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Please evangelize a little by telling friends what you read, or about the website.  It is by no means a small thing in the kingdom of God that His people should learn of His deeds on behalf of His Son Jesus, and through Him, all mankind! 

 

 

 

John Huss Felt He Had To Stand For The Truth's of Scripture Based On His Own Sense of Reason Concerning Those Scriptural Truths In An Age When The Catholic Church Had Become Corrupt And There Was Almost No One Fighting Against Their Errors.  It Cost Him All...But His Writings Laid A Solid Foundation Of Reasoning For His Feelings.  These Writings Encouraged Others, Such As Martin Luther Who Read Them About A Century Later And No Longer Felt Like Such A Lone Voice In His Objections To Then Current Catholic Church Practices.  His Name Is Little Known Today Compared With Luther, But He Was A Preceding Giant.  John Huss Was Courageous, Even To Death, and It Mattered! 

 

1415 A.D. - John Huss: A Cooked Goose Predicts An Uncookable Swan

 John Huss was born in 1369, and to a poor family. His father died, and his mother struggled, poor financially but strong in her Christian faith. She had regard for education. John attended a provincial school and completed his courses. Though from a poor family, he was able, with his mother's help, to obtain a sort of 'charity scholarship' to the university in Prague. His mother accompanied him to Prague when he left, and when they were close by, she had them stop so that she could kneel and ask in prayer for the blessings of God upon her son. God apparently received her prayer well.

 He attended college in Prague. He was humble, winning, and studious. He did well at school and was liked, with many friends. When he was about 31 years old he was ordained a priest, and was able to preach. He was able to become a professor, and then a rector. He was even attached to the king's court. He became somewhat famous in Europe, in fact. But he began to have great struggles of conscience with what he saw happening in the church.

 Two things which had a particularly strong affect upon him were his church assignment, and some writings he read. His pastoral church assignment was to a town called Bethlehem, and some parts of the Bohemian area - such as the one where he was assigned - still had a tradition of preaching to people in their native and familiar language. So he taught them this way out of the scriptures, and God's word says what it says. You can't get away from it. This obviously brought some of the church departures from the gospel into an unflattering light, so Huss just taught the scriptures, choosing it over church doctrine where they differed.

 Secondly, a friend from England brought some writings from Wycliff. Wycliff advocated certain obvious reforms in the Catholic church, and Huss found himself agreeing with what he read. The Queen in England at that time was a Bohemian woman, and she was also a Wycliff adherent, so she found ways to circulate his writings in her country.

 (It is interesting to note how women, despite their more submissive role in society at that time, managed to be very influential for God in so many cases. They harbored, they financially supported, they prepared their children and used their influence as they could. As I've compiled these stories for the Deeds of God website, I've come to realize the power that women of faith have always had through their obedience to and zeal for God. I don't know if many girls read things at this site, but if so - Way to go, girls!!)

 From England, two gentlemen came to Prague with religious reform on their mind, and they found the situation too dangerous to openly oppose the churches excesses, so they did an interesting thing. They had some skill in as artists, and so they put up a two paneled wood carving which displayed and contrasted two quite differing scenes:

 One was of a typical Pontifical procession, the Pope travelling in great splendor and richness of dress with many trappings and brightly arrayed attendents, in great pomp and ceremony.

 The other was of Jesus entering Jerusalem, humbly dressed, unpretentious, and sitting on an ass. His disciples followed him like simple ordinary men, barefoot and plainly attired.

 It became quite a curiosity in Prague, and no matter who stopped to look at the publically displayed work, rich or poor, they got the message quite clearly. This picture also had a strong impact on Huss, who stopped to view it. Between this image, Wycliff's writings, and the issues that came up as he preached the gospel to his church in a straightforward manner from the scriptures, he began to have a protester's spirit. He began to denounce the practices of Rome from the pulpit. People who learn the scriptures for themselves are quick enough to notice when a church departs from them.

 Huss (which means 'Goose') wrote a book called Le Ecclesia which took a few shots at the corruption of the church.  He advocated that the state put some restrictions on church excesses.  It asserted that the scriptures had authority above that of the church, where they might differ.  Commoners liked the book.  Rome hated it.

 Rome soon became angry with him and summoned him. He assumed that this would be a death sentence and prudently asked for other arrangements. This caused Rome to place the city of Prague under an interdict (kind of a Papal spiritual cursing, nullifying the spiritual affectiveness of those rights and ceremonies which forgave sin, or proferred blessing. It's sort of an imposed 'denial of God to your city'.) Prague was quite upset that this had been brought upon them, but they also liked Huss. He eventually left the city, though, and went back to preaching in nearby Bethlehem.

 Huss also, in this stressful time, met a brilliant young friend from England named Jerome. A passionate speaker and skilled reasoner, he was a very complementary partner in the spreading of this message of needed reform, and together they continued in this cause from the church in Bethlehem. From that pulpit they loudly and soundly denounced the sins of Rome, and the affects of this preaching began to be felt in many countries. The actual scriptures were being heard and understood.

 The Catholic church was in a cycle of corruption in Huss's day.  Few who visited Rome in those days failed to remark upon just how corrupt it really had become.  Sickness and depravity were often observed, let alone cynicism and lack of zeal for Jesus.  Church doctrine had departed far from the scriptures in some cases.

