The life and times of Master John Hus/Chapter 2
THE FORERUNNERS OF HUS
Before referring to the writers and preachers whom almost all historians, both Catholic and Protestant, have described as the forerunners of , it is necessary to notice a theory concerning the origin of Hussitism that has recently found great favour, particularly in Germany. The great rancour and disparagement with which recent German authors, both Protestant and Catholic, have written of Hus, is founded on the fact that a part, and a very important part, of his career has only recently become widely known. I allude to the fact that Hus was, during his whole life, a firm defender and leader of the Bohemians in their struggle for national independence, and therefore a consistent opponent of the Germans who, at the time of Hus, had obtained almost exclusive possession of all, and particularly of the ecclesiastical, offices in Bohemia. As the racial struggle rages in Bohemia at the present day with the same fury as it did five centuries ago, and as the evil habit of using the events of the past as examples and arguments applicable to the political events of the present is very prevalent there, Hus has been hated by many recent writers, not because he was a church-reformer, but because he was an ardent Bohemian patriot.
It has constantly been affirmed by the writers of this school that Hus was an uneducated peasant-priest, a national fanatic, a mere copier of the writings of opinions, and they have not remained without echo in recent English works. In his important work, Hus und Wiclif, Professor Loserth has strongly insisted on the indebtedness of Hus to Wycliffe. He has undoubtedly proved this indebtedness, which has indeed at all times been known to those who have studied the writings both of Wycliffe and of Hus. Thus the treatise of Hus, De Ecclesia, is to a large extent founded on Wycliffe’s work of the same name, and Professor Loserth has, in his work mentioned above, printed in parallel columns considerable passages from the two works that are almost identical. With all deference to so eminent a scholar as is Professor Loserth, it must be admitted that he has everywhere attempted to minimise the importance and independence of Hus and the Hussite movement. Thus Loserth—as did Höfler before him—lays great stress on the fact that the Hussites were frequently called Wycliffites by their enemies. He does not, however, mention that as the strength of the Bohemian movement in favour of church-reform was largely based on its connection with the national movement, it was an obvious stratagem of the Romanist party to exaggerate the dependence of the reform movement on foreign influences. We frequently meet with this tendency. Thus one of the manuscripts of a work of Matthew of Janov, one of the forerunners of Hus, formerly bore the inscription: Tractatus Johannis Wikleff heretici. This inscription was afterwards erased and the name of the true author, Matthew of Janov, substituted. Professor Loserth has also placed Wycliffe on a higher pedestal than most of the English reformers’ countrymen have done, and he has certainly greatly underrated the learning of Hus. The comparison between an enthusiast such as was Hus, impelled by fiery indignation to denounce the iniquities of the clergy of Bohemia and the oppression of his countrymen, and a learned, though somewhat arid scholar such as was Wycliffe, is indeed altogether meaningless. Hus believed that a thorough reform of the alien, immoral, and simoniac clergy of Bohemia was necessary; and there being no hope of obtaining the assent to such a reform from the corrupt popes of his time, he inevitably and, it may be added, reluctantly became an opponent of the Church of Rome. In the controversy which followed, Hus used as weapons many of the writings of divines anterior to his time. Among these writings the works of Wycliffe, often themselves founded on earlier theologians, occur very frequently. Often also Hus and Wycliffe have drawn from the same source. It is a great merit of Mr. that he pointed out, in the introduction to his edition of the Letters of Hus, that the Bohemian reformer is indebted to Gratian’s Decretum almost as greatly as to the writings of Wycliffe. Both Hus and Wycliffe also depend largely on the teaching of St. , and one of the principal theories of both church-reformers, which describes the church as the community of all who believe in Christ, laymen as well as priests, is derived from the Defensor Pacis of Marsiglio of Padua.. These views are maintained by many writers whose ephemeral works, intended for the purpose of flattering the vanity of the Germans, require no notice. But one of the most eminent German scholars of the present day, Professor Loserth, has also expressed similar
It may be stated generally that the extreme importance of verbal exactitude in scholastic definitions—where even the slightest deviation from the accepted wording might have exposed the writer to the suspicion of heresy—rendered it customary among the theologians of the Middle Ages to copy word by word the statements of previous writers. It was equally customary with the theologians of that time to incorporate in their works without acknowledgment long passages and even entire treatises contained in the books of previous writers. Thus without acknowledgment included in his works a considerable part of the Declaratio compendiosa defectuum virorum ecclesiasticorum of Henry of Langenstein. Thus also incorporated a considerable portion of ’s Dialogus in one of his early works without mentioning his source. Many other similar cases could be mentioned. The great authority of so eminent a scholar as Professor Loserth has induced other recent German writers, who possessed less learning though more racial hatred than he does, to vilify Hus and to exaggerate the importance attached to Wycliffe in Bohemia. These writers have particularly laid great stress on the supposed ignorance of Hus. This supposition can already be considered as obsolete in consequence of the recent studies of Bohemian writers, particularly of that talented and enthusiastic scholar, Professor . The learned professor published recently an almost unknown work of Hus entitled Super IV. Sententiarum, a commentary on the sentences of Peter Lombard. The work, larger than any other book of Hus that is known, has great value and bears witness to the deep and extensive learning of the writer. In referring to this recent and important publication, Professor Loserth writes: “It can now be considered as certain that the former opinion of the literary work of Hus will be changed in many respects, and that it will be esteemed more highly than before.”
It has already been mentioned that the exaggeration of the undeniable influence of Wycliffe’s writings on those of Hus is no new matter. Hus himself frequently protested against the suggestion that he was responsible for all the statements made by Wycliffe, and shortly after the death of the Bohemian church-reformer a controversy on this subject arose. In a work attacking the extreme church-reformers or Taborites, John of Pribram, a Hussite divine who was probably a pupil of Janov, and who was an intimate friend of Hus wrote: It is well known to many that, when preaching, Master John Hus said that he would not defend any error of Wycliffe or of anyone else! He also preached: ‘If Wycliffe is in heaven, may he pray to God for us; if he is in purgatory, may God help him; if he is in hell, the Lord be blessed.’ Also in Constance before his death, he (Hus) said openly before all: ‘Why do you blame me because of Wycliffe? What concern is it of mine? For neither was Wycliffe a Bohemian, nor was he my father; he was an Englishman; therefore, if he wrote errors, let the English answer for them.’ And you can see by this speech that Master John Hus, as it were, rejected Wycliffe.” In this passage, too long to quote in its entirety, Master Pribram energetically protests against the description of the Hussites as Wycliffites. It is obvious from the statement of Master John of Pribram that the attitude of Hus and the Hussites with respect to the teaching of Wycliffe was by no means one of inept and unreasoning assent as has been stated by some recent German writers. As recent Bohemian scholars have truly maintained, the question of the correlation of the teaching of Wycliffe and that of Hus cannot be decided at present. Besides examining what part of the writings of Hus is derived from the writings of Wycliffe, it would be necessary to examine also thoroughly what other sources Hus used, and also what were the principal sources of the teaching of Wycliffe, which was by no means original. It is however questionable whether such a pedantic enterprise would be worth the great amount of research which it would require. No two men were more entirely different in all respects than were Wycliffe and Hus. Here, if ever, the time-worn saying that comparisons are odious may be considered as true.
It has been necessary to refer here to the influence of Wycliffe on Hus, as some writers have endeavoured to prove that the Bohemian movement in favour of church-reform was an artificial one imported from foreign countries, and that there was in Bohemia, at the end of the fourteenth century, no genuine national feeling opposed to the Church of Rome.
