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than this for my sake.” When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was officious enough to desire him to abjure: “ said Huss, “I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency, and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my blood.” The flames were then applied to the fagots, when the martyr sang 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 last his voice was cut short, after he had uttered, “ Jesus Christ, thou Son of the living God, have mercy upon me!” and he was consumed in a most miserable manner. The duke of Bavaria ordered the executioner to throw all the martyr's clothes into the flames; after which his ashes were carefully collected, and cast into the Rhine *
JEROME OF PRAGUE.
Died May 30th, 1416.
Thy call I follow to the land unknown;
A noble champion for the cause of Protestantism in the fifteenth century, the intimate friend of John Huss; and, like him, a martyr to his zeal against the corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church, was
Erasmus Middleton. Chalmers.
born at Prague. Poggius, the secretary of two successive popes, was present; and from his letter to Aretine, I have abridged the following interesting and affecting account of Jerome's death.
“ Since my return to Constance, my attention has been wholly engaged by Jerome of Bohemia. The eloquence and learning which this person has employed in his own defence, are so extraordinary, that I cannot forbear giving you a short account of him. To confess the truth, I never knew the art of speaking carried so near the model of ancient eloquence. It was, indeed, amazing to hear with what force of expression, with what fluency of language, and with what excellency of reasoning, he answered his adversaries ; nor was I less struck with the gracefulness of his manner, the dignity of his action, and the firmness and constancy of his behaviour. His whole conduct was truly great and pious. Every one expected that he would now either retract his errors or apologize for them. He declared plainly that he had nothing to retract. Firm and intrepid he stood before the council, collected in himself, and not only contemning, but seeming even desirous of death. The greatest character in ancient history could not possibly go beyond him. If there is any justice in history, this man will be admired by all posterity. Two days were allowed him for reflection, during which time many persons of consequence, and particularly my Lord Cardinal of Florence, endeavoured to bring him to a better mind. But persisting obstinately, he was condemned as a heretic. With a cheerful countenance, and more than stoical constancy, he met his fate, fearing neither death itself, nor the horrible form in which it appeared. When he came to the place, he pulled off his upper garment, and made a short prayer at the stake, to which he was soon after bound with wet cords and an iron chain, and inclosed as high as his breast with fagots.
“ Observing the executioner about to set fire to the wood behind his back, he cried out, ‘Bring thy torch hither; perform thy office before my face. Had I feared death, I might have avoided it.? As the wood began to blaze, he sang an hymn, which the violence of the flame scarce interrupted. Thus died this wonderful man. His death was a lesson of philosophy *."
Born A D. 1419, died A.D. 1489-90, aged 70.
“ Death bursts the involving cloud, and all is day.”
An eminent German scholar and philosopher of the fifteenth century, a native of Groningen. By some he has been denominated a light of the world, probably because he was accounted by them the fore
Poggius of Florence, Letter to Leonard Aretine.
runner of Luther. Sixtus the Fourth, who was his friend, and was well acquainted with his learning, desired him to come to Rome, and offered to give him whatever he requested. Wesselus asked for a Hebrew and Greek Bible, which he had seen in the Vatican. · Why do you not mention a bishopric?" inquired the Pontiff. “Because I do not want it,” replied the modest Wesselus. A learned friend visited him when sick, and asked him how he felt himself; he replied, “ that considering the infirmities of age, and the painfulness of his disorder, he thought himself as well as he could desire : but that one thing dwelt heavy on his mind : surrounded by various thoughts and arguments, he had begun to entertain doubts respecting the Christian religion.” His friend was surprised beyond measure, and began to exhort the sick man that he would direct all his thoughts to Jesus, the only Saviour : but perceiving that advice of this nature was very disagreeable, he went away exceeding sorrowful. An hour afterward, Wesselus secing his friend approach, with a cheerful mind, said exultingly, “ I thank God all my vain disputations are vanished, I now know nothing but Jesus and him crucified.” In this confession, he rendered his soul to God *
• Adami Vitæ Philosophorum, fol. 11. Freheri Theatrum, fol. 1431.
PIUS THE SECOND.
Born A.D. 1405. Died A.D. 1464, aged 58-9.
A MAN of great talents, learning, and industry, whose original name was Æneas Sylvius, born at Corsignano, in Sienna. Wasted away by a slow but unremitting fever, which he caught at Ancona, he there expired; and some of the particulars respecting his last hours are so interesting, that in justice to my subject I cannot omit them. So great was the strength of his mind and body, so remarkable his constancy and fortitude, that during every period of his sickness he never omitted the duties of investigating the affairs and giving audience to the ambassadors of various nations ; to pass judgment, threaten, and to advise, to honour and to punish, these were his constant employments during the hours of his last sickness. About two hours only before he drew his last breath, the cardinals were called into his presence, when he exhorted them to unity in the choice of his successor. Death he did not fear, he manifested no sign of a discomposed or inconstant mind *
Pius well knowing that the hour was come in which he must restore his spirit to God, requested that his brethren might be invited to his couch.
• Platina, fol. 264.