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enter into any criticism on such unauthenticated relations, and we shall proceed to the next section.
“ SECTION II
LIFE, SUFFERINGS, AND MARTYRDOM OF JOHN HUSS. As the life and conduct of this d'an have been an almost endless source of vilification of Catholic principles, and wishing to put the question at rest in future, we shall go at some length into the affair, and then leave the reader to form his own conclusions. Fox has de voted this section wholly to John Huss, and we cannot better illustrate the propensity which Fox has to lying than to give his own account as it appears, in this modern edition, and compare it with an account before us from another Protestant martyrologist. Fox writes thus
“ John Huss was born in the village of Hussenitz, in Bohemia, about the year 1380. His parents gave him the best education they could bestow, and having acquired a tolerable knowledge of the classics, at a school, he was sent to the university of Prague, where the powers of his mind, and his diligence in study, soon rendered him conspicuous.
“ In 1408, he commenced bachelor of divinity, and was successively chosen pastor of the church of Bethlehem, in Prague, and dean and rector of the university. The duties of these stations he discharged with great fidelity, and became at length so conspicuous for the boldness and truth of his preaching, that he attracted the notice, and raised the malignity of the pope and his creatures.
“ His influence in the university was very great, not only on account of his learning, eloquence, and exemplary life, but also on account of some valuable privileges he had obtained from the king in behalf of that seminary.
“ The English reformer, Wickliffe, had so kindled the light of reformation, that it began to illumine the darkest corners of Popery, and ignorance. His doctrines were received in Bohemia with avidity and zeal, by great numbers of people, but by none so particularly as John Huss, and his friend and fellow-martyr, Jerome of Prague.
“ The reformists daily increasing, the archbishop of Prague issued a decree to prevent the farther spreading of Wickliffe's writings. This, however, had an effect quite the reverse to what he expected, for it stimulated the converts to greater zeal, and, at length, almost the whole university united in promoting them.
· Strongly attached to the doctrines of Wickliffe, Huss strenuously opposed the decree of the archbishop, who, notwithstanding, obtained a bull from the pope, authorizing him to prevent the publishing of Wickliffe's writings in his province. By virtue of this bull, le proceeded against four doctors, who had not delivered up some copies, and prohibited them to preach. Against these proceedings, Huss, with some other members of the university, protested, and entered an appeal from the sentences of the archbishop. The pope no sooner heard of this, than he granted a commission to cardinal Colonna, to cite John Huss to appear at the court of Rume, to answer accusations laid against him, of preaching heresies. From this appearance, Huss desired to be excused, and so greatly was he favoured in Bohemia, that king Winceslaus, the queen, the nobility, and the university, desired the pope to dispense with such an appearance; as also that he would not suffer the kingdom of Bohemia to lie under the accusation of heresy, but permit them to preach the gospel with freedom in their places of worship.
" Three proctors appeared for Huss before cardinal Colonna. They made an excuse for his absence, and said, they were ready to answer in bis behalf. But the cardinal declared him contumacious, and accordingly excommunicated him. On this the proctors appealed to the pope, who appointed four cardinals to examine the process: these commissioners confirmed the sentence of the cardinal, and extended the excommunication not only to Huss, but to all his friends and followers. Huss then appealed from this unjust sentence to a future council
, but without success; and, notwithstanding so severe 'a decree, and an expulsion from his church in Prague, he retired to Hussenitz, his native place, where he continued to promulgate the truth, both from the pulpit and with the pen.
“He here compiled a treatise, in which he maintained, that reading the books of Prom
testants could not be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defence of Wickliffe's book oth the Trinity: and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and the clergy of those corrupt times. Besides these, he wrote many other books, all of which were penned with such strength of argument, as greatly facilitated the spreading of his doctrines.
“ In England, the persecutions against the Protestants had been carried on for some time with relentless cruelty. They now extended to Germany and Bohemia, where Huss and Jerome of Prague were particularly singled out to suffer in the cause of religion.
“ In the month of November, 1414, a general council was assembled at Constance, in Germany, for the purpose of determining a dispute then existing between three persons who contended for the papal throne.