The reign of Charles I. of Bohemia—better known as the Emperor Venceslas, would be unable to cope.—raised Bohemia to a previously unknown degree of prosperity. The necessary consequence had been that the inhabitants of Bohemia, and particularly the citizens of Prague, had adopted a luxurious manner of life that had been quite unknown to their ancestors. The clergy greatly favoured by the king had acquired great riches, and, as mentioned previously, immorality, simony, and avarice prevailed among its members. Charles, a truly pious and enlightened Christian, by no means the bigot described by some historians, was deeply distressed by the state of the Bohemian clergy; and with the aid of his trusted councillor, Ernest of Pardubice, Archbishop of Prague, he endeavoured to stem the current of immorality and to bring about the much-needed reformation of the Bohemian clergy. But the deaths of the archbishop, in 1364, and of Charles himself, in 1378, put a stop to their good work. Though the king had reached the age of sixty-two, there is little doubt that his life was shortened by the apprehension that the evil life of the priesthood would finally cause a revolution, and by the beginning of the schism which took place shortly before his death, and with which he rightly thought that his son,
The Bohemian movement in favour of church-reform became in its later and better known period so entirely a national one that it is interesting to note that the first prominent church-reformer in Bohemia was a German. It did not escape the vigilance of Charles, ever mindful of the welfare of his Bohemian subjects, that Prague was very deficient in able preachers. The fame of Conrad Waldhauser, an Augustine monk who was preacher at the court of the Austrian dukes at Vienna, reached Charles, and he determined to secure his services for the city of Prague. After having previously obtained the permission of the Archbishop of Prague, Conrad proceeded to that city in the year 1358; he had received holy orders fourteen years previously, and was then in the prime of life. He was appointed preacher at the Church of St. Giles, and to ensure his livelihood a parson’s living at Litomerice (Leitmeritz) was also given to him. At that time—as at the present day—many of the more educated citizens of Prague were acquainted with the German language, and the eloquent sermons of Conrad produced a deep impression on the people. We read that, during the first year of his activity, wondrous and sudden conversions took place. Thus Hanek, son of the rich merchant Jacob Bavorov, an alderman of the “old town,” one of the most notorious gallants who, even in church, pursued women, disturbing their devotions, was suddenly converted. He now devoutly attended Conrad’s sermons, and even obtained the friendship of the pious preacher. One of the most notorious usurers of Prague, after hearing the sermons of Conrad, returned to his victims all his ill-earned gains; and the women of Prague, struck by the Austrian monk’s denunciations of luxury, discarded their fine clothing and jewellery, and adopted a plainer and more modest dress. Many Jews flocked to Conrad’s sermons and were, by his orders, allowed to be present, though some of the citizens endeavoured to exclude them. The Church of St. Giles, where Conrad preached, though one of the largest in Prague, soon became too small for the audience, and he was often obliged to preach in the open air outside the church. The state of Prague became as that of a modern town during a revival meeting, and we here meet for the first time with one of those outbreaks of religious enthusiasm that are henceforth so frequent in the annals of Prague. Like so many other church reformers, Conrad soon came into conflict with the mendicant friars. He had in his sermons vigorously attacked these friars, whose dishonesty, avarice, and immorality caused great scandal in Bohemia. They were, no doubt, particularly incensed against Conrad because he had—as they complained—admonished his congregation to give alms rather to the poor than to strong and well-fed monks. The monks and nuns of the mendicant orders had been in the habit of demanding a sum of money from young boys and girls who wished to enter their orders. Informed of this practice, which he considered simonical according to canon law, Conrad complained to the Archbishop Ernest of Padrubice, who, however, declined to interfere, declaring that these orders, both male and female, were subject only to their own regulations. This fact witnesses to the difficulty that confronted even the best of bishops, if he attempted to remedy the evil customs of the church of that time. The mendicant friars were not long in seeking for vengeance. When, at the end of the year 1358, a French dominican arrived as papal legate in Prague, they immediately brought their complaints against Conrad before him. The preacher was summoned to appear before the legate, and he proceeded to the archiepiscopal court accompanied by several aldermen of the old town and the town-writer, Master Werner, who is described as a learned and worthy man. Archbishop Ernest was then at Vratislav (Breslau) at the court of King Charles, and the legate did not give audience to Conrad, but appointed several dominican monks who were to receive him. One of these monks engaged in a dispute with Werner, who told him that his master, the legate, had more wisdom in one foot than Master Werner in his whole body. Thus provoked, Werner answered, “You are all simonists, and your master also.” In the absence of the legate no decision was taken, and the matter appears to have remained in abeyance. Ten days later, on December 28th, Conrad Waldhauser was again summoned to appear at the archiepiscopal court. Preaching early on that morning he, from the pulpit, begged the aldermen to appoint two of their number who were to accompany him. They readily consented, and Werner, the writer, also again joined them. Meanwhile, the rumour was circulated in the city that the monks were menacing Conrad, and a large crowd of men and women followed the venerated preacher, determined to protect him if necessary. When the crowd passed the dominican monastery of St. Clement, some of the monks appeared at the windows. They had to hear evil words, were told that they were heretics who deserved to be burnt, and the people spat out before them. Conrad and Master Werner endeavoured as far as possible to calm the people. Of what befell at the archbishop’s palace we have no certain information. It appears, however, that all parties agreed to leave matters in suspense till Archbishop Ernest should have returned to Prague. Early in 1359, the papal legate summoned Conrad to a disputation probably at the monastery of St. Clements. Waldhauser declined, stating that he was certain that the monks of that community, who were among the strongest opponents of church-reform, would stone him should he appear there. He added that he would, however, justify himself before the archbishop. On the return of Ernest, the mendicant friars presented to him their complaints against Conrad, formulated in twenty-four articles. Their contents were very futile, and to those who read the articles it will appear that the accusations of laziness, immorality, avarice, and gluttony levelled against the friars were thoroughly justified. Other accusations, such as that Conrad had said that the monks and nuns who received children for a pecuniary remuneration were “Arian heretics,” are too absurd to deserve belief. Conrad’s dignified answer, in which he did not deny having spoken strongly against the vices of the friars, but complained that words he had never spoken had been attributed to him, seems to have satisfied the archbishop. He caused an inscription to be placed on the doorways of all the monasteries of the mendicant friars, summoning all who might have any accusation to bring against Conrad, to appear on a certain day at the archbishop’s court. No one appeared. The friars, however, continued secretly to attack the pious preacher. Thus when Duke Leopold of Austria visited Prague, the mendicant friars brought many mendacious accusations against Conrad before him. The duke appears to have disbelieved these accusations, as he invited Conrad to return with him to Vienna. The conscientious preacher none the less considered it his duty to draw up a statement defending his conduct and to send it to Vienna. Of the later years of Conrad but little is known. He, however, always retained the favour of King Charles, who conferred on him the rectorship of the Tyn Church—next to the Cathedral-Church of St. Vitus, the most important one in Prague. It is a proof of the great independence of mind of King Charles, who has often been judged very falsely by superficial writers, that he ventured to do this in face of the continued opposition to Conrad on the part of the mendicant friars. That opposition, indeed, only ceased with the death of Conrad in 1369. He left several Latin writings, among them are the Apologia that has already been mentioned, and an extensive Postilla studentum sanctae universitatis Prageusis super evangelia dominica, written on the request and for the benefit of the young students of the university. Conrad Waldhauser’s writings have only been preserved in MSS.
Among those who listened to Conrad’s sermons was a young priest, who was destined to become his successor on the arduous path of church-reform. I refer to John (in German, Kremsier), whose truly Christ-like nature caused him to be revered as a saint even during his lifetime. of Kromerize Milic was born at Kromerize probably in the early part of the fourteenth century, but all tales concerning his earliest years must be considered as legendary. It is certain that he was of humble origin, and was from childhood destined for the church. He appears even in early youth to have taken his life-work more seriously than was then usual with young clerics. He read widely and showed early in life that great capacity for work and study that never left him throughout life. It is specially noted that he devoted much time to the study of Scripture, and the same has been stated of his successor Matthew of Janov. This devotion to the Bible may, indeed, be considered as generally characteristic of the Bohemian church-reformers. Though symptoms of exceptional earnestness are from the first evident in the career of Milic, he did not, and perhaps under the circumstances could not, seek preferment otherwise than in the manner then usual among young priests. Milic early in life found employment in the chancery of the Emperor Charles. The head of that chancery was then John of Streda, Bishop of Litomysl. Through the influence of Streda, Milic obtained in 136—even before he had been ordained a priest—from Pope a papal provision, bestowing on him a benefice in the archdiocese of Prague. He became a canon of St. Vitus in that city, and it appears that somewhat later the rank of archdeacon was also conferred on him. But his enthusiastic, pious, and conscientious nature induced him in 1363 already to abandon all his honours.
It has often been stated that the impression produced on Milic by the preaching of Conrad Waldhauser was the cause of this determination. It was at any rate not the only cause. The work of Milic as archdeacon had given him a terrible insight into the depravation of the clergy, and he could not fail to perceive that the system of papal provisions by which he had himself benefited, contributed largely to the general demoralisation. Milic therefore considered it his duty to renounce all worldly goods, and to devote himself entirely to preaching. Being of the Bohemian nationality, he was able to preach to the people in their own language, a thing that had been impossible to Waldhauser. In the autumn of the year 1363 he began preaching at Prague, first at the Church of St. Nicholas in the “small quarter” and then at that of St. Giles in the old town. As had been the case with Waldhauser previously, Milic also was almost immediately confronted by the enmity of the mendicant friars. A man of an enthusiastic and even visionary nature, he carried out to the full the principle of apostolic poverty which he had imposed upon himself. He had given everything to the poor, and depended for his nourishment entirely on the gifts of pious women, and would accept only what was absolutely necessary to sustain life. His clothing was of the meanest description, and when he walked from one church to another—he often preached in different churches on one day in Latin, Bohemian, and German—the poverty of his appearance attracted attention. But when a new garment was offered to him, he answered in the words of Christ: “If one has two cloaks, let him give one to him who has none.” Similarly, “When Thomas the nobleman”—the person referred to is probably Thomas of Stitny—“ said to one of the disciples of Milic: ‘I see that master Milic keepeth nothing for himself; if he would but keep it for himself I would gladly give to him a good fur coat of fox skin.’” Milic refused to accept the gift under this condition, and continued to walk through the streets of Prague in mean attire, even during the terrible cold of the Bohemian winters. Many other tales, often recalling St. Francis of Assisi, are told of Milic, whom the people soon began to revere as a saint. He acquired great influence over the more pious among the young priests, and it was no doubt for them that the Latin sermons mentioned above were preached.
The privations and fatigues which Milic underwent, not unnaturally produced a strong effect on an imaginative and somewhat visionary nature, such as was that of Milic. He believed that an inward spirit directed all his actions, and on the advice of this mysterious spirit, he for a time gave up preaching and resolved to become himself a mendicant friar, perhaps hoping thus to obtain greater influence over the other friars. On the advice of his friends he soon abandoned this idea. His profound and constant study of Scripture led Milic, in his state of exaltation, on strange paths. He was impressed by the evils of his time, the corruption of the clergy, the dissolution of all social order in Germany and Italy. Anarchy caused by bands of freebooters, who pillaged Italy and afterwards Germany, produced so great and terrifying an impression on the public mind, that even the insane idea that the Emperor Charles encouraged these bands to continue their depredations found adherents. So hopelessly evil a state appeared to Milic to portend the approaching end of the world—an idea with which we meet frequently in the writings of all Bohemian reformers—Hus himself not excepted. The inward spirit which guided Milic drew his attention to the passage in St. Matthew’s evangel which refers to Daniel’s prophecy. Milic now began to study these prophecies with great attention, and obtained from them the conviction that the time when Antichrist would appear had already arrived. While under the influence of these studies, Milic, when preaching in the presence of the Emperor, pointed at him denouncing him as Antichrist. Though here also Charles showed that special forbearance to the Bohemian church-reformers which has been overlooked by those who have described him as a bigot; it was impossible that so public an affront should pass unnoticed. Archbishop Vlasim who had, in 1364, succeeded to Ernest of Pardubice, caused Milic to be imprisoned, and he ordered Dean William of Lestkov, and “the learned Master Adalbert (the person referred to is in all probability Ranco) to examine the orthodoxy of the teaching of Milic. They declared that they found nothing heretical in it, and Master Adalbert in particular stated that he could not examine the truth of that which had evidently been said under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
Probably in consequence of this favourable decision, Milic was soon released from prison. He resolved now to carry out a plan he had previously formed to visit Rome. Pope Urban V. was then expected there from Avignon. On Milic’s arrival in Rome in the spring of the year 1367, the pope had not yet come there, and Milic, after waiting a month, decided to proceed to Avignon, hoping to meet him there. But before he started on his new journey, the inward spirit willed him to announce in a sermon the approaching appearance of Antichrist. Of this sermon, he affixed a copy on the gates of St. Peter’s Church. He was arrested by order of the inquisition while praying within that church, and imprisoned in the monastery of Ara Coeli in the capital. It is probable that the mendicant friars in Bohemia had already denounced him in Rome, and when the news of his imprisonment reached Prague, they joyfully declared in their sermons that Milic would soon be burnt. While in prison, Milic employed his time in formulating his views on the appearance of Antichrist—a subject in which he was then entirely absorbed. It was at this time that he wrote his Prophecia et Revelatio de Antichristo. It was also while he was in prison that he wrote a long letter to Pope Urban V. The order of ideas in both writings is very similar; in both he denounces in burning and apocalyptic language the terrible depravity of the prelates, the monks, the nuns of his time. In both he also enlarges on the, to him, ever-present subject of the advent of Antichrist. Incidentally he also, in the Prophecia, explains the reasons that induced him to visit Rome. He writes that the inward spirit that guided him said, “Go and tell the supreme pontiff to bring back the church to the state of salvation.” In his letter to the pope he also strongly insists on the necessity of assembling a general council of the church in Rome.
