Other People’s Dung

John Calvin is known for his spicy language. His polemical writings are filled with invectives against the Pope, the Anabaptists, the Libertines, etc. His sermons are less that way, but sometimes he can’t help himself. I am almost done reading his sermons on Ephesians . The language in his sermon on Ephesians 5:11-14 was striking even for Calvin. He spends a large portion of the sermon talking about rebuking those who do wickedly. That is the context for the following quotes:

“Behold, God has a fatherly care over us, and yet we allow his name to blasphemed, his majesty to be robbed and spoiled of all reverence, his Word to be torn in pieces, all (that he has commanded) to be broken, the church (which is his wife) to be corrupted and misused, and his children to be debauched, and in the meanwhile we keep our mouths closed. I ask you, whether such silence does not sufficiently show that we are not worthy to eat one morsel of bread, nor to be counted in the number of earthworms, lice, bugs, and all the vilest an filthiest things in the world.”

“Therefore when God’s Word is put before men, and we show offenders their faults with such liberty as is necessary, it is as though we show them a mirror and said to them, See what you are: you are as filthy as possible. Are you not ashamed to see yourself? Go and wash your face.”

“Most men and women nowadays wink at all manner of evil and disorder, and stop their ears at the things they might hear, and every man seeks to conceal his fellow’s wickedness, men of men’s, and women of women’s They might remedy a great number of enormities [sins] that are committed, but they would rather go and pollute their gowns and coats with other people’s dung and filthiness, than expose their vices.”