The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 1/Appeal of Bohemian pastors

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APPEAL OF BOHEMIAN PASTORS

Fathers and Brethren:

Through the Providence of God our nation has been called to sit in council and put its spirit and heritage to weigh in the formation of the future tendencies of humanity. Our President, almost in prophetical uplift, expressed the aspirations of the humble of the world: “to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world; the right of nations, great and small, and the privilege of men everywhere to choose their ways of life and obedience.”

This land of ours, consecrated before God to freedom of body, mind and soul, has been to these lowly men the beacon light of a new day in their lives and destinies. Here they came, breathed in the spirit of the free. Some have returned and brought back new strength and new visions. The others have said, “Your God, my God, your people, my people, your country, my country.”

Of the last are your petitioners. We know only one country, the country over which wave the Stars and Stripes.

However, our cradles stood in the land of John Hus, in Bohemia. Still all our own is united in this common wealth of the ideals of America. Only a short prayer we carry, that looks back to the place of our cradles, a prayer, that we learned from the lips of our mothers ,the prayer of the last bishop of the Bohemian Brethren, John Amos Comenius: “I trust in God, that when the storm of wrath has passed, which our sins have called upon our heads, that the rule of thy things shall return again unto thee, O Czech people.”

Fathers and Brethren, in this time when God through fire unites the hearts of men, we would not offend against our brother. But it must be said. When the spiritual and church autocracy was supreme, God through John Hus gathered around the “Book and the Cup” and around the liberty of the sons of God—the whole Bohemian nation. In the defense of this privilege the Bohemian Nation almost bled to death. In 1648 when, after the Thirty Years War, the destinies of Europe were established in the treaty of Westphalia, the sacrifical service of Bohemia was forgotten by the mighty and of all countries Bohemia alone was left to the mercies of the Hapsburg and the Jesuit.

God in His great mercy, however, did not forget. In the resurrection of nations at the beginning of last century, He called Bohemia to stand for justice of small nations. That was ever the program and the struggle of Czech in Austria. In religious matters the Czechs and the Slovaks are the only Slavic nations south of Russia that have any large Protestant body to speak of.

In view of the above facts the undersigned respectfully petition through the General Assembly the Presbyterian Church, that in the prayers for freedom of nations the Czechs and Slovaks be included and that in the councils, in which representatives of the United States shall sit, the Czechs and Slovaks be not forgotten, as they were in the year 1648.

In the free world, that under God’s Providence is to come, let the CZECHS and the SLOVAKS be free also.