The letters of John Hus/Further Efforts of the "Father"; The Delegate from Erfurt; The "Father's" Second Letter

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of the "Father" to Jan Hus.
The “Father” was not satisfied with this reply, or with the appeal with which the letter had concluded. Probably he did not discern the real difficulty of Hus from his reply. At any rate, he would make one more effort. His next letter is a most interesting piece of casuistry and special pleading. The last sentences would seem to indicate sympathy with the life and spirit of Hus. If so, they rule out Zabarella, or for that matter any cardinal.

Hus in his reply was uncompromising in his rejection of the ‘basket’ which the “Father” offered for his escape. With this reply the incident closed, and the “Father” left Hus to his fate. But he was still pestered by others eager to prove their powers of argument, among them, we learn with interest, by an old Augustinian monk, the delegate from Luther’s university, Erfurt. ‘No theologian,’ cried the enthusiastic chronicler, ‘was able to overcome Hus in argument save that old father alone.’

The “Father” to Master John Hus

(Without date: middle of June 1415)

In the first place, my most dearly beloved brother, do not be moved by the fact that thou condemnest certain truths; for judgment is not passed by thee, but by those who are thy elders—yea, and our elders[1] at the present time. Take heed to this word: “Lean not on thine own understanding.” There are many intellectual[2] and conscientious men in the Council. Listen to the law of thy mother. So much for the first point.

Item, in the second place, as to perjury. If that were perjury, it would not recoil on thee, but on those who compel it.

Item, so far as thou art concerned, there are no heresies if thou cease from obstinacy. Augustine, Origen, the master of the Sentences, and others erred, but joyously came back. Several times I have believed that I understood aright some things wherein I was mistaken; when admonished, I came back with gladness.

Item, I write briefly, for I address one that understandeth. Thou wilt not swerve from the truth, but thou wilt draw nigh to it, and so be not worse off, but better. Thou wilt not be a stumbling-block, but a builder up. Eleazar the Jew had glory; the Jewess with her seven sons and the eight martyrs had more glory.[3] None the less Paul was let down in a basket[4] to gain

greater blessings. The Lord Jesus, the Judge to whom thou hast appealed, grants thee release from thy appeal[5] in these words: Still greater conflicts shall be given thee for the faith of Christ.
  1. Proof that he was not John de Bronhiaco.
  2. Scientifici.
  3. Macc. vi. 17-vii.
  4. 2 Cor. xi. 33.
  5. Dat vobis apostolos. See apostoli in Ducange, and note that the word was in use at the time of the Council for an appeal from the Pope to the Council.