Front Page Titles (by Subject) Part I.—: Letters Written Before the Death of Archbishop Zbinek ( June 30, 1408— September 28, 1411) - The Letters of John Hus
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Part I.—: Letters Written Before the Death of Archbishop Zbinek ( June 30, 1408— September 28, 1411) - Jan Huss, The Letters of John Hus 
The Letters of John Hus. With Introductions and Explanatory Notes by Herbert B. Workman and R. Martin Pope (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904).
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Letters Written Before the Death of Archbishop Zbinek
John of Husinecz—a name which he abbreviated, except in formal documents, into the more familiar Hus—was the child of poor peasants in Husinecz, a village of Bohemia not far from the Bavarian frontier. The date of his birth is uncertain, but is usually accepted, on somewhat doubtful evidence, as 1369. Round the childhood of Hus there gathered in later years the usual tales with which fond memory strives to fill the gaps of ignorance. Some of these have a suspicious resemblance to similar tales concerning Luther; others are manifestly coined from the fact that in Czech the word hus, or husca, means “goose”—etymologically, of course, it is the same word—a play on the name which we shall meet with again and again in the Letters. Of the brothers and sisters of Hus we know nothing. In the sons of a brother he showed a touching interest in his last days (infra, p. 236).
On entering the University of Prague Hus supported himself, as Luther at Erfurt, by singing in the churches and by menial services. His piety at this time, though sincere, was of the usual type. In 1392 we find Hus, following in this matter the lead of Stiekna (infra, p. 121, n.), parting with his last four groschen to a seller of indulgences at the Wyschehrad—a suburb of Prague—‘so that there remained only dry bread for his support.’ In one of the intensely subjective epistles of his last year (infra, p. 150), Hus reproached himself with his youthful levity, especially the time he wasted in chess, and his inability to lose a game without anger. Such reproaches, as in the case of Cromwell, Bunyan, and the Puritans in general, are rather the evidence of a tender conscience than of any real depravity of heart.
In 1396 Hus took his Master’s degree in Arts, and two years later began to deliver lectures as a public teacher. In 1401 he was made dean of the faculty of philosophy, and in the following year became the rector of the University, a position he occupied for about six months to the end of April 1403. Nevertheless, his achievements at the University were in nowise remarkable. Though he read the larger part of the course necessary for the degree in Divinity, in 1394, graduating as Bachelor, and in 1401 lecturing on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, he never incepted as doctor,1 while the wide knowledge that appears in his writings is but borrowed learning. Among his teachers at the University we may note with interest the name of Stanislas of Znaim, in later years his bitter foe.
In 1400 Hus obtained priest’s orders; his object, he tells us, was the comfortable life led by the clergy. Two years later (March 14, 1402) he was appointed preacher at the Chapel of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem. To this church a dwelling-room was attached, from which a staircase led direct to the pulpit. This appointment gave Hus his opportunity. The Bethlehem Chapel in Prague—a vast building destroyed by the Jesuits in 1786—had been erected and endowed (May 24, 1391) by two wealthy laymen, on the condition that its rector should be a secular, and preach every Sunday and festival exclusively in the Czech language. Thus the Chapel—‘Bethlehem, which is, being interpreted, house of bread, because there the common people should be refreshed with the bread of preaching’—was both the product and expression of the new consciousness of Czech nationalism, and of the recent religious revival. Not only the Bethlehem, but almost everything else in Prague, University included, was new. The whole town was seething with a new life, with a quickened interest in religion, and with the fierce determination of the Czechs to throw off all bondage to the Germans, and, if possible, assert their own supremacy. Of all this the movement led by Hus was but one phase and outlet. For from the first Hus flung himself with passionate earnestness into the national movement. ‘The Czechs,’ he cried in one of his sermons, ‘in this part are more wretched than dogs or snakes, for a dog defends the couch on which he lies, and if another dog tries to drive him away he fights with him. A snake does the same. But we let the Germans oppress us, and occupy all the offices, without complaint.’
In addition to the new consciousness of Czech nationalism, a new determination to resist the German pressure, and the new revival of religion brought about by the labours of Milicz of Kremsier, Conrad of Waldhausen, and Mathias of Janow, the student will discern a third factor in the life of Hus. This was his making acquaintance with the works of Wyclif. The precise year in which the writings of the great English heresiarch were introduced into Bohemia cannot now be determined, and for our present purpose is not material. Suffice that in the Fall of 1401 Jerome of Prague, who in 1398 had obtained his licentiate at the University of Prague, and permission to go abroad, came back from Oxford, bringing with him copies of Wyclif’s Dialogue and Trialogue, together with some other lesser works. All these Jerome had written out with his own hand. ‘Young men and students,’ he said in a public disputation, ‘who did not study the books of Wyclif would never find the true root of knowledge.’ With this conviction he introduced the works to John Christian of Prachaticz and John Hus. Hus was, however, already acquainted with the purely philosophical treatises of Wyclif. Of this we have evidence in the five tractates of Wyclif now in the Royal Library at Stockholm, written out by Hus ‘with his own hand in 1398,’ and carried off by the Swedes in 1648 as part of the spoils of the Bohemian War.
Before long the strife over Wyclif had broken out in Bohemia. In April 1403 Hus ceased to be the rector of the University, and Walter Harrasser, a German, was elected in his place. On May 28, 1403, the new rector, at the instance of the chapter of Prague—for the archbishopric at this time was still vacant—issued an order forbidding any discussion of the twenty-four articles from Wyclif’s works already condemned in England at the famous Blackfriars or Earthquake Synod (May 21, 1382). To these were further added twenty-one articles extracted by Hübner, a Silesian master. The prohibition remained a dead letter, though, as we shall see in the Letters, these forty-five articles played no small part at Constance. The whole affair, in fact, seems to have been an attempt by the German Nominalists to score over the Czech Realists, who for their part contented themselves with protesting, somewhat unfairly, that the condemned propositions—at any rate, the additions of Hübner—were not to be found in Wyclif. The struggle as yet was chiefly one of the Schools; for at Prague the constant fight of Czech and Teuton had passed into a struggle of philosophical creeds. Whatever the one “nation” espoused, the other condemned. The Germans had embraced Nominalism—of itself a sufficient reason for the Czechs to become uncompromising Realists and to rally to the defence of so thorough-going a Realist as Wyclif.
The leader of the Czech Realists at this time would appear to have been Stanislaus of Znaim, from whose teaching in the University Hus acknowledges that he had learned much. In a squib of the times we read:—
In the controversy on the forty-five articles Stanislaus defended the incriminated doctrines with warmth: ‘Let him who likes rise up and attack; I am willing to defend.’ He spoke so haughtily that ‘some of the senior doctors left the congregation.’ Shortly afterwards he published a tractate, De Remanentia Panis, and ‘argued boldly in the schools’ on the side of Wyclif. Stanislaus’s tractate was pronounced heretical by the Saxon master, Ludolph Meistermann—one of the leaders in the Secession of 1409. In the end Stanislas was ‘forced to recant.’ With Stanislas, though less prominent and pronounced, Stephen Palecz was closely associated. In the Church, as on the stage, one man in his time plays many parts.
Among these Realists or Wyclifists we must already reckon John Hus. In a Taborite document we read: ‘These books of the evangelical doctor, as is known from credible witnesses, opened the eyes of Master John Hus of blessed memory, whilst reading and re-reading the same in connection with his adherents.’ At one time it would seem he had shrunk back from Wyclif’s theological teaching, though welcoming his philosophical positions. “Oh, Wyclif, Wyclif,” he had cried in a Czech sermon, making use of an untranslatable pun, “how you will make our heads to waggle (zwikles).” But this dread was fast disappearing.
Hitherto any part that Hus may have taken in the controversy over Wyclif had been political rather than religious. But in 1408 circumstances arose which compelled Hus, in spite of himself, to place himself at the head of the Bohemian Lollards, though he probably still deceived himself by imagining that they were but Czech Realists. This continued unconsciousness of whither he was drifting, together with the drift itself, is brought out very clearly in the first letter of Hus preserved for us, written in the early summer of 1408. From this point we shall leave the Letters, as far as possible, to tell their own story, adding only such connecting narratives and notes as may be needful to bind together these living fragments into an intelligible whole.
Archbishop Zbinek Zazic of Hasenburg had been elected while still young to the metropolitan see of Prague (November 29, 1402). The choice was a mistake. As a prelate Zbinek was weak though well-intentioned, more at home in the camp than in the council-chamber, little fitted to guide the Church of Bohemia in the complex struggle into which it had entered. A Czech himself, he was at first inclined to sympathise with the Czech reformers or nationalists. At one time, as this letter shows, Hus enjoyed the complete confidence of the Archbishop. In 1405 Zbinek appointed Hus the special preacher before the Bohemian Synod. In the same year he nominated Hus to serve on a commission to investigate certain frauds carried on at Wilsnack, a village of Brandenburg, in connection with a relic of the blood of Christ. In 1407 Zbinek gave proof of the continuance of his friendship by once more appointing Hus the special preacher to the Synod. The sermons which Hus preached on these occasions have been preserved, and show no signs of revolt. The preacher confined himself to the stock theme of the vices of the clergy, sheltering himself, as was usual in such discourses, behind the authority of St. Bernard. But the events of 1408, and the pronounced part that thenceforth Hus took in the spread of Wyclif’s doctrines, turned the Archbishop’s favour into enmity. This letter of Hus, which the impartial critic will probably condemn as somewhat lacking in respect, contributed no doubt to the growing estrangement.
The circumstances which provoked the letter were as follows: In spite of the condemnation of 1403, the Wyclifists, as Stephen Dolein (infra, p. 74) complained, swarmed everywhere ‘in state apartments of princes, the schools of the students, the lonely chambers of the monks, and the cells of the Carthusians.’ Large sums of money were paid for manuscripts of the English doctor, and corrected copies were constantly brought from England. So rapid was the spread of his doctrines that in 1406 Zbinek, acting on the orders of Innocent VII., threatened with punishment all those who preached the heresies of the Reformer, and ordered that the Roman dogma of the Sacrament should be proclaimed to the people on the next Feast of Corpus Christi.
