115. THE BOHEMIANS AND THE COUNCIL OF BASIL
And thus far having proceeded in the matters of this aforesaid council, until the election of Amedeus, called Pope Felix the Fifth, before we prosecute the rest that remaineth thereof to be spoken, the order and course of times requireth to intermix withal the residue pertaining to the matters concluded between this council and the Bohemians, declaring the whole circumstances of the embassage, their articles, disputations, and answers, which they had first in the said council, then in their own country with the council's ambassadors; also with their petitions and answers unto the same.
Touching the story of the Bohemians, how they, being sent for, came up to the council of Basil, and how they appeared, and what was there concluded and agreed, partly before hath been expressed. Now, as leisure serveth from other matters, to return again unto the same, it remaineth to prosecute the rest that lacketh, so far as both brevity may be observed, and yet the reader not defrauded of such things, principally worthy in the same to be noted and known.
The Bohemians then (as is before declared) having always the upper hand, albeit they were accused by the new bishop Eugenius, yet it was thought good that they should be called unto Basil, where the council was appointed. Whereupon Cardinal Julian sent thither before John Pullumiar, doctor of the law, and John de Ragusio, a divine. Who coming unto Basil in the month of August, A. D. 1431, called by their letters unto the council, John, abbot of Mulbrun, and John Gelhusius, monk of the same cloister; which men, for dexterity of their wit, and experience, and knowledge of countries, were very meet and necessary for embassages.
Within a few days after, Julian also came thither as he had promised, and immediately sent out John Gelhusius, and Hammon Offenbourg, a senator of Basil, first unto the Emperor Sigismund, being at Feldkirch, and afterward unto Frederic, duke of Austria, for the appeasing of the wars between him and Philip, duke of Burgundy. This was done to the intent that, peace being had, not only the ecclesiastical prelates, but also the merchants might have safe access unto Basil, and so bring in all things necessary for sustentation.
They going on this embassage, received letters from the synod to be delivered unto the Emperor Sigismund, whereby the Bohemians and Moravians were called unto the council. These letters he by and by caused to be carried unto Bohemia; but forasmuch as he himself went into Italy, to receive the imperial crown of the bishop, he left William, duke of Bavaria, as his deputy to be protector unto the council. Furthermore, when the synod understood that our men would take a peace with the Bohemians, after their most shameful flight, they sent John Niderus, a divine, and John Gelhusius, to comfort the people which joined upon Bohemia, and earnestly to move the Moravians and Bohemians, who were before called, to come unto the council.
They, departing from Basil about the end of October, took their journey toward Monacum, a town of Bavaria; where, after they had saluted William, duke of Bavaria, and his brother Ernest, and Albert the son of Ernest, and had declared the commission of their embassage, and had showed unto Duke William, how that as soon as he should come unto Basil, the protection of the council should be committed unto him by the emperor; they exhorted Frederic, marquis of Brandenburgh, and John, duke of Bavaria, the senate of Nuremberg, and other princes and lords, partly by the letters of the council, and partly by words of mouth, that they should by no means take any truce with the Bohemians, for that it might be hurtful unto the church, and said they should have aid out of hand. They desired them also, in the name of the council, that if the Bohemians would send their ambassadors unto Basil, they would guide them, every man through his country in safety, which they promised to do. It is incredible how all men rejoiced that the Bohemians were sent for.
After this, when they counselled with the senate of Nuremberg, touching the sending of the council's letters unto Bohemia, it seemed best, first of all to inquire of the rulers of Egra, whether the Bohemians had made any answer to the former letters of the council which they had sent. The rulers of Egra, being advertised by these letters, sent him which carried the council's letters into Bohemia, unto Nuremberg. He reported how reverently the council of the greater city of Prague received the letters, and how he was rewarded.
Whereupon they conceived great hope of the good success of the embassage. Therefore the ambassadors, using the council of the senate of Nuremberg, and divers others, sent the messenger back again unto Egra, with their own private letters, and with letters of the council: for there was no better means to send the letters to Bohemia. Much travail was taken by them of Egra, Frederic, marquis of Brandenburgh, and John, duke of Bavaria, in this matter; for that they were very desirous that peace might be had amongst Christians. The copy of those letters, whereby the synod did call the Bohemians unto the council, and other letters exhortatory of the ambassadors, and the Bohemians' answer unto the same, for brevity's cause we have here pretermitted. The Bohemians, not in all points trusting unto the ambassadors, required by their letters that the council's ambassadors, with the other princes, would come unto Egra, where their ambassadors should also be present, to treat upon the safe-conduct and other matters.
The day appointed for the meeting was, the Sunday after Easter, which was the twenty-seventh day of April. Then came the ambassadors of the council unto Egra, with the noble princes, Frederic, marquis of Brandenburgh, and John, duke of Bavaria, with other nobles, almost to the number of two hundred and fifty-two horse. But none of the Bohemians were present, because the inhabitants of Pilsina and the Lord Swamberg had not sent their safe-conduct. When they understood this by their letters, they brought it to pass that the ambassadors of the Bohemians, Nicholas Humpelz, secretary of the greater city of Prague, and Matthew CIumpezane, president of Piesta, should be brought forth by them of Egra, and the Elenbogenses, and so they came unto Egra with nineteen horse, the eighth day of May. The next day after, Henry Tocgye received the Bohemian ambassadors before the marquis with an eloquent oration, taking this part ofthe gospel for his theme, Peace be with you. Then they propounded what great injuries they had hitherto received at their hands, which was the cause of so many great slaughters on either party, and that they were glad that yet now at the length there was some hope that they should be heard.
After this they conferred as touching the safe-conduct. The Bohemians required pledges, and that not of the common sort, but princes and nobles. Which thing, forasmuch as it did not content the ambassadors, and that the matter should so be put off, the common people of Egra began to cry out, that for a long time a concord had not been made with the Bohemians by the ecclesiastical princes. Then Frederic, marquis of Brandenburgh, and John, duke of Bavaria, bound themselves of their own good will. The like also did William, duke of Bavaria, at the request of the council. Likewise also did the council and the Emperor Sigismund. Furthermore, promise was made, that all the princes and cities should do the like, through whose dominion they should come, and the city of Basil also. The copy of which safe-conduct was afterward sent unto Prague. This also was required by the Bohemians, that, if it were possible, the emperor should be present at the council.
This convention at Egra continued twenty-one days. But the Bohemians, albeit they heard the council's ambassadors make great promises, yet did they not fully give credit unto them. Whereupon they chose out two ambassadors, Nicholas Humgolizius, and John Zaczenses, which should go to Basil, and diligently inquire out all things. These men, Conrad, bishop of Ratisbon, and Conrad Seglaver, dean of Estein, brought into Cattelspurge, where the marquis dwelt, being sent out by the synod a little before, to inquire whether the Bohemian ambassadors would come or not. When they were come to Biberack, one being over-curious, inquired of one of the Bohemian ambassadors, of what country he was. He answered that he was a Zaczen. "There," said he, "are most execrable heretics and naughty men," &c. Who for that slanderous word, as a breaker of the truce, was straightway carried to prison, and there should have suffered more punishment, if the Bohemian ambassadors, and the abbot of Ebera, had not entreated for him. When they came unto Basil, they were honourably received with wine and fish. They tarried there five days and a half. The tenth day of October they came unto the synod, which was assembled at the Friars Augustines.
