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CEN T. equally circumspect, was summoned to appear
XV. Putin before the council of Constance. Obedient to this
order, and thinking himself secured from the rage of his enemies, by the safe conduct which had been granted him by the emperor SIGISMUND, both for his journey to Constance, his residence in that place, and his return to his own country, John Huss appeared before the council, to de monstrate his innocence, and to prove that the charge of his having deserted the church of Rome was entirely groundless. And it may be affirmed with truth, that his religious opinions, at least in matters of moment and importance, were con, formable to the established doctrine ofthe church in this age [u]. He declaimed, indeed, with extraordinary vehemence against the Roman pon, tifs, the bishops and monks; but this freedom was looked upon as lawful in these times, and it was used every day in the council of Constance, where the tyranny of the court of Rome, and the corruption of the sacerdotal and monastic orders, were censured with the utmost severity, The enemies, however, of this good man, who were very numerous both in the kingdom of Bohemia, and also in the council of Constance, coloured the accusation that was brought against him with such artifice and success, that by the most scandalous breach of public faith, he was cast into prison, declared a heretic, because he refused to obey the order of the council, which commanded him to plead guilty against the dictates of his
1 [u] It was observed in the preceding section, that JOHN Huss adopted with zeal, and recommended in an open and public manner the writings and opinions of WICKLIFFE ; but this must be understood of the writings and opinions of that great man in relation to the papal hierarchy, the despotism of the court of Rome, and the corruption of the clergy; for, in other respects, it is certain that he adhered to the most superstitious doctrines of the church, as appears by two sermons he had prepared for the council of Constance.
conscience, and was burnt alive the 6th of July CENT. 1415; which dreadful punishment he endured PARTI with unparalleled magnanimity and resignation, expressing in his last moments the noblest feelings of love to God, and the most triumphant hope of the accomplishment of those transporting promises with which the gospel arms the true Christian at the approach of eternity. The same unhappy fate was borne with the same pious fortitude and constancy of mind by JEROME of Prague, the intimate companion of John Huss, who came to this council with the generous design of supporting and seconding his persecuted friend. Terrified by the prospect of a cruel death, JEROME at first appeared willing to submit to the orders of the council, and to abandon the tenets and opinions which it had condemned in his writings. This submission, however, was not attended with the advantages he expected from it, nor did it deliver him from the close and severe confinement in which he was kept. He therefore resumed his fortitude, professed anew, with an heroic constancy, the opinions which he had deserted for a while from a principle of fear, and maintained them in the flames, in which he expired on the 30th of May 1416 .
Many learned men have endeavoured to investi-The true gate the reasons that occasioned the pronouncing.cn
11 these viosuch a cruel sentence against Huss and his asso- lent pra ciate ; and as no adequate reasons for such a se-ceedings
gainst Joha vere proceeding can be found, either in the life Huss and or opinions of that good man, they conclude, Jerome of
Prague. : that he fell a victim to the rage and injustice of his unrelenting enemies. And indeed this con
[w] The translator has here inserted into the text the large note [a] of the original, which relates to the circumstances that precipitated the ruin of these two eminent reformers; and he has thrown the citations therein contained into several notes.
CE N T.clusion is both natural and well-grounded ; nor
Il will it be difficult to shew how it came to pass, PART II. w that the reverend fathers of the council of Con
stance were so eagerly bent upon burning, as a heretic, a man who neither deserved such an injurious title, nor such a dreadful fate. In the first place, John Huss had excited, both by his discourse and by his writings, great commotions in Bohemia, and had rendered the clergy of all ranks and orders extremely odious in the eyes of the people. The bishops, therefore, together with the sacerdotal and monastic orders, were very sensible, that their honours and advantages, their credit and authority, were in the greatest danger of being reduced to nothing, if this reformer should return again to his country, and continue to write and declaim against the clergy with the same freedom that he had formerly done. Hence they left no means unemployed to accomplish his ruin; they laboured night and day, they formed plots, they bribed men in power, they used, in short, every method that could have any tendency to rid them of such a formiable adversary [x]. It may be observed, secondly, that in the council of Constance, there were many men of great influence and weight, who looked upon themselves as personally offended by Jown Huss,
and [x] The bribery and corruption that was employed in bringing about the ruin of John Huss, are manifest from the following remarkable passages of the Diarium Hussiticum of LAUR. BYZINIUS, p. 135. (sec LUDEWIGI Reliquiæ, tom. vi.) “ Clerus perversus præcipue in regno Bohemiæ et Marchionatu Moraviæ, condemnationem ipsius (Hussi) CONTRIBUTIONE PECUNIARUM, et modis aliis diversis procuravit et ad ipsius consensit interitum.” And again, p. 150. “ Clerus perversus regni Bohemiæ et Marchionatus Moraviæ, et præcipue Episcopi, Abbates, Canonici, plebani, et religiosi ipsius fideles ac salutiferas admonitiones, adhortationes, ipsorum pompam, symoniam, avaritiam, fornacationem, vitæque detestandæ abominationem detegentes, ferre non valendo, PECUNIARUM CONTRIBUTIONE ad ipsius extinctionem faciendo procurarunt.”