 People had already braved the churches wrath to stick with the scriptures as their highest guide, and it had been confirmed that the church would indeed kill to keep their power.  Burning at the stake was the common means, but it was sometimes preceeded by some pretty terrible forms of torture, in efforts to gain a recant from the tortured person.  Bucking the church hierarchy was no simple matter in those days.  It was very serious business.  Many who wanted to worship the simple way went to the mountains, the forests, and the caves to do it.  Even there, they were sometimes hunted down and killed. 

 A Council was called in Constance, and this time not just the Pope, but Huss's Emperor Sigismund summoned him.  That was a summons that he didn't dare disobey. But he was able to obtain a 'safe conduct' gaurantee, so that for the trip there and back he would be gauranteed safety.

 He left with misgivings though, and well founded. He arrived at Constance, and was soon placed in prison, in breach of his 'safe conduct' order. Emperor Sigismund was swayed by the church hierarchy that no oath made to a heretic should be observed.

 Huss's time in prison was hard on him. Brought forward in chains and asked to recant, he would not, and earnestly condemned the same practices that he had always held were wrong. He also pointed out publically, and in front of all on-lookers that he had come voluntarily under a 'safe conduct' gaurantee from Emperor Sigismund. This caused a lot of people to turn their eyes upon the reddening Emperor.

 Returned to his prison cell, Huss was given two dreams. They were of his church in Bethlehem. The first was of men effacing the scenes of Jesus painted on the wall there. And this left him demoralized. But on a later night, he dreamed of many people repainting the pictures brighter and better than ever they'd been before. And this lifted his spirits considerably.

 He also made a true prophetic statement during his time of imprisonment, when he was notified that he was to be burned. He said "You are going to burn a goose. But in a century a black swan will come that you can neither roast nor boil." And about 102 years later, Martin Luther posted 95 theses on the Whittenburg church door. On Halloween Day, actually - Oct 31, 1517 - Huss's prophesy came true. The Devil was called out into the open on All Saints Day / Halloween - very fitting! With that act Luther sparked off a controversy that forever changed the Christian world and forced the Catholic church into at least some measure of reform. But he owed much of what he did to Huss and Wycliff's earlier efforts.  And Luther, a man with many enemies, was never executed, but died a natural death.  Indeed, they could not roast or boil him! 

 In fact, Martin Luther was to happen upon the writings of Huss after he was already embroiled in the great conflict his 95 Theses had set off, and his remark, as preserved, is this:

 "We have all, Paul, Augustine, and myself, been Hussites without knowing it. God will surely visit it upon the world that the truth was preached to it a century ago, and burned."

 But that was a century away when on the 6th of July, 1415, John Huss was burned at the stake.

 Asked a final time to recant, he said "With what face would I then behold the heavens. How should I then look upon the faces of the multitudes of men to whom I have preached the pure gospel. No, I esteem their salvation more than this poor body, now appointed for death."

 The church officials spoke to devote his heretical soul to the devil, and he countered by devoting it with equal firmness to Jesus.

 As the flames engulfed him, he did not cry out in pain, but sang the words "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy upon me" until he could sing no more. His ashes were dumped unceremoniously into the Rhine, which no doubt bore at least a part of them to the ocean.

 Before much time had passed, his young friend Jerome was brought to share a similar fate. He panicked in a dark moment and recanted. But in his cell that night, thinking of many things, chiefly Jesus, but also his friend John Huss, he decided to withdraw his recant, and when next brought before his accusers, he did just that. He said he regretted his moment of weakness and was glad enough to accept his fate. He too was burned.

 And a firestorm of objection was sparked off by the death of these two honest men that lasted for years. In fact, it never had quit simmering when the Protestant Revolution was finally sparked off in earnest by Martin Luther. Because of Wycliff, Jerome, Huss, and others, the times were ripe for reform when Luther appeared.

 God and Jesus had, in graduations that people could bear, brought them to a spiritual level of commitment and certainty where they felt zealous to be as true to God and as passionate for His Word as the great reformers of their age - and Huss was one of the most influential of them all. Through such as those, people found the courage to stick by their faith even to the point of death. And the need for that will one day come again. We are assured of it in the scriptures of Daniel, Second Thessalonians, and Revelations. So if it falls to our lot to face those times, let's remember the lessons we've learned from those who fought the good fight before us.

 And there are places in the world this very day where people are dying for the word of Jesus. It's part of the life when you follow Christ. It may or may not happen in your area during your time, but it's happened in many places and times already!

 May God make us discerning to see the need, and strong to face our fear if we see such days.  We are not a faith which calls us to be martyrs in the form of human weapons dealing death and violence to those around us as we depart this world.  Our Christian teaching says that - when necessary - we face violence and death with patience, love, and faith, realizing that the greatness of what is to come will amply repay the hardships which may result from remaining faithful to what is proven, true, and good:  Jesus, our Great Lord, and His beautiful teachings.  He has made it so that, for the Christian, even death is only a speed-bump.  No true harm can come to those He holds in His hands.

©2017 Daniel Curry & 'Deeds of God' Website