“ John Huss was summoned to appear at this council ; and to dispel any apprehensions of danger, the emperor sent him a safe-conduct, giving him permission freely to come to, and return from the council. On receiving this information, he told the persons who delivered it, .That he desired nothing more than to purge himself publicly of the imputation of heresy; and that he esteemed himself happy in having so fair an opportunity of it, as at the council to which he was summoned to attend.'
“ In the latter end of November, he set out to Constance, accompanied by two Bohemian noblemen, who were among the most eminent of his disciples, and who followed bim merely through respect and affection. He caused some placards to be fixed upon the gates of the churches of Prague, in which he declared, that he went to the council to answer all allegations that might be made against him. He also declared, in all the cities through which he passed, that he was going to vindicate himself at Constance, and invited all his adversaries to be present.
“ On his way he met with every mark of affection and reverence, from people of all descriptions. The streets, and even the roads, were thronged with people, whom respect, rather than curiosity, had brought together. He was ushered into the towns with great acclamations; and he passed through Germany in a kind of triumph. • I thought," said he, • I had been an outcast. I now see my worst friends are in Bohemia.'
“ On his arrival at Constance, he immediately took lodgings in a part of the city. Soon after, came one Stephen Paletz, who was engaged by the clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him. Paletz was afterwards joined by Michael de Cassis, on the part of the court of Rome. These two declared themselves his ascusers, and drew up articles against him, which they presented to the pope, and the prelates of the council.
“ Notwithstanding the promise of the emperor, to give him a safe-conduct to and from Constance, he regarded not his word; but, according to the maxim of the council, that • Faith is not to be kept with heretics,' when it was known he was in the city, he was immediately arrested, and committed prisoner to a chamber in the palace. This breach was particularly noticed by one of Huss's friends, who urged the imperial safe-conduct; but the pope replied, he never granted any such thing, nor was he bound by that of the amperor.
“ While Huss was under confinement, the council acted the part of inquisitors. They condemned the doctrines of Wickliffe, and, in their impotent malice, ordered his remains to be dug up, and burnt to ashes; which orders were obeyed.
“ In the mean time the nobility of Bohemia and Poland used all their interest for Huss; and so far prevailed as to prevent his being condemned unheard, which had been resolved on by the commissioners appointed to try him.
“Before his trial took place, his enemies employed a Franciscan friar, who might entangle him in his words, and then appear against him. This man, of great ingenuity and subtlety, came to him in the character of an idiot, and with seeming sincerity and zeal, requested to be taught his doctrines. But Huss soon discovered him, and told him that his manners wore a great semblance of simplicity; but that his questions discovered a depth and design beyond the reach of an idiot. He afterwards found this pretended fool to be Didace, one of the deepest logicians in Lombardy.
“At length, he was brought before the council, when the articles exhibited against him were read: they were upwards of forty in number, and chiefly extracted from his writings.
« On his examination being finished, he was taken from the court, and a resolution was formed by the council, to burn him as an heretic, unless he retracted, ' He was then conmitted to a filthy prison, where, in the day-time, he was so laden with fetters on his legs, that he could hardly move; and every night he was fastened by his bands to a ring against the walls of the prison.
" He continued some days in this situation, in which time many noblemen of Bohemia interceded in his behalf. They drew up a petition for his release, which was presented to the council by several of the most illustrious nobles of Bohemia; notwithstanding which, so many enemies bad Huss in that court, that no attention was paid to it, and the persecuted reformer was compelled to bear with the punishment inflicted on him by that merciless tribunal.
“Shortly after the petition was presented, four bishops and two lords were sent by the emperor to the prison, in order to prevail on Huss to make a recantation. But he called God to witness, that he was not conscious of having preached, or written, any thing against his truth, or the faiths of his orthodox church. The deputies then represented the great wis. dom and authority of the council : to which Huss replied, “Let them send the meanest person of that council, who can convince me by argument from the word of God, and I will submit my judgment to him.' This pious answer had no effect, because he would not take the authority of the council upon trust, without the least shadow of an argument offered. The deputies, therefore, finding they could make no impression on him, departed, greatly astonished at the strength of his resolution.
