Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 105. THE TRIAL OF JOHN HUSS (CONTINUED)


Illustration -- The Trial of John Huss

Now to return unto the story; when the first thirty-nine articles which I have before rehearsed were all read over together with their testimonies, the cardinal of Cambray, calling unto John Huss, said, "Thou hast heard what grievous and horrible crimes are laid against thee, and what a number of them they are; and now it is thy part to devise with thyself what thou wilt do. Two ways are proponed and set before thee of the council, whereof the one of them thou must of force and necessity enter into.

"First, that thou do humbly and meekly submit thyself unto the judgment and sentence of the council, that whatsoever shall be there determined, by their common voice and judgment, thou wilt patiently bear and suffer the same. The which thing if thou wilt do, we of our part, both for the honour of the most gentle emperor, here present, and also for the honour of his brother, the king of Bohemia, and for thy own safeguard and preservation, will treat and handle thee with as great humanity, love, and gentleness, as we may. But if as yet thou art determined to defend any of those articles which we have propounded unto thee, and dost desire or require to be further heard thereupon, we will not deny thee power and licence thereunto; but this thou shalt well understand, that here are such manner of men, so clear in understanding and knowledge, and having so firm and strong reasons and arguments against thy articles, that I fear it will be to thy great hurt, detriment, and peril, if thou shouldst any longer will or desire to defend the same.

"This I do speak and say unto thee to counsel and admonish thee, and not as in manner of a judge."

This oration of the cardinal's, many other, prosecuting every man for himself, did exhort and persuade John Huss to the like; unto whom with a lowly countenance he answered: "Most reverend fathers, I have often said that I came hither of mine own free-will, not to the intent obstinately to defend any thing, but if that in any thing I should seem to have conceived a perverse or evil opinion, that I would meekly and patiently be content to be reformed and taught. Whereupon, I desire that I may have yet further liberty to declare my mind. Whereof except I shall allege most firm and strong reasons, I will willingly submit myself (as you require) unto your information."

Then there started up one which with a loud voice said, "Behold, how craftily this man speaketh! he termeth it information, and not correction or determination." "Verily," said John Huss, "even as you will term it, information, correction, or determination; for I take God to my witness, that I speak nothing but with my heart and mind."

Then said the cardinal of Cambray, "Forasmuch then as thou dost submit thyself unto the information and grace of this council, this is decreed almost by threescore doctors, whereof some of them are now departed hence, in whose room and place the Parisians are succeeded; and also is approved by the whole council, not one man speaking the contrary thereunto.

"First of all, that thou shalt humbly and meekly confess thyself to have erred in these articles, which are alleged and brought against thee.

"Moreover, that thou shalt promise by an oath, that from henceforth thou shalt not teach, hold; or maintain any of these articles. And last of all, that thou shalt openly recant all these articles."

Upon the which sentence, when many others had spoken their minds, at the length John Huss said, "I once again do say, that I am ready to submit myself to the information of the council; but this I most humbly require and desire you all, even for his sake which is the God of us all, that I be not compelled or forced to do the thing which my conscience doth repugn or strive against, or the which I cannot do without danger of eternal damnation, that is, that I would make revocation by oath to all the articles which are alleged against me. For I remember that I have read in the book of universalities, that to abjure, is to renounce an error which a man hath before holden. And forasmuch as many of these articles are said to be mine, which were never in my mind or thought to hold or teach, how should I then renounce them by an oath? But as touching those articles which are mine indeed, if there be any man which can teach me contrariwise unto them, I will willingly perform that which you desire."

Then said the emperor, "Why mayst not thou without danger also renounce all those articles which thou sayest are falsely alleged against thee by the witnesses? For I verily would nothing at all doubt to abjure all errors, neither doth it follow that therefore by and by I have professed any error." To whom John Huss answered: "Most noble emperor, this word, to abjure, doth signify much otherwise than your Majesty doth here use it." Then said the cardinal of Florence, "John Huss, you shall have a form of abjuration, which shall be gentle, and tolerable enough, written and delivered unto you, and then you will easily and soon .determine with yourself, whether you will do it or no." Then the emperor, repeating again the words of the cardinal of Cambray, said, "Thou hast heard that there are two ways laid before thee: First, that thou shouldst openly renounce those thy errors, which are now condemned, and subscribe unto the judgment of the council, whereby thou shouldst try and find their grace and favour. But if thou proceed to defend thy opinions, the council shall have sufficient, whereby according to their laws and ordinances, they may decree and determine upon thee"

Huss answered, "I refuse nothing, (most noble emperor,) whatsoever the council shall decree or determine upon me. Only this one thing I except, that I do not offend God and my conscience, or say that I have professed those errors which was never in my mind or thought to profess. But I desire you all, if it may be possible, that you will grant me further liberty to declare my mind and opinion, that I may answer as much as shall suffice, as touching those things which are objected against me, and specially concerning ecclesiastical offices, and the state of the ministry."

But when other men began to speak, the emperor himself began to sing the same song which he had sung before. "Thou art of lawful age," said the emperor, "thou mightest easily have understood what I said unto thee yesterday, and this day; for we are forced to give credit unto these witnesses which are worthy of credit, forasmuch as the Scripture saith, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses all truth is tried; how much more then by so many witnesses of such worthy men!

"Wherefore if thou be wise, receive penance at the hands of the council, with a contrite heart, and renounce thy manifest errors, and promise by an oath that from henceforth thou wilt never more teach or preach them. The which if thou refusest to do, there are laws and ordinances whereby thou shalt be judged of the council."

