Front Page Titles (by Subject) LXVII.: Master John Hus to the Father ( Without date: middle of June ) - The Letters of John Hus
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LXVII.: Master John Hus to the “Father” ( Without date: middle of June ) - 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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Master John Hus to the “Father”
May the Father Almighty, most wise and most loving, be pleased to grant to my “Father,” highly esteemed for Christ Jesus’s sake, the everlasting life of glory.
Reverend Father, I am truly grateful for your pious and fatherly kindness. I dare not submit myself to the Council in the terms you have suggested, because thereby I should have to condemn many truths which, as I have heard from their own lips, they call “scandalous,” and also because I should be guilty of perjury if I abjured and confessed that I have held erroneous views; and thereby I should greatly scandalise God’s people who have heard the contrary in my preaching. If then the holy Eleazar, who lived under the old law, and of whom we read in Maccabees,1 refused to make a lying confession that he had eaten flesh forbidden by the law so as not to act against God’s will and to leave an evil example to his descendants, how could I, a priest of the new law, albeit unworthy, for fear of a penalty which will soon be over, be guilty of the more grievous sin of breaking God’s law? In the first place, I should err from the truth, in the second I should commit perjury, and thirdly I should be a stumbling-block to my neighbours. Assuredly it is fitting for me rather to die than to flee a momentary penalty to fall into the Lord’s hand and afterwards, perchance, into everlasting fire and shame. And because I have appealed to Christ Jesus,2 the most potent and just of all judges, committing my cause to Him, therefore I stand by His judgment and sentence, knowing that He will judge every man not on false and erroneous evidence but on the true facts and merits of the case.
The “Father” was not satisfied with this reply, or with the appeal with which the letter had concluded. Probably he did not discern the real difficulty of Hus from his reply. At any rate, he would make one more effort. His next letter is a most interesting piece of casuistry and special pleading. The last sentences would seem to indicate sympathy with the life and spirit of Hus. If so, they rule out Zabarella, or for that matter any cardinal.
Hus in his reply was uncompromising in his rejection of the ‘basket’ which the “Father” offered for his escape. With this reply the incident closed, and the “Father” left Hus to his fate. But he was still pestered by others eager to prove their powers of argument, among them, we learn with interest, by an old Augustinian monk, the delegate from Luther’s university, Erfurt. ‘No theologian,’ cried the enthusiastic chronicler, ‘was able to overcome Hus in argument save that old father alone.’
The “Father” to Master John Hus
In the first place, my most dearly beloved brother, do not be moved by the fact that thou condemnest certain truths; for judgment is not passed by thee, but by those who are thy elders—yea, and our elders1 at the present time. Take heed to this word: “Lean not on thine own understanding.” There are many intellectual2 and conscientious men in the Council. Listen to the law of thy mother. So much for the first point.
Item, in the second place, as to perjury. If that were perjury, it would not recoil on thee, but on those who compel it.
Item, so far as thou art concerned, there are no heresies if thou cease from obstinacy. Augustine, Origen, the master of the Sentences, and others erred, but joyously came back. Several times I have believed that I understood aright some things wherein I was mistaken; when admonished, I came back with gladness.
Item, I write briefly, for I address one that understandeth. Thou wilt not swerve from the truth, but thou wilt draw nigh to it, and so be not worse off, but better. Thou wilt not be a stumbling-block, but a builder up. Eleazar the Jew had glory; the Jewess with her seven sons and the eight martyrs had more glory.3 None the less Paul was let down in a basket4 to gain greater blessings. The Lord Jesus, the Judge to whom thou hast appealed, grants thee release from thy appeal5 in these words: Still greater conflicts shall be given thee for the faith of Christ.
[1 ]2 Macc. vi. 18 ff.
[2 ]P. 79.
[1 ]Proof that he was not John de Bronhiaco.
[3 ]2 Macc. vi. 17-vii.
[4 ]2 Cor. xi. 33.
[5 ]Dat vobis apostolos. See apostoli in Ducange, and note that the word was in use at the time of the Council for an appeal from the Pope to the Council.