The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The Objections of John Huss, and of his Party, against the Decree of the Doctors

The Objections of John Huss, and of his Party, against the Decree of the Doctors.

I. The foundation of the doctors, whereupon they found all their writings and councils, is false, which foundation is this: whereas they say that part of the clergy in the kingdom of Bohemia is pestilent and erroneous, and holdeth falsely of the sacraments.

II. The doctors hereby do defame the kingdom of Bohemia, and do raise up new discords.

III. Let them show, therefore, those persons of the clergy, whom they call pestilent, and so let them verify their report, binding themselves to suffer the like pain, if they be not able to prove it.

IV. False it is that they say the pope and his cardinals to be the true and manifest successors of Peter and of the apostles, and that no other successors of Peter and of the apostles can be foimd upon the earth besides them: whereas no man knoweth whether he be worthy of hatred or of favour; and all bishops and priests be successors of Peter and of the apostles.

V. Not the pope, but Christ only is the head; and not the cardinals, but all Christ's faithful people be the body of the catholic church; as all holy Scripture and decrees of the holy fathers do testify and affirm.

VI. And as touching the pope, if he be a reprobate, it is plain that he is no head, no nor member also of the holy church of God, but of the devil and of his synagogue.

VII. The clergy of the gospellers, agreeing with the saying of St. Austin which they allege, and according to the sanctions of the fathers, and determinations of the holy mother church, do say and affirm laudably: that the condemnation and prohibition of the forty-five articles is unlawful, and unjust, and rashly done; and that not only because the doctors, but also all bishops and archbishops, in such great causes, namely, touching faith (as these articles do), have no authority at all, as appeareth, 'De baptismo et ejus effectu.' Cap. 'Majores.' Et in Can. 17. dist. cap. 'Hinc sedi,' &c.

VIII. The second cause of the discord which they allege also is most false; seeing the faith of whole Christendom, concerning the church of Rome, is divided in three parts by reason of three popes, who now together do reign; and the fourth part is neutral. Neither is it true, that we ought to stand in all things to the determination of the pope and of the cardinals, but so far forth as they do agree with the holy Scripture of the Old and New Testament, from whence the sanctions of the fathers did first spring, as is evident, 'De accusationibus,' cap. 'Qualiter,' &c.

IX. In the fourth article they burst out into a certain dotage, and are contrary to themselves; by reason that they doltishly have reprehended the gospellers, who in all their doings receive the holy Scripture, which is the law of God, the way of truth and life, for their judge and measure: and afterwards they themselves do allege the Scripture [Deut. xvii.], where all judges, both popes and cardinals, are taught to judge and discern between leper and leper, and in every ecclesiastical cause, only after the rule of God's law. And so are they contrary unto their second article, wherein they say, that in every catholic matter we must run to the pope; which is contrary to the foolish condemnation of the articles aforesaid.

X. Consequently, like idiots they do most falsely allege for their purpose the canon, under the name and authority of Jerome, written in the 24. q. l. 'Hæc est fides papa,' &c., where they do apply most impertinently to the pope of Rome, the words which Jerome writeth to Austin called pope.St. Austin, calling him a most blessed pope.

XI. By which place of Jerome it is manifest that the first article of those doctors is false: forasmuch as by these words appeareth that others besides the bishop of Rome and his cardinals are called blessed popes, holding the faith and seat of Peter, and are successors of the apostles; as was Austin and other holy bishops more.

XII. Whereof it followeth moreover, that the church of Rome is not that place, where the Lord did appoint the principal see of his whole church: for Christ, who was the head priest of all, did first sit in Jerusalem, and Peter did sit first in Antioch, and afterwards in Rome. Also other popes did sit some in Bononia, some at Perugia, some at Avignon.

XIII. Item, The aforesaid prelates are falsifiers of the holy Scriptures and canons, and therefore are worthy to be punished; who affirm and say, that we must obey the pope in all things. For why? it is known that many popes have erred, and one pope was also a woman;Pope Joan a woman. to whom not only it was not lawful to give obedience, but also unlawful to communicate with them, as all rubrics, and infinite canons do declare.

XIV. Item, Their sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh articles do stand and are grounded upon untrue and false persuasions, and therefore are to be rejected and detested like the other before; seeing they do induce not to peace and verity, but to dissension and falsity.

XV. It is manifest also to the laity, that this dissension among the clergy riseth for no other cause, but only for the preaching of the gospel, which reprehendeth such simoniacs, and such heretics in the church of God, as namely haunt the court of Rome, spreading out their branches abroad into all the world, who deserve to be removed and extirpated, not only by the clergy-gospellers, but also by the secular power. And so these three vices, to wit, Three causes of dissension in the clergy.symony, luxury, and avarice (which is idol-worship), be the causes of all this dissension among the clergy in the kingdom of Bohemia, and not the other, which they falsely ascribe to the gospellers of Prague. These three vices being removed, peace and unity would soon be restored in the clergy.

XVI. Moreover, their last article is too gross, and not only is without all law, but also without all colour of law: whereas they fondly and childishly do argue thus: that the processes made against Master John Huss ought to be obeyed, because, forsooth, the common sort of the clergy of Prague have received them. By the same reason they may argue also, that we must obey the devil, because our first parents, Adam and Eve, obeyed him. Also our ancestors before us were pagans; wherefore we must obey them, and also be pagans.

XVII. But let this frivolous opinion go, this is certain truth, that the said processes, made against Master John Huss, by law, are none, forasmuch as they were obtained, drawn, wrought, and executed, contrary to the commission of the pope, against the determination of the holy mother church, as appeareth Cap. 'Sacro de Sententia excom.,' and a thousand other laws besides.

XVIII. Finally, whosoever wittingly and obstinately doth defend and execute (the said process made), or consent unto them, are all to be counted as blasphemers, excommunicate, and heretics, as hath been before written and exhibited to the lord general bishop Olomucense;[1] and more shall be declared and proved, if audience may be given openly before all the doctors.[2]

  1. "Olomucense." Olmutz in the Austrian States.—Ed.
  2. Ex Ænæa Sylvi. et Cochlæo.