These ambassadors, when they were returned home with the charter of the synod, and declared those things which they had seen, and that the matter was earnestly handled without fraud or deceit; there were ambassadors chosen to be sent unto the council, both for the kingdom of Bohemia, and the marquisdom of Moravia, which, coming unto Tusca, were brought from thence with thirty-two horse, and divers noblemen, unto Chambia. From thence they came to Swenkendorph, and so unto Nuremberg, where, beside their entertainment of wine and fish, twenty-two horsemen accompanied them unto Ulmes; from thence they of Ulmes brought them unto Biberack and Sulgotia; there James Tunches, a knight, receiving them, brought them to Stockacum, and from thence the bands of the duke of Bavaria brought them unto Schaffhausen. There they taking ship the fourth day of January, came unto Basil the ninth day of the same month. What were the names of these ambassadors of the Bohemians, which were brought up with three hundred horse, and how they were received at Basil, mention is made before. When they came unto the synod, Cardinal Julian made an oration, that whatsoever was in any place in doubt, the same ought to be determined by the authority of the council, forasmuch as all men are bound to submit themselves to the judgment of the holy church, which the general council doth represent. Which oration was not allowed of all the Bohemians.
Then Rochezanus made an oration, requiring to have a day appointed when they should be heard, which was appointed the sixteenth day of the same month. Upon which day John Rochezanus, having made his preface, began to propound the first article, touching the communion to be ministered under both kinds, and disputed upon the same by the space of three days always before noon. Then Wenceslaus the Taborite disputed upon the second article, touching the correction and punishing of sin, by the space of two days. After whom Ulderic, priest of the Orphanes, propounded and disputed upon the third article by the space of two days, touching the free preaching of the word of God.
Last of all, Peter Paine, an Englishman, disputed three days upon the fourth article, touching the civil dominion of the clergy, and afterward gave copies of their disputations in writing unto the council, with hearty thanks that they were heard. The three last did somewhat inveigh against the council, condemning John Huss and John Wickliff for their doctrine. Whereupon John de Ragusso, a divine, rising up, desired that he might have leave to answer in his own name to the first article of the Bohemians. The council consented thereunto; so that by the space of eight days in the forenoon he disputed thereupon. But before he began to answer, John, the abbot of Sistertia, made an oration unto the Bohemians, that they should submit themselves to the determination of the holy church, which this council, said he, doth represent. This matter did not a little offend the Bohemians. John Ragusinus, a divine, after scholar's fashion, in his answer, spake often of heresies and heretics. Procopius could not suffer it, but rising up with angry stomach complained openly to the council of this injury: "This our countryman," saith he, "doth us great injury, calling us oftentimes heretics." Whereunto Ragusinus answered, "Forasmuch as I am your countryman both by tongue and nation, I do the more desire to reduce you again unto the church." He was a Dalmatian born, and it appeareth that the Dalmatians, going into Bohemia, took their name by their country which they possessed. It came almost to this point, that through this offence the Bohemians would depart from Basil, and could scarcely be appeased. Certain of the Bohemians would not hear Ragusinus finish his disputation.
After him a famous divine, one Egidius Carlerius, dean of the church of Cambray, answered unto the second article, by the space of four days. To the third article answered one Henricus, surnamed Frigidum Ferrum, three days together. Last of all, one Johannes Polomarius, master of the requests of the palace, answered unto the fourth article likewise by the space of three days; so that the long time which they used in disputations seemed tedious unto the Bohemians. Notwithstanding this answer, the Bohemians still defended their articles, and especially the first, insomuch as John Roehezanus did strongly impugn Ragusinus' answer by the space of six days. But forasmuch as one disputation bred another, and it was not perceived how that by this means any concord could be made; the Prince William, duke of Bavaria, protector of the council, attempted another remedy, that all disputations being set apart the matter should be friendly debated.
There were certain appointed on either part to treat upon the concord; who coming together the eleventh day of March, those which were appointed for the council were demanded to say their minds. It seemed good, said they, if these men would be united unto us, and be made one body with us, that this body might then accord, declare and determine all manner of diversities of opinions and sects, what is to be believed or done in them.
The Bohemians, when they had a while paused, said, this way seemed not apt enough, except first of all the four articles were exactly discussed, so that either we should agree with them, or they with us; for otherwise it would be but a frivolous matter, if they, being now united, again disagree in the deciding of the articles. Here answer was made to the Bohemians, that if they were rightly united, and the aid of the Holy Ghost called for, they should not err in the deciding of the matter, forasmuch as every Christian ought to believe that determination; which if they would do, it would breed a most firm and strong concord and amity on either part. But this answer satisfied them not, insomuch that the other three rose up, and disputed against the answers which were given. At that time Cardinal Julian, president of the council, made this oration unto the Bohemian ambassadors.
"This sacred synod," saith he, "hath now, by the space of ten days, patiently heard the propositions of your four articles:" and afterward he annexed: "You have propounded," saith he, "four articles, but we understand that, beside these four, you have many other strange doctrines, wherein ye dissent from us. Wherefore it is necessary, if a perfect unity and fraternity shall follow between us, that all these things be declared in the council, to the end that by the grace of the Holy Ghost, who is the author of peace and truth, due provision may be made therein. For we have not gathered these things of light conjectures, but have heard them of credible persons, and partly here are some present which have seen them with their own eyes in Bohemia, and partly we do gather it by your own report. For Master Nicholas, which was the second that did propound, amongst other things, alleged that John Wickliff was an evangelical doctor. If ye believe him to be a true doctor, it followeth, that you must repute his works as authentic. If ye do not so think, it is reason that it should be opened unto us.
"Wherefore we desire you, that you will certify us upon these and certain other points, what you do believe, or what credit you do give unto them. But we do not require that you should now declare your reasons, but it shall satisfy us, if you will answer unto every article by this word, We believe, or believe not; which if you will do, as we trust you will, then we shall manifestly perceive that you desire that we should conceive a good estimation of you. If there be any thing whereof you would be certified by us, ask it boldly, and we will give you an answer out of hand; for we are ready, according to the doctrine of St. Peter, to render account unto every man which shall require it, touching the faith which we hold." Hereunto the Bohemian ambassadors answered in few words, that they came only to propound those four articles, not in their own name, but in the name of the whole kingdom of Bohemia, and speak no more. Whereupon, William, the noble protector of the council, calling upon him four men on either part, entreated touching thepacifying of the matter, by whose advice the council decreed to send a famous embassage, with the Bohemian ambassadors, unto Prague, where the people should assemble upon Sunday. But they would not receive these conditions of peace which were offered, but made haste to depart. Whereupon, the fourteenth day of April, there were ten chosen out of the council, to go with the Bohemian ambassadors unto Prague.
