BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Haunted Bookshop

Christopher Morely


My Man Jeeves

P. G. Wodehouse


Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


Letters of John Huss written during his exile and imprisonment

by Jan Hus

Excerpt:

* Consult, in particular, Letter zl. of the Second Series.

number of those who appear in the world as if predestined to martyrdom. Yet he sought not after it like a passionate sectarian or a blind enthusiast ; he was as far from possessing that pride which complacently feeds itself on its own conceptions, as from that sullen fanaticism which causes a man voluntarily to shorten his life by useless rashness, through dint of persuading himself that death is desirable. Before entering into a contest with his superiors, John Huss hesitated, consulted, and examined. Visited with ecclesiastical censures at Prague, he knew not whether he should obey and be silent, or continue to preach the Gospel. " I burn," says he, " with an ardent zeal for the Gospel, and my soul is sad; for I know not what to resolve on."* At a later period at Constance, when condemned and ready to die, he wrote, " I exhort you, in the name of the Lord, to detest every error that you may discover in my works ; but keeping in mind this truth which I have ever had in view,

* First Series, Letter iii.

pray for me."* He faithfully depicts his feelings in a letter which he addressed at the same period to the priest Martin, his disciple, an admirable letter—a true model of prudence and every Christian virtue. " Attach thy soul to the reading of the Bible, and especially the New Testament. Fear not death, if thou desirest to live with Christ; for he has said himself, Fear not those who kill the body, but who cannot destroy the soul. If they should trouble you on account of thy adhesion to my doctrines, answer, I believe my master to have been a good Christian; and touching what he has taught and written, I have neither read nor understood all." Huss was neither a superstitious man nor a visionary; nevertheless he had visions and received warnings in his sleep; he foresaw what came to pass,f yet refused to attach faith to his dreams. He does not dare to place trust in them, and distrusts his senses rather than slight the authority of a single precept of his God; he repeats this text,

* Second Series, Letter xlviii.
t Ibid., Letter xx.xiii.

" Place no confidence in dreams;" and after having related them to his friends, he adds, " I write this not because I consider myself a prophet, or that I would exalt myself, but to shew I have suffered bodily and mental temptations as well as a great fear of transgressing the commandments of the Lord." Resignation was predominant in his mind;—the most absolute submission to the Divine will, as well as an ardent desire to become acquainted with it. " Pray," says he, " fervently to the Lord, that he may grant me his Spirit, and that I may dwell in truth, and be delivered from all evil. If my death should add to his glorification, pray it may arrive speedily, and that he may enable me to support my ills with constancy. But should it be better for my salvation that I return amongst you, we will implore of God to enable me to return from the Council without a spot, viz., that I may keep back nothing from the truth of the gospel of Christ, in order to be enabled to discover more surely its light, and bequeath to our brethren a good example to follow." The sacrifice which he made of his life was the more exemplary, and his martyrdom the more sublime, because he had felt beforehand all the terrors of death; it was in God that he sought for support against them. " Beseech the Lord to grant me the assistance of his Spirit, that I may

confess his name even unto death I

shall stand in need of his Divine aid, although I am confident he will not suffer me to be tried beyond my strength."*

His confidence in God did not forsake him to the last moment. "Our Saviour," says he, " raised Lazarus from the dead after the fourth day. He could also snatch me from prison and death,—I, an unfortunate man, if it were for his glory, for the advantage of the faithful, and my own good."f And yet, when in chains, and awaiting death, he is more occupied with the interests of others than his own; his soul, calm, pious, and compassionate, sympathizes with all


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