The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Another Letter of John Huss, wherein he comforteth his Friends, and willeth them not to be troubled for the condemning of his Books
Beloved! Good books of good men have been burned of old time.I thought it needful to warn that you should not fear or be discouraged, because the adversaries have decreed that my books shall be burnt. Remember how the Iraelites burned the preachings of the prophet Jeremy, and yet they could not avoid the things that were prophesied of in them; for after they were burnt, the Lord commanded to write the same prophecy again, and that larger; which was also done, for Jeremy, sitting in prison, spake, and Baruch, who was ready at his hand, wrote. This is written either in the thirty-fifth or forty-fifth chapter of the Vision of Jeremy. Good men with their books to be burned no news.It is also written in the books of the Maccabees, That the wicked did burn the law of God, and killed them that had the same. Again, under the New Testament, they burned the saints, with the books of the law of God. The cardinals condemned and committed to fire certain of Saint Gregory's books, and had burnt them all, if they had not been preserved of God by the means of Peter, Gregory's minister. Having these things before your eyes, take heed lest, through fear, you omit to read my books, and deliver them to the adversaries to be burnt. Remember the sayings of our merciful Saviour, by which he forewarneth us. Matt. xxiv.: 'There shall be,' saith he, 'before the day of judgment, great tribulation, such as was not from the beginning until this day, neither shall be afterwards: so that even the elect of God should be deceived, if it were possible. But for their sakes those days shall be shortened.' When you remember these things, beloved! be not afraid; for I trust in God that that school of Antichrist shall be afraid of you, and suffer you to be in quiet, neither shall the council of Constance extend to Bohemia. John Huss seemeth to prophesy of the council of Constance. The blasphemous opinion of lawyers and papists touching the sovereignty of the pope.For I think, that many of them who are of the council shall die, before they shall get from you my books. And they shall depart from the council and be scattered abroad throughout the parts of the world like storks, and then they shall know when winter cometh, what they did in summer. Consider that they have judged their head, the pope, worthy of death, for many horrible facts that he hath done. Go to now; answer to this, you preachers! who preach that the pope is the god of the earth; that he may, as the lawyers say, make sale of the holy things; that he is the head of the whole holy church, in verity well governing the same; that he is the heart of the church in quickening the same spiritually; that he is the well-spring from which flow all virtue and goodness; that he is the sun of the holy church; that he is the safe refuge to which the every christian man ought to fly for succour. Behold now that head is cut off with the sword; now the god of the earth is bound; now his sins are declared openly; now that well-spring is dried up; that sun darkened; that heart is plucked out and thrown away, lest that any man should seek succour thereat. The council hath condemned that head, and that for this offence; because he took money for indulgences, bishoprics, and other such like. One simonist condemneth another.But they condemned him, by order of judgment, who were themselves the buyers and sellers of the same merchandise. There was present , bishop of Litomysl, who went twice about to buy the bishopric of Prague, but others prevented him. O wicked men! why did they not first cast the beam out of their own eyes? These men have accursed and condemned the seller, but they themselves, who were the buyers and consenters to the bargain, are without danger. The bishops of the council noted for simony.What shall I say, that they do use this manner of buying and selling at home in their own countries; for at Constance there is one bishop that bought, and another who sold; and the pope, for allowing of both their facts, took bribes on both sides. It came so to pass in Bohemia also, as you know. I would that in that council God had said: 'He that amongst you is without sin, let him give the sentence against pope ;' then surely they had gone all out of the council-house, one after another. made a pope, being known to be a murderer.Why did they bow the knee to him always before this his fall; kiss his feet, and call him 'The most holy father,' seeing they saw apparently before, that he was a heretic, that he was a man-killer, that he was a wicked sinner, all which things now they have found in him? Why did the cardinals choose him to be pope, knowing before that he had killed the holy father? Why suffered they him to meddle with holy things, in bearing the office of the popedom? for to this end they are his counsellors, that they should admonish him of that which is right. Are not they themselves as guilty of these faults as he, seeing that they accounted these things vices in him, and were partakers of some of them themselves? Why durst no man lay aught to his charge, before he had fled from Constance? but, as soon as the secular power, by the sufferance of God, laid hold upon him, then, and never afore, they conspired all together that he should not live any longer. Surely, even at this day is the malice, the abomination and filthiness of Antichrist, revealed in the pope and others of this council.
Antichrist, now first beginneth to be revealed in the pope.Now the faithful servants of God may understand what our Saviour Christ meant by this saying: 'When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of by Daniel,' &c., 'whoso can understand it,' &c. Surely, these be great abominations: pride, covetousness, simony, sitting in a solitary place; that is to say, in a dignity void of goodness, humility, and other virtues; as we do now clearly see in those that are constituted in any office and dignity. O how acceptable a thing should it be, if time would suffer me to disclose their wicked acts, which are now apparent; that the faithful servants of God might know them! A prophesy of John Huss.I trust in God that he will send after me those that shall be more valiant; and there are alive at this day, that shall make more manifest the malice of Antichrist, and shall give their lives to the death for the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall give, both to you and me, the joys of life everlasting.
This epistle was written upon St. John Baptist's-day in prison and in cold irons; I having this meditation with myself, that John was beheaded in his prison and bonds, for the word of God.