The letters of John Hus/Letter 55, To John of Chlum

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to John of Chlum (6 June 1415).

LV. To John of Chlum

(Without date: June 6, 1415)

To-morrow morning at ten o’clock[1] I have to make my reply: first, as to whether I am willing to state that each of the articles taken from my books is erroneous, and that I abjure them and preach the opposite; secondly, whether I will confess that I preached those articles which have been proved against me by witnesses;[2] thirdly, that I abjure them. If God in His grace would bring Sigismund to the hearing, I should be glad for him to hear the words which the gracious Saviour will put into my mouth. If they would give me pen and paper, I should make reply, I trust, by God’s grace as follows: “I, John Hus, a servant of Christ in hope, refuse to state that any one of the articles taken from my book is erroneous, lest I condemn the opinion of the holy doctors, and especially of the blessed Augustine. Secondly, I refuse to confess that I asserted, preached, and held the articles with which I have been charged by false witnesses. Thirdly, I refuse to abjure, lest I commit perjury.”

For God’s sake look after the letters carefully, and see that they are carried with like caution to Bohemia, lest grave dangers result to individuals. If by any chance I am not able to write any more to your dear lordship, I entreat you and all my friends to remember me, and to pray that God may grant constancy to me, together with my beloved brother in Christ, Master Jerome, because I imagine he also will suffer death, as I have gathered from the commissioners of the Council.

On the following letter Luther (Ep. Piiss. G. 1) comments: ‘A beautiful instance of that spiritual experience of which the apostle Paul speaks—“Strength is made strong in weakness.”’ This letter, without date, is attributed by Palackẏ to June 5, presumably early in the morning. But the audience that day was too hurried to well fulfil the conditions of the last clause. We think it is better to take it as written with a view to the adjourned audience. In the effects of this audience, after his former experience, Hus has ceased to have much confidence.

  1. Many MSS. read hora sexta instead of hora xvi. Reckoning time ecclesiastically, hora sexta would be midnight. It is possible that time was not reckoned by Hus in this way, and that he intended ‘six A.M.,’ not at all an unusual hour for meetings.
  2. See previous letter, p. 208, n. 1.