Here a certain very old bishop of Poland put to his verdict. He said the laws are evident as touching heretics, with what punishment they ought to be punished. But John Huss constantly answered as before; insomuch that they said he was obstinate and stubborn. Then a certain well-fed priest, and gaily apparelled, cried out unto the presidents of the council, saying, "He ought by no means to be admitted to recantation, for he hath written unto his friends, that although he do swear with his tongue, yet he will keep his mind unsworn without oath; wherefore he is not to be trusted." Unto this slander John Huss answered as is said in the last article, affirming that he was not guilty of any error.

Then said Paletz, "To what end is this protestation, forasmuch as thou sayest that thou wilt defend no error, neither yet Wickliff, and yet dost defend him." When he had spoken these words, he brought forth for witness nine articles of John Wickliff's, and read them openly, and afterward he said, "When I and Master Stanislaus, in the presence of Ernest of Austria, duke of Prague, preached against them, he obstinately defended the same, not only by his sermons, but also by his books which he set forth. The which except you do here exhibit, we will cause them to be exhibited." So said the emperor also. Unto whom John Huss answered, "I am very well contented that not only those, but also all other my books, be brought forth and showed."

In the mean time there was exhibited unto the council a certain article, wherein John Huss was accused, that he had slanderously interpreted a certain sentence of the pope's: the which he denied that he did, saying, that he never saw it but in prison, when the article was showed him by the commissioners; and when he was demanded who was the author thereof, he answered, that he knew not, but that he heard say that Master Jessenitz was the author thereof.

"What," said they, "then do you think or judge of the interpretation thereof?" Then answered John Huss, "What should I say thereunto, when I said I never saw it, but as I have heard it of you." Thus they were all so grievous and troublesome unto him that he waxed faint and weary, for he had passed all the night before without sleep, through the pain of his teeth.

Then was there another article read, in the which was contained that three men were beheaded at Prague, because that, through Wickliff's doctrine and teaching, they were contumelious and slanderous against the pope's letters; and that they were by the same Huss, with the whole pomp of the scholars, and with a public convocation or congregation, carried out to be buried, and by a public sermon placed amongst the number of saints; and the same Doctor Naso, of whom you have heard certain testimonics already recited, affirmed the same to be true, and that he himself was present, when the king of Bohemia commanded those blasphemers so to be punished.

Then said John Huss, "Both those parts are false, that the king did command any such punishment to be done, and that the corpses were by me conveyed with any such pomp unto their sepulture or burial: wherefore you do injury both unto me and the king."

Then Paletz confirmed the affirmation of Doctor Naso, his fellow, with this argument, for they both laboured to one end and purpose; That it was provided by the king's commandment, that no man should once speak against the pope's bulls: and these three spake against the pope's bulls: ergo, by virtue of the king's commandment they were beheaded. And what John Huss's opinion and mind was as touching these men, it is evident enough by his book entitled Of the Church, wherein he writeth thus, "I believe they have read Daniel the prophet, where it is said, And they shall perish with sword and fire, and with captivity, and many shall fraudulently and craftily associate themselves unto them." And afterward he saith, how "this is fulfilled in these two laymen, who not consenting, but speaking against the feigned lies of antichrist, have offered their lives therefore, and many other were ready to do the same, and many were fraudulently associate unto them, which being feared by the threatenings of antichrist are fled, and have turned their backs," &c.

When these things were read, one looking upon another, as though they had been all in a marvellous strange study, they held their peace for a certain space. For this Paletz, and the aforesaid Doctor Naso, had also added that John Huss in an open sermon had inflamed and stirred up the people against the magistrates, insomuch that a great number of the citizens did openly set themselves against the magistrates; and by that means was it that, he said, those three were ready to suffer death for the truth. And this sedition was hardly appeased by any benefit or help that the king could do. Then the Englishmen exhibited the copy of a certain epistle, which they said was falsely conveyed unto Prague, under the title of the university of Oxford, and that John Huss did read the same out of the pulpit unto the people, that he might commend and praise John Wickliff unto the citizens of Prague. When they had read the same before the council, the Englishmen demanded of John Huss, whether he had read the same openly or no. Which when he had confessed, because it was brought thither by two scholars under the seal of the university; they also inquired of him what scholars they were. He answered, "This my friend "(meaning Stephen Paletz) "knoweth the one of them as well as I; the other I know not what he was."

Then they first inquired of him, as touching the last man, where he was. John Huss answered, "I heard say," said he, "that in his return into England he died by the way." As touching the first, Paletz said, that he was a Bohemian and no Englishman, and that he brought out of England a certain small piece of the stone of Wickliff's sepulchre, which they that are the followers of his doctrine at this present do reverence and worship as a thing most holy. Hereby it appeareth for what intent all these things were done, and that John Huss was the author of them all.

Then the Englishmen exhibited another epistle, contrary to the first, under the seal of the university, the effect and argument whereof was this: "The senate of the university, not without great sorrow and grief, hath experimented and found, that the errors of Wickliff are scattered and spread out of that university throughout all England. And to the intent that through their help and labour means may be found to remedy this mischief, they have appointed for that purpose twelve doctors, men of singular learning, and other masters, which should sit in judgment upon the books of Wickliff.

"These men have noted out above the number of two hundred articles, the which the whole university have judged worthy to be burnt; but for the reverence of the said sacred council, the said university hath sent them unto Constance, referring and remitting the whole authority of the judgment unto this council."

