The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/John Huss condemned for no erroneous doctrine

John Huss condemned for no erroneous doctrine wherein he was culpable.By the life, acts and letters of John Huss hitherto rehearsed, it is evident and plain, that he was condemned not for any error of doctrine, which they could well prove in him, who neither denied their popish transubstantiation, neither spake against the authority of the church of Rome, if it were well governed, nor yet the seven sacraments, and also said mass himself, and almost in all their popish opinions was a papist with them; but only of evil will was accused of his malicious adversaries, because he spake against the pomp, pride and avarice, and other wicked enormities of the pope, cardinals, and prelates of the church, and because he could not abide the high dignities and livings of the church, and thought the doings of the pope to be Antichrist-like. For this cause he procured so many enemies and false witnesses against him, who straining and picking matter out of his books and writings, having no one just article of doctrine to lay unto him, yet they made him a heretic, whether he would or no, and brought him to his condemnation. This can hatred and malice do, where the chanty of Christ hath no place; which being so, as thy charity, good reader, may easily understand, in perusing the whole course of his story, I beseech thee then, Cochleus raileth against John uss without cause.what cause had John Cochleus to write his twelve books against John Huss and Hussites? in which books how bitterly and intemperately he misuseth his pen, by these few words in his second book thou mayest take a little taste; which words I thought here briefly to place in English, to the end that all Englishmen may judge thereby, with what spirit and truth these catholics be carried. His words be these:[1] "I say therefore John Huss is neither to be counted holy nor blessed, but rather wicked and eternally wretched; insomuch that in the day of judgment, it shall be more easy, not only with the infidel Pagans, Turks, Tartarians, and Jews, but also with the most sinful Sodomites, and the abominable Persians, who do most filthily pollute their daughters, sisters, or mother; yea and also with the impious Cain, killer of his own brother; with Thiestes, killer of his own mother; and the Lestrygones and other Anthropophagi, who devour man's flesh; yea more easy with those infamous murderers of infants, Pharaoh and Herod, than with him," &c. These be the words of Cochleus; whose railing books, although they deserve neither to be read, nor answered, yet, if it please God, it were to be wished that the Lord would stir up some towardly young man, that hath so much leisure, to defend the simplicity of this John Huss, who cannot now answer for himself. In the mean time, something to satisfy or stay the reader's mind against this immoderate hyperbole of Cochleus, in like few words I will bring out John Huss to speak and to clear himself against this slander: whose words in his book 'De Sacerdotum et Monachorum abominatione desolationis,' pag. 84, &c., I beseech the reader to note: "Nam et ista scribens fateor, quod nihil aliud me in illis perurget, nisi dilectio Dom. nostri Jesu crucifixi," &c.; that is, "For in writing these things, I confess nothing else to have moved me hereunto, but only the love of our Lord Jesus crucified, whose prints and stripes (according to the measure of my weakness and vileness) I covet to bear in myself, beseeching him so to give me grace, that I never seek to glory in myself, or in any thing else, but only in his cross, and in the inestimable ignominy of his passion which he suffered for me. And, therefore, I write and speak these things, which I do not doubt will like all such as unfeignedly do love the Lord Christ crucified; and contrary will mislike not a little all such as be of Antichrist. Also again, I confess before the most merciful Lord Jesus Christ crucified, that these things which I do now write, and those that I have written before, neither I could have written, nor knew how, nor durst so have written, unless he, by his inward unction, had so commanded me. Neither yet do I write these things as of authority, to get me fame and name; for as St. Augustine and Jerome do say, that is only to be given to the Scriptures and writings of the apostles, evangelists, and prophets, and to the canonical Scriptures, which do abound in the fulness of the Spirit of Jesus. And whatsoever is there said, is full of verity and wholesome utility," &c.

And here place also would require something to say to Æneas Sylvius, to Antoninus, and to Laziardus, who falsely impute articles to him, which he never maintained. But because time suffereth not, I will proceed to the story of Master Jerome of Prague.

  1. Ex Cochleo, lib. ii. hist. Hussitarum, pag. 88. "Dico igitur Joan. Hus. neque sanctum neque beatum habendum esse, sed impium potius," &c.