On the arrival of Pope Urban in Rome, Milic was released from prison after he had had an interview with the Cardinal of Albano, and discussed his views with him. The cardinal appears to have acquired considerable influence over Milic. Thenceforth we find that the Bohemian preacher laid less stress on his views concerning the impending advent of Antichrist. The Cardinal of Albano treated him with great honour, received him in his house, and ordered those who had maligned him to beg his pardon. Milic then returned to Prague "without hindrance, comforted, and appeased." On his return to his country, he was as zealous for the welfare of his fellowmen as before, but in his sermons as far as possible avoided to touch on matters of dogma. Like all Bohemian church-reformers, he strove rather to denounce the immorality, avarice, luxury, haughtiness of the Bohemian people, and ecclesiastics in particular, to inculcate the study of Scripture, to help the poor, humble, and oppressed, than to excel in scholastic definitions and theological sophistry. Milic, indeed, after his return from Rome became even more stringent in his ascetism and more enthusiastic in his attempts to aid the poor and suffering. He now abstained entirely from the use of meat and wine, allowed himself but a limited time for sleep, slept on a hard couch, and frequently used the rod for the chastisement of his body. The fame of the sanctity of Milic soon spread through Prague, though the mendicant friars and most of the parish-priests, who considered his saintly bearing a tacit condemnation of their evil lives, continued his bitter enemies. A certain number of friends now gathered round him, who sympathised with his labours and admired the sanctity of his life. Such men were Conrad Waldhauser, Adalbert Ranco, Thomas of Stitny, Matthew of Janov. Of these men formerly little was known but their names, and our present knowledge is almost entirely founded on researches made within the last twenty or thirty years. It is indeed probable that, even now, much information concerning the forerunners of Hus exists in unpublished MSS.
During the later years of his life, Milic lived almost entirely in Prague, though he again proceeded to Rome in 1369. Of the cause of this journey little is known, but we read that it was of short duration. His return was hastened by the news of the death of his old friend, Conrad Waldhauser. Kindly as ever, Milic considered it his duty to take on himself the liabilities of his friend that his creditors might not surfer. After this short absence, Milic began again to devote himself to works of charity and piety. He was indeed able to do this on a larger scale than before, as he became Conrad Waldhauser's successor as rector of the Tyn Church. He still refused to possess money or any but the most necessary worldly goods, and devoted all his revenues to pious works. Like many saintly men, he was deeply impressed by the pity of the fate of fallen women. His eloquent sermons had caused some of these women to repent, and Milic endeavoured to rescue them permanently. Enthusiast though he was, he was not devoid of capacity for business when it was the welfare of others, not his own, that was at stake. Aided by a few friends, he bought a house near the Church of St. Giles, and placed there the women whom he had rescued from the worst of slaveries. They were under the supervision of “Margaret of Moravia,” a worthy and intelligent woman, who instructed them in needlework and household duties. Some then, under Milic’s auspices, went into domestic service, others were sent home to their families, and a few married. By permission of the archbishop, a small chapel was erected where mass was said and where Milic preached twice daily, once in Bohemian and once in German; for though he had originally spoken his own language only, he later acquired a thorough knowledge of German. The accounts of Milic’s “mission,” as we may call it, have a very modern character, and are so interesting that I regret being unable to quote from them more extensively.
Milic’s foundation soon became too small for the many who begged to be admitted to it. The Emperor Charles, however, whose favour Milic had never lost, came to his aid. It is impossible not to express here admiration for a sovereign who continued to protect a preacher who had offered him what, to the pious mind of Charles, must have appeared the most deadly of insults—one that many a ruler of the fourteenth century would have requited by the most terrible tortures. Charles ordered the buildings on an ill-famed spot at Prague, known as Benatky (Venice), to be destroyed, and presented the ground to Milic. On September 19, 1372, the foundation-stone of the new buildings was laid. They consisted of a church consecrated to the “sinning saints Mary Magdalene, Afra, and the  a book that was always in his mind, Milic gave the name of Jerusalem to this new foundation. The new buildings in time, however, again became too small, but aided by pious benefactors Milic was soon able to enlarge them by buying several neighbouring houses. The community soon acquired a somewhat monastic character. Milic enjoined all its members to attend mass daily, to receive communion frequently, and to devote all their time to deeds of penitence. It was frequently stated that the members of the community were distinguished by a peculiar dress, but this is expressly denied by the author of the biography of Milic, which is included in the works of Balbinus.Mary,” a large building occupied by the female penitents, and a smaller one in which Milic and his disciples dwelt. Alluding to a passage in the Revelation,
At this period Milic also suffered greatly from the hostility of the parish priests of Prague, who now allied themselves with the mendicant friars, his old enemies. The details of the dispute are not very clear. Here also it may be hoped that further archival research will add to our information. As already mentioned, many priests in Prague were irritated by the example set them by the saintly life of Milic. As a pretext for an attack on him, they used the foundation of “Jerusalem,” which, they said, interfered with their jurisdiction. At a general meeting of the parochial clergy of Prague, it was decided to bring their complaints against Milic before the archiepiscopal vicar; only a few of the poorer priests expressed dissent, but the other said, “You favourers of Milic, go hence.” Both Milic and his opponents appeared at the archiepiscopal court and the priests violently attacked him saying, “Since thou hast begun to preach we have no peace, but rather constantly much vexation.” Milic answered, “As it was in the beginning and now and for ever. Amen.” They then, enraged at his being so different from them, called him a hypocrite and a beghard, and said other vile words.
Formal proceedings against Milic were subsequently taken at the archiepiscopal court, John Pecnik, canon of the Vysehrad, who has already been mentioned acting as spokesman for the priests. The proceedings were very protracted, but it is evident that Archbishop Ocko, though he acted with great caution, was in favour of Milic. The priests, therefore, decided to appeal to the pope, and drew up a lengthy document formulating their complaints. They insisted principally on Milic's views concerning Antichrist, though he had long abandoned these views. They also stated that he had encouraged the inmates of “Jerusalem” to receive communion very frequently. This was undoubtedly true, and we meet with this complaint very often in the records of the Hussite movement. The document also gave a distorted account of the preaching of Milic, and endeavoured, probably on the trumped-up evidence of some women who had run away from “Jerusalem,” to attack his moral character. This document was entrusted to one Master Klenkot, who was to carry it to Avignon. Early in the year 1374, Archbishop Ocko received a bull from Pope declaring that he had been informed that Milic had spread certain heretical and schismatic doctrines in Bohemia, and that he was surprised at the negligence of the archbishop and the other bishops; the pope ordered that the matter should be investigated and proceedings taken against Milic according to the ecclesiastical regulations, and, if necessary, with the aid of the secular arm. This message deeply afflicted the archbishop, and it was Milic himself who comforted him, saying that by the help of God he would prove that he had only spoken the truth. Though Ocko still believed in the innocence of Milic, the papal bull forced him to order a new investigation of the accusations. Milic, however, preferred to appeal to the pope, and having obtained financial aid from some of his friends, he started for Avignon in March 1374. The papal see was very suspicious of heresies at that moment when the whole Catholic world was in a disturbed state, and the dignitaries of Avignon appear to have to a certain extent believed the accusations of Klenkot. Matters changed with the arrival of Milic, and the more worthy among the churchmen did not fail to perceive the saintliness of the man. Milic again found a friend in his former protector the Cardinal of Albano. The accuser Klenkot was called on to substantiate his accusations against Milic, but entirely failed to do so. When he fell ill, shortly afterwards, Milic offered prayers for his recovery, and this truly Christ-like act contributed to convincing the prelates of the saintliness of the Bohemian preacher. Milic was declared to be entirely innocent, was authorised to preach before the assembled cardinals, and was invited to dine with the Cardinal of Albano after the sermon. The triumph of his good cause, not the honours bestowed on him, we are told, gave him great joy.
But Milic’s earthly career was now drawing to an end, and he was soon to enjoy that peace which he had so nobly earned. The privations and persecutions which he had endured had entirely exhausted him. He fell dangerously ill, and died Avignon, probably at the end of the year 1374. The author of the biography of Milic, gives a touching account of his last hours. He left a letter addressed to the Cardinal of Albano, who burst into tears when he received it, saying that Milic deserved to be canonised. In Prague a reactionary movement had meanwhile broken out, and several of Milic's disciples were imprisoned. The “Jerusalem” foundation also was suppressed in the year of the death of its founder; but that the results of the labours of the saintly man should not entirely perish, the emperor decreed that the foundation of “the worthy Milic of good memory, our pious and beloved one”— to quote the words of Charles—should be given over to Cistercian monks. To satisfy the rancour of the enemies of Milic, it was, however, decreed that the foundation should in future bear the name of St. Bernard. These measures did not alienate from Milic the affection of the people of Prague, who continued to venerate him as a saint.
