Webpage Fox-6 Page 10 TO INDEX
CHAPTERS 7 & 8
will not be inappropriate to devote a few pages of this work to a brief detail
of the lives of some of those men who first stepped forward, regardless of the
bigoted power which opposed all reformation, to stem the time of
corruption, and to seal the pure doctrines of the Gospel with their blood.
these, Great Britain has the honor of taking the lead, and first maintaining
that freedom in religious controversy which astonished Europe, and demonstrated
that political and religious liberty are equally the growth of that favored
island. Among the earliest of these eminent persons was
celebrated reformer, denominated the "Morning Star of the
Reformation," was born about the year 1324, in the reign of Edward II. Of
his extraction we have no certain account. His parents designing him for the
Church, sent him to Queen's College, Oxford, about that period founded by Robert
Eagles field, confessor to Queen Philippi. But not meeting with the advantages
for study in that newly established house which he expected, he removed to
Merton College, which was then esteemed one of the most learned societies in
first thing which drew him into public notice, was his defense of the university
against the begging friars, who about this time, from their settlement in Oxford
in 1230, had been troublesome neighbors to the university. Feuds were
continually fomented; the friars appealing to the pope, the scholars to the
civil power; and sometimes one party, and sometimes, the other, prevailed. The
friars became very fond of a notion that Christ was a common beggar; that his
disciples were beggars also; and that begging was of Gospel institution. This
doctrine they urged from the pulpit and wherever they had access.
had long held these religious friars in
contempt for the laziness of their lives, and had now a fair opportunity of
exposing them. He published a treatise against able beggary, in which he lashed
the friars, and proved that they were not only a reproach to religion, but also
to human society. The university began to consider him one of their first
champions, and he was soon promoted to the mastership of Baliol College.
islip founded Canterbury Hall, in Oxford, where he
established a warden and eleven scholars. To this warden Wickliffe was
elected by the
archbishop, but upon his demise, he was displaced by his
successor, Stephen Langham, bishop of Ely. As there was a degree of flagrant
injustice in the affair, Wickliffe appealed to the pope, who subsequently gave
it against him from the following cause: Edward III, then king of England, had
withdrawn the tribune, which from the time of King John had been paid to the
pope menaced; Edward called a parliament. The parliament resolved that
King John had done an illegal thing, and given up the rights of the nation, and
advised the king not to submit, whatever consequences might follow.
clergy now began to write in favor of the
pope, and a learned monk published a
spirited and plausible treatise, which had many advocates. Wickliffe, irritated
at seeing so bad a cause so well defended, opposed the monk, and did it in so
masterly a way that he was considered no longer as unanswerable. His suit at
Rome was immediately determined against him; and nobody doubted but his
opposition to the pope, at so critical a period, was the true cause of his being
non-suited at Rome.
was afterward elected to the chair of the divinity professor: and
now fully convinced of the errors of the
and now fully convinced of the errors of theromish church, and the vileness of its monastic agents, he determined to expose them. In public lectures he lashed their vices and opposed their follies. He unfolded a variety of abuses covered by the darkness of superstition.
At first he began to loosen the prejudices of
the vulgar, and proceeded by slow advances; with the metaphysical disquisitions
of the age, he mingled opinions in divinity apparently novel. The usurpations of
the court of Rome was a favorite topic. On these he expatiated with all the
keenness of argument, joined to logical reasoning. This soon procured him the
clamor of the clergy, who, with the archbishop of Canterbury, deprived him of
this time the administration of affairs was in the hands of the duke of
Lancaster, well known by the name of John of Gaunt. This prince had very free
notions of religion, and was at enmity with the clergy. The exactions of the
court of Rome having become very burdensome, he determined to send the bishop of
Bangor and Wickliffe to remonstrate against these abuses, and it was agreed that
the pope should no longer dispose of any benefices belonging to the Church of
England. In this embassy, Wickliffe's observant mind penetrated into the
constitution and policy of Rome, and he returned more strongly than ever
determined to expose its avarice and ambition.
recovered his former situation, he inveighed, in his lectures, against the
pope-his usurpation-his infallibility-his pride-his avarice- and his tyranny. He
was the first who termed the pope Antichrist. From the pope, he would turn to
the pomp, the luxury, and trappings of the bishops, and compared them with the
simplicity of primitive bishops. Their superstitions and deceptions were topics
that he urged with energy of mind and logical precision.
the patronage of the duke of Lancaster, Wickliffe received a good benefice; but
he was no sooner settled in his parish, than his enemies and the bishops began
to persecute him with renewed vigor. The duke of Lancaster was his friend in
this persecution, and by his presence and that of Lord Percy, earl marshal of
England, he so overawed the trial, that the whole ended in disorder.
After the death of Edward III his grandson Richard II succeeded, in the eleventh year of his age. The duke of Lancaster not obtaining to be the sole regent, as he expected, his power began to decline, and the enemies of Wickliffe, taking advantage of the circumstance, renewed their articles of accusation against him. Five bulls were despatched in consequence by the pope to the king and certain bishops, but the regency and the people manifested a spirit of contempt at the haughty proceedings of the pontiff, and the former at that time wanting money to oppose an expected invasion of the French, proposed to apply a large sum, collected for the use of the pope, to that purpose.
The question was submitted
to the decision of Wickliffe. The bishops, however, supported by the papal
authority, insisted upon bringing Wickliffe to trial, and he was actually
undergoing examination at Lambeth, when, from the riotous behavior of the
populace without, and awed by the command of Sir Lewis Clifford, a gentleman of
the court, that they should not proceed to any definitive sentence, they
terminated the whole affair in a prohibition to Wickliffe, not to preach those
doctrines which were obnoxious to the pope; but this was laughed at by our
reformer, who, going about barefoot, and in a long frieze gown, preached more
vehemently than before.
the year 1378, a contest arose between two
popes, urban VI and
clement VII which
was the lawful
pope. This was a favorable period for
the exertion of Wicliffe's talents: he soon produced a tract against
which was eagerly read by all sorts of people.
the end of the year, Wickliffe was seized with a violent disorder, which it was
feared might prove fatal. The begging friars, accompanied by four of the most
eminent citizens of Oxford, gained admittance to his bed chamber, and begged of
him to retract, for his soul's sake, the unjust things he had asserted of their
order. Wickliffe, surprised at the solemn message, raised himself in his bed,
and with a stern countenance replied, "I shall not die, but live to declare
the evil deeds of the friars."
