the Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers

The saying originated in the reply of the Calvinist theologian Theodore Beza (1519–1605) to the King of Navarre after the massacre of the Huguenots at Vassy in March 1562. The king had attempted to excuse the massacre on the grounds of the Protestants’ having provoked the Duke of Guise and his followers by throwing stones at them.

1853 G. DE FELICE Hist. Protestants of France I. II. v. 156 (tr. Beza to King of Navarre, 1562) It is the peculiarity of the Church of God..to endure blows, not to give them; but yet you will be pleased to remember, that it is an anvil on which many a hammer has been broken.

1908 A. MACLAREN Acts of Apostles I. 136 The Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers and the story of the first collision is, in essentials, the story of all.

1920 J. BUCHAN Path of King vii. ‘From this day I am an exile from France so long as it pleases God to make His Church an anvil for the blows of His enemies.’.. ‘God’s church is now an anvil, but remember..it is an anvil which has worn out many hammers.


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  • church — see the Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church where God builds a church, the devil will build a chapel he is a good dog who goes to church the nearer the church, the farther from God …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • anvil — see the Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, Thematic Index — absence absence makes the heart grow fonder he who is absent is always in the wrong the best of friends must part blue are the hills that are far away distance lends enchantment to the view out of sight, out of mind …   Proverbs new dictionary

  • hammer — noun see when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail the Church is an anvil which has worn out many hammers verb see the nail that sticks up gets hammered down …   Proverbs new dictionary

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