As the proclamation produced little effect, Zbinek resorted to other measures. In the May and June of 1408 certain masters of Prague were brought up before the Archbishop’s deputies. Their names were Sigismund of Jistebnicz, Matthias Pater of Knin, Nicholas of Welemowicz, and another of whose name we are ignorant. One of these, Nicholas of Welemowitz, familiarly known as “Abraham,” an unlicensed preacher in the Church of the Holy Ghost at Prague, had asserted the Lollard idea that ‘laymen as well as priests should be allowed to preach,’ and at his trial refused to take any oath, “save by the living God.” Hus, who was present in court, openly defended Nicholas in the matter of the oath by a quotation from Chrysostom, for which he was indebted to Gratian’s Decretum.1 “Ah, master,” retorted the Vicar-General, Kbel, “you came here to hear, not to talk.” Thus silenced in court, Hus appealed to Zbinek direct. The next day, July 1, 1408—a day which fixes the date of the letter—“Abraham” was released, though not, we imagine, in consequence of Hus’s interference. In reality, the trials were not pressed, though Matthias Pater of Knin was forced to abjure; for Wenzel the King was anxious to further his political projects (see infra, p. 18) by obtaining a clean bill, if we may so put it, for the character of his subjects. Accordingly Zbinek, a few days after the release of “Abraham,” declared in a Synod at Prague (July 17, 1408) ‘that after making diligent inquisition, he could find no heretic in Bohemia.’
To Zbinek, Archbishop of Prague
Most reverend father, your obedient servant in the faith and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ!
I very often remind myself how at the beginning of your rule your reverence (paternitas) laid it down as a regulation that whenever I noticed any laxity of discipline, I should report it at once, either personally or, failing this, by letter. It is in accordance with this regulation that I am now forced to make a statement to the effect that incestuous and criminal persons are escaping rigorous correction.1 They go about without restraint like untamed bulls and runaway horses with outstretched necks, while humble priests who pluck away the thorns of sin and fulfil their duties under your rule in an excellent spirit, who shun avarice and give themselves freely for God’s sake to the work of preaching the gospel, are thrown into prison and suffer exile, as if they were heretics, for preaching this same gospel. Reverend father, where is the piety of preventing the preaching of the gospel—the first duty Christ enjoined on His disciples, when He said: Preach the gospel to every creature?2 Where is the discretion of restraining from their toils diligent and faithful labourers? In very truth, I cannot think it is your grace, but the madness of others, that sows such seed. What poor priest will dare to attack crimes or to inveigh against vices? Truly the harvest is great, but the true labourers are few. Therefore, father, pray the Lord of the harvest that He may send faithful labourers into the harvest.3 For it resteth with your grace to reap the entire harvest of the kingdom of Bohemia, to gather it into the Lord’s garner and to give an account for every sheaf in the day of death. But how can so large a multitude of sheaves be stored up by your grace in the Lord’s garner if you take away from the reapers their sickle, to wit, their power of speech, at the whim of indolent persons, who neither reap themselves nor suffer others to do so, when their crimes feel the lash of God’s word? Herein, alas! is the word of the apostle fulfilled: They will not endure sound doctrine, they will turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables and will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.1 Verily this saying of the apostle’s will receive fulfilment, seeing that charity hath grown cold among the clergy, and iniquity hath abounded2 among the people, because the clergy have failed in charity and given up preaching the gospel and faithful imitation of Christ. For which of us, alas! is following the life of Christ in poverty, chastity, humility, and diligent preaching? Woe, woe, woe! the apostle’s word is fulfilled: All seek the things that are their own, not the things that are Jesus Christ’s.3 Therefore, most reverend father, turn your eyes to the things of the spirit, love good men, mark the bad, do not be flattered by the vain and greedy, but delight in men of humble mind and lovers of poverty. Drive the lazy to work, do not hinder faithful toilers in the Lord’s harvest-field: for that may not be bound4 which achieves the salvation of souls.5 I would write at greater length; but I am hindered by the toils of preaching. The Lord Almighty direct the mind of your grace as regards the matters written above, that you may render due account at the fitting time to the Shepherd of shepherds.
The following letter, written in Czech, is without date, but may be referred to this period. Several of the songs of Hus, in addition to the rhymes written in prison (infra, pp. 197, 228), have been preserved for us. The only one of any merit is a short poem, De Cœna Domini, printed in the second volume of the Historia et Monumenta (Mon. ii. 348a). The “Holy Virgins” refer to St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand. The student will notice that, though Hus more than once refers to this feast (infra, pp. 17, 155), he never mentions St. Ursula. St. Ursula, in fact, was a later addition to the legend, the original form of which would appear to have been the Eleven Thousand.1 As the feast takes place on October 21, we may date this letter September or October 1408. But there is nothing in the letter itself that would rule out an even earlier year, though the absence of all polemical tone would shut out a later date.
To the Nuns of a Certain Convent
May it please your husband the Lord Jesus to grant unto you His grace, and to strengthen you in your grace and virginity! You have loved Him above all others, and that in truth most wisely. For He is a King most wise and most powerful, the wealthiest, the strongest, the altogether lovely, and therefore of all most pleasant. He doeth no violence or wrong to His brides, and bringeth no distress to them. He doth not grow old to them. He never breaketh His troth; neither indeed can He. He will be with them for ever, and they will find Him ever ready to their desire, and thus each of them shall be filled with the kingdom of heaven. In that kingdom each man and woman will do His bidding. Each sister shall have her desire, which can never be for aught that is evil. Ponder this well, dear brides of Christ the glorious King. Forsake Him not for any other that is wicked, unclean, base, and defiled, with whom you shall have more distress than joy. For if that other is good-looking, you will be afraid of his unfaithfulness; if deformed, of ennui; if drunken or bad-tempered or of other evil habits, of a devil’s life. If offspring be granted to you, there will be misery during pregnancy and in the birth and in the training of the child. If barrenness be your lot, there will be disgrace, distress, and an imperfect union. If a child is born, you will have fears of its survival or of its deformity. Who can recount the miseries from which the blessed unwedded life in Christ is free, and such virginity as His mother’s, which is exalted above widowhood and matrimony? The Holy Scriptures bear witness that the angels delight in such a life,1 and it is to this that Jesus invites us when He says: He that can take, let him take it.2 St. Paul also useth much argument in its favour.3 Therefore, beloved virgins, brides and daughters of Christ, keep unspotted for Him your virginity, which is the guarding of the will from carnal taint in man or in woman who, like Christ and the Virgin, have never yielded to bodily passion. Blessed shall be the celibate and the virgin when by such a life and the keeping of God’s other commands they shall receive the chief crown—to wit, their reward in eternal bliss! Strive earnestly for this even unto death, dear brides of Christ. You shall win this prize of your faithfulness if you hold in remembrance the eternal kingdom, mark the vanity of the world, beware of evil habits, keep your heart under by toil, love not fine dress, and often partake of the body of Christ.1
I beg you to keep all this well in mind. If God give me leisure and a letter-carrier, I will write to you at greater length. I send you a song to chant at the vespers of the holy virgins, so that, as you bethink you of the words, you may have joy in your hearts and make melody with your lips. Chant, however, in such a manner that you will not be overheard by the men; for they might cherish evil purposes, while you might fall into the sin of pride or of scandal.
Master John Hus, a weakling priest.
A full explanation of all the circumstances which led to the writing of this letter would take us far afield. There were wheels within wheels in the complex politico-religious race-feuds and Church struggles of the times. At Prague three distinct issues had become curiously mixed up together towards the close of 1408, in all of which Hus was a leading actor. There was first of all the issue to which this letter especially refers. Tired of the delays of Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. in coming to any arrangement for ending the great schism, the cardinals of both Pope and anti-pope had withdrawn to Leghorn, and thence on June 24, 1408, had summoned a council to meet at Pisa on March 25, 1409. Under pressure from the University of Paris Europe prepared to obey. What course Bohemia would take was for the moment uncertain. But Wenzel found that Gregory XII. continued to recognise his rival Rupert as king of the Romans. So he determined, at the instance of an envoy of France, that he would side with the cardinals at Pisa, at least to the extent that he would remain neutral (November 24, 1408). For a similar but opposite reason the Germans remained faithful to Gregory and the Rhenish Kaiser, whom they had elected (May 25, 1400) in the place of the drunkard Wenzel. This in itself was sufficient to induce the Bohemian “nation” to follow Hus, when he took up the idea of Wenzel, and brought it before the University. From this arose complication number two. The Czechs found that in the University they were powerless; they had but one vote. The Bavarians and Saxons controlled the Senate, and had the support of Zbinek and the clergy—complication number three—who discerned clearly the danger to themselves in the triumph of Wyclifist Realism, and of the religious and national enthusiasm with which it had become identified. For the Bohemian Church, as Jerome pointed out at Constance, was at this time almost an alien or German institution, fast slipping back into the dependence from which Charles IV. had endeavoured to save it. The Czechs, who had long groaned at the ascendancy of strangers, judged the present a suitable time, by the help of Wenzel, to establish their supremacy, at any rate in the University. Under the lead of Hus they induced Wenzel to decree that the Bohemians should have three votes, the other three nations but one (January 18th, 1409).
The consequences are well known. After a short struggle the “three nations”—variously estimated by mediæval writers at all figures up to 44,000; in reality, as the recently published Matriculation rolls of Leipzig University show us, under 1,000—‘according to their oath quitted the city, some on foot, others on horseback and waggons,’ and founded the University of Leipzig. But a scanty remnant of under 500 Czechs were left behind in Prague. The victory was ascribed to Hus; he was at once appointed rector of the mutilated Czech University. “Praise God,” he said, in one of his sermons, “we have excluded the Germans.” In reality, it was one of the most fatal moves he ever made, and was remembered against him in later years, as the Letters show.
This matter of the “neutrality,” mixed up as it was with the disruption of a University of which Zbinek was chancellor, produced a complete breach, as this letter shows, between the Archbishop and Hus. As a strong adherent of Gregory XII., Zbinek entered into the struggle with the Pisan cardinals by inhibiting, as Hus tells us, ‘in letters fixed to the doors of the churches,’ from all priestly functions Hus and ‘all masters who sided with the sacred college’ (infra, p. 55).
To this challenge Hus replied in the following remonstrance, which we date early in December 1408. It cannot have been written later, for in January 1409 Hus fell dangerously ill, while Wenzel’s decree of “neutrality”—a strong adhesion to the Pisan cardinals—evidently had not yet been issued. From the absence, further, of any reference to the imprisonment of Palecz and Stanislaus of Znaim (see infra, p. 73), we judge that the news of their arrest had not yet reached Prague (about December 8, 1408), for Hus would otherwise have blamed Zbinek for it, or in some way have identified himself with his friends. For, as The Chronicle of the University informs us, Hus and Christian Prachaticz were the chief agents in procuring their release.1
To Zbinek, Archbishop of Prague
Your humble and dutiful subject now and ever!
