Front Page Titles (by Subject) LXVI.: To Master Martin, his Disciple 1 ( June 16, 1415) - The Letters of John Hus
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LXVI.: To Master Martin, his Disciple 1 ( June 16, 1415) - 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 Master Martin, his Disciple1
Master Martin, my dear disciple and brother in Christ! Live according to Christ’s gospel and put on diligence that you may preach the word of God. I beg you, for God’s sake, love not a fine garment Alas! I loved and wore one, thus giving no example of humility to the people I preached to. Delight to read the Bible, and especially the New Testament; and where you do not understand, refer at once to the commentators when you have them at hand. Beware of talking with women, and especially be careful in hearing their confessions, lest you be caught in the snare of wantonness; for I trust you have been preserved a chaste virgin2 unto God. Do not be afraid to die for Christ, if you would live with Christ. For He Himself saith: Fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul.3 If they shall charge you with complicity in my heresy,4 say, “I hope my master was a good Christian; but as to what he wrote and taught by way of protest in the schools, I did not understand it all, nor did I read it through.” I think you will find things are as I say; but I hope by the mercy of God and by the help of good men that they will let you depart in peace, though Palecz and his party are striving to get a summons against all my adherents.5 Be assured that the Lord still lives, Who will be able to keep you all steadfast in His grace and to put to death and destroy in hell the enemies of the truth.
I commend my brethren to you; treat them as you know how, dear friend. I trust you will give my greetings to the holy Petra with Duora and her family, and to all the friends belonging to the Bethlehem, Katherine called Hus, a holy virgin, I hope, Girzik1 the rector, the lady of Zderaz, Michael of Prachaticz, Maurice Kačer, and all the friends of the truth, Ješkonissa, Gregory, and all the masters, Jesenicz, Kuba, the two Simons, Nicholas and Hawlik.2 Whoever hath the books, or is to have them, must be careful with them. Greet the doctors my beloved brethren in Christ, the shoemakers, the tailors, and the book-writers also, asking them to be zealous for Christ’s gospel and to be ‘lowly wise’ and not to use their own glosses, but those of the doctors of the Church. Ask without fail Lord Henry Lefl to give a guinea to James, the book-writer, as he promised to him. Greet Matthew, once a member at the Bethlehem, and Matthew Chudy, especially that he may pray for me a sinner, and the faithful John Vitlin. If you think proper, apprentice the sons of my brother to a craft, for I fear they would not guard an ecclesiastical calling as they ought, should they take to it. Make such repayment as you can to my creditors, who have my bond. Should they wish to let me off for God’s sake and out of love to me, God will give them the more. Hold fast whatever good you learnt from me. If you saw anything unseemly in me, cast it from you and pray God that it may please Him to spare me. “Ponder always what you are, what you were, what you will be” (supra, p. 234.) Mourn the past, mend the present, beware of the future—I am speaking of sins. May the God of all grace strengthen you in His grace with all the brethren named above and the others likewise, and may He bring you to glory, in which, I trust, we shall all rejoice together by His mercy, before thirty years have passed away. Farewell evermore, my dear brother in Christ Jesus, with all who love the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Written in prison on Sunday after the Feast of St. Vitus.
The two following letters of Hus introduce us to a most interesting episode in these last dark days, and show us some of the influences brought to bear upon the Reformer to induce him to be false to himself, and to recant. Every artifice of casuistry was employed to bring out this result; and leaders of the Council added their persuasions. Among these leaders was one whose name we do not know, but whom Hus here calls the “Father.” Of his kindly feelings towards the Reformer Hus has already told us; he was the only one in all the Council upon whose sympathies Hus could count (p. 208). In the following letter the “Father” tried to persuade Hus to yield to the Council’s demands. The letter is without date, and is anonymous, though several copies of it have been preserved for us. Unfortunately not even Mladenowic has added in the margin the name of the writer. Luther in the Epist. Piissimæ identified “Pater” with John Cardinalis, whom he mistakenly took to be John de Bronhiaco (p. 216 n.), Cardinal of Ostia, the president of the Council. That this cannot be “Pater” seems to me clear from the first sentence of his letter on p. 240. If we are to look among the cardinals I should incline to Zabarella, who at the Council on June 8 had promised Hus that he would send ‘a form of abjuration sufficiently guarded’ (Doc. 309). The legal reference in the last clause of his second letter is suitable to one who was the pre-eminent canonist of the Council; while his rank would account for his desire to be anonymous. But any identification is at the best a mere guess, and Zabarella’s after conduct does not lend weight to the surmise.
The “Father’s” first letter took the shape of a form of recantation, which Hus was to fill up and sign. Hus in his reply points out his real difficulty. Though not very clearly put, there is no note of faltering.
The “Father” to Master John Hus
A form suggested by the “Father” to John Hus for giving in his submission to the decision of the Council, abjuring and recanting.
I being so and so, etc. Over and above the declarations made by me, which I desire to be understood as repeated, I declare anew that although much is laid to my charge which never entered my mind; none the less in the matter of all the charges brought forward, whether raised against myself or extracted from my books or even the depositions of witnesses, I hereby submit myself humbly to the merciful appointment, decision, and correction of the most holy General Council, to abjure, to revoke, to recant, to undergo merciful penance, and to do all things and several that the said most holy Council in its mercy and grace shall deem fit to ordain for my salvation, commending myself to the same with the utmost devotion.
[1 ]With this letter compare No. XXXV.
[2 ]Cf. Rev. xiv. 4.
[3 ]Matt. x. 28.
[4 ]De adhæsione.
[5 ]Cf. p. 222.
[1 ]Cf. pp. 151, 206. One of the “Simons” would be Simon Tissnow.
[2 ]Cf. p. 274, where they are again associated together. Nicholas I take to be Nicholas Miliczin (see p. 80). Hawlik or Gallus was at this time the preacher at the Bethlehem. Cf. pp. 248, 275. Michael of Prachaticz was a public notary (cf. Doc. 331 and passim).