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From Here to Forever

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    Huss Dies at the Stake

    He was now led away. An immense procession followed. When all was ready for the fire to be lighted, the martyr was once more exhorted to save himself by renouncing his errors. “What errors,” said Huss, “shall I renounce? I know myself guilty of none. I call God to witness that all that I have written and preached has been with the view of rescuing souls from sin and perdition; and, therefore, most joyfully will I confirm with my blood that truth which I have written and preached.”11Ibid., bk. 3, ch. 7.HF 68.1

    When the flames kindled about him, he began to sing, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” and so continued till his voice was silenced forever. A zealous papist, describing the martyrdom of Huss, and of Jerome, who died soon after, said: “They prepared for the fire as if they were going to a marriage feast. They uttered no cry of pain. When the flames rose, they began to sing hymns; and scarce could the vehemency of the fire stop their singing.”12Ibid., bk. 3, ch. 7.HF 68.2

    When the body of Huss had been consumed, his ashes were gathered up and cast into the Rhine, and thus borne onward to the ocean to be as seed scattered in all the countries of the earth. In lands yet unknown it would yield abundant fruit in witnesses for the truth. The voice in the council hall of Constance wakened echoes heard through all coming ages. His example would encourage multitudes to stand firm in the face of torture and death. His execution had exhibited to the world the perfidious cruelty of Rome. The enemies of truth had been furthering the cause which they sought to destroy!HF 68.3

    Yet the blood of another witness must testify for the truth. Jerome had exhorted Huss to courage and firmness, declaring that if he should fall into peril, he would fly to his assistance. Hearing of the Reformer's imprisonment, the faithful disciple prepared to fulfill his promise. Without a safe-conduct he set out for Constance. On arriving, he was convinced that he had only exposed himself to peril without the possibility of doing anything for Huss. He fled but was arrested and brought back loaded with fetters. At his first appearance before the council his attempts to reply were met with shouts, “To the flames with him!”13Bonnechose, vol. 1, p. 234. He was thrown into a dungeon and fed on bread and water. The cruelties of his imprisonment brought illness and threatened his life; and his enemies, fearing he might escape them, treated him with less severity, though he remained in prison one year.HF 69.1

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