Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 24, John Huss's Reply
May the God of mercy preserve and strengthen you in his grace; and may he impart to you, as well as to me, constancy in this city; for if we continue constant, we shall obtain the succour of the Lord. It is now that I learn to understand the saying of the Psalmist: Pray and meditate on the sufferings of Christ and the martyrs: for Isaiah has declared, that experience gives intelligence, and unless a man has undergone temptation, he can know nothing.
I do not understand what the Doctor of Bibrach inquires about; and I form no conjectures relative to his being negligent in writing. I only wish that he may be in good health; but that the health of the soul may be first fortified in him by the Lord. What I desire most ardently for him, is the improvement of his soul’s health as well as that of his body, and after this life, eternal happiness with the saints.
Rejoice all you who are united in the Lord; salute each other, and prepare yourselves to partake worthily of the body of the Lord before the Feast of Easter. I have not been able to participate in this holy sacrament for a length of time; and I shall still be deprived of it as long as it shall be the good pleasure of the Lord. It was the same with the apostles of Christ and a great number of the saints, who were debarred from the sacrament in prison and in desert places.
I rejoice that you are together, and that Zelizna Brada is with you in good health. I also am well, being, as I hope, in Jesus Christ; and I shall be still better after death, if I observe faithfully God’s commandments. Oh! that God would accord me sufficient time to reply to the Chancellor of Paris, who so rashly and unjustly, and in presence of so great an assembly, did not blush to accuse his fellow-creature of errors! But God, perhaps, by my death, or by his, will render all writing on my part useless, and in his last judgment will clear up every thing, far better than I could do by any work of mine.
- This letter has been, I own, classed under the same title and the same figure as the preceding one in the collection of John Huss’s Works.
- Huss commenced this letter by the following verses, which he wrote with his own hand, to console himself, and wile away the time; they are, however, so filled with jeux de mots and abbreviations, that it is impossible to translate them satisfactorily. We therefore give them in the original.—
Litera gavisus, respondeo capiti istud,
Cœtus, Iacus, ignis, ac testis restituere
Jonam, Danielem, tres Pu. . .Susannam, quia fuere
Justus, castus, puri, hæc conti. . .Spem retinentes
In Domino justo, qui liberat in se sperantes.
Poterit qui aucam, Dominus pie, carcere tetro
Eripere clausam, quæ se fœdaverit retro,
Quam purgat carcer, donat et instruit flere.
In lachrymas risus vertens, ut nunc sciat vere
Opprobria Christi, blasphemias, lumine recto
Cernere injurias et capite Sathanæ secto
Vincere morte, vel ut sibi dederit optima vita.
- Huss here adds the following verses:—
Nocturnus, gradus, litaniæ, singulse horæ,
Carceri sunt breves, vigiliæ dicere, leves.
Passo Christo patimur: sed hæc est passio nostra,
Nulla, vel modica, quæ tolleret crimina nostra,
Adjuvet vos Christus, ne glutiat nunc Antichristus.