Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 30, To his Noble Benefactors

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to his friends (24 June 1415).



[This letter teaches us in what consists the trial of spiritual combats; it shews how true is what we confess in the Creed, that there is but one holy and universal Church,[2] and that the riches of this Church are common to all. Man is for his fellow-creature, an angel and a God in misfortunes.]

I am delighted that the treatise against an unknown person has not been discovered, as well as several others. I have been able these latter days to nourish my soul with better things,[3] than since Easter day until last Sunday. I imagined this Council to contain more order and decency. May the noble John, my friend, be blessed in eternity. I should with pleasure learn in what state is Barbat, who refused to follow the counsels of his friends.

Since they are in possession of my book, I have not felt any want of the work. Preserve carefully the list of the first articles, with the proofs; and if you should want any testimonies for any of the articles, assign witnesses. The most important article is that entitled All that a virtuous man does, he does virtuously.

I am suffering from a toothach, and during the heat have been seized with vomitings of blood. I suffered also from the stone and headach. These are punishments for my sins, and signs of God’s love. Since they have condemned my treatises, I pray you to suppress the last letter written in Bohemian, which I sent to-day, in order that the people of God should not believe that all my books are condemned, as I was afraid of, from a letter I received yesterday.

It would be desirable that no letter written in this prison should be known; for what God intends to do with me is still very uncertain. I fear that Ulric may have published some of my letters. I conjure you, therefore, in God’s name, to pay the greatest attention to the letters—to your words and acts. Oh! how much I was consoled by receiving your letters, and in writing you mine! I hope, with the grace of God, that men may one day derive instruction from them.

As long as I know you remain with the young Seigniors at Constance, I shall be comforted, even though I should be already condemned to death. I regard it as certain that God has bestowed you on me, as angels to strengthen and console me,—me, a weak and unfortunate man, in the midst of my temptations. What they have been, what they are, and will still be, the Almighty God knows. He who has compassion on me, He who is my refuge, my support, and my deliverer, in Him have I placed my trust.

Two delegates of the Council asked me in prison, “If I possessed several books which I had made use of in my researches?” I answered, that “I possessed them.” They asked me, “Where?” “In Bohemia,” I replied. They inquired of me, “Whether I had none here?” I denied having any, which is the fact, although I had previously brought with me the book of Sentences, the Bible, and some other works. I learned from them that John, my pupil, had withdrawn; and they said to me, “Have you no other observations to offer?” “No; what I have said, is the truth.” “Will you abjure and recant?” “No,” I replied; “but come to the Council; there you shall hear me. I am to appear before it, and there will I answer. Why do you tempt me? Have you come to console a prisoner, or add to his affliction?” Then, after having again exchanged some words, they withdrew. Take care of the books, if you have any; as for me, I am not aware of any.

Tell Master Jessenitz, that the notary has perfidiously changed my evidence concerning the explanation of the bull, which, as you have heard, I strongly affirmed before the Council.

  1. Hist. et. Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. xxxvii.
  2. Catholicism.
  3. De bonis plus comedi. I did not think it possible to understand these words but in a figurative manner.