Friday, December 08, 2017


My notes or rather compilation for adult Sunday School Reformation heroes

John Huss (Jan Hus) was born in Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic) in about 1371. He received a master's degree from Charles University in Prague in 1396, became a professor of theology in 1398, was ordained to the priesthood in 1400, was made rector of the University in 1402, and in 1404 received a bachelor's degree in theology (presumably a more advanced degree than the term suggests today).
In his day, there was a crisis of authority in the Western Church. In 1305, under pressure from the King of France, the seat of the Popes was move from Rome to Avignon in France, where it remained for 70 years. (This period is called the Babylonian Captivity of the Papacy, suggesting the 70 years that Jerusalem lay desolate after when the Jews were deported to Babylon.) In 1376, the then pope returned to Rome. When he died soon after, the cardinals, mostly French, were disposed to elect a French Pope, but the people of Rome objected, fearing that a Frence Pope would move the Papacy back to France. The cardinals therefore elected an Italian Pope, and then fled elsewhere, where they elected a French Pope and said that the first election had been under duress, and was void. Thus there were two (later three) claimants for the Papal Office. The Council of Constance was called to settle the matter. One claimant recognized the Council and then abdicated. The Council responded by proclaiming that he had been the true Pope. It then deposed the other two, and elected a new Pope, thus healing the schism.
Meanwhile, Huss had begun to denounce various church abuses in his sermons. His disputes with authority did not concern basic theological issues, but rather matters of church discipline and practice. The custom had arisen, at celebrations of the Lord's Supper, of distributing the consecrated bread to all Christians in good standing who desired to receive it, but restricting the chalice to the celebrant alone. Huss denounced this restriction as contrary to Holy Scripture and to the ancient tradition of the Church. He also held that Church officials ought to exercise spiritual powers only, and not be earthly governors. In 1412 his archbishop excommunicated him, not for heresy, but for insubordination. (The real problem was that Huss supported one papal claimant and the archbishop another. Huss's candidate was ultimately declared to be the true pope.) Matters came to a head when one claimant (later declared unfit) proclaimed a sale of indulgences to raise money for a war against his rivals. Huss was horrified at the idea of selling spiritual benefits to finance a war between two claimants to the title "Servant of the Servants of God," and said so.
In 1414 he was summoned to the Council of Constance, with the Emperor guaranteeing his personal safety even if found guilty. He was tried, and ordered to recant certain heretical doctrines. He replied that he had never held or taught the doctrines in question, and was willing to declare the doctrines false, but not willing to declare on oath that he had once taught them. The one point on which Huss could be said to have a doctrinal difference with the Council was that he taught that the office of the pope did no exist by Divine command, but was established by the Church that things might be done in an orderly fashion (a view that he shared with Thomas More). The Council, having just narrowly succeeded in uniting Western Christendom under a single pope after years of chaos, was not about to have its work undone. It accordingly found him guilty of heresy, and he was burned at the stake on 6 July 1415.
After his death, his followers continued to insist on the importance of administering the Holy Communion in both kinds, and defeated several armies sent against them. In 1436 a pact was signed, by which the Church in Bohemia was authorized to administer Chalice as well as Host to all communicants. The followers of John Huss and his fellow martyr Jerome of Prague became known as the Czech Brethren and later as the Moravians. The Moravian Church survives to this day, and has had a considerable influence on the Lutheran movement. When Luther suddenly became famous after the publication of his 95 Theses, cartoons and graffiti began to appear implying that Luther was the spiritual heir of John Huss. When Luther encountered the Pope's representative Johannes Eck, in a crucial debate, Eck sidestepped the questions of indulgences and of justification by faith, and instead asked Luther whether the Church had been right to condemn Huss. When Luther, after thinking it over, said that Huss had been unjustly condemned, the whole question of the authority of Popes and Councils was raised.

"Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies."
arly in his monastic career, Martin Luther, rummaging through the stacks of a library, happened upon a volume of sermons by John Huss, the Bohemian who had been condemned as a heretic. "I was overwhelmed with astonishment," Luther later wrote. "I could not understand for what cause they had burnt so great a man, who explained the Scriptures with so much gravity and skill."

Dante completes Divine Comedy
Black Death hits Avignon
Death of William of Ockham
John Huss born
John Huss dies
Joan of Arc burned at stake
Huss would become a hero to Luther and many other Reformers, for Huss preached key Reformation themes (like hostility to indulgences) a century before Luther drew up his 95 Theses. But the Reformers also looked to Huss's life, in particular, his steadfast commitment in the face of the church's cunning brutality.
From foolishness to faith
Huss was born to peasant parents in "Goosetown," that is, Husinec, in the south of today's Czech Republic. (In his twenties, he shortened his name to Huss—"goose," and he and his friends delighted in making puns on his name; it was a tradition that continued, especially with Luther, who reminded his followers of the "goose" who had been "cooked" for defying the pope).
To escape poverty, Huss trained for the priesthood: "I had thought to become a priest quickly in order to secure a good livelihood and dress and to be held in esteem by men." He earned a bachelor's, master's, and then finally a doctorate. Along the way he was ordained (in 1401) and became the preacher at Prague's Bethlehem Chapel (which held 3,000), the most popular church in one of the largest of Europe's cities, a center of reform in Bohemia (for example, sermons were preached in Czech, not Latin).
During these years, Huss underwent a change. Though he spent some time with what he called a "foolish sect," he finally discovered the Bible: "When the Lord gave me knowledge of Scriptures, I discharged that kind of stupidity from my foolish mind."
The writings of John Wycliffe had stirred his interest in the Bible, and these same writings were causing a stir in Bohemia (technically the northeastern portion of today's Czech Republic, but a general term for the area where the Czech language and culture prevailed). The University of Prague was already split between Czechs and Germans, and Wycliffe's teachings only divided them more. Early debates hinged on fine points of philosophy (the Czechs, with Wycliffe, were realists; the Germans nominalists). But the Czechs, with Huss, also warmed up to Wycliffe's reforming ideas; though they had no intention of altering traditional doctrines, they wanted to place more emphasis on the Bible, expand the authority of church councils (and lessen that of the pope), and promote the moral reform of clergy. Thus Huss began increasingly to trust the Scriptures, "desiring to hold, believe, and assert whatever is contained in them as long as I have breath in me."

