The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Six Articles drawn out of the Treatise of John Huss, written against Stanislaus de Znoyma

Six Articles drawn out of the Treatise of John Huss, written against Stanislaus de Znoyma.

First article.The first article: 'No man is lawfully elected or chosen, in that the electors, or the greater part of them, have consented with a lively voice, according to the custom of men, to elect and choose any person, or that he is thereby the manifest and true successor of Christ, or vicar of Peter in the ecclesiastical office; but in this, that any man doth most abundantly work meritoriously to the profit of the church, he hath thereby more abundant power given him of God thereunto.' Answer: These things which follow are also written in my book. 'It standeth in the power and hands of wicked electors, to choose a woman into the ecclesiastical office, as it appeareth by the election of Agnes, who was called John, who held and occupied the pope's place and dignity, by the space of two years and more.' It may also be, that they do choose a thief, a murderer or a devil, and, consequently, they may also elect and choose Antichrist. It may also be, that for love, covetousness, or hatred, they do choose some person whom God doth not allow. And it appeareth that that person is not lawfully elected and chosen; insomuch as the electors, or the greater part of them, have consented and agreed together according to the custom of men, upon any person, or that he is thereby the manifest successor or vicar of Peter the apostle, or any other in the ecclesiastical office. Therefore they who, most accordingly unto the Scripture, do elect and choose, revelation being set apart, do only pronounce and determine by some probable reason upon him whom they do elect and choose : whereupon, whether the electors do so choose good or evil, we ought to give credit unto the works of him that is chosen; for in that point, that any man doth most abundantly work meritoriously to the profit of the church, he hath thereby more abundant power given him of God thereunto. And hereupon saith Christ, in John x., Give credit unto works.'

Second article.The second article: 'The pope being a reprobate, is not the head of holy church of God.' Answer. I wrote it thus in my treatise: 'That I would willingly receive a probable and effectual reason of the doctor, how this question is contrary to the faith, to say. That if the pope be a reprobate, how is he the head of the holy church? Behold, the truth cannot decay or fail in disputation, for did Christ dispute against the faith, when he demanded of the Scribes and "Pharisees [Matt, xii.], Ye stock and offspring of vipers! how can ye speak good things, when you yourselves are wicked and evil? And behold, I demand of the scribes, if the pope be a reprobate, and the stock of vipers, how is he the head of the holy church of God, that the Scribes and Pharisees, who were in the council-house of Prague, may make answer hereunto? For it is more possible that a reprobate man should speak good things, forasmuch as he may be in state of grace according to present justice, than to be the head of the holy church of God. Also in John v., our Saviour complaineth of the Jews, saying: How can you believe, which do seek for glory amongst yourselves, and do not seek for the glory that cometh only of God? and I, likewise, do complain, how that if the pope be a reprobate, can he be the head of the church of God, who receiveth his glory of the world, and secketh not for the glory of God? For it is more possible, that the pope being a reprobate should believe, than that he should be the head of the church of God; forasmuch as he taketh his glory of the world.’

Third article.The third article: 'There is no spark of appearance, that there ought to be one head in the spiritualty, to rule the church, which should be always conversant with the militant church.' Answer: I do grant it. For what consequent is this? The king of Bohemia is head of the kingdom of Bohemia: Ergo, the pope is head of the whole militant church? Christ is the head of the spiritualty, ruling and governing the militant church by much more and greater necessity than Caesar ought to rule the temporalty; forasmuch as Christ, who sitteth on the right hand of God the Father, doth necessarily rule the militant church as head. And there is no spark of appearance that there should be one head in the spiritualty ruling the church, that should always be conversant with the militant church, except some infidel would heretically affirm, that the militant church should have here a permanent and continual city or dwelling-place, and not inquire and seek after that which is to come. It is also further evident in my book, how unconsequent the proportion of the similitude is, for a reprobate pope to be the head of the militant church, and a reprobate king to be the head of the kingdom of Bohemia.

Fourth article.The fourth article: 'Christ would better rule his church by his true apostles, dispersed throughout the whole world, without such monstrous heads.' I answer, that it is in my book as here followeth: 'Albeit that the doctor doth say, that the body of the militant church is oftentimes without a head, yet, notwithstanding, we do verily believe that Chrisf Jesus is the head over every church, railing the same without lack or default, pouring upon the same a continual motion and sense, even unto the latter day; neither can the doctor give a reason why the church, in the time of Agnes, by the space of two years and five months, lived, according to many members of Christ, in grace and favour, but that, by the same reason, the church might be without a head, by the space of many years; forasmuch as Christ should better rule his church by his true disciples dispersed throughout the whole world, without such monstrous heads.' Then said they altogether: 'Behold, now he prophesieth.' And John Huss, prosecuting his former talk, said, 'But I say that the church, in the time of the apostles, was far better ruled and governed than now it is. And what doth let and hinder, that Christ should not now also rule the same, better by his true disciples, without such monstrous heads as have been now of late? For behold, even at this present we have no such head, and yet Christ ceaseth not to rule his church.' When he had spoken these words, he was derided and mocked.

Fifth article.The fifth article: 'Peter was no universal pastor or shepherd of the sheep of Christ, much less is the bishop of Rome.' Answer : Those words are not in my book, but these which do follow. Secondly, it appeareth by the words of Christ, that he did not limit unto Peter for his jurisdiction the whole world, no not one only province; so likewise, neither unto any other of the apostles. Notwithstanding, certain of them walked through many regions, and others fewer, preaching and teaching the kingdom of God; as Paul, who laboured and travailed more than all the rest, did corporally visit and convert most provinces; whereby it is lawful for any apostle or his vicar to convert and confirm as much people, or as many provinces in the faith of Christ, as he is able, neither is there any restraint of his liberty or jurisdiction, but only by disability or insufficiency.

Sixth article.The sixth article: 'The apostles, and other faithful priests of the Lord, have stoutly ruled the church in all things necessary to salvation, before the office of the pope was brought into the church, and so would they very possibly do still, if there were no pope, even unto the latter day.' Then they all cried out again and said, 'Behold the prophet.' But John Huss said: 'Verily it is true that the apostles did rule the church stoutly before the office of the pope was brought into the church ; and certainly a great deal better than it is now ruled. And likewise many other faithful men, who do follow their steps, do the same; for now we have no pope, and so, peradventure, it may continue and endure a year or more.

Besides these, were brought against him other nineteen articles, objected unto him being in prison, which with his answers to the same here likewise follow: of which articles the first is this.