Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 9, To the Hearers of the Word of God at Prague

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LETTER IX.

 

TO THE HEARERS OF THE WORD OF GOD AT PRAGUE.

 

[He fortifies them, and inspirits himself against the anathemas of the pope.]

I, Master John Huss, &c. &c, call on you, dearly beloved, not to allow yourselves to be disturbed on account of my absence, or on account of the maledictions with which the enemies of God overwhelm me. I have faith in my Saviour, and I feel confident that all things will happen, both to you and to me, for our good. Only beware of sin, and pity the fate of those who, believing that they are acting well, oppose God and his holy Word: like the Jews of old, who crucified Jesus Christ and stoned Stephen, and of whom both Christ and Stephen said, “They know not what they do.” They cannot hurt me, whether they prepare my cross with blasphemy; or overwhelm me, like another Judas, with abuse which they shout out in public; or, in fine, fling stones against the gate of the temple, and overthrow it. In doing such things, it is against themselves that they labour; and it is they who ought to tremble.

They have imagined certain practices of worship in conformity with human ordinances, in order to subject to their will men of simple minds, and induce such to follow them; but God will bestow on his believers the knowledge necessary to discern such practices, and to recognise in them mere human traditions, by means of which their inventions lead astray weak minds, separating them from the law of God, and crushing them to the earth, by terrifying them with the thunders of anathemas.

God enjoins to pray for such men as we believe to be in error, and to declare them condemned of God; but he has not ordered such snares to be laid in his temple against innocent men. Perhaps, to judge by their letters, they act in memory of the eternal damnation of Dathan and Abiram, who, unworthy as they were, had presumed to pretend to the priesthood.

They designate, by these letters, all the priests who improperly usurp the sacerdotal functions through love of riches, pleasure, dignities, or other gratifications of the flesh. They pour out anathemas, and vociferate like senseless disciples of Judas, as simonists and reprobates really are. Let us pray to God, dearly beloved, that he may deign to continue to us his blessings: no anathema will then be able to reach us, but the Sovereign Pontiff, Jesus Christ, will bless us, saying, “Come ye, blessed of my father, receive the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning of the world.”

Let us eagerly long for this blessing, dearly beloved; let us seek for it and await its coming, living piously in this world, in order to enjoy eternal life in the regions of heaven, by the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord, blessed for ever and ever.