“ On the 4th of July he was, for the last time, brought before the council. After a long exanination he was desired to abjure, which he refused, without the least hesitation. The bishop of Lodi then preached a sermon, the text of which was, “Let the body of sin be destroyed,' (concerning the destruction of heretics) the prologue to his intended punishment. After the close of the sermon bis fate was determined, his vindication rejected, and judgment pronounced. The council censured him for being obstinate and incorrigible, and ordained, · That he should be degraded from the priesthood, his books publicly burnt, and himself delivered to the secular power.'
“ He received the sentence without the least emotion; and at the close of it he kneeled down with his eyes lifted towards heaven, and, with all the magnanimity of a primitive martyr, thus exclaimed: May thy infinite mercy, O my God! pardon this injustice of mine enemies. Thou knowest the injustice of my accusations : how deformed with crimes I have been represented; how I have been oppressed with worthless witnesses, and a false condemnation ; yet, O my God! let that mercy of thine, which no tongue can express, prevail with thee not to avenge my wrongs.' These excellent sentences were received as so many expressions of heresy, and only tended to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the council stripped him of his priestly garnients, degraded him, and put a paper mitre on his head, on which were painted devils, with this inscription : • A ring leader of heretics.'
“This mockery was received by the heroic martyr with an air of unconcern, which ap. peared to give him dignity rather than disgrace. A serenity appeared in his looks, which indicated that his soul had cut off many stages of a tedious journey in her way to the realins of everlasting happiness.
“ The ceremony of degradation being over, the bishops delivered him to the emperor who committed him to the care of the duke of Bavaria. His books were burnt at the gates of the church; and on the 6th of July he was led to the suburbs of Constance, to be burn alive.
“ When he had reached the place of execution, he fell on his knees, sung several portions of the psalms, looked steadfastly towards heaven, and repeated, • Into thy hands, 0 Lord ! do I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, 0 most good and faithful God.'
“ As soon as the chain was put about him at the stake, he said, with a smiling counte nance, ' My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this, for my sake, why then should I be ashamed of this old rusty one?'
" When the faggots were piled around him, the duke of Bavaria desired him to abjure · No,' said he, “I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.' He then said to the executioner, · You are now going to burn a goose, (Huss signifies goose in the Bohemian language) but in a century you will have a swan whom you can neither roast nor boil.' If this were spoken in prophecy, he must have incant Martin Luther, who flourished about a century after, and who had a swan for his arms.
“ As soon as the faggots were lighted, the heroic martyr song a hymn, with so loud and cheerful a voice, that he was heard through all the cracklings of the combustibles, and the noise of the multitude. At length bis voice was interrupted by the flames, which soon put a period to his life.”
This is the account given in the Book of Martyrs, and by it we might be led to suppose tha John Huss was as immaculate a character as the apostles who founded the church of God, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Shackled as the Catholic press has been since the first dawn of what is called the Reformation, the writers in favour of that event have turned history into romance, and represented persons of the most wicked and notorious lives, as angels of light, without fear of contradiction. It has been well observed, that “the real dignity of
history does not consist in set speeches made by the author at pleasure, to shew his ability in that way, nor in other rhetorical orna,
ments; but in SOLID TRUTH and HONESTY, which alone can "render it worthy of that denomination. He who takes pains to “transmit a rebel to posterity under such disguise as may render his “ character doubtful, is to be looked upon as a slanderer, not an his“torian, and, as such, deserves to be severely punished for depriving an ill man of the reproach due to him, as he that should go
about to “ defame a good man.” These just sentiments we have extracted from the preface to a book, now before us, called “ The History of “King-killers; or, The Fanatic Martyrology," published in London, in the year 1720. In this work we find a life of John Huss somewhat different to that related by John Fox, and stated to be gathered from another work, entitled, “The pretended Reformers; or, The History of “ John Wickliffe, John Huss, and Jerome of Prague, made English from “the French original, by MATTHIAS EARBERY, Presbyter of the Church of “ England, London, 1717. Octavo." This translator, being a member of the church as by law established, his testimony must have greater weight with the generality of the people of England, being Protestant, than the word of a Catholic, who would be looked upon as an interested evidence. But it may be said, the original being in the French language, there cannot be a doubt that the author of the history was a Catholic. Well, be it so; still it must be allowed, that, as the translator was a Protestant, and of course opposed to the Catholic church, he was convinced of the accuracy of his account, or he would not have taken the trouble to translate, nor incurred the expense of printing and publishing, what he suspected or knew to be false. Here then we have an unexceptionable witness, of whose evidence we shall avail ourself, to contravene the lies and misrepresentations of John Fox.
