The History of the Bohemian Persecution/Chapter 8

Chap. VIII.

John Husse and Ierom of Prague with some other Martyrs.

1.  IN the year 1392, Mulhaymia, called the Temple of Bethlehem, was founded by a Citizen of Prague, and was to be dedicated unto the Academy, by the name of a Chappell ; whereunto Mr. Stephanus of Colon was first admitted Preacher: but he dying in the year 1400. Mr. John Husse was constituted his Successour, Professor in the Academy, a man of an unblameable life, and famous for his zeale.

2. And forasmuch as he had long before, that all orders were dissolute, and none did his office, the King, Bishop, Citizen, Clergy, Nobles; onely pursuing covetousnes, pride, drunkennesse, luxury, and all manner of wickednesse, having an occasion put into his hands as from above, he set upon the worke publickly, to oppose those publicke sins. And indeed so long as he shot his darts against secular men, he was highly esteemed off amongst the Divines, as one out of whose mouth the Holy Ghost spake: but as soone as he began to thunder against them also, their minds being altered, they cryed out that he was mad, and the Devils Agent.

3. Those that write of him tell us, that the first complaints against him, were put up by certain of the Nobles unto the King (to wit, Wenceslaus) whom the Pope presented unto the German Princes, as a sluggish person unprofitable unto the Empire, hateful (yet not infamous in Historyes) because of his unwillingness to execute his Buls, and his indulging the Hereticks, against his will) and required him to forbid Husse of his turbulent preaching. But the Arch-Bishop (Wolbrom) denyed that it could be done, because Husse had bound himself by Oath at his Ordination, to speak the truth without respect of persons.

4. But when in the year following, this same Husse much thore sharply reproved the Coveteousness, Luxury, and Sacriledges of Spirituall persons & the Arch-bishop, requested of the King the same which the Nobles did before. The King answered that it could not possibly be done, because Husse was obliged by oath to speak the truth without respect of persons; the Lord himself thus frustrating the wicked plots contrived against this holy man, as his own Instrument.

5. There returned out of England the same year, (1400) Ierom of Prage, bringing with him the writings of Wickliffe, which came into the hands of many and was received by many, with good approbation: some indeed approving of them (among whom this Husse was chief) others disliking and damning them, especially the Academians, who (as we have formerly said, did flock from divers Countries.

6. In the year 1404, two English men, Batchelours of Divinity (one lames, and Conrade Caddelaurgh) came to Prague, and being entred in the University, they began to move disputes, concerning the Popes Supremacy, and the like; but shortly after were prohibited by publick command. They therefore (because that which was forbidden unto men, was lawfull for the walls to receive,) caused to be painted in the Parlor, where they Lodged; with the consent of their Land-lord, the history of Christs Passion on the one side, and the pomp of the Pope, and Cardinals Court, on the other opposit; and of this picture when lohn Husse made mention in his preaching, as of a true Antithesis betweene Christ, and Antichrist, great numbers of people came thither to view it.

7. In the year 1408. May 24, the Articles of Wickliffe were again examined and condemned, by forty Masters and an infinite number of Batchelors; and it was forbid that any should teach them, upon pain of banishment.

8. Iohn Husse, when he saw the University-men of Germany to strongly to side with the Pope, deeming that something was to be done to restrain their insolency, he made an Oration in a great concourse of people (in Carolin Colledge) asserting that the plurallity of voices belonged to the Bohemians, who were natives, and not to the Germans who were strangers: for although Charles, from the first institution granted three voices unto strangers, the fourth unto the Bohemians, in respect of their forcity, who then studied learning, in his last pattin he explicated his minde, that the custome of the Parisian University should be observed. Now it doth abundantly appear in France, strangers have but one Suffrage, but the home-bred have three, the Germans being angry for this, Appealed to King VVenceslaus, the Bohemians do the same, but the King after a yeares protraction, decides the Cause for the bohemians, in the year 1409. the 27. of Sept. the Germans interpreting this a disgrace, leave Prague, and going into Misina (a neighbouring place) and there give occasion to the founding of Lipsick, & Erphord, Schools: in the mean time, the Bohemians created by voices, Iohn Husse their Rector.

9. The Monks being thus deserted of the King & University, instigate the Arch-bishop Shico of Hasenburgh an unlearned man, & obtained in the year 1410, the 16. of Iuly, that the books of lohn Husse should be condemned and burned, there were therefore burned as Eneas Silvius testifies, above 200 volums fairly written, adorned with golden Bosses, and precious covers. There are extant some Bohemian Rimes composed by one of the common people, in which that unlearned censor of books was wittily jerkt, for being made an Archbishop, then he studied letters, but Husse in that time wrote a tract concerning the reading of Hereticall books and instituted a particular dispute for the defence of lohn Wickliff, concerning the holy Trinity which they also burnt.

10. In the year 1411, when Pope Iohn the 23. founded an alarum against the King of Naples, he gave Indulgencies to those that would take up arms for the Church: One that sold those toys came to Prague, and publickly in the pulpit divulged those vanities. It so hapned that in three Churches some opposed them, asserting the Pope of Rome must bee Antichrist, who brought misery upon the Christians, and stirred them up to mutuall wars. Those three were taken Martin Krzidelko, Iohn Hudek and Stainis Lapolek a Taylor, and are carried to prison, although the university, and towne, interceded for them, yet they were brought forth into the market, and were beheaded. When this was noysed abroad, the university running, took away the bodys; and in a sollemn Procession sung These are the saints who gave up their bodys for the testament of God. They carry them to the Church of Bethlehem, and there bury them.

11. The day after Husse did propound certain theses to dispute against those superstitious indulgences, and publickly with Mr. Ierom, (who did as strongly impugne there errors in the Schoole, as Husse did in the Church) shewed their vanity: but when notwithstanding al this he impudently proceeded, the company of Studients did violently snatch from him his bulls & they do cloth one of their own company in a whorish habit, put him into a cart, adorne his brest with bulls, carry him about and acclaime unto him: the whore in the mean time, with sweet words & gesture alluring the company, and distributing blessings: at the length they burne all the bulls with many of the Popes in the midst of the market.

12 In the meane time the Pope cites Husse to appeare at Rome, who in regard of the disswasion of the University and nobility, did not appeare, Pope Iohn 23 in the yeare 1413 in Iune did interdict their celebrating of Masse, in regard of the presence of Huss a contumacious offender, upon this when hee saw the Magistrates rage, and the common people divided into contrary factions, and all things to be disturbed, he of his own accord leaves Prague, and from towne to towne teaches the word of God: untill the time that he was called to Constance, to give an account of Doctrine, receiving letters of safety from the Emperour: Histories report, how he was there handled by the Romish Councell, to witte, in the yeare 1415. The 6 of Iuly, Husse, in the yeare 1416 the 30 of May Ierom were burnt. Consult the book, of Martyrs.