Wickliffe recovered, he set about a most important work, the translation of the
Bible into English. Before this work appeared, he published a tract, wherein he
showed the necessity of it. The zeal of the bishops to suppress the Scriptures
greatly promoted its sale, and they who were not able to purchase copies,
procured transcripts of particular Gospels or Epistles. Afterward, when Lollardy
increased, and the flames kindled, it was a common practice to fasten about the
neck of the condemned heretic such of these scraps of Scripture as were found in
his possession, which generally shared his fate.
after this transaction, Wickliffe ventured a step further, and affected the
doctrine of transubstantiation. This strange opinion was invented by Paschade
Radbert, and asserted with amazing boldness. Wickliffe, in his lecture before
the University of Oxford, 1381, attacked this doctrine, and published a treatise
on the subject. Dr. Barton, at this time vice-chancellor of Oxford, calling
together the heads of the university, condemned Wickliffe's doctrines as
heretical, and threatened their author with excommunication. Wickliffe could now
derive no support from the duke of Lancaster, and being cited to appear before
his former adversary,
courteney, now made
archbishop of Canterbury, he
sheltered himself under the plea, that, as a member of the university, he was
exempt from episcopal jurisdiction. This plea was admitted, as the university
were determined to support their member.
court met at the appointed time, determined, at least to sit in judgment upon
his opinions, and some they condemned as erroneous, others as heretical. The
publication on this subject was immediately answered by Wickliffe, who had
become a subject of the archbishop's determined malice. The king, solicited by
the archbishop, granted a license to imprison the teacher of heresy, but the
commons made the king revoke this act as illegal. The primate, however, obtained
letters from the king, directing the head of the University of Oxford to search
for all heresies and books published by Wickliffe; in consequence of which
order, the university became a scene of tumult. Wickliffe is supposed to have
retired from the storm, into an obscure part of the kingdom. The seeds, however,
were scattered, and Wickliffe's opinions were so prevalent that it was said if
you met two persons upon the road, you might be sure that one was a Lollard. At
this period, the disputes between the two popes continued. Urban published a
bull, in which he earnestly called upon all who had any regard for religion, to
exert themselves in its cause; and to take up arms against Clement and his
adherents in defense of the holy see.
war, in which the name of religion was so vilely prostituted, roused Wickliffe's
inclination, even in his declining years. He took up his pen once more, and
wrote against it with the greatest acrimony. He expostulated with the pope in a
very free manner, and asks him boldly: 'How he durst make the token of Christ on
the cross (which is the token of peace, mercy and charity) a banner to lead us
to slay Christian men, for the love of two false priests, and to oppress
Christianity worse than Christ and his apostles were oppressed by the Jews?
'When,' said he, 'will the proud priest of Rome grant indulgences to mankind to
live in peace and charity, as he now does to fight and slay one another?'
severe piece drew upon him the resentment of Urban, and was likely to have
involved him in greater troubles than he had before experienced, but
providentially he was delivered out of their hands. He was struck with the
palsy, and though he lived some time, yet it was in such a way that his enemies
considered him as a person below their resentment.
returning within short space, either from his banishment, or from some other
place where he was secretly kept, repaired to his parish of Lutterworth, where
he was parson; and there, quietly departing this mortal life, slept in peace in
the Lord, in the end of the year 1384, upon Silvester's day. It appeared that he
was well aged before he departed, "and that the same thing pleased him in
his old age, which did please him being young."
Wickliffe had some cause to give them thanks, that they would at least spare him until he was dead, and also give him so long respite after his death, forty-one years to rest in his sepulcher before they dug him up, and turned him from earth to ashes; which ashes they also took and threw into the river. And so was he resolved into three elements, earth, fire, and water, thinking thereby utterly to extinguish and abolish both the name and doctrine of Wickliffe forever. Not much unlike the example of the old Pharisees and sepulcher knights, who, when they had brought the Lord unto the grave, thought to make him sure never to rise again. But these and all others must know that, as there is no counsel against the Lord, so there is no keeping down of verity, but it will spring up and come out of dust and ashes, as appeared right well in this man; for though they dug up his body, burned his bones, and drowned his ashes, yet the Word of God and the truth of his doctrine, with the fruit and success thereof, they could not burn.
Account of the Persecutions in Bohemia Under the Papacy
roman pontiffs having usurped a power over several churches were particularly
severe on the Bohemians, which occasioned them to send two ministers and four
lay-brothers to Rome, in the year 977, to obtain redress of the
pope. After some
delay, their request was granted, and their grievances redressed. Two things in
particular they were permitted to do, viz., to have divine service performed in
their own language, and to give the cup to the laity in the Sacrament.
disputes, however, soon broke out again, the succeeding
popes exerting their
whole power to impose on the minds of the Bohemians; and the latter, with great
spirit, aiming to preserve their religious liberties.
A.D. 1375, some zealous friends of the Gospel applied to Charles, king of
Bohemia, to call an ecumenical Council, for an inquiry into the abuses that had
crept into the Church, and to make a full and thorough reformation. The king,
not knowing how to proceed, sent to the
pope for directions how to act; but the
pontiff was so incensed at this affair that his only reply was,
punish those rash and profane heretics." The monarch, accordingly banished
every one who had been concerned in the application, and,
to oblige the pope,
laid a great number of additional restraints upon the religious liberties of the
victims of persecution, however, were not so numerous in Bohemia, until after
the burning of
John Huss and
Jerome of Prague. These two eminent reformers were
condemned and executed at the instigation of the
pope and his
emissaries, as the
reader will perceive by the following short sketches of their lives.
of John Huss
Huss was born at Hussenitz, a village in Bohemia, about the year 1380. His
parents gave him the best education their circumstances would admit; and having
acquired a tolerable knowledge of the classics at a private school, he was
removed to the university of Prague, where he soon gave strong proofs of his
mental powers, and was remarkable for his diligence and application to study.
1398, Huss commenced bachelor of divinity, and was after successively chosen
pastor of the Church of Bethlehem, in Prague, and dean and rector of the
university. In these stations he discharged his duties with great fidelity; and
became, at length, so conspicuous for his preaching, which was in conformity
with the doctrines of Wickliffe, that it was not likely he could long escape the
notice of the
pope and his adherents, against whom he inveighed with no small
degree of asperity.
English reformist, Wickliffe, had so kindled the light of reformation, that it
began to illuminate the darkest corners of
ignorance. His doctrines
spread into Bohemia, and were well received by great numbers of people, but by
none so particularly as John Huss, and his zealous friend and fellow martyr,
Jerome of Prague.
archbishop of Prague, finding the reformists daily increasing, issued a decree
to suppress the further spreading of Wickliffe's writings: but this had an
effect quite different to what he expected, for it stimulated the friends of
those doctrines to greater zeal, and almost the whole university united to
strongly attached to the doctrines of Wickliffe, Huss opposed the decree of the
archbishop, who, however, at length, obtained a bull from the pope, giving him
commission to prevent the publishing of Wickliffe's doctrines in his province.
