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JOHN HUSS AVD JEROME OF

of age. But power poisoned his unsteady PRAGUE: A SKETCH.

nature, and his character became almost in

tolerable to his people. And now comes When John Huss was asked at Constance into view one of those golden bands which "if he had really said that he wished his bind all the scattered pages of history into soul might be in the same place as the soul one volume. Our own degenerate Richard of the English Wycliffe," his fearless “Yes” II. married Anne, sister of this disreputable provoked the derisive laughter of the coun- Wenceslaus,

Wenceslaus,-an unpromising link, one cil. The intrepid Rector of Lutterworth would have said, either for England or for had been dead thirty years. But there are Bohemia. But Anne was of another nature periods in the world's history in which the from her royal brother; and before long she waiting echoes take up every word that is had won in England the pleasant name of spoken for good, and carry it off to live for- “the Good Queen Anne.” She was an ardent ever among the reverberations of the distant Wycliffite; for the English reformer's mind hills. And there are winds that catch up was still pervading society, either provoking every little scrap of paper on which the hatred to his doctrines or infusing the love finding of a lost truth is recorded, and bear of truth in opposition to established error. it direct to some prepared mind, countries

With Queen Anne on the throne, England or ages remote. Thus the spoken protests became an object of interest to Bohemia. and the written thoughts of our own Wyc- A young Bohemian nobleman, who had liffe penetrated the Bohemian forests, and completed his curriculum at Prague, set wound their way into the cells of the Uni- forth for Oxford. There he heard of the versity of Prague. In one of these cells a novelties which had made Wycliffe's name young scholar was sighing for undiscovered famous throughout the land. He heard truth, and longing for some one to cut a how he had boldly given the Bible into the path through the tangled forest of errors hands of an untaught people; how he had that lay around. The works of Wycliffe inveighed against the encroachments of the reached him at the right moment, struck Roman hierarchy; how he had appealed at the root of this false growth, and, clear- from pope, priest, and council to the ing a way through the thicket, showed Scriptures; and how, when cited before a to the young aspirant a free prospect be- council at Lambeth by order of the outraged yond.

Gregory XI., he had so pobly vindicated the John Huss was born in July, 1369, at the nineteen propositions which the pope had village of Hussinetz, which lies on a bill. condemned that his judges were appalled slope above the river Flanitz, in Bohemia. by his ability and courage, and had suffered Peasant-born, trained to labor, and inured him to depart in safety, to continue to use to hardship, the proprietor of his native his pulpit as a chair of what at that period village, the feudal lord, saw in him the was enlightened theology, and then to lie rudiments of greatness, and sent him to the down and die in peace on his own pillow at University of their own beloved Prague. Lutterworth. This was a thrilling story ior Eleven years passed, and the peasant-boy the young nobleman to tell on his return. of sixteen had grown into the learned But he did more than charm his fellowscholar of twenty-seven,—blameless in life, collegians with an exciting tale, for he had gentle and winning in manners, enjoying drunk deeply of the sentiments of the Britthe respect and friendship of those around ish reformer; and, still more, he had him. Then came his degree of Master of brought back with him a large number of Arts. Two years later he was lecturing to Wycliffe's writings. One day he went to some purpose in the University. There John Huss, and spread these writings bewas an earnestness in his manner which evi- fore him. Huss closed the door and sat denced the deep religiousness which had down to read. He lived long with these already taken possession of his heart. books. He lived in them; and, wben he

The man who now sat upon the throne of came out from his cell, it was to declaim Bohemia was Wenceslaus, the son of the against the infallibility of the pope, against Emperor Charles IV. He had begun to auricular confession, and against the great reign with a fair promise at fifteen years “standing army” of monks whose intel

lectual prostration was as complete as their and in deep communion with his God. moral corruption.

