The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Articles presented unto Pope John XXIII., for the Condemnation of Master John Huss, after he was newly imprisoned

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Articles presented unto Pope John XXIII., for the Condemnation of Master John Huss, after he was newly imprisoned.[1]
The supper of the Lord.I. He doth err about the sacraments of the church, and especially about the per of the sacrament of the body of Christ, forasmuch as he hath openly preached, that it ought to be ministered openly unto the people under both kinds, that is to say, the body and blood. This article is evident, forasmuch as his disciples at this instant in Prague do minister the same in both kinds. Moreover, it is affirmed by divers, that he hath taught both in the schools and in the church, or at the least that he doth hold this opinion, that after the words of consecration pronounced upon the altar, there remaineth still material bread in the sacrament. This article shall be known by his examination.

Of the administration of the sacraments.II. He doth err as touching the ministers of the church, forasmuch as he saith that they cannot consecrate or minister the sacraments when they are in mortal sin. This article shall likewise be known by his examination: notwithstanding, all that which is here contained may be gathered by his writings 'De Ecclesia; the which if he deny, let there then be some divines and others appointed, to peruse and look over his said writings of the church. Moreover he saith, that other men beside priests may minister the sacrament. This article is evident, forasmuch as his disciples do the same at Prague, who of themselves do violently take the sacrament out of the treasury, and communicate among themselves, when the holy communion is denied unto them. By this and other things also it is sufficiently evident, that he hath taught that every man, being without mortal sin, hath the power of orders or priesthood, forasmuch as such only as have taken orders ought to minister the sacrament unto themselves. And because he proceedeth from small matters unto great and weightier, it doth consequently appear and follow, that those who be in the state of grace can bind and loose.

Of the church.III. He doth err as touching the church, and specially for that he doth not allow and admit that the church signifieth the pope, cardinals, archbishops, and the clergy underneath them; but saith, that this signification was drawn out from the school-men, and is in no case to be holden or allowed. This article is manifest by his said treatise upon the church.

Ecclesiastical revenues.Moreover, he doth err concerning the church, in that he saith, that the church ought not to have any temporal possessions. And that the temporal lords may take them away from the church and the clergy without any offence. This error is evident, forasmuch as through his doctrine and enticements many churches in the kingdom of Bohemia, and in the city of Prague, are already spoiled and robbed of a great part of their temporalties and goods. He saith also, that Constantine and other secular princes erred by enriching and endowing churches and monasteries. This article is manifest by that which goeth next before.

The bishop's power.IV. He erreth as touching the church, in that he saith, that all priests are of like power, and therefore affirmeth, that the reservations of the pope's casualties, the ordering of bishops, and the consecration of the priests, were invented only for covetousness. This article doth somewhat appear by those aforegoing, but by his examination shall be more evident.

The power of the keys of the church.V. He erreth concerning the church, in that he saith, that the church, being in sin, hath no power of the keys, when the pope, cardinals, and all other of the priests and clergy are in deadly sin; which he saith is possible enough. This also doth appear in his treatise upon the church, in his first error as touching the ministers of the church.

Excommunication.VI. He erreth touching the church, forasmuch as through contempt he doth not fear excommunication. This doth notoriously appear by his own doings, in that he did contemn and despise the apostolic and ordinary censure; and in all the apostolic excommunications and injunctions he hath borne himself upon the divine commandments; and in contempt of the keys, to the setting out of his hypocrisy, he hath said mass all the ways between this and the city of Prague, and thereby hath profaned the process and authority of the church.

Investitures.VII. He erreth again as touching the church, because he keepeth not the institutions and investitures thereof, but holdeth opinion that every man hath authority to invest and appoint any man to the cure of souls. This is evident by his own doings, forasmuch as many in the kingdom of Bohemia by their defenders and favourers, or rather by himself, were appointed and put into parish churches, which they have long ruled and kept, not being appointed by the apostolic see, neither yet by the ordinary of the city of Prague.

The office of preaching.VIII. He erreth as touching the church, in that he holdeth opinion, that a man, being once ordained a priest or deacon, cannot be forbidden or kept back from the office of preaching. This is likewise manifest by his own doings, forasmuch as he himself could never be letted from preaching, neither by the apostolic see, nor yet by the archbishop of Prague.