By virtue of this bull, the
archbishop condemned the writings of Wickliffe: he
also proceeded against four doctors, who had not delivered up the copies of that
divine, and prohibited them, notwithstanding their privileges, to preach to any
congregation. Dr. Huss, with some other members of the university, protested
against these proceedings, and entered an appeal from the sentence of the
affair being made known to the
pope, he granted a commission to
cardinal colonna, to cite John Huss to appear personally at the court of Rome, to answer
the accusations laid against him, of preaching both errors and heresies. Dr.
Huss desired to be excused from a personal appearance, and was so greatly
favored in Bohemia, that King Winceslaus, the queen, the nobility, and the
university, desired the
pope to dispense with such an appearance; as also that
he would not suffer the kingdom of Bohemia to lie under the accusation of
heresy, but permit them to preach the Gospel with freedom in their places of
proctors appeared for Dr. Huss before
cardinal colonna. They endeavored to
excuse his absence, and said they were ready to answer in his behalf. But the
cardinal declared Huss contumacious, and excommunicated him accordingly. The
proctors appealed to the
pope, and appointed four
cardinals to examine the
process: these commissioners confirmed the former sentence, and extended the
excommunication not only to Huss but to all his friends and followers.
this unjust sentence Huss appealed to a future Council, but without success;
and, notwithstanding so severe a decree, and an expulsion in consequence from
his church in Prague, he retired to Hussenitz, his native place, where he
continued to promulgate his new doctrine, both from the pulpit and with the pen.
letters which he wrote at this time were very numerous; and he compiled a
treatise in which he maintained, that reading the books of Protestants could not
be absolutely forbidden. He wrote in defense of Wickliffe's book on the Trinity;
and boldly declared against the vices of the pope, the cardinals, and clergy, of
those corrupt times. He wrote also many other books, all of which were penned
with a strength of argument that greatly facilitated the spreading of his
the month of November, 1414, a general Council was assembled at Constance, in
Germany, in order, as was pretended, for the sole purpose of determining a
dispute then pending between three persons who contended for the
papacy; but the
real motive was to crush the progress of the Reformation.
Huss was summoned to appear at this Council; and, to encourage him, the emperor
sent him a safe-conduct: the civilities, and even reverence, which Huss met with
on his journey were beyond imagination. The streets, and sometimes the very
roads, were lined with people, whom respect, rather than curiosity, had brought
was ushered into the town with great acclamations, and it may be said that he
passed through Germany in a kind of triumph. He could not help expressing his
surprise at the treatment he received: "I thought (said he) I had been an
outcast. I now see my worst friends are in Bohemia."
soon as Huss arrived at Constance, he immediately took lodgings in a remote part
of the city. A short time after his arrival, came one Stephen Paletz, who was
employed by the clergy at Prague to manage the intended prosecution against him.
Paletz was afterwards joined by Michael de Cassis, on the part of the court of
Rome. These two declared themselves his accusers, and drew up a set of articles
against him, which they presented to the pope and the prelates of the Council.
it was known that he was in the city he was immediately arrested, and committed
prisoner to a chamber in the palace. This violation of common law and justice
was particularly noticed by one of Huss's friends, who urged the imperial
safe-conduct; but the pope replied he never granted any safe-conduct, nor was he
bound by that of the emperor.
Huss was in confinement, the Council acted the part of inquisitors.
he was brought before the Council, the articles exhibited against him were read:
they were upwards of forty in number, and chiefly extracted from his writings.
When John Huss had spoken these words, it was demanded of him whether he had received absolution of the pope or no? He answered, "No." Then again, whether it was lawful for him to appeal unto Christ or no? Whereunto John Huss answered: "Verily I do affirm here before you all, that there is no more just or effectual appeal, than that appeal which is made unto Christ, forasmuch as the law doth determine, that to appeal is no other thing than in a cause of grief or wrong done by an inferior judge, to implore and require aid at a higher Judge's hand.
Who is then a higher Judge than Christ? Who, I say, can know or judge the
matter more justly, or with more equity? when in Him there is found no deceit,
neither can He be deceived; or, who can better help the miserable and oppressed
than He?" While John Huss, with a devout and sober countenance, was
speaking and pronouncing those words, he was derided and mocked by all the whole
excellent sentences were esteemed as so many expressions of treason, and tended
to inflame his adversaries. Accordingly, the bishops appointed by the Council
stripped him of his priestly garments, degraded him, put a paper miter on his
head, on which was painted devils, with this inscription, "A ringleader of
heretics." Which when he saw, he said: "My Lord Jesus Christ, for my
sake, did wear a crown of thorns; why should not I then, for His sake, again
wear this light crown, be it ever so ignominious? Truly I will do it, and that
willingly." When it was set upon his head, the bishop said: "Now we
commit thy soul unto the devil." "But I," said John Huss, lifting
his eyes towards the heaven, "do commend into Thy hands, O Lord Jesus
Christ! my spirit which Thou has redeemed."
the chain was put about him at the stake, he said, with a smiling countenance,
"My Lord Jesus Christ was bound with a harder chain than this for my sake,
and why then should I be ashamed of this rusty one?"
the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was so officious
as to desire him to abjure. "No, (said Huss;) I never preached any doctrine
of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I now seal with my
blood." He then said to the executioner, "You are now going to burn a
goose, (Huss signifying goose in the Bohemian language:)
but in a century you
will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil."
If he were
prophetic, he must have meant Martin Luther, who shone about a hundred years
after, and who had a swan for his arms.
flames were now applied to the fagots, when our martyr sung a hymn with so loud
and cheerful a voice that he was heard through all the cracklings of the
combustibles, and the noise of the multitude. At length his voice was
interrupted by the severity of the flames, which soon closed his existence.
with great diligence, gathering the ashes together, they cast them into the
river Rhine, that the least remnant of that man should not be left upon the
earth, whose memory, notwithstanding, cannot be abolished out of the minds of
the godly, neither by fire, neither by water, neither by any kind of torment.
of Jerome of Prague
reformer, who was the companion of Dr. Huss, and may be said to be a co-martyr
with him, was born at Prague, and educated in that university, where he
particularly distinguished himself for his great abilities and learning. He
likewise visited several other learned seminaries in Europe, particularly the
universities of Paris, Heidelburg, Cologne and Oxford. At the latter place he
became acquainted with the works of Wickliffe, and being a person of uncommon
application, he translated many of them into his native language, having, with
great pains, made himself master of the English tongue.
his return to Prague, he professed himself an open favorer of Wickliffe, and
finding that his doctrines had made considerable progress in Bohemia, and that
Huss was the principal promoter of them, he became an assistant to him in the
great work of reformation.
