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K. Henry. 5. Godly and christian letters of M. I. Hus to the Bohemians.

hitherto to set him at liberty, to the great cōtempt & derogation of the safeconduct of the king, & of the safegard and protection of the Empire or Emperial maiestie. Wherefore I Iohn aforesaide in the name of the king, do here publish and make it known, that the apprehending and deteining of the sayde M. Iohn Hus, was done wholy against the wil of the fornamed king of Romains my Lord, seeing it is done in the contempt of the safeconducte of hys subiects, and of the protection of the Empire, because that the sayde my Lord was then absent farre from Constance, and if he had ben there present, woulde neuer haue permitted the same. And when hee shall come, it is to be doubted of no man, but that hee for this great iniury, and contempt of this safeconducte done to him & to the Empire, wil greuously be molested for the same Geuen at Cōstance in the day of the natiuitie of the Lord 1414.

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¶ In this instrument aboue prefixed note (gentle reader) 3. things.

First, the goodnes of this gentle Lord Iohn de Clum, being so feruent and zelous in the cause of Iohn Husse, or rather in the cause of Christ.

Secondly, the safeconduct graunted vnto the sayde I. Hus, vnder the faith and protection of the Emperor, and of the Empire.

Thirdly, here is to be sene the contempt and rebellion of these proud prelates in disobeying the authority of their high Magistrate, who contrary to his safeconduct geuen, and the mind of the Emperor, did arest and imprison this good man, before the comming of the sayd Emperor, & before that Iohn Hus was heard. Let vs nowe, as we haue promised, adioyne some of the epistles of this godly man. 

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Letters of Hus

In the 1570 edition, Foxe expanded his account of Jan Hus, the Czech reformer, by including a series of his letters. These epistles were all taken from the two volume collection of documents on Hus, edited anonymously by Matthias Flacius and printed in Nuremburg in 1558. (Johannis Hus et Hieronymi Prgaensis confessorum Christi Historia et Monumenta, I, fos. 57r, 58v-59v, 60v-62v, 66v-69r, 71r, 72v - 73r, 75v, 101r-v and 418r). These letters elaborated further on the sensitive issue of Hus's safe conduct and portrayed the clergy as bloodthirsty persecutors. They also denounced the papacy as antichrist and contained several 'prophecies' by Hus of the eventual reform of the church. But above all these letters provide moral exhortation -particularly to priests and nobles - to constancy and godly living. As with the letters of the English martyrs, Foxe printed the letters of Hus as much for moral instruction as for their polemical content.

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Thomas S. Freeman
University of Sheffield

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An Epistle of Iohn Hus, vnto the people of Prage in his owne vulgare speeche.

MarginaliaA letter of Iohn Hus to the people of Prage.GRace and peace from our Lorde Iesus Christ, that you being deliuered from sinne, may walke in his grace, and may growe in all modesty and vertue, and after this may enioy eternall life

Derely beloued, I beseeche you which walke after the law of God, that you cast not away the care of the saluatiō of your soules, whē as you hearing the word of God, are premonished wisely to vnderstand that you be not deceiued by fals apostles: which do not reprend the sinnes of men, but rather doe extenuate and diminish them: which flatter the priests, and doe not shewe to the people their offences which magnify themselues: boast their own workes, and maruelously extol their owne worthines: but follow not Christ in his humility, in pouerty, in the crosse and other manifold afflictions. Of whome our merciful sauiour did premonish vs before, saying: false Christes and fals Prophets shal rise, and shall deceiue many. And when he had forewarned his welbeloued disciples, he said vnto them: beware and take hede of false Prophets, which come to you in shepes clothing, but inwardly are rauening wolues: ye shal know them by their fruits. And truth it is, that the faithful of Christ haue much neede diligently to beware, and take hede vnto themselues. For as our sauiour himselfe doth say: the elect also, if it were possible, shalbe brought into error. Wherefore my welbeloued, be circumspect and watchful, that ye be not circumuented with the crafty trains of the deuil. And the more circumspect ye ought to be, for that antichrist laboureth the more to trouble you. The last iudgement is nere at hande death shal swallow vp many, but to the electe children of God, the kingdome of God draweth nere, because for them he gaue his own body Feare not death, loue together one an other, perseuere in vnderstanding the good wil of God without ceasing. Let the terrible & horrible day of iudgement, be alwaies before your eies, that you sinne not: and also the ioy of eternal life, wherunto you must endeuor. Furthermore, let the passion of our sauioure be neuer out of youre minds: that you may beare with him & for him gladly, whatsoeuer shalbe laid vpon you. For if you shal consider well in your mindes his crosse & afflictions, nothing shalbe greuous vnto you, & partiently you shal geue place to tribulations, cursings, rebukes, stripes, and prisonment, and shal not dout to geue your liues moreouer for his holy truth, if nede require. Knowe ye welbeloued that antichrist being stirred vp against you, deuiseth diuers persecutions. And many he hath not hurte, no not the least heire of their heads, as by mine owne example I can testify, although hee hathe ben vehemently incensed against me. Wherefore I desire you all, with your praiers to make intercessiō for me to the lord, to geue me intelligence, sufferance, patience and constancie, that I neuer swarue from his diuine verity. He hath brought me now to Constance. In all my iourney openly and manifestly, I haue not feared to vtter my name as becommeth the seruant of God. In no place I kept my selfe secrete, nor vsed any dissimulation. But neuer did I finde in any place more pestilent and manifest ennemies then at Constance. Which enemies neither should I haue had there, had it not ben for certain of our owne Bohemians, hypocrites & deceiuers, who for benefits receiued and stirred vp with couetousnes, with boasting and bragging haue perswaded the people that I wēt about to seduce them out of the right way. But I am in good hope that through the mercy of our God, and by your prayers Ishall persiste strongly in the immutable veritie of God, vnto the last breath. Finally, I wold not haue you ignorāt, that wheras euery one here is put in his office, I only as an outcast am neglected. &c. I cōmend you to the merciful Lord Iesu Christ, our true God, and the sonne of the immaculate virgin Mary, which hath redeemed vs by his moste bitter death, without all our merites, from eternall paines, from the thraldome of the Deuill, and from sinne. From Constance, the yere of our Lord. 1415.

