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oppose and preach against the doctrines and corruptions then in the Romish church. This inflamed the resentment of the clergy against him, and he was summoned to appear before the council of Constance. Secured, as he thought; from the rage of his enemies, by the safe conduct granted him by the emperor Sigismund for his journey to Constance, his residence in that place, and his return to his own country, Huss obeyed the order of the council, and appeared before it to demonstrate his innocence, and to prove that the charge of his having deserted the church of Rome was entirely groundless. However, his enemies so far prevailed, that, by the most scandalous breach of public faith, he was cast into prison, declared a heretic, because he refused to plead guilty against the dictates of his conscience, and burnt alive in 1415; a punishment which he endured with unparalleled magnanimity and resolution. When he came to the place of execution he fell on his knees, sany portions of psalms, looked steadfastly towards heaven, and repeated these words :-"Into thy hands, 0 Lord, do I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O most good and faithful God. Lord Jesus Christ, assist and help me, that with a firm and present mind, by thy most powerful grace, I may undergo this most cruel and ignominious death, to which I am condemned for preaching the truth of thy most holy gospel.” When the chains were put upon 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 should I be ashamed of this old and rusty one !" When the fagots were piled up to his very neck, the duke of Bavaria was officious enough to desire him to abjure. “No," says Huss, “I never preached any doctrine of an evil tendency; and what I taught with my lips I seal with my blood.” He said to the executjoner, “ Are you going to burn a goose ?* In one century you will have a swan you can neither roast nor
If he were prophetic he must have meant Lu.
* Huss, in the language of his country, signifies goose
ther, who had a swan for his arms. The fire was then applied to the fagots; when the martyr sang a hymn. At last his voice was cut short, after he had uttered, “ Jesus Christ, thou son of the living God, have mercy upon me ;” and he was consumed in a most miserable
The duke of Bavaria ordered the executioner to throw all the martyr's clothes into the flames; aster which his ashes were carefully collected and cast into the Rhine.
Jerome of Prague, the intiinate friend and companion of Huss, was born at Prague, and suffered martyrdom one year after Huss. He was educated at the university of Prague, had travelled into many countries in Europe, and was greatly celebrated for his learning, virtues, and uncommon eloquence.
Being of the sentiments of Huss, he was summoned before the council of Constance. It is said that it was amazing to hear with what force of expression, fluency of speech, and excellent reasoning, he answered his adversaries. It was impossible to hear him without emotion. Every ear was captivated and every heart touched. But wishes in his favour were in vain; he threw himself beyond a possibility of mercy. He launched out into a high encomium of Huss, calling him a holy man, and lamenting his cruel and unjust death. He had armed himself, he said, with a full resolution to follow the steps of that blessed martyr, and to suffer with constancy whatever the malice of his enemies could inflict. Firm and intrepid, he stood before the council, collected in himself; not only contemning, but seeming even desirous of death. *Two days were allowed him for reflection, and many persons of consequence endeavoured to make him recant his opinions ; but all was in vain, and he was condemed as heretic.
With a cheerful countenance he came to the place of execution, pulled off his upper garment, and made a short prayer at the stake, to which he was soon bound with wet cords, and an iron chain, and enclosed with fagots as high as his breast.
Observing the executioner about setting fire to the
wood behind his back, he cried out, “ Bring thy torch hither. Perform thy office before my face. Had I feared death I might have avoided it.”
As the wood began to blaze he sang a hymn, which the violence of the flame scarce interrupted ; and the last words he was heard to say, were,
“ This soul in flames I offer, Christ, to thee !"
52. MARTIN LUTHER. MARTIN LUTHER, the great reformer of the church, was born at Eisleben, in Saxony, in 1483. Though his parents were poor, they endeavoured to give their son an education ; but young Luther, with other poor students, was obliged to earn his bread by singing before the doors of houses. In this occupation he often met with hard language and bitter reproaches at many doors. One day being much dejected, the worthy wife of a citizen, penetrated with pity for him, called the hungry youth into the house and refreshed him with food. This worthy woman, with her husband, were so well pleased with young Luther, that they determined to provide him food and clothing, that he might, without interruption and care for his support, the more zealously pursue his studies, in which he gave many indications of future worth. As his mind was naturally susceptible of serious impressions, and tinctured with that religious melancholy which delights in the solitude of a monastic life, he retired into a convent of Augustinian friars ; where he acquired great reputation, not only for piety, but for love of knowledge and unwearied application to study.
Happening to find a Bible in the monastery, he applied himself to the study of it with so much eagerness and assiduity as to astonish the monks, and increased his reputation for sanctity so much that he was chosen professor of theology in the university of Wittemburg.
While Luther was thus employed, Tetzel, a Dominican friar, came to Wittemburg in order to publish indulgences. This appeared so contrary to the gospel that Luther published his sentiments respecting them, which spread over Germany with great rapidity, and were read with the greatest eagerness.
Luther, having thus begun to oppose one practice of the Romish church, was also' led to examine other practices and tenets of the same church; the result of which entirely convinced him that the popish religion was not the religion of the Bible, and he boldly declared the pope to be the antichrist, or man of sin, whose appearance is foretold in the New Testament.
The court of Rome being alarmed at the progress of Luther's sentiments among all classes of people, excommunicated him as a heretic, and would probably have put him to death had he not been befriended by some of the princes of Germany, who were friendly to the new doctrines he set forth. Being at Augsburg in 1518, whither he had been summoned to answer for his opinions, Luther declared he could not renounce opinions founded in reason, and derived from Scripture, and at the same time delivering a formal protest, the cardinal asked, “ What do you mean? Do you rely on the force of arms ? When the just punishment and the thunder of the pope's indignation break in upon you, where do you think to remain ?" His answer was, " Either in heaven or under heaven."
Luther was at length summoned to appear before the diet at Worms, to answer for his heresy. The
emperor Charles V. having granted him a safe conduct, he yielded obedience and set out for Worms. While on his journey, many of his friends (whom the fate of Huss under similar circumstances, and notwithstanding the same security of an imperial safe conduct, filled with solicitude) advised and entreated him not to rush wantonly into the midst of danger. But Luther, superior to such terrors, silenced them with this reply :-"7 am lawfully called," said he, “ to appear in that city: