Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 38, To his Disciple, Master Martin

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to Master Martin, his Disciple (16 June 1415).



Master Martin, my dear disciple, my well-beloved brother in Christ, live according to the law of Christ; be zealous in the preaching of God's Word. I conjure you, in the name of the Lord, not to seek rich clothing like unto that which I was fond of, alas! and which I wore, neglecting to shew an example of humility to the people whom I instructed. Attach thy soul to the reading of the Bible, and especially that of the New Testament; and in obscure passages, have recourse to commentators as much as it is in thy power to do so.

Dread the intercourse of women, and be circumspect, when thou listenest to them at confession, lest thou shouldest be caught in the snares of unlawful desires; for I hope thou hast guarded all thy purity, and that thou belongest wholly to God.

Be not afraid of dying, if thou wouldest wish to live with Christ, for he has said himself, Fear not those who destroy the body, but cannot kill the soul. If they should ask thee concerning thy adherence to my doctrines, answer, “I believe my master has been a good Christian, in what he has taught and written; I have neither read all, nor understood all. I speak as I think.” I hope that the mercy of God, with the aid of well-disposed people, will enable us to live in peace, although Paletz labours with his associates to get all my adherents condemned. But know that the Lord lives, who can in his grace preserve you, and can confound and destroy all the enemies of his word.

I recommend to thee my very dear brethren; act towards them as thou knowest is right. Thou wilt salute Peter, with his wife and family, and all those who belong to the Church of Bethlehem: Catherine, that holy girl, and the Curé Guzikon, Maurice Hatzer, and all the friends of the truth; Geskonière, the Seignior Gregory, all the Masters, Jessenitz, Kuba, the two Simons, and Nicholas Haulikon. Let all those who possess, or shall possess, my books be prudent. Thou wilt also salute all my well-beloved brothers in Christ, the doctors, the writers, the shoemakers, the tailors, in recommending them to be zealous for the laws of Christ, to advance humbly in wisdom, and not to make use of their own commentaries, but to have recourse to those of the saints. Thou wilt tell Henry Liffel to give to Jacob, the writer, the piece of money which was promised him.

Salute Matthew, formerly my disciple at Bethlehem, and especially Master Matthew Chudy, and the faithful John Vitlis, that they may pray for me, a sinner.

Incline my brother’s sons to exercise some worldly calling; for I should be afraid, if they took upon them a spiritual charge, that they might not fill it as they should do. Satisfy as well as thou canst, those to whom I owe something; should they wish, nevertheless, to forget these debts for the love of the Lord, the Lord will bestow on them much greater riches.

Keep in mind all the good thou hast heard from my lips; and if thou hast discovered in me any thing which was not according to propriety, detest it, and pray to God that he may deign to pardon me. Meditate without ceasing on what thou art, on what thou hast been, and what thou mayest become. Deplore the past, amend the present, dread the future, that is, sin.

May the God of grace console thee, as well as all our above-mentioned brethren, that He may conduct you with all the others to his glory, in which, I firmly hope, of his mercy, all will rejoice before thirty years have passed over.

Adieu, my well-beloved brother; dwell always with Christ Jesus, thou, and all those who love the name of our Lord.

Written in prison the Sunday after Saint Vitus.

John Huss, in hope, servant of God.

  1. Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. xxviii.