By: John Calvin
All the chastity they [Nuns] pretend is nothing before God, in comparison of that that he hath appointed, that is to say, that albeit it seem but a vile thing, and a matter of none account, for a woman to take pains about housewifery, to make clean her children when they be arrayed, to kill fleas, and other such like, although this be a thing despised, yea and such, that many will not vouchsafe to look upon it, yet are they sacrifices which GOD accepteth & receiveth, as if they were things of great price and honourable.
Therefore let women study this lesson day and night that first of all they may play the housewives: and if women were the most negligent in the world, yet is there here matter enough to awaken them, and to correct this idleness. And how? If we take pains, we serve GOD, and not men. Again, when a man seeth his wife employ herself all the day long to do her duty, let him also consider whereunto God hath called him, that he also for his part may do his duty. For a man is not born to idleness, nor a woman.
Therefore...let women cast their eyes hither, for there is occasion enough to correct their slothfulness, when they shall see that the question is of serving God. And how? When they fall to kneading (as the proverb is) and apply themselves to good use, & flee not the subjection which God hath set them in: for this is to strive against GOD, when a man doth not follow his vocation, which is our true rule, that is to say, that that we have to do, & what God appointeth every one of us, according to the state, whereunto he is called. Therefore let women have this mark to shoot at, & say, well, although the world have no regard of me, yet must I find myself occupied here, for so God commandeth me. And thus much touching the first, how women have to take occasion to be diligent: and moreover also they have to consider, that when they do their duty and execute their office, God accepteth well of it, although men despise it.
And if men say, “What is this? A woman playeth the housewife, she spinneth on her distaff, and this is all that women can do.” As in deed there are a number of fools that when they speak of women’s distaffs, of seeing to their children, will make a scorn of it, and despise it. But what then? What saith the heavenly Judge? That he is well pleased with it, and accepteth of it, and putteth it in his reckoning. So then let women learn to rejoice when they do their duty, and though the world despise it, let this comfort sweeten all respect they might have that way, and say, “God seeth me here, and his Angels, who are sufficient witnesses of my doings, although the world do not allow of them.”