Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 9, John Huss to a Priest, whom he reminds of his duties

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LETTER IX.

 

[John Huss to a priest, whom he reminds of his duties.]

 

My very dear Brother,—Be zealous in preaching the Scriptures, fill the office of a good preacher of the Gospel, remember thy vocation, and work like a favoured soldier of Christ. Live, first of all, piously and purely; afterwards, teach faithfully and sincerely. Be unto others an example in every good work; leave nothing to be desired in thy discourses; recommend virtue, and bring back those who live wickedly to the remembrance of eternal punishment; point out the joys of heaven to those who live in faith and piety; preach assiduously but briefly; explain, lastly, the Holy Scriptures prudently and with profit. Take heed of affirming any thing uncertain and doubtful, for fear of being taken up by adversaries who delight to find their neighbour in fault, and bring contempt on God’s ministers; exhort to confession and to the Communion of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, under both forms, that those who sincerely repent of their sins may often communicate.

I exhort thee, dear brother, not to frequent taverns or strangers, in order not to live like the common run of men; for the more the priest keeps aloof from public places, and dissipation, the more he is acceptable to God. Nevertheless, refuse not thine assistance to others, according to thy means. Preach with all thy might against voluptuousness; it is a wild beast that devours men, for whom the humanity of Christ has suffered. Wherefore, my dear friend, I conjure you to avoid all impurity; for even when thou shalt most endeavour to be useful, temptation will conceal itself, in order to lay hold of thee. Shun entirely the company of young women, and trust not to their devotion. Saint Augustin has said: “Quo religiosior, eo ad luxuriam proclivior, et sub prætextu religionis latet dolus aut venenum fornicationis.” Know, my dear friend, that their society has seduced many, whom the life of the age has not destroyed. Introduce not, under any pretext, women into thy dwelling, and do not hold too frequent intercourse with them; lastly, whatever thou doest, fear God, and keep his commandments, for so thou shalt be in the right path; thou shalt not perish, but shalt curb thy flesh, master the world, vanquish the demon, put on a divine spirit, find life, strengthen others, and place on thy own head a crown of glory, which shall be given thee, by the equitable and sovereign Dispenser of all justice.