the fourth of April, 1415, Jerome arrived at Constance, about three months
before the death of Huss. He entered the town privately, and consulting with
some of the leaders of his party, whom he found there, was easily convinced he
could not be of any service to his friends.
that his arrival in Constance was publicly known, and that the Council intended
to seize him, he thought it most prudent to retire. Accordingly, the next day he
went to Iberling, an imperial town, about a mile from Constance. From this place
he wrote to the emperor, and proposed his readiness to appear before the
Council, if he would give him a safe-conduct; but this was refused. He then
applied to the Council, but met with an answer no less unfavorable than that
from the emperor.
this, he set out on his return to Bohemia. He had the precaution to take with
him a certificate, signed by several of the Bohemian nobility, then at
Constance, testifying that he had used all prudent means in his power to procure
however, did not thus escape. He was seized at Hirsaw by an officer belonging to
the duke of Sultsbach, who, though unauthorized so to act, made little doubt of
obtaining thanks from the Council for so acceptable a service.
duke of Sultsbach, having Jerome now in his power, wrote to the Council for
directions how to proceed. The Council, after expressing their obligations to
the duke, desired him to send the prisoner immediately to Constance. The elector
palatine met him on the way, and conducted him into the city, himself riding on
horseback, with a numerous retinue, who led Jerome in fetters by a long chain;
and immediately on his arrival he was committed to a loathsome dungeon.
was treated nearly in the same manner as Huss had been, only that he was much
longer confined, and shifted from one prison to another. At length, being
brought before the Council, he desired that he might plead his own cause, and
exculpate himself: which being refused him, he broke out into the following
"What barbarity is this! For three hundred and forty days have I been confined in a variety of prisons. There is not a misery, there is not a want, that I have not experienced. To my enemies you have allowed the fullest scope of accusation: to me you deny the least opportunity of defense. Not an hour will you now indulge me in preparing for my trial. You have swallowed the blackest calumnies against me. You have represented me as a heretic, without knowing my doctrine; as an enemy of the faith, before you knew what faith I professed: as a persecutor of priests before you could have an opportunity of understanding my sentiments on that head.
You are a General Council: in you center all this world can
communicate of gravity, wisdom, and sanctity: but still you are men, and men are
seducible by appearances. The higher your character is for wisdom, the greater
ought your care to be not to deviate into folly. The cause I now plead is not my
own cause: it is the cause of men, it is the cause of Christians; it is a cause
which is to affect the rights of posterity, however the experiment is to be made
in my person."
speech had not the least effect;
Jerome was obliged to hear the charge read,
which was reduced under the following heads: 1. That he was a derider of the
papal dignity. 2. An opposer of the
pope. 3. An enemy to the
cardinals. 4. A
persecutor of the prelates. 5. A hater of the Christian religion.
trial of Jerome was brought on the third day after his accusation and witnesses
were examined in support of the charge. The prisoner was prepared for his defense, which appears almost incredible, when we consider he had been three
hundred and forty days shut up in loathsome prisons, deprived of daylight, and
almost starved for want of common necessaries. But his spirit soared above these
disadvantages, under which a man less animated would have sunk; nor was he more
at a loss of quotations from the fathers and ancient authors than if he had been
furnished with the finest library.
The most bigoted of the assembly were unwilling he should be heard, knowing what effect eloquence is apt to have on the minds of the most prejudiced. At length, however, it was carried by the majority that he should have liberty to proceed in his defense, which he began in such an exalted strain of moving elocution that the heart of obdurate zeal was seen to melt, and the mind of superstition seemed to admit a ray of conviction. He made an admirable distinction between evidence as resting upon facts, and as supported by malice and calumny. He laid before the assembly the whole tenor of his life and conduct.
He observed that
the greatest and most holy men had been known to differ in points of
speculation, with a view to distinguish truth, not to keep it concealed. He
expressed a noble contempt of all his enemies, who would have induced him to
retract the cause of virtue and truth. He entered upon a high encomium of Huss;
and declared he was ready to follow him in the glorious task of martyrdom. He
then touched upon the most defensible doctrines of Wickliffe; and concluded with
observing that it was far from his intention to advance anything against the
state of the Church of God; that it was only against the abuse of the clergy he
complained; and that he could not help saying, it was certainly impious that the
patrimony of the Church, which was originally intended for the purpose of
charity and universal benevolence, should be prostituted to the pride of the
eye, in feasts, foppish vestments, and other reproaches to the name and
profession of Christianity.
trial being over, Jerome received the same sentence that had been passed upon
his martyred countryman. In consequence of this, he was, in the usual style of
popish affectation, delivered over to the civil power: but as he was a layman,
he had not to undergo the ceremony of degradation. They had prepared a cap of
paper painted with red devils, which being put upon his head, he said, "Our
Lord Jesus Christ, when He suffered death for me a most miserable sinner, did
wear a crown of thorns upon His head, and for His sake will I wear this
days were allowed him in hopes that he would recant; in which time the
of Florence used his utmost endeavors to bring him over. But they all proved
ineffectual. Jerome was resolved to seal the doctrine with his blood; and he
suffered death with the most distinguished magnanimity.
going to the place of execution he sang several hymns, and when he came to the
spot, which was the same where Huss had been burnt, he knelt down, and prayed
fervently. He embraced the stake with great cheerfulness, and when they went
behind him to set fire to the fagots, he said, "Come here, and kindle it
before my eyes; for if I had been afraid of it, I had not come to this
place." The fire being kindled, he sang a hymn, but was soon interrupted by
the flames; and the last words he was heard to say these, "This soul in
flames I offer Christ, to Thee."
elegant Pogge, a learned gentleman of Florence, secretary to two popes, and a
zealous but liberal catholic, in a letter to Leonard Arotin, bore ample
testimony of the extraordinary powers and virtues of Jerome whom he emphatically
styles, A prodigious man!
The real name of this zealous servant of Christ was John de Trocznow, that of Zisca is a Bohemian word, signifying one-eyed, as he had lost an eye. He was a native of Bohemia, of a good family and left the court of Winceslaus, to enter into the service of the king of Poland against the Teutonic knights. Having obtained a badge of honor and a purse of ducats for his gallantry, at the close of the war, he returned to the court of Winceslaus, to whom he boldly avowed the deep interest he took in the bloody affront offered to his majesty's subjects at Constance in the affair of Huss. Winceslaus lamented it was not in his power to revenge it; and from this moment Zisca is said to have formed the idea of asserting the religious liberties of his country.