It were too long here to declare what honour was done unto these ambassadors all the way in their journey, and specially when they came unto Bohemia, by the citizens of Prague, when a great number of Bohemians were assembled at Prague at the day appointed, both of the clergy, nobility, and common people.
After the coming of those ambassadors, much contention began to rise between the parties. First began John Rochezanus, who speaking in the public person of the commonalty, laboured to commend and prefer the four verities of the Bohemians before propounded; charging also the prelates and priests for their slanderous obtrectations and undeserved contumelies, wherewith they did infame the noble kingdom of Bohemia, complaining also that they would not receive those Christian verities, left and allowed by their king Wenceslaus now departed. Wherefore he required them in the behalf of the whole nation, that they would leave off hereafter to oppress them in such sort, that they would restore to them again their Joseph's vesture, that is, the ornament of their good fame and name, whereof their brethren, their enemies, had spoiled them, &c.
To this Polomar maketh answer again, with a long and curious oration, exhorting them to peace and unity of the church, which if they would embrace, all other obstacles and impediments, said he, should be soon removed; promising also that this their vesture of honour and fame should be amply restored again; and that afterward, if there were any doubtful matters, they might and should be the better discussed.
But all this pleased not the Bohemians, unless they might first have a declaration of their four articles, which if they might obtain, they promised then to embrace peace and concord. Which peace, said they, began first to be broken by themselves, in that the council of Constance, by their unjust condemnation, burned John Huss and Jerome of Prague, and also by their cruel bulls and censures, raised up first excommunication, then war against the whole kingdom of Bohemia.
Hereunto Polomar, reclaiming again, began to advance and magnify the honour and dignity of general councils. To conclude, as much as the said Polomar did extol the authority of the councils, so much did the answer of the Bohemians extenuate the same, saying, that the latter councils, which are not expressed in the law of God, have erred, and might err, not only in faith, but also in manners. For that which hath chanced to the green wood, may also chance unto the dry. But of other, the most strong pillars of the militant church, the apostles I mean, seem all to have erred, and the catholic faith to have remained three days sound and incorrupt only in the Virgin Mary. No Christian man therefore ought to be compelled to stand to the determination of the pope or the council, except it be in that which is plainly expressed in the law of God. For it is evident that all the general councils which have been of long time, have reformed very few things as touching the faith, peace, and manners of the church, but have always, both in their life and decrees, notoriously swerved, and have not established themselves upon the foundation, which is Christ Wherefore the said Bohemians protested, that they would not, simply and plainly. God being their good Lord. yield themselves to their doctrine, nor to such rash and hasty decrees: lest, through their hasty and uncircumspect submission, they should bind their faith and life contrary to the wholesome and sound doctrine of our Lord Christ Jesus. In short, in no case they would enter into any agreement of peace, except their four articles, which they counted for evangelical verities, were first accepted and approved. Which being obtained, said they, if they would condescend with them in the verity of the gospel, so would they join together, and be made one with them in the Lord.
When the ambassadors saw the matter would not otherwise be brought to pass, they required to have those articles delivered unto them in a certain form, which they sent unto the council by three Bohemian ambassadors.
Afterward the council sent a declaration into Bohemia to be published unto the people in the common assemblies of the kingdom, by the ambassadors, which were commanded to report unto the Bohemians, in the name of the council, that if they would receive the declaration of those three articles, and the unity of the church, there should be a mean found whereby the matter touching the first article. of the communion under both kinds, should be passed with peace and quietness.
They propounded in Prague, in an open assembly of the nobles and commons, the declarations of the three articles in form following:
"Forasmuch as touching the doctrine of the verity we ought to proceed soberly and warily, that the truth may be declared with words being so orderly conceived and uttered, that there be no offence given to any man, whereby he should fall to take occasion of error, and, to use the words of Isidore, that nothing by obscurity be left doubtful; whereas you have propounded touching the inhibition and correction of sin in these words; 'All mortal sins, and specially open offences, ought to be rooted out, punished, and inhibited, by them whose duty it is so to do, reasonably and according to the law of God:' here it is to be marked and understood, that these words, 'whose duty it is,' are too general, and may be an offence; and according to the meaning of the Scripture, we ought not to lay any stumbling-stock before the blind, and the ditches are to be closed up, that our neighbour's ox do not fall therein; all occasion of offence is to be taken away. Therefore we say, that according to the meaning of the Holy Scripture, and the doctrine of the holy doctors, it is thus universally to be holden; That all mortal sins, especially public offences, are to be rooted out, corrected, and inhibited, as reasonably as may be, according to the law of God and the institutions of the fathers. The power to punish these offenders doth not pertain unto any private person, but only unto them which have jurisdiction of the law over them, the distinction of law and justice being orderly observed.
"As touching the preaching of the word of God, which article you have alleged in this form, 'That the word of God should be freely and faithfully preached by the fit and apt ministers of the Lord;' lest by this word, 'freely,' occasion might be taken of disordered liberty, (which, as you have often said, you do not mean,) the circumstance thereof is to be understood; and we say, that (according to the meaning of the Holy Scripture, and doctrine of the holy fathers) it is thus universally to be believed; That the word of God ought freely, but not every where, but faithfully and orderly to be preached by the priests and Levites of the Lord, being allowed and sent by their superiors unto whom that office appertaineth, the authority of the bishop always reserved, who is the provider of all things according to the institution of the holy fathers.
"As concerning the last article, expressed under these words; 'It is not lawful for the Christian clergy, in the time of the law of grace, to have dominion over temporal goods; we remember that in the solemn disputation holden in the sacred council, he which was appointed by the council to dispute, propounded two conclusions in this sort:
"First, that such of the clergy as were not religious, and had not bound themselves thereunto by a vow, might lawfully have and possess any temporal goods; as the inheritance of his father or any other, if it be left unto him, or any other goods justly gotten by means of any gift, or other lawful contract, or else some lawful art.
"The second conclusion, The church may lawfully have and possess temporal goods, movable and unmovable, houses, lands, towns and villages, castles and cities, and in them a private and civil dominion. Your ambassador which disputed against him, granted those conclusions, saying that they did not impugn the sense of this article being well understood, forasmuch as he understandeth this article of civil dominion formally meant. Whereby, and also by other things, it may be understood, that those words, 'to have secular dominion,' expressed in the aforesaid article, seemeth to be referred to some special manner or kind of dominion. But forasmuch as the doctrine of the church is not to be treated upon by any ambiguous or doubtful words, but fully and plainly; therefore we have thought good more plainly to express that which, according to the law of God, and the doctrine of the holy doctors, is universally to be believed, that is to say, the two aforesaid conclusions to be true. And also, that the clergy ought faithfully to distribute the goods of the church, whose administrators they are, according to the decrees of the holy fathers; and that the usurpation of the administration of the church goods, done by any other than by them, unto whom the administration is canonically committed, cannot be without guilt of sacrilege.