It is demanded by our Saviour’s rule that a father should not proceed rashly to the reprobation of a son unless the son rejects his father’s counsel and is clearly convicted of contumacy;2 nor ought the father of the household to drive away from the harvest a son who works, unless he first of all clearly knows that the son is minded disgracefully to squander his father’s harvest. Thus in the sixteenth of Luke it is shown by our Saviour that the rich man did not give up the steward after hearing the charge of wrong-doing brought against him, but wisely summoned him and said: How is it that I hearthis of thee? give an account of thy stewardship.1 Nor did our Saviour forbid a certain man who cast out devils not being His follower from so doing; but rather He desired to lend His authority to such acts: for in the ninth of Luke it is written that the disciples said to Jesus: Master, we saw a certain man casting out devils in Thy name and we forbad him, because he followeth not Thee with us. And Jesus said to them, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.2
Now, most reverend father, your grace hath been instructed in these examples of our Saviour, and should not have listened to the infamous charges of jealous men—charges set forth in writing in Latin as well as in the vernacular. You should not have branded me with public insinuations as a disobedient son of our holy mother Church; but you should have ascertained the truth and said: How is it that I hear this of thee? If I had been in error, you should have enjoined a pious correction; and if I had failed to give up my disobedience to the holy mother Church, you should then have had recourse to suitable measures and declared me as disobedient, and as a matter of expediency have forbidden me to preach the holy gospel. Your grace ought therefore to know that it never hath been, nor will be, as I trust in God, my intention to withdraw from obedience to the holy mother Church. It is my intention not only to obey the Roman pontiff and your grace in accordance with the blessed Peter’s command, but also to be subject to every human creature for God’s sake, whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as sent by him.3 Further on he adds: Be subject to yourmasters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.1 See how the apostle of Christ commands obedience to every human creature and to froward rulers, but obedience for God’s sake, and not in the case of commands that are froward, but those which are lawful and uttered to the praise of God Almighty, to the end that servants may obey their masters and those set over them. Whatever, therefore, the Roman pontiff Gregory XII. or the holy mother Church, yea, and your grace, lawfully enjoins, I will humbly obey. But I cannot engage in controversy to win the greater praise: for our Saviour forbade this to His disciples in Luke xii.;2 nor can I side with my apostolic lord in his failure to observe the oath which was sworn, as it were, before all Christendom.3 For in so doing I should be acting contrary to Christ, who says in Matt. v.: Let your speech be, Yea, yea: no, no:4 and who says by the prophet: Vow ye, and pray to the Lord your God.5 Therefore as far as these two points are concerned, the controversy of Pope and anti-pope and the breaking of the oath, I am neutral; but not in the sense of the term as used by the crowd who are ignorant that “neutral” is a relative term like the simple word from which it is compounded, requiring the context of the subject matter.6 Consequently, when the phrase “He is neutral” is used, it is unintelligible unless the alternatives are added, and it is clearly shown in what respect he intends to be neutral in his support.1 And further it does not follow that a third person is neutral, because he refuses to obey either of two others: as, for example, if the mother of Peter quarrels with his father, Peter as a faithful son ought to be neutral in his support in the dispute between his father and mother, while at the same time he ought to obey father as well as mother in matters lawful. Hence Peter ought not to be neutral so far as obedience is concerned, but only so far as his support in the dispute is concerned; for he ought as far as possible to prevent a dispute of this kind, in order that, peace being restored, his father and mother may more securely be united in love and beget brothers for Peter.
Furthermore, most beloved and reverend father, my enemies hurl insults at me as they have been wont to do for a long time. I could write of these at greater length, but let this suffice for the present, that if your grace discovers the fault in me, I am willing humbly to submit to punishment. Yet I humbly beg your grace for God’s sake not to put trust in every one, and not to suspend me from preaching now that you have received this written testimony that I have not departed from obedience to the Roman pontiff Gregory XII. Nay, last Sunday I publicly said in the pulpit in my sermon that I had not withdrawn from allegiance to my lord Pope Gregory, but desired to obey the holy Roman Church and its lord in all lawful matters. If your grace had known of this, perhaps you would not have placed me in your letters as your first disobedient son, like a mark for the arrow. But I ought to suffer, because the Saviour saith: Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven;1 and this reward may it please our Lord Jesus Christ to grant to your grace. Amen.
A few weeks after the release of “Abraham” (supra, p. 12) and on the eve of the outbreak of the “neutrality” complication, the clergy—most of whom, as we have seen, were Germans, out of touch with the Czech population—accused Hus before the Archbishop of preaching ‘in the presence of a vast multitude of both sexes’ ‘scandalous sermons, which made clerks hateful to the people.’ He had gone so far, they said, as to ‘deal with the matter not in general terms, but by descending to particulars.’ They further raked up an incident of which Hus was destined to hear much for the rest of his life: that in the presence of Zbinek he had said ‘he wished his soul might be where rests the soul of Wyclif.’ That Hus still felt confident of his position is evident not only from the reply he made to this last charge, but in the contempt, not infrequently degenerating into quibbles, with which he overwhelmed his accusers. Zbinek, in fact, was powerless and scarcely needed the array of quotations from Gratian’s Decretum upon which the Reformer fell back in his more serious argument. Hus reminded him of his recent declaration ‘that he could find no heretic in Bohemia.’ The opponents of Hus were caught ‘in a trap of their own making.’
The date of this complaint of the clergy is uncertain, but may be ascribed with confidence to the autumn of 1408, though it would appear to have been repeated in the following year. To this same period (autumn 1408), certainly before the expulsion of the Germans from the University, to which no allusion is made, we assign the following letter to Zavis of Zap, a canon of Prague and non-resident rector of Prachaticz. As Zap had taken his Master’s degree at Prague in 1380, he must have been at least ten years or so older than Hus. We judge from the letter that he was one of the leaders in the complaint of the clergy. In the previous June he had acted as one of the judges in the trial of “Abraham” (Doc. p. 342).
To Master Zawissius, Rector of Prachaticz
Greetings from the Lord Jesus Christ! Reverend sir, it hath come to my ears that you have spoken of me in plain words as a heretic. If this is so, I beg you to send me a reply. You will then see, by God’s grace, that I will publicly confess and defend the faith I hold, not by detraction in nooks and corners, but in manner becoming a true Christian. I would that you knew yourself and the way you have been shearing the sheep in Prachaticz this thirty years or more! Where do you reside? Where do you work? Where do you feed the sheep? You forget the Lord’s word: Woe to the shepherds . . . that feed themselves, but the flock they did not feed.1 Where, pray, is your fulfilment of this gospel of Christ: The good shepherd goeth before the sheep and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice?2 In what way do you pass before the sheep, and how do they follow you or hear your voice when for many years together they rarely set eyes on you? The day will come when you will give an account of your sheep and also of the plural livings you have held. Of this last you read in your canon law that he who can get a competence out of one, cannot hold another without committing mortal sin.3
You ought to take these things to heart and not charge your neighbour with heresy. At all events, if you are certain he is a heretic, you ought to admonish him once or twice according to the apostle’s precept, and if he will not receive the admonition, then you may reject him as a heretic,1 the more so as you are a master and doctor of the law able, nay bound, to occupy your master’s chair for the public defence of the truth.
I write these words by way of brotherly advice according to Christ’s precept: If thy brother shall offend against thee, rebuke him between thee and him.2 Therefore, brother, receive me; and if you have spoken in this way about me, say so in your reply. If you prove me a heretic, I will humbly make amends and you will receive the reward of restoring a sinner from the error of his way.3 Yet by the grace of God Almighty I hope I hold the same faith in the Lord Jesus as yourself and as truly, seeing that I am ready to suffer death on its behalf in humility and hope.
With the expulsion of the Germans and the loss of the national struggle, events at Prague moved rapidly towards a religious crisis. ‘Immediately after,’ we read, ‘Wiclify began to grow strong, and Hus and his adherents renounced their spiritual obedience under the favour of the laity.’ All that Zbinek could do was to persuade the Bohemian nation in the University to severely restrict the right of lecturing on Wyclif, or defending his propositions. The Wyclifists retorted—Hus himself did not join them—by procuring the citation of the Archbishop before the Pisan Curia. Zbinek, realising his isolation by the expulsion of his German allies, deemed it well to abandon Gregory, and make his peace with Alexander V. This he did on September 2, amid universal rejoicing, blaring of trumpets ‘to the fourth hour of night,’ ‘six hundred bonfires,’ and the like. Thus secure of his own position, Zbinek accused the Wyclifists of being the source of all the mischief. He had his reward on December 20. Alexander quashed the citation, and conferred upon Zbinek a commission to take strong steps against the heretics, forbidding also all preaching ‘in chapels, even those which had privileges granted by the Apostolic See.’ This last was an attack upon the Bethehem, whose rights had been ratified by Gregory XII. (May 15, 1408). Alexander further ordered that all books of Wyclif should be delivered up to the Archbishop, ‘that they might be removed from the eyes of the faithful.’
On the publication of this bull in Prague (March 9, 1410), Hus and his friends handed over to the Archbishop certain works of Wyclif: ‘When,’ they added, ‘you have found any errors in them, be pleased to point them out to us, and we shall be glad to denounce them publicly.’ Zbinek’s sole reply was an order that seventeen books of Wyclif, whose names are given, should be burnt, ‘the remaining books of the said John, heresiarch, to await’ fuller examination. Notice of this decision, endowed by a synod in Prague, was served upon Hus and his associates (June 16). The fact that several of the condemned works were purely philosophical shows that the Nominalist faction had not been altogether silenced by the expulsion of the Germans.
Against this attack on its freedom the University at once protested (June 21). Hus, who especially resented the prohibition of further preaching in the Bethlehem, had already appealed on his own account ‘to Alexander himself that he might be better informed.’ On his decease, Hus and others (among whom we notice Zdislaw of Wartenberg and Peter of Zepekow, a student who owned the copy of the De Ecclesia of Wyclif now in the University Library at Prague) further appealed to John XXIII. (June 25), urging that with the death of Alexander the commission had become null and void. They had obtained, they pleaded, the books of Wyclif ‘at great trouble and cost.’ Only a fool ‘would condemn to be burnt treatises, logical, philosophical, mathematical, moral, which contain many noble truths, but no errors. By the same reasoning we must burn the books of Aristotle, the commentaries of Averrhoes, or the works of Origen.’ They further protested against the charge that Bohemia was full of heretics, quoting against Zbinek his own declaration. Alexander’s bull, they concluded, was obtained by fraud and forgery, in which last the friars had borne a hand.
