The letters of John Hus/Letter 66, To Master Martin, his Disciple

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to Master Martin, his Disciple (16 June 1415).

LXVI. To Master Martin, his Disciple[1]

(June 16, 1415)

Master Martin, my dear disciple and brother in Christ! Live according to Christ’s gospel and put on diligence that you may preach the word of God. I beg you, for God’s sake, love not a fine garment Alas! I loved and wore one, thus giving no example of humility to the people I preached to. Delight to read the Bible, and especially the New Testament; and where you do not understand, refer at once to the commentators when you have them at hand. Beware of talking with women, and especially be careful in hearing their confessions, lest you be caught in the snare of wantonness; for I trust you have been preserved a chaste virgin[2] unto God. Do not be afraid to die for Christ, if you would live with Christ. For He Himself saith: Fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul.[3] If they shall charge you with complicity in my heresy,[4] say, “I hope my master was a good Christian; but as to what he wrote and taught by way of protest in the schools, I did not understand it all, nor did I read it through.” I think you will find things are as I say; but I hope by the mercy of God and by the help of good men that they will let you depart in peace, though Palecz and his party are striving to get a summons against all my adherents.[5] Be assured that the Lord still lives, Who will be able to keep you all steadfast in His grace and to put to death and destroy in hell the enemies of the truth.

I commend my brethren to you; treat them as you know how, dear friend. I trust you will give my greetings to the holy Petra with Duora and her family, and to all the friends belonging to the Bethlehem, Katherine called Hus, a holy virgin, I hope, Girzik[6] the rector, the lady of Zderaz, Michael of Prachaticz, Maurice Kačer, and all the friends of the truth, Ješkonissa, Gregory, and all the masters, Jesenicz, Kuba, the two Simons, Nicholas and Hawlik.[7] Whoever hath the books, or is to have them, must be careful with them. Greet the doctors my beloved brethren in Christ, the shoemakers, the tailors, and the book-writers also, asking them to be zealous for Christ’s gospel and to be ‘lowly wise’ and not to use their own glosses, but those of the doctors of the Church. Ask without fail Lord Henry Lefl to give a guinea to James, the book-writer, as he promised to him. Greet Matthew, once a member at the Bethlehem, and Matthew Chudy, especially that he may pray for me a sinner, and the faithful John Vitlin. If you think proper, apprentice the sons of my brother to a craft, for I fear they would not guard an ecclesiastical calling as they ought, should they take to it. Make such repayment as you can to my creditors, who have my bond. Should they wish to let me off for God’s sake and out of love to me, God will give them the more. Hold fast whatever good you learnt from me. If you saw anything unseemly in me, cast it from you and pray God that it may please Him to spare me. “Ponder always what you are, what you were, what you will be” (supra, p. 234.) Mourn the past, mend the present, beware of the future—I am speaking of sins. May the God of all grace strengthen you in His grace with all the brethren named above and the others likewise, and may He bring you to glory, in which, I trust, we shall all rejoice together by His mercy, before thirty years have passed away. Farewell evermore, my dear brother in Christ Jesus, with all who love the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Written in prison on Sunday after the Feast of St. Vitus.

  1. With this letter compare No. XXXV.
  2. Cf. Rev. xiv. 4.
  3. Matt. x. 28.
  4. De adhæsione.
  5. Cf. p. 222.
  6. Cf. pp. 151, 206. One of the “Simons” would be Simon Tissnow.
  7. Cf. p. 274, where they are again associated together. Nicholas I take to be Nicholas Miliczin (see p. 80). Hawlik or Gallus was at this time the preacher at the Bethlehem. Cf. pp. 248, 275. Michael of Prachaticz was a public notary (cf. Doc. 331 and passim).