A political struggle ensued, with the Germans labeling Wycliffe and his followers heretics. With the support of the king of Bohemia, the Czechs gained the upper hand, and the Germans were forced to flee to other universities.
The situation was complicated by European politics, which watched as two popes vied to rule all of Christendom. A church council was called at Pisa in 1409 to settle the matter. It deposed both popes and elected Alexander V as the legitimate pontiff (though the other popes, repudiating this election, continued to rule their factions). Alexander was soon "persuaded"—that is, bribed—to side with Bohemian church authorities against Huss, who continued to criticize them. Huss was forbidden to preach and excommunicated, but only on paper: with local Bohemians backing him, Huss continued to preach and minister at Bethlehem Chapel.
When Alexander V's successor, the antipope John XXIII (not to be confused with the modern pope by the same name), authorized the selling of indulgences to raise funds for his crusade against one of his rivals, Huss was scandalized and further radicalized. The pope was acting in mere self-interest, and Huss could no longer justify the pope's moral authority. He leaned even more heavily on the Bible, which he proclaimed the final authority for the church. Huss further argued that the Czech people were being exploited by the pope's indulgences, which was a not-so-veiled attack on the Bohemian king, who earned a cut of the indulgence proceeds.
Scripture rebel
With that Huss lost the support of his king. His excommunication, which had been tacitly dropped, was now revived, and an interdict was put upon the city of Prague: no citizen could receive Communion or be buried on church grounds as long as Huss continued his ministry. To spare the city, Huss withdrew to the countryside toward the end of 1412. He spent the next two years in feverish literary activity, composing a number of treatises. The most important was The Church, which he sent to Prague to be read publicly. In it he argued that Christ alone is head of the church, that a pope "through ignorance and love of money" can make many mistakes, and that to rebel against an erring pope is to obey Christ.

In November 1414, the Council of Constance assembled, and Huss was urged by Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund to come and give an account of his doctrine. Because he was promised safe conduct, and because of the importance of the council (which promised significant church reforms), Huss went. When he arrived, however, he was immediately arrested, and he remained imprisoned for months. Instead of a hearing, Huss was eventually hauled before authorities in chains and asked merely to recant his views.
When he saw he wasn't to be given a forum for explaining his ideas, let alone a fair hearing, he finally said, "I appeal to Jesus Christ, the only judge who is almighty and completely just. In his hands I plead my cause, not on the basis of false witnesses and erring councils, but on truth and justice." He was taken to his cell, where many pleaded with him to recant. On July 6, 1415, he was taken to the cathedral, dressed in his priestly garments, then stripped of them one by one. He refused one last chance to recant at the stake, where he prayed, "Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies." He was heard reciting the Psalms as the flames engulfed him.
His executioners scooped up his ashes and tossed them into a lake so that nothing would remain of the "heretic," but some Czechs collected bits of soil from the ground where Huss had died and took them back to Bohemia as a memorial.
Bohemians were furious with the execution and repudiated the council; over the next several years, a coalition of Hussites, radical Taborites, and others refused to submit to the authority of the Holy Roman emperor or the church and fended off three military assaults. Bohemia eventually reconciled with the rest of western Christendom—though on its own terms (for example, it was one of the few Catholic regions that offered Communion of both bread and wine; the rest of Christendom simply received the bread). Those who repudiated this last compromise formed the Unitas Fratrum ("Union of Brethren"), which became the foundation for the Moravian Brethren (Moravia is a region in the Czech Republic), who would play an influential role in the conversion of the Wesley brothers, among others.

Alternative Titles: Jan Huss, John Huss
Jan Hus

John Huss
Jan Huss
c. 1370
Husinec, Czech Republic
July 6, 1415
Jan Hus, Hus also spelled Huss (born c. 1370, Husinec, Bohemia [now in Czech Republic]—died July 6, 1415, Konstanz [Germany]), the most important 15th-century Czech religious Reformer, whose work was transitional between the medieval and the Reformation periods and anticipated the Lutheran Reformation by a full century. He was embroiled in the bitter controversy of the Western Schism (1378–1417) for his entire career, and he was convicted of heresy at the Council of Constance and burned at the stake.
Early Life And Teaching Career
Hus was born of poor parents in Husinec in southern Bohemia, from which he took his name. About 1390 he enrolled in the University of Prague, and two years after his graduation in 1394 he received a master’s degree and began teaching at the university. He became dean of the philosophical faculty there in 1401.
At this time the University of Prague was undergoing a period of struggle against foreign, chiefly German, influence as well as an intense rivalry between, on the one hand, German masters who upheld nominalism and were regarded as enemies of church reform and, on the other, the strongly nationalistic Czech masters, who were inclined to realist philosophy and were enthusiastic readers of the philosophical writings of John Wycliffe, a bitter critic of nominalism. Hus studied Wycliffe’s works and later his theological writings, which were brought into Prague in 1401. Hus was influenced by Wycliffe’s underlying principles, though he never accepted their extreme implications, and was particularly impressed by Wycliffe’s proposals for reform of the Roman Catholic clergy. The clerical estate owned about one-half of all the land in Bohemia, and the great wealth and simoniacal practices of the higher clergy aroused jealousy and resentment among the poor priests. The Bohemian peasantry, too, resented the church as one of the heaviest land taxers. There was thus a large potential base of support for any church reform movement at a time when the authority of the papacy itself was discredited by the Western Schism. Attempts at reform had been made by the Bohemian king Charles IV, and Wycliffe’s works were the chosen weapon of the national reform movement founded by Jan Milíč of Kroměříž (d. 1374).
Leader Of Czech Reform Movement
In 1391 Milíč’s pupils founded the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, where public sermons were preached in Czech (rather than in Latin) in the spirit of Milíc̆’s teaching. From 1402 Hus was in charge of the chapel, which had become the centre of the growing national reform movement in Bohemia. He became increasingly absorbed in public preaching and eventually emerged as the popular leader of the movement. Despite his extensive duties at the Bethlehem Chapel, Hus continued to teach in the university faculty of arts and became a candidate for the doctor’s degree in theology. Hus also became the adviser to the young nobleman Zbyněk Zajíc of Hazmburk when Zbyněk was named archbishop of Prague in 1403, a move that helped to give the reform movement a firmer foundation.

