Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 46, To his Friends
TO HIS FRIENDS.
These are the things which the Council has often required of me; but they imply that I revoke, that I abjure, and that I accept a penance; and I cannot do it, without denying, in many things, the truth. In the second place, I should perjure myself in abjuring and confessing errors falsely imputed to me. In the third place, I should afford a great scandal to the people of God who have listened to my sermons; and it would be better that a millstone were tied round my neck, and that I were plunged to the bottom of the sea. Lastly, If I acted in this manner, to avoid a momentary confusion and a short trial, I should fall into disgrace and much more terrible sufferings, unless, indeed, I repented of them before my death. Wherefore, in order to fortify myself, I have thought of the seven martyrs of the Maccabees, who preferred rather to be torn in pieces than partake of meats prohibited by God. I have thought of St Eleazar, who, according to what is written, was not willing to confess he had eaten of prohibited meats, for fear of leaving a bad example to posterity, but preferred martyrdom. Having, then, before my eyes many saints of the new law, who accepted martyrdom rather than consent to sin, how should I, who have exhorted others in my preachings to patience and firmness, be thus guilty of perjury, and of so many vile falsehoods, and scandalize also, by my example, many children of the Lord?
Far, far from me be such a thought! Our Saviour Jesus Christ will reward me fully, and bestow on me in my trials the assistance of patience.
- Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. xlv.
- This letter, such as it has reached us, is, without doubt, only a fragment; the first words indicate as much.