and who demanded his life as the only sacrifice C E N T. that could satisfy their vengeance. Huss, as Pa Rr 11: has been already mentioned, was not only at-bpw tached to the party of the Realists, but was peculiarly severe in his opposition to their adversaries. And now he was so unhappy, as to be brought before a tribunal which was principally composed of the Nominalists, with the famous JOHN GERSON at their head, who was the zealous patron of that faction, and the mortal enemy of Huss. Nothing could equal the vindictive pleasure the Nominalists felt from an event that put this unfortunate prisoner in their power, and gave them an opportunity of satisfying their vengeance to the full ; and accordingly, in their Letter to Lewis, king of France [y], they do not pretend to deny that Huss fell a victim to the resentment of their sect, which is also confirmed by the history of the council of Constance. The animosities that always reigned among the Realists and Nominalists were at this time carried to the greatest excess imaginable. Upon every occasion that offered, they accused each other of heresy and impiety, and had constantly recourse to corporal punishments to dicide the matter. The Nominalists procured the death of Huss, who was a Realist; and the Realists, on the other hand, obtained, in the year 1479, the condemnation of JOHN DE WESALIA, who was attached to the party of the Nominalists [z]. These contending sects carried their
· [y] See BALUZII Miscell. tom. iv. p. 534. in which we find the following passage : “ Suscitavit Deus Doctores catholicos, Petrum de Allyaco, Johannem de Gersono, et alios quam plu. res doctissimos homines Nominales, qui convocati ad Concilium Constantiense, ad quod citati fuerunt hæretici, et nomination Hieronymus et Johannes--dictos hæreticos per quadraginta dies disputando superaverant.”
[z] See the Examen Magistrale et Theologicale Mag. Joh. de Wesclii, in Ortuini Gratu Fasciculo vtrum expetend.es fugiendur. Colon. 1535, Fol. 163.
CENT.blind fury so far as to charge each other with XV. ; 11. the sin against the Holy Ghost [a], and exhibited
the most miserable spectacle of inhuman bigotry to the Christian world. The aversion which John Huss and JEROME, his companion, had against the Germans was a third circumstance that contributed to determine their unhappy fate. This aversion they declared publicly at Prague, upon all occasions, both by their words and actions; nor were they at any pains to conceal it even in the council of Constance, where they accused them of presumption and despotism in the strongest terms [b]. The Germans, on the other hand, remembering the affront they had received in the university of Prague by the means of JOHN Huss, burned with resentment and rage both against him and his unfortunate friend; and as their influence and authority were very great in the council, there is no doubt that they employed them, with the utmost zeal, against these two formidable adversaries. Besides, JOHN HOFF
MAN, [a] In the Examen mentioned in the preceding note, we find the following striking passage, which may shew us the extravagant length to which the disputes between the Nominalists and Realists were now carried : “ Quis nisi ipse Diabolus seminavit illam zizaniam inter Philosophos et inter Theologos, ut tanta sit dissentio, eriam animorum inter diversa opinantes ? Adeo ut si universalia quisquam Realia negaverit, existimetur IN SPIRITUM SANCTUM PECCAVISSE, immo summo et maximo peccato plenus creditur contra Deum, contra Christianam religionem,contra justitiam, contra oinnem politiam graviter deliquisse. Unde hæc cæcitas mentis nisia Diabolo, qui phantasias nostras illudit ?” Wc see by this passage, that the Realists charged their adversaries (whose only crime was the absurdity of calling universal ideas mere denominations) with sin against the Holy Ghost, with transgression against God, and against the Christian religion, and with a violation of all the laws of justice and civil polity.
 See THEOD. DE Niem, Invectiva in Joh. XXIII, in HARDTII Actis Concilii Constant. tom. i. p. 450.“ Improperas bat etiam in publico Alamannis, dicendo, quod essent præsumps tuosi et vellent ubique per orbem dominari - - - Sicque factum fuisset sæpe in Bohemia, ubi volentes etiam dominari Alamanni VIOLENTER exinde REPULSI et MALE TRACTATI fuissent."