Fox commences with saying, that the parents of Huss gave him the best cducation they could bestow; but Mr. Earbery tells us that the extraction of Huss was so base that he did not know his father, and was compelled to take the sirname of the town in which he was born. We do not notice this fact as any disgrace to Huss, because we are well aware that one of the brightest ornaments in English history, namely William of Wykeham was as meanly born, but only to shew the want of integrity in Fox, and how little he is entitled to credit, That Huss was a man of good natural parts is not denied; but it is not,
reader the possession of talents, but the right use of them that constitutes the learned and great man. Fox next says, he discharged the duties of his office, as rector of the university, “with great fidelity, and “ became at length so conspicuous for the boldness and truth of his
preaching, that he attracted the notice, and raised the malignity " of the pope and his creatures.” Mr. Earbery, on the contrary, assures us he was opposed to the truth, and became a fomenter of discord. Instigated by revenge, on being refused a doctor's degree, he set about dividing the university of Prague, and expelling such of the professors as were native Germans from their seats. To effect this, Huss and his party referred the dispute to the civil magistrate, though the cognizance belonged to the archbishop. The Germans refused to appear before the magistrates, and the question was decided by them in favour of Huss. This made his party so insolent and outrageous, that the Germans were obliged to fly for safety into Thuringia. Being thus far successful in securing the ignorant and licentious in his favour, he began openly to teach the doctrines of Wickliff, and translated into the Bohemian language the most pernicious of Wickliff's works. In this labour he was assisted by Jerome of Prague and one Jacobel, of whom we shall have to speak hereafter, and the latter, in order to increase the murmurs of the people, railed at their being denied the sacrament in both kinds. The whole city being thus placed in a state of confusion and tumult, the magistrates perceived the error ; but, like too many who are invested with power, thinking to strike the people with awe by a little coercion, they seized three of the most forward in exciting disorder, and executed them as traitors. The Hussites did not oppose the execution, but they took down the quarters of the traitors, carried them in triumph to the church of Bethlehem, of which, Fox says, Huss was the pastor, and there worshipped them as relics. This last act, we think, is sufficient to prove that the Hussites were not Protestants, because the latter deem the worshipping of relics to be idolatry, and therefore we are at a loss to reconcile this ranging of Huss as a good Protestant martyr. Besides, Huss was a priest, and said mass, and believed in transubstantiation; whereas, Fox says, that one of the Hugonot martyrs, old Oguier, proved from scripture that the saying of mass was contrary to the ordinances of Jesus Christ. In this case one or other of these martyrs must be wrong, for they could not both be right, yet are they here represented as preachers of truth, though teaching and preaching contrary doctrines. But to return to John Huss. He was suspected, Mr. Earbery informs us, of being deeply implicated in the above affair, for which reason a warrant was issued out against him, and he fled to the village from which he took his name, where he put himself under the protection of the lord of the castle. It was here that the Hussite party was completely formed. This was in the year 1409, that is, in the year after Fox says Huss took bachelor's degrees. Thus it appears, by Mr. Earbery's account, which is corroborated by all authentic writers, that Huss was the aggressor, that he was a disturber of the peace, a preacher of sedition, and an evil disposed person.
“ The English reformer Wickliff had so kindled the light "of reformation, that it began to illumine the darkest corners of