But conviction was, with him, action : as he Such a true and living man could not long believed, so he must live; and, if he once dwell alone; such a vivifying influence was planted his foot advisedly on a given road, sure to spread. A little knot of like-minded that road would he follow until it ended friends gathered about him; a little band in eternity. But when his calm eye met of admiring and sympathizing disciples en. the gaze of his young disciple, and when he circled him. Among them was a fiery caught the sound of that disciple's protestknight of Bohemia, whose name as a scholar ing voice, the soul of the elder went out to was widely known as Hieronymus Pragensis, meet the soul of the younger, and a bond whose name as a martyr is beloved by the was forged between them which was but English Church as “Jerome of Prague.” strengthened in the after-fires of persecution. He was younger by several years than John The two men, so different and yet so alike,Huss, but was his superior in intellectual so different in native character, so alike in power, in general cultivation, in vehement conviction, opinion, purpose, and fate,-made energy of spirit, and in a gift of eloquence together one great power which wrought which was torrent-like when once it had marvellously on their own and the after broken forth and had found a rocky channel age. The man of sober principle was stimfor its flow. His voice was of that rare ulated by the youth of generous impulse, kind which is perfectly musical in its notes, and the youth of reckless ardor was chasand which has the power of expanding in tened by the man of profound experience. volume and of varying its key in perfect So the beautiful compensation was complete. adaptation to its subject. His ardor was Thus each one supplied what the other of too fiery a nature to permit him to re- lacked; and still they joined hands for mutmain long in one place. Now he was in ual encouragement in enterprise, for mutual England, eagerly reading at Oxford; then support in trial; and so closely were they he was at Paris ; we search for him again, linked together that, when we talk of the and he is at Jerusalem ; next he is wander- attempted Reformation of the fifteenth cening in Hungary; again he is reposing for a tury, we speak in the same breath of “John moment in Vienna; no longer at Vienna, Huss and Jerome of Prague.” he must be looked for in Russia; presently In 1101 Huss was appointed preacher at he is at Cologne, the queen of the Rhine the Bethlehem Church in Prague, and cities, or at Heidelberg, that beautiful there he preached earnestly and resolutely university city of the Neckar. Wherever against the abuses of the Roman Church ; he went, men stared at the young scholar- while in a synod at Prague, in the archknight with alarm and prejudice, but, bishop's presence, he declaimed with amaznerertheless, stopped to listen to a speech ing freedom against the vices of the clergy. that bore everything before it. Sometimes The archbishop, Zbynek, was a man who he said strange thirgs indeed, for at Oxford liked to keep a good charger in his stall, he had learned what he could never forget. and, vaulting into his saddle, was ready at Hle, too, had brought back with him some any moment to prick forth to battle.

But writings of our English Wycliffe which had he wished to have no glaring scandals in his not previously penetrated into the old city diocese; and so he took counsel with Huss of Prague. He came back, exclaiming about the prevailing abuses of the day, "Until now we had nothing but the shell especially about the impostures of false of knowledge: Wycliffe was the first to lay miracles, which then abounded. There was open the kernel.”

then a pretended miracle going on in the The young Jerome eagerly joined the ruins of the church of Wilsnach, where group of students who were gathered round pilgrims came trooping from far Denmark, John Huss. Huss was calm, sustained, the from the pine forests of Norway, from creature of no sudden impulse, but the Sweden, Hungary, and Poland, and where strong embodiment of principle.

It was

thousands were in the habit of going to be not his taste to be in the front of contending cured by what they were told was Christ's parties : much rather would he have lived real blood. Glaring scandals ripened in the quiet exercise of the Christian graces around the spot.

A grave committee of

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three masters, of whom Huss was one, went capital from our country. Two young men, forth to take evidence on the spot; and James and Conrad Canterbury, undergradthey brought back such formidable stories uates of Oxford, arrived at Prague, and of lying pilgrims and spurious miracles that fearlessly began to attack the pope's suthe young archbishop arose in great wrath, premacy. Being speedily silenced by the banished all pilgrims, and forbade all pil- rector, they turned their ingenuity in angrimages in his diocese for the future. Then, other direction. They were good hands at feeling his tongue loosed by his ecclesiasti- painting, and on the ball-room of their cal superior, Huss lifted up his voice, and landlord they placed a most significant rep from the pulpit, and by means of a power- resentation. On one side was represented ful pamphlet also, denounced the blind

the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, “meek miracle-hunting and the fraudulent miracle

and sitting upon an ass,” before him the working of the age. Students and citizens,

common people and children with olive nobility and the court itself, crowded to branches, behind him his apostles, barefoot hear this favorite of the people. Ilis name

and in linen garments; on the other side, resounded throughout the German Empire. the pope, riding a charger decked with The eyes both of friends and foes were gold, silver, and precious stones, preceded turned toward Bohemia.

by trumpeters and kettle-drummers, lifeSo long as the opposition of Iluss was guardsmen and soldiers, and followed by considered only as the result of transient cardinals, also well mounted and richly excitement, it was, or appeared to be, unno

dressed. Thousands of people daily crowded ticed. But when, to use the words of Eras

the hall, and exulted in the witty device. inus, he afterward, by the reduction of

Great commotion was caused in Prague by mass and penance money, and of pious this striking picture, and the Englishmen gifts in general, touched the sensitive feel- had to retire. ings of the monks, abuse ran high against

But the time was now drawing on when the enthusiast, the disturber of the peace, the great antithesis was to be worked out the “mover of sedition,” the heretic and by sterner weapons than the pencils of the “pestilent fellow.” The priests attached to

young English students. The archbishop Rome assailed the royal palace with peti- thought it time to appear on the stage himtions. At this time King Wenceslaus, by self. He had but a small hold on the stuthe advice of his physicians, was taking less

dents of the university, where the reputawine and living more than usually in ac- tion of Huss was so high that young men cordance with the wishes of his wife, an en

flocked from all parts of Germany to listen lightened Bavarian princess, named Sophia. to his teachings as Professor of Theology. He despatched the petitioners with these

It is declared that at one time there were words: “You shall leave my goose in peace

no fewer than forty thousand students residwho lays me golden eggs.

