Calvin and the libertines were frequently at odds. Indeed,
The two parties became more and more enraged against each other. Calvin’s eloquence gave him a decided superiority in the little republic. On the 24th of July 1547 he wrote to Viret:
—“I continue to employ my usual severity while laboring to correct the prevailing vices, and especially those of the young. The right-thinking tell me of the dangers by which I am surrounded, but I take no heed of this, lest I should seem too careful for my personal safety. The Lord will provide such means of escape for me as He sees good.”
The families which belonged to the libertine party took a very formidable position; but Calvin remained master of the field, and never ceased to avail himself of his office as a preacher to attack his opponents. Somewhat later, that is August 21, 1547, he states in a letter to Farel that
–“letters were daily brought him from Lyons, from which he learned that he had been killed ten times over.” “Amadeus is in France; his wife is with her father, where she plays the Bacchanal according to her usual fashion. We besought the council that, if she showed true repentance, all the past might be forgotten. But this has not occurred, and she is so far gone as to have cut off all hopes of pardon. I will seek Penthesilea, when the season for administering the Lord’s Supper arrives.”*
Sadly Calvin eventually lost the war against the Libertines and so did Luther and Zwingli. There are more of them than there are the faithful to this very day.
*The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (Vol. 2, p. 61).