Here was great silence kept for a while. Then Paletz rising up, as though he had finished now his accusation, said, "I take God to my witness before the emperor's Majesty here present, and the most reverend fathers, cardinals and bishops, that in this accusation of John Huss I have not used any hatred or evil will; but that I might satisfy the oath which I took, when I was made doctor, that I would be a most cruel and sharp enemy of all manner of errors, for the profit and commodity of the holy catholic church." Michael de Causis did also the like. "And I," said John Huss, "do commit all these things unto the heavenly Judge, which shall justly judge the cause or quarrels of both parties." Then said the cardinal of Cambray, "I cannot a little commend and praise the humanity and gentleness of Master Paletz, which he hath used in drawing out the articles against Master John Huss; for, as we have heard, there are many things contained in his book much worse and more detestable."

When he had spoken these words, the bishop of Reggio, unto whom John Huss was committed, commanded that the said John Huss should be carried again safely unto prison. Then John de Clum, following him, did not a little encourage and comfort him. No tongue can express what courage and stomach he received by the short talk which he had with him; when in so great a broil and grievous hatred, he saw himself in a manner forsaken of all men. After that John Huss was carried away, the emperor began to exhort the presidents of the council in this manner, saying,

"You have heard the manifold and grievous crimes which are laid against John Huss, which are not only proved by manifest and strong witnesses, but also confessed by him; of the which every one of them by my judgment and advice have deserved, and are worthy of, death. Therefore, except he do recant them all, I judge and think meet that he be punished with fire: and albeit he do that which he is willed and commanded to do, notwithstanding, I do counsel you, that he be forbid the office of preaching and teaching, and also that he return no more into the kingdom of Bohemia. For if he be admitted again to teach and preach, and especially in the kingdom of Bohemia, he will not observe and keep that which he is commanded; but, hoping upon the favour and good-will of such as be his adherents and abettors there, he will return again unto his former purpose and intent, and then, besides these errors, he will also sow new errors amongst the people, so the last error shall be worse than the first.

"Moreover, I judge and think it good that his articles which are condemned, should be sent unto my brother, the king of Bohemia, and afterward into Poland and other provinces, where men's minds are replenished with his doctrine, with this commandment, that whosoever do proceed to hold or keep the same, they should, by common aid both of the eccclesiastical and civil power, be punished. So at the length shall remedy be found for this mischief, if the boughs together with the root be utterly rooted and pulled up; and if the bishops and other prelates, which here in this place have laboured and travailed for the extirpating of this heresy, be commended by the whole voices of the council unto the king and princes under whose dominion they are. Last of all, if there be any found here at Constance, which are familiars unto John Huss, they also ought to be punished with such severity and punishment as is due unto them, and especially his scholar, Jerome of Prague." Then said the rest, "When the master is once punished, we hope we shall find the scholar much more tractable and gentle."

After they had spoken these words, they departed out of the cloister, where they were assembled and gathered together. The day before his condemnation, which was the 6th of July, the Emperor Sigismund sent unto him four bishops, accompanied with Master Wencelate de Duba, and John de Clum, that they should learn and understand of him what he did intend to do. When he was brought out of prison unto them, John de Clum began first to speak unto him, saying,

{Ornamental Capital ?95}MASTER John Huss, I am a man unlearned, neither am I able to counsel or advertise you, being a man of learning and understanding; notwithstanding I do require you, if you know yourself guilty of any of those errors, which are objected and laid against you before the council, that you will not be ashamed to alter and change your mind to the will and pleasure of the council; if contrariwise, I will be no author unto you, that you should do any thing contrary, or against your conscience, but rather to suffer and endure any kind of punishment, than to deny that which you have known to be truth." Unto whom John Huss turning himself, with lamentable tears, said, "Verily, as before I have oftentimes done, I do take the most high God for my witness, that I am ready with my whole heart and mind, if the council can instruct or teach me any better by the Holy Scripture, and I will be ready with all my heart to alter and change my purpose." Then one of the bishops, which sat by, said unto him, that he would never be so arrogant or proud, that he would prefer his own mind or opinion before the judgment of the whole council. To whom John Huss answered, "Neither do I otherwise mind or intend; for if he which is the meanest or least in all this council can convict me of error, I will, with a humble heart and mind, perform and do whatsoever the council shall require of me." "Mark," said the bishops, "how obstinately he doth persevere in his errors." And when they had thus talked, they commanded the keepers to carry him again unto prison, and so they returned again unto the emperor with their commission.

The next day after, which was Saturday, and the sixth day of July, there was a general session holden of the princes and lords, both of the ecclesiastical and temporal estates, in the head church of the city of Constance, the Emperor Sigismund being president in his imperial robes and habit; in the midst whereof there was made a certain high place, being square about like a table, and hard by it there was a desk of wood, upon the which the garments and vestments pertaining unto priesthood were laid, for this cause, that before John Huss should be delivered over unto the civil power, he should be openly deprived and spoiled of his priestly ornaments. When John Huss was brought thither, he fell down upon his knees before that same high place, and prayed a long time. In the mean while the bishop of Londe went up into the pulpit, and made this sermon following:

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Trusting, by humble invocation upon the Divine help and aid, most noble prince and most Christian emperor, and you, most excellent fathers, and reverend lords, bishops, and prelates, also most excellent doctors and masters, famous and noble dukes, and high counts, honourable nobles, and barons, and all other men worthy of remembrance; that the intent and purpose of my mind may the more plainly and evidently appear unto this most sacred congregation, I am first of all determined to treat or speak of that which is read in the Epistle on the next Sunday, in the 6th chapter to the Romans, that is to say, Let the body of sin be destroyed, &c.