Before the appeal could be considered, Zbinek, who had at first consented to postpone execution until the Margrave Jobst could arrive in Prague, brought matters to a head by burning two hundred manuscripts of Wyclif’s works in the courtyard of his palace on the Hradschin, ‘in the presence of a number of prelates and clergy, who chanted the Te Deum with a loud voice, while the bells were tolled as if for the dead.’ ‘The better copies,’ some of them bound with gold knobs, ‘were, however, it is believed, kept over’ (July 16, 1410). Two days later, Zbinek, amid the angry cries of the people, excommunicated Hus and others for not yet delivering up their copies and ‘for opposing the Catholic faith’ by their frivolous processes. Wenzel retorted by ordering the Archbishop to refund the value of the burnt volumes to their owners, and on his refusal seized his revenues.
The excitement in Prague was intense. In the Bethlehem Hus denounced Alexander V. and Zbinek before an immense congregation. In the University Czech masters, following the lead of Hus, were not slack in their sarcasms upon the Archbishop and in their open defence of the books of Wyclif. In the streets Jerome and others taught the working men to sing satirical skits which Wenzel found it needful to prohibit:
The mob, in fact, stirred up by an incautious sermon of Hus, took matters into their own hand. On July 22 they burst into the cathedral and drove forty priests from the altars. In the church of St. Stephen’s ‘six men with drawn swords tried to slay a blaspheming preacher.’ The terror, we learn, ‘so overwhelmed all the vicars’ that they dared not give effect to the excommunication.
To this year of strife, probably before it had developed into the edict against the books of Wyclif, certainly before the burning and excommunication, we must ascribe the following undated letter, whose strong evangelical feeling will appeal to many. Laun, the Latin name for which is Luna, is a town about sixty kilometres N.W. of Prague. There is a picture of it, much as it was in the days of Hus, in Merian’s Topographia Provinciarum Austriacarum (Frankfort, 1649).
To the People of Laun1
Master John Hus, an unworthy servant of God, to the faithful citizens of Laun, grace unto you and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ!
Although, my beloved, I have not seen you with my outward eye, but with that of the spirit, yet I hear of your steadfast faith and love towards God and His gospel, and how our Saviour Himself hath made you as one man in faith, peace, love and the hearing of God’s word. Thus your unity and concord above all the other towns of Bohemia hath sunk deeply into my heart. I adjure you, beloved, although unknown to you by face, yet as one devoted in God to your salvation, love one another, stand fast in unity, and suffer no dissensions among yourselves. For it is the unity that comes of a true faith which will preserve you safe unto God. May God in His turn mercifully grant unto you a successful issue that you may overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil!
To this end, beloved, allow no schisms, treacheries, envies, angers, etc.,2 to arise in your midst. If any one among you is incorrigible and a sower of discord, reprove him in private as a brother. Take no dispute to a public court, because to both parties it brings hurt in soul, body, and resources. Study to avenge rather the wrongs done to God than those done to yourselves. It is herein, alas! that the whole world goes wrong, because mortals desire rather to avenge their own wrongs than God’s. Antichrist above all prepares this way and lays it out broad and fair, chiefly for us priests, who desire the statutes of men to be more carefully kept than the word of God. Why, when a priest, monk, or prelate is guilty of debauchery or adultery, he gets off scot-free! But let him teach anything that is due to individual judgment, and this will be looked into under threat of anathema. In like manner, the secular priests punish no one for disgracing God. But let a man say to them, “Conscript fathers,1 you are condemning an innocent man” (which frequently happens), then they punish him with the sword for charging his judges with injustice.
However, I trust God that He will deliver you from these evils, so that you may keep His law more jealously than the statutes of men. When you observe that law, no one can harm you. Therefore, beloved, look to these things that are eternal and imperishable. For there are two alternatives, condemnation and life eternal. Condemnation means perpetual fire, darkness, terrible torture and everlasting burning in company with devils. In life eternal there is perfect joy and light, without pain or torture, and there is communion with God Himself and His angels. As St. Paul saith: Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man (mark here in its full meaning “of man”) what things God hath prepared for them that love Him.2 We shall be blessed when we enjoy that bliss, in which there is perfect love. For there we shall see who is accursed, damned, and reprobate; there will the sins that lie hidden in men’s hearts be open to view; there shall we experience such joy and comfort as will never be taken from us. If here we have to suffer for Christ’s sake, there we shall be blessed. It is through a cross and through afflictions that we are tried, like gold in the fire, by the Builder who formed the world out of nothing. Blessed then shall we be, if we persevere in that which is good, even to the end.
Beloved, knowing that the world is passing to its doom (death is at the door and we shall soon remove hence), make it your chief concern to live righteous and holy lives and renounce your sins. Next, give earnest heed to the things that are heavenly; and, finally, love God with all your heart and put your trust in Him; for He will honour you in His glory for the merits of Jesus Christ and will make you partakers of His kingdom. Amen.
In the September of 1410, before the excitement over the burning of the books had yet cooled down, Hus received a letter from an English Lollard, one Richard Wyche, vicar of Deptford. Wyche’s letter is of remarkable interest, not merely as a sign of the close connection at that time existing between the two countries, or because of the answer of Hus, but also because of the interest attaching to Wyche himself. Wyche was one of the many priests who had come under the influence of Wyclif’s teaching. Of his earlier years we know little or nothing. Hus, it is true, speaks of him as “the companion of Wyclif in the toils of the gospel,” but too much weight should not be attached to a chance phrase by one to whom Wyche was really a stranger. At one time it is possible he had been a monk, for we find in 1399 one of that name in charge of the alien priory of Derehurst, near Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. In the following year we find that Wyche was an ordained priest in the diocese of Hereford. Shortly afterwards he travelled up to Northumberland to preach the gospel, taking with him a companion named James. After a few sermons he received a summons to appear before Bishop Walter Skirlaw of Durham. He returned from Newcastle, but on arriving at Chester-le-Street the rupture from which he was suffering became so painful that he was forced to hire a horse, leaving his cloak and purse as a pledge at the inn. He arrived at Bishop Auckland on December 7, and was at once flung into prison. A few days later he was brought up for his examination. The bishop suspected, from his inability to produce any authority for preaching outside his diocese, that he was a Lollard, and questioned him closely concerning the sacrament of the altar. His answers proving unsatisfactory, he was sent back to prison. There he was visited by a master from Newcastle, who tried to persuade him to recant, first by offers of promotion, then by threats. “If you don’t do as you are told, you will be burnt,” said the master. “God’s will be done,” replied Wyche, and, in spite of arguments and deputations of all sorts, he remained steadfast. In February 1402, Wyche was brought before the bishop and condemned to degradation and imprisonment. So he was once more thrust back into the cell at Auckland, in horrible pain, but with sufficient food. From this prison he wrote a long letter to his friends at Newcastle, urging them to pray that he might persevere to the end, and asking them to send him some sheets of the gospel in red ink. These might be got through to him by means of a priest living near St. Andrew’s Auckland. A copy of this letter found its way to Prague, and probably fell under the notice of Hus. Coming to light after many centuries, it has recently been published in the English Historical Review (vol. v.).
With the despatch of this letter our knowledge of Wyche once more becomes uncertain. Fourteen propositions were brought against him at his trial; he defended them all by profuse quotations from the Scriptures.1 But he could not resist the pressure brought to bear upon him, and, following the other English Lollards of the time, he recanted, and was made vicar of Deptford, near Greenwich. As the following letter which he wrote to Hus shows, his recantation was not very sincere. His signature, “Wychewitz,” which has misled so many historians, is either a deliberate disguise or a Czech confusion of his name.
The Letter of Richard Wyche
Greeting, and whatsoever can be devised more sweet in the heart of Jesus Christ. My dearly beloved brethren in the Lord, whom I love in the truth, and not I only, but also all they that have the knowledge of the truth, which abideth in you, and through the grace of God shall be with you for evermore.
I rejoiced above measure when our beloved brethren came and gave testimony to us of your truth, how also you walked in the truth. I have heard, brethren, how sharply Antichrist persecutes you in vexing the faithful servants of Christ with diverse and unheard-of afflictions. And surely no marvel if amongst you (as it is so almost all the world over) the law of Christ be grievously impugned, and that red dragon with his many heads, of whom it is spoken in the Apocalypse, have now vomited that great flood out of his mouth whereby he goeth about to swallow up the woman. But the most gracious God will deliver for ever his only and most faithful spouse. Let us therefore comfort ourselves in the Lord our God and in his innumerable goodness, hoping strongly in Him who will not suffer those that love Him to be unmercifully defrauded of any of their purpose, if we, according to our duty, shall love Him with all our heart. For adversity should by no means prevail over us if there were no iniquity reigning in us. Therefore let no tribulation or anguish for Christ’s cause discourage us; knowing this for a surety, that whomsoever the Lord vouchsafes to receive to be His children, these he scourgeth; for so the merciful Father wills that they be tried in this miserable life through and in persecutions that afterwards He may spare us. For the gold that this high Artificer hath chosen He purgeth and trieth in this fire, that He may afterwards lay it up in His pure treasury. For we see that the time we shall abide here is short and transitory; the life that we hope for hereafter is blessed and everlasting. Therefore, while we have time, let us strive earnestly that we may enter into that rest. What other things do we see in this frail life save sorrow, heaviness, and sadness, and that which is most grievous of all to the faithful, too much abusing and contempt of the law of the Lord?
Let us therefore endeavour ourselves, as much as we may, to lay hold of the things that are eternal and abiding, despising in our mind all transitory and frail things. Let us consider the holy fellowship of our fathers that have gone before us. Let us consider the saints of the Old and New Testaments. Did they not all pass through this sea of tribulation and persecution? Were not some of them cut in pieces, others stoned, and others slain with the sword? Some of them went about in sheepskins and goatskins, as the apostle to the Hebrews witnesses. Surely they all kept the straight and narrow road, following the steps of Christ, who said: ‘He that ministereth unto Me, let him follow Me, and where I am,’ etc. Therefore let us also, who have such noble examples given us of the saints that went before us, laying aside as much as in us lies every weight, and the sin which compasseth us about, run forward with patience to the battle that is set before us, fixing our eyes upon the Author of faith, and Jesus the Finisher of the same, who for the joy that was set before Him suffered the cross, despising the shame. Let us call upon Him who suffered much reproach of sinners against Himself, that we be not wearied, fainting in our minds, but that with all our hearts we may pray for help from the Lord, that we may fight against his adversary Antichrist, that we may love His law, that we be not deceitful labourers, but may deal faithfully in all things according as God vouchsafes to give us, and that we may labour diligently in the Lord’s cause under hope of an everlasting reward.