"Thus the sacred council," said they, "hath diligently gone about, according to the verity of the gospel, all ambiguity set apart, to expound the true sense of the three aforesaid articles. Wherefore, if there do yet remain any doubt, according to the information which we have received in the sacred council, we are ready by God's help (who is the principal verity) to declare the truth unto you. If ye do receive and embrace the declaration of the said three articles, which is grounded upon the verity of the Holy Scripture, as you are bound, and will effectually have a pure, simple, and perfect unity, touching the liberty of the communion under both kinds, which you desire and require, which also you cannot lawfully have without the licence of holy church; we have authority from the general council, by certain means to treat and conclude with you, trusting that you will show yourselves as you will continue."
These things thus declared, after the Bohemians had taken deliberation, they said that they would give no answer unto the premises, before they understood what should be offered them as touching the communion. Wherefore, it shall be necessary to declare the matter, as it was written in form following:
"In the name of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, upon the sacrament of whose most blessed last supper we shall treat, that he which hath instituted this most blessed sacrament of unity and peace, will vouchsafe to work this effect in us, and to make us that we may be one in the said Lord Jesus, our Head, and that he will subvert all the subtleties of the devil, who, through his envious craftiness, hath made the sacrament of peace and unity an occasion of war and discord; that whilst Christians do contend touching the manner of communicating, they be not deprived of the fruit of the communion. Whereupon St. Augustine, in his sermon upon infants, saith thus, 'So the Lord Jesus Christ certified us, and willed that we should appertain unto him, and consecrate the mystery of our peace and unity upon the table. He that receiveth the mystery of unity, and doth not keep the bond of peace, doth not receive a mystery for himself, but a testimony against himself.' This we thought good above all things to be premised, that the general custom of the church, which your fathers, and you also, in times past have observed, hath a long time had and still useth, that they which do not consecrate, communicate only under the kind of bread. Which custom being lawfully brought in by the church and holy fathers, and now a long time observed, it is not lawful to reject, or to change at your will and pleasure, without the authority of the church. Therefore to change the custom of the church, and to take in hand to communicate unto the people under both kinds, without the authority of holy church, is altogether unlawful. For holy church, upon reasonable occasions, may grant liberty unto the people to communicate under both kinds. And every communion, which, being attempted without the authority and licence of the church, should be unlawful, when it is done with the authority of holy church, shall be lawful, if other things let it not; because, as the apostle saith, He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh his own damnation.
"Whereupon St. Isidore, of the second Distinction upon the Consecration, writeth thus, 'They which live wickedly, and cease not daily to communicate in the church, thinking thereby to be cleansed, let them learn that it doth nothing at all profit them to the cleansing of their sins.' And St. Augustine in the same Distinction saith, 'Holy things may hurt the evil, for unto the good they are salvation, but unto the evil damnation.' There are besides these many other authorities. The apostle Judas was amongst them which did first communicate, but forasmuch as he received unworthily, having that sin of treason in his heart, it did profit him nothing, but the devil by and by exercised the more power and authority over him. This is declared by a great reason; Which of you is it, that if you should receive your lord into your house, would not with all diligence and care study to make clean and adorn his house, that he may receive the lord honestly? Much more he that shall receive the Lord and Saviour into the house of his soul, ought diligently to make clean and deck his soul, to cleanse it by the sacrament of penance, with sorrow and contrition of heart, humbly, purely, and truly confessing his sins, and receiving due satisfaction and penance, to adorn and deck the same with the purple or rich array of devotion, that the heart being so purged and adorned with fervent desire, he may come to that most holy sacrament, whereby God reconcileth all the world unto him.
"Wherefore the most sacred synod admonisheth, exhorteth, and commandeth, that all priests should diligently exhort and admonish the people, and that they should use all their care and endeavour, that no man come to that most blessed sacrament, except he be duly prepared with great reverence and devotion, lest that which is received for the salvation of the soul, redound to the condemnation, through the unworthy receiving thereof.
"Moreover, doctors do say, that the custom of communicating unto the people only under the kind of bread, was reasonably introduced by the church and holy fathers for reasonable causes, especially for the avoiding of two perils, of error and irreverence. Of error, as to think that the one part of Christ's body were in the bread, and the other part in the cup, which were a great error. Of unreverence, forasmuch as many things may happen, as well on the part of the minister, as on the part of the receiver; as it is said that it happened when a certain priest carried the sacrament of the cup unto a sick man, when he should have ministered, he found nothing in the cup, being all spilt by the way, with many other such-like chances. We have heard, moreover, that it hath often happened, that the sacrament consecrated in the cup hath not been sufficient for the number of communicants, whereby a new consecration must be made, which is not agreeable to the doctrine of the holy fathers, and also, that oftentimes they do minister wine unconsecrated for consecrated wine, which is a great peril. By this means then it shall be brought to pass, that if you will effectually receive the unity and peace of the church in all other things, besides the use of the communion under both kinds, conforming yourselves to the faith and order of the universal church, you that hate that use and custom shall communicate still by the authority of the church under both kinds, and this article shall be discussed fully in the sacred council, where you shall see what, as touching this article, is to be holden as a universal verity, and is to be done for the profit and salvation of the Christian people; and all things being thus thoroughly handled, then, if you persevere in your desire, and that your ambassadors do require it, the sacred council will grant licence in the Lord unto your ministers, to communicate unto the people under both kinds, that is to say, to such as be of lawful years and discretion, and shall reverently and devoutly require the same; this always observed, that the ministers shall say unto those which shall communicate, that they ought firmly to believe not the flesh only to be contained under the form of bread, and the blood only under the wine, but under each kind to be whole and perfect Christ."