Before ending this brief account of the career of Milic, it is necessary to point out that he never incurred the reproach of expressing heretical views. His statement that Antichrist would shortly appear was an attack, not against the popes whom indeed Milic revered, but against the Emperor Charles who wisely overlooked this temporary aberration in consideration of the great merits of the saintly man. The question of frequent communion was, at the time of Milic, only just beginning to become a subject of controversy. The careers of Waldhauser and Milic, however, prove that at that period in Bohemia every priest who lauded poverty and denounced simony and immorality incurred the almost diabolical hatred of the more vicious and luxurious among the higher members of the Bohemian Church—and this quite independently of dogmatical controversies. We shall meet with this hatred again when dealing with Hus, and it has not been sufficiently noted by writers who, though thoroughly versed in theology, did not devote much time to the study of Bohemian history. The literary work of Milic appears to have been considerable, but only a few Latin writings of inconsiderable size—to which I have already alluded—have been preserved and printed, while none of his Bohemian works, which are said to have been numerous, have escaped destruction.
The next of the little band of Bohemian church-reformers whom I shall mention was Thomas of Stitny (b. 1331; d. 1401). He differed in many respects from the others. He never obtained or sought ecclesiastical offices, nor even took holy orders. Though one of the earliest students of the University of Prague, he afterwards retired to his ancestral home, where he spent the greatest part of his life. There is, however, no doubt that he frequently returned to Prague, as his writings contain many allusions to his personal relations with Waldhauser, Milic, Ranco, and Janov. In contrast to the other reformers—to whom only a few writings in the national language are attributed, sometimes on doubtful evidence—Stitny wrote in Bohemian only. He appears to have generally a retired life, nor do his writings seem to have attracted much attention at the time. The learned masters of the university strongly disapproved of the use of the national language for the purpose of philosophical or theological controversy, and indeed thought it unseemly that laymen, who had taken no degree, should express their opinion on such matters. It might, therefore, appear that the writings of Stitny were devoid of importance; yet nothing is less true. The ideas and theories developed by Stitny penetrated widely amon the nobility and the smaller landowners of Bohemia, men who afterwards took so prominent a part in the Hussite wars. Stitny’s works also bear witness to the high degree of culture which Bohemia had already reached, as well to the great interest in matters of religion which at most periods of history we find among the people of Bohemia. I have elsewhere written extensively on the works of Stitny. It will here only be necessary to refer to his writings as far as they are connected with the cause of church-reform in Bohemia.
Thomas of Stitny, who belonged to the smaller nobility of Bohemia, was born at the castle—or “tower,” to use the Bohemian designation—of Stitny, in Southern Bohemia. As already mentioned, he visited the University of Prague shortly after its foundation, and being of a studious nature soon fell under the influence of the preaching of Waldhauser and Milic.
He viewed with great indignation the persecution on the part of the mendicant friars which these pious preachers then suffered. In the chapter of his work, Of General Christian Matters, which treats of monkery, Stitny writes, obviously alluding to these persecutions: “They (the monks) quarrel, hate one another, revile one another . . . and, what is most terrible, every worthy preacher, every good man displeases them, for he sees their errors; gladly would they declare such a man a heretic that they might more freely practise their wiles.” Stitny writes yet more clearly in one of his yet unpublished works “Thus within my memory the devil incited them (the monks) against Conrad, a noble preacher of God’s truth, and they said that he was an apostate, because he exposed the wiles of false priesthood and taught that which is truth; thus also were they hostile to the good Milic; and the evil spoke evilly of him, but it was false. There are some also who would be glad if that which I write were drowned, because they wish that they alone should appear wise.” Somewhat later, in the same manuscript, Stitny again refers to “the priest Conrad and the priest Milic who were in Prague, faithful and brave preachers of God’s word, one to the Germans, the other to the Bohemians; because they spoke against this, that men in holy orders live in an unholy fashion, many thundered at them with insolent and untruthful speeches, and even now these speak evilly of them who say of evil that it is not evil, and of these good men that they were not good.”
It has already been frequently pointed out that we find much in common in the views of the Bohemian reformers. Common to all is an intense devotion to the Holy Bible. I have already alluded to it, and shall have to do so again when writing of Matthew of Janov. In Stitny, this feeling is very strong; he writes: “This also mark carefully, beloved brethren, that the Holy Scriptures are truly like letters that are sent to us from our home; for our home is heaven, and our friends are the patriarchs and prophets, the apostles and martyrs, and our fellow-citizens are the angels with whom we shall be, and our king is Christ.” Similarly as regards eschatological matters and the supposed advent of Antichrist—a subject that then was in the minds of all, particularly in Bohemia—the views of Stitny recall those of Milic. Thus referring to a passage in the Revelation, Stitny writes: “The movement of the earth is the movement of the people who are withdrawing from the truth. The sun signifies the papal throne and the moon the imperial one, and the falling stars signify those of both estates who fall from heavenly desires to earthly ones, and from order to disorder. Another matter in which the Bohemian reformers incurred the enmity of the more numerous and less worthy members of the Bohemian clergy, was their recommendation of the frequent communion of laymen. This was very distasteful to many priests whose pride induced them to extend as far as possible the lines that divided them from the laity. It is also probable, as Professor has shrewdly conjectured, that they thought that constant administration of the sacrament of the altar took up too much of their time, while the remuneration was very scant. The question of frequent communion together with that of communion in the two kinds, plays a very large part in the Hussite movement. The claim of laymen to receive communion as frequently and in the same form as ecclesiastics, was an outcome of the Bohemian view, that all worthy Christians are equally members of God’s church. As has happened not infrequently, the less worthy the clergy became, the greater became its claims to a superior and exclusive position. At this period we often meet in Bohemia with the theory that even the worst priest is better than the best layman. On the subject of frequent communion Stitny expresses himself clearly. He writes: “I wonder at those many wise people who have strenuously opposed the wishes of those who desire to receive frequently the body of God. How much better would it be if such men would rather diligently teach goodness to instruct those who wish frequently to receive the body of God; and with what rage do they blame without reflection all who, not being priests, frequently receive the body of God. Haply also Milic was offensive to them, he who taught the people God’s will in truth and in the unity of God’s faith differing nowise from the Holy Scripture.”
Though we thus find in Stitny much that is common to all Bohemian reformers, he differed from them particularly in the later years of his life, by displaying more caution and greater subserviency to the Church of Rome. He frequently asserts that he does not intend to write anything contrary to the teaching of that church, and declares, “Should I have written anything unwisely, I wish to state that I do not intend to hold any views except those held by the Christian community, and the University of Prague.” This passage is interesting as foreshadowing the great authority on theological matters which the University of Prague acquired during the Hussite wars. As regards the question of the veneration of pictures, Stitny writes in a very moderate manner, declaring, perhaps in not unintentional opposition to Matthew of Janov, who had very strong views on this subject: “I am not one of those who think that there should be no images among Chrstians. I think they exaggerate; for we may have pictures instead of writings as a memorial of such (holy) things, but not that such a picture be as a likeness of God.” With great humility, Stitny deferred to those whom he believed to possess profounder learning than he himself could claim. In a letter addressed to Adalbert Ranco, “that master of stupenduous intellect and wondrous memory, who first of the Bohemians obtained the mastership of Holy Scripture at the University of Paris,” Stitny, while sending him his book Of General Christian Matters, begs him to correct his writings should they contain anything contrary to Scripture.
Stitny’s writings were very numerous, and he constantly re-wrote them, sometimes altering their names. He did not begin writing early in life; and of his two greatest works the first, the book Of General Christian Matters (O obecnych vecech Krestanskych) was only finished in 1376. It deals mainly with theological matters, but the book, written for the instruction of Stitny's children, contains much excellent advice on matters of daily life. More pretentious is Stitny’s other great work, entitled Besedni Reci, which may be translated by Learned Entertainments. The book is an attempt to define, according to the scholastic system, the personality of God and His attributes. It is in strict accordance with the doctrine of Rome, as far as that doctrine had been developed at the time of Stitny. As already noted, Stitny, towards the end of his life, became much more moderate in his denunciations of the iniquities of his time, and the later manuscripts of his works are far more obsequious to the Roman Church than the earlier ones had been. While the reform movement continuously assumed a more advanced character, Stitny’s caution became ever greater, and he was at the end of his life no longer in touch with the leaders of a movement to the development of which he had largely contributed. Stitny’s merits as a Bohemian writer are very great; he was the first to employ the national language as a medium for the discussion of theological and philosophical questions. He was in this also a true forerunner of Hus, whose great merits for the development of the language of his country have only lately been recognised. In the last years of his life, Stitny returned to Prague, and lived there up to his death in 1401. At this period his constant companion was his daughter, Anna, or Anezka, as he called her. After his death she occupied part of a house near the Bethlehem chapel where Hus was shortly to begin to preach. It is known that several pious ladies lived in community in a house near Hus’s chapel. If, as is probable, Anezka of Stitny was one of these ladies, the fact forms an interesting link between Stitny and his greater successor.