Jan Hus.

In 1403 a German university master, Johann Hübner, drew up a list of 45 articles, presumably selected from Wycliffe’s writings, and had them condemned as heretical. Because the German masters had three votes and the Czech masters only one, the Germans easily outvoted the Czechs, and the 45 articles were henceforth regarded as a test of orthodoxy. The principal charge against Wycliffe’s teaching was his tenet of remanence—i.e., that the bread and wine in the Eucharist retain their material substance. Wycliffe also declared the Scriptures to be the sole source of Christian doctrine. Hus did not share all of Wycliffe’s radical views, such as that on remanence, but several members of the reform party did, among them Hus’s teacher, Stanislav of Znojmo, and his fellow student, Štěpán Páleč.

During the first five years of Zbyněk’s reign as archbishop of Prague, his attitude toward the “evangelical party” radically changed. The opponents of reform won him over to their side and, in 1407, succeeded in charging Stanislav and Páleč with heresy, and they were cited to the Roman Curia for examination. The two men returned completely changed in their theological views and became the principal opponents of the Reformers. Thus, just when Hus had emerged at the forefront of the reform movement, he came into conflict with his former friends.
Hus And The Western Schism

Since 1378 the Roman Catholic Church had been split by the Western Schism, during which the papal jurisdiction was divided between two popes. As the leader of reform, Hus unhesitatingly quarreled with Archbishop Zbyněk when the latter opposed the Council of Pisa (1409), which was called to dethrone the rival popes and to reform the church. The council had the support of the Czech masters at the University of Prague, whereas the German masters were opposed to it. The German masters, who carried a voting majority in university affairs, supported the archbishop, which so enraged King Wenceslas that in January 1409 he subverted the university constitution by granting the Czech masters three votes each and the Germans only one; the result was a mass emigration of the Germans from Prague to several German universities. In the fall of 1409 Hus was elected rector of the now Czech-dominated university.
The final break between Archbishop Zbyněk and Hus occurred when the Council of Pisa deposed both Pope Gregory XII, whose authority was recognized in Bohemia, and the antipope Benedict XIII and in their place elected Alexander V. The deposed popes, however, retained jurisdiction over portions of western Europe; thus, instead of two, there were three popes. The archbishop and the higher clergy in Bohemia remained faithful to Gregory, whereas Hus and the reform party acknowledged the new pope. After being forced by the king’s punitive measures to recognize Alexander V as the legitimate pope, the archbishop, through a large bribe, induced Alexander to prohibit preaching in private chapels, including the Bethlehem Chapel. Hus refused to obey the pope’s order, whereupon Zbyněk excommunicated him. Despite his condemnation, Hus continued to preach at the Bethlehem Chapel and to teach at the University of Prague. Zbyněk was ultimately forced by the king to promise Hus his support before the Roman Curia, but he then died suddenly in 1411, and the leadership of Hus’s enemies passed to the Curia itself.
In 1412 the case of Hus’s heresy, which had been tacitly dropped, was revived because of a new dispute over the sale of indulgences that had been issued by Alexander’s successor, the antipope John XXIII, to finance his campaign against Gregory XII. Their sale in Bohemia aroused general indignation but had been approved by King Wenceslas, who, as usual, shared in the proceeds. Hus publicly denounced these indulgences before the university and, by so doing, lost the support of Wenceslas. This was to prove fatal to him. Hus’s enemies then renewed his trial at the Curia, where he was declared under major excommunication for refusing to appear and an interdict was pronounced over Prague or any other place where Hus might reside, thereby denying certain sacraments of the church to communicants in the interdicted area. In order to spare the city the consequences, Hus voluntarily left Prague in October 1412. He found refuge mostly in southern Bohemia in the castles of his friends, and during the next two years he engaged in feverish literary activity. His enemies, particularly Stanislav and Páleč, wrote a large number of polemical treatises against him, which he answered in an equally vigorous manner. The most important of his treatises was De ecclesia (The Church). He also wrote a large number of treatises in Czech and a collection of sermons entitled Postilla.
The Final Trial

With the Western Schism continuing unabated, King Sigismund of Hungary, as the newly elected (1411) king of Germany, saw an opportunity to gain prestige as the restorer of the church’s unity. He forced John XXIII to call the Council of Constance to find a final solution of the schism and to put an end to all the heresies. Sigismund, therefore, sent an emissary to invite Hus to attend the council to explain his views—an invitation Hus naturally was reluctant to accept. But when John threatened King Wenceslas for noncompliance with the interdict, and after Sigismund had assured Hus of safe-conduct for the journey to Constance and back (no matter what the decision might be), Hus finally consented to go.
He left for Constance but did not receive the safe-conduct until two days after his arrival there, in November 1414. Shortly after arriving in Constance he was, with Sigismund’s tacit consent, arrested and placed in close confinement, from which he never emerged. Hus’s enemies succeeded in having him tried before the Council of Constance as a Wycliffite heretic. All that the earnest intervention by the Bohemian nobles could obtain for him was three public hearings, at which he was allowed to defend himself and succeeded in refuting some of the charges against him. The council urged Hus to recant in order to save his life, but to the majority of its members he was a dangerous heretic fit only for death. When he refused to recant, he was solemnly sentenced on July 6, 1415, and burned at the stake.

