Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 12, To John of Chlum

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LETTER XII.[1]

 

TO JOHN OF CHLUM.

 

[He exhorts him not to depart, as likewise his friends, before the end of the trial.]

 

Excellent Lord, I rejoice greatly at your good health, your presence here, and the firm perseverance of your good and faithful heart in the trouble which you take for me in my misfortunes. God has given you that constancy to a higher degree than to any other person; he bestows you on me for my support, and I hope it will be for your welfare in this life and in the next.

I beseech you, then, by the mercy of God, to wait for the termination of the affair, like a soldier of Jesus Christ. If the Seignior John of Janowitz, who lived with us, is in good health, I ask you to keep him also near you. I think often with pleasure of the noble Seignior Wenceslaus Duba. I pray you to transmit to him, saluting him from me, what I say of him in my prison, and thank him for his undeviating fidelity. Salute also all the other faithful Bohemians.

I accuse myself, that, on the unexpected appearance of Master Christian, my faithful master and benefactor, I could not restrain the tears which flowed from my eyes.

I was told you had left some time since with all your suite, but my soul is comforted. The God of all goodness at one time consoles, at another afflicts me; but I hope he will not forsake me in my trials. I have again suffered horribly from the stone, from which I had never suffered previously to my imprisonment; I have also been attacked by fever, and seized with vomitings, and my jailors, who took me out of the prison, thought I should have died here.

There are now presented to me many articles, heaps of falsehoods, besides those concerning which you have already received many answers. I have not dared reply to the writing which you transmitted to me, on the subject of the articles of the Parisian Doctors; for I could not do it secretly, being closely watched. It is better for me to abstain, rather than place in peril this faithful friend whom I recommend to you.[2]

I would willingly see you with the Seignior Wenceslaus and Master Christian. If you speak to the vice-chamberlain, I think he will permit you to be admitted. Converse before my guards in Latin. . . . . . . I did not dare keep the articles about my person. Make Peter copy what I have written on the Ten Commandments of God.

If I live I will answer the articles of the Chancellor of Paris;[3] if I die, God will answer them for me at the day of judgment.

I know not where is my faithful brother in Christ. Is Master Christian with you? I pray you salute him, as likewise the Seignior Wenceslaus, and the other faithful Bohemians.[4]

Torment not yourself about the living being dear here. Live as you can; and should God permit me to leave the prison, you will not repent these expenses.

If you see the Seignior Henry of Plumlovitz, or Stibor of Botz, salute them for me.

It will be eight weeks to-morrow that John Huss has been confined in this refectory.[5]

Noble and good Seignior, and defender of the truth, remain here with constancy, you and the Seignior Henry, until the end arrives; and I hope that our Saviour Jesus Christ will permit it to contribute to his glory and to the ransom of my sins.

I should behold with pleasure the Emperor commanding me to transmit him my answers on the articles of Wycliffe. Oh! if God would deign to put wisdom in his mouth, that he might comport himself amongst the princes as the defender of the truth!

I have finished to-day an essay on the Body of Christ; yesterday I wrote another on Marriage. You will get them copied. Some Polish knights, and a single Bohemian in their company, have visited me.

 

 
  1. Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. li.
  2. John Huss speaks twice in this letter of a friend whom he does not name.
  3. John Gerson. Huss adds,—Scribet in manifesto Zeleznyian. The meaning of this latter word is not clear.
  4. John Huss here repeats what he had said in a former part of this letter, which is written in Latin, and is often very obscure, indicating a certain derangement, occasioned, without doubt, by acute sufferings.
  5. In the refectory of the Minor Brothers. The date of this letter is thus fixed as 22d January 1415.