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plicity, delivered over to the civil power; but, being a layman, he had not to undergo the ceremony of degradation.
“ Two days his execution was delayed, in hopes that he would recant; in which time the cardinal of Florence used his utmost endeavours to bring him over. But they all proved ineffectual: Jerome was resolved to seal his doctrine with his blood.
. On his way to the place of execution he sung several lymns; and on arriving there, he knelt down and prayed fervently. He embraced the stake with great cheerfulness and resolution; and when the executioner went behind him to set fire to the faggots, he said, Come here, and kindle it before my eyes; for bad I been afraid of it, I had not come here, having had so many opportunities to escape.'
“ When the flames enveloped him, he sung an hymn; and the last words he was heard to say were, . This soul in flames I offer, Christ, to thee!'
We might suppose, from this account, that the members of the council were immersed in brutal ignorance, and monsters in human shape, callous to every sentiment of mercy, and delighting in acts of oppression ; but we have a witness to bring forward, whose relation of Jerome's conduct will give a different colouring to the life of this martyr of Fox's coining. It will be found that “this bero in the cause of truth," was a convicted propagator of falsehood, a dissembler and perjurer--very amiable qualities for a Protestant martyr. The cruelties stated to have been practised on Jerome will be seen to be mere fiction, fabricated to excite compassion in his favour, and abhorrence of his persecutors. It will be seen that this heresiareh was treated by the council with lenity and tenderness, which he returned with treachery and deceit; and that it was in consequence of his own bad conduct that he was executed. It is admitted even by John Fox, that he condemned the doctrines of John Huss and Wickliff, under the hope of being liberated, but when he found himself mistaken, he then retracted his solemn declaration; thus shewing himself a prevaricator for self-interest. The charges produced against him, it will be seen, were not those given in the Book of Martyrs, but others more impious and irreligious. He was, it appears, a prosecutor himself, and even a murderer. From Fox's description of his eloquence, we might be led to imagine that he was gifted with tongues as the holy apostles were, and his reasoning overwhelming. It does not, however, appear that he was so highly gifted a man, though certainly possessed of great abilities. We should have been better pleased with Fox, if he had given us some of Jerome's fine arguments, that we might have compared them with the sentiments of the primitive fathers. To tell us that he was ready“ to appear at Constance in defence of bis character and doc“trine, both which, he said, had been greatly falsified," is telling us nothing. To believe it is to pin our faith upon the sleeve of a CONVICTED LIAR, and surely there is no Protestant, laying claim to common sense, will take a statement, unauthorized, for fact, because 'John Fox asserts it is and so. Catholics are accused of being led blindfolded by their priests, but what can we say of those Protestants who are led to give credit to tales that carry with them the air of improbability, and have no clue of authority to verify them? If Jerome's doctrines were falsified, why not lay before us the way in which they were perverted ? If true, why not point out in what his adversaries erred ? He was an “hero in the cause of truth," Fox says; what then were the truths he taught in opposition to the supposed errors in existence.
Christ had promised that his church should never err, be it observed. This is plainly and explicitly recorded in the gospels of the new Testament. His church was never to swerve from the Truth, and consequently the Truth was always to be found, and to be found only in his church. Where then was the Truth, of which Jerome of Prague was the hero? When was it obscured, and how did Jerome bring it to light? These are questions which every person desirous of coming at the truth should ask. At the time of the council of Constance the Christian world was divided into two classes, the church of Rome and what is called the Greek church, the latter suffering dreadfully from the attacks of the Mahometans, in punishment of their swerving from the Truth. The church of Rome was then acknowledged to be the most ancient church; the period could be named when the Greeks seceded from her authority, but retained all her doctrines, all her sacraments, all her ceremonies; for the only difference between the Latin or Catholic church and the Greeks is, the latter deny the supremacy of the pope, and differ in the article regarding the procession of the Holy Ghost from the Father and the Son. Jerome of Prague acknowledged the supremacy of the pope, and the authority of general councils, by consenting to appear before the synod of Constance; but he differed in some points of doctrine from all the fathers and doctors of the two churches, and consequently from all the Christian world.Now is it likely that a man, living fourteen hundred years after the Truth was promulgated, should be the only individual in possession of this attribute of God? The idea is monstrous; and yet this is the notion inculcated by Fox, at different periods, when he places the most notorious and violent propagators of error as godly martys for the cause of truth. For example, Wickliffe had no supporters in the first instance: the doctrines he broached were the production of his own brain. Huss and Jerome of Prague had each their own visionary fancies : the doctrines they taught differed from each other, and their disciples divided into various sects, namely, the Orebites, Adamites, Drecentians, Gallacians, Rochezanites, Jacobites, Thaborites, and so on. Luther, when he commenced dogmatizer, stood alone ; his doctrines were new, and like all other errors, there was no stability in them. He modelled and re-modelled his opinions at pleasure; his disciples did the same; an innumerable spawn of religion-makers followed, each claiming to be the true one, but none of them capable of sustaining their claim.