Jan Hus in confinement.

There has been much dispute over the extent to which Hus was indebted to Wycliffe for his theological beliefs. At Constance he refused to submit to the council’s demand that he disavow Wycliffe entirely, and he undoubtedly did support the doctrine of predestination and advocate the supremacy of biblical authority over that of the Catholic church. Hus’s views can also be interpreted as the culmination of the Czech national reform movement, however. His followers and subsequent Bohemian religious Reformers adopted the name Hussites.
During his exile in 1412–14, Hus substituted for his popular preaching in Prague a series of writings in Czech; these have since become classics of Czech literature and are equally important in the history of the Czech language, because Hus developed a new and simpler orthography. The most important of these works is his popular tract Vyklad viery, desatera a patere (“Exposition of the Faith, of the Ten Commandments, and of the Lord’s Prayer”). Hus’s writings in Czech and Latin include other religious tracts, learned treatises and lectures, collections of his sermons, and personal letters.

I. The Life and Work of Huss. 
Early Life and Studies ( 1). 
Influence of Wyclif in Bohemia ( 2). 
The Papal Schism ( 3). 
Indulgences ( 4). 
Further Dissensions ( 5). 
The Council of Constance ( 6). 
Trial of Huss ( 7). 
Condemnation and Execution ( 8). 
Huss' Character, Writings, and Teachings ( 9). 
Source of his Influence ( 10). 
II. The Hussites. 
Effect in Bohemia of the Death of Huss ( 1). 
Two Parties in Bohemia ( 2). 
The Four Articles of Prague ( 3). 
Calixtinesor Utraquists, and Taborites ( 4). 
The Hussite Wars ( 5). 
The Council of Basel and Compactata of Prague ( 6). 
Final Disappearance of the Hussites ( 7).
I. The Life and Work of Huss
1. Early Life and Studies
John Huss, the famous Reformer of Bohemia, was born at Hussinetz (Husinecz; 75 m. s.s.w. of Prague) July 6, 1369, as commonly given; but the day is an inference from the fact that his followers honored his memory on July 6, the day of his death, and the year is probably too late; he was burned at the stake in Constance, June 6, 1415. John Huss is his common English designation, but the name is more correctly written, according to Slavic spelling, Hus. It is an abbreviation from his birthplace made by himself about 1399; in earlier life he was always known as Johann or Jan Hussinetz, or, in Latin, Johannes de Hussinetz. His parents were Czechs, in narrow circumstances. Like Luther, he had to earn his living by singing and performing humble services in the Church. He felt inclined toward the clerical profession, not so much by an inner impulse as by the attraction of the tranquil life of the clergy. He studied at Prague, where he must have been as early as the middle of the eighties. He was greatly in fluenced by Stanislaus of Znaim, who later was long his intimate friend, but finally his bitter enemy. As a student Huss slid not distinguish himself. The learned quotations of which he boasted in his writings were mostly taken from Wyclif's works. A hot temper and arrogance were traits of his character, and he was not free from sophistry. In 1393 he became bachelor of arts, in 1394 bachelor of theology, and in 1396 master of arts. In 1400 he was ordained priest, in 1401 he became dean of the philosophical faculty, and in the following year rector. In 1402 he was appointed also preacher of the Bethlehem Church in Prague, where he preached in the Czech language.