"It appeareth by the authority of Aristotle, in his book entitled, De C?lo et Mundo, how wicked, dangerous, and foolish a matter it seemeth to be, not to withstand perverse and wicked beginnings. For he saith that a small error in the beginning is very great in the end. It is very damnable and dangerous to have erred, but more hard to be corrected or amended. Whereupon that worthy doctor St. Jerome, in his book upon the exposition of the catholic faith, teacheth how necessary a thing it is that heretics and heresies should be suppressed, even at the first beginning of them, saying thus, The rotten and dead flesh is to be cut off from the body, lest that the whole body do perish and putrefy. For a scabbed sheep is to be put out of the fold, lest that the whole flock be infected. And a little fire is to be quenched, lest the whole house be consumed and burned.' Arius was first a spark in Alexandria, who, because he was not at the first quenched, be presumed and went about with his wicked and perverse imaginations, and fantastical inventions, to spot and defile the catholic faith, which is founded and established by Christ, defended with the victorious triumphs of so many martyrs, and illuminate and set forth with the excellent doctrines and writings of so many men. Such therefore must be resisted; such heretics, of necessity, must be suppressed and condemned.

"Wherefore I have truly propounded, as touching the punishment of every such obstinate heretic, that the body of sin is to be destroyed. Whereupon it is to be considered, according unto the holy traditions of the fathers, that some sins are adverse and contrary unto others; other some are annexed or conjoined together; other some are, as it were, branches and members of others; and some are, as it were, the roots and head of others. Amongst all which, those are to be counted the most detestable, out of the which the most and worst have their original and beginning. Wherefore, albeit that all sins and offences are to be abhorred of us, yet those are specially to be eschewed, which are the head and root of the rest. For by how much the perverseness of them is of more force and power to hurt, with so much the more speed and circumspection ought they to be rooted out and extinguished, with apt preservatives and remedies. Forasmuch, then, as amongst all sins, none doth more appear to be inveterate than the mischief of this most execrable schism, therefore have I right well propounded that the body of sin should be destroyed. For by the long continuance of this schism, great and most cruel destruction is sprung up amongst the faithful, and hath long continued; abominable divisions of heresies are grown; threatenings are increased and multiplied; the confusion of the whole clergy is grown thereupon, and the opprobries and slanders of the Christian people are abundantly sprung up and increased. And truly it is no marvel, forasmuch as that most detestable and execrable schism, is, as it were, a body and heap of dissolution of the true faith of God: for what can be good or holy in that place, where such a pestiferous schism hath reigned so long a time? For, as St. Bernard saith, Like as in the unity and concord of the faithful, there is the habitation and dwelling of the Lord, so likewise in the schism and dissipation of the Christians, there is made the habitation and dwelling of the devil. Is not schism and division the original of all subversion, the den of heresies, and the nourisher of all offences? for the knot of unity and peace being once troubled and broken; there is free passage made for all strife and debate. Covetousness is uttered in oaths for lucre's sake, lust and will is set at liberty, and all means opened unto slaughter. All right and equity is banished, the ecclesiastical power is injured, and the calamity of this schism bringeth in all kind of bondage; sword and violence doth rule, the laity have the dominion, concord and unity are banished, and all the prescript rules of religion utterly contemned and set at nought.

"Consider, most gentle lords, during this most pestiferous schism, how many heresies have appeared and showed themselves, how many heretics have escaped unpunished, how many churches have been spoiled and pulled down, how many cities have been oppressed, and regions brought to ruin! What confusion hath there happened in the clergy! What and how great destruction hath been amongst the Christian people! I pray you, mark how the church of God, the spouse of Christ, and the mother of all faithful, is contemned and despised. For who doth reverence the keys of the church, who feareth the censures or laws, or who is it that doth defend the liberties thereof? But rather who is it that doth not offend the same, or who doth not invade it, or else, what is he that dare not violently lay hands upon the patrimony or heritage of Jesus Christ? The goods of the clergy, and of the poor, and the relief of pilgrims and strangers, gotten together by the blood of our Saviour, and of many martyrs, are spoiled and taken away: behold the abomination of the desolation brought upon the church of God, the destruction of the faith, and the confusion of the Christian people, to the ruin of the Lord's flock or fold, and all the whole company of our most holy Saviour and Redeemer. This loss is more great or grievous than any which could happen unto the martyrs of Christ, and this persecution much more cruel than the persecution of any tyrant; for they did but only punish the bodies, but in this schism and division the souls are tormented. There the blood of men was only shed, but in this case the true faith is subverted and overthrown. That persecution was salvation unto many; but this schism is destruction unto all men. When the tyrants raged, then the faith did increase; but by this division it is utterly decayed. During their cruelty and madness the primitive church increased; but through this schism it is confounded and overthrown. Tyrants did ignorantly offend; but in this schism many do wittingly and willingly, even of obstinacy, offend. There came in heretics, users of simony, and hypocrites, to the great detriment and deceit of the church; under those tyrants, the merits of the just were increased.

