds, “that every man may give an account of what he has done in the body, whether it be good or bad” (2nd Corinthians 5:10). But children who die in their infancy have not done anything in the body, either good or bad. It is true they are by nature evil, and must, if saved, be the subjects of a supernatural change. And though we cannot conceive how this change is to be wrought, yet I suppose few are so rash as to imagine it impossible that any infants can be saved. The same power that produces this change in some, can produce it in all; and therefore I am willing to believe, till the Scripture forbids me, that infants, of all nations and kindred’s, without exception, who die before they are capable of sinning after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who have done nothing in the body of which they can give an account, are included in the election of grace. They are born for a better world than this; they just enter this state of tribulation; they quickly pass through it; “their robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb,” and they are admitted, for His sake, before the throne. Should I be asked to draw the line, to assign the age at which children begin to be accountable for actual sin, it would give me no pain to confess my ignorance. “The Lord knoweth.”


John Newton

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