Lupus agnum accusat, quod turbarit fontem. A heaping together of many grievous crimes.And to the intent that the said John Huss, who is clothed in sheep's clothing, and inwardly a ravening wolf, may be the better known by his fruits, for the better information of you, most reverend fathers, I say, that from the first time that he took in hand, or went about to sow such errors and heresies, which afterwards he did in deed, he, understanding and perceiving himself to be withstanded and gainsayed by the Germans, who were in the university of Prague, forasmuch as he could conclude nothing, because they had three voices, and he on his part had but one voice only: he went about and brought to pass, and crimes, that by the secular power, that the Germans should have but one voice, and he and his parts three voices; which thing when the Germans once perceived, The departure of the Germans from the university of Prague.rather than they would lose or forsake any part of their right which they had in voices, or be in danger in their persons, which would then have ensued upon it, to save themselves, they wholly, with one consent, agreed together to depart out of Prague; and by this means this solemn and famous university of Prague was made desolate, that had brought forth so many notable men in divers sciences. Behold this his first fruits, who divided that so famous university, forasmuch as grapes are not gathered of thorns, neither figs of brambles.

The forty-five articles of Wickliff.Moreover, when there were questions moved amongst the divines of the university of Prague upon the forty-five articles of John Wickliff, and they had called a convocation, and all the divines of Bohemia (for the Germans were already departed), they concluded that every one of those articles was either heretical, seditious, or erroneous. He alone held the contrary opinion, that none of those articles were either heretical, seditious, or erroneous, as afterwards he did dispute, hold, and teach, in the common schools of Prague; whereby it is evidently enough foreseen, that he doth affirm those articles of Wickliff, which are not only condemned in England, but also by the whole church, because they were first invented and set forth by the members of Antichrist.

Moreover, he being complained of to the archbishop of Prague, that he preached and set forth certain articles which were heretical, false, and seditious, he was forbidden by the said archbishop to preach any more, who proceeded against him, according to the canonical sanctions; which process is confirmed by the apostolic see, and published as well in the court of Rome, as without; which John Huss and his adherents have divers and manifold ways violated and profaned. And whosoever did speak against him, they were deprived of their benefices, and others placed in, who have ruled and yet do rule the said churches, and the flocks pertaining to the same, not having any cure or charge of the souls committed unto them, neither by the apostolic see, nor yet by the ordinary of the place.

The office of preaching forbidden by the archbishop. Insurrections against the clergy feared in Bohemia.Also as many, as well priests as lay-men, in the city of Prague and kingdom of Bohemia, who have spoken against the doctrine of Huss, and the profanation of the process aforesaid, or at the least not allowing the same, have suffered most mortal hatred and persecutions, and yet to this day do suffer, but that at this present it is dissimuled until the end of the process against John Huss. Wherefore, if he be now let go again, without doubt they shall suffer great persecution both in body and goods, and throughout all the realm of Bohemia, "house shall be against house;" and this mischief will creep, yea suddenly spring up throughout all Germany, and innumerable souls shall be infected, so that there shall be such persecution of the clergy and faithful, as hath not been since the time of the emperor Constantine to this present day; for he ceaseth not to move and stir up the laity against the clergy and faithful Christians. And, when any of the clergy would draw him away, or call him from his heresy, and for that cause forbid him to preach, that he do not teach any heresies; then saith he, and teacheth, that the clergy do that of envy and malice, because he rebuketh their vices and faults; that is to say, their simony, pride, and covetousness.

Moreover, he stirreth up the secular princes against the prelates of churches, monasteries, and universities, and generally against the whole clergy. Going about by this means, he preacheth and teacheth that prelates and other men of the church ought not to have any temporal goods or possessions, but only to live upon alms. And by this means he hath done already very much hurt, and annoyed divers and many prelates, clerks, and churches in the kingdom of Bohemia and the city of Prague, forasmuch as thereby they are already spoiled and robbed of their possessions. Yea, he teacheth also that it is lawful for the lay people, without sin, to withhold and keep back the tithes and oblations, or to give the church-goods to any other minister; all the secular princes are greatly inclined hereunto, but especially the laity, who follow every man his own will.

He hath generally to lay for himself all those heretics who do but very smally regard the ecclesiastical censures, and do hate the authority of the Roman church, yea, and do utterly detest and abhor the same; which thing will more and more increase, except it be effectually and manfully withstood:Caiaphas prophesied. and if he do by any means escape from the council, he and his favourers will say that his doctrine is just and true, and that it is allowed by the the authority of universal sacred council, and that all his adversaries are wicked and naughty men; so that he would do more mischief, than ever any heretic did since the time of Constantine the Great.

