« VorigeDoorgaan »
LIFE AND TIMES OF JOHN HUSS.
HUSS IN PRISON. HIS REFUSAL TO RECANT. FAREWELL
DEPRESSING CIRCUMSTANCES OF Huss. – DENIED AN ADVOCATE. –His LETTERS AND
CONVERSATION IN PAST YEARS Brought ForwaRD.- WANT OF Books.- HOPELESSNESS OF us CASE. — Prison REFLECTIONS. --ZABARELLA's FORM OF RECANTATION PRESENTED TO HIM. - REPLY OF Huss. — GRATITUDE FOR KINJINESS. PERSUASIONS OF HIS FRIENDS. — ARGUMENT OF A MEMBER OF THE COUNCIL TO OVERCOME HIS SCRUPLES. — THE CRIME OF HUSS IN REFUSING SUBMISSION TO THE COUNCIL. - His UNSHAKEN PURPOSE. — VISIT OF PALETZ. -- ARGUMENT OF ONE OF THE DOCTORS. - EXPLANATORY Letter of Huss. - His EstimATE OF THE COUNCIL. — THE TREATMENT OF His Books. — THE COUNCIL CONDEMNS IT
LETTER TO HIS COUNTRYMEN AT Prague. - TIME OF Huss' EXECUTION DEFERRED. — GenerAL EXPECTATION THAT HE WOULD RECANT. -- PROPOSED DeCREE IN SUCH A Cage.-- REASONS OF THE EXPECTATION. – HOPES Excited IN Hugs BY THE DELAY. - LETTER ON THE PROLONGED Space GIVEN TO PREPARE FOR DEATA. – No SURPRISE TO BE FELT AT TRIBULATION. — REJOICING THAT HIS BOOKS HAD BEEN READ BY HIS ENEMIES. — THE EMPEROR ANXIOUS TO HAVE HY RECANT. — His FIRMNESS. — His OPINION OF THE EMPEROR. - FAREWELL LETTERS. — ASKS AN AUDIENCE. - ASKS A CONFESSOR. — PALETZ DENIED Him.-Visit OF PALETZ. — DREAMS OF Huss. – SCRIPTURAL CONSOLATION. - Chlum.-DUBA. —CARISTIANX. - Second FAREWELL TO FRIENDS AT PRAGUE. — GREET. IXGS. PostScript. - Debts. - Asks Chlom TO STAY TO THE Last. – LETTEN TO MARTIN. — ADDRESSES ALL CLASSES. - MALICE OF Causis. — Huss in Prison.
JUNE 8, 1415 - JULY 1, 1415.
What must have been the feelings of Huss as the guard escorted him back to his cell! For six months he had been kept a close prisoner. His health had given way under the hardships to which he had been
subjected. Once his life had been in such danger that the council were like to lose their victim, and from policy rather than compassion he was removed to a more airy and comfortable cell, and the
pope's physician had been sent to attend him. With the interval of a slight recovery, he was again attacked with a new access of his severe distemper. “I have been,” so he writes, “ a second time dreadfully tormented with an affection of my bladder, which I never had before, and with severe vomiting and fever; my keepers feared I should die, and they have led me out of my prison.”1 This was probably for a few moments to enjoy the fresh air. His keepers seem to have been moved to compassion by his sufferings, and some of them appear to have shown him no little kindness. After four months' imprisonment at Constance, Huss was removed to Gottlieben. Here his situation was changed much for the
His prison was the tower. In the day-time he was chained, yet so as to be able to move about. At night, on his bed, he was chained by his hand to a post. His subsequent treatment was still more harsh. His keepers were changed after the flight of
* Epis. lii. Iluss' jailers were kind and noble- * At Gottlieben, the narrow cell is hearted. men. They became very still pointed out in the castle—at presstrongly attached to their prisoner, ent the property of the Count of Berand at their request Huss wrote sev- oldingen, of Stuttgard—in which Huss eral brief treatises on prominent duties was confined. A late visitor at the and doctrines of Christianity. The re- Castle writes,—“High up under the peated conversations between them roof, at the top of a long stair-case, satisfied the jailers that the doctrines and shaded by thick pines, is a garret of Iluss were those of scripture, and it in which one cannot stand upright. was the sympathy and affection which This is the prison of the martyrs John they were led to feel for him, that drew Huss and Jerome of Prague." Becker, them to the scene of his execution. 84, 85.