Behold therefore, Hus, most dearly beloved brother in Christ, although in face unknown to me, yet not in faith or love (for distance of place cannot separate those whom the love of Christ doth effectually knit together), be comforted in the grace which is given to thee; labour like a good soldier of Jesus Christ; preach; be instant in word and example, and recall as many as thou canst to the way of truth; for the truth of the gospel is not to be kept in silence because of the frivolous censures and thunderbolts of Antichrist. And therefore to the uttermost of thy power strengthen thou and confirm the members of Christ who are weakened by the devil; and if the Most High will vouchsafe it, Antichrist shall shortly come to an end. And there is one thing wherein I do greatly rejoice, that in your realm and in other places God hath stirred up the hearts of some men that they can gladly suffer for the word of Christ even unto imprisonment, banishment, and death.
Further, beloved brethren, I know not what to write to you, but I confess that I could wish to pour out my whole heart, if thereby I might comfort you in the law of the Lord. Also I salute from the bottom of my heart all the faithful lovers of the law of the Lord, and especially Jacobellus, your coadjutor in the gospel, beseeching that he will put in a petition unto the Lord for me in the universal Church of Jesus Christ. And the God of peace, who hath raised from the dead the Shepherd of the sheep, the mighty Lord Jesus Christ, make you apt in all goodness to do His will, working in you that which may be pleasing in His sight. All your friends salute you who have heard of your constancy. I would desire also to see letters of yours written back to us, for know that they shall comfort us not a little.
At London, on the Nativity of the glorious Virgin, in the year 1410. Your servant, desiring to become a sharer with you in your labours,
Richard Wychewitz, most unworthy of priests.1
By the same messenger, it is interesting to note, Woksa of Waldstein, a councillor of Prague and intimate friend of Jerome of Prague, also Zdislaw of Wartenberg (a baron of the realm, one of the University friends of Hus, who on August 10 of that year had defended before the University Wyclif’s tractate, De Universalibus), received letters from the famous Lollard, Sir John Oldcastle. Oldcastle, it would appear, had corresponded at one time with Hus himself, whom he calls ‘a priest of Christ,’ but the correspondence is now lost. Probably the intermediary in this correspondence would be Zdislaw, who had been in England, knew Oxford well, and may have met with Oldcastle himself.
On the receipt of Wyche’s letter, Hus replied as follows:—
To Master Richard of England
May the peace of Christ abound in your heart by the Holy Spirit given to you, my dear friend in Christ Jesus!
Your affectionate letter, which came down from above from the Father of lights,1 powerfully kindles the soul of your brothers in Christ. It contains so much sweetness, efficacy, invigoration, and solace, that if every other writing were engulphed in the abyss of Antichrist, it would suffice of itself for the salvation of Christ’s faithful ones. Turning over in my mind its marrow and strength, I said in a large assembly of people, numbering, I suppose, nearly ten thousand, as I was preaching in public, “See, my beloved brothers, what a care for your salvation is shown by the faithful preachers of Christ in other countries; they yearn to pour out their whole soul, if only they can keep us in the gospel of Christ, even the Lord.” And I added, “Why, our dear brother Richard, partner2 of Master John Wyclif in the toils of the gospel, hath written you a letter of so much cheer, that if I possessed no other writing, I should feel bound by it to offer myself for the gospel of Christ, even unto death. Yea, and this will I do, with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ’s faithful ones were fired with such ardour by the letter that they begged me to translate it into our mother tongue.3
What then I should write to you, dear friend, and the rest of the brothers, I know not. I have no skill to instruct those who are so much more learned than myself. Can I, the weaker, say aught to cheer the stronger in the warfare of Christ? What am I to say? Dear friend, you have anticipated the words of instruction. It only remains for me to seek and to seek again the help of your prayers. I am thankful that Bohemia has under the power of Jesus Christ received so much good from the blessed land of England through your labours; and I do not wonder that while to some it is a savour unto death, yet to others it is a savour unto joy, because for many it is a savour unto life eternal.1 For the enemy of man had sown tares2 so widely in our kingdom that scarcely a grain or two of wheat appeared. The whole of man’s field had been so filled with nettles that the way of salvation could with difficulty be found.
But now the people which walked in darkness have beheld the great light of Jesus Christ. The light of truth hath appeared to them that dwell in the region of the shadow of death,3 and is eagerly welcomed under our Saviour’s power by the people, barons, knights, counts, and the common folk. If the community of the saints in England learn of this to its full measure, their hearts will dance for joy: give praise, O thou barren, that bearest not: sing forth praise, and make a joyful noise, thou that didst not travail with child: for many are the children of the desolate.4
I must tell you, dear brother, that the people will listen to nothing but the Holy Scriptures, especially the gospel and the epistles. Wherever in city or town, in village or castle, the preacher of the holy truth makes his appearance, the people flock together in crowds, despising the clergy who are not able to furnish it. As a result, Satan hath arisen: for now the tail of Behemoth1 himself hath been set in motion, and it remains for the Lord Jesus Christ to bruise his head.2 See, I have but gently touched his tail and he hath opened wide his mouth to swallow me down, and my brothers also. He is raging now. At one time he utters heresy with lying words: at another he fawns. Anon he fans the flame of censure and kindles the torch of a grim fulmination among the dioceses of the neighbouring3 lands; at home he dare not touch my head. For the hour has not yet come; seeing that the Lord hath not yet, by me and my brothers, snatched from his maw those whom He hath predestined to the life of glory. Therefore He will give courage to the preachers of the gospel that they may wound Behemoth at least in his tail, until his head and all his members be utterly crushed.4 It is for this we are praying with all our heart: it is for this we are labouring, even as your reverence hath written as only love can write: it is for this that we are bound humbly to endure death and not to fail with the Lord Almighty on our side, seeing that our gracious Lord saith: I am with him in tribulation, I will deliver him and glorify him.5 O holy deliverance and glorification! look for Richard and his brothers, who have now endured many tribulations. Take me up also in my misery that I may be with my brothers who fearlessly confess Thy gospel in the midst of a wicked and adulterousgeneration.1Grant to us help in tribulation: for vain is the salvation of men.2May our hope be in Thee!3 May we be drawn to Thee by the threefold cord4 that cannot be broken: for it hath been woven by the Lord Jesus Christ. May He, dear brother, grant to you and your helpers a life inviolate in glory, that you may be able to live a long while and bring back5 the straying sheep to the way of truth.
I greatly rejoice with all who love the gospel that you have shown your loving-kindness by giving us healthful counsel. Our Lord the King and all his court, the Queen, barons, and common folk, are on the side of the word of Jesus Christ. The Church of Christ in Bohemia greets the Church of Christ in England, and yearns to share in its confession of the holy faith by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. May the glorious God be your reward for having ministered to our need by the example of your great labours. May yours be the peace that passeth all understanding!6 Amen.
What became of Wyche we know not for certain. He is usually assumed to have been the same Wyche who many years afterwards was first degraded, then burnt on Tower Hill (August 2, 1439), and to whose tomb, as Foxe tells us, the Londoners made pilgrimage, accounting him a prophet and a holy man. ‘So they upreared a great heap of stones and set up a cross there by night.’ This Richard Wyche, as we learn from the writ prohibiting the pilgrimages, ‘did long since heretically hold, teach, and publicly preach certain heresies in many places, and being judicially convicted did before a judge abjure all heresy generally.’ If this Richard Wyche was the same as the author of this letter, he must have been, at the time of his burning, a very old man—too old, in fact, to have been, as Hus assumes, the actual companion of Wyclif.
We resume our narrative of the events at Prague from the burning of the books of Wyclif to the close of the struggle of Hus and Archbishop Zbinek. As the letter which Hus wrote to Wyche shows, the reformer had found powerful adherents at court. He soon needed their help. On August 25, 1410, Oddo Colonna, the future Martin V., to whom John had handed over the appeal of Hus, decided against him and urged the Archbishop to proceed against the Wyclifists with all severity, ‘calling in, if need be, the help of the secular arm.’ A vigorous protest was at once made by Wenzel (September 12) and Queen Sophie (September 16), by certain barons of the realm, and by the magistrates of Prague, whose rights in the Bethlehem Chapel were at stake. These protests Wenzel despatched to the Pope by Antonio of Monte Catino, whom John had sent to Prague to notify his accession to the Papacy. Zbinek showed his contempt by at once making the process against Hus absolute (September 24), while on October 1 Colonna cited Hus to Bologna, where the Curia was then resident. Hearing of this intended step, Wenzel and Sophie once more protested. The envoys of Wenzel, John Cardinalis of Reinstein and Dr. Naas, were instructed to obtain from John the release of Hus, ‘our faithful and beloved chaplain,’ from the personal citation, ‘on account of the perils of the road and the danger from Hus’s enemies.’ The case, they pleaded, should be tried before the University of Prague. At the same time Wenzel gave orders that ‘Master Hus, our faithful, devout, and beloved chaplain,’ should ‘be allowed to preach the word of God in peace.’ At Rome the royal interference proved useless; the influence, or rather the gifts, of Zbinek1 prevailed. Hus had neglected to repair to Bologna in person, sending there instead his proctors, John of Jesenicz and two other theologians. These John flung into prison, while in February 1411 Colonna placed Hus under excommunication. On March 15 this was read in all the churches of Prague, with two exceptions. One of these was the Church of St. Michael’s, the vicar of which was Christian Prachaticz. But Hus met the excommunication with defiance.
Meanwhile in Bohemia the excitement was intense, as Hus owns—‘riots, hatreds, and murders.’ As Prague still persisted in its writ of sequestration against the property of Zbinek for the burning of the books, the Archbishop retorted by an interdict on the city and surrounding country (May 2, 1411). Prague, following the lead of Hus, treated the matter with indifference. The goods of the priests who obeyed were seized; they themselves cast into prison or banished. Nobles, burghers, and king joined hands in the spoliation of the Church. The Archbishop had already fled, leaving the treasury of the Cathedral to be pillaged by his foes (May 6). By June 18 few priests were left in Prague, save the followers of Hus.
