Blog 215: 4.16.7 - 4.16.13
"What does this have to do with baptism?" is the frequent response to citing Jesus' blessing the little children (Matt. 19:13-15), as much in Calvin's day apparently as today. Calvin's response? "If it is right for children to be brought to Christ, why not also to be received into baptism, the symbol of our communion and fellowship with Christ? If the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them, why is the sign denied which, so to speak, opens to them a door into the church, that, adopted into it, they may be enrolled among the heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven?" These were babies, not half-grown children, he insists and of such is the kingdom comprised.
And who "in his senses" can deny that children were not included in the household baptisms in Acts? In truth, any attack on the "unfitness" of infants receiving baptism as the sign and seal of the covenant is equally an attack upon circumcision. The latter was more than a physical sign of earthly, physical enjoyment in Canaan; it's primary import was union and communion with Jesus Christ and its equation with baptism in Colossians 2:11-12 proves as much. In both Testaments, those who receive the covenant sign are called "children of Abraham."
Baptism floods the hearts of parents with gratitude demonstrative as baptism is of God's love. And the baptized children receive some benefit, too: "being engrafted into the body of the church, they are somewhat more commended to the other members. Then, when they have grown up, they are greatly spurred to an earnest zeal for worshiping God, by whom they were received as children through a solemn symbol of adoption before they were old enough to recognize him as Father."