The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Oration of the Emperor Sigismund, addressed to the Council

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Oration of the Emperor Sigismund, addressed to the Council.

'You have heard the manifold and grievous crimes which are laid against John Huss, which are not only proved by manifest and strong witnesses, but also confessed by him; of which, every one of them, by my judgment and advice, hath deserved and is worthy of death. Therefore, except he do recant them all, I judge and think meet that he be punished with fire. And albeit he do that which he is willed and commanded to do; notwithstanding, I do

counsel you, that he be forbid the office of preaching and teaching, and also that he return no more into the kingdom of Bohemia; for if he be admitted again to teach and preach, and especially in the kingdom of Bohemia, he will not observe and keep that which he is commanded; but, hoping upon the favour and good will of such as be his adherents and fautors there, he will return again imto his former purpose and intent; and then, besides these errors, he will also sow new errors amongst the people; so the last error shall be worse than the first.

'Moreover, I judge and think it good, that his articles which are condemned, should be sent unto my brother, the king of Bohemia, and afterward into Poland, and other provinces; where men's minds are replenished with his doctrine; with this commandment: That which God planteth, man shall never root up.That whosoever do proceed to hold or keep the same, they should, by the common aid both of the ecclesiastical and civil power, be punished. So at length shall remedy be found for this mischief, if the boughs, together with the root, be utterly rooted and pulled up: and if the bishops and other prelates, who here m this place have laboured and travailed for the extirpating of this heresy, be commended by the whole voices of the council unto the king and princes, under whose dominion they are. Jerome of Prague mentioned by the emperor.Last of all, if there be any found here at Constance, who are familiars unto John Huss, they also ought to be punished with such severity and punishment as is due unto them, and especially his scholar, Jerome of Prague.'

Then said the rest: "When the master is once punished, we hope we shall find the scholar much more tractable and gentle."

After they had spoken these words, they departed out of the cloister, where they were assembled and gathered together. Four bishops sent to john Huss.The day before his condemnation, which was the sixth of July, the emperor Sigismund sent unto him four bishops, accompanied with Master Wencelate de Duba, and John de Clum, that they should learn and understand of him what he did intend to do. When he was brought out of prison unto them, John de Clum began first to speak unto him, saying: The pitiful and loving oration of John de Clum unto John Huss."Master John Huss, I am a man unlearned, neither am I able to counsel or advertise you, being a man of learning and understanding: notwithstanding I do require you, if you know yourself guilty of any of those errors which are objected and laid against you before the council, that you will not be ashamed to alter and change your mind to the will and pleasure of the council: if contrariwise, I will be no author unto you, that you should do any thing contrary, or against your conscience, but rather to suffer and endure any kind of punishment, than to deny that which you have known to be the truth." Unto whom John Huss, turning himself, with lamentable tears said: The marvellous constancy of John Huss."Verily, as before I have oftentimes done, I do take the most high God for my witness, that I am ready with my heart and mind, if the council can instruct or teach me any better by the holy Scripture, and I will be ready with all my whole heart to alter and change my purpose." Then one of the bishops who sat by, said unto him, that he would never be so arrogant or proud, that he would prefer his own mind or opinion before the judgment of the whole council. To whom John Huss answered: That is no right modesty that more regardeth to obey man than manifest verity."Neither do I otherwise mind or intend. For if he who is the meanest or least in all this council can convict me of error, I will, with an humble heart and mind, perform and do whatsoever the council shall require of me." "Mark," said the bishops, "how obstinately he doth persevere in his errors." And when they had thus talked, they commanded the keepers to carry him again to prison; and so they returned again unto the emperor with their commission.

The next day after, which was Saturday, and the sixth day of July, there was a general session holden of the princes and lords, both of the ecclesiastical and temporal estates, in the head church of the city of Constance, the emperor Sigismund being president in his imperial robes and habit; in the midst whereof there was made a certain high place, being square about like a table, and hard by it there was a desk of wood, on which the garments and vestments pertaining unto priesthood were laid for this cause, that before John Huss should be delivered over unto the civil power, he should be openly deprived and spoiled of his priestly ornaments. When John Huss was brought thither, he fell dovn upon his knees before the same high place, and prayed a long time. In the mean while the bishop of Londe went up into the pulpit, and made this sermon following.