The letters of John Hus/Letter 70, To his Friends in Constance

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to his friends (21 June 1415).

LXX. To his Friends in Constance

(June 21, 1415)

This is my final intention in the name of Jesus Christ: I refuse to confess that the articles which have been extracted in their proper sense are erroneous, and I refuse to abjure those which have been laid to my charge by false witnesses, because to abjure them is to confess that I held an error or errors; nor will I depart from them and hold the opposite. For God knows I never preached those errors, which they have concocted by withdrawing many truths and introducing falsehoods. If I were convinced that any of my articles were contrary to the truth, I would most gladly amend and revoke them, and teach and preach the opposite; but I think there is none of them contrary to the gospel of Christ and the teachings of the doctors of the Church, although called ‘scandalous’ and ‘erroneous’ by those they displease. Therefore, whatever false meaning be contained of my set purpose in any article whatsoever, I abhor it, and submit myself to the correction of my almighty and supreme Master, trusting that of His infinite mercy He will cleanse me from secret sins. I return thanks to all the barons of the kingdom of Bohemia, to knights and retainers, and especially to King Wenzel and to the Queen, for having shown me affection, and having piously entreated me, and for having earnestly striven for my release. I thank Sigismund too for all the kindness he hath shown me.[1] I thank all the Bohemian and Polish lords for having loyally and steadfastly stood out for the truth and my liberty,[2] and I yearn for the salvation of them all, both now in grace and hereafter in glory everlasting. May the God of all grace bring you alive in bodily and spiritual health to Bohemia, that there you may serve Christ as King and attain to the life of glory. Greet all my friends, whose names I cannot write down; for if I should write some names and omit others, I might be deemed a respecter of persons, and those whose names I omitted might suppose I had forgotten them or loved them not as I ought. Written in prison, in chains, on Friday before the feast of St. John Baptist.

in hope a servant of Jesus Christ, from the hope of Whom the devil could never, and will never, separate me, guided as I am by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, blessed for ever and ever. Amen.

  1. It is difficult to know whether to take this as sarcasm or the kindliness of forgiveness.
  2. See p. 204. Doc. 550–55.