Thus, hitherto, we have declared the decree of the council. As touching the other doubts and questions which were afterward moved by the masters and prelates of Bohemia, the ambassadors of the council answered thus:irst they said, that it was not the meaning of the sacred council, to suffer the communion under both kinds by toleration, or as the libel of divorcement was permitted to the Jews; forasmuch as the council, intending even to open the bowels of motherly charity and pity unto the Bohemians and Moravians, doth not mean to suffer it with such kind of sufferance, which should not exclude sin; but so to grant it, that by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of his true spouse the church, it may be lawful, profitable, and healthful unto those who worthily receive the same. Also, as touching that which was spoken by the said Bohemians of the punishing of offences, that it is in the Scriptures, how that God oftentimes stirreth up the hearts of private persons to the correcting and punishing of sins, and so it should seem lawful unto the inferiors to correct and punish their superiors; they answered, alleging the text of St. Augustine in the three and thirtieth decree: "He that striketh wicked men in that they are wicked, and hath cause of death against them, is the minister of God: but he which without any public administration or office murdereth or maimeth any wicked thief, sacrilegious, adulterous, or perjured person, or any other offender, shall he judged as a homicide, and so much the more sharply, in that he feared not to abuse and usurp the power not granted him of God; and truly this city would take it much more grievously, if any private man should attempt to punish an offender, and set up a gallows in the street, and there hang him, than if one man should kill another in brawl or quarrel." They alleged also other texts of St. Ambrose and St. Jerome agreeable to the same. They said, that no man doubteth that the law of God is duly and holily appointed, and therein is simply written, Thou shalt not steal. And, notwithstanding, by the commandment of God the children of Israel carried away the goods of the Egyptians, which they had borrowed of them. Also in the same law it is plainly written, Thou shalt do no murder. Whereupon St. Augustine in his first book proveth, that it is not lawful for any man to kill himself; and when he maketh example of Samson, he answereth with these words: "When God commandeth and doth affirm himself to command without any doubt, who is he that will call obedience sin? or who will accuse the obedience to God? "
Here in this proposition you have the words of St. Augustine for answer. But let every man well foresee, if God do command, or that he do intimate the commandment without any circumstances, and let him prove the spirits whether they be of God. But in such cases there are no laws to be given, neither are they much to be talked of; for thereby there should easily rise occasion to make sedition, and for the inferiors to rise against the superiors; for when any man had stolen any thing, or killed any man, he would say that he was moved thereunto by the Spirit of God: but without manifest proof thereof, he should be punished.
Again, they said that there were certain cases wherein the laity had power over the clergy. It was answered, that there were certain cases in the law, wherein the laity had power over the clergy, and oftentimes over cardinals. For if, the pope being dead, the cardinals would not enter the conclave to elect a new pope, the king, prince, or other lord or secular power may compel them; but in these cases he is now no private person, but useth his jurisdiction by the authority of the law. The like is to be understood of all other cases expressed in the law.
They said further, that no common law hath any right or justice, except God's law do allow the same.
It was answered, that no common law hath right or justice, if it be against the law of God; because the law of God is the rule of all other laws. But there is great cunning and knowledge in applying the rule to that which is made by the rule, for oftentimes it seemeth that there is diversity in the thing made by the rule, when there is none indeed; but the default is in the applying, because the rule is not duly applied to the thing made by it.
As touching the article of preaching the word of God, it was moved, that oftentimes some prelates, through their own envy and malice, without any reasonable cause, do inhibit a good and meet preacher that preacheth catholicly and well.
Answer was made, how that they understood well enough that the abuse of certain prelates, which did inordinately behave themselves, gave a great occasion of those troubles. Also that they never heard of any such complaints in those parts, but that the prelates do favour good preachers, and stir them up to preach, by entreaty, favour, and promotion. In all such cases there are remedies already provided by the law; for when any man is so prohibited to use his right, he hath remedy to appeal; and if he do trust his appeal to be just, he may use his right, all violence both of the spiritual and secular power set apart; for the end of the matter shall declare if he had just cause to appeal. Then shall it be declared that the superior hath done evil in prohibiting, and the plaintiff justly in doing, and the superior for his unjust prohibition shall be punished. But if he be justly prohibited, and that through his temerity he do contemn the just commandment of his superior, he is worthy to be punished with condign punishment.
Where it was moved concerning the third article, whether it were lawful for the ecclesiastical prelates to exercise, in their proper person, the acts of secular dominion. Hereunto it was answered, that if by this word, acts of secular dominion, are understood acts which a secular lord may do or exercise, then it is to be said, that a prelate may lawfully exercise some such acts in his proper person, as to sell, pawn, or pledge, to infeoff by manner and form ordained by law; but there are some acts, which it is not lawful for them to exercise in their proper person, but ought to have afterward a vicegerent or proctor to do the same.
It was also moved, whether that coactive power, which ought to be exercised by a steward, &c., be in the hands of an ecclesiastical prelate.
Whereupon John Polomar answered, that this question presupposeth another; whereof there are divers opinions amongst the doctors, in whose power the dominion of the church should be; and, furthermore, whether the actions be in the person of the tutor or proctor, or if they be not in their person, notwithstanding by the constitution of any actor or proctor, (whose exercising of those actions doth give authority unto the actor or proctor,) they be; with other difficulties, whereof it is not needful to speak at this present. But forasmuch as he was urged to say his opinion, he said, that to such as had either leisure or pleasure in disputation, and would argue against him, he would be contented to give the choice to take which part he would; but his opinion was rather that the dominion of church matters should be in the power of Christ: and the prelates, with the other clergy, are but canonical administrators in manner of tutors; but they have more power and administration than tutors, and by constituting a steward or vicegerent, &c., their constitution being made, the steward or vicegerent hath the same coactive power and exercise of jurisdiction.
Also as touching the fourth article, for the declaration of the first conclusion, it is agreed that these words, "justly gotten," alleged therein, determine all things contained in the same.
Also as touching the second conclusion, whereas the sacred canons and holy doctors speak thus, "The goods of the church, the substance of the church, and the possessions of the church, and divers other opinions there be amongst the doctors, in whose power the rule thereof should be," they do not intend to constrain any man to any of those opinions, neither to exclude any of them, but that every man should have liberty probably to maintain which of them he thinketh best.
Moreover the Bohemians said, that they did believe that the clergy are but administrators of the temporalties of the church, and not lords thereof, according to the manner of speaking of the Scriptures, holy doctors, and canons. Also the Bohemians said, that in all occasions, which shall hereafter rise, they would wholly stand to the determination of the judge, agreed upon in Egra, with one consent. In this manner did the ambassadors make answer unto the Bohemians. At the last, after much communication had to and fro, a concord and unity was concluded and confirmed by setting to their hands. The Bohemians promised to receive the peace and unity of the church, and the declaration of the three articles. This was done A. D. 1438. About the feast of St. Martin, it was afterward agreed, both by the ambassadors of that council and of Bohemia, that whatsoever remained should he determined and agreed upon, first at Ratisbon, afterward at Bruna, in the diocese of Olmutz, then at Alba in Hungary, before the Emperor Sigismund, but the matter could not be ended in any place.
At the last the concord was confirmed by writing with their seals at Inglavia, a city of Moravia, the fifth day of July, in the presence of the emperor.
Certain petitions, which the Bohemians put up last of all in the sacred council of Basil, A. D. 1438, in the month of November.
"Unto the most reverend fathers in Christ, and our most gracious lords. We, the ambassadors of the kingdom of Bohemia, do most humbly and heartily require you, that for the perpetual preservation of peace and concord, and for the firm preservation of all things contained in the composition, you will vouchsafe of your clemency to give and grant unto us all and singular our requests, hereunder written, with effectual execution of the same.
