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760 [760]

K. Henry. 5. John Hus. The councell of Constance.

condemned, he sayde: MarginaliaThey condemne the bokes written in the Bohemian tounge, which they neuer red.wherefore haue you condemned those bookes, when as you haue not proued by any one article, that they are contrarye to the scriptures or articles of fayth? And moreouer, what iniurie is this that you do to me, þt you haue condemned these bookes written in the Bohemian tong, which you neuer sawe, neyther yet read? And often times looking vp vnto heauen he prayed.

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MarginaliaHus prayeth for hys enemyes. 

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Execution of Hus

Interestingly, although Foxe has a fair amount to say in the Commentarii and in the Rerum about Hus, his first Latin martyrologies had very little to say about Hus's execution per se. This situation changed dramatically in the 1563 edition, as Foxe made full use of the magnificent two volume Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Pragensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, edited anonymously by Matthias Flacius and printed in Nuremburg in 1558. All of Foxe's account in 1563 of Hus's reaction to his condemnation, his degradation, Hus's execution, his behaviour and the crowd's reactions to it are taken from this work, even including the comparison of Hus to Hercules. (See Hus…Historia et Monumenta, I, fos. 28r-29r and 346v-347r). In the 1570 edition, Foxe repeated Johannes Cocleaus's speculation that the ultimate source of this account of Hus's martyrdom was Jan Prizibram; Foxe drew this from Johannes Cochlaeus, Historiae Hussitarum (Mainz, 1549), pp. 74-5. Foxe also added a letter from the Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund (who was also the king of Bohemia) to the Bohemian nobles, absolving himself from any responsibility for Hus's execution. This letter is translated from Cochlaeus's Historia Hussitarum, pp. 156-7. The 1570 account of Hus's martyrdom was reprinted without change in subsequent editions of Foxe.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

When the sentence and iudgement was ended, kneeling downe vpon his knees, he sayd: Lorde Iesu Christ, forgeue mine enemies, by whom thou knowest that I am falsly accused, and that they haue vsed false wytnes and slaunders against me: forgeue them I saye, for thy great mercies sake. Thys hys prayer and oration the greater part, and specially the chiefe of the Priestes dyd deride and mocke.

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MarginaliaIohn Hus commaunded to put on the priestes garmentes.At the last, the seuen Bishops which were chosen out to disgrade him of his priesthood, commaunded hym to put on the garmentes pertaining vnto priesthood, which thing when he had done, vntil he came to the putting on of the Albe, he called to his remembraunce the whyte vesture which Herode put vpon Iesus Christ to mock him withall. So lykewise in all other thinges he did comfort himselfe by the example of Christ. When he had nowe put on all his priestly vestures, the bishops exhorted him that he should yet alter and chaunge his minde and purpose, and prouide for his honour and safegard. Then he (according as þe maner of the ceremonye is) going vp to the top of the scaffold, being full of teares, he spake vnto the people in this sort.

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MarginaliaIohn Hus his oration vnto the people.These Lordes and bishops do exhort and councell me that I should here confesse before you all that I haue erred, the which thinge to do, if it were suche as mighte be doone with the infamye and reproche of anye man, they myght peraduenture easely perswade me thereunto: but now truly I am in the sight of the Lord my God, wythout whose great ignominye, and grudge of myne owne conscience, I can by no meanes doe that whiche they require of me. For I do wel know that I neuer taught any of those things which they haue falsly alleged against me, but I haue alwayes preached, taughte, written, and thought contrary thereunto. With what countenaunce then should I behold the heauēs? with what face should I looke vpon them, whome I haue taught, wherof ther is a great nomber, if thorow me it should come to passe that those thynges which they haue hetherto known to be most certaine & sure, should now be made vncertain? Should I by this my example astonish or trouble so many soules, so many consciences, endewed wyth the most fyrme & certayne knowledge of the scriptures & Gospell of our Lord Iesu Christ and his most pure doctrine, armed against all the assaultes of Satan? I will neuer doo it, neither commit any such kind of offence that I should seme more to esteeme thys vyle carcas appoynted vnto death, then theyr health and saluation. At this most godly word he was forced againe to heare by the consente of the bishops, that he did obstinatly and maliciously perseuere in his pernicious and wicked errours.