In the year 1418, the Council
was dissolved, having done more mischief than good, and in the summer of that
year a general meeting was held of the friends of religious reformation, at the
castle of Wisgrade, who, conducted by Zisca, repaired to the emperor with arms
in their hands, and offered to defend him against his enemies. The king bid them
use their arms properly, and this stroke of policy first insured to Zisca the
confidence of his party.
Winceslaus was succeeded by Sigismond, his brother, who rendered himself odious to the reformers; and removed all such as were obnoxious to his government. Zisca and his friends, upon this, immediately flew to arms, declared war against the emperor and the pope, and laid siege to Pilsen with 40,000 men. They soon became masters of the fortress, and in a short time all the southwest part of Bohemia submitted, which greatly increased the army of the reformers.
The latter having taken the pass of Muldaw, after a severe conflict of five days and nights, the emperor became alarmed, and withdrew his troops from the confines of Turkey, to march them into Bohemia. At Berne in Moravia, he halted, and sent dispatches to treat of peace, as a preliminary to which Zisca gave up Pilsen and all the fortresses he had taken. Sigismond proceeding in a manner that clearly manifested he acted on the Roman doctrine, that no faith was to be kept with heretics, and treating some of the authors of the late disturbances with severity, the alarm-bell of revolt was sounded from one end of Bohemia to the other.
Zisca took the castle of Prague by the power of money, and on August 19,
1420, defeated the small army the emperor had hastily got together to oppose
him. He next took Ausea by assault, and destroyed the town with a barbarity that
disgraced the cause in which he fought.
approaching, Zisca fortified his camp on a strong hill about forty miles from
Prague, which he called Mount Tabor, whence he surprised a body of horse at
midnight, and made a thousand men prisoners. Shortly after, the emperor obtained
possession of the strong fortress of Prague, by the same means Zisca had before
done: it was blockaded by the latter, and want began to threaten the emperor,
who saw the necessity of a retreat.
to make a desperate effort, Sigismond attacked the fortified camp of Zisca on
Mount Tabor, and carried it with great slaughter. Many other fortresses also
fell, and Zisca withdrew to a craggy hill, which he strongly fortified, and
whence he so annoyed the emperor in his approaches against the town of Prague,
that he found he must either abandon the siege or defeat his enemy. The marquis
of Misnia was deputed to effect this with a large body of troops, but the event
was fatal to the imperialists; they were defeated, and the emperor having lost
nearly one third of his army, retreated from the siege of Prague, harassed in
his rear by the enemy.
In the spring of 1421, Zisca commenced the campaign, as before, by destroying all the monasteries in his way. He laid siege to the castle of Wisgrade, and the emperor coming to relieve it, fell into a snare, was defeated with dreadful slaughter, and this important fortress was taken. Our general had now leisure to attend to the work of reformation, but he was much disgusted with the gross ignorance and superstition of the Bohemian clergy, who rendered themselves contemptible in the eyes of the whole army.
When he saw any symptoms of
uneasiness in the camp, he would spread alarm in order to divert them, and draw
his men into action. In one of these expeditions, he encamped before the town of
Rubi, and while pointing out the place for an assault, an arrow shot from the
wall struck him in the eye. At Prague it was extracted, but, being barbed, it
tore the eye out with it. A fever succeeded, and his life was with difficulty
preserved. He was now totally blind, but still desirous of attending the army.
The emperor, having summoned the states of the empire to assist him, resolved,
with their assistance, to attack Zisca in the winter, when many of his troops
departed until the return of spring.
The confederate princes undertook the siege of Soisin, but at the approach merely of the Bohemian general, they retreated. Sigismond nevertheless advanced with his formidable army, consisting of 15,000 Hungarian horse and 25,000 infantry, well equipped for a winter campaign. This army spread terror through all the east of Bohemia. Wherever Sigismond marched, the magistrates laid their keys at his feet, and were treated with severity or favor, according to their merits in his cause. Zisca, however, with speedy marches, approached, and the emperor resolved to try his fortune once more with that invincible chief.
On the thirteenth of
January, 1422, the two armies met on a spacious plain near Kremnitz. Zisca
appeared in the center of his front line, guarded, or rather conducted, by a
horseman on each side, armed with a pole-axe. His troops having sung a hymn,
with a determined coolness drew their swords, and waited for a signal. When his
officers had informed him that the ranks were all well closed, he waved his saber
round his head, which was the sign of battle.
battle is described as a most awful sight. The extent of the plain was one
continued scene of disorder. The imperial army fled towards the confines of
Moravia, the Taborites, without intermission, galling their rear. The river Igla,
then frozen opposed their flight. The enemy pressing furiously, many of the
infantry and in a manner the whole body of the cavalry, attempted the river. The
ice gave way, and not fewer than two thousand were swallowed up in the water.
Zisca now returned to Tabor, laden with all the spoils and trophies which the
most complete victory could give.
Zisca now began again to pay attention to the Reformation; he forbid all the prayers for the dead, images, sacerdotal vestments, fasts, and festivals. Priests were to be preferred according to their merits, and no one to be persecuted for religious opinions. In everything Zisca consulted the liberal minded, and did nothing without general concurrence. An alarming disagreement now arose at Prague between the magistrates who were Calixtans, or receivers of the Sacraments in both kinds, and the Taborites, nine of the chiefs of whom were privately arraigned, and put to death.
The populace, enraged, sacrificed the magistrates, and the affair terminated without any particular consequence. The Calixtans having sunk into contempt, Zisca was solicited to assume the crown of Bohemia; but this he nobly refused, and prepared for the next campaign, in which Sigismond resolved to make his last effort. While the marquis of Misnia penetrated into Upper Saxony, the emperor proposed to enter Moravia, on the side of Hungary. Before the marquis had taken the field, Zisca sat down before the strong town of Aussig, situated on the Elbe.
The marquis flew to its relief with a superior army, and, after an obstinate engagement, was totally defeated and Aussig capitulated. Zisca then went to the assistance of Procop, a young general whom he had appointed to keep Sigismond in check, and whom he compelled to abandon the siege of Pernitz, after laying eight weeks before it.
willing to give his troops some respite from fatigue, now entered Prague, hoping
his presence would quell any uneasiness that might remain after the late
disturbance: but he was suddenly attacked by the people; and he and his troop
having beaten off the citizens, effected a retreat to his army, whom he
acquainted with the treacherous conduct of the Calixtans. Every effort of
address was necessary to appease their vengeful animosity, and at night, in a
private interview between Roquesan, an ecclesiastic of great eminence in Prague,
and Zisca, the latter became reconciled, and the intended hostilities were done
Mutually tired of the war, Sigismond sent to Zisca, requesting him to sheath his sword, and name his conditions. A place of congress being appointed, Zisca, with his chief officers, set out to meet the emperor. Compelled to pass through a part of the country where the plague raged, he was seized with it at the castle of Briscaw, and departed this life, October 6, 1424.