But Wenzel and Zbinek were anxious for peace. Both realised that they had gone too far. Wenzel perceived that the struggle over religion was an injury to his political projects: Pope John on his part was willing to throw over Zbinek if he could win over to his side Sigismund, who showed signs of a reconciliation with Gregory, or save Wenzel from defection. So in June 1411 Stephen Palecz, who seems at this time to have occupied a middle position, conveniently showed cause why the interdict should be removed, ‘now that the Archbishop was better informed.’ On July 3 the case between the University and the Archbishop was placed in the hands of a court of arbitration, chiefly laymen of the highest rank. At the head of these were two strangers, the Elector Rudolph of Saxony and Stibor, waywode or military governor of Transylvania, who were present in Prague on a mission from Sigismund. With these were associated Wenzel, Patriarch of Antioch, and Conrad Vechta, Bishop of Olmütz. Among the lesser men who were present we mark with interest John of Chlum and Wenzel de Duba. After three days’ deliberation the court decided that Zbinek should despatch to the Pope an assurance that there were no heretics in Bohemia, and obtain the removal of all excommunications. The King on his part must restore the Archbishop’s property and release the imprisoned clergy. Hus furthered the peace by reading before the University on September 1 a letter to John, in which he declared that he had never forsaken the doctrines of the Church. On the request of Hus and with the consent of the rector, his friend Simon of Tissnow, the letter was stamped with the University seal, and inscribed in its records ‘for greater proof of the same.’ Hus further wrote a letter to the cardinals in the same tenor. Both of these letters, which display considerable political adroitness, especially in the sly hint that the origin of all the trouble is Hus’s adhesion to the Pisan Council, have been preserved for us, though whether they were ever forwarded appears more than doubtful. The draft of Zbinek’s letter also still exists. It states that, ‘after making diligent inquisition, I can discover no heresies in Bohemia. The dispute between Hus, the University, and myself has been settled.’ This letter certainly was never sent. Fresh disputes broke out which led Zbinek to appeal to Sigismund (September 5). He complained that for five weeks he had lingered at Prague ‘at great expense’ in the vain hope of an audience with Wenzel. The royal promises were still unfulfilled, the reign of terror still continued, and ‘foul lampoons against himself were still circulated.’ On his way to the court of Sigismund, Zbinek suddenly died at Pressburg (September 28, 1411). He was succeeded by an old man even weaker than himself, Wenzel’s physician, Albik of Unicow (October 29, 1411). The reign of this ‘greedy German’ was not long. He soon exchanged his difficult post with his suffragan, the Bishop of Olmütz, and retired (February 12, 1413) to a less thorny benefice, the titular bishopric of Kaisarije in Palestine.
With this introduction, the following letters, for the most part full of the strife of the times, will explain themselves:—
The date of this letter is inaccurately given in the one MS. in which it has been preserved as ‘ad mccccxii. Dominica Priscæ’—i.e., January 18, 1413 (N.S.). As Hus was at that time in exile, the date is improbable, while January 18 fell on a Sunday in 1411, not 1413. We therefore date accordingly, reading ‘mccccx.’ (O.S., i.e. 1411 N.S.) for ‘mccccxii.’
The illustrations in this letter, for which see the notes, were probably found by Hus in some one of the many commentaries on the famous Rule of Benedict, perhaps in Benedict Anianensis Concordia Regularum (see Migne, vol. ciii. pp. 1058 ff.). For other illustrations of this letter, see Migne, vol. lxvi. c. 33.
To a Certain Monk
Greetings and grace from the Lord Jesus Christ! Beloved brother in Christ Jesus, so far as possessions are concerned, it is the foundation-principle of the clergy, and especially of those who have taken vows, to have all things common, in accordance with the passage in Acts ii.: All things were common unto them.1 From this the blessed Augustine took the saying which is laid down in his rule as follows: These are our instructions to be observed by those who are settled in a monastery.2 Also further on:3And you are not to speak of having anything of your own. Item, Gregory in the third book of the Dialogues near the end caused brother Justin, a monk, to be flung on to a dunghill beside his three gold pieces, while the brethren were ordered to say to him, “Thy money perish with thee.”4 Item, St. Benedict in his rule saith:1Let no one presume to give or receive anything, nor have anything of his own, not a thing, neither manuscript, nor tablets, nor pen,2in fact nothing whatever, seeing that neither one’s body nor desires are lawfully in one’s keeping, but all things are common to all as it stands written: neither did any one say that aught was his own, etc.3 Item, Basil in his rule saith thus: If any man calleth aught his own, he maketh himself a stranger to the elect of God and to the love of the Lord who fulfilled indeed what He taught in word and laid down His life for His friends.4 Item, St. John Cassian writing to Pope Castorius5 concerning the institutes of the holy fathers in the fourth book of his rule, saith thus: Whereas in some monasteries where some loose customs are tolerated we see that the rule is most stringently observed, whereby no one may dare even by a word to call anything his own, and it is a great crime for anymonk to have let slip the words, “my manuscript, my tablets, my pen, my shoes,1my cap”:2let a brother make atonement for this offence by a suitable penance if by any chance through inadvertence or ignorance a word of this kind has escaped his lips. Item, the blessed Francis in his rule laid this down:3The rule and the life of the Brothers Minor is this, to wit, firmly to observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and to live without any possession in obedience and chastity. And further on in the middle of the rule:4Let the brothers appropriate nothing for themselves, neither home, nor place, nor anything; but as pilgrims and strangers in this world and as the Lord’s menials in poverty and humility let them go about seeking for alms without fear. So much for that rule. To the same effect the blessed Jerome writes in his Ad Heliodorum.5 Item, the blessed Bernard in his book addressed to Pope Eugenius.6 Item, the blessed Augustine in his De opere monachorum.7 Item, St. Thomas in his Tractatus monachorum. Item, I have read (but I know not the passage) that the blessed Bernard saith: A monk who has a farthing is notworth a farthing.1 Even if none of these mentioned the matter, every monk is bound by his vow. Please send on to me anything you may discover elsewhere to the same effect. Pray remember me to my lord Abbot, and give a hearty welcome to Andrew, the bearer of these presents. If a convenient opportunity occurs, give him a berth for God’s sake, so that he may stay on with you. Farewell in Christ.
I write what has occurred to my mind. If I think of anything further I will write later on.
In the year of our Lord 1412 (sic) on the Lord’s day the feast of Prisca.
John Barbatus,alias Bradáček, or Železna Brada (“Iron Beard”) (infra, pp. 189, 199, n.), to whom this letter is addressed, was a close friend of Hus (infra, pp. 182, 185). As his “beard” shows, he was a layman—‘a stout rustic,’ as an unknown hand has called him in the margin. From the above references we learn that he was at Constance during the trial and death of Hus, of the last scenes of which he has left us a vivid and tender account (Doc. 556). He would seem at this time to have been living in Chrumnaw.
Most of the quotations in this letter will be found repeated by Hus in his De Sex Erroribus, c. 4, ‘De Obedentia’ (Mon. i. 192b), as also in his De Ecclesia, c. 19 (Mon. i. 238-9). They are a fair specimen of that mediæval show of learning, so common in Hus, which represents little. For the most part, as our notes indicate, they are taken, in the order in which they stand, from one or two pages of Gratian’s Decretum, a work which Hus used as a quarry of Patristic references. The mediæval conscience in the matter of plagiarism was curiously lax.
To John Barbatus and the People of Chrumnaw
Greetings and grace from the Lord Jesus Christ! Beloved, I have heard of your tribulation, but count it all joy that you fall into divers temptations1 to the proving of your constancy. I am now beginning, dear friends, to be tempted, but I count it a joy that for the gospel’s sake I am called a heretic and suffer excommunication, as an evildoer and malcontent. However, as a defence unto my joy I recall the life and the words of Christ as well as the words of the apostles. In the fourth of Acts it is narrated how Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, called the apostles together and forbade them to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, If it be just in the sight of God to hear you rather than God, judge ye, for we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.2 Again, when the same high priests forbade them to preach, they said in the fifth of Acts: We ought to obey God rather than men.3 In the same book we find heathen, Jews, and heretics saying that God must be obeyed before everything. But alas! it is the followers of Antichrist that are blind to that rule and not the holy apostles and the true disciples of Christ. The blessed Jerome in his Epistle to the Ephesians4 saith: If a lord or a prelate issuecommands which are not contrary to the faith, nor opposed to Holy Scripture, the bond-servant is to be subject to him. If, however, he order what is contrary to these, the bond-servant must obey the master of his spirit rather than the master of his body. Further on:1if the command of the superior be good, carry out the desires of him that issueth the command: if evil, reply, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Item, Augustine in his sixth homily on the words of God:2If the authority order what you ought not to perform, in this case of course despise the authority, fearing the authority that is greater. Consider the grades of human offices. If a procurator hath issued a command, is it to be carried out if it is opposed to a proconsul? Again, if the proconsul himself issue a command and the emperor another, is there any question that the former should be neglected and the latter obeyed? Accordingly, if the emperor order something different from God, one ought to neglect the former and submit to the latter. We therefore resist the authority of devil and man if they suggest anything contrary to God: and in so doing we do not resist the ordinance of God but submit to it. For God hath ordained that in things evil we obey no authority. So far Augustine. To the same effect Gregory saith in the last book of the Moralia:3It is to be understood that evil must never be wrought throughobedience. Item, the blessed Bernard1 in a certain epistle saith: To do evil at the bidding of another is not obedience but disobedience. Item, the blessed Isidore2 (and it is found in Cause xi., question 33 ): If any one in authority do anything, or order anything to be done apart from the Lord, or commit or command a transgression of Scripture, the opinion of St. Paul is to be brought home to him, to wit, “though we, or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema,”4from which it followeth that if any one prevent you from doing the Lord’s bidding, or command what the Lord hath forbidden, let him be accursed to all that love the Lord. It further followeth that if any one in authority state or command anything which is clearly opposed to God’s will or the Holy Scriptures, let him be held a false witness of God or guilty of sacrilege.