In connection with Stitny and the other reformers previously mentioned, the name of Adolbert Ranco (known also as Ranconis, or Rankuv) cannot be omitted. The details of his life are very obscure, though we meet with his name constantly in the writings of the Bohemian reformers, and he was famed as the most learned Bohemian of his time. It is permissible to include him among the Bohemian reformers, not only because of his constant relations with these men, which I have frequently mentioned, but also because he, as he has stated in a letter to which I have already alluded, complained of the hostility of the mendicant friars who accused him of being an “Armachanus.” The year of the birth of Ranco is uncertain, but we find him a student at the University of Paris in 1348. He there belonged to the “English” nation, which, besides English, included also Scotchmen and Germans as well as the few students from Slavic countries. Ranco soon obtained the reputation of being a very profound theologian, and the university conferred great honours on him—a fact to which Stitny alluded in a passage that I have quoted above. In 1355, Ranco became rector of the University of Paris, and he appears to have remained in France for a considerable time. He must, however, have returned to his country some time before the year 1364, as we read that he was in that year one of the canons of the cathedral of Prague, who were appointed to report on the orthodoxy of the views of Milic. Ranco, as already stated, declared that Milic had spoken under the direct inspiration of the Holy Ghost. From the somewhat scanty statements concerning Ranco which have reached us, it appears that he was not a man of a conciliatory nature, and he was frequently involved in the sometimes turbulent theological controversies that then raged at the university. The fact that Ranco, at a time when the university was still largely German, openly declared himself a Bohemian, and defended the interests of his countrymen, drew on him the hatred of many of the German scholars. Probably, in consequence of this ill-will, Ranco again left Bohemia and proceeded to Avignon. He appears at this time also to have lost the favour of the emperor; but Charles, always lenient to truly pious and zealous churchmen, soon allowed him to return to his country. On the death of the emperor in 1378, Ranco was awarded the honour of pronouncing a funereal oration. Ranco died in 1388, after having made a will which instituted a foundation for the benefit of poor students of the Bohemian nationality who might wish to study theology or the free arts at the Universities of Oxford or Paris. By this will, Ranco incurred the hostility, not only of the German writers of his time, but also of those of the present day.
Ranco’s fame as a preacher was very great in his time, and the scanty remains of his sermons that have been preserved lead us to believe that this fame was justified. Ranco’s sermon on the death of the Emperor Charles has already been mentioned. The “synodal oration,” delivered by Ranco in 1385, is also very interesting. He here inveighs against the simony, avarice, and immorality of the clergy in a manner that recalls Waldhauser and Milic.
As regards Ranco’s theological controversies, some rise little above the level of scholastic disputes, and require no notice here. Two of these controversies are, however, of interest, as they concern views that are characteristic of all Bohemian reformers. It has already been noted and will have again to be stated later, that these reformers laid great stress on the merits of the frequent communion of laymen. On this subject Ranco addressed a letter to the rector of St. Martin’s Church in the “old town” Albert Martin. This letter, which is distinguished by great broadness of mind and moderation, attracted great attention at the time it appeared. It has been preserved in several MSS., and Matthew of Janov quotes it in his Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti.” Ranco writes: “Were I rector (farar) of a church, and laymen came to me, men or women, desiring to receive daily the sacrament of the altar, I would not permit this, except indeed if daily communion had long been established as a general custom; for a good preparation is required, which those who live among worldly people cannot obtain. If, however, someone is declared by his confessor—an honest and sensible man, not a flatterer—to be sufficiently perfect, and this man has a true and ardent desire to receive the sacrament frequently, then his rector or the vicar, with the assent of the recort or his confessor, may admit him to communion at intervals of eight days, unless the statutes of the synods decree otherwise.”
Another controversy of some importance in which Ranco took part referred to the foundation of a new festival in honour of the Virgin Mary. John of Jenzenstein, who succeeded his uncle, Ocko of Vlasim, as archbishop of Prague, had a particular devotion to the Madonna, and he founded in her honour a new festival to which he gave the name of the Visitation (Festum Visitationis S. Mariæ in Montanis). He informed the synod of his decision, which had been taken without obtaining the consent of the pope, announcing at the same time that the new festival would be kept on July 2. The archiepiscopal vicar then informed the assembled canons of the cathedral of Prague of the archbishop’s resolution, inviting them to express their views on the subject. Adalbert Ranco then rose and spoke strongly, not, indeed, against the new festival, but against the action of the archbishop who had founded it without the permission of the pope and the consent of the canons. As far as can be judged, these arguments were but a pretext, as the archbishop had not indeed consulted the pope, but had informed him of the decree at the time he issued it. The attitude of Adalbert was undoubtedly a protest against what he considered an exaggerated devotion to the Virgin Mary. There is no doubt that Archbishop Jenzenstein viewed it in this light, for he became greatly incensed against Ranco. Even when the latter, having fallen ill, endeavoured to pacify Jenzenstein, the archbishop replied most ungraciously, stating that Ranco no doubt wished to amend himself because of his fear of approaching death, and that it was for that reason also that he had begun to fast, pray, and do good works. When Ranco was dying, the archbishop sent to him the provost of Roudnice to tell him to desist from calumniating the virgin, otherwise he would have to fear her wrath. When Ranco died on August 15, the day of the Assumption of Mary, Jenzenstein regarded this as a confirmation of the truth of his warning.
The last and greatest of the forerunners of Hus was Matthew of Janov. His career has up to recent times been very little known, and only one incident in his life—an incident that is not very creditable—appears to have attracted the attention of his contemporaries. Of the writers of the nineteenth century few have devoted much time and study to Janov. Foremost among these is Palacky, the Pathfinder, who first penetrated into the almost complete darkness which formerly surrounded the forerunners of Hus. Palacky’s Vorläufer des Hussitenthumes is a valuable work even seventy years after its appearance. About the same time the Protestant divine, , also devoted considerable attention to the study of Janov. Neander's statement that Matthew of Janov went further in his opposition to Rome than Hus has been frequently challenged both by German and by Bohemian writers. It contains, however, a great deal of truth. That the importance of Matthew has been underrated both by the friends and foes of Rome is undoubtedly due to his formal recantation of his opinions, which became widely known. The Romanists, to whose teaching he had conformed, had no wish to perpetuate the memory of his former errors, as they considered them. The Hussites, on the other hand, always bore in mind his submission—caused by cowardice, or, as it is more charitable to suppose, by the scepticism that is sometimes the result of profound study. The Hussites rarely referred to Matthew of Janov, and some of his works were even attributed to other writers. The enthusiastic partisans of church-reform could not fail to contrast his attitude with the indomitable heroism and self-sacrifice of Hus.
It is only recently that a book has appeared dealing with Matthew of Janov which can be considered as giving a thorough account of the life and works of this great Bohemian reformer. I refer to the work Matej Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti, the life-work of Matthew.by Dr. Kybal, one of the most promising of the younger historians of Bohemia. The book is founded on sound archival research in Prague—no slight merit, as the state of most of the archives at Prague is still one of great disorder. Dr. Kybal has also begun to edit the
The events of the life of Matthew of Janov do not require a detailed account. The year of his birth and his birthplace are both uncertain. We have, however, evidence to prove that he was born previously to the year 1355, and we know that he belonged, like Stitny, to the smaller nobility of Bohemia. He probably went to Prague early in life, and we have his own authority for stating that he there came under the influence of Milic of Kromerice, whose memory he cherished throughout life. Whether Janov also knew Waldhauser at Prague is uncertain. The teaching of Milic naturally tended to confirm in Janov the special devotion to the Holy scriptures which is characteristic of all Bohemian church-reformers. He tells us: “I have loved the Bible since my youth and called it my friend and bride—verily the mother of beateous affection, and knowledge, and fear, and holy hope.”
Though dates here also continue uncertain, we know that Matthew pursued his studies at the University of Paris. He was probably there from 1373 to 1381. He became, like all Bohemians, a member of the English “nation,” and pursued his studies with great diligence. He obtained many academic honours, and soon became known as the Magister Parisiensis, the name under which he is generally mentioned by contemporary writers. Among other academic honours Matthew obtained that of licentiate of the free arts. Because of his great poverty he was exempted from paying the fees customary on such occasions. In the same year—1376—he became master of the free arts, but henceforth devoted himself mainly to the study of theology. After having been ordained a priest in 1378, Janov endeavoured to obtain a papal provision—almost the only way in which, at that corrupt period of the church, a poor man could obtain his livelihood within the ecclesiastic state. For this purpose Matthew twice visited Rome, and it is certain that the difficulties, humiliations, and expenses, very large for a poor man, which he encountered while submitting his petitions, greatly embittered his mind. He was, however, finally successful in his mission, and on May 1, 1381, Pope conferred on him the expectancy on a canonry of the cathedral of Prague. After again visiting Paris, Janov returned to Bohemia, and presented the papal letters which he had received. The rank of canon was conferred on him, but there being then no vacant benefice he remained in Prague, a pauper philosophans as he himself expresses it. He was, however, befriended by Adalbert Ranco, who gave him hospitality in a house belonging to the canons of Prague. It was probably also through the influence of Ranco that Matthew obtained at the end of the year 1381, the office of penitentiary to the archbishop. His duties consisted mainly in taking the place of the archbishop at the confessional. About the same time he was also appointed preacher at the Cathedral Church of St. Vitus. To these new dignities, however, no remuneration appears to have been attached; but finally Janov obtained the office of parish-priest at Velika Ves (Michelsdorf). Though deriving his income from this office, he continued to reside at Prague. An indefatigable worker, he found time, in spite of his numerous occupations, to continue at the University of Prague the studies which he had begun in Paris, and in addition to his Latin sermons at St. Vitus, he also preached in Latin in the Church of St. Nicholas in the old town. In these Bohemian sermons, expressed views similar to those with which we meet in his writings. He spoke very strongly against the then prevalent practice of venerating the pictures and statues of saints. He declared that the pictures of Christ and the saints give opportunities for idolatry; therefore should they be burnt or destroyed, not invoked and honoured by the bending of knees and the lighting of tapers before them. He further stated that it should not be believed that God, through these images, works miracles for the benefit of those who venerate them. Janov farther stated that it was not true that the saints in heaven and their remains (such as their bodies, bones, clothing, jewels, etc.) should be honoured here on earth, nor that these saints could by their merits and intercession be more helpful to men than those saints who still live upon earth. Another tenet which Matthew expressed and maintained in his Bohemian sermons was that of daily communion, which he warmly commended to those who assisted at his sermons at St. Nicholas’ Church.
