The letters of John Hus/Letter 30, To Master Christian of Prachaticz, Rector of the University of Prague

XXX. To the Same

(Without date: end of April (?) 1413[1])

Worshipful lord rector, reverend father and master! I do not believe that the schism of the people can be lulled to sleep: for Christ’s prophecy must needs be fulfilled, Who came not to send peace, but a sword, to separate father from son and mother from daughter, etc.[2] The prophecy of Paul also saith that the son of iniquity shall not be accomplished unless there came a schism first.[3] As to the disgrace of the king and his kingdom,[4] what matters it to us, if the king is good, and provided at least some of his subjects are good? Christ in His earthly course suffered deep disgrace along with His elect, to whom He said: They will put you out of the synagogues, and will slay some of you, thinking that they are doing a service to God.[5] And you shall be hated by all men for my name’s sake,[6] you shall be delivered up by parents and kinsfolk. Now this is worse than to suffer at the hands of Stanislaus and Palecz! But as to my victory, it depends not on the world’s good report; for I know that he is conqueror, who is slain.

You know the subject-matter of the dispute: first, the condemnation of the articles; secondly, as you have heard, the robbery connected with the indulgences; and now a third objection has been added by the counsel of the Pharisees.[7] In the first place, it is concerned with the point that my fellow-preachers and I are a pestiferous set of clerks, in error as to the sacraments; secondly, with the heretical dictum, “There cannot be found or given upon earth any other successors of that order than the Pope, who is head, and the College of Cardinals, which is the body of the Roman Church”; thirdly, with this point of the judgment, “The Pope is the head, while the College of Cardinals is the body, being clearly the true successors of the chief of the apostles”; and fourthly with this point, “The Apostolic Seat—that is, the Pope with the cardinals of the Roman Church and his prelates—must be obeyed in everything whatsoever, if what is purely good is not forbidden nor what is purely evil enjoined.” By God’s grace I trust I have never disseminated such gross errors, nor ever will do so! For what can be a greater exaltation of Antichrist above all we speak of as God—that is, above the deity and humanity of Christ—than to say that God cannot have any other successors in His Church than the Pope along with his cardinals? If they had laid it down that God cannot have worse people belonging to His Church than the Pope and the cardinals, they would have had greater evidence for their words. Methinks therefore that God from time to time by their inventions reveals to us Antichrist and his disciples. But He will give to us knowledge and a spirit of courage to wage war on all such deceivers!

  1. This letter should be compared with the Responsio ad Scripta Stanislai in Mon. i. 265 ff., some arguments of which Hus here condenses. Its date is evidently after the fruitless conference of April and before the banishment of Stanislaus or the election of the new rector; cf. inscription in MS. ‘Mo Xo protunc rectori’.
  2. Luke x. 34.
  3. 2 Thess. ii. 3.
  4. By the rumour of heresy.
  5. John xvi. 2.
  6. Matt. x . 22.
  7. In consilio. Perhaps we should read in concilio, with a reference to the Synod.