"But during this schism mischief and wickedness are augmented; for in this most cursed and execrable division, truth is made an enemy to all Christians, faith is not regarded, love and charity hated, hope is lost, justice overthrown, no kind of courage or valiantness, but only unto mischief: modesty and temperance cloaked, wisdom turned into dcceit, humility feigned, equity and truth falsified, patience utterly fled, conscience small, all wickedness intended, devotion counted folly, gentleness abject and cast away, religion despised, obedience not regarded, and all manner of life reproachful and abominable. With how great and grievous sorrows is the church of God replenished and filled, whilst that tyrants do oppress it, heretics invade it, users of simony do spoil and rob it, and schismatics go about utterly to subvert it! O most miserable and wretched Christian people, whom now by the space of forty years, with such indurate and continual schism, they have tormented, and almost brought to ruin! O the little bark and ship of Christ, which hath so long time wandered and strayed now in the midst of the whirlpools, and by and by sticketh fast in the rocks, tossed to and fro with most grievous and tempestuous storms! O miserable and wretched boat of Peter, if the most holy Father would suffer thee to sink or drown, into what dangers and perils have the wicked pirates brought thee! amongst what rocks have they placed thee! O most godly and loving Christians, what faithful and devout man is there, which, beholding and seeing the great ruin and decay of the church, would not be provoked unto tears? What good conscience is there that can refrain weeping? because that contention and strife is poured upon the ecclesiastical rulers, which have made us to err in the way; because they have not found, or rather would not find, the way of unity and concord: whereupon so many heresies, and so great confusion is sprung up, and grown in the flock of Peter, and the fold of our Lord.

"Many princes, kings, and prelates, have greatly laboured and travailed for the rooting out hereof; but yet could they never bring to pass or finish that most wholcsome and necessary work. Wherefore, most Christian king, this most glorious and triumphant victory hath tarried only for thee, the crown and glory thereof shall be thine for ever, and this most happy victory shall be continually celebrate to thy great honour and praise, that thou hast restored again the church which was so spoiled, thou hast removed and put away all inveterate and over-grown schisms and divisions, thou hast trodden down users of simony, and rooted out all heretics. Dost thou not behold and see how great, perpetual, and famous renown and glory it will be unto thee? For what can be more just, what more holy, what better, what more to be desired, or finally, what can be more acceptable, than to root out this wicked and abominable schism, to restore the church again unto her ancient liberty, to extinguish and put away all simony, and to condemn and destroy all errors and heresies from amongst the flock of the faithful? Nothing, truly, can be better, nothing more holy, nothing more profitable for the whole world, and finally, nothing more acceptable unto God: for the performance of which most holy and godly work, thou wast elect and chosen of God; thou wast first deputed and chosen in heaven, before thou wast elect and chosen upon earth. Thou wast first appointed by the celestial and heavenly Prince, before the electors of the empire did elect or choose thee, and specially, that by the imperial force and power, thou shouldst condemn and destroy those errors and heresies, which we have presently in hand to be condemned and subverted. To the performance of this most holy work, God hath given unto thee the knowledge and understanding of his Divine truth and verity, power of princely majesty, and the just judgment of equity and righteousness, as the Most Highest himself doth say; I have given thee understanding and wisdom, to speak and utter my words, and have set thee to rule over nations and kingdoms, that thou shouldst help the people, pluck down and destroy iniquity, and by exercising of justice thou shouldst, I say, destroy all heresies, and specially this obstinate heretic here present, through whose wickedness and mischief, many places of the world are infected with most pestilent and heretical poison, and by his means and occasion almost ut.terly subverted and destroyed. This most holy and godly labour, O most noble prince, was reserved only for thee, upon thee it doth only lie, unto whom the whole rule and ministration of justice is given; wherefore thou hast established thy praise and renown, even by the mouths of infants and sucking babes, for thy praises shall be celebrate for evermore, that thou hast destroyed and overthrown such and so great enemies of the faith. The which that thou mayst prosperously and happily perform, and bring to pass, our Lord Jesus vouchsafe to grant thee his grace and help, who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen."

When this sermon was thus ended, the proctor of the council rising up, named Henricus de Piro, required that the process of the cause against John Huss might be continued, and that they might proceed unto the definitive sentence. Then a certain bishop, which was appointed one of the judges, declared the process of the cause, which was pleaded long since in the court of Rome and elsewhere, between John Huss and the prelates of Prague.

At the last he repeated those articles which we have before remembered, amongst the which he rehearsed also one article, that John Huss should teach the two natures of the Godhead and manhood to be one Christ. John Huss went about briefly with a word or two to answer unto every of them; but as often as he was about to speak, the cardinal of Cambray commanded him to hold his peace, saying, "Hereafter you shall answer to all together, if you will." Then said John Huss, "How can I at once answer unto all those things which are alleged against me, when I cannot remember them all? "Then said the cardinal of Florence, "We have heard thee sufficiently." But when John Huss for all that would not hold his peace, they sent the officers which should force him thereunto. Then began he to entreat, pray, and beseech them, that they would hear him, that such as were present might not credit or believe those things to be true which were reported of him. But when all this would nothing prevail, he, kneeling down upon his knees, committed the whole matter unto God and the Lord Jesus Christ, for at their hands he believed easily to obtain that which he desired.

When the articles above-said were ended, last of all there was added a notable blasphemy, which they all imputed to John Huss; that is, that he said there should be a fourth person in Divinity, and that a certain doctor did hear him speak of the same. When John Huss desired that the doctor might be named, the bishop which had alleged the article said, that it was not needful to name him. Then said John Huss, O miserable and wretched man that I am, which am forced and compelled to bear such a blasphemy and slander.