"First, and above all things, we desire and require you, for the extirpation of divers dissensions and controversies, which will undoubtedly follow amongst our people, under the diversity of the communion, and for the abolishing of infinite evils which we are not able to express as we have conceived them, that you will gently vouchsafe of your goodness and liberality to give, grant, and command, unto our kingdom of Bohemia, and marquisdom of Moravia, one uniform order of the communion unto all men, under both kinds, that is to say, unto the archbishop of Prague, the bishop of Luthonus, Olmutz, and other prelates of the kingdom and marquisdom, having charge of souls, and to their vicars, and also to their flocks and subjects, and that according to those things which are contained in the bull of the ambassadors, and in the compositions made in the name of the whole council, where it is thus said, 'And all other things shall be done, which shall he meet and necessary for the preservation of the peace and unity.' For this done, by your benefit the whole kingdom shall be comforted above measure, and established in brotherly love; whereby a uniform subjection and obedience shall be perpetually attributed unto the holy church.
"Item, we require and desire, as before, that for the avoiding of all false suspicion and doubtfulness of many, which suppose that the sacred council hath granted the said communion under both kinds unto us but for a time, as neither profitable nor wholesome, but as the libel of divorcement, that you will vouchsafe, according to this chapter alleged in the compositions, 'First they said, that it was not the intent of the sacred council,' &c., wholesomely and speedily to provide for our safety, and with your grant in this behalf, and with the bulls of your letters, to confirm that chapter, together with the other pertaining to the office of your ambassadors.
"Item, we beseech you, as before, that for the confirmation of obedience, and for the discipline of all the clergy, and for the final defence and observation of all things determined and agreed upon, and for the good order in spiritualties, ye will vouchsafe effectually to provide for us a good and lawful pastor, archbishops and bishops, which shall seem unto us most meet and acceptable for our kingdom, to execute those offices and duties.
"Item, We require you, as aforesaid, that your fatherly reverences will vouchsafe, for the defence of the worthy fame of the kingdom and marquisdom, to declare and show our innocency, in that they have communicated, do, and hereafter shall communicate under both kinds; to give out, ordain, and direct the letters of the sacred council, in manner and form most apt and meet for such declaration, unto all princes, as well secular as spiritual, cities and commonalties, according to the compositions, and as the lords the ambassadors are bound unto us to do.
"Item, We desire you, that in the discussing of the matter for the communion under both kinds, and of the commandment thereof given unto all faithful, ye will not proceed otherwise than according to the concordatum agreed upon in Egra; that is to say, according to the law of God, the order of Christ, and his apostles, the general councils, and the minds of the holy doctors, truly grounded upon the law of God.
"Item, We desire that your fatherly reverences, considering the great affection of our people, will give us the desired liberty to communicate unto the younger sort the sacrament of the supper. For if this use of communicating should be taken away, which our kingdom being godly, moved by the writings of most great and holy doctors, and brought in by examples, hath received as catholic, and exercised now a long time; verily it should raise up an intolerable offence amongst the people, and their minds would be grievously vexed and troubled.
"Item, We require you, as before, that for like causes your fatherly reverences would vouchsafe to permit, at the least the Gospels, Epistles, and Creed to be sung and read in the church in our vulgar tongue, before the people, to move them unto devotion; for in our Sclavonic language it hath been used of old in the church, and likewise in our kingdom.
"Item, We require you in the name of the said kingdom, and of the famous university of Prague, that your fatherly reverences would vouchsafe to show such diligence and care toward the desired reformation of that university, that, according to the manner and form of other universities reformed by the church, prebends and collations of certain benefices of cathedral and parish churches may be annexed and incorporated unto the said university, that thereby it may be increased and preferred.
"Item, We desire you, as before, as heartily as we may, and also (saving always your fatherly reverences) require you, and by the former compositions we most instantly admonish you, that with your whole minds and endeavours, and with all care and study, your reverences will watch and seek for that long desired and most necessary reformation of the church and Christian religion, and effectually labour for the rooting out of all public evils, as well in the head as in the members, as you have often promised to do in our kingdom, in the compositions, and as our fourth article, touching the avoiding of all public evils, doth exact and require."here were certain answers provided by the council, to these petitions of the Bohemians, which were not delivered unto them, but kept back, for what purpose and intent we know not. Wherefore, because we thought them not greatly necessary for this place, and also to avoid prolixity, we have judged it meet at this present to omit them. Thus have ye heard compendiously the chief and principal matters treated and done in this famous council of Basil. And here, to conclude withal, we have thought good to declare unto you, for the aid and help of the ignorant people, (which judge many things to be of longer time and continuance than indeed they be, and thereupon have established a great part of their opinions,) how that, toward the latter end of this council, that is to say, in the thirty-seventh session of the same, holden the seventeenth of September, A. D. 1439, the feast of the conception of our Lady was ordained to be holden and celebrated yearly. In like case also in the forty-fourth session of the same council, holden the first day of July, A. D. 1441, it was ordained that the feast of the visitation of our Lady should be celebrated and holden yearly in the month of July. We have also thought it good, before we do end this story, to annex hereunto certain degrees, profitably and wholesomely ordained in the said council, against the inordinate giving of the ecclesiastical benefices and livings by the pope, with certain other constitutions also, fruitful for the behalf and edification of the church.
During the time that the general council at Basil was so diligent and careful about the reformation of the church, this one thing seemed good unto them to be prosecuted and followed with an earnest care and diligence, that through every church apt and meet ministers might be appointed, which might shine in virtue and knowledge, to the glory of Christ and the healthful edifying of the Christian people; whereunto the multitude of expectative graces hath been a great impediment and let, in that they have been found to have brought grievous troubles, divers disorders, and many dangers upon the ecclesiastical state. For hereby oftentimes, scarcely apt or meet ministers have been appointed for the churches, which are neither known nor examined; and this expectation of void benefices (as the old laws do witness) doth give occasion to desire another man's death, which is greatly prejudicial unto salvation; besides that, innumerable quarrels and contentions are moved amongst the servants of God; rancour and malice nourished; the ambition and greedy desire of pluralities of benefices maintained; and the riches and substance of kingdoms and provinces marvellously consumed. Poor men suffer innumerable vexations by running unto the court of Rome. They are oftentimes spoiled and robbed by the way, troubled and afflicted with divers plagues; and having spent their patrimony and substance left them by their parents, they are constrained to live in extreme poverty. Many do challenge benefices,which,without any just title, (yea, such indeed as ought not to have them,) obtain and get the same; such, I say, as have most craft and subtlety to deceive their neighbour, or have greatest substance to contend in the law. It happeneth oftentimes that under the intrication of these prerogatives, antelations, and such other as do associate these expectative graces, much craft and deceit is found. Also, oftentimes the ministry is taken away from young men by their ordinary givers, whilst that by the troubles of those contentions, and divers discourses, running to and fro by means of those graces, they are vexed and troubled; the ecclesiastical order is confounded, while every man's authority and jurisdiction is not preserved; and the bishops of Rome also, by challenging and taking upon them too much the office of the inferiors, are withdrawn from more weighty and fruitful matters, neither do they diligently attend to the guiding and correction of the inferiors, as the public utility doth require. All which things do bring a great confusion unto the clergy and ecclesiastical state, to the great prejudice and hinderance of God's true worship, and public salvation.