2. Influence of Wyclif in Bohemia
After the marriage of King Wenceslaus' sister, Anne, with Richard II. of England in 1382, the philosophical writings of Wyclif became known in Bohemia. As a student Huss had been greatly attracted by them, particularly by his philosophical realism. His inclination toward ecclesiastical reforms was awakened only by the acquaintance with Wyclif's theological writings. The so-called Hussism in the first decades of the fifteenth century was nothing but Wyclifism transplanted into Bohemian soil. As such it maintained itself until the death of Hues, then it turned into Utraquism, and with logical sequence there followed Taboritism (see below). The theological writings of Wyclif spread widely in Bohemia. They had been brought over, as is said, in 1401 or 1402 by Jerome of Prague, and Huss was greatly moved by them. The university arose against the spread of the new doctrines, and in 1403 prohibited a disputation on forty-five theses taken in part from Wyclif. Under Archbishop Sbinko of Hasenburg (from 1403), Huss enjoyed in the beginning a great reputation. In 1405 he was active as synodical preacher, but on account of his severe attacks upon the clergy the bishop was compelled to depose him.
3. The Papal Schism
The development of conditions at the University of Prague depended to a great extent on the question of the papal schism (see SCHISM). King Wenceslaus, who was on the point of assuming the reins of
government, but whose plans were in no way furthered by Gregory XII., renounced the latter and ordered his prelates to observe a strict neutrality toward both popes, and he expected the same of the university. But the archbishop remained faithful to Gregory, and at the university it was only the Bohemian nation, with Huss as its spokesman, which avowed neutrality. Incensed by this attitude, Wenceslaus, at the instigation of Huss and other Czech leaders, issued a decree according to which there should be conceded to the Bohemian nation three votes in all affairs of the university, while the foreign nations, principally the German, should have only one vote. As a consequence many German doctors, masters, and students left the university in 1409, and the University of Leipsic was founded. Thus Prague lost its international importance and became a Czech school; but the emigrants spread the fame of the Bohemian heresies into the most distant countries.
The archbishop was then isolated and Huss at the height of his fame. He became the first rector of the Czech university, and enjoyed the favor of the court. In the mean time, the doctrinal views of Wyclif had spread over the whole country. As long as Sbinko remained obedient to Gregory XII., all opposition to the new spirit was in vain; but as soon as he submitted to Alexander V., conditions changed. The archbishop brought his complaints before the papal see, accusing the Wyclifites as the instigators of all ecclesiastical disturbances in Bohemia. Thereupon the pope issued his bull of Dec. 20, 1409, which empowered the archbishop to proceed against Wyclifism-- all books of Wyclif were to be given up, his doctrines revoked, and free preaching discontinued. After the publication of the bull in 1410, Huss appealed to the pope, but in vain. All books and valuable manuscripts of Wyclif were burned, and Huss and his adherents put under the ban. This procedure caused an indescribable commotion among the people down to the lowest classes; in some places turbulent scenes occurred. The government took the part of Huss, and the power of his adherents increased from day to day. He continued to preach in the Bethlehem chapel, and became bolder and bolder in his accusations of the Church. The churches of the city were put under the ban, and the interdict was pronounced against Prague, but without result.
4. Indulgences.
Sbinko died in 1411, and with his death the religious movement in Bohemia entered a new phase-- the disputes concerning indulgences arose. In 1411 John XXIII. issued his Cruciata against King Ladislaus of Naples, the protector of Gregory XII. In Prague also the cross was preached, and preachers of indulgences urged people to crowd the churches and give their offerings. There developed a traffic in indulgences. Huss, following the example of Wyclif, lifted up his voice against it and wrote his famous Cruciata. But he could not carry with him the men of the university. In 1412 a disputation took place, on which occasion Huss delivered his Quaestio magistri Johannis Hus . . . de indulgentiis. It was taken literally from the last chapter of Wyclif's book, De ecclesia, and his treatise, De absolutione a pena et culpa. No pope or bishop, according to Wyclif and Huss, has a right to take up the sword in the name of the Church; he should pray for his enemies and bless those that curse him. Man obtains forgiveness of sins by real repentance, not for money. The doctors of the theological faculty replied, but without success. A few days afterward the people, led by Wok of Waldstein, burnt the papal bulls. Huss, they said, should be obeyed rather than the fraudulent mob of adulterers and simonists. Under the pressure of the opposing party, the long was forced to punish every public insult of the pope and all opposition against his bulls. Three men from the lower classes who openly contradicted the preachers during their sermons and called indulgences a fraud were beheaded. They were the first martyrs of the Hussite Church. The theological faculty requested Huss to present his speeches and doctrines to the dean for an examination, but he refused. In the mean time the faculty had condemned the forty-five articles anew and added several other heretical theses which had originated with Huss. The king forbade the teaching of these articles, but neither Huss nor the university approved of this summary condemnation, requesting that the unscripturalness of the articles should be first proved.
5. Further Dissentions
The tumults at Prague had stirred up a sensation, unpleasant for the Roman party; papal legates and Archbishop Albik tried to persuade Huss to give up his opposition against the bulls, and the king made an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile the two parties. In the mean time the clergy of Prague, through Michael de Causis, had brought their complaints before the pope, and he ordered the cardinal of St. Angelo to proceed against Huss without mercy. The cardinal put him under the great church ban. He was to be seized and delivered to the archbishop, and his chapel was to be destroyed. Stricter measures against Huss and his adherents, the counter-measures of the Hussites, and the appeal of Huss from the pope to Jesus Christ as the supreme judge only intensified the excitement among the people and forced Huss to depart from Prague, in compliance with the wish of the king; but his absence had not the expected effect. The excitement continued. The king, being grieved by the disrepute of his country on account of the heresy, made great efforts to harmonize the opposing parties. In 1412 he convoked the heads of his kingdom for a consultation, and at their suggestion ordered a synod to be held at Bohmisch-Brod on Feb. 2, 1412. It did not take place there, but in the palace of the archbishops at Prague, Huss being thus excluded from participation. Propositions were made for the restitution of the peace of the Church, Huss requiring especially that Bohemia should have the same freedom in regard to eccIesiastical affairs as other countries and that approbation and condemnation should therefore be announced only with the permission of the state power. This is wholly the doctrine of Wyclif (Sermones, iii. 519, etc.). There followed treatises from both parties, but no harmony was obtained. "Even if
I should stand before the stake which has been prepared for me," Huss wrote in those days, "I would never accept the recommendation of the theological faculty." The synod did not produce any results, but the king did not yet give up his hope--he ordered a commission to continue the work of reconciliation. The doctors of the university required from Huss and his adherents an approval of their conception of the Church, according to which the pope is the head, the cardinals the body of the Church, and that all regulations of this Church must be obeyed. Huss protested vigorously against this conception since it made pope and cardinals alone the Church. Nevertheless the Hussite party seems to have approached the standpoint of their opponents as closely as possible. To the article that the Roman Church must be obeyed, they added "so far as every pious Christian is bound." Stanislaus of Znaim and Stephan of Palecz protested against this addition and left the convention. The king exiled them, with two other spokesmen. Of the writings occasioned by these controversies, that of Huss on the Church (De ecclesia) has been most frequently quoted and admired or criticized, and yet it is in the first ten chapters but a meagre epitome of Wyclif's work of the same title, and in the following chapters an abstract of a work by the same author (De potestate pape) on the power of the pope Wyclif had written his book to oppose the common view that the Church consisted only of the clergy, and Huss now found himself in a similar condition. He wrote his work at the castle of one of his protectors in Koz hradek, near Austie, and sent it to Prague, where it was publicly read in the Bethlehem chapel. It was answered by Stanislaus of Znaim and Palecz with treatises of the same title. After the most vehement opponents of Huss had left Prague, his adherents occupied the whole ground. Huss wrote his treatises and preached in the neighborhood of Koz hradek. Bohemian Wyclifism was carried into Poland, Hungary, Croatia, and Austria; but at the same time the papal court was not inactive. In Jan., 1413, there assembled at Rome a general council which condemned the writings of Wyclif and ordered them to be burned.
