The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Another Letter of John Huss to his Friends, wherein he confirmeth the Bohemians, and describeth the wickedness of that Council

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to the faithful Bohemians (26 June 1415).

Another Letter of John Huss to his Friends, wherein he confirmeth the Bohemians, and describeth the wickedness of that Council.

John Huss, in hope, the servant of God, to all the faithful in Bohemia who love the Lord, greeting through the grace of God. It cometh in my mind, wherein I must needs admonish you, who be the faithful and beloved of the Lord, The council condemn books which they understand that the council of Constance, being full of pride, avarice, and all council abomination, hath condemned my books, written in the Bohemian tongue, for heretical, which books they never saw, nor ever heard them read. And if they which had heard them, yet they could not understand the same, being some Italians, some Frenchmen, some Britons, some Spaniards, Germans, with other people of other nations besides; unless, peradventure, John, bishop of Litomysl, understood them, who was present in that council, and certain other Bohemians, and priests, who are against me, and labour all they may, how to deprave both the verity of God, and the honesty of our country of Bohemia;Praise of Bohemia. Tha abomination of the council of Constance described. which I judge, in the hope of God, to be a godly land, right well given to the true knowledge of the faith; for that it doth so greatly desire the word of God, and honest manners. And if you were here at Constance, ye should see the grievous abomination of this council, which they call so holy, and such as cannot err; of which council I have heard it by the Switzers reported, that the city of Constance is not able in thirty years to be purged ot those abominations in that council committed. And almost all be offended with that council, being sore grieved to behold such execrable things perpetrated in the same.

When I stood first to answer before mine adversaries, seeing all things there done with no order, and hearing them also outrageously crying out, I said plainly unto them, that I looked for more honest behaviour, and better order and discipline, in that council. Then the chief cardinal[1] answered: 'Sayest thou so? but in the tower thou spakest more modestly.' To whom said I: 'In the tower no man cried out against me, whereas now all do rage against me.' John Huss seemeth to prophesy of the council, as it came to pass. The council afraid to be tried by the Scriptures.My faithful and beloved in Christ, be not afraid with their sentence in condemning my books. They shall be scattered hither and thither abroad, like light butterflies, and their statutes shall endure as spider-webs. They went about to shake my constancy from the verity of Christ; but they could not overcome the virtue of God in me. They would not reason with the Scripture against me, as divers honourable lords can witness with me, who being ready to suffer contumely for the truth of God, took my part stoutly; namely, lord Wenceslaus de Duba, and lord John de Clum: for they were let in by king Sigismund into the council. And when I said, that I was desirous to be instructed if I did in any thing err, then they heard the chief cardinal answer again: 'Because thou wouldest be informed, there is no remedy but that thou must first revoke thy doctrine, according to the determination of fifty bachelors of divinity appointed.' O high instruction!

St. Katharine, disputing with fifty doctors, converted them; but Huss could not convert his fifty doctors.After like manner St. Katharine, also, should have denied and revoked the verity of God and faith in Christ, because the fifty masters likewise did withstand her; which, notwithstanding, that good virgin would never do, standing in her faith unto death: but she did win those her masters unto Christ, when I cannot win these my masters by any means. These things I thought good to write unto you, that you might know how they have overcome me, with no grounded Scripture, nor with any reason; but only did assay with terrors and deceits to persuade me to revoke and to abjure. But our merciful God, whose law I have magnified, was and is with me; and, I trust, so will continue, and will keep me in his grace unto death.

Written at Constance after the feast of John Baptist, in prison and in bands, daily looking for death; although for the secret judgments of God, I dare not say whether this be my last epistle: for now also Almighty God is able to deliver me.

  1. This cardinal was cardinal Cambrensis.