Like Moses, he died in view of
the completion of his labors, and was buried in the great Church of Czaslow, in
Bohemia, where a monument is erected to his memory, with this inscription on
it-"Here lies John Zisca, who, having defended his country against the
encroachments of papal tyranny, rests in this hallowed place, in despite of the
the death of Zisca, Procop was defeated, and fell with the liberties of his
orders occasioned great contentions between the
papists and reformed Bohemians,
which was the cause of a violent persecution against the latter. At Prague, the
persecution was extremely severe, until, at length, the reformed being driven to
desperation, armed themselves, attacked the senate-house, and threw twelve
senators, with the speaker, out of the senate-house windows, whose bodies fell
upon spears, which were held up by others of the reformed in the street, to
informed of these proceedings, the
pope came to Florence, and publicly
excommunicated the reformed Bohemians, exciting the emperor of Germany, and all
kings, princes, dukes, etc., to take up arms, in order to extirpate the whole
race; and promising, by way of encouragement, full remission of all sins
whatever, to the most wicked person, if he did but kill one Bohemian Protestant.
occasioned a bloody war; for several popish princes undertook the extirpation,
or at least expulsion, of the proscribed people; and the Bohemians, arming
themselves, prepared to repel force by force, in the most vigorous and effectual
manner. The popish army prevailing against the Protestant forces at the battle
of Cuttenburgh, the prisoners of the reformed were taken to three deep mines
near that town, and several hundreds were cruelly thrown into each, where they
A merchant of Prague, going to Breslau, in Silesia, happened to lodge in the same inn with several priests. Entering into conversation upon the subject of religious controversy, he passed many encomiums upon the martyred John Huss, and his doctrines. The priests taking umbrage at this, laid an information against him the next morning, and he was committed to prison as a heretic. Many endeavors were used to persuade him to embrace the roman catholic faith, but he remained steadfast to the pure doctrines of the reformed Church.
Soon after his imprisonment, a student of the university was committed to the same jail; when, being permitted to converse with the merchant, they mutually comforted each other. On the day appointed for execution, when the jailer began to fasten ropes to their feet, by which they were to be dragged through the streets, the student appeared quite terrified, and offered to abjure his faith, and turn roman catholic if he might be saved.
The offer was accepted, his abjuration was taken
by a priest, and he was set at liberty. A priest applying to the merchant to
follow the example of the student, he nobly said, "Lose no time in hopes of
my recantation, your expectations will be vain; I sincerely pity that poor
wretch, who has miserably sacrificed his soul for a few more uncertain years of
a troublesome life; and, so far from having the least idea of following his
example, I glory in the very thoughts of dying for the sake of Christ." On
hearing these words, the priest ordered the executioner to proceed, and the
merchant being drawn through the city was brought to the place of execution, and
pichel, a bigoted popish magistrate, apprehended twenty-four Protestants, among whom was his daughter's husband. As they all owned they were of the reformed religion, he indiscriminately condemned them to be drowned in the river Abbis. On the day appointed for the execution, a great concourse of people attended, among whom was pichel's daughter. This worthy wife threw herself at her father's feet, bedewed them with tears, and in the most pathetic manner, implored him to commiserate her sorrow, and pardon her husband.
The obdurate magistrate sternly replied, "Intercede not for him, child, he is a heretic, a vile heretic." To which she nobly answered, "Whatever his faults may be, or however his opinions may differ from yours, he is still my husband, a name which, at a time like this, should alone employ my whole consideration." pichel flew into a violent passion and said, "You are mad! cannot you, after the death of this, have a much worthier husband?"
(replied she) my affections are fixed upon this, and death itself shall not
dissolve my marriage vow."
pichel, however, continued inflexible, and
ordered the prisoners to be tied with their hands and feet behind them, and in
that manner be thrown into the river. As soon as this was put into execution,
the young lady watched her opportunity, leaped into the waves, and embracing the
body of her husband, both sank together into one watery grave. An uncommon
instance of conjugal love in a wife, and of an inviolable attachment to, and
personal affection for, her husband.
emperor ferdinand, whose hatred to the Bohemian Protestants was without bounds,
not thinking he had sufficiently oppressed them, instituted a high court of
reformers, upon the plan of the inquisition, with this difference, that the
reformers were to remove from place to place, and always to be attended by a
body of troops.
reformers consisted chiefly of Jesuits, and from their decision, there was no
appeal, by which it may be easily conjectured, that it was a dreadful tribunal
first victim of their cruelty was an aged minister, whom they killed as he lay
sick in his bed; the next day they robbed and murdered another, and soon after
shot a third, as he was preaching in his pulpit.
A nobleman and clergyman, who resided in a Protestant village, hearing of the approach of the high court of reformers and the troops, fled from the place, and secreted themselves. The soldiers, however, on their arrival, seized upon a schoolmaster, asked him where the lord of that place and the minister were concealed, and where they had hidden their treasures.
The schoolmaster replied
that he could not answer either of the questions. They then stripped him naked,
bound him with cords, and beat him most unmercifully with cudgels. This cruelty
not extorting any confession from him, they scorched him in various parts of his
body; when, to gain a respite from his torments, he promised to show them where
the treasures were hid. The soldiers gave ear to this with pleasure, and the
schoolmaster led them to a ditch full of stones, saying, "Beneath these
stones are the treasures ye seek for." Eager after money, they went to
work, and soon removed those stones, but not finding what they sought after,
they beat the schoolmaster to death, buried him in the ditch, and covered him
with the very stones he had made them remove.
of the soldiers ravished the daughters of a worthy Protestant before his face,
and then tortured him to death. A minister and his wife they tied back to back
and burnt. Another minister they hung upon a cross beam, and making a fire under
him, broiled him to death. A gentleman they hacked into small pieces, and they
filled a young man's mouth with gunpowder, and setting fire to it, blew his head
their principal rage was directed against the clergy, they took a pious
Protestant minister, and tormenting him daily for a month together, in the
following manner, making their cruelty regular, systematic, and progressive.
They placed him amidst them, and made him the subject of their derision and mockery, during a whole day's entertainment, trying to exhaust his patience, but in vain, for he bore the whole with true Christian fortitude. They spit in his face, pulled his nose, and pinched him in most parts of his body. He was hunted like a wild beast, until ready to expire with fatigue.
They made him run the gauntlet between two ranks of them, each striking him with a twig. He was beat with their fists. He was beat with ropes. They scourged him with wires. He was beat with cudgels. They tied him up by the heels with his head downwards, until the blood started out of his nose, mouth, etc. They hung him by the right arm until it was dislocated, and then had it set again. The same was repeated with his left arm.