These opinions were undoubtedly contrary to the teaching of Rome, and perhaps approached more closely to what afterwards became known as a Protestant standpoint than did any assertions of Hus. The archiepiscopal consistory found in these sermons a welcome reason for taking proceedings against Matthew, ho had previously already incurred their distrust and dislike. His life of study, untouched by even the slightest taint of immorality, contrasted in a very vivid manner with that of most of the priests of Prague, whose time was spent in hunting, dicing, feasting, and other even less edifying occupations. In October 1388, a decree of the synod of Prague declared that no layman should be admitted to communion oftener than once a month, and shortly afterwards it was decreed that the laymen should be enjoined to address their prayers to pictures, and believe in their miraculous powers. A year later, Janov was summoned to appear before the archiepiscopal court, and he was obliged to retract his views at a solemn meeting of the synod on October 19, 1398. As a punishment Matthew was forbidden to celebrate mass, preach, or administer the sacrament anywhere except in his parish church at Velika-Ves.
“Matthew’s recantation,” as Dr. Kybal writes, “was made unwillingly and insincerely.” He refers to the incident frequently in the Regulae, where he speaks of those “who honour to the highest degree the saints in heaven while they persecute the saintly Christians who are near to them and are their contemporaries; those who rob the saints who live at their time, while they clothe the bones of the dead saints in gold and silver; who sanctify the apostles and other preachers who are dead, while they condemn and insult the faithful preachers and priests who live at their own time.”
As Matthew considered that the judgment against him was entirely unjust, the result of the wickedness of worldly-minded men, he continued to preach and write in the same spirit as before; he continued to enjoin the faithful to receive communion frequently, and his language with regard to the worship of images became even stronger than before. He writes that “the simple-minded are seduced in a damnable manner, for they confer, as it were, a divine power on a wooden or stony image, and regard it with amazement, reverence, and affection, forgetting that it is but a senseless and lifeless block of wood, neither blessed nor consecrated by the word of God. Verily, any gallows is more acceptable and more useful in a city than some much-honoured picture or statue in a church, for by means of the gallows God’s justice is accomplished and indicated, and the wickedness of the people is diminished. . . .
If we recall the superstitious terror and abhorrence which the “gallows-tree” inspired in mediæval days, we will see the force and the temerity of Janov’s comparison.
As was inevitable, the authorities of the church again began to take proceedings against him. In 1392, Matthew was ordered to deliver up to the vicar of the archbishop for inspection two works which he was known to have written. We have, however, no account of the result of this examination. It was a more serious matter when, in the autumn of the same year, Janov was again summoned to appear at the archiepiscopal law court. It appears probable that Archbishop Jenzenstein had, in consequence of the contents of the books mentioned above, again forbidden him to officiate as a priest at Prague, and particularly to administer the sacrament daily to laymen. On the formal promise of Matthew that he would henceforth obey all orders of his ecclesiastical superiors, he was now reinstated in all his dignities as a priest and preacher at Prague.
Probably, previous to his second appearance at the archiepiscopal court, Matthew’s mind had undergone a profound change, of which he has given us an account that has great psychological interest. It has already been mentioned that he had, like most priests of his time, unhesitatingly availed himself of the chance of gaining a livelihood by means of a papal benefice, the only course often open to an impecunious young priest. It did not even apparently appear to him wrong to conform to a then established custom. On Matthew’s return to Prague, where he had, as already mentioned, at first obtained ecclesiastical dignities, but no regular income, a great change came over him. He had hitherto been very ambitious, and there is no doubt that as a subtle theologian and profound philosopher he might, under other circumstances, have ranked high among the writers of the fourteenth century. But he now cast from him all worldly thoughts and ambitions. In his own words: “As long as the ‘thick wall’ of desire for riches and worldly fame surrounded me and obscured the atmosphere, up to that time as a prisoner or a drunkard, I reposed softly. My only endeavour was to dwell splendidly ‘in painted tents,’ and as one who dwelleth in an inn, I reflected and thought of nothing but that which attracts the eyes and rejoices the ears. This lasted till it pleased the Lord Jesus to snatch me away from these walls, as a burning brand plucked out of the fire. . . . And the Lord led me to the dwelling of sorrow, adversity, shame, and contempt. Now, only when I had become poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembled at the word of the Lord, I began to wonder at the truths of holy Scripture, and how they have been necessarily, irrevocably and continually fulfilled in the whole and in all parts. Then also I began at last to wonder at the great artfulness of Satan, who with his thick darkness has surrounded the bodies and covered up the eyes even of great philosophers. Then particularly the dearest crucified Jesus opened my mind that I might understand the passages of Scripture that were befitting to the times, and He raised up my spirit that I might perceive how the people were absorbed by vanity. . . . And reading, I clearly and rightly understood the abomination of desolation which penetrated the holy spot, strongly, broadly, and widely. And I was much frightened, and I was seized with sobbing, which continueth now and for ever. And I began to repeat the complaint of Jeremiah, calling on all to lament over the crimes of Jerusalem, the daughter of his nation. Then there entered into my breast a certain fire, even bodily perceivable, new, strong, strange, but very sweet. This fire endures within me up to now, and the stronger it burns the more am I in my prayers raised up to God and to the Lord Jesus the Crucified; it (the fire) never disappears except when I forget Jesus Christ, or speak vainly, or become lax in the discipline of eating and drinking (i.e., in fasting). Then am I immediately obscured perceivably, and become useless for all good works till I again turn to Jesus Christ with much groaning and many lamentations. . . . When I tremble before the judgment-seat of Christ, who so soon casts men into the hell of condemnation and again leads them back into the state of grace, then this fire returns to me and surrounds anew my inner man, so that I am prepared for everything that is good. And then I receive this suggestion which is written down and runs thus: ‘Son of man, pierce the wall.’ And I obeyed the voice of my God and I pierced the wall in a threefold fashion, that is by preaching daily to the people, by constantly hearing confessions and by writing this (book) with much solicitude both by day and by night.”
It is obvious through this self-confession that it was by means of the humiliations and tribulations of his troublous life that Matthew was led to renounce the ambitions of his youth, and even to denounce strongly the corrupt system of the papal administration of that time. That a man who believed himself to be acting under the immediate inspiration of God should little heed the commands of his archbishop was inevitable. Matthew continued both in word and in writing to attack the immorality of the clergy and the idolatrous worship of images. He also extolled the frequent communion of laymen, as he had done before, and administered the sacrament daily to all the faithful who desired it. Yet we have no knowledge of any further conflict between the archbishop and Janov after the one that took place in 1392. Archbishop Jenzenstein was entirely engrossed in a violent dispute with King Venceslas IV. of Bohemia, and in 1394 Matthew of Janov passed away from the jurisdiction of all earthly judges; he died on November 30 of that year.
It has already been mentioned that Janov was a very fertile writer. It will here, however, be sufficient to refer to his Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti. The book was his masterpiece and his life-work, and we meet in it with all Matthew's predominant ideas and theories. The book, one of the most precious documents of the Bohemian reformation, long remained almost unknown, hidden away in various manuscripts, not one of which contained its complete contents. Dr. Kybal, the author of a valuable life of Matthew of Janov, to which I have frequently referred, is now engaged in editing and publishing the Regulae, and part of the work has already appeared. Matthew himself is our authority with regard to the origin of the Regulae. He had at first intended to treat his subject in but one book, but then added two more, and later on a fourth and fifth. Here, as so frequently, Janov believed himself to be writing under the direct inspiration of Jesus, by whose order he, as he tells us, extended his work. In the introduction (proemium) quoted below, which Matthew probably wrote after the completion of his work, he indicates the two leading ideas which inspired his book and to which he ever returns from the by-paths of scholastic philosophy, whose redundancy and frequent repetitions render the study of Matthew’s work an arduous task. These two “Leitmotive” are the definition of true Christianity in distinction from false Christianity and the theory of the utility of the frequent communion of laymen. It had been customary with writers anterior to Dr. Kybal to dwell mainly on the first of these two points, and the Regulae were frequently described as the book of true and false Christianity. Dr. Kybal first pointed out the great importance which Janov attaches to the veneration of the sacrament and the great stress which he lays on the frequent communion of laymen. From this theory indirectly, and by no means through the direct influence of Janov, the doctrine of utraquism sprang.
To notice briefly the contents of the Regulae, it may be stated that the first book which follows on the introduction deals of the distinction between true and false prophets according to the Old Testament, and the veneration of the holy sacrament. Conformably to its twofold subject, the book is divided into two tractatus (treatises). In the first of these Matthew warns his readers against false prophets (pseudoprophetae) , who, he states, are more numerous than true prophets. He then endeavours to instruct the faithful as to the means by which they can distinguish them. The second treatise, which deals of the sacrament of the altar and communion, is one of the most valuable parts of Janov’s great work. He has here expressed most fully and most clearly his views on the all-important subject of the sacrament, to which he refers very frequently in the Regulae. “In these days,” Janov writes, “some dispute on the frequent receiving of the body and blood of Jesus Christ by laymen; among these are preachers also and doctors who have expressed their views, some in favour, others in opposition to this practice, basing their opinions either on reasoning or on the Scriptures.” Janov then proceeds in the usual scholastic fashion, abounding in “distinctions” and classifications, to place before his readers, and then to refute, the arguments of those who were opposed to frequent communion. He strongly blames the priests who, from haughtiness, refused to administer the sacrament frequently to laymen, though David called it the “nourishment of the poor,” meaning hereby the laymen in distinction from the priesthood. Not only to men should frequent communion be allowed, but also to women, whose religious fervour Matthew greatly extolls. The great part played by women in the Hussite movement has not yet been sufficiently noticed, and we only occasionally find—as here—some mention of it in the scanty records of the period that have been preserved. Later on the Bohemian women were on Zizka’s hill to seal with their blood their devotion to the Hussite cause.
