Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 49, To his Friends
TO HIS FRIENDS.
[He explains to them how God permits his elect to be put to death, and cites several examples by which he sustains and consoles himself.]
My well beloved in the Lord, many causes, and especially the expectation of my speedy death, had made me suppose that the letters I recently wrote to you would be the last. Now that a delay is accorded—since it is permitted me to converse with you by letter, I write to you again, to testify, at least, all my gratitude. In what concerns my death, God only knows why it is deferred, as also that of my very dear brother Jerome, who, I hope, will die in a holy manner, and without a stain. I know that he acts and suffers now with more firmness than I, infirm sinner that I am. God has granted us much time, that we might better recall all our sins, and direct ourselves with greater energy to repentance ; he has given us this time, that a long and great trial might efface our sins, and thus bring consolation with it. He has granted it to us, that we might meditate on the execrable outrages and cruel death of our King and merciful Lord, Jesus Christ, and that we should thus support our own evils with greater constancy; that we might at last remember that the joys of eternal life do not immediately follow this world’s joys, but that it is by passing through great tribulations that the saints enter the kingdom of God. Some of them have been, without shrinking, sawed in twain; others have been burned, stripped of their skin, buried alive, stoned, crucified, crushed between millstones, dragged here and there unto death, precipitated to the bottom of the waters, strangled, cut into pieces, overwhelmed by outrages before their death, and tortured by hunger in their prisons and in their chains. Who could describe the torments and agonies which all the saints have suffered for the divine truth under the old and new covenant, and especially those who have branded the iniquity of priests, and who have raised their voices against it? It would be a strange thing at present to remain unpunished when attacking the perversity of priests, who will not endure any blame.
I rejoice that they are now obliged to read my works, where their corruption is depicted, and I know they read them with greater attention than the Holy Scriptures, in the ardent desire of finding out errors.
Written on the Thursday before the Festival of Saint Peter.
- Hist. et Monum, Johann. Huss, Epist. xiv.