6. The Council of Constance.
To put an end to the papal schism and to take up the long desired reform of the Church, a general council was convened for Nov. 1, 1414, at Constance. The Emperor Sigismund, brother of Wenceslaus, and heir to the Bohemian crown, was anxious to clear the country from the blemish of heresy. Huss likewise was willing to make an end of all dissensions, and gladly followed the request of Sigismund to go to Constance. From the sermons which he took along, it is evident that he purposed to convert the assembled fathers to his own (i.e., Wyclif's) principal doctrines. Sigismund promised him safe-conduct. Provided with sufficient testimonies concerning his orthodoxy, and after having made his will as if he had divined his death, he started on his journey (Oct. 11, 1414). On Nov. 3 he arrived at Constance, and on the following day the bulletins on the church doors announced that Michael of Deutschbrod would be the opponent of Huss, the heretic. In the beginning Huss was at liberty, making his abode at the house of a widow, but after a few weeks his opponents succeeded in imprisoning him, on the strength of a rumor that he intended to flee. He was first brought into the residence of a canon, and thence, on Dec. 8, into the dungeon of the Dominican monastery. Sigismund was greatly angered at the abuse of his letter of safe-conduct and threatened the prelates with dismissal, but when it was hinted that in such a case the council would be dissolved, there was nothing left for him but to accommodate himself to the circumstances. Thus the fate of Huss was sealed. On Dec. 4 the pope had entrusted a committee of three bishops with a preliminary investigation against him. The witnesses for the prosecution were heard, but Huss was refused an advocate for his defense. His situation became worse after the catastrophe of John XXIII., who had left Constance to evade the necessity of abdicating (see John XXIII.). So far Huss had been the captive of the pope and in constant intercourse with his friends, but now he was delivered to the archbishop of Constance and brought to his castle, Gottlieben on the Rhine. Here he remained seventy-three days, separated from his friends, chained day and night, poorly fed, and tortured by disease.
7. Trial of Huss.
On June 5 he was tried for the first time, and for that purpose was transferred to the Franciscan monastery, where he spent the last weeks of his life. He acknowledged the writings on the Church against Palecz and Stanislaus of Znaim as his own, and declared himself willing to recant, if errors should be proven to him. Huss conceded his veneration of Wyclif, and said that he could only wish his soul might some time attain unto that place where Wyclif's was. On the other hand, he denied having defended Wyclif's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, or the forty-five articles; he had only opposed their summary condemnation. The king admonished him to deliver himself up to the mercy of the council, as he did not desire to protect a heretic. At the last trial, on June 8, there were read to him thirty-nine sentences, twenty-six of which had been excerpted from his book on the Church, seven from his treatise' against Palecz, and six from that against Stanislaus. Almost all of his articles may be traced back to Wyclif. The danger of some of these doctrines as regards worldly power was explained to the emperor to incite him against Huss. The latter declared himself willing to submit if he could be convinced of errors. He desired only a fairer trial and more time to explain the reasons for his views. If his reasons and Bible texts did not suffice, he would be glad to be instructed. This declaration was considered an unconditional surrender, and he was asked to confess (1) that he had erred in the theses which he had hitherto maintained; (2) that he renounced them for the future; (3) that he recanted them; and (4) that he declared the opposite of these sentences. He asked to be exempted from recanting doctrines which he had never taught; others, which the assembly considered erroneous, he was willing to revoke; to act differently would be against his conscience. These words found no favorable reception. After the
trial on June 8, several other attempts were made to induce him to recant, but he resisted all of them. The attitude of Sigismund was due to political considerations--he looked upon the return of Huss to his country as dangerous, and thought the terror of execution would not be without effect. Huss no longer hoped for life, indeed martyrdom responded to an inner desire of his being.
8. Condemnation and Execution.
The condemnation took place on July 6 in the presence of the solemn assembly of the council in the cathedral. After the performance of high mass and liturgy, Huss was led into the church. The bishop of Lodi delivered an oration on the duty of eradicating heresy; then some theses of Huss and Wyclif and a report of his trial were read. He protested loudly several times, and when his appeal to Christ was rejected as a condemnable heresy, he exclaimed, "O God and Lord, now the council condemns even thine own act and thine own law as heresy, since thou thyself didst lay thy cause before thy Father as the just judge, as an example for us, whenever we are sorely oppressed." An Italian prelate pronounced the sentence of condemnation upon Huss and his writings. Again he protested loudly, saying that even at this hour he did not wish anything but to be convinced from Holy Scripture. He fell upon his knees and asked God with a low voice to forgive all his enemies. Then followed his degradation--he was enrobed in priestly vestments and again asked to recant; again he refused. With curses his ornaments were taken from him, his priestly tonsure was destroyed, and the sentence was pronounced that the Church had deprived him of all rights and delivered him to the secular powers. Then a high paper hat was put upon his head, with the inscription Haeresiarcha. Thus Huss was led away to the stake under a strong guard of armed men. At the place of execution he knelt down, spread out his hands, and prayed aloud. Some of the people asked that a confessor should he given him, but a bigoted priest exclaimed, a heretic should neither be heard nor given a confessor. The executioners undressed Huss and tied his hands behind his back with ropes, and his neck with a chain to a stake around which wood and straw had been piled up so that it covered him to the neck. Still at the last moment, the imperial marshal, Von Pappenheim, in the presence of the Count Palatine, asked him to save his life by a recantation, but Huss declined with the words "God is my witness that I have never taught that of which I have been accused by false witnesses. In the truth of the Gospel which I have written, taught, and preached I will die to-day with gladness." Thereupon the fire was kindled. With uplifted voice Huss sang, "Christ, thou Son of the living God, have mercy upon me." When he started this for the third time and continued "who art born of Mary the virgin," the wind blew the flame into his face; he still moved lips and head, and then died of suffocation. His clothes were thrown into the fire, his ashes gathered and cast into the nearby Rhine.
9. Huss' Character, Writings, and Teachings.
The Czech people, who in his lifetime had loved Huss as their prophet and apostle, now adored him as their saint and martyr. He possessed high virtues, but in his struggles with the University of Prague and his ecclesiastical opponents he can not be freed altogether from the reproach of slander and abuse. His learning was not of a universal range; wherever he goes beyond Wyclif, he falters and becomes dull or verbose. He left only a few reformatory writings in the proper sense of the word, most of his works being polemical treatises against Stanislaus and Polecz. It is doubtful whether he knew all the works of Wyclif. He translated the Trialogus, and was very familiar with his works on the body of the Lord, on the Church, on the power of the pope, and especially with his sermons. The book on the Church and on the power of the pope contains the essence of the doctrine of Huss. According to it, the Church is not that hierarchy which is generally designated as Church; the Church is the entire body of those who from eternity have been predestined for salvation. Christ, not the pope, is its head. It is no article of faith that one must obey the pope to be saved. Neither external membership in the Church nor churchly offices and dignities are a surety that the persons in question are members of the true Church. What he says in his sermons on the corruption of the Church, clergy, and monks, on the duties of secular powers, etc., he has taken almost literally from Wyclif. His three great sermons, De sufficientia legis Christi, De fidei suae elucidatione, and De pace, with which he thought to carry away the whole council at Constance, are exact reproductions of Wyclif's sermons. He claims not to have shared Wyclif's views regarding the sacraments, but this is not certain. The soil had been well prepared for this very doctrine in Bohemia. There are reasons to suppose that Wyclif's doctrine of the Lords' Supper had spread to Prague as early as 1399. It gained an even wider circulation after it had been prohibited in 1403, and Huss preached and taught it, although it is possible that he simply repeated it without advocating it. But the doctrine was seized eagerly by the radical party, the Taborites, who made it the central point of their system.