Master Paletz lieth, for the Holy Ghost had no leisure to come to that council.Wherefore, most holy fathers! provide and take heed to yourselves, and to Paletz the whole flock amongst whom the Holy Ghost hath placed you, to rule the church of Christ, which he hath purchased with his own blood; and, whilst the disease is new and fresh, help and remedy it, as well touching him who doth so infect and trouble the church of God, as also concerning the occasions through which he hath presumed, and might do the same; because the prelates do abuse the ecclesiastical censures, and as well the prelates as those that are under them, do not keep and observe the order of the church which is appointed them by God; whereby it cometh to pass, that whilst they themselves do walk the broken and unknown paths, their flock falleth headlong into the ditch.

Wherefore let our sovereign lord the pope, and this most sacred council ordain and depute commissioners, who may examine the said John Huss upon all aforewritten, and other things in the presence of them who know the matter. Let there be also certain doctors and masters appointed to read over and peruse his books which he hath written, whereof some are here present; that the church may be speedily purged and cleansed from these errors.

Upon this his accusation, they ordained and appointed three commissioners or judges; that is to say, the patriarch of Constantinople, and the bishop of Castile, and the bishop of Lybusse; which prelates being thus deputed,John Huss sick of an ague in prison. heard the accusation and the witness which was brought in by certain babbling priests of Prague, confirmed by their oaths, and afterwards recited the said accusation unto the said Huss in the prison, at such time as his ague was fervent and extremely upon him.

Debarred of his advocate.Upon this, John Huss required to have an advocate to answer for him; which was plainly and utterly denied him. And the reason that the masters commissioners brought against it was this: that the plain canon doth forbid that any man should be a defender of any cause of him, who is suspected of any kind of heresy. The vanity and folly of the witnesses was such, that if in case they had not been both the accusers and judges themselves, there should have needed no distinct confutation. I would have rehearsed the testimonies in this place, but that I knew them to be such, as the prudent and wise reader could not have read without great tediousness. Howbeit, some of them shall be declared, when we come to the process of his judgment.

Afterwards, when John Huss had recovered a little strength or health, by the commandment of the three commissioners there were presented unto him certain articles, many in number, which, they said, they had gathered out of his book which he made of the church; of which articles some were forged and invented by Master Paletz, and others were gathered only by halves, as shall be more plainly declared hereafter, when we come to speak of the judgment pronounced and given against the said Huss.

Books which John Huss wrote in prison.Thus John Huss remained in the prison of the covent of the Franciscans, until the Wednesday before Palm Sunday, and certain appointed to keep him; and in the mean season, to employ and spend his time withal, he wrote certain books, that is to say, of the ten commandments, of the love and knowledge of God, of matrimony, of penance, of the three enemies of mankind, of the prayer of our Lord, and of the supper of our Lord.

Pope John fled out of Constance.The same day pope John XXIII. changed his apparel, and conveyed himself secretly out of Constance, fearing the judgment by which afterwards he was deprived of his papal dignity, by means of most execrable and abominable forfeits and doings. This was the cause that John Huss was transported and carried unto another prison; for the pope's servants, who had the charge and keeping of John Huss, understanding that their master was fled and gone, delivered up the keys of the prison unto the emperor Sigismund, and to the cardinals, and followed their master the pope. Then, by the whole consent of the council, the said John Huss was put into the hands of the bishop of Constance, who sent him to a castle on the other side of the river Rhine, not very far from Constance, where he was shut up in a tower with fetters on his legs, that he could scarce walk in the day-time, and at night he was fastened up to a rack against the wall hard by his bed.

Noblemen of Bohemia labour for John Huss.In the mean season, certain noblemen and gentlemen of Poland and Bohemia did all their endeavour to purchase his deliverance, having respect to the good renown of all the realm, which was wonderfully defamed and slandered by certain naughty persons. The matter was grown unto this point, that all they who were in the town of Constance, who seemed to bear any favour unto John Huss, were made as mocking stocks, and derided of all men, yea, even of the slaves and base people. Wherefore they took counsel and concluded together to present their request in writing unto the whole council, or at least unto the four nations of Almain, Italy, France and England: this request was presented the fourteenth day of May, a. d. 1415; the tenor here ensueth.

  1. In the first Edition, it is stated that these articles were presented by Michael de Causis.—Ed.