The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The forced Abjuration of Master Jerome of Prague

The forced Abjuration of Master Jerome of Prague.

 

I, Jerome of Prague, master of arts, acknowledging the catholic church, and the apostolic faith, do accurse and renounce all heresies, and especially that whereof I have hitherto been infamed, and that which in times past John Huss and John Wickliff have holden and taught, in their works, treatises, and sermons, made unto the people and clergy; for which cause the said Wickliff and Huss, together with the said doctrines and errors, are condemned by this synod of Constance as heretics, and all the said doctrine sententially condemned, and especially in certain articles expressed in the sentences and judgments given against them by this sacred council.

Also I do accord and agree unto the holy church of Rome, the apostolic seat in this sacred council, and with my mouth and heart do profess in all things, and touching all things; and especially as touching the keys, sacraments, orders, and offices, and ecclesiastical censures, of pardons, relics of saints, ecclesiastical liberty; also ceremonies, and all other things pertaining to christian religion; as the church of Rome, the apostolic see, and this sacred council, do profess: and specially, that many of the said articles are notoriously heretical, and lately reproved by the holy fathers, some of them blasphemous, others erroneous; some offensive unto godly ears, and many of them temerarious and seditious. And such also were accounted the articles lately condemned by the sacred council, and it was inhibited and forbidden to all and singular catholic men hereafter to preach, teach, or presume to hold or maintain, any of the said articles, under pain of being accursed.

And I, the said Jerome, forasmuch as I have laboured by scholastical arts to persuade the opinion, 'De universalibus realibus,' and that one substance of the common kind should signify many things subject under the same, and every one of them, as St. Ambrose, Jerome, and Augustine, do affirm, and likewise others; for the teaching hereof by a plain example I described as it were a certain triangle, form, or figure, which I called the shield of faith: therefore utterly to exclude and take away the erroneous and wicked understanding thereof, which, peradventure, some men may gather thereby, I do say, affirm, and declare, that I never made the said figure, neither named it the shield of faith to that intent or purpose, that I would extol or prefer the opinion of universalities above or before the contrary opinion, in such sort, as though that were the shield of faith, and that without the affirmation thereof the catholic faith could not be defended or maintained, when I myself would not obstinately stick thereunto. But this I said, because I had put example in the description of the triangle or form, that one Divine essence consisted in three subjects or persons in themselves distinct; that is to say, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The article of which Trinity is the chief shield of faith, and foundation of the catholic truth.

Furthermore, that it may be evident unto all men what the causes were for which I was reputed and thought to stick to, and favour sometime John Huss; I signify unto all men by these presents, that when I heard him oftentimes both in his sermons, and also in the schools, Jerome is made here to say not his own mind, but what pleaseth them.I believed that he was a very good man, neither that he did in any point gainsay the traditions of our holy mother the church, or holy doctors; inasmuch as when I was lately in this city, and the articles which I affirmed were showed unto me, which were also condemned by the sacred council, at the first sight of them I did not believe that they were his; at least not in that form. But when I had further understood, by certain famous doctors and masters of divinity, that they were his articles, I required for my further information and satisfaction, to have the books of his own hand writing showed unto me, wherein it was said those articles were contained. Which books when they were showed unto me written with his own hand, which I did know as well as mine own, I found all, and every one of those articles therein written in like form as they are condemned. Wherefore I do worthily judge and think him and his doctrine, with his adherents, to be condemned and reproved by the sacred council, as heretical and without reason. All which the premises, with a pure mind and conscience, I do here pronounce and speak; being now fully and sufficiently informed of the aforesaid sentences and judgments given by the sacred council against the doctrines of the said John Wickliff and John Huss, and against their own persons; unto which judgment, as a devout catholic in all things, I do most humbly consent and agree.

Also I, the foresaid Jerome, who, before the reverend fathers the lords cardinals, and reverend lords, prelates, and doctors, and other worshipful persons of this sacred council in this same place, did heretofore freely and willingly declare and expound mine intent and purpose, amongst other things speaking of the church, did divide the same into threeparts: and as I did perceive afterwards, it was understood by some that I would affirm, that in the triumphant church there was faith: whereas I do firmly believe that there is the blessed sight and beholding of God, excluding all dark understanding and knowledge. And now also I do say, affirm, and declare, that it was never my intent and purpose to prove that there should be faith, speaking of faith as faith is commonly defined, but knowledge far exceeding faith. And, generally, whatsoever I said, either here, there, or at any time before, I do refer, and most humbly submit myself unto the determination of this sacred council of Constance.

Moreover, I do swear both by the holy Trinity, and also by the most holy gospel, that I will for evermore remain and persevere without all doubt, in the truth of the catholic church. And all such as by their doctrine and teaching shall impugn this faith, I judge them worthy, together with their doctrines, of eternal curse. And if I myself, at any time (which God forbid I should), do presume to preach or teach contrary thereunto, I will submit myself unto the severity of the canons, and be bound unto eternal pain and punishment. Whereupon I do deliver up this my confession and tenor of my profession willingly, before this sacred general council, and have subscribed and written all these things with mine own hand.