The second book of the Regulae also contained two treatises. The first one is entitled, De Hypocrisi, and Matthew here expresses himself strongly on the subject of hypocrites, particularly among the priesthood. He draws attention to the insufficiency of the precautions taken by the church to guard against such men, while it is always prepared to be watchful of heretics. The second treatise, which formed part of this book, has not been preserved, though we are acquainted with its name, De Distincta Veritate.
In the third book, which contains no less than six treatises, Matthew can be said to have formulated his views most clearly. The book shows evidence of the fact that the different books of the Regulae were written separately and at different times, though Janov afterwards united them into one entirety. The third book, and indeed all parts of the Regulae, therefore, teem with repetitions, and the writer who endeavours to briefly delineate the contents of the work constantly runs the risk of committing the same offence. In the first treatise Matthew expounds a tenet which is the foundation of all his teaching. Jesus Christ himself, he writes, is the primary principle of truth, and the only sufficient guidance and law of Christian life. The second treatise, De Testibus Veritates, refers to the prophets and apostles as the witnesses of truth; and in the third, Matthew again broaches his views concerning the necessity of frequent communion. He quotes numerous witnesses, beginning by Jesus Christ and ending by contemporaries such as Adalbert Ranco, in support of his favourite doctrine. The fourth treatise, On the Unity and Universality of the Church, criticises bitterly the depraved state of the church at the time of Janov. The idea, outlined in this treatise, that the evil state of the church foreshadows the end of the world and the appearance of Antichrist, is fully developed in the fifth treatise, De Antichristo. As Matthew himself tells us, it was the influence of Milic, who had dealt with the same subject, that induced Matthew to write his treatise. It differs little from the many other eschatological works written in Bohemia at this period. This treatise, which was long attributed to Hus and figures in the older editions of his work, obtained more celebrity than any other work of Janov, and was translated both into German and into Bohemian. It contains, in numerous “distinctions,” a mystic description of Antichrist. The sixth and last treatise has great interest with regard to the development of the Hussite movement. It is entitled De Abominacione in Loco Sancto, and, to borrow the words of Dr. Kybal, is full of general and impassioned attacks on the ecclesiastical community of his day, founded on the language of the Old Testament and of the Revelation. Perhaps fearing that the vehemence of his attacks might be attributed to personal motives, Matthew here lays particular stress on the point that it was only his love of Christ that induced him to write.
The fourth book of the Regulae contains but one treatise, which is entitled A Question whether it is permissible to each and all holy Christians to receive Communion daily, that is to say, to partake of (manducare) the Body and Blood of Christ. Matthew here again enters on a subject which obviously interested him more than any other. This treatise takes the form of an answer given by Matthew to a friend, a pious priest who was troubled by the question of frequent communion that then occupied all thoughtful minds in Bohemia. Matthew here, as elsewhere, appears as a staunch upholder of frequent communion. He vigorously attacks those priests who hold laymen in contempt, calling beasts and ribalds those poor plebeians who wish to communicate frequently. The monks in particular, he writes, endeavour, impelled by spiritual pride and hatred, to prevent laymen from receiving the sacrament frequently.
Very similar to that of the fourth is the subject of the fifth book of the Regulae, which is entitled De Corpore Christi. In this treatise Matthew addresses a friend, a layman, who desired to frequently receive the sacrament, and had in consequence often been reproved by the priests. Matthew here repeats many of his previous arguments in favour of frequent communion.
It is not easy to form a general opinion of the character and the writings of Matthew of Janov. The brilliant work of Dr. Kybal, who has for the first time given us a thorough insight into the nature of Matthew, has, it can almost be said, rendered him yet more enigmatical. Janov will never obtain popular favour, as the silence of his contemporaries and immediate successors proves. The man was soon forgotten, though, as recent research has proved, his writings largely influenced the Hussite movement. The sympathy and veneration which the absolute simplicity, self-abnegation, enthusiasm, indomitable faith, tender kindness even to the most venomous enemies that characterise Hus have obtained for that great Bohemian, will never be awarded to Matthew of Janov. All the writings of Janov are tainted with bitterness, and they sometimes convey an impression of insincerity, though this ceases to be the case when Matthew writes—according to his belief,—under the mystical inspiration of Jesus Christ. Matthew's repeated renunciations of opinions which he continued to hold strengthen this impression, and it is impossible, when reading his eloquent denunciations of the grasping extortions of the papal see, not to remember that he also had availed himself of the advantages which resulted from the system of papal benefices. It must indeed be admitted that this was no exceptional deed on the part of Matthew, and that he was driven to it by sheer want of means. Perhaps “his poverty but not his will consented.” Both the life and the writings of Janov teem with contradictions. As Dr. Kybal has truly said of his works, we find in them entire submission to the church, and on the other hand haughty self-confidence and audacious criticism of the ecclesiastical system, sometimes timidity, sometimes the free expression of extreme views, sometimes consciousness of the importance of the hierarchy, of which Matthew himself formed part, and conservative views, at other times openly expressed popular and democratic opinions. Such a man could never be revered by the people as were Milic and Hus.
Yet it would be very erroneous to underrate the importance of Matthew in connection with the Hussite movement. He was by far the most learned of the forerunners of Hus, and as a thorough scholarly theologian he greatly influenced the masters of the University of Prague, who by the vicissitudes of civil war became, soon after the death of Hus, the supreme arbitrators on religious matters in Bohemia. Chief among the pupils of Janov was Master Jacobellus of Stribro, the originator of utraquism. Jacobellus entirely adopted Janov’s views regarding the advent of Antichrist, and he has in his work on that subject incorporated large parts of Janov’s treatise, though, as was then frequently done, he omitted to mention the name of the writer from whom he borrowed. It was formerly also believed that Jacobellus derived from Janov his doctrine of utraquism or communion in the two kinds. The utraquist archbishop of Prague, John of Rokycan, maintained at the council of Basel that Matthew of Janov had first taught in Bohemia the doctrine of utraquism whose emblem, the chalice, became so distinctive a feature in the Hussite wars. Recent research has proved to a certainty that Janov never taught or preached utraquism. He, however, always insisted on the right of laymen to receive communion frequently, and maintained that through the sacrament a mystical union is established between God and the worthy communicant. This supreme favour and grace should not, Matthew declared, be reserved to priests, but should be granted to laymen also. Saintly laymen, he maintains, have the right to receive communion as frequently as priests, Dr. Kybal has first pointed out how close the connection is between the principle of the frequent communion of laymen, as maintained by Janov, and the utraquism of the Hussites of the fifteenth century. Both claims were founded on a democratic basis and were protests against the theory of the inferiority of laymen which priests—and often the most unworthy priests—were maintaining in Bohemia at this period.
- Dr. Kybal’s edition of Janov’s Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti, vol. i. p. 1.
- It is interesting to compare with Loserth’s appreciation the words of the late Canon , who writes: “Wycliffe was a college don, the most famous teacher of his time at Oxford, though not of the first rank. His philosophy is not original and he appeals invariably to the head; there is no sentiment or pathos or unction about him, not a grain of amusement is to be extracted from his books, and we may reckon this a serious defect—not a grain of poetry, and this is more serious still. He had none of the qualities of a great preacher, or a great leader of the people, and as far as we can see, he never attempted to be either one or the other. (Canon Bigg, Wayside Sketches in Ecclesiastical History, p. 118). I may here mention that though I have given a short notice of the early French and German opposition to Rome, I have done nothing similar as regards England. The reason is very simple. Many English writers far more competent than I am have dealt with this subject.
- Schwab., Johannes Gerson, p. 121.
- Tschackert, Peter von Ailly, p. 43.
- Professor Loserth is not himself free from this tendency. Thus, when referring to a passage of Hus’s De Ecclesia in which the Bohemian reformer refers to Bishop Grosseteste, Loserth mentions that the Prague libraries possessed many MSS. of the writings of the Bishop of Lincoln, adding “that they were probably obtained because Wycliffe frequently mentioned him,” a conjecture for which Loserth does not give a tittle of evidence. Grosseteste’s writings were much read and studied quite independently of Wycliffe.
- Mittheilungen des Instituts fur oesterreichische Geschitschreibung, No. 26.
- In his Zivot Knezi (Life of the priests of Tabor). The work is still unprinted. I quote from the extract published in the Vybor (Selections from Bohemian Literature), part ii. Literatury ceske
- Tomek, Dejepis mesta Prahy (History of the Town of Prague), vol. iii.
- The community of Prague at this period consisted of three cities: the old town, the new town, and the “small quarter on the left bank of the Vltava (Prague, Mediæval Town Series. ). See my
- The animosity of the mendicant friars against all church reformers was great at this period. In a letter addressed to Conrad by Adalbert Ranco, one of the most learned Bohemians of the time and sometime rector of the University of Paris, known as a friend of Conrad, Milic, and Janov, he writes from Avignon: “Dicatis Milicio quod Parisiis publice dicitur et quasi super certa per mendicantes praedicatur quod ego sum simplex Armachanus (a reference to Richard Fitz Ralph, Archbishop of Armagh). Casopis Musea (Journal of the Bohemian Musem), 1880, p. 561. Ceskeho
- The mendicant friars declared: “Item dixit (Conrad): Vos non vultis dare pauperibus et datis monachis qui sunt fortes et qui plus habent quam habere debent. Nolite talibus fortibus dare quia modicum meritum ex hoc habebitis quia videlicet in quolibet collegio esset nee unus qui mereretur illud stipendium quod omnes devorant in guttura sua. (Höfler, Geschichte der hussitischen Bewegung Böhmen, vol. ii. pp. 17–50, contains previously unpublished documents concerning the conflicts of Conrad, Milic, Janov, and Ranco with the ecclesiastical authorities and with the mendicant friars.)
- Tomek, History of the Town of Prague, vol. iii.
- The friars accused Conrad of having said that: “Prius quam homo filiam suam Simoniace traderet religioni, eligibilius esset eam meretricem fieri.”
- Matthew of Janov writes: “Ipse vero Milicius filius et imago domini Jesu Christi, apostolorumque ipsius similitudo prope expressa et ostensa.”