10. Source of His Influence
The great success of Huss in his native country was due mainly to his unsurpassed pastoral activity, which far excelled that of the famous old preachers of Bohemia. But even here Huss was the docile pupil of the Englishman. Huss himself put the highest value on the sermon and knew how to awaken the enthusiasm of the masses. His sermons are often inflammatory as regards their contents; he introduces his quarrels with his spiritual superiors, criticizes contemporaneous events, or appeals to his congregation as witness or judge. It was this bearing which multiplied his adherents, and thus he became the true apostle of his English master without being himself a theorist in theological questions. In the art of governing and leading masses he was unexcelled. Huss' warm friend and devoted follower, Jerome of Prague, shared his fate, although he did not suffer death till nearly a year later.
II. The Hussites
1. Effect in Bohemia of the Death of Huss
The arrest of Huss had excited considerable resentment in Bohemia and Moravia. In both countries the estates appealed repeatedly and urgently to Sigismund to deliver Huss. On the arrival of the news of his death disturbances broke out which were directed at first against the clergy, especially against the monks. Even the archbishop saved himself with difficulty from the rage of the populace. In the country places conditions were not much better. Everywhere the treatment of Huss was felt as a disgrace inflicted upon the whole country, and his death was looked upon as a criminal act. King Wenceslaus, prompted by his grudge against Sigismund, at first gave free vent to his indignation at the course of events in Constance; and his wife openly favored the friends of Huss. Pronounced Hussites stood at the head of the government. A league was formed by certain lords who pledged themselves to protect the free preaching of the Gospel upon all their possessions and estates, and to obey the power of the bishops only in case their orders accorded with the injunctions of the Bible. In disputed points the decision of the university should be resorted to. The entire Hussite nobility joined the league, and if the king had entered it, its resolutions would have received the sanction of the law; but he refused, and approached the Roman Catholic league of lords, which was now formed, the members pledging themselves to cling to the king, the Roman Church, and the Council. Signs of the outbreak of a civil war began to show themselves. Pope Martin V., who, while still Cardinal Otto of Colonna, had attacked Huss with relentless severity, energetically resumed the battle against Hussism after the enactments of the Council of Constance. He intended to eradicate completely the doctrine of Huss. For this purpose the cooperation of King Wenceslaus had to be obtained. In 1418 Sigismund succeeded in winning his brother over to the standpoint of the council by pointing out the inevitableness of a religious war if the heretics in Bohemia found further protection. Hussite statesmen and army leaders had to leave the country, and Roman priests were reinstituted. These measures caused a general commotion which hastened the death of Wenceslaus by a paralytic stroke in 1419. His heir was Sigismund.
2. Two Parties in Bohemia.
Hussism had organized itself during the years 1415-1419. From the beginning two parties were found: the closer adherents of Huss clung to his standpoint, leaving the whole hierarchical and liturgical order of the Church untouched; the radical party identified itself more boldly with the doctrines of Wyclif, shared his passionate hatred of the monastic clergy, and, like him, attempted to lead the Church back to its condition during the time of the apostles, which necessitated the removal of the existing hierarchy and the secularization of ecclesiastical possessions. The radicals among the Hussites sought to translate their theories into reality; they preached the sufficientia legis Christi--only the divine law (i.e., the Bible) is the rule and canon for man, and that not only in ecclesiastical matters, but also in political and civil matters. They rejected therefore, as early as 1416, everything that has no basis in the Bible, as the adoration of saints and pictures, fasts, superfluous holidays, the oath, intercession for the dead, auricular confession, indulgences, the sacraments of confirmation and extreme unction, admitted laymen and women to the preacher's office, chose their own priests. But before everything they clung to Wyclif's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, denying transubstantiation, and this is the principal point by which they are distinguished from the moderate party.
3. The Four Articles of Prague.
The program of the more conservative Hussites is contained in the four articles of Prague, which were agreed upon in July, 1420, and promulgated in the Latin, Czech, and German languages: (1) Freedom in preaching; (2) communion in both kinds; (3) reduction of the clergy to apostolic poverty; (4) severe punishment of all open sins.
4. Calixtines or Ultraquists, and Taborites
The views of the moderate Hussites were represented at the university and among the citizens of Prague; therefore they were called the Prague party; they were also called Calixtines or Utraquists, because they emphasized the second article, and the chalice became their emblem. The radicals had their gathering-place in the small town of Austie, on the Luschnitz, south of Prague. But as the place was not defensible, they founded a city upon a neighboring hill, which they called Tabor; hence they were called Taborites. They comprised the essential force of Hussism. Their aim was to destroy the enemies of the law of God, and to extend his kingdom by the sword. For the former purpose they waged bloody wars, for the second purpose they established a strict jurisdiction, inflicting the severest punishment not only upon heinous crimes like murder and adultery, but also upon faults like perjury and usury, and tried to apply the conditions required in the law of God to the social relations of the world.
5. The Hussite Wars.
The news of the death of King Wenceslaus produced the greatest commotion among the people of Prague. A revolution swept over the country; churches and monasteries were destroyed, and the ecclesiastical possessions were seized by the Hussite nobility. Sigismund could get possession of his kingdom only by the power of arms. Martin V. called upon all Christians of the Occident to take up arms against the Hussites, and there followed a twelve-years' war which was carried on by the Hussites at first defensively, but after 1427 they assumed the offensive. Apart from their religious aims, they fought for the national interests of the Czechs. The moderate and radical parties were united and they not only repelled the attacks of the army of crusaders, but entered the neighboring countries.
6. The Council of Basel and Compacta of Prague.
At last their opponents were forced to think of an amicable settlement. A Bohemian embassy was invited to appear at the council of Basel. The discussions began on Jan. 10, 1432, centering chiefly in the four articles of Prague. No agreement was
arrived at. After repeated negotiations between Basel and Bohemia, a Bohemian-Moravian state assembly in Prague accepted the Compactata of Prague on Nov. 30, 1433. Communion in both kinds was granted to all who desired it, but with the understanding that Christ was entirely present in each kind. Free preaching was granted conditionally; priests must be approved and sent by their superiors, and the power of the bishop must be considered. The article which prohibits the secular power of the clergy was almost reversed. The Taborites refused to conform, and the Calixtines united with the Roman Catholics and destroyed the Taborites in a battle near Lipan (May 30, 1434). From that time the Taborites lose their importance. The Compactata were confirmed at the state assembly of Iglau in 1436 and received the sanction of law. Thus the reconciliation of Bohemia with Rome and the Western Church was accomplished, and now Sigismund first obtained possession of the Bohemian crown. His reactionary measures caused a ferment in the whole country, but he died in 1437. Wyclif's doctrine of the Lord's Supper, which was obnoxious to the Utraquists, was rejected as heresy at the state assembly in Prague in 1444. Most of the Taborites now went over to the party of the Utraquists; the rest joined the "Brothers of the Law of Christ" (see UNITY OF THE BRETHREN; also BOHEMIAN BRETHREN).
7. Final Disappearance of the Hussites

