Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 7, To the believers in Prague
TO THE SAME.
[The same subject.]
The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the believers in Prague who sincerely love his holy Gospel!
I, John Huss, the servant of God, do supplicate and conjure you, well-beloved, not to abandon the truth which God, in his mercy, has imparted to you. That power which has begun to operate in us, whom he has chosen out, will continue, I feel convinced, still to do so, and will give us, in our temptations, perseverance and strength. I myself only live by his mercy and grace. I can declare, with St Paul, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better: nevertheless, to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know I shall abide and continue with you all, for your furtherance and joy of faith.” So did St Paul write from his prison in Rome to the Philippians.
I also say unto you, dearly beloved, that although I am not in prison, I would willingly die for Christ, and be with him; and I say also that I should be well pleased to preach to you again the Word of God, for your salvation. I do not know which of these would be for the best; for I have full confidence for myself in the mercy of God, and also fear that some evil may arise amongst you, which may occasion persecutions against the true believers, and be the cause of eternal perdition to those who believe not. These rejoice and desire most ardently not only to smother in me the Word of God, but also to shut the asylum of Bethlehem, where I have preached the Gospel of Christ to you; but if God consent not, their efforts will be vain; and if he permit it, such a misfortune will come to pass on account of the wicked, as Bethlehem, where the Lord was born, and Jerusalem, where he redeemed us, were seen to be overwhelmed to the lowest foundation.
As to us, let us render thanks to God, submitting constantly to his divine power, which always assists those who love Him, and sets those free who suffer for His sake, allotting their persecutors to eternal torments. I beseech you, therefore, brethren, not to let yourselves be cast down, but rather to pray to our Saviour Jesus Christ to give you constancy to persevere in the faith to the end; and be persuaded that he will accord you the free and unmolested preaching of his Word, and that he will augment your strength in order to defend you from the fury of that antichrist, against which he has prophesied in his holy Scriptures.