The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Copy of a public Testimonial of the whole University of Prague for John Huss, offered up to the Council

The Copy of a public Testimonial of the whole University of Prague for John Huss, offered up to the Council.[1]

*In the name of God, Amen. The year of our Lord 1411, the tenth day of September, in the second year of the bishopric of our most holy father in Christ and Lord, the lord John, by the providence of God, pope, the twenty-third of that name; in the greater city of Prague, in the college of Charles, where the weighty affairs of the university of Prague are accustomed to be treated and talked of. The honourable and devout man, Master John de Hussenetz, master of arts, and bachelor of divinity, and preacher of the word of God in the chapel called Bethlehem, did put up a certain writing in manner of an epistle, written with his own hand before the reverend man sir Simon de Thysnow, master of arts, and bachelor of divinity, rector of the imiversity and the whole college of doctors and masters, in the presence also of the public notaries, which he would send unto our most holy father, the tenor whereof followeth, word for word.

'According to my due reverence which I owe unto Jesu Christ, the high bishop, I am ready to satisfy every man, who shall require me to render my account or reason, of the faith which I do hold. And, first, I do confess, with my whole heart, Jesus Christ to be the only Lord, very God and very man, and all his laws and commandments to be of such firm and steadfast truth, that no iota or tittle thereof can fail. Moreover, I do confess his most holy church to be so surely founded and set upon the most strong and steadfast rock, against which the gates of hell can, by no means, prevail; and, in the hope of this head, our Lord Jesus Christ, I am ready to sustain the punishment of most cruel death, rather than, under the hope of election, to say or do any thing which should be contrary to the will of Christ and his church. Whereupon, boldly and truly I do affirm, that, wrongfully, I am accused unto the apostolic see by such as are enemies unto the truth, for which, falsely, they have accused me; affirming, that I should teach the people, that in the sacrament of the altar remaineth only the substance of material bread; with like untruth: also, that when the host is lifted up, then it is the body of Christ, and when it is laid down, it is not.

'Falsely, likewise, do they affirm, that a priest being in deadly sin, cannot consecrate: untruly, also, do they say of me, that I should teach that the lords may take away the temporalties from the clergy, and not pay the tithes: falsely, that pardons are nothing worth: unjustly have they said, that I have persuaded to punish the clergy by the sword: untruly have they reported that I have preached, taught, or holden, any manner of error or errors, or any kind of heresy, or that I have seduced the people from the way of truth by any manner of mine. Unjustly have they accused me, that I should be the cause that certain masters of the Germans were expulsed out of Prague, when they themselves refused to hold and keep the privilege of the foundation of the famous university of Prague; neither would they obey the lawful commandments of the most noble Wenceslaus king of the Romans and of Bohemia; thinking, that, without their presence, the university of Prague could not continue or stand: whereupon, without any compulsion, they departed and went their ways.

'Truly I do grant, that I do appeal from the sentence of the most reverend father in Christ, the lord Swincow, archbishop of Prague, unto the apostolic see; and, again, that I did appeal from the processes which came forth from the holy apostolic see, through sinister and false accusation and information. For the enemies of the truth, not having any respect or regard unto their own honour or salvation, have falsely made suggestion unto the apostolic see, that, in the kingdom of Bohemia, and under the marquis of Moravia, manifold errors are sprung up, which have infected the hearts of many; so that, for the number and multitude of those who are infected with such errors, it is necessary that speedy remedy and correction be had. Finally, they have falsely made suggestion, that the chapel of Bethlehem should be the private place for the purpose; forasmuch as that place is appointed and confirmed by the ordinary bishop, for an ecclesiastical benefice, the destruction whereof would, not a little, diminish and take away the honour of God from amongst the people, hinder the profit and furtherance of souls, give great offence, and provoke and stir up the people, not a little, against those who should be the destroyers thereof

Why John Huss went not to Rome.'Further, I being cited personally to appear at Rome, with all humility wished and desired so to do. But, forasmuch as both within the kingdom, and also without, there were snares laid for my life by the Germans, therefore, being advertized by the counsel of many, I thought it should have been but to to Rome, tempt God to put my life in danger, not profiting the church any thing at all. Whereupon I have not personally appeared, but, willing to show myself obedient unto the most holy apostolic see, I appointed my advocates and procurers. I therefore most humbly do implore and desire your clemency and holiness to be a mean unto the high vicar of Christ, that he will vouchsafe, even for the tender mercy of the most Almighty God, freely to absolve me, though I did not personally appear; and other things which followed thereupon. Forasmuch as by the most famous prince Wenceslaus, king of the Romans and of Bohemia, and, also, by the reverend fathers and most noble princes, the lord Wencelaus patriarch of Antioch, the lord Conrad bishop of Olmutz, and also the most famous prince, the lord Rodolph, duke of Saxony, elector of the most sacred empire, and, also, by means of other princes, barons, and lords, as the most noble lord Stiborius, ambassador of the most famous prince, lord Sigismund, king of Hungary: I am fully and wholly agreed and accorded with the aforesaid most reverend father in Christ, the lord Swinco; for I did offer myself to answer to all and singular such things as should he objected against me, referring myself to the whole audience; and if any thing should he found in me contrary to truth and equity (except that I would give place and be ready to amend the same), I am contented, even with my whole heart, to be punished with fire, and am even presently ready, before the whole university of Prague and all the clergy thereof, if any man shall stand up against me, to give a reason of all such things as shall be objected. But, unto this day, there would no man stand up against me, who, according to the canonical laws, would bind himself unto the like punishment or forfeit.'

'Written at Prague with mine own hand, upon Saint Giles' day.'

Which brief or epistle being thus put up and read, the said Master John Huss required, that, for the more evidence and greater evidence to be had, the said writing should be written over again by us the notaries hereunder written, and should be reduced to a common form and order, and afterwards, by the rector, doctors, and masters, of the universities aforesaid, to be sealed with their common seal. The which lord, the rector, after he had taken counsel and advice with the whole college, with one consent and mind granting to the request of the said John Huss, commanded that the brief aforesaid, should be newly written and reduced unto a public form by us the notaries hereunder written; and, for the greater credit to be given thereunto, he commanded also the seal of the university to be put unto it. Upon all which and singular the premises, the aforesaid Master John Huss required that we, the said notaries, should make unto him, one or more public testimonials. These things were done in the presence of the most honourable and discreet men and lords, Vitus, provost of Myzzin in the diocese of Olmutz; James de Tachonia, and John de Tepla, priests; Matthew de Chlumptzan, clerk; and, by the imperial authority, public notary; John Xapasnick esquire, of Prague; Anthony de Rezce, and Michael de Drenow, clerks; and many other witnesses about the premises.

Michael de Prachatitz, by the imperial authority, public notary of the diocese of Prague, and also of the lords, doctors, masters, and scholars of the university and study of Prague; and Nicholas de Brewma, by the apostolic and imperial authority, public notary of the diocese of Olmutz.*

When the noble men of Bohemia by long tune could receive no answer of those supplications which they had already put up, they determined, the last day of May following, by another supplication being put up unto the principals of the council, to entreat that John Huss might be delivered out of prison, and defend his own cause openly: they also put up the testimonial of the bishop of Nazareth, as touching John Huss; the copy whereof is expressed in the beginning of this history, word by word.

  1. This document is introduced from the edition of 1563, p. 205.—Ed.