Saturday, June 9, 2012

In His Hands I Place My Cause

Prior to the Protestant Reformation, before the big names like Luther, Calvin and Zwingli, there was a Czech man by the name of John Huss. Though he didn't start the big movement, Huss served as the forerunner to the 16th century movement. Huss's fiery preaching was particularly aimed at the corruption of the clergy. He was an adamant opposer to the sale of indulgences for the forgiveness of sins. He also criticized papal authority, claiming that the Bible was the final authority, by which the pope or any other Christian would be judged. For his stance, Huss was brought to trial on June 5, 1415. The leaders of the trial wished to have Huss simply recant his position and admit his heresy in order to be let go. To this Huss replied:
"I appeal to Jesus Christ, 
the only judge who is almighty and completely just. 
In his hands, I place my cause, 
since he will judge each, not on the basis of false witness and erring councils, 
but on truth and justice."

I'll let Justo Gonzalez retell the rest of Huss's story. 

"He was then sent back to prison, where many went to plead with him; for what the leaders of the council sought was a recantation that would affirm the assemblies authority, not a condemnation that would cause many to question its wisdom. 

Finally, on July 6, Huss was taken to the cathedral. There he was dressed in his priestly garments, which were then torn from him. His tonsure was erased by shaving his head, which was then covered with a paper crown decorated with demons. On his way to the stake, they led him past a pyre where his books were being burned. When he was tied to the stake, they gave him a last chance to recant, and once again he refused. He then prayed aloud, "Lord Jesus, it is for thee that I patiently endure this cruel death. I pray thee to have mercy on my enemies." He was then heard reciting the psalms as he died."

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