In the same council also divers other constitutions were made, not unprofitable for reformation, and for removing of certain abuses and disorders brought in, especially by the bishop of Rome, as touching causes not to be brought up and translated to the court of Rome; wherein it was decreed, that no actions nor controversies should be brought from other countries to be pleaded at Rome, which were beyond four days' journey distant from the said court of Rome, a few principal matters only excepted. Also, that no frivolous appeals should be made to the pope hereafter. It was, moreover, in the same council decreed, for the number, age, and condition of the cardinals, that they should not exceed the number of four and twenty, besides them that were already, and that they should be freely taken out of all countries; and that they should not be of kin to the bishop of Rome, or to the cardinals, nor yet blemished with any spot or crime. Also for annats, or first-fruits, or half-fruits, it was there provided that no such annats, or confirmation of elections, or collation of benefices, should be paid or reserved any more to the pope, for the first year's voidance. All which things, there agreed and concluded by them, were afterward confirmed and ratified by the French king, Charles the Seventh, with the full consent of his prelates, in his high court of parliament in Bourges, and there called Pragmatica Sanctio, A. D. 1438, whereupon great utility ensued afterward to the kingdom of France. Albeit, in process of time, divers friars there were which wrote against the same.
Amongst many decrees of the said council of Basil, in the nineteenth session there was also a decree made, touching the converting of Jews and young novices in religion unto the Christian faith.
Also that all ordinaries should yearly, at appointed times, provide certain men well learned in the Holy Scriptures, in such places where Jews and other infidels did dwell, to declare to them the truth of the catholic faith, that they, acknowledging their error, might forsake the same; unto the which preaching the said ministers should compel them to resort, and to hear, under pain of excluding them from occupying any more in that place; provided that the said diocesans and preachers should behave themselves towards them mercifully and with all charity, whereby they might win them to Christ, not only by the declaring of the verity, but also in exhibiting their offices of humanity.
And to the intent their preaching might be the more fruitful, and that the preachers might be the better instructed in the tongues, it was also in the same council provided and commanded, that the constitution made before in the council of Vienna, for learning the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and Greek tongues, should by all means be observed and kept, and ordinary stipends provided for them that should teach the same tongues.
Another decree moreover in the twentieth session was enacted, that whosoever was known or publicly noted to be a keeper of concubines, should be sequestered from all fruits of his benefices for the space of three months, which fruits should be converted by the ordinary to the reparations, or some other utility of the church; and if he did not so amend, it was by the synod decreed, that he should be clearly deposed from all his benefices.
Furthermore, the said synod did greatly inveigh against them, which, having the jurisdiction of the church, did not shame to suffer such offenders, for bribes and money, still to continue in their filthiness, &c.
By these decrees of the council above specified, it is to be seen, what corruption had been then frequented in the church of God, through the bishop and court of Rome. For the more express declaration whereof, we thought it not much impertinent here to infer the words of one Martin Meyre, writing to Æneas Sylvius, touching and noting the said corruptions; the tenor of whose epistle here ensueth.
"Unto the reverend father, the Lord Æneas, cardinal of Sienna; Martin Meyre, chancellor to the bishop of Mentz, wisheth health.
"I have understood by certain of my friend's letters, that you are created cardinal. I am glad for your part, that yoUn have received so worthy rewards for your virtues. I rejoice also for mine own part, that my friend hath attained unto such a dignity wherein he may in time to come both help me and my friends: but this is a grief unto me, that you have happened upon those days, which seem to be troublesome unto the apostolic see. For there are many complaints made unto my lord the archbishop upon the pope, that he will neither keep the decrees of the council of Constance, neither of Basil, neither yet thinketh himself bound to the covenants of his predecessors, and seemeth utterly to contemn our nation, and to seek the utter ruin thereof. For it is evident that the election of prelates is every where rejected; benefices and dignities, of what sort soever they be, are reserved for the cardinals and chief notaries; and you yourself have obtained the reservation of three provinces of Germany, under such a form as hath not been accustomed or heard of. Advowsons or gifts of benefices are granted without number; yearly stipends and half the revenues are exacted without delay; and it is evident that there is more extorted than is due. The regiments of churches are not committed unto such as best deserve them, but unto such as offer most money for them, and new pardons are granted out daily to scrape and gather together money. Tithes are commanded to be exacted without the consent of our prelates, for the Turkish war; and those matters which were accustomed to be debated and determined at home, are now carried unto the apostolic see of Rome. A thousand ways are invented and devised, how the see of Rome may, by subtlety and craft, extort and get gold and treasure from us, even as it were of the Turks or barbarians; whereby our nation, which was sometime famous and valiant, which by their power and blood conquered the Roman empire, and was once the lady and queen of all the world, now being brought unto poverty, is made a handmaid, and become tributary, and, being now in extreme misery, hath of long time bewailed her cruel fortune and poverty. But now our nobles, being (as it were) wakened out of their sleep, hath begun to consider and devise with themselves, by what means they might withstand this calamity, and utterly shake off this yoke and bondage, and have determined with themselves to challenge again their former liberty. This will be no small loss unto the court of Rome, if the princes of Germany bring to pass that which they have devised. Wherefore, as much as I do rejoice of your late obtained dignity, so much also am I moved and grieved that these things happen in your days. But peradventure God's determination is otherwise, and his will shall surely take place. You, in the mean time, be of good cheer, and devise according to your wisdom, by what means the vehemency of these floods may be stayed. Thus fare ye well.
"From Hasthaffenberge, the last day of August."
Concerning the authority of this general council of Basil, what is to be esteemed of it, by the acts and fruits thereof may be understood of all good men. Neither was it of any man doubted in the first beginning, so long as the pope agreed and consented unto it. But after the pope began to draw back, many others followed, especially of the richer sort of prelates which had any thing to lose; whereof sufficiently hath been said by Aretalensis the cardinal before. In the number of those unconstant prelates, besides many others, was, first, Cardinal Julian, the first collector of this council and vicegerent of the pope, as by his fervent and vehement letter, written to Pope Eugenius in defence of this council, may well appear. Wherein he most earnestly doth expostulate with the aforesaid Pope Eugenius, for seeking to dissolve the council, and declareth in the same many causes, why he should rather rejoice, and give God thanks for the godly proceedings and joyful agreement between the council and the Bohemians, and so exhorteth him, with manifold persuasions, to resort to the council himself; and not to seek the dissolution of the same.
In like manner Æneas Sylvius also, with his own hand and writing, not only gave testimony to the authority of this council, but also bestowed his labour and travail in setting forth the whole story thereof. Notwithstanding, the same Sylvius afterward, being made pope, with his new honour did alter and change his old sentence. The Epistle of which Æneas, touching the commendation of the said council, because it is but short, and will occupy but little room, I thought hereunder, for the more satisfying of the reader's mind, to insert.