Iu the mean

ing in Prague. They had scant reverence time the doctrines of Huss had already for the archbishop. They called him the overpassed the boundaries of the country, "Alphabetarius,” or “the A B C doctor." and had widely spread, especially in Ilun. He could hold a bridle more skilfully than gary, where the eloquent and zealous Jerome

a pen, and could judge a horse better than boldly preached before king and people,

a thesis. lle summoned Iluss, and comand where, as in Poland, a prejudice in

manded him not to further insult the digfavor of the Greek Church had already pro- nity of the pope, and, above all things, to duced a species of reform.

abstain from the heresy of Wycliffe. Huss In Prague the contest with Rome was

modestly replied that he “taught only the not only carried on by words, but was repre- doctrines of Christ." Zbynek dismissed sented by symbols. There was then a re

him, half-mildly, half-angrily, but himself markable amount of intercourse between inwardly determined to put an end to the these two seats of learning,–Oxford in

affair by a single blow. The following England and Prague in Bohemia ; and a day, in the palace of the archbishop, barristory has survived illustrative of the kind

caded and surrounded by soldiers, the colof influence which reached the Bohemian lected works of Wycliffe, most of the writ

ings of Huss and Jerome, as well as those of

- The name "Huss' in the Bohemian dialect means a goose.

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their predecessors, Milicz and Janow, al- Huss as a determined heretic. It was put together more than two hundred carefully forth with the most terrible formulas. If written and splendidly bound volumes, were Master John Huss persisted twenty days piled together and burned. A cry of indig- longer in his disobedience to “the Holy nation ran throughout Bohemia. Public Father" (the monster) John XXIII., the ban opinion and taste were at once outraged. was to be proclaimed in all churches with Even the priests, but the pobility especially, ringing of bells and extinguishing of tapers. protested against this Vandal-like destruc- Every place that housed him, every man that tion. The queen wept, and Wenceslaus bore him company, should lie under the same cursed aloud.

curse. Master John's person must be seized, John Huss was not the man to be silenced condernned, and burned according to law; by the vivid eloquence of these tongues of and Bethlehem chapel must be destroyed to flame, though they uttered very warning de- its foundations, that no more heretics might nunciations. The following Sunday he as- nestle there. So ran the sentence of excomcended the pulpit, and commented on the con- munication. When Iluss heard the thunduct of his adversaries. "Fire,” he cried, der, he said, “I appeal from the Roman court “does not consume truth. It is always a mark to the most just Judge and Iligh Priest over of a little mind to vent anger on inanimate all.” and uninjurious objects : the books which The pontiff was inflexible, and, as Iluss are burned are a loss to the whole nation.” stood firm, the city of Prague was placed He set to work afresh, translated many of under the terrible papal interdict. It was the condemned writings into the language of deserted by the clergy, the churches were the Slavonian race,-one of his translations is closed, the dead were left unburied. The now in the library at Stockholm, carried merchants grumbled on the quiet quays, the thither by the Swedes at the close of the landlords sighed over their empty chambers, Thirty Years' War. At the same time he and Prague was on the point of starving. issued the first translation of the whole “It is Master Iluss that hath brought the Bible among the people. Aided by Jerome, mischief,” murmured one. “It is that firehe wrote for them hymns which turned into breathing Jerome,” said another. “It all melody the thoughts and feelings of their comes of religious schism,” gloomily redeepest life. Then the archbishop, hot from marked a third. Strife between the adhehis great fire, interdicted him from preach- rents of the old and of the new doctrines ing, in Bohemian, in the Bethlehem chapel ; was unavoidable. Serious preparations for but he preached on to vast crowds. He was contest were made on both sides. The redow Rector of the University of Prague, and former's party was not by any means the from that exalted station he thundered least either physical or moral strength. against the sale of indulgences, the fire of But the natural mildness and the patriotism purgatory, prayers for the dead, the worship of Iluss made him abhor bloodshed and civil of images, invocation of saints, auricular con- war. He acted, therefore, as noble contes fession, communion in one kind, and tran- sors had done before him: he went into substantiation.

