His Martyrdom: Burned Alive
He was taken out to the place of death. When he arrived, he knelt down and began reciting psalms, and praying. He often was heard to say, “Lord Jesus, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” He was tied to the stake, and wood was piled around him up to his chin. For the last time, he was asked if he would renounce his errors, but he replied, “What errors 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.”
As the flames blazed up, Huss began to sing with a loud voice, “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.” And so he died. Died a Christian martyr’s triumphant death. He was a man in whom God the Holy Spirit began to work in a time of almost-universal darkness, and he was brought by irresistible grace to embrace the simple, glorious Gospel, casting himself by faith upon the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation.
Wylie says that Huss grasped the glorious truth of Christ’s sole mediatorship rather feebly, and “was never able to shake himself wholly free from a dependence on the intercession and good offices of the glorified.” But Wylie was surely incorrect in saying Huss “never” did so, for it is very evident, from his words and actions on the last day of his life, that he cast himself only and completely upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as we have seen.
But with these words of Wylie we can joyfully agree:
“When the martyr bowed his head at the stake it was the infallible Council that was vanquished. It was with Huss that the victory remained; and what a victory! Heap together all the trophies of Alexander and of Caesar, what are they all when weighed in the balance against this one glorious achievement? From the stake of Huss, what blessings have flowed, and are still flowing, to the world!”
Now to come to the present day, six centuries later, and to an address given by the Roman pope, Francis I, in June 2015, when he received in audience a religious delegation of “Protestants” from the Czech Republic (the present-day name for the land of Huss), on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of Huss’ cruel death.
“I welcome you, distinguished representatives of the Hussite Czechoslovak Church and of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren,” said Francis, “who are in Rome to celebrate, at the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul, a Liturgy of Reconciliation on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the Reformer Jan Hus.”
Well, his opening sentence spoke volumes already! Why would representatives of two supposedly “Protestant” denominations even seek an audience with the Roman pope, the modern incumbent of the very office which had condemned Huss to death? Clearly these two “churches” are anything but Protestant today. And what were they doing, celebrating a “liturgy of reconciliation” at what Rome claims– with no real evidence whatsoever – are the tombs of Peter and Paul? Is this what modern-day “Protestantism” has been reduced to – making pilgrimages to tombs like the heathen religions do, and like Rome does? Apparently so. Understand clearly then, dear reader, that this meeting was not between the representatives of a false religion and two Christian churches, but between three false religions.
Then came Francis’ ecumenical overture:
“This meeting gives us the opportunity to renew and deepen the relations between our communities. In obedience to the will of the Lord Jesus, who on the eve of his Passion and Death prayed to the Father for the unity of his disciples (cf. John 17:21), we have the duty to promote increasing mutual knowledge and active collaboration.”
The usual reference to Jesus’ prayer in John 17. The Lord Jesus prayed for the unity of His disciples, certainly; but this prayer has been answered, in that all true Christians are, and always have been, spiritually united together, one in Christ. He was not praying for visible, structural unity at all! As for Francis’ words about the “duty” we all supposedly have to promote increasing mutual knowledge and active collaboration, there is not a word in all the Bible setting out this duty. But that is no hindrance to Francis. The Bible? It means nothing to the pope of Rome.
Then he said:
“Many disputes of the past call to be revisited in the light of the new context in which we live, and agreements and convergences will be reached if we address the traditional conflictive questions with a new look.”
Just imagine it! John Huss was burned alive at the stake by orders of the Roman Catholic hierarchy – and yet now we are being told by this man, the Antichrist of God’s Word, that the present “context” must cause us to “revisit” such “disputes”. As if the burning alive of a man for heresy was the result of a mere dispute, and as if “a new look” and a ‘revisit in the light of a new context” will somehow change, or lessen, the horror of that deed!