"To a Christian man which will be a true Christian indeed, nothing ought to be more desired, than that the sincerity and pureness of faith, given to us of Christ by our forefathers, be kept of all men immaculate; and if at any time any thing be wrought or attempted against the true doctrine of the gospel, the people ought with one consent to provide lawful remedy, and every man to bring with him some water to quench the general fire; neither must we fear how we be hated or envied, so we bring the truth. We must resist every man to his face, whether he be Paul or Peter, if he walk not directly by the truth of the Gospel. Which thing I am glad, and so we are all, to hear that your university hath done in this council of Basil. For a certain treatise of yours is brought hither unto us, wherein you reprehend the rudeness, or rather the rashness, of such, which do deny the bishop of Rome, and the consistory of his judgment, to be subject unto the general council; and that the supreme tribunal seat of judgment standeth in the church, and in no one bishop. Such men as deny this you so confound with lively reasons and truth of the Scriptures, that they are neither able to slide away like slippery eels, neither to cavil or bring any objection against you." These be the words of Sylvius.
Furthermore, as touching the authority and approbation of the aforesaid council, this is to be noted, that during the life of Sigismund the emperor no man resisted this council. Also, continuing the time of Charles the Seventh, the French king, the said council of Basil was fully and wholly received through all France. But after the death of Sigismund, when Eugenius was deposed, and Felix, duke of Savoy, was elected pope, great discords arose, and much practice was wrought, but especially on Eugenius's part; who being now excommunicated by the council of Basil, to make his part more strong, made eighteen new cardinals. Then he sent his orators unto the Germans, labouring by all persuasions to dissolve the council of Basil. The Germans at that time were so divided, that some of them did hold with Felix and the council of Basil; other some, with Eugenius and the council of Ferraria; and some were neuters. After this, the French king being dead, which was Charles the Seventh, about the year of our Lord 1444, the pope beginneth a new practice, after the old guise of Rome, to excite, as is supposed, the Dauphin of France by force of arms to dissipate that council collected against him. Who, leading an army of fifteen thousand men into Alsatia, did cruelly waste and spoil the country; after that, laid siege unto Basil, to expel and drive out the prelates of the council. But the Helvetians, most stoutly meeting their enemies, with a small power did vanquish the Frenchmen, and put them to sword and flight; like as the Lacedemonians with three hundred only did suppress and scatter all the mighty army of Xerxes at Thermopylæ.
Although Basil was by the valiantness of the Helvetians thus defended, yet notwithstanding, the council, through these tumults, could not continue by reason of the princes' ambassadors, which shrunk away and would not tarry. So that at length Eugenius brought to pass, partly through the help of Frederic, being not yet emperor, but labouring for the empire, partly by his orators, in the number of whom was Æneas Sylvius above mentioned amongst the Germans, that they were content to give over both the council of Basil and their neutrality.
This Frederic of Austria, being not yet emperor, but towards the empire, brought also to pass, that Felix, which was chosen of the council of Basil to be pope, was contented to renounce and resign his papacy to Nicholas the Fifth, successor to Eugenius, of the which Nicholas the said Frederic was confirmed at Rome to he emperor, and there crowned, A. D. 1451.
As these things were doing at Basil, in the mean season Pope Eugenius brought to pass in his convocation at Florence, that the emperor and the patriarch of Constantinople, with the rest of the Grecians there present, were persuaded to receive the sentence of the Church of Rome, concerning the proceeding of the Holy Ghost; also to receive the communion in unleavened bread, to admit purgatory, and to yield themselves to the authority of the Romish bishop. Whereunto notwithstanding the other churches of Grecia would in no wise assent at their coming home; insomuch that with a public execration they did condemn afterward all those legates which had consented to these articles, that none of them should be buried in Christian burial; which was A. D. 1439.
And thus endeth the story, both of the council of Basil, and of the council of Florence, also of the Emperor Sigismund, and of the schism between Pope Eugenius and Pope Felix, and also of the Bohemians. The which Bohemians, notwithstanding all these troubles and tumults abovesaid, did right well, and were strong enough against all their enemies, till at length, through discord, partly between the two preachers of the old and new city of Prague, partly also through the discord of the messengers and captains taking sides one against the other, they made their enemies strong and enfeebled themselves. Albeit afterward, in process of time, they so defended the cause of their religion, not by sword, but by argument and disputation, that the bishop of Rome could never yet to this day remove the Taborites and city of Prague from the communion of both kinds, nor could ever cause them to keep the conditions, which in the beginning of the council was enjoined their priests to observe, as testifieth Cochleus, lib. 8. Hist. Huss. With whom also recordeth Antoninus, who in 3. part. Hist. saith, That the doctrine of the Bohemians, which he termeth by the name of Zizania, did take so deep root with them, and grew so fast, that afterward neither by fire nor sword it could be extinct.
Concerning the which Bohemians, briefly and in a general sum to recapitulate their whole acts and doings, here is to be noted, that they, in their own defence, and in the quarrel of John Huss and Jerome of Prague, provoked by their catholic adversaries to war, fighting under Zisca their captain, had eleven battles with the pope's side, and ever went away victors. Moreover in the history of Fencer it is testified, that Pope Martin the Fifth, sending for the bishop of Winchester, then cardinal, had levied three main armies, intending to overrun all the Bohemians; one army of the Saxons under the prince elector; the second of the Francones, under the marquis of Brandenburgh; the third of Rhenates, Bavarians and Switzers, under Octo archbishop of Treves. With these, Sigismund also the emperor, and Cardinal Julian the pope's legate, (who at last was slain in war, and being spoiled of all his attire, was left naked in the field) joined all their force. These joining together five times (saith the story) with five sundry battles, assailed and invaded the Bohemians; at every which battle, five times the said adversaries, stricken and daunted with a sudden fear, ran away out of the field, leaving their tents with all their implements and furniture behind them, before any stroke was given, whereby it may appear that the holy angels of God do fight for them which embrace the sincere doctrine of Christ's gospel.
Thus the Bohemians, through the mighty protection of Almighty God, continued a long time invincible, during all the life of Zisca, and also of Procopius, till at length, through discord growing between them and their captains, Procopius and Mainardus, they were subdued unto their enemies.
Illustration: The burning of the Hussite Soldiers
And here by the way is not to be omitted the wicked and cruel fact of Mainardus, who, after the death of Procopius, thinking to purge the realm of Bohemia of those chief and principal soldiers, which had been long expert and trained up in wars, found means for a proclamation made, as though he would war against other countries of their enemies bordering about them, craftily to train all them which were disposed to take wages, into certain barns or hovels prepared for the same purpose, and so shutting the doors upon them, the wicked dissembler set fire upon them, and burnt of them divers thousands, and so brought the rest by that means under subjection to the emperor during his lifetime; which after that continued not long. The which soldiers, if they had fought so much for the catholic liberties of the pope and his church, as they had fought against him, it is marvel if the pope had not dignified them all for holy martyrs. But they that kill with the sword (saith Christ) shall perish with the sword. Notwithstanding, the cruel deceit of Mainardus is worthy of all men to be detested.