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¶ An other letter of Iohn Hus to his benefactours.

MarginaliaAn other letter of I. Hus.MY gracious benefactours and defendours of the truthe, I exhort you by the bowels of Iesus Christ, that now ye setting aside the vanities of this present world, will giue your seruice to the eternall king, Christ the Lord. Trust not in Princes nor in the sonnes of men, in whome there is no health. For the sonnes of men are dissemblers and disceitfull. To day they erre, to morrowe they pearish, but God remaineth for euer. Who hath his seruants, not for any neede he hath of them, but for their owne profite: vnto whō he performeth that, which he promiseth, & fulfilleth that which he purposeth to geue. He casteth of no faithful seruant from him, for he sayth: where I am there also shal my seruāt be. And that Lorde maketh euery seruaunt of his to be the Lorde of all his possession, geuing himselfe vnto him, and with himselfe, all thinges: that without all tediousnesse, feare, and without al defect, he may possesse all thinges, reioycing with all Saintes in ioy infinite. O happie is that seruaunt, whome, when the Lorde shall come, hee shall finde watching. Happy is the seruaunt which shall receiue that king of glory with ioy. Wherefore, well beloued Lordes, and benefactours, serue you that king in feare: which shall bring you, as I trust, nowe to Boheme at this present, by his grace in health, and hereafter, to eternal life of glory. Fare ye wel: For I think that this is the last letter that I shall write to you: who to morrowe, as I suppose, shall be purged in hope of Iesu Christ, throughe bitter death, from my sinnes. The things that happened to me this night, I am not able to wryte. Sigismund hath done all things wyth mee disceitfully, God forgeue him and onely for your sakes. You also heard the sentence which he awarded against me. I pray you haue no suspition of faithfull Vitus.

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An other letter to the Lord Iohn de Clum.

MarginaliaAn other letter of I. Hus.MOste gracious benefactour in Christe Iesu, dearely beloued, yet I reioyce not a litle, that by the grace of God I maye wryte vnto your honour. By your letter, which I receaued yesterday, I vnderstand, first how the iniquitie of the great strompet, that is, of the malignaunt congregation (whereof mention is made in the Apocalips) is detected and shall be more detected. Wyth the which strumpet the kinges of the earth doe commit fornication, fornicating spiritually from Christe, and as is there sayde, sliding back from the truth, and consenting to the lies of antichrist, thoroughe his seduction and thoroughe feare, or thoroughe hope of confederacie, for getting of worldly honour. Secondly I perceaued by your letter, how the enemies of the truth, begin nowe to be troubled. Thirdly, I perceiued the feruent constancie of your charitie, wherewith you professe the truth boldly. Fourthly, with ioy I perceiued that you minde now to geue ouer the vanity and the painefull seruice of this present world, and to serue the Lorde Iesus Christ quietly at home. Whome to serue, is to raign, as Gregory sayeth. Whome he that serueth faithfully, hath Christe Iesus himselfe in the kingdome of heauen to minister vnto him, as hee himselfe sayeth: Blessed is that seruaunt, whome when the Lorde shall come, he shall finde waking, and so doing. Verely I say vnto you, that hee rising, shall girde himselfe, and shall minister to him. This do not the kings of this worlde to their seruauntes: whome onely they doe loue so long as they are profitable and necessary for their commodities &c.

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An other Epistle of Iohn Hus, wherein he declareth why God suffreth not his to perish, bringing diuers examples, wherwith he doth comfort and confirme both himselfe and other.

THe Lord God be with you. Many causes there were, welbeloued in God my deare frends, which moued me to thinke that those letters were the last, which before I sent vnto you, lookinge that same time for instāt death. But now vnderstanding the same to be deferred, I take it for great cōfort vnto me, that I haue some leiser more to talke with you by letters: & therfore I write again to you, to declare & testify at least, my gratitude & mindfull duty toward you. And as touching death, God doth know why he doeth defer it both to me and to my welbeloued brother M. Hier. who I trust will die holily and without blame: and do know also that he doth, and suffereth now more valiauntly, then I my selfe a wretched sinner. God hath geuen vs a long time, that we myghte call to memorie our sinnes the better, and repent for the same more feruently. Hee hath graunted vs time, that our longe and greate temptation shuld put away our greuous sinnes, & bring the more

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