Front Page Titles (by Subject) XLIX.: To John of Chlum ( Without date: March 6 th, 1415 3 ) - The Letters of John Hus
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XLIX.: To John of Chlum ( Without date: March 6 th, 1415 3 ) - 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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To John of Chlum
Every word you wrote in your last letter gave me excellent comfort. Our learned doctor of Biberach agreeth in his exposition with my own thoughts, though that adage of Cato’s holds good, “For dreams have no care,”4 and also God’s command that we hearken not to dreams.5 Yet I hope that the life of Christ, which I painted from His word at the Bethlehem in the hearts of men and which they wished to blot out from the Bethlehem—issuing first of all an order that there should be no preaching in chapels and in the Bethlehem, then afterwards that the Bethlehem should be razed to the ground6 —I hope, I say, that that life of Christ is being painted up in better fashion by other better preachers than myself amid the rejoicings of the people that love Christ’s life.7 Wherein I will rejoice—as saith our learned doctor8 —when I awake out of sleep, that is, when I rise from the dead. The writing too on the walls of the Bethlehem still abides,9 though Palecz is mightily vexed against it, saying that it was through it that I led the people into errors; nay, he stoutly insists that it be blotted out so as thereby to bring me into utter confusion: moreover as I lay here in weakness, he hailed me, before them all,1 with a most horrible greeting, of which I will tell you hereafter, if it shall please God.
My thoughts about the points to be raised against me I have committed to the Lord God, to Whom I have appealed and Whom I chose before the commissioners as my judge, my proctor and my advocate,2 in the plain words: “Let the Lord Jesus be my advocate and proctor, Who will shortly judge you all: to Him I have committed my cause, even as He Himself committed His cause to His Father.” It is He that hath said—and his lordship the doctor of Biberach repeats it: Think not, etc. For Christ said: Lay it up therefore in your hearts not to meditate before how you shall answer. For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to resist and gainsay.3 On which the blessed Jerome4 saith: “As if our Lord were to say openly: Fear not, be not terrified: you will come to a conflict, but I am the fighter: you utter words, but I am the speaker.” Then follow the words: And you shall be betrayed by your parents and brethren and kinsmen and friends: and some of you they will put to death. “Less pain do evils inflict which are inflicted by them that are without. But more fiercely do those tortures ragewithin us which we suffer at the hands of them on whose loyalty we presumed: for along with the body’s loss we are crucified by the pains of a lost love.” So Jerome.1 My pain obviously proceeds from Palecz. Truly our doctor of Biberach rises above Lord Henry [Lacembok] and above Master John [Cardinalis], rector of Janowicz. As for the rest, please God, it shall be known hereafter.
Let our doctor of Biberach carry out the lesson he has given me and let him keep the secret of my letters to himself,2 for Christ saith: A man’s enemies shall be they of his own household.3 Item, you shall be betrayed by your parents, etc.4 Farewell, and all of you who are together, have constancy in Constance! Please give my greeting to all my friends but judiciously, lest they should say, “How do you know that he greeted us?”
In the recently published Diary of Cardinal Fillastre we read: ‘In the meantime’—i.e., before February 16—‘we dealt with the errors of Wyclif. But the whole business was put off, through our handling the way of cession.’ (ed. Finke, op. cit. p. 166). This last was a proposal of the French Cardinals D’Ailli and Fillastre—first made on February 15—that the three rival Popes should all resign. This led to the delays in the further treatment of the case of Hus to which Chlum alludes—‘the foreign and irrelevant matter’—in the following letter to Hus. The matter of the cession was further discussed on February 21 and 28, and by the beginning of March had become the settled conviction of the Council. On March 5—the day of the arrival of the embassy of the French King (Charles)—the Council proposed to the Pope that he should issue a bull consenting to this ‘method of cession,’ and naming proctors who should carry out his resignation. John of course refused (Hardt, iv. 523, Finke, op. cit. 167). John of Chlum’s optimism shows how little he and the other Bohemians understood the working of the Inquisition. For the time being, however, further proceedings were postponed.
John of Chlum to John Hus
Dearest friend, you ought to know that your case and the cause of truth never moved on so brightly as at present, although some other foreign and irrelevant matters have cropped up, so that your case is delayed for the moment.
All your friends, especially Christian, are paying court to the good widow, who is a second widow of Sarepta!1
That tattered three-cornered bit of paper has come to hand and has been duly read.2 Its arrival without the least delay could not have been so quickly anticipated.
Our doctor of Biberach3 only asks for a reasonable excuse for writing; from which you can guess his incurable itch for scribbling! I beg you to send some comforting words to your good-hearted friends.
In the following letter we are introduced to the ‘consolatory rhymes,’ which Hus wrote in prison, as Mladenowic puts it, ‘to pass the time and console himself.’ Their value as hexameters may be judged from the third line,
‘Jonam, Danielem, tres pu. Susannam, quia fuere’ (!)
The complaint of ‘negligence in writing,’ would point to a date later than the preceding letter to Chlum, while the references to John Barbatus, as well as to Easter, add strength to this argument. From the tone of the letter it is evident that Hus was depressed. It is evident also that the visit of the inquisitors had been interrupted by the new stir over the Pope’s proposed abdication. The answer to Gerson, it seems, still hangs fire.
[3 ]See p. 190.
[4 ]See the pseudo Dicta Catonis (vel Disticha de Moribus), ed. Némethy, Pesth, 1895, lib. ii. No. 31; a favourite mediæval book of rhymed proverbs, as we see in the Piers Plowman.
[5 ]Jer. xxix. 8.
[6 ]P. 79.
[7 ]Epist. Piissimæ: ‘Quisne negare potest per Lutherum factum esse.’
[8 ]i.e., of Biberach; see p. 155.
[9 ]P. 79.
[1 ]P.: coram mulis; an original uncorrected reading of the Ep. Piis. Read coram multis. No wonder Bonnechose was puzzled by the words!
[2 ]He was allowed no other. See p. 175.
[3 ]Luke xxi. 14, 15.
[4 ]See next page, n. 1.
[1 ]Not from Jerome at all, but loosely quoted from Bede’s In Lucæ Evang. Expositio, c. xxi. in loc. (ed. Giles or Migne).
[2 ]De literis—i.e., how Robert the gaoler brought them in and out as well as their existence. See also first sentence on p. 193, supra.
[3 ]Matt. x. 36.
[4 ]Luke xxi. 16.
[1 ]1 Kings xvii. 9 ff. Christian Prachaticz, whose attentions to Hus’s landlady, widow Faithful of the bakehouse, with the sign of the White Pigeons, Chlum here jokingly mentions, soon after this was arrested on the suit of Michael the Pleader and brought before the Patriarch of Constantinople. Thirty articles were presented against him. But on the intervention of Sigismund, who had a special interest in him as a learned astronomer, he was released, and allowed to return to Prague (March 18-19) with a letter from Lacembok: ‘There it is feared he will sow other lies, as is the manner of all the Wyclifists’ (Doc. 542). This helps to fix the date of the letter.
[2 ]Cf. p. 172. Paper evidently once more running out.
[3 ]See p. 155. Chlum had written only a day or two before. See p. 191. Hence the allusion and the date.