From these examples you may see that those who forbid preaching are false witnesses, guilty of sacrilege, and by consequence excommunicated of God, according to the saying of the prophet who pronounces the sentence of excommunication: Cursedare they that go back from Thy commands.1 In reference to my contention Jerome saith to Rusticus, Bishop of Narbonne:2Let none of the bishops henceforth be moved to envy (which is a temptation of the devil) or be angry, if the presbyters occasionally exhort the people or preach in churches, or give their blessing, as hath been said, to the people: for when a man is refusing me these things I should say to him, “He that doth not wish the presbyters to do what is commanded of God should tell us who is greater than Christ.”3 Item, Bede on this text:4You shall find an ass tied and a colt with her: loose them and bring them to me. And if any man shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord hath need of them; saith: In this passage He mystically instructs doctors not to refrain from preaching, if they meet with opposition or are hindered from loosing sinners from their snares and bringing them to the Lord by confession of the faith. Rather should they constantly be hinting that the Lord hath need of such for the building up of His church. But who could write down all the sayings of the saints which, without exception, teach obedience to God rather than to men? Tyrants set over against these sayings that in Matt. xxiii.: Whatsoever they say to you,do.1 But they are at once put to confusion by the prohibition which follows: According to their works, do ye not.2 God accordingly in Deut. xxiv. saith: Thou shalt do whatsoever the priests of the Levitical race shall teach thee, according to what I have commanded them.3 Mark, the Lord willeth that the obedient man should only obey His commands. Also this passage in First Peter, chapter ii.: Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear. Further on, it saith: also to the froward;4 inasmuch as5 a man would no more think of obeying the froward than of obeying the devil.6 Therefore both the will of God and Scripture teach that we only ought to obey our superiors in things lawful.
I based my case on these principles, when I preferred in the matter of preaching to obey God rather than the Pope, and the Archbishop and his other satraps7 who act contrary to this word of Christ’s: Go ye into the whole world, etc.8 I put my signature to this, that you may know how to meet the devil’s dogs.9
Monday, Urban’s Day, in Rogation week.
To John XXIII., the Roman Pontiff1
With the proper obedience to be rendered to the Church of Jesus Christ and His supreme pontiff.
Seeing that I am always ready to give an answer to the satisfaction of every man who asks concerning the faith I hold, I declare with a sincere heart that the Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man; and that His whole gospel is established so firmly in the truth that not a jot nor tittle2 of it can fail; and finally that His Holy Church hath been so firmly founded on a firm rock that the gates of hell cannot in any wise prevail against it.3 I am ready in hope of the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself the Head, to bear the punishment of a dreadful death rather than to state by private judgment4 aught else than His truth, or to declare what would be contrary to the will of Christ and His Church. For these reasons I confidently, truthfully, and steadfastly assert that I have been wrongfully defamed to the Apostolic Seat by those heresy hunters.5 If they have given or are giving information that I taught the people that in the sacrament the material substance of the bread remains, it is a falsehood.6 It is a falsehood that I have said that when the host is elevated it is then the body of Christ, but when it is laid down it is not. It is a falsehood that a priest in mortal sin cannot consecrate. It is a falsehood that the lords may withdraw temporal goods from the clergy and that they need not pay tithes. It is a falsehood that indulgences are nothing. It is a falsehood that I have urged an actual attack on the clergy with the sword. It is a falsehood that I have preached or held any error or errors whatsoever or any heresy: or that I have seduced the people in any wise from the way of truth. It is a falsehood that I was the cause of certain German masters being expelled from Prague. As a matter of fact, they themselves were unwilling to enjoy the privileges of the foundation of the noble1 University of Prague and declined to obey the lawful behests of the most serene prince and lord, Wenzel, King of the Romans, Emperor,2 and King of Bohemia: and supposing that the University of Prague would be unable to exist without their presence, they retired of their own free will to their own homes or wherever they pleased.3 Yet I admit that I appealed from the opinion of the very reverend father in Christ, my lord Zbinek, to the Apostolic Seat, and finally from the suits instituted on malicious information by the holy Apostolic See. For those who were jealous of the truth, forgetting their own honour and salvation, maliciously suggested to the Apostolic Seat that in the kingdom of Bohemia, in the city of Prague, and in the marchionate of Moravia, errors and heresies were sprouting up and had affected the hearts of many to such an extent that owing to the great number that had been infected by such errors it was necessary that a remedy by way of correction should be applied. Finally, they falsely suggested that the Bethlehem chapel was a private place, although it had been established by the ordinary as a parish living,1 while its destruction would impair in some sense God’s honour among the people, would thwart their spiritual progress, cause scandal, and greatly incense the people against its destroyers. Nevertheless, when summoned in person to the Roman Curia, I longed humbly to put in my appearance; but because plots on my life were formed against me both within the kingdom and outside, especially by the Germans,2 I judged, on the advice of many friends, that it would be tempting God to risk my life when the interests of the Church did not demand it. Consequently I did not appear in person, but appointed advocates and proctors,3 desiring to obey the holy Apostolic See. On this account, Supreme Vicar of Christ, I humbly entreat the kindness of your Holiness that it may please you, for the mercy of Almighty God, graciously to exempt me from appearing in person and from the other obligations involved therein, on the ground that I am now in complete agreement with the aforesaid reverend father in Christ.4 The witnesses to this are the most serene prince and lord, Wenzel, King of the Romans and Bohemia, also the very reverend fathers and illustrious princes, Wenzel, Patriarch of Antioch;5 my lord Conrad, Bishop of Olmütz; the illustrious Prince Rudolph, Duke of Saxony, Elector of the Holy Empire; the other princes, barons, and lords, and the most noble lord Stibor, ambassador of the most illustrious prince and lord, Sigismund, King of Hungary. For I offered to reply to each and all of the charges brought against me, even submitting myself to the hearing of the whole of them, and expressing my willingness, in case anything should be proved against me, to amend my errors by the punishment of fire, unless I should yield therein. And I am prepared to-day to face the whole University of Prague and an assembly of all the prelates and to give an answer to any charges, if any one can be found to bring them forward. But no one so far is willing to take sides against me, as being liable to retaliation, according to the canon laws.1 Written at Prague with my own hand on St. Giles’s Day.
Master John Hus,
To the College of Cardinals
Your humble servant in your commands with all reverence!
Most reverend fathers in Christ, who bear the likeness of the apostles: whereas you have been placed as chief luminaries to enlighten each quarter of the world, and whereas you have been placed in authority to take away the world’s crimes, to deliver souls from Satan’s jaws, and in Christ’s name to help the oppressed, I humbly flee to your protection, most reverend fathers, and fall at your feet. I am unable to bear the heavy burden that hath fallen upon your poor servant, and which I first brought upon myself at the time of the schism from Gregory XII. For then I strongly urged upon the princes, barons, and lords, in the interests of the unity of the Holy Mother Church, the duty of loyalty to the sacred College of Cardinals, and I steadfastly preached the same to clergy and people. Thereupon the very reverend father in Christ, Lord Zbinek, Archbishop of Prague, then the opponent of the sacred College of Cardinals, in a public notice affixed to the church doors and signed by himself, prohibited all the masters of the University of Prague who had sided with the College of Cardinals, and in particular myself, whom he named, from exercising all and sundry priestly functions in his diocese, alleging as a cause that the masters of the University of Prague, acting on wrong informamation, had withdrawn from the most holy father in Christ, Gregory XII., and from obedience to the Apostolic Seat. But as the issue proves the deed, it afterwards came out that at the close of the Council of Pisa he approved, under compulsion, by his own act, the secession of the masters.1 Here, then, is the primal source of the indictment and charge which have been laid against me! But seeing that the aforesaid sacred College of Cardinals pledged itself at that time to bestow many benefits on its supporters, I therefore recall the promise then made; and believing that it still holds good as a promise made by the pillars of the Church, I appeal on my bended knees to the kindness of your reverences that it may please you to give pious regard to a poor man like myself, and with your gracious assistance exempt me from the burden of a personal appearance and the other charges that are hanging upon such appearance.1 For I am innocent on those counts which my adversaries bring against me, the Lord Jesus Christ being my witness. I am prepared to face the noble University of Prague and all the prelates and all the people who have heard me, and to whom I now appeal: yea, and to give a full and clear account of the faith which I hold in my heart and profess by word and writing, even if the stake be lighted as I am heard.2 Concerning the above confession, the public instruments, together with the formal declaration of the University of Prague, will fully inform your most gracious reverences. Written, etc. (sic).
[1 ]See infra, p. 140: note on “Baccalareus formatus.”
[1 ]Dec. Pars II. C. 22, q. 1, c. 11. Really from Auctor Operis imperfecti in Matt. homily 44 on c. xxiii. (see infra, p. 65, n.). Hus may, however, have learned the passage from Wyclif, who quotes it in full in the Op. Evangel. lib. iii. p. 47 (De Antichristo, lib. i. c. 13).
[1 ]P.: absque rigo (sic) correctionis; read rigore.
[2 ]Mark xvi. 15.
[3 ]Matt. ix. 37, 38.
[1 ]2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. Altered in order of clauses.
[2 ]Matt. xxiv. 12.
[3 ]Phil. ii. 21.
[4 ]P.: quod non est alligatum; for est read sit.
[5 ]P.: animorum (sic); read animarum.
[1 ]See Owens College Historical Essays, pp. 16-56.
[1 ]Matt. xxii. 30.
[2 ]Matt. xix. 12.
[3 ]1 Cor. vii. 7, 8.
[1 ]The question of the frequency of communion had been much discussed in Bohemia since the days of Mathias of Janow and Milicz of Kremsier, the two forerunners of Hus. On October 18, 1389 Mathias of Janow was compelled by the Synod of Prague to retract his teaching ‘that the laity ought to be exhorted to daily communion’ (Doc. 70). While in prison in Constance, Hus urged in his tract De Cosna Domini the necessity of daily communion in similar language to that of Janow (see Mon. i. 41b; Loserth, Wyclif and Hus, pp. 52-63).
[1 ]Documenta, p. 731.
[2 ]Matt. xviii. 15-17.
[1 ]Luke xvi. 2.
[2 ]Luke ix. 49, 50.
[3 ]1 Peter ii. 13.
[1 ]1 Peter ii. 18.
[2 ]Luke xii. 58.
[3 ]See The Age of Hus, p. 44; Niem. De Schismate (ed. Erler), pp. 206-9.
[4 ]Matt. v. 37.
[5 ]Ps. lxxv. 12. Vulg. (A.V. lxxvi. 11).
[6 ]P.: requirens substantiam adjacentiam. Better, on the whole, to read with Höfler, adjacentium.
[1 ]In quo est neutralis quoad auxilium intentione.
[1 ]Matt. v. 12.
[1 ]Ezek. xxxiv. 8.
[2 ]John x. 4.
[3 ]See Gratian, Pars II. C. 21, q. 1, also ib. C. 12, q. 1. Hus dwells on this in his sermon before the Synod (Mon. ii. 39b), where he quotes the above passages from Gratian.