Burning papers dipped in oil were placed between his fingers and toes. His flesh was torn with red-hot pincers. He was put to the rack. They pulled off the nails of his right hand. The same repeated with his left hand. He was bastinated on his feet. A slit was made in his right ear. The same repeated on his left ear. His nose was slit. They whipped him through the town upon an ass.
several incisions in his flesh. They pulled off the toe nails of his right foot.
The same they repeated with his left foot. He was tied up by the loins, and
suspended for a considerable time. The teeth of his upper jaw were pulled out.
The same was repeated with his lower jaw. Boiling lead was poured upon his
fingers. The same was repeated with his toes. A knotted cord was twisted about
his forehead in such a manner as to force out his eyes.
the whole of these horrid cruelties, particular care was taken that his wounds
should not mortify, and not to injure him mortally until the last day, when the
forcing out of his eyes proved his death.
Innumerable were the other murders and depredations committed by those unfeeling brutes, and shocking to humanity were the cruelties which they inflicted on the poor Bohemian Protestants. The winter being far advanced, however, the high court of reformers, with their infernal band of military ruffians, thought proper to return to Prague; but on their way, meeting with a Protestant pastor, they could not resist the temptation of feasting their barbarous eyes with a new kind of cruelty, which had just suggested itself to the diabolical imagination of one of the soldiers.
This was to strip the minister naked, and alternately to cover him
with ice and burning coals. This novel mode of tormenting a fellow creature was
immediately put into practice, and the unhappy victim expired beneath the
torments, which seemed to delight his inhuman persecutors.
secret order was soon after issued by the emperor, for apprehending all noblemen
and gentlemen, who had been principally concerned in supporting the Protestant
cause, and in nominating Frederic elector Palatine of the Rhine, to be king of
Bohemia. These, to the number of fifty, were apprehended in one night, and at
one hour, and brought from the places where they were taken, to the castle of
Prague, and the estates of those who were absent from the kingdom were
confiscated, themselves were made outlaws, and their names fixed upon a gallows,
as marks of public ignominy.
high court of reformers then proceeded to try the fifty,
who had been
apprehended, and two apostate Protestants were appointed to examine them. These
examinants asked a great number of unnecessary and impertinent questions, which
so exasperated one of the noblemen, who was naturally of a warm temper, that he
exclaimed, opening his breast at the same time, "Cut here, search my heart,
you shall find nothing but the love of religion and liberty; those were the
motives for which I drew my sword, and for those I am willing to suffer
none of the prisoners would change their religion, or acknowledge they had been
in error, they were all pronounced guilty; but the sentence was referred to the
emperor. When that monarch had read their names, and an account of the
respective accusations against them, he passed judgment on all, but in a
different manner, as his sentences were of four kinds, viz. death, banishment,
imprisonment for life, and imprisonment during pleasure.
being ordered for execution, were informed they might send for Jesuits, monks,
or friars, to prepare for the awful change they were to undergo; but that no
Protestants should be permitted to come near them. This proposal they rejected,
and strove all they could to comfort and cheer each other upon the solemn
the morning of the day appointed for the execution, a cannon was fired as a
signal to bring the prisoners from the castle to the principal market place, in
which scaffolds were erected, and a body of troops were drawn up to attend the
prisoners left the castle with as much cheerfulness as if they had been going to
an agreeable entertainment, instead of a violent death.
of soldiers, Jesuits, priests, executioners, attendants, etc., a prodigious
concourse of people attended, to see the exit of these devoted martyrs, who were
executed in the following order.
Schilik was about fifty years of age, and was possessed of great natural and
acquired abilities. When he was told he was to be quartered, and his parts
scattered in different places, he smiled with great serenity, saying, "The
loss of a sepulcher is but a trifling consideration." A gentleman who stood
by, crying, "Courage, my lord!" he replied, "I have God's favor,
which is sufficient to inspire any one with courage: the fear of death does not
trouble me; formerly I have faced him in fields of battle to oppose Antichrist;
and now dare face him on a scaffold, for the sake of Christ." Having said a
short prayer, he told the executioner he was ready. He cut off his right hand
and his head, and then quartered him. His hand and his head were placed upon the
high tower of Prague, and his quarters distributed in different parts of the
Lord Viscount Winceslaus, who had attained the age of seventy years, was equally respectable for learning, piety, and hospitality. His temper was so remarkably patient that when his house was broken open, his property seized, and his estates confiscated, he only said, with great composure, "The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away." Being asked why he could engage in so dangerous a cause as that of attempting to support the elector Palatine Frederic against the power of the emperor, he replied,
"I acted strictly according
to the dictates of my conscience, and, to this day, deem him my king. I am now
full of years, and wish to lay down life, that I may not be a witness of the
further evils which are to attend my country. You have long thirsted for my
blood, take it, for God will be my avenger." Then approaching the block, he
stroked his long, grey beard, and said, "Venerable hairs, the greater honor
now attends ye, a crown of martyrdom is your portion." Then laying down his
head, it was severed from his body at one stroke, and placed upon a pole in a
conspicuous part of the city.
Harant was a man of good sense, great piety, and much experience gained by
travel, as he had visited the principal places in Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Hence he was free from national prejudices and had collected much knowledge.
The accusations against this nobleman, were, his being a Protestant, and having taken an oath of allegiance to Frederic, elector Palatine of the Rhine, as king of Bohemia. When he came upon the scaffold he said, "I have traveled through many countries, and traversed various barbarous nations, yet never found so much cruelty as at home. I have escaped innumerable perils both by sea and land, and surmounted inconceivable difficulties, to suffer innocently in my native place.
My blood is likewise sought by those for whom I, and my
forefathers, have hazarded our estates; but, Almighty God! forgive them, for
they know not what they do." He then went to the block, kneeled down, and
exclaimed with great energy, "Into Thy hands, O Lord! I commend my spirit;
in Thee have I always trusted; receive me, therefore, my blessed Redeemer."
The fatal stroke was then given, and a period put to the temporary pains of this
Frederic de Bile suffered as a Protestant, and a promoter of the late war; he
met his fate with serenity, and only said he wished well to the friends whom he
left behind, forgave the enemies who caused his death, denied the authority of
the emperor in that country, acknowledged Frederic to be the only true king of
Bohemia, and hoped for salvation in the merits of his blessed Redeemer.
Lord Henry Otto, when he first came upon the scaffold, seemed greatly confounded, and said, with some asperity, as if addressing himself to the emperor, "Thou tyrant Ferdinand, your throne is established in blood; but if you will kill my body, and disperse my members, they shall still rise up in judgment against you." He then was silent, and having walked about for some time, seemed to recover his fortitude, and growing calm, said to a gentleman who stood near,
"I was, a few minutes since, greatly discomposed, but now I feel my spirits revive; God be praised for affording me such comfort; death no longer appears as the king of terrors, but seems to invite me to participate of some unknown joys."