voluntary exile, that the strife of arms might This boldness raised the anger of the be averted, and that Prague might be repope, John XXIII., who issued a bull sum- lieved from the fearful curse of the intermoning Huss to Bologna, where that pontiff dict. But, like Luther in the Wartburg, it was then holding his disreputable court. was labor, and not repose, that he sought; As this would be merely to walk into his and his remarkable work, “De Ecclesia," was grave, Huss disregarded the summons, de- the fruit of his visit to the fortress of the claring that the pope, who in ecclesiastical lords of Anstie. From time to time he moved power was not above other priests, had no about, shifting his quarters; but he was right to summon any one before him, and perpetually coming forth from his places of that he himself, John Huss, maintained the refuge to preach in the open air to vast mulconfession of Doctor Wycliffe. The king, the titudes of people who came to hear him. It queen, the university, all interceded with the is remarkable that as yet he remained perpope, but to no purpose. Sentence of ex- sonally uninjured. One cause of this fact, communication was then pronounced against independently of the anxiety with which his

ance

friends watched over his life, is thus ex- Huss grew daily more bold; and his defiplained by one of his enemies : “His man- was intensified when John XXIII. ners are reserved and austere, his life and issued an infamous bull against the King of conduct a course of self-denial, and so far Bohemia because the latter would not supremoved from vice that in this respect no

port John's claims to the Popedom. In this one can find aught against him. llis hag- bull was promised a free passport to Paragard and faded countenance, his tall, ema

dise to any one who would kill the king. ciated figure, his ready disposition to sympa

Huss and Jerome strenuously opposed the thize with and assist all men, even the scandalous measure. meanest, attract adherents more even than

What was to be done? Such crying his eloquence. The stupid people hold him scandals, such intolerable abuses of spiritual as a saint, and as such they are persuaded power, had been perpetrated in the very that he can neither deceive nor be deceived." light of day that the stifled murmur on the

Events were now happeving of the most lips of princes and people had at length momentous kind, and these were tending to

broken out into a loud cry for reform. raise the Protestant movement from its

The story of what came of it all—the calling narrow confines till all Europe should feel of the famous Council of Constance, and its its power and do homage to its champions. treatment of Huss and Jerome-will be told Christendom was scandalized and bewil

in another and concluding paper. dered by three rival popes. The Italians had

S. FLETCHER WILLIAMS.

Scarborough, Eng. Balthazar Cossa, who, as John XXIII., set up his chair at Bologna; the French bad Angelo Corario, reigning at Rimini as Gregory XII.; HOW A MINISTER WAS HELPED TO and the Spaniards had Peter de Lune, who,

WRITE HIS SERMON. as Benedict XIII., reigned at Aragon. All these were infamous characters. Each de- This is the way it happened. It was clared on oath that he was Saint Peter's legiti- Thursday morning. The working hours of mate successor. All cursed one another, as one day had been spent in the anxious effort only “vicars of Christ" can

The to decide on a subject for the next Sundar's puzzled laity went about begging, for pity's

The choice was still, to all appearsake, to be told which of the three heads ances, as far as ever from being made. The that seemed to have the nimbus around anxiety about it had become a painful solici. their brows was in truth Christ's vicar. tude, with a sense of fear and distress ready John said that Benedict and Gregory were at any moment to turn into despair. For devils, and Benedict and Gregory gave a not the least part of the work of making a similarly affectionate certificate of character sermon is choosing the subject. Not that to John. As a way of the time observed, there are few things that need be said, the chair of Saint Peter was well-nigh broken nor few subjects appropriate to the pulpit, by three popes all sitting down upon it at not this constitutes the difficulty. But a one time. Europe was in a state of civil preacher is not an arrangement of millstones war, and indulgences were freely sold to and hopper into which current event and secure gold to carry on the contentions of moral principles and truth generally calcuthese rival popes.

lated to elevate and inspire may be thrown, These frightful abuses aroused Huss to and leave him only to draw the slide and fearlessly attack the authority of the Church, take out the weekly grist. and thus strike at the root of all the griev- That indefinable something called the "per

He thereupon published a tract sonal equation” is more potent and more against what he was convinced were six imperious in the preacher's work than in errors of Rome: the mass, in which the any other. There must be a sympathy estabpriest professes to create his Creator; the lished and maintained between the pulpit and doctrine of absolute belief in the pope as the pews,—a subtle, acute, rital sympathy,the representative of God; the priestly pre- or the pulpit utterances become irrelerant, tension to remit sin; the absolute obedience and the preacher's work becomes an affected, demanded to all that the Church decrees ; in- soulless, perfunctory business, for so much a valid excommunication ; priestly simony. year and certain perquisites. Now, it is this

eurse.

sermon.

ances.

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