A very well written EBook by Jonathan Edwards.
You can download or read this EBook here
“More Hateful than Vipers”: Edwards and Original Sin
The Puritan view of childhood, although full of hope and promise, was most essentially
predicated on a particular view of human nature. To them, all people, including children and infants, were eternally separated from God and marred with a corrupt disposition from conception. Children were rebels against God, whose individual wills had to be broken through discipline and orderly conduct. They believed that godliness increased with age, and even derived their view of God from this concept.1
If God himself looked like an old man, infants looked more like animals. This imagery was further emphasized by their inability to walk or talk, and great measures were taken to change these conditions as soon as possible. Fathers baptized their children within two weeks of their birth, and dedicated them to the covenant God had made with their community.
While the theology and implications for baptism will be discussed later, the noteworthy element is that behind almost all child-rearing practices and customs loomed a belief in the historical doctrine of original sin…