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MarginaliaThe disgrading of Iohn Hus.Then he was commaunded to come downe to the execution of his iudgement, and in his comming downe, one of the seuen bishops afore rehearsed, first tooke away the chalice from him which he held in hys hand, saying: O cursed Iudas, why hast thou forsaken the counsell and wayes of peace, and hast counseiled wyth the Iewes? we take away from thee thys chalice of thy saluation. But Iohn Hus receiued this curse in this manner: but I trust vnto God the father omnipotēt, and my Lorde Iesus Christe, for whose sake I doo suffer these thynges, that he wyll not take way the chalice of his redemption, but haue a stedfast and firme hope, that thys day I shall drinke thereof in hys kingdome. Then followed the other bishops in order, whiche euery one of thē tooke away the vestimentes from him, which they had put on, eche one of them geuing hym their curse. Wherunto Iohn Hus answered that he did willingly embraceand beare those blasphemies for the name of the Lorde Iesus Christ. At the last they came to the rasing of his shauen crowne. But before þe bishops would go in hand wyth it, there was a great contention betweene them, wyth what instrument it shoulde bee done, wyth a rasour, or with a payre of sheares.

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In the meane season Iohn Hus turning him selfe toward the Emperour, sayd: MarginaliaThe wordes of Iohn Hus vnto the Emperour.I maruell that forsomuche as they be all of like cruell minde and stomacke, yet they cannot agree vpon their kinde of crueltye. MarginaliaThe crowne of Iohn Hus pared away with sheyres.Notwithstanding, at the last they agreed to cut of the skyn of the crowne of hys head with a payre of sheares. And when they had done that, they added these woordes: now hath the church taken away all her ornamentes and priuilegies from him. Now there resteth nothing els, but that he be deliuered ouer vnto the secular power. But before they did that, there yet remayned an other knacke of reproche. For they caused to be made a certayne crowne of paper, almost a cubite deepe, in the which were paynted three deuils of wonderfull ouglye shape, and this title set ouer their heades, Heresiarcha. The which when he saw, he sayd: MarginaliaThe maruelous constancie and courage of the blessed martyr.My Lord Iesus Christ for my sake did weare a crowne of thorne: why should not I then for hys sake agayne weare this light crowne, be it neuer so ignominious? Truly I will do it, and þt willinglye. MarginaliaThe paper with the inscription set vpon Husses head.When it was set vpon hys head, the bishops sayd: now we commit thy soule vnto the deuyll. But I, sayd Iohn Hus (lifting his eyes vp towardes the heauens) do commit my spirite into thy handes: O Lord Iesu Christ, vnto thee I cōmend my spirite which thou hast redeemed. These contumelious opprobries thus ended, the bishoppes turning them selues towardes the Emperour, sayd: This most sacred Synode of Constance, leaueth now Iohn Hus, whyche hath no more any office, or to doo in the church of God, vnto the ciuill iudgement and power. Then the Emperour cōmaunded Lodouicus Duke of Bauaria, which stood before him in hys robes, holding the golden apple with the crosse in hys hand, that he should receyue Iohn Hus of the bishops, and deliuer him vnto them whiche shoulde doe the execution. MarginaliaThe protestation of I. Hus as he was lead to the place of execution.By whom as hee was led vnto the place of execution, before the churche doores he sawe hys bookes burning, wherat he smiled and laughed. And all men that he passed by, he exhorted, not to thinke that he shoulde die for any errour or heresie, but onely for the hatred and ill wyll of his aduersaries, whiche had charged him with moste false and vniuste crimes. All the whole citie in maner being in armour, followed him.

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The place appoynted for the execution, was before the gate Gotlevian, betwene the gardens and the gates of the suburbes. Whē as Iohn Hus was come thether, kneeling downe vpon hys knees, and lifting hys eyes vp vnto heauen, he prayed and sayd certaine Psalmes, and specially the. li. and. xxxi. Psalmes. And they which stood by, heard hym often times in hys prayer with a merye and cherefull countenance repeate this verse: Into thy handes, O Lord, I commend my spirit. &c. MarginaliaThe prayers of Iohn Hus well lyked of the people.Which thing when the lay people behelde which stoode next vnto him, they sayd: what he hath done afore, we knowe not, but now we see and heare that he doth speake and pray very deuoutly & godly. Other some wished that hee had a Confessor. There was a certain priest by, sitting a horsbacke in a greene gowne drawen about with read silke, which sayd, he ought not to be hearde, because he is an hereticke. Yet notwithstanding whylest he was in pryson, he was both confessed, and also absolued by a certen doctor, a Monke, as Hus him self doth wytnes in a certayne epistle which he wrote vnto his friendes out of prison. MarginaliaEx epist. Ioan. Hus. 31.Thus Christ raygneth vnknowen vnto the world, euen in the myddest of hys enemies. In the meane tyme whylest he prayed, as he bowed his necke backwarde to looke vpward vnto heauen, MarginaliaThe paper with deuills fell from hys head.the crowne of paper fell of

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