Kneeling before the block, he said,
"Almighty God! to Thee I
commend my soul, receive it for the sake of Christ, and admit it to the glory of
Thy presence." The executioner put this nobleman to considerable pain, by
making several strokes before he severed the head from the body.
earl of Rugenia was distinguished for his superior abilities, and unaffected
piety. On the scaffold he said, "We who drew our swords fought only to
preserve the liberties of the people, and to keep our consciences sacred: as we
were overcome, I am better pleased at the sentence of death, than if the emperor
had given me life; for I find that it pleases God to have his truth defended,
not by our swords, but by our blood." He then went boldly to the block,
saying, "I shall now be speedily with Christ," and received the crown
of martyrdom with great courage.
Sir Gaspar Kaplitz was eighty-six years of age. When he came to the place of execution, he addressed the principal officer thus: "Behold a miserable ancient man, who hath often entreated God to take him out of this wicked world, but could not until now obtain his desire, for God reserved me until these years to be a spectacle to the world, and a sacrifice to himself; therefore God's will be done."
One of the officers told him, in consideration of his great age,
that if he would only ask pardon, he would immediately receive it. "Ask
pardon, (exclaimed he) I will ask pardon of God, whom I have frequently
offended; but not of the emperor, to whom I never gave any offence; should I sue
for pardon, it might be justly suspected I had committed some crime for which I
deserved this condemnation. No, no, as I die innocent, and with a clear
conscience, I would not be separated from this noble company of martyrs:"
so saying, he cheerfully resigned his neck to the block.
Dorzecki on the scaffold said, "We are now under the emperor's judgment;
but in time he shall be judged, and we shall appear as witnesses against
him." Then taking a gold medal from his neck, which was struck when the
elector Frederic was crowned king of Bohemia, he presented it to one of the
officers, at the same time uttering these words, "As a dying man, I
request, if ever King Frederic is restored to the throne of Bohemia, that you
will give him this medal. Tell him, for his sake, I wore it until death, and
that now I willingly lay down my life for God and my king." He then
cheerfully laid down his head and submitted to the fatal blow.
Servius was brought up a
roman catholic, but had embraced the reformed religion
for some years. When upon the scaffold the Jesuits used their utmost endeavors
to make him recant, and return to his former faith, but he paid not the least
attention to their exhortations. Kneeling down he said, "They may destroy
my body, but cannot injure my soul, that I commend to my Redeemer"; and
then patiently submitted to martyrdom, being at that time fifty-six years of
Cockan, was a person of considerable fortune and eminence, perfectly pious and
honest, but of trifling abilities; yet his imagination seemed to grow bright,
and his faculties to improve on death's approach, as if the impending danger
refined the understanding. Just before he was beheaded, he expressed himself
with such eloquence, energy, and precision as greatly amazed those who knew his
former deficiency in point of capacity.
Steffick was remarkable for his affability and serenity of temper.
Jessenius, an able student of physic, was accused of having spoken disrespectful
words of the emperor, of treason in swearing allegiance to the elector Frederic,
and of heresy in being a Protestant. For the first accusation he had his tongue
cut out; for the second he was beheaded; and for the third, and last, he was
quartered, and the respective parts exposed on poles.
Chober, as soon as he stepped upon the scaffold said, "I come in the name
of God, to die for His glory; I have fought the good fight, and finished my
course; so, executioner, do your office." The executioner obeyed, and he
instantly received the crown of martyrdom.
person ever lived more respected or died more lamented than John Shultis. The
only words he spoke, before receiving the fatal stroke, were, "The
righteous seem to die in the eyes of fools, but they only go to rest. Lord
Jesus! Thou hast promised that those who come to Thee shall not be cast off.
Behold, I am come; look on me, pity me, pardon my sins, and receive my
Hostialick was famed for his learning, piety, and humanity.
Soon after he said, "I hope my repentance is sincere, and
will be accepted, in which case the blood of Christ will wash me from my
crimes." He then told the officer he should repeat the Song of Simeon; at
the conclusion of which the executioner might do his duty. He accordingly, said,
"Lord, now let Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word:
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation;" at which words his head was struck
off at one blow.
John Kutnaur came to the place of execution, a Jesuit said to him, "Embrace
roman catholic faith, which alone can save and arm you against the terrors
of death." To which he replied, "Your superstitious faith I abhor, it
leads to perdition, and I wish for no other arms against the terrors of death
than a good conscience." The Jesuit turned away, saying, sarcastically,
"The Protestants are impenetrable rocks." "You are
mistaken," said Kutnaur, "it is Christ that is the Rock, and we are
firmly fixed upon Him."
person not being born independent, but having acquired a fortune by a mechanical
employment, was ordered to be hanged. Just before he was turned off, he said,
"I die, not for having committed any crime, but for following the dictates
of my own conscience, and defending my country and religion."
Sussickey was father-in-law to Kutnaur, and like him, was ordered to be executed
on a gallows. He went cheerfully to death, and appeared impatient to be
executed, saying, "Every moment delays me from entering into the Kingdom of
Wodnianskey was hanged for having supported the Protestant cause, and the
election of Frederic to the crown of
Bohemia. At the gallows, the Jesuits did all in their power to induce him to
renounce his faith. Finding their endeavors ineffectual, one of them said,
"If you will not adjure your heresy, at least repent of your
rebellion?" To which Wodnianskey replied, "You take away our lives
under a pretended charge of rebellion; and, not content with that, seek to
destroy our souls; glut yourselves with blood, and be satisfied; but tamper not
with our consciences."
own son then approached the gallows, and said to his father, "Sir, if life
should be offered to you on condition of apostasy, I entreat you to remember
Christ, and reject such pernicious overtures." To this the father replied,
"It is very acceptable, my son, to be exhorted to constancy by you; but
suspect me not; rather endeavor to confirm in their faith your brothers,
sisters, and children, and teach them to imitate that constancy of which I shall
leave them an example." He had so sooner concluded these words than he was
turned off, receiving the crown of martyrdom with great fortitude.
Gisbitzkey, during his whole confinement, had great hopes of life given him,
which made his friends fear for the safety of his soul. He, however, continued
steadfast in his faith, prayed fervently at the gallows, and met his fate with
Foster was an ancient cripple; the accusations against whom were, being
charitable to heretics, and lending money to the elector Frederic. His great
wealth, however, seemed to have been his principal crime; and that he might be
plundered of his treasures was the occasion of his being ranked in this
illustrious list of martyrs.