Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 2, To Zawyssius, his Calumniator

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LETTER II.

 

TO ZAWYSSIUS, HIS CALUMNIATOR.

 

Grace to you and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. It has come to my ears that you have accused me of heresy. If this be true, send me word, and you shall know then, by the grace of God, what is the faith which I confess, which I defend, which I do not dissemble in the shade, but which I profess as becomes a true Christian. And, would to God that your eyes might be opened as to the manner in which, for nearly thirty years, you have shorn your flock in Praschatitz. Where do you dwell? How do you labour? How do you feed your flock? You have forgotten these words of the Lord:—“Wo unto the shepherds, who only care for themselves, and do not feed their sheep!” Tell me, I pray you, are you penetrated with that part of the gospel of Christ, which says—“The good shepherd goeth before his sheep, and his sheep follow him; for they know his voice.” The time will come when you must render an account of your sheep and of your numerous benefices, concerning which it is said in your own ordinances, that he who can live upon one, cannot retain another without committing a mortal sin.

Meditate, then, on these things, and accuse not your neighbour of heresy. If you know him to be a heretic, you ought to warn him, according to the Apostle’s precept, a first and a second time; if he refuse to listen to you, avoid him; and even should you be chosen to condemn him, still you must demonstrate by the Scriptures, that you condemn him justly, and deliver over his books to the flames.

I write you these few lines, to warn you fraternally, according to the precept of Christ, which tells us:—“If thy brother has just sinned, warn him in secret.” Receive, then, my words, my brother, and declare, if you have thus spoken of me. Prove that I am a heretic, and I will, with humility, correct myself, and you shall receive a reward for having rescued a man from error. Nevertheless, I hope by the grace of Almighty God, that my faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is as great as yours, and that I am not less prepared to die for it with humility.