Afterward the article was repeated, how he appealed unto Christ, and that by name was called heretical. Whereunto John Huss answered, "O Lord Jesus Christ, whose word is openly condemned here in this council, unto thee again I do appeal; which, when thou wast evil-entreated of thine enemies, didst appeal unto God thy Father, committing thy cause unto a most just Judge, that by thy example we also, being oppressed with manifest wrongs and injuries, should flee unto thee." Last of all the article was rehearsed, as touching the contempt of the excommunication by John Huss, whereunto he answered as before, That he was excused by his advocates in the court of Rome, wherefore he did not appear when he was cited; and also that it may be proved by the acts, that the excommunication was not ratified; and, finally, to the intent he might clear himself of obstinacy, he was for that cause come unto Constance, under the emperor's safe-conduct. When he had spoken these words, one of them, which was appointed judge, read the definitive sentence against him, which folIoweth thus word for word.

"The most holy and sacred general council of Constance, being congregate and gathered together, representing the catholic church, for a perpetual memory of the thing, as the verity and truth doth witness, an evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit; hereupon it cometh, that the man of most damnable memory, John Wickliff, through his pestiferous doctrine, not through Jesus Christ by the gospel, as the holy fathers in times past have begotten faithful children; but, contrary unto the wholesome faith of Jesus Christ, as a most venomous root, hath begotten many pestilent and wicked children, whom he hath left behind him, successors and followers of his perverse and wicked doctrine, against whomthis sacred synod of Constance is forced to rise up, as against bastards and unlawful children, and with diligent care, with the sharp knife of the ecclesiastical authority, to cut up their errors out of the Lord's field, as most hurtful brambles and briers, lest they should grow to the hurt and detriment of others.

"Forasmuch, then, as in the holy general council lately celebrated and holden at Rome, it was decreed, that the doctrine of John Wickliff, of most damnable memory, should be condemned, and that his books which contained the same doctrine should be burned as heretical, and this decree was approved and confirmed by the sacred authority of the whole council; nevertheless one John Huss, here personally present in this sacred council, not the disciple of Christ, but of John Wickliff, an arch-heretic, after, and contrary, or against the condemnation and decree, hath taught, preached, and affirmed the articles of Wickliff, which were condemned by the church of God, and, in times past, by certain most reverend fathers in Christ, lords, archbishops, and bishops, of divers kingdoms and realms, masters of divinity of divers universities; especially resisting in his open sermons, and also with his adherents and accomplices in the schools, the condemnation of the said articles of Wickliff's oftentimes published in the said university of Prague, and hath declared him, the said Wickliff, for the favour and commendation of his doctrine, before the whole multitude of the clergy and people, to be a catholic man, and a true evangelical doctor. He hath also published and affirmed certain and many of his articles, worthily condemned, to be catholic, the which are notoriously contained in the books of the said John Huss.

"Wherefore, after diligent deliberation and full information first had upon the premises by the reverend fathers and lords in Christ of the holy Church of Rome, cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, and other prelates, doctors of divinity, and of both laws, in great number assembled and gathered together, this most sacred and holy council of Constance declareth and determineth the articles above.said (the which, after due conference had, are found in his books written with his own hand, the which also the said John Huss in open audience, before this holy council, hath confessed to be to his books) not to be catholic, neither worthy to be taught; but that many of them are erroneous, some of them wicked, other some offensive to godly ears, many of them temerarious and seditious, and the greater part of them notoriously heretical, and even now of late by the holy fathers and general councils reproved and condemned. And forasmuch as the said articles are expressly contained in the books of the said John Huss, therefore this said sacred council doth condemn and reprove all those books which he wrote, in what form or phrase soever they be, or whether they be translated by others, and doth determine and decree, that they all shall be solemnly and openly burned in the presence of the clergy and people of the city of Constance, and elsewhere; adding, moreover, for the premises, that all his doctrine is worthy to be despised and eschewed of all faithful Christians. And to the intent this most pernicious and wicked doctrine may be utterly excluded and shut out of the church, this sacred synod doth straitly command, that diligent inquisition be made by the ordinaries of the places, by the ecclesiastical censure, for such treatises and works, and that such as are found be consumed and burned with fire. And if there be any found, which shall contemn or despise this sentence or decree, this sacred synod ordaineth and decreeth that the ordinaries of the places, and the inquisitors of heresies, shall proceed against every such person as suspected of heresy.

"Wherefore, after due inquisition made against the said John Huss, and full information had by the commissaries and doctors of both laws, and also by the sayings of the witnesses which were worthy of credit, and many other things openly read before the said John Huss, and before the fathers and prelates of this sacred council, (by the which allegations of the witnesses, it appeareth that the said John Huss hath taught many evil and offensive, seditious, and perilous heresies, and hath preached the same by a long time,) this most sacred and holy synod, lawfully congregate and gathered together in the Holy Ghost, the name of Christ being invocated and called upon, by this their sentence which here is set forth in writing, determineth, pronounceth, declareth, and decreeth, that John Huss was and is a true and manifest heretic, and that he hath preached openly errors and heresies lately condemned by the church of God, and many other seditious, temerarious, and offensive things, to no small offence of the Divine Majesty, and of the universal church, and detriment of the catholic faith and church, neglecting and despising the keys of the church, and ecclesiastical censure. In the which his error he hath continued with a mind altogether indurate, and hardened by the space of many years, much offending the faithful Christians by his obstinacy and stubbornness, when he made his appcal unto the Lord Jesus Christ, as the most high Judge, omitting and leaving all ecclesiastical means. In the which his appeal he allegeth many false, injurious, and offensive matters, in contempt of the apostolic see, and the ecclesiastical censures and keys.

