The letters of John Hus/Letter 19, To the People of Prague

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to the People of Prague, November 1412 (2).

XIX. To the Same

(Without date: October 1412)

To the faithful who are zealous for the Lord Jesus Christ and His word, dwelling in the city of Prague: Master John Hus, a priest unprofitable, yet having a desire for their perseverance in the love of God.

Dear friends, it is because of my strong desire that I beseech you not to draw back from the truth, the knowledge of which the Saviour in His mercy hath generously bestowed upon you. I trust indeed that the Lord will perfect what He hath begun in you the elect, and will grant unto you perseverance when you are tempted. For myself, likewise, I trust in the kindly goodness of our Saviour, although now I can say with the apostle, that to me to live is Christ and to die gain: and if to live in the flesh, this is to me the fruit of labour: and what I shall choose, I know not. But I am straitened between two, having a desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better. But to abide still in the flesh is needful for you.[1] So wrote the apostle to the Philippians, when confined in a Roman prison. In like manner, dearly beloved, I say to you, though not yet shut up in prison, that I would gladly die for Christ and be with Him; and yet I desire to labour for your salvation and what I shall choose, I know not,[2] awaiting the mercy of God. I fear, however, that much ill may be wrought among you and that the faithful may suffer, while the wicked may lose their souls. The latter are now rejoicing and demanding that not only should the word of God be silenced within me, but also that the place of God’s word—the Bethlehem—should be closed by force.[3] But is it possible that the Lord Almighty will grant them what they are asking for? Even though He suffer them by reason of the crimes of wicked men, as He did in Bethlehem, where He was born, and in Jerusalem, where He redeemed us, let us still sound abroad the praise of His glory, humbling ourselves under His power; He is with those who love Him, and delivers them that suffer in His behalf and reserves His scorners for perpetual fire. Hence it is, dear friends in the Lord, that I beseech you not to fail through weariness, but rather to entreat the Saviour to grant to us perseverance in that which is good. Let us trust His unbounded goodness that He will liberate His word and give us help against Antichrist, against whom by the help of your prayers, please Christ, I will wage war with God's word for my weapon. Peace and love, advancement in all that is good, and hereafter eternal life in glory be unto you from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

  1. Phil. i. 21–4.
  2. Ib.
  3. Fuste. For the incident, see supra, p. 79.