[1 ]Titus iii. 10.
[2 ]Matt. xviii. 15.
[3 ]James v. 20.
[1 ]Lat. Luna.
[2 ]Gal. v. 20, 21.
[2 ]1 Cor. ii. 9, 10.
[1 ]See Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Rolls Series), 370-82, 501-5.
[1 ]Text in Mon. i. 101, Höfler ii. 210-12. Better readings in the first. The above translation is based on Foxe (ed. Pratt), iii. 506, corrected.
[1 ]Jas. i. 17.
[2 ]See infra, p. 40.
[3 ]The translation is said still to exist in the Library of Prague.
[1 ]P.: Si aliis odor et mortem sed gaudium, quia multis odor in vitam æternam. Höfler: et in mortem. Read Si aliis odor ad mortem, sed aliis in gaudium, quia multis, etc. There is only one MS. From 2 Cor. ii. 16.
[2 ]Matt. xiii. 25.
[3 ]Isa. ix. 2.
[4 ]Isa. liv. 1. Inexact. For deserti (P.) read desertæ.
[1 ]Job xl. 10-12.
[2 ]Gen. iii. 15.
[3 ]P.: jacentium H.: (circum)jacentium.
[4 ]See infra, p. 119, n. 1.
[5 ]Ps. xc. (xci.) 15.
[1 ]Matt. xii. 39.
[2 ]Ps. cvii. 13. Inexact.
[3 ]Ps. lxi 8.
[4 ]Eccles. iv. 12.
[5 ]P.: redire; read with H.: reducere.
[6 ]Phil. iv. 7.
[1 ]See infra, p. 60, n. 2.
[1 ]Acts iv. 32, and not “Acts ii.”
[2 ]More than one rule for monks is extant attributed to St. Augustine. They are all spurious save that extracted from his 109th letter (Migne, vol. xxxiii. p. 958). Hus here quotes the last words of the preface. For the corrupt reading of the sole MS. in Palackẏ, read: Hæc sunt, quæ ut observetis, præcipimus in monasterio constituti.
[3 ]That is, Et infra in Gratian’s Decretum. See Pars ii. C. 12, q. 1, c. 11, and cp. Augustine (ed. Maur, 1685), vol. x. Sermons Nos. 52 and 53. Compare also Wyclif, De Civ. Dom. iii. 81.
[4 ]This famous tale, related by Gregory himself, will be found in Dialogues, iv. 55. There is another account in The Life of Gregory by John the Deacon, one of the parties in the Dialogues (see Vita in Migne, vol. lxxv. lib. i. cc. 15 and 16). The incident took place probably in January 590 shortly before Gregory’s election as Pope. It is interesting to note that Hus uses the same illustration in greater fulness in a sermon that he preached in November 1411 (see Mon. ii. 51b). There the name of the monk is more correctly given as Justus, while the correct reference in the sermon shows that the reading “tertio dialogorum” is a slip.
[1 ]See Migne, Patrol. Lat. vol. lxvi. c. 33.
[2 ]P.: graphum; read graphium, i.e. γραϕεον.
[3 ]Benedict wrote dicat—‘let any one say.’ Hus reads dicebat. The rule, we note, is quoted in Wyclif (De Civ. Dom. iii. 85) with dicebat. The reading alters the sense to a reference to Acts iv. 32, a mistake into which Wyclif and Hus fell through the preceding “ut scriptum est.”
[4 ]See Basil, Regulæ brevius tractatæ, Interrog. 85. [Basil Opera, ed. Garnier (Paris, 1839), ii. 629.]
[5 ]Castorius was not a ‘Pope,’ but a bishop of Apt (d. 426), to whom John Cassian, the founder of the two religious houses for men and women at Marseilles, dedicated his De Institutis Cænobiorum. In the preface Cassian twice calls Castor ‘beatissima Papa,’ a relic of the time when the title was applied to all bishops and abbots. For the quotation, see De Instit. lib. iv. c. 13 (ed. Petschenig, Vienna, 1888 [C.S.E.L.], vol. i. p. 55).
[1 ]P.: caligas. The reading of the original was probably gallicas. See Petschenig in Ed. Cit.
[2 ]An addition of Hus or his copy See Petschenig, op. cit.
[3 ]Cf. Wyclif, De Civ. Dom. iii. 88. For the rule, see De la Haye, Francisci Assisiatis Opera (Paris, 1641, p. 30: from the second rule; compare op. cit. p. 30 with p. 23).
[4 ]De la Haye, op. cit. c. 6, p. 31.
[5 ]Epistle 14 in Migne, vol. xxii. p. 347.
[6 ]Bernard’s famous De Consideratione (Migne, vol. clxxxii.). The reference is vague; for as a matter of fact there is nothing very pertinent to this matter in the De Consideratione. A better reference would have been to the Liber de modo bene vivendi, c. 48 (in Migne, vol. clxxxiv. p. 1270).
[7 ]See Migne, vol. xl. p. 547. The reference is not specially apposite.
[1 ]Inaccurately quoted from Wyclif, De Civ. Dom. iii. 253; cf. Gregory, Dial. iii. c. 14, and Wyclif, De Civ. Dom. iii. 88.
[1 ]Jas. i. 2.
[2 ]Acts iv. 6-20.
[3 ]Acts v. 29.
[4 ]See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 93; quoted also in Wyclif, De Officio Regis, 192. Gratian’s ascription of it to “Ad Ephesios” is a mistake, probably an original mistake of “Polycarp”—i.e. of the Collectio Canonum Gregorii Presbyteri, one of the sources Gratian used. It is really from Jerome’s Ad Titum, c. 2, vv. 9-10 (in Migne, Op. Hieron. vii. 584). Hus had added to Gratian ‘vel prælatus.’
[1 ]Et infra, c. 3, § 1. Part of the quotation in Gratian.
[2 ]Sermo 68 (ed. Maur). Gratian took it from “Polycarp,” and Hus is quoting very loosely. See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 97.
[3 ]Greg. Moralia, lib. xxxv. c. 14 (ed. Migne, p. 766). Taken by Hus from Gratian, ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 99.
[1 ]P.: Benedictus, with the sole MS. But in Mon. i. 94 the correct reading Bernardus is given, as also in Hus, De Ecclesia (Mon. i. 239d) and De Sex Erroribus (Mon. i. 192b), where the reference “In quadam epistola ad Adam monachum” is added. See Migne, Op. Bernard, i. 95 C. This seems to be one of the few original references of Hus, and he was evidently very fond of it. Cf. Doc. 480.
[2 ]So Gratian, loc. cit.—to whom for once Hus gives a reference. But the words are really from Basil, Regulæ brevius tractatæ, Interrog. 114, ed. Garnier, ii. 631. At his trial in Constance Hus referred to the authorities here cited, and especially to the passage from Isidore (see Documenta, p. 214). Compare also Wyclif, De Offic. Regis, 110-11, from which Wyclif may have taken it. Cf. Hus’s use of ‘satraps’ infra, p. 50, with comment.
[3 ]i.e., Gratian, loc. cit. c. 101. Copied exactly.
[4 ]Gal. i. 8.
[1 ]Ps. cxviii. (cxix.) 21. Quoted also in The Defence of the Articles of Wyclif (1412), Mon. i. 113a.
[2 ]From Gratian, Pars i. dist. 95, C. 6. Judging by the readings, Hus would seem to have taken it from the Collectio Canonum of Anselm of Lucca. The epistle De Septum gradibus ecclesiæ is not by Jerome, though usually attributed to him. This passage is quoted also by Hus in Mon. i. 112b, Defence of the Articles of Wyclif.
[3 ]P.: dicat, quod majus est, Xto; read with Gratian and Anselm of Lucca: dicat, quis major est Christo.
[4 ]A mere paraphrase of Bede’s In Matt. Evang. c. xxi. in loc. (ed. Cologne, 1612, vol. v. p. 61; also eds. Migne and Giles). Quoted also in The Defence of the Articles of Wyclif (Mon. i. 112a).
[1 ]Matt. xxiii. 3.
[3 ]Deut. xxiv. 8.
[4 ]1 Pet. ii. 18.
[5 ]P.: sed absit; read with Mon.: quod absit.
[6 ]Hus had forgotten for the moment the retort that might have been made from Wyclif’s famous Deus debet obedire diabolo, with which he must have been familar as early as 1403.
[7 ]‘Satraps’ is a favourite word with Wyclif for the higher clergy; cf. Dialogues 25 l. 20; 32 l. 22; 113 l. 33; Cruciata (Polem. Wks. ii. 620) et passim.
[8 ]Mark xvi. 15.
[9 ]Diaboli canibus—possibly some pun intended on Dominicani, as often in the writings of the times.
[1 ]See supra, pp. 40-41.
[2 ]Matt. v. 18.
[3 ]Matt. xvi. 18; loose.
[5 ]æmuli veritatis.
[6 ]With the exception of this first point, Hus soon moved very far away from the positions which he here takes up.
[2 ]Semper Augustus. Wenzel had been deposed August 20, 1400. As he had never been crowned, he was never, strictly speaking, “Emperor” (Imperator). On July 21, 1411, Sigismund, his half-brother, had been unanimously elected King of the Romans. Wenzel had been won over by the promise that Sigismund would not during his lifetime seek the higher title.
[3 ]Supra, p. 18.
[1 ]By Gregory XII., at Lucca, May 15, 1408, in a rescript to Zbinek.
[2 ]Cf. supra, p. 39.
[3 ]Supra, p. 39.
[4 ]I.e., Zbinek.
[5 ]Wenzel Kralik, Dean of St. Peter’s, Wyschehrad, was appointed Patriarch of Antioch (in partibus), April 11, 1397. In 1413 he was appointed administrator of the diocese of Olmütz on the transference of Conrad Vechta to Prague, and is reckoned among its bishops. He died on September 12, 1416, and must not be confused with the French Patriarch of Antioch (Cramaud) who played so prominent a part at Constance. See Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica, s.v.
[1 ]See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 2, q. 3, from the Pseudo-Isidore decretals.
[1 ]I.e., from Gregory. The reference is not to Leipzig.
[1 ]Comparitionum dependentibus gravaminibus—a compressed way of putting the negative, “the lack of such appearance when cited.”
[2 ]We may own with Palackẏ and Stephen of Dolein (Antihussus, p. 383 in Pez.; Thesaurus, vol. iv. part ii.), that Hus was a little too fond of these professions of willingness to die. See pp. 96, 119, and cf. Mon. i. 106a.