"Whereupon, both for the premises and many other things, the said synod pronounceth John Huss to be a heretic, and judgeth him by these presents to be condemned and judged as a heretic; and reproveth the said appeal as injurious, offensive, and done in derision unto the ecclesiastical jurisdiction; and judgeth the said Huss not only to have seduced the Christian people, by his writings and preachings, and especially in the kingdom of Bohemia, neither to have been a true preacher of the gospel of Christ unto the said people, according to the exposition of the holy doctors; but also to have been a seducer of them, and also an obstinate and stiff.necked person, yea, and such a one as doth not desire to return again to the lap of our holy mother the church, neither to abjure the errors and heresies which he hath openly preached and defended. Wherefore this most sacred council decreeth and declareth, that the said John Huss shall be famously deposed and degraded from his priestly orders and dignity," &c.

Whilst these things were thus read, John Huss, albeit he were forbidden to speak, notwithstanding did often interrupt them; and especially when he was reproved of obstinacy, he said with a loud voice, I was never obstinate, but as always heretofore, even now again, I desire to be taught by the Holy Scriptures, and I do profess myself to be so desirous of the truth, that if I might by one only word subvert the errors of all heretics, I would not refuse to enter into what peril or danger soever it were. When his books were condemned, he said, "Wherefore have you condemned those books, when you have not proved by any one article, that they are contrary to the Scriptures, or articles of faith? And moreover, what injury is this that you do to me, that you have condemned these books written in the Bohemian tongue, which you never saw, neither yet read?" And oftentimes, looking up unto heaven, he prayed.

When the sentence and judgment was ended, kneeling down upon his knees, he said, "Lord Jesus Christ, forgive mine enemies, by whom thou knowest that I am falsely accused, and that they have used false witness and slanders against me; forgive them, I say, for thy great mercies' sake." This his prayer and oration, the greater part, and especially the chief of the priests, did deride and mock.

At the last, the seven bishops which were chosen out to degrade him of his priesthood, commanded him to put on the garments pertaining unto priesthood, which thing when he had done, until he came to the putting on of the albe, he called to his remembrance the white vesture which Herod put upon Jesus Christ, to mock him withal. So, likewise, in all other things he did comfort himself by the example of Christ. When he had now put on all his priestly vestures, the bishops exhorted him that he should yet alter and change his mind and purpose, and provide for his honour and safeguard. Then he, (according as the manner of the ceremony is,) going up to the top of the scaffold, being full of tears, spake unto the people in this sort:

"These lords and bishops do exhort and counsel me, that I should here confess before you all that I have erred; the which thing to do, if it were such as might be done with the infamy and reproach of man only, they might peradventure easily persuade me thereunto; but now truly I am in the sight of the Lord my God, without whose great ignominy, and grudge of mine own conscience, I can by no means do that which they require of me. For I do well know, that I never taught any of those things which they have falsely alleged against me, but I have always preached, taught, written, and thought contrary thereunto. With what countenance then should I behold the heavens? with what face should I look upon them whom I have taught, whereof there is a great number, if through me it should come to pass that those things which they have hitherto known to be most certain and sure, should now be made uncertain? Should I by this my example astonish or trouble so many souls, so many consciences, endued with the most firm and certain knowledge of the Scriptures and gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and his most pure doctrine, armed against all the assaults of Satan? I will never do it, neither commit any such kind of offence, that I should seem more to esteem this vile carcass, appointed unto death, than their health and salvation." At this most godly word he was forced again to hear, by the consent of the bishops, that he did obstinately and maliciously persevere in his pernicious and wicked errors.

Then he was commanded to come down to the execution of his judgment, and in his coming down, one of the seven bishops before rehearsed, first took away the chalice from him which he held in his hand, saying, "O cursed Judas, why hast thou forsaken the counsel and ways of peace, and hast counselled with the Jews? we take away from thee this chalice of thy salvation." But John Huss received this curse in this manner: "But I trust unto God the Father omnipotent, and my Lord Jesus Christ, for whose sake I do suffer these things, that he will not take away the chalice of his redemption, but have a stedfast and firm hope that this day I shall drink thereof in his kingdom." Then followed the other bishops in order, which every one of them took away the vestments from him which they had put on, each one of them giving him their curse. Whereunto John Huss answered, that he did willingly embrace and hear those blasphemies for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the last they came to the rasing of his shaven crown. But before the bishops would go in hand with it, there was a great contention between them, with what instrument it shoule be done, with a razor, or with a pair of shears.

