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Title: John Calvin - Secret Providence - Article Twelfth
Author: John Calvin
Language: English
00004-0017 Secret Providence - Article Twelfth

 The wicked, by their wickedness, do God’s work rather than their own.

Against the Twelfth

Of the twelfth they discourse thus, if it be so, God is angry with what is good; for if impiety is the work of God, impiety is good; for all the works of God are good. And if impiety is good, then piety is evil, inasmuch as it is the opposite of impiety. Therefore, when Scripture says, “hate evil,” “love good,” it enjoins the love of impiety, and the hatred of piety. They allege besides, that such an article, savors sufficiently of a kind of Libertinism, and they are surprise you are so hostile to Libertines.

John Calvin’s Reply

I again testify before God, angels, and the whole world, that I never spake thus, and that what was correctly spoken by me, is most wickedly and calumniously perverted by you. But if it seem absurd to you that the wicked should do God’s work, upbraid Jeremiah, whose words these are “Cursed is the man who doeth God’s work negligently.” Now, he refers to a massacre, which you will not clear of criminality, as it is manifest, it was prompted by avarice, cruelty, and pride. The Chaldeans were impelled by their own ambition, and lust of plunder, to forget equity, and inhumanely to wade through rapine and carnage. But as it pleased God by their hands to punish the Moabites, their wickedness did not prevent the execution of the divine judgment. Here, dog, your bark is, then impiety is good; as if God were impious, when he accommodates his own wonderful way, human wickedness, to a different end from that intended by the perpetrator. Nay, you scruple not to taunt me with the Libertines, a sect whose raving have been by me especially exposed, so that I have no defense to offer.