The letters of John Hus/Letter 32, To the People of Prague

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XXXII. To the People of Prague

(Without date: early in 1414[1])

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. Thus saith the Lord God in the verses of the holy Jeremiah: Stand ye on the ways and hear and ask for the old paths, which is the good way, and walk ye in it, and ye shall find refreshment for your souls.[2] Stand ye in the ways of God, which are the great humility of the Lord Jesus Christ, His mercy, patience, and toilsome life, afflicted and sorrowing even to His foul death; for the blessed Saviour Himself saith: Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart.[3] And in another place He saith: I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also.[4] Moreover, the Lord Jesus obeyed His Father even unto death: surely, then, there is all the more fitness for us sinners to do so. Stand in the ways, constantly asking which are those that lead from eternal death to eternal life, and from misery to eternal joy. And this way is the gospel of the Lord Almighty, the apostolic epistles, the Old Testament, the lives also of the saints which are contained in the sacred letters, saints who shine forth in their lives as the sun, moon, and stars. Therefore, dear brothers and dear sisters in the Lord God, I beg you by the martyrdom of God’s Son gladly to attend the preaching, to gather together and hear it diligently; to understand as ye hear, to observe as ye understand; to learn as ye observe; as ye learn well, to know your well-beloved Saviour (for to know God is the perfect righteousness); as ye know Him, to love Him with all your heart, and with all your will, and your neighbour as yourselves; and as ye love Him, to rejoice with Him, world without end. Amen.

For on these two commands hangs the entire law, old and new. Stand in the way and hear, that you may show a noble penitence; for thus will you attain the heavenly kingdom. For true penitence is health of the soul and restorer of virtue; as St. Bernard testifies, saying: O Penitence, health of the soul, restorer of virtue, scatterer of ems, overthrower of hell, gate of heaven, way of the righteous and satis faction of the blessed.[5] Oh, right blessed is he that loves the penitence of the saintly life and keeps it unto the end of his days! Stand in the way of God, dear brothers, ever moving forward in the holy life. Cease not to do well: for when the time shall come, you will live in heaven for ever. Amen.

  1. For the gap in the correspondence, see pp. 86 and 139. Hus at this time was often in Prague. This letter is in Czech.
  2. Jer. vi. 16. Vulgate reads videte, not as Hus, audite.
  3. Matt. xi. 29.
  4. John xiii. 15.
  5. I have not traced this quotation, or its source.