- Dr. Novotny, Jan Milic .
- Novotny, Jan Milic.
- Tomek, History of the Town of Prague, vol. iii.
- Chap. xxiv. 15.
- Novotny, Jan Milic. Dr. Novotny gives a curious account of the calculations—based on Daniel, chap. xii. v. 10–12—which led Milic to this conclusion.
- The author of the Life of Milic, published in the works of Balbinus, writes of the return of Milic and his companion to Prague: “Cum vero Pragam pervenissent quasi nova lux omnibus Christi fidelibus orta fuisset, ita gaudebant quia per Viros Religiosos mendicantes saepe in eorum praedicationibus undubant ubi dicebatur: Charissimi ecce jam Militius cremabitur. (Miscellanea Historica Regni Bohemiae, liber, iv.)
- This book must not be confounded with the treatise, De Anatomia Antichristi—printed in the Nuremberg edition of the works of Hus—which is not by Milic. The book has also been ascribed to Matthew of Janov. Recent research proves that it was written after the siege of Prague in 1420 by a Hussite who used the writings of Janov. (See Dr. Kybal, Matey , and the same writer's study in the Cesky Casopis Historicky (Bohemian Historical Yearbook), vol. xi.)
- “Postremo incepi attendere, quomodo esset de statu et salute Christianorum. Et stans in hoc stupefactus audivi spiritum in me sic loquentem in corde. Vade et dic summo pontifici, qui ab hoc Spiritu sancto electus est,’ ut reducat ecclesiam in statum salutis, ut mittat angelos sive praedicatores cum tuba praedicationis et voce magna, ut tollant praedicta scandala de regno Dei sive de ecclesia, ut quia messis, id est consummatio saeculi venit jam eradicent zizania, id est haereticos et pseudoprophetas, ypocritas, beghardos et beginas et scismaticos, qui omnes per Gog et Magog significantur detegant. . . .” (Vestnik Kr. c. Spolecnosti Nauk (Journal of the Bohemian Learned Society), 1890. Mr. Mencik has here published for the first time Milic's prophecy and his letter to Pope Urban V.)
- Novotny, Jan Milic.
- Revelation, chap. xxi. 10-27.
- The account of Milic by Matthew of Janov, printed by Höfler, Geschichte der Hussitischen Bewegung, ii. p. 40, from the library of the Bohemian Museum, is very short. I have already quoted Janov's description of the nature of Milic. Of the persecutions he endured Janov only writes: “Cum Mylicius carissimus . . . bona opera . . . in Praga perfecit, nihil aliud nisi obprobria vituperia et persecutiones continuas ab antichristianis in Praga eadem reportavit."
- See p. 15.
- This biography is printed with the works of Balbinus, a learned Bohemian Jesuit of the seventeenth century, who, however, is not the author of the biography.
- For Stitny, see my History of Bohemian Literature, 2nd edition, pp. 63-79.
- See O obecnych vecech krestanskych (Of general Christian matters). ’s Introduction to his edition of Stitny’s
- Book iv. p. 136 of Erben's edition.
- Quoted by Erben in his Introduction to the book, Of General Christian Matters, p. viii.
- Second preface to the work, Of General Christian Matters, p. 5 of Erben’s edition.
- Chapter vi. 12–13.
- MS. quoted in Erben’s Introduction to the book, Of General Christian Matters, p. x.
- History of the Town of Prague, vol. iii.
- MS. printed by Erben in his Introduction to the book, Of General Christian Matters, p. ix.
- Erben, Introduction to his edition of the book, Of General Christian Matters.
- Edition by Erben, 1852.
- Edited by Professor Hattala, 1897.
- I have mainly based this brief account of the career of Ranco on an article by Dr. Tadra, entitled “Mistr Vojtech Rankuv,” which appeared in the Casopis Musea Kralovstvi Ceskeho (Journal of the Bohemian Museum) for 1879. Previously Dr. Loserth had published an outline of the career of Ranco in his Beiträge zur Geschichte der Hussitischen Bewegung, ii. Dr. Loserth’s study shows great animus against Ranco.
- Printed in the Fontes Rerum Bohemicarum, vol. iii. pp. 433–441.
- Thus Ranco writes: “. . . Videamus et consideremus diligenter, qualibus nunc ecclesia spousa Christi commissa paranymphis et dico quod in primitiva ecclesia sanctos et perfectos suae puritatis custodes . . . nunc autem ista versa propter aliquos majores clericos in oppositam qualitatem dum videmus aliquos ad eam venire per pecunian allatam vel post solutam et datam peius quam Simon Magus. . . . Addo quod mille annis in clero non fuerit tam scurilis habitus ut nunc est, qui multum attestatur super inordinata clericorum vita, nam mihi non est dubium quod tales clerici inordinatum habitum exterius ferentes sint in mente inordinati, corrupti et viciati. . . .” (MS. of University Library, Prague, quoted by Tadra, Voytech Rankuv.)
- Tomek, History of the Town of Prague, vol. iii.
- Dr. Kybal’s complete edition of the Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti will consist of six volumes; the first appeared in 1908.
- Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamenti, Proemium (p. 12 of Dr. Kybal’s edition).
- Kybal, Matej .
- He himself writes feelingly on this subject: “Pro quibus (provisions) oportel adire sedes praelatorum et tremebunde coram ipsis pro talibus supplicare et impetrare difficulter non sine impensis magnis et expensis, saltem scriptoribus ipsorum pro literis super impetrato confectis et formatis. (Regulae Veteris et Novi Testamanti, lib. iii., tract 4, quoted by Kybal).
- Tadra, Mistr Vojtech Rankuv.
- Kybal, Matej .
- The retractation is published by Palacky, Documenta mag. Joannis Hus, pp. 699 and 700. The statements retracted are exactly those mentioned above. As regards the important question of the veneration of images, Janov declared: “Dico . . . quod secundum institutionem et consuetudinem sanctæ matris ecclesiae debent imagines ad honorem illorum quos designant, adorari et venerari. . .”
- Quoted by Kybal from a MS. of Janov.
- This eloquent passage (in Regulae, Book V.) is too long for quotation in its entirety.
- It is beyond the purpose of this work to enter into this subject. I must refer the reader to Dr. Kybal’s brilliant study.
- Kybal, Matej , pp. 27–28.
- Isaiah, lxvi. 2.
- i.e., of the University of Paris (note of Dr. Kybal).
- i.e. the Regulae.
- “Illum enim principaliter, id est solum illum primum intendebam sub brevitate scripsisse. Dehinc pius Jhesus michi dilatavit, et aperiens ostium me implevit suis copiis, ut duos libros, puta secundum et tercium scripserim, de indicio et discrecione verorum et falsorum christianorum et prisnum pseudoprophetarum et doctorum. Dehinc alios duos libros, scilicet quartum et quintum solum et simpliciter de communicacione in Christi Jhesu ecclesia deifici et supertremendi veri corporis et sanguinis Jhesu.” Regulae Proemium, p. 16 of Dr. Kybal’s edition.
- The titles of the different books and treatises are different in the various manuscripts of the Regulae. In Dr. Kybal’s edition the first book is entitled: De Discrecione Spirituum in Doctoribus et Prophetis et de Venerabili Sacramento.
- “Ex hoc contigit quod multi pseudoprophete exierunt in mundum, similiter et prophete veraces, licet pauciores.” Regulae, p. 21 of Dr. Kybal’s edition.
- Regulae, p. 51.
- We meet with this praise of the religious fervour of women frequently in this treatise: “Puta quod mulieres que sunt in Christo in hoc tempore viros in virtutibus anticurrunt.” . . . “Nam cum sacerdotes stertunt et nauseant vix debito et officio et alias raro missas sanctissimas dignati calebrare mulieres summis desiderüs et studüs festinant cottidie vel quanto eis saepius potest fieri, corpus et sanguinem Jhesu Christi manducare et potare.” . . . “Istis temporibus surgunt mulieres virgines et vidue et apprehendunt disciplinam, agunt strenue penitentiam properant ad divina sacramenta et preripiunt viris regnum celorum circa vanitatem hujus seculi occupatis.” (Regulae, Lib. I., tr. 2, passim.)
- “Competenter vigilatur contra hereticos et vigilatum est dudum copiose per doctores; tamen contra nocentissimos ypocritas et luciformes (diabolical) non puto esse satis attentos usque modo christianos dei neque satis vigilare. (Regulae, p. 109.)
- Dr. Kybal, Matej , p. 63, n. 3.
- “Nam et ista scribens fateor quod nihil aliud me in illud perurget nisi dileccio domini nostri Jesu Crucifixi cujus stigmata pro modulo mee infirmitatis vilitatis in me ipso cupio deportare et quia igitur zelus domus sue comedit et opprobria exprobancium Jesu crucifixo ceciderunt super me, ideo ista loquor et scribo.” (Regulae, quoted by Dr. Kybal, Matej z Janova.)
- . . . “meipsum ad hoc obtuli et distinavi in Christo Jesu ut sim promotor et propugnator crebre communionis corporis et sanguinis domini Jesu Christi. . . .” (Kybal, Matej , p. 72, n. 3.)
- “Hü sunt qui ferme quemlibet de plebe dedignantur, bestias et ribaldos pauperes plebeios audacter nuncupando. . . . Habent de more quidem hujusmodi stomachari ad frequenter sacramento communicantes:” Isti Reghardi et Begynejam nituntur sacerdotibus simulari. Quis dyabolus ad hoc eas consecravit (Kybal, Matej , p. 224, n. 2). Here as everywhere I have used Janov’s own spelling as transcribed by Dr. Kybal from the manuscripts.
- Dr. Kybal has published an interesting article on the connection between Matthew of Janov and Jacobellus of Stribro in the Cesky Casopis Historicky (Bohemian Historical Review, vol. xi.).
- This has been principally proved by Dr. O Historii Kalicha (On the history of the chalice in pre-Hussite times). predhusitskych in his erudite treatise,