How different, however, is the foundation of the Catholic church. She had only One Architect, who raised his fabric on twelve pillars, and appointed divers Shepherds to guard and protect the sheep which he might gather into the fold of Truth, from the ravages of those who came as wolves in the clothing of sheep to infect them with the contagious breath of error. There was one main pillar to which all the others turned, but that head pillar was supported by the rest, and the fabric was formed of imperishable materials. Now this Architect was God himself, and mark, reader, though he selected one of the twelve apostles to be a pivot of unity and subordination, yet he commissioned the whole twelve to teach the same doctrines which he had revealed to them all. Though he constituted one to be the head of all the rest, and
the pope is now, and always has been, the head of the Catholic church, yet he did not commission that one, namely, St. Peter, to teach his brother apostles, but he taught them himself, and commissioned them to teach others. This they did according to the command of their divine Master; but in matters of dispute, arising from the frailty of the human mind, and in points of spiritual jurisdiction, they applied to St, Peter, as their successors do at this day to his successor the pope. Thus it will be seen that the Catholic church was not originally erected by one human individual, but by God himself, who being Truth itself, no doctrine can be true or lasting but what emanates from him. He, when clothed in human shape, revealed his doctrines to twelve persons, and commanded thein to communicate the same to others. They did so, and those to whom the truths were made known imparted them to their successors; and thus they were handed down from father to son, and from age to age, to the time of Jerome of Prague, without the least deviation from their original form and meaning. What a gross perversion of common sense must it then be, to suppose that all the Christian world was steeped in error, and only one man in the possession of truth ; and that man too contradicting himself!!! Why this is absurdity without a parallel ; and yet the “ few plain Christians” have had the folly and impudence to publish it in these days of approaching reason, that their motive in' circulating the Book of Martyrs, is to diffuse among their fellow-believers, “a knowledge and love of the genuine prin
ciples of Christianity." Well, reader, let us then see of what materials the Christianity of Jerome of Prague consisted, as stated in The Fanatic Martyrology, from which we have before quoted, and the facts in which we are convinced are drawn from the best authorities.
The author, after reciting what passed between the council and Huss and Jerome, as given in our criticism of the life of the former, proceeds to say that both of these heretics agreed to make a retractation of their errors, and requested that a form of abjuration might be sent to them to sign. Upon consultation it was decided that Huss and Jerome should make a retractation and be banished to certain towns in the bounds of Sweden, and that they should subscribe and sign the abjuration of their errors in the Bohemian language, which was afterwards to be sent and published throughout all the churches of that realm, to inform their followers how they had been deluded. The author then goes on
“ John Huss and Jerome of Prague, made no scruple at the retraction and banishment; but the necessity of disavowing their doctrine in the language of their own country, shocked them more than fire and faggot. John Huss then offered several exceptions against the proceeding, but all availed him not, (as we shall see when we come to treat of him, on the Rtha of July 1415, the day on which he was executed.). When that ringleader was dispatcheda the council took into consideration the verbal process which the archbishop of Vienua had issued out against Jerome of Prague. As his affair was commou with John Huss, so the fathers were resolved to put an end to it, all the difficulties which could possibly attend it being removed, although the natter was prolonged and delayed till the year following, by an egredious court.