HUSS DENIED AN ADVOCATE.
the pope—and not for the better. His friends were not allowed to see him. New attacks of his disease, violent head-aches, hemorrhage, colic,—followed in consequence of this close and cruel confinement. For more than two months his sufferings were extreme. It was not till the beginning of the month of June that he was removed from his prison at Gottlieben, and conveyed to Constance. Without the uninterrupted quiet of even a single day, his trial proceeded. He found himself compelled to meet it in infirm health, and in a most weak and exhausted condition. He had demanded of the judicial committee an advocate to manage his cause for him, but this, which he was at first encouraged to expect, was finally refused him, on the ground that no such privilege could be granted to a heretic. He was thus presumed guilty even before he was tried. Gerson did not hesitate afterwards to ascribe the condemnation of Huss to the injustice of this proceeding. "Had he been allowed an advocate, the council would never have been able to convict him of heresy.” Huss was undoubtedly disappointed at the refusal of a request so just and reasonable. Yet he calmly submitted to the wrong. “Well, then,” said he, “let the Lord Jesus be my advocate, who also will soon be my judge."
He was thus forced of necessity to depend upon himself alone for his defence. In chains, and in the endurance of the most severe sufferings, he was obliged to draw up his answers to the charges presented. And here he found, to his grief and indignation, that the most unfair advantages had been
taken of him. Passages from intercepted letters, in part distorted, and conversations with theologians once his friends, but who had now deserted him, in which he had used familiar expressions in confidence, were recalled and employed to his prejudice. His letters to his friends at Prague, by a system of espionage as well as through their indiscretion, had fallen into the hands of his enemies, and been used against him. Paletz sometimes visited him in prison, and sought to overwhelm him by harsh language. “Sad greeting"? Huss calls it, as well he might. He speaks of Paletz generally as his fiercest enemy, who did him the most injury. Still his Christian spirit, overcoming every revengeful thought, led him to pray, “May God Almighty forgive him.” “Yet," says he, “never in my whole life did I receive from any man harsher words of comfort than from Paletz." In such circumstances as these Huss had to look around him for the means of making his defence. But he found himself totally in want of books. At first he had not even a Bible, and was obliged to ask his friends to procure him one. He says, indeed, that he had brought with him the Sentences of Lombard and a Bible, but he could not have taken them with him into his prison. Could the cruelty of his enemies have deprived him even of these? It must have been so.
All these things were enough to have driven any ordinary man to despair. To be denied an advocate—to have his few books withheld from him—to have numerous and skilful enemies taking every pos
Epis, xliii. xlviii. ?“Salutatione horribilissima." Epis. xlvi. * Epis. lii. liii. Ch. I.]
HOPELESSNESS OF HIS CASE.
sible advantage of his helplessness, in framing charges of which he was long kept in ignorance—to know that the learning, talent, and sympathies of the whole council, spurred on by the bitterest malice, were arrayed against him,—was enough to discourage the efforts and palsy the energies of any man whose help was not in a more than mortal arm. Enfeebled by disease, worn out with suffering and want of sleep, he had been called to appear before the council and enter upon his defence. On every side he saw hostile faces and prejudiced judges. His conscientious scruples were met by derision, and his arguments were answered by ridicule. He was frequently interrupted or cut short in his replies. New articles were presented, which he had never seen or heard of until the moment when they were produced. His request for a further and fuller hearing was met by threats of the consequences should he persist in his demand of what had been promised. A form of retraction had been presented him, which he could not conscientiously adopt. His request to be instructed in what respects he had erred, that he might intelligently disavow his errors, was set aside. He saw before him, instead of an impartial jury, a band of men, through malice or prejudice, conspiring to effect his ruin. Well might he look around him as he left the council, disheartened and despondent. We can but follow him as he is led back to his prison, with the sympathies ever due to the innocent and the wronged. How slowly and sadly must the hours of a sleepless night have dragged along, bringing new burdens and anxieties, instead of repose to his ex