Children in the Covenant

“Baptism has no significance for Calvin if it does not mean admission to the visible church on th ground of the covenant promise, which includes presumptive regeneration of the children in the covenant. Calvin looks upon the child in the covenant as God’s child, forgiven of sin and regenerated, with the new life as a latent seed, already at work in its heart. The child then opens its eyes redeemed on a world in which by careful nuture it is expected to grow and develop in the Christian ideal of life and character. The important point is that this child is presumptively a Christian. That Calvin so meant we see clearly from this passage:

‘The offspring of believers are born holy, because their children, while yet in the womb, before they breathe the vital air, have been adopted into the covenant of eternal life. Nor are they brought into the church by baptism on any other ground than because they belonged to the body of the Church before they were born. How who admits aliens to baptism profanes it…For how can it be lawful to confer the badge of Christ on aliens from Christ. Baptism must, therefore, be preceded by the gift of adoption, which is not the cause of half salvation merely, buy gives salvation entire; and this salvation is afterwards ratified by Baptism.'”

(Lewis Bevens Schenck, The Presbyterian Doctrine of Children in the Covenant, p. 13)