The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/An Epistle of John Huss, unto the People of Prague

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For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to the Faithful Bohemians (16 November 1414).

An Epistle of John Huss, unto the People of Prague.

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ, that you being delivered from sin may walk in his grace, and may grow in all modesty and virtue, and after this may enjoy eternal life.

Dearly beloved, I beseech you who walk after the law of God, that you cast not away the care of the salvation of your souls, when you, hearing the word of God, are premonished wisely to understand that you be not deceived by false apostles, who do not reprehend the sins of men, but rather do extenuate and diminish them; who flatter the priests, and do not show to the people their offences; who magnify themselves, boast their own works, and marvellously extol their own worthiness, but follow not Christ in his humility, in poverty, in the cross, and other manifold afflictions. Of whom our merciful Saviour did premonish us before, saying: 'False Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.' And when he had forewarned his well-beloved disciples, he said unto them: 'Beware and take heed of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves: ye shall know them by their fruits.' And truth it is, that the faithful of Christ have much need diligently to beware and take heed unto themselves; for, as our Saviour himself doth say: 'The elect also, if it were possible, shall be brought into error.' Wherefore, my well-beloved, be circumspect and watchful, that ye be not circumvented with the crafty trains of the devil. And the more circumspect ye ought to be, for that Antichrist laboureth the more to trouble you. The last judgment is near at hand: death shall swallow up many, but to the elect children of God the kingdom of God draweth near, because for them he gave his own body. Fear not death; love together one another; persevere in understanding the good will of God without ceasing. Let the terrible and horrible day of judgment be always before your eyes, that you sin not; and also the joy of eternal life, whereunto you must endeavour.

Furthermore, let the passion of our Saviour be never out of your minds; that you may bear with him and for him gladly, whatsoever shall be laid upon you. For if you shall consider well in your minds his cross and afflictions, nothing shall be grievous unto you, and patiently you shall give place to tribulations, cursings, rebukes, stripes, and imprisonment, and shall not doubt to give your lives, moreover, for his holy truth, if need require. Know ye, well-beloved, that Antichrist being stirred up against you, deviseth divers persecutions. And many he hath not hurt, no not the least hair of their heads, as by mine own example I can testify; although he hath been vehemently incensed against me. Wherefore I desire you all, with your prayers, to make intercession for me to the Lord, to give me intelligence, sufferance, patience, and constancy, that I never swerve from his divine verity. He hath brought me now to Constance. In all my journey, openly and manifestly, I have not feared to utter my name as becometh the servant of God. In no place I kept myself secret, or used any dissimulation: but never did I find in any place more pestilent and manifest enemies than at Constance; which enemies neither should I have had there, had it not been for certain of our own Bohemians, hypocrites and deceivers, who for benefits received, and stirred up with covetousness, with boasting and bragging have persuaded the people that I went about to seduce them out of the right way. But I am in good hope, that through the mercy of our God, and by your prayers, I shall persist strongly in the immutable verity of God unto the last breath. Finally, I would not have you ignorant, that whereas every one here is put in his office, I only as an outcast am neglected, &c.

I commend you to the merciful Lord Jesu Christ, our true God, and the Son of the immaculate Virgin Mary, who hath redeemed us by his most bitter death, without all merits, from eternal pains, from the thraldom of the devil, and from sin.

From Constance, the year of our Lord 1415.