In the mean season, John Huss, turning himsel towards the emperor, said, "I marvel that, foras much as they be all of like cruel mind and stomach yet they cannot agree upon their kind of cruelty.' Notwithstanding, at the last they agreed to cut of the skin of the crown of his head with a pair of shears. And when they had done that, they added these words, "Now hath the church taken away all her ornaments and privileges from him. Now there resteth nothing else, but that he be delivered over unto the secular power." But before they did that, there yet remained another knack of reproach; for they caused to be made a certain crown of paper; almost a cubit deep, in the which were painted three devils of wonderful ugly shape, and this title set over their heads, Heresiarcha. The which when he saw, he said, "My Lord Jesus Christ for my sake did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then for his sake again wear this light crown, be it never so ignominious? Truly I will do it, and that willingly." When it was set upon his head, the bishops said, "Now we commit thy soul unto the devil." "But I," said John Huss, (lifting up his eyes towards the heavens,) "do commit my spirit into thy hands. O Lord Jesus Christ, unto thee I commend my spirit which thou hast redeemed." These contumelious opprobries thus ended, the bishops, turning themselves towards the emperor, said, "This most sacred synod of Constance leaveth now John Huss, which hath no more any office, or to do in the church of God, unto the civil judgment and power." Then the emperor commanded Ludovicus duke of Bavaria, which stood before him in his robes, holding the golden apple with the cross in his hand, that he should receive John Huss of the bishops, and deliver him unto them which should do the execution. By whom, as he was led to the place of execution, before the church doors he saw his books burning, whereat he smiled and laughed. And all men that he passed by, he exhorted not to think that he should die for any error or heresy, but only for the hatred and ill-will of his adversaries, which had charged him with most false and unjust crimes. All the whole city in manner being in armour, followed him.

Illustration -- The Execution of John Huss

The place appointed for the execution was before the gate Gotlebian, between the gardens and the gates of the suburbs. When John Huss was come thither, kneeling down upon his knees, and lifting his eyes up unto heaven, he prayed, and said certain psalms, and especially the 50th and 31st psalms. And they which stood hard by, heard him oftentimes in his prayer, with a merry and cheerful countenance, repeat this verse, "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit," &c. Which thing when the lay-people beheld which stood next unto him, they said, What he hath done before we know not, but now we see and hear that he doth speak and pray very devoutly and godly. Other some wished that he had a confessor. There was a certain priest by, sitting on horseback, in a green gown, drawn about with red silk, which said, he ought not to be heard, because he is a heretic. Yet, notwithstanding, whilst he was in prison, he was both confessed, and also absolved by a certain doctor, a monk, as Huss himself doth witness in a certain epistle which he wrote unto his friends out of prison. Thus Christ reigneth unknown unto the world, even in the midst of his enemies. In the mean time whilst he prayed, as he bowed his neck backward to look upward unto heaven, the crown of paper fell off from his head upon the ground. Then one of the soldiers taking it up again, said, "Let us put it again upon his head, that he may be burned with his masters the devils, whom he hath served."

When, by the commandment of the tormentors, he was risen up from the place of his prayer, with a loud voice be said, "Lord Jesus Christ, assist and help me, that with a constant and patient mind, by thy most gracious help, I may bear and suffer this cruel and ignominious death, whereunto I am condemned for the preaching of thy most holy gospel and word." Then, as before, he declared the cause of his death unto the people. In the mean season the hangman stripped him of his garments, and, turning his hands behind his back, tied him fast unto, the stake with ropes that were made wet. And whereas by chance he was turned towards the east, certain cried out that he should not look towards the east, for he was a heretic: so he was turned towards the west. Then was his neck tied with a chain unto the stake, the which chain when he beheld, smiling, he said, that he would willingly receive the same chain for Jesus Christ's sake, who, he knew, was bound with a far worse chain. Under his feet they set two faggots, admixing straw withal, and so likewise from the feet up to the chin he was enclosed in round about with wood. But before the wood was set on fire, Ludovicus, duke of Bavaria, with another gentleman with him, which was the son of Clement, came and exhorted John Huss, that he would yet be mindful of his safeguard, and renounce his errors. To whom he said, "What error should I renounce, when I know myself guilty of none? For as for those things which are falsely alleged against me, I know that I never did so much as once think them, much less preach them. For this was the principal end and purpose of my doctrine, that I might teach all men penance and remission of sins, according to the verity of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and the exposition of the holy doctors; wherefore with a cheerful mind and courage I am here ready to suffer death." When he had spoken these words, they left him, and shaking hands together, they departed.

Then was the fire kindled, and John Huss began to sing with a loud voice, "Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, have mercy upon me." And when he began to say the same the third time, the wind drove the flame so upon his face, that it choked him. Yet, notwithstanding, he moved a while after, by the space that a man might almost say three times the Lord's prayer. When all the wood was burned and consumed, the upper part of the body was left hanging in the chain, the which they threw down stake and all, and making a new fire, burned it, the head being first cut in small gobbets, that it might the sooner be consumed unto ashes. The heart, which was found amongst the bowels, being well beaten with staves and clubs, was at last pricked upon a sharp stick, and roasted at a fire apart until it was consumed. Then with great diligence gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the river Rhine, that the least remnant of the ashes of that man should not be left upon the earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind of torment.

I know very well that these things are very slenderly written of me, as touching the labours of this most holy martyr John Huss, with whom the labours of Hercules are not to be compared; for that ancient Hercules slew a few monsters, but this our Hercules, with a most stout and valiant courage, hath subdued even the world itself, the mother of all monsters and cruel beasts. This story were worthy some other kind of most curious handling; but forasmuch as I cannot otherwise perform it myself, I have endeavoured according to the very truth, as the thing was indeed, to commend the same unto all godly minds; neither have I heard it reported by others, but I myself was present at the doing of all these things, and, as I was able, I have put them in writing, that by this my labour and endeavour, howsoever it were, I might preserve the memory of this holy man and excellent doctor of the evangelical truth.

What was the name of this author which wrote this story it is not here expressed. Cochleus, in his second book, Contra Hussitas, supposeth his name to be Johannes Pizibram, a Bohemian. Who afterward succeeding in the place of John Huss at Prague, at last is thought to relent to the papists.

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