Front Page Titles (by Subject) LXXIII.: To his Friends at Constance ( June 23, 1415) - The Letters of John Hus
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LXXIII.: To his Friends at Constance ( June 23, 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 his Friends at Constance
Dear friends, I must tell you of what Palecz said when urging me not to trouble about the confusion of abjuring, but to consider the good that would come of it. I replied, “It is a greater confusion to be condemned and burnt than to abjure; how, then, can I be afraid of the confusion? But give me your own ideas; how would you act if you knew as a fact that you did not hold the errors ascribed to you? Would you be willing to abjure?” He replied, “It is a difficulty,” and began to weep. We discussed many other plans which I objected to. Michael, poor fellow, was several times at my prison with the deputies. When I was engaged with the deputies he said to the gaolers: “By God’s grace we shall soon burn this heretic who has cost me many a florin.” Understand that in writing this I do not yearn for vengeance on him; this I have left with God. I am praying for him with all my heart.
Once more I urge you to be careful with the letters. Michael hath arranged that no one is to be allowed in the prison; the gaolers’ wives are not allowed admission. O holy God, how widely hath Antichrist extended his cruel power! but I think it will be cut short, and his iniquity further stripped bare among the faithful people. God Almighty will strengthen the hearts of His faithful ones whom He hath chosen before the foundation of the world that they may receive an incorruptible crown. Let Antichrist rage as he will, he shall not prevail against Christ, Who shall slay him with the breath of His mouth,1 as saith the apostle. And then the creature also itself shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God, saith the apostle, adding, We ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.2
I am greatly comforted by that saying of our Lord: Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil for the Son of Man’s sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice; for behold your reward is great in heaven.1 A good greeting, nay, the best of all, yet difficult—I do not mean to understand, but—to live up to fully; for it bids us rejoice in those tribulations. It was a rule observed along with the other apostles by James, who saith: Count it all joy when you shall fall into divers temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, and patience hath a perfect work.2 Verily, it is a difficult thing to rejoice with tranquillity, and to count it all joy in the midst of divers temptations. It is easy to quote and expound the words, but difficult to carry them out when that most patient and brave Soldier, although He knew He would rise again on the third day and overcome His foes by His death and redeem the elect from damnation, was yet after the last supper troubled in spirit, and said: My soul is sorrowful even unto death.3 Of Whom the gospel saith that He began to fear and to be heavy and sad; nay, being in an agony He was strengthened by an angel, and his sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground.4 Yet He, though thus troubled, said to His faithful ones: Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid; let it not be troubled5 because of my short absence nor let it be afraid of the cruelty of them that rage; for you will have Me for ever, and will overcome the cruelty of them that rage. Therefore, the soldiers of Christ looking to their leader, the King of glory, fought a great fight. They passed through fire and water, yet were saved alive, and received from the Lord God the crown of life, of which James in the canonical epistle saith: Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been proved he shall receive the crown of life which God hath promised to them that love him.1 That crown, I verily trust, the Lord will make me to share along with you also, warm-hearted zealots for the truth, and with all who steadfastly love the Lord Jesus, Who suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow His steps. It behoved Him to suffer, as He Himself saith; and it behoves us to suffer, that the members may suffer with the Head, Who saith: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.2
O loving Christ,3 draw me, a weakling, after Thyself; for if Thou drawest me not, I cannot follow Thee. Grant me a brave spirit that it may be ready. If the flesh is weak, let Thy grace prevent, come in the middle, and follow; for without Thee I can do nothing, and, especially, for Thy sake I cannot go to a cruel death. Grant me a ready spirit, a fearless heart, a right faith, a firm hope, and a perfect love, that for Thy sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy. Amen.
Written in prison in chains on the eve of St. John Baptist, who was beheaded in prison and in chains, because he reproved iniquity; may it please him to pray for me unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
[1 ]Cf. Luther’s famous hymn (trans. Carlyle):—
and remember that Luther had read this letter.
[2 ]Rom. viii. 21, 23.
[1 ]Luke vi. 22, 23.
[2 ]Jas. i. 2-3.
[3 ]Mark xiv. 34.
[4 ]Luke xxii. 43, 44.
[5 ]John xiv. 27.
[1 ]Jas. i. 12.
[2 ]Matt. xvi. 24.
[3 ]See p. 250.