The letters of John Hus/Letter 47, To John of Chlum

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to John of Chlum (5 March 1415) (2).

XLVII. To John of Chlum

(Without date: February 28(?), 1415)

Gracious lord, I am very glad to hear of your good health and your continued loyal and kindly constancy in all the efforts you are making for your poor friend. God hath endowed you with constancy above all other men and given you to me as a helper, for your good, I trust, both in this present life and in eternity. I beg you then, by God’s mercy, to await the issue of my case, like a soldier of Jesus Christ. If Master (dominus) John of Janowicz [Cardinalis] is quite well—he spent much time with me—I beg you to confer with him.

I feel my debt to the noble Baron Wenzel de Duba. Please greet him by my prayers, which are set loose by my prison, and give him my thanks for his faithful interest in my cause. Greet the rest of the faithful Bohemians.

I blame myself for not keeping back my tears on suddenly seeing Master Christian; but the sight of my faithful master and particular benefactor made them stream from my eyes.

I had heard that, with your whole family, you had gone away for a long visit,[1] but now my soul is comforted. God, most gracious, at one time consoles me and at another afflicts me; but I trust He is ever with me in tribulation. For I have again been horribly racked with stone, from which I never suffered before, and with severe vomiting and fevers. My gaolers were afraid I should die, and removed me from the dungeon. Many articles from the Bag of Lies,[2] and others from this same bag, as also those to which you have the replies, have been laid against me. I dare not write replies on your paper to the articles of the Paris doctors,[3] because I could not conceal them on account of the watch kept over me. It is just as well to leave it over to avoid any harm coming to our faithful friend—you know whom I mean.[4] I recommend him to you. I should be glad to see you, together with Baron Wenzel [de Duba] and Master Christian. I fancy, if you speak to the Pope’s under-chamberlain, he will give you permission to visit me. You would have to speak in Latin before the gaolers, and in going out your man Peter[5] should give them a gratuity in keeping with your rank. I have not dared to keep the articles by me. Make Peter copy my tract on the Commandments.[6]

I will answer the charges of the Paris Chancellor if I live;[7] but if I die, God will answer them at the Day of Judgment. I do not know where Železný Jan [John Barbatus] is, faithful brother in Christ that he is.

I do not know whether Master Christian is with you. Pray greet him and Baron Wenzel and the rest of the faithful Bohemians.

Do not give way to worry because expenses run up here. Meet the situation as you can. If God shall free the Goose from his prison, He will give you good reason for not regretting these expenses. Please do what is sufficient by means of promises.

If Lord Henry of Plumlow[8] or Stibor of Boczi is with you, please greet them and all the Bohemians.

To-morrow it will be eight weeks since Hus was lodged in the refectory.

Noble and gracious lord, guardian of the truth along with Lord Henry [Lacembok], stand by my side without flinching till the end comes, when the Lord Jesus Christ will use me for His glory and the blotting out of my sins. I commend this most faithful of friends to you. I am pleased with what you have done. I should be glad to find that my lord the King had given orders for the hearing of my replies to the articles of Wyclif. Oh, that God might inspire his lips, so that he might take his stand with his leading men in support of the truth!

To-day I finished a little tract, On the Body of Christ, and yesterday one, On Matrimony.[9] Get them copied hereafter. Some Polish knights have paid me a visit,[10] but no Bohemians, except one that came with them.

  1. This visit, if paid later, would explain what Hus calls ‘the negligence in writing’ on p. 198.
  2. Michael. A favourite insult of the times. Cf. Stephen Dolein’s ‘Sacce Wyclif, ora pro nobis’ (Antihussus, pp. 373, 426).
  3. See next page, n. 3.
  4. Gaoler Robert, who carried the letters.
  5. P.: vester Pater, following Ep. Piiss. i. 2a. Read Petr.—i.e., Petrus Mladenowic.
  6. See pp. 154 and 171, and Mon. i. 296.
  7. Gerson, the great Chancellor of Paris, had despatched to archbishop Conrad of Prague (September 24, 1414) a series of articles culled from Hus’s De Ecclesia (see Doc. 523–8). The arrival of Gerson at Constance on February 26 (for date see Finke, op. cit. 259) brought them into prominence, and made Chlum, as we have seen, anxious to smuggle out an answer to them from Hus. Hus’s intentions seem to have been frustrated by illness, and we find him in later letters still harping on his intended answer to Gerson. The answer, if ever completed, is now lost.
  8. Cf. p. 232. Boczi is a very uncertain reading from the Ep. Piiss.
  9. See p. 171. The De Corpore Christi is called in the Monumenta De Cœna Domini.
  10. Possibly Janussius Kalisky and Zaurissius Niger, the ambassadors of Jagiello to the Council, who could therefore obtain access by reason of their office. For other Poles at Constance, see Doc. 256.