The Utraquists had retained hardly anything of the doctrines of Huss except communion in both kinds. In 1462 Pius II. declared the Compactata null and void, prohibited communion in both kinds, and acknowledged George of Podiebrad as king under the condition that he would promise an unconditional harmony with the Roman Church. This he refused, but his successor, King Vladislaus II., favored the Roman Catholics and proceeded against some zealous clergymen of the Calixtines. The troubles of the Utraquists increased from year to year. In 1485, at the diet of Kuttenberg, an agreement between the Roman Catholics and Utraquists was obtained which lasted for thirty-one years. But it was considerably later, at the diet of 1512, that the equal rights of both religions were permanently established. Luther's appearance was hailed by the Utraquist clergy, and Luther himself was astonished to find so many points of agreement between the doctrines of Huss and his own. But not all Utraquists approved of the German Reformation; a schism arose among them, and many returned to the Roman doctrine, while the better elements had long before joined the Unitas Fratrum. Under Maximilian II., the Bohemian state assembly established the Confessio Bohemica, upon which Lutherans, Reformed, and Bohemian Brethren agreed. From that time Hussism began to die out; but it was completely eradicated only after the battle at the White Mountain (Nov. 8, 1620) and the Roman Catholic reaction which fundamentally changed the ecclesiastical conditions of Bohemia and Moravia.

No comments: