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BOHEMIAN


617


BOHEMIAN


confers the hope of eternal salvation. The rich were requested to abandon their wealth and worldly pomp and to live in voluntary poverty. The Brethren were to give up private property for the benefit of the Brotherhood. Anyone not observing the brotherhood of faith and practice was to be separated from the community.

Meanwhile the persecution continued. The Utra- quist (Calixtine) priests refused the Sacrament to the Brethren. These, therefore, were forced to consti- tute a priesthood of their omi belief. A bishop and a number of priests were chosen by lot, and the separation from the Utraquists became an accom- plished fact. The head of the Austrian Waldenses, who was believed to have received consecration from a real bishop, gave episcopal orders to the ex-parish priest, Michael, and Michael consecrated his friend, Matthias, bishop and ordained several priests. The new Bishop Matthias of Kunwald then reordained his consecrator, to make him a true priest of the Brotherhood. This happened in 1467 at the synod of Lhotka, near Reichenau, where also all those present were rebaptizcd. The breach with both Catholics and Utraquists was now completed, and the Brethren began to order their community on the model of "the primitive Church". The govern- ing power centred in a council presided over by a judge. Four seniors, or eldei's, held the episcopal power. The priests had no property and were en- couraged to celibacy. The strictest morality and modesty were exacted from the faithful. All acts subser\'ient to luxury were forbidden; oaths and military serxace were only permited in very excep- tional cases. Public sins had to be publicly confessed, and were punished with ecclesiastical penalties or expulsion. A committee of women watched vdth re- lentless severity over the behaviour of their sisters.

A new persecution quickly followed on the synod of Lhotka. The Brethren defended their cause in copious writings, but in 1468 many of them were imprisoned and tortured, one was burnt at the stake. Tlie death of the governor George von Podiebrad in 1471 brought some relief. Brother Gregory died in 1473. From 1480 Lucas of Prague was the leading man. Thanks to him, and to toleration granted the Brethren by King Ladislaus II, the Brotherhood rapidly increased in numbers. By the end of the fifteenth century there were 400 communities. Pope Alexander VI 's endeavour to reconvert the Brethren (in 1499) proved futile. About this time an internal feud in the "LTnity of Brethren" led to a renewal of persecution. The Amosites, so called from their leader. Brother Amos, accused their more moderate Brethren of fomenting violent opposition to the Gov- ernment in imitation of their spiritual ancestors, the Taborites. King Ladislaus II thereupon issued a decree prohibiting the meetings of the Brethren under heavy penalties. In many places, however, the decree was left unheeded, and powerful landowners continued to protect the Brotherhood. Once more the king resorted to milder measures. In 1507 he invited the chiefs of the Brethren to meet the Utra- quists in conference at Prague. The Brethren sent a few rude, unlettered fellows unable to give answers to the questions of the professors. The king re- garded tlus as an insult and ordered all the meetings of the "Pickarts" to be suppre.s.sed , all their books to be burnt, and the recalcitrants to be imprisoned (1508).

The Brethren now began to look for foreign sym- pathy. Erasmus complimented them on their knowl- edge of truth, but refused to commit himself further. Luther objected to their doctrine on the Euchar- ist, to the celibacy of their clergy, to the practice of rebaptizing, and to the belief in seven sacra- ments. Brother Lucas answered in a sharp pamph- let and, having ascertained the low standard of church discipline among the Lutherans of Witten-


berg, ceased all attempts at union. At the same time (1.525) Lucas rejected the Zwinghan doctrines which some Brethren were trying to introduce. After the death of Lucas (1528) the government of the Brotherhood passed into the hands of men fond of innovations, among whom John Augusta is the most remarkable. Aiigusta reopened negotiations with Luther and so modified his creed that it gained the Reformer's approbation, but the union of the two sects was again prevented by the less rigid morala of the Lutherans in Bohemia and Mora\-ia. Augusta pleaded for stricter church discipline, but Luther dis- missed him, saying: "Be you the apostle of the Bo- hemians, I will be the apostle of the Germans. Do as circumstances direct, we will do the same here" (1542). Soon afterwards the Bohemian Estates were requested to join Charles V in his war against the Smalkaldic league. Catholics and old Utraquists obeyed, but the Bohemian Protestants, having met in the house of Brother Kostka, established a kind of provisional government composed of eight mem- bers, four of whom belonged to the Brotherhood, and appointed a general to lead the armed rebels into Saxony against the emperor. Charles's victory over the Smalkaldians at Miihlberg (1547) left the rebels no choice but to submit to tTieir king, Ferdinand I. The Brethren, who had been the chief instigators of the rebellion, were now doomed to extinction. John Augusta and his as.sociate, Jacob Bilek, were cast into prison; the Brethren's meetings were interdicted throughout the whole kingdom; those who refused to submit were exiled. Many took refuge in Poland and Prussia (1578); those who remained in the country joined, at least pro formd, the IHraquist party. Owing to Maximilian II 's leniency and Protes- tant propensities, the Bohemian diet of 1575 could draw up the "Bohemian Confession of Faith" in which the principles of the Brethren find expression along with those of the Lutherans. Under Rudolph II (15S4) persecution was again resorted to, and lasted with more or less intensity down to 1609, when Rudolph's Charter granted the free exercise of their religion to all Protestants. No sooner, however, did external oppression relent than internal dissension broke out in the Protestant ranks. The Consistory, composed of Lutherans and Brethren, was unable to maintain peace and union between the two parties. Ferdinand II, after his victory over the rebellious Bo- hemians at the White Mountain near Prague (1620), offered them the choice between Catholicism and exile. Many Brethren emigrated to Hungary, but a greater numljer to northern Poland, where they settled in Lissa (now in Prussian Posen). Even to this day there are in that district seven communities calling themselves Brethren, although their confes- sion of faith is the Helvetic. In Prussian Silesia there are also three communities of Brethren claiming descent from the Bohemian Brotherhood.

The Bohemi.\x Brethren and Engl.\nd. — Dur- ing the reign of Maximilian II and Rudolph II the Bohemian Brethren enjoyed a period of prosper- ity which allowed them to establish relations with younger Protestant churches. They sent students to Heidelberg and one at least to Oxford. In 1583 "Bernardus, John, a Mora\'ian", was allowed to supply B. D. He had studied theology for ten years in German universities and was now going to the universities of Scotland. This Bernardus, however, has left no trace but the entry in the Register of Oxford just quoted. The man who brought the Brotherhood prominently before the Anglican Church was Johann Amos, of Comna, generally known as Comenius. As a scholar and educationist he was invited by his English friends to assist in improving the state and administration of the universities, then under consideration in Parliament. The outbreak of the Civil War brought all these plans to naught.