Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 8, To the Church of Prague

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LETTER VIII.

 

TO THE CHURCH OF PRAGUE.

 

Master John Huss, servant of God, to all who in Prague are the elect of God, and who love our Lord Jesus Christ and his Word, wishes mercy and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Dearly beloved, I congratulate you on your listening assiduously to the Word of God; and our merciful Saviour will assuredly send you firm and faithful guides. May God, through our Saviour and Lord Jesus Christ, grant you mercy, peace, and grace, for all good things, in order that what you have well commenced in him, you may conclude in like manner, and may persevere in doing so even unto the end. Acknowledge, therefore, and draw on you the mercy of God, who sent his Son into this world for our sakes; who allowed his Son to become man, and to be humiliated, despised, and condemned by all, to such a point that, when the people were called in by the priests to choose between two prisoners, they delivered, in preference to Jesus Christ our Saviour, a robber and murderer, and laughed to scorn our Lord, who said, by the mouth of Jeremiah, “Lend an ear, and behold my anguish ;” and again, “See if any pain is comparable to mine.”

He cried out to his Father, “My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” Such were his plaintive words whilst suffering on the cross an ignominious death, and exposed to the blasphemies of the priests, who insulted him at the foot of the cross, exclaiming, “He put his confidence in God; let God deliver him if he can! Thou who couldest destroy the temple, now come down from thy cross!” His cry was, “My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?” And why did he utter that exclamation? In order that we may recognise and admire his immense mercy; and that, supporting with him the outrages of the wicked, we may look for our refuge in Him alone: in order, in fine, that we may publicly shew our gratitude for his Divine compassion, which has redeemed us from everlasting damnation.

Such has been towards us the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who recommended his disciples to say, into whatever house they entered, “Peace be with you!” And when he raised up the dead, he said to them also, “Peace be with you!” And before his death, when conversing with his disciples, “I leave you my peace!” Wherefore, dearly beloved, I implore him to accord you that same peace. May peace be with you from the Lord, that you may live honestly and soberly—in calm, in justice, and in piety; and that you may conquer your enemies and those of God—the devil, the world, and the flesh. Peace be with you from the Lord, that you may love each other, and your enemies also. Peace be with you, that you may listen to his Word with attention and humility. Peace be with you, that you may speak wisely and well, and that you may escape from your enemies. Peace be with you, that you may learn how to be silent with advantage; for whoever listens with humility never disputes evil-mindedly with any one; he who speaks prudently triumphs over the fool; and he who is silent in proper season, rarely acts against his conscience.

On account of all these things, may peace, grace, and mercy be with you! peace, that you may have a tranquil conscience; grace, that your sins may be forgiven you; and mercy, that you may be delivered from unquenchable fire ! May, then, peace be with you all, after this miserable life, in the bosom of eternal felicity, from God, the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.