John Hus – Reformer of Prague

Posted: 2 August, 2007 in Biographies

Source: The Greatest Century of Reformation by Peter Hammond

Statue of John Huss in Prague

I was recently reading a book about the Reformation, and I came across the story of John Hus. This guy really impressed me with his faith and perseverance.

Born in Husinec, Hus studied for the priesthood and received a Masters degree. He was the preacher of the Bethlehem Chapel in Prague as well as the Rector of the Prague University at age 34.

He translated Wycliffe’s works into Czech and showed the superstitions, “miracles” and sale of indulgenced for what they were – a fraud. He condemned the sins of the clergy and described churches that sold indulgences as “brothels”! He believed that preachers should be examples of God fearing integrity and was described as “a passionate Reformer.”

The Archbishop got a ban from the pope on teaching in chapels in 1410 and specifically Bethlehem chapel. Obviously, Hus refused to obey, and that same year the pope burned 200 volumes of Wycliffe’s works, to which Hus replied: “Fire does not consume truth. It is always the mark of a little mind that it vents its anger on inanimate objects.”

He was excommunicated 5 times and the pope place the City of Prague under a papal interdict which meant that all churches were closed, no masses were allowed, no confessions received and no marriages and burials permitted. Because of the way the city was suffering, he went into exile and wrote a book in the spare time he had.

In 1414 he was summoned to the Council of Constance. He was guaranteed safe conduct in both directions by the Emperor Sigismund, but when he got there he was given a mock trial and allowed no defence. They condemned him of heresies he had never taught – they condemned him for claiming to be the fourth member of the Trinity! (These guys were desperate!) John Hus prayed aloud during the trial that God would forgive his accusers!

On 6 July 1415 he was condemned to death. He prayed: “O most hold Christ… strengthen my spirit… give me a fearless heart, a right faith, a firm hope, a perfect love, that for Thy sake I may lay down my life with patience and joy.”

“God is my witness that the evidence against me is false. I’ve never thought nor preached except with the one intention of winning men, if possible, from their sins. In the truth of the Gospel I have written, taught and preached; today I will gladly die.”

John Hus died when he was just 43 singing “Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me.”

Don’t you want to be like John Hus – having a hope in Christ sufficient to stand for truth despite the consequences?

 


 

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Comments
  1. Neil says:

    I’d love to be like John Huss. I’m busy reading John Bunyan’s autobiography – Grace abounding – and can highly recommend it. These guys of old, who we always think of as being backward and unknowledgeable were just overflowing with virtue. I have yet to meet one person who thinks as deeply about spiritual matters as any of these old chaps. Can you imagine the settled faith it takes to be able to stand up like these men and not give in to the world’s pleasures and pressures?

  2. Salomé says:

    You should hear Dr Peter Hammond lecture on this issue. It’s brilliant.

    Whenever I se Dr Hammond, I think of someone who presses on in defending the Gospel, and will not give up. It’s such a blessing.

    God bless.

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