“being regenerated, not by corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the living Word of God, and remaining forever. Because all flesh [is] as grass, and all [the] glory of men as [the] flower of grass; the grass was dried, and its flower fell out, but [the] Word of [the] Lord remains forever. And this is the Word announced as gospel to you” (1 Peter 1:23-25).
Peter, being borne along by God the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21), writes of those who have been regenerated through the incorruptible Word of God — this incorruptible Word being announced as gospel to them.
Here is Herman Witsius asserting by force that infants are regenerated by something OTHER THAN the incorruptible Word of God’s gospel:
“The seed of regeneration is the word of God. For thus: 1 Pet, 1:23, ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,’ διὰ λόγου ζῶντος Θεοῦ, καὶ μένοντος εἱς τον αἰῶνα which may be translated, ‘by the word of God, who liveth and abideth for ever;’ or, ‘by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.’ But this seed does not operate always in the same manner: for adult persons are born again by the word of God laying before them the deformity, horror, and misery of their natural life, or rather of their living death; and at the same time, the excellence of that spiritual life, of which Christ is the author, fountain, and pattern; pressing them also, by the most powerful exhortations, that, denying all carnal lusts and appetites, they may give themselves up to be new moulded and formed by the Spirit of God…But the case is otherwise with elect infants, being incapable of teaching and persuasion. If they also be thought to be regenerated by the seed of the word, it is to be understood, not of the word externally propounded, which they understand not, but of the truths contained in the word, the efficacy of which is imprinted by the Holy Spirit upon their minds, which they will come to the actual knowledge of when they grow up, but the word operates effectually in none, unless when impregnated by the efficacy of the Spirit. To the external world must be added the internal, which is no less effectual than that word of God whereby he commanded light to shine out of darkness” (Herman Witsius, The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man; underlining mine).
Evidently to Witsius, little John the Baptist “leaped in exultation” over that which he understood not.
“And why [is] this to me that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For behold, as the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped in exultation. And blessed [is] she believing, because there will be a completion to the things spoken to her from [the] Lord. And Mary said, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit exulted in God My Savior” (Luke 1:43-47).
Given Witsius’ contempt for the Word announced as gospel, it’s clear he believes that it is possible for regenerate persons to remain ignorant of God’s righteousness revealed in the gospel (Romans 10:1-4) until they “come to the actual knowledge of when they grow up.”
“Because [it is] God who said, Out of darkness Light shall shine, who shone in our hearts to [give the] brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Note Witsius’ ironic use of this phrase:
“which is no less effectual.”
Really? No less effectual, huh? By his blackened lights, Witsius sees visions of certain regenerate persons whose incapacity proves so invincible, that NOT EVEN the omnipotent God’s regenerating and creating power is able to overcome it — well, at least not until they “come to the actual knowledge of when they grow up” (Witsius).