“ The cardinal of Cambray, the chief commissioner appointed to examine Jerome of Prague, thought himself obliged to begin with a serious exhortation ;" which he pressed so close, that he thought he had surmounted the obstinacy of the criniinal. And indeed Jerome of Prague did not only appear to have changed his sentiments, but likewise 10 pay a blind deference to the judgment of the council; and that it was but to prescribe what was
necessary, and befitting his conversion, to be convinced by experience that it was sincere The Cardinal made his report to the council, and took it upon himself to draw up, in good form an abjaration of the errors of Wickliffe and Johın Huss. As soon as this was prepared, Jerome of Prague was sent for by the council, who commanded him to stand upon an high seat, from whence he might easily be heard by the whole assembly. He began his discourse hy an exposition of what had obliged him to appear before so august a body, and he went on speaking very meanly of himself, and comparing himself to those Jews, who gave nought but trifles towards the building the Tabernacle, whereas others brought silver and gold, and precious stones. Then he read the abjuration, which had been drawn up, with a very intelligible voice, and added three things, which were important. The first was, that he had , heen deceived by the appearance of virtue, which was conspicuous in the person of John Huss. The second, that he would live in a perfect and entire submission to the council. And the third was, that in case he should happen to maintain, in any manner, any one of those articles which he abjured, he would renounce all privileges, and would consent that they should proceed against him, by all the ways canonical and civil, which had been appointed against Heresiarchs. He had expected by a declaration so formal and so general, that they would have given him his full liberty, and that they would have permitted him to return to Bohemia, where he imagined that he should succeed to the whole authority of Jobn Huss. But his example had prevailed with the council to proceed with more circumspection, in regard to the prisoner that remained, and not to release bim till he bad given sufficient proofs and assurances of his conduct for the future. They suffered himn, nevertheless, to see all manner of persons, and to entertain himself familiarly, and without inspection, with all whosoever should have the curiosity to visit; that is, they gave him an opportunity to ruin himself, without thinking of it. For instead of using discreetly, the indulgence granted him, until the dissolution of the council, lie discovered himself too soon, and ceased not to boast of his having dissembled with the council until such time only as the Hussites sent a delegate to the council, to expostulate with them the death of their prophet and to demand reparation for it. That step, which was followed by a like proceeding from Poland, the Hussites in that country, having given the like commission to the archbishop of Gnesna, and the archdeacon of Posnania, suggested so much presumption to Jerome of Prague, that he believed he might safely speak his thoughts before his countrymen, without regarding whether or no they were favourers of him. And, indeed so it was that they declared themselves against him, and accused him of a relapse into heresy.
“The council, provoked at the inconstancy of that Proteus, who made no scruple, either of lying or perjury, provided that he could thereby accommodate his sentiments to his for. tune, obliged him to appear before them the 27th day of April, 1516; and witnesses, against whom no exception could be made, deposed, that he had attempted to instil into their ininds the errors of Wickliffe, since that he himself had condemned them. A trespass so sudden and so manifest having opened the scene to all accusations of error, whether old or new, Henry of Prague, prolocutor to the council, objected to him, that he had endeavoured to pervert Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Bohemia ; that he had fled out of prison at Vienna, contrary to the promises he had made of tárrying there, until he had cleared him. self of certain scandalous propositions, which he was said to have taught there. He added, that in his experimental essays, the same Jerome of Prague, had broke out into detestable and impudent actions; that he had writ very severe satires against the du kes of Austrin and Bavaria, the clergy of Prague and the holy see; that in the year 1412, upon the feast of St. Vences, the patron of his country, he had stirred up the Hussites, to penetrate with their main body into a monastery of fanatic friars, where they had profaned the altars, and trod under foot the relics of the saints; that he had caused a preacher to be imprisoned, only for having declaimed against Wickliffe; and that tie said clergyman had not been released, till he had suffered all the indignities which barbarians usually inflict upon their worst enemies; that he had publicly struck a Franciscan with his fist ; that he had been seen in the habit of a priest, though holy orders had never been conferred upon him ; that lie had maintained in the town of Heidelberg, the capital city of the palatinate, that there was a quaternity, in the Godhead; and that he had endeavoured to unite the Hussites with the schismatics in Poland.
