The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/The tragical history of Jerome of Prague

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The tragical and lamentable History of the famous learned Man and godly Martyr of Christ, Master Jerome of Prague, burned at Constance for like cause and quarrel as was Master John Huss.

A.D. 1415 to 1416.*Forasmuch[1] as the variety of men's affections, by means of hatred of persons oftentimes coming between, and other causes growing, doth often very ill, yea, altogether falsely, accumulate and gather the order of things done, far otherwise than, in deed, they were done, and hath used and accustomed to divulgate their feigned doings unto posterity; therefore, that the acts worthy of remembrance, in these our days, should suffer none of the aforesaid incommodities and evils, and that the fervent and true confession of the truth which this worthy man, Jerome of Prague, the fervent and stout champion of the gospel, hath sealed with his blood and death, whereby also, as another Elias, he is carried, without all doubts, in a fiery chariot into the paradise of infinite joys and pleasures; and that the order of his death, by the hasty passing away of time, should not escape away from the posterity to come, and that, by no means, this example of truth and glass of steadfastness, and perfect imitation, might, by any means, be taken away: I have determined to gather together, albeit with a rude style, the acts and doings of the said Master Jerome, as he went unto the council of Constance: which I myself did see, and also heard there, and also were reported unto me by such true and credible men, as did hear and see the same at Constance, to the intent that the memory of this most worthy man, being the author of truth, may hereafter be the more celebrated and remembered.*

These things hitherto being discoursed, touching the life, acts, and constant martyrdom of Master John Huss, with part also of his letters adjoined to the same, whose death was on the sixth of July, A.D. 1415, now remaineth consequently to describe the like tragedy and cruel handling of his christian companion and fellow in bands, Master Jerome of Prague; who, grievously sorrowing the slanderous reproach and defamation of his country of Bohemia, and also hearing tell of the manifest injuries done to that man of worthy memory, Master John Huss, freely, and of his own accord, Jerome cometh to Constance.came to Constance on the fourth day of April, 1415. Who, there perceiving that John Huss was denied to be heard, and that watch and wait were laid for him on every side, departed until the next day to Uberlingen, a city of the empire, which city was a mile off from Constance; and from thence he wrote his letters by me to Sigismund, king of Hungary, and his barons, and also unto the council, The safe conduct was required, but in vain, of the emperor.most earnestly requiring that the king and council would give him a safe conduct freely to come and go, and that he would then come in open audience to answer unto every man, if there were any of the council that would lay any crime to him, as by the tenor of his intimation shall more at large appear.

When the said king of Hungary was required thereunto, as is aforesaid, being in the house of the lord cardinal of Cambray, he denied to give Master Jerome any safe conduct; excusing himself for the evil speed he had with the safe conduct of John Huss before, and alleging also certain other causes. The deputies also of the four nations of the council, being moved thereunto by the lords of the kingdom of Bohemia, answered, "We will give him a safe conduct to come, but not to depart." Whose answers, when they were reported unto Master Jerome, he the next day after wrote certain intimations according to the tenor under-written, which he sent to Constance to be set upon the gates of the city, and upon the gates of the churches and monasteries, and of the houses of the cardinals and other nobles and prelates; the tenor whereof here followeth word for word in this manner.

  1. This preamble to the history of Jerome of Prague precedes the account of that illustrious martyr in the Edition of 1563, p. 242, where the narrative is divided into seven short chapters, written by an eye-witness of his arraignment and sufferings.—Ed.