“ Jerome of Prague defended himself from one part of these crimes, by assuring the faibers that he had no share in them; and from the other, by ascribing them to such cause,
as were not black enough to take away his life. But there was a second charge against him, which was better proved and more perplexing. This began with a supposal, that, if he should be sent back into Bohemia without sufficient proof of his conversion, he would cause much greater disorders in the church than had been at other times fonjented by the Arians; for that his doctrine concerning the flesls and blood of Christ, would be sooner and more universally embraced than that of the nature of the work, which was purely spiritual, and had no manner of relation to the senses. That in all the parishes where the said Jerome had preached up bis errors, he had met with so much success, that ibe number of his disciples was greater than that of the remaining Catholics; that he had in a tumultuary manner driven away the pastors, and introduced into their cares such of the clergy as he had already perverted, and had commanded them to take upon themselves the whole pastoral care, without another commission than what they had received from bim; that he made a journey into England, opon no other design, than to transcribe a correct copy of the works of Wick. liffe; and that he had persuaded the youth to read them, by telling them, that there they would find true and solid divinity; but that in other books they would find little else than decelt; that after the execution of Huss, he had revered him as a saint, and had caused him to be painted with a circle of bays around his head, and in the same posture as the Catholie church represents the saints which had died in the fiery pile; that he had caused a priest, named Fabri, to bo scourged in an outrageous manner, insomuch that he died under the Jash; that he had freed himself from a Franciscan priest, who tad pressed him too close in the heat of dispute, by ordering his disciples to cast him into the river Molde, which they accordingly did ; that he had taught that the eucharist was no more than a sign, that the doctrine of Wickliffe was the only and true Gospel; that he had promised an eterual reward to those who should die in defence of it; that he had translated in rhynie the words of consecration, and the principal articles of his creed, to draw away disciples after him; that he had attempted to overthrow the government of the church, in persuading the laity, that they might consecrate the body and blood of Jesus Christ ; that he had taught thein to despise ecclesiastical censures; that he had endeavoured to render indulgences ridiculous ; that he had not contented himself in saying, that the ministry of the word of God was inseparably annexed to baptism, and by consequence common to all Christians (in the acts of the 20th session) but had also himself preached, though a mere layman, and had given a commission to preach to the most adventurous of his sect; that he had defended with an invincible obstinacy all the heresies contained in the forty-five articles of Wickliffe ; that he caused to be tied to the breasts of lewd women, and to be burnt publicly in the market-place of New Prague, dispensations granted by the holy see; that he had renewed the heresy of the Iconoclasts; and that within two years before, being in a church belonging to the Franciscans, he bad caused a crucifix to be covered over with ordure, under pretence that it was idolatry to suffer images to be there; and that the Hussites had been principally animated by such like discourses to prophane the churches, and to dip their hands in the blood of their countrymen, who had opposed them.
“ The prolocutor of the couneil explained himself more largely in the addition of informations, which began with important advice to the fathers, not to suffer themselves to be imposed upon by the eloquence and vain promises of the criminal, who had already so oft abused the indulgence and credulity of his judges, lest that after he had escaped out of prison, he should become a greater and more pernicious enemy to religion, than he had been before; for that when he was a student at Paris, having been accused of believing and maintaining in his discourses, that God could not anniliilate any of his creatures, the members of that university pressed him to make a public recantation thereof; which having promised to do, the night before the day appointed for this recantation, he betook himself to flight, and not daring to continue in France, he took bis journey to the town of Heidelberg, where he presently made himself known by certain theses filled with new doctrines, almost wholly heretical, which he had the assurance to present to the syndic of that university ; but that doctor, who had exactly performed the duties of his office, having communicated them to the other doctors, and taken measures with them how to arrest Jerome of Prague, he was informed thereof, and by a sudden retreat prevented the imprisonment they had prepared for him. He chose for the third place of his residence, the university of Cracow, where the professors were not more favourable to him, since that they had issued out a warrant against him, which compelled him to change the air, and go to Vienna, where