Thomas Carlyle.

The Christian treasury, Volume 2 online

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than offend his conscience: "I thank God,
whom I serve from my forefiEithers with pure
conscience." (2 Tim. L 3.) Much of religion
lies in conscience. Faith is a precious jewel;
but conscience is the cabinet where this jewel
must be kept: "Holding the myster of the
faith in a pure conscience." (1 Tim. iii. 9.)
Love IB a beautiful flower; but this flower most
grows in the garden of a pure conscience:
"Charity out of a pure heart, and of a good

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conscience." (1 Tim. i. 5.) 8o sacred a thing
is conscience, that without this all religion
drops in pieces. He who makes religion his
business, labours to get conscience regulated
by Scripture (as the watch is set by the dial);
and, haying done this, he keeps his conscience
as his eye, that no dust of sin fall into it.

CSiar, 4. He who makes religion his busi-
ness, religion bath an influence upon all his
every- day actions.

(1.) Religion hath an influence upon his eat-
ing and drinking. — He holds the golden bridle
uf temperance; he eats sparingly. ''The godly
man feeds not to please the sensual appetite,
but that he may,** as Chrysostom saith, ''by the
strength he receives from the creature," ''be
the more fit for the cheerful discharge of spiri-
tual services;'* he makes not his food fuel for
lust, but help to duty. Efucures dig their own
grave with their teeth; they feed without fear.
Sinners fear not lest their table should be a
snare (Jude 12); they fear not the process of
iustice; while the wine is in the cup, they fear
not the hand-writing on the waU. But the
godly man, being regulated by religion, puts a
knife to his throat, that he may cut the throat
of intemperance. (Prov. zxiii. 2.)

(2.) He that makes religion his business,
religion hath an influence upon his recreation.
— The strings of the viol must sometimes be
slackened, lest they break. But we are i^t to
offend most in lawful things; more are killed
with wine than with poison. Religion sits as
moderator in the souL The man influenced
by religion dares not make play an occupation;
it is oil to quicken him in God's service, not a
sea to engulf him.

(3.) He that makes religion bis business,
religion hath an influence upon his buying and
selling. — ^The wicked get a livelihood often by
cozening; sometimes they embase commodities;
they "sell the refuse of the wheat." (Amos
viii. 6.) They would pick out the beet grains
of com, and then sell the rest. Sometimes
they falsify their weights: "He is a merchant,
the balances of deceit are in his hand." (Hos.
xii. 7.) But he who makes religion his busi-
ness is regulated by it in the shop; he is just
in his dealings; he dares not hold the book of
God in one hand, and false weights in the other;
he is faithful to his neighbour, and makes as
much reckoning of the Ten Commandments, as
of his Creed.

(4.) Religion hath an influence upon his
marrying. — He labours to graft upon a religious
stock : he is not so ambitious of parentage as

of piety; nor is his care so much to espouse
dowry as virtue; in a word, he seeks for "a
meet help," one that may help him up the hill ,
to heaven: this is marrying "in the Lord."
That marriage indeed is "honourable" (Heb. !
xiii. 4), when the husband is joined to one who '
is the "temple of the Holy Ghost.** (1 Cor. vi.
19} Here is the man that makes religion his
business, who in all his civil transaetions is
steered and influenced by religion: religion is
the universal ingredient.

Char, 6, He who makes religion his bnsiiiessi, ^
is good in his calling and relation. — Relative
grace doth much grace religion. I shall ana- i
pect his goodness who herein is eccentricaL!
Some will pray and discourse well; but it ap-j
pears they never made religion their businesB, *
but took it up rather for ostentation than'as an
occupation, because they are defective in rela- '
tive duties: they are bad husbands, bad child-
ren, &c. If one should draw a pictare^ and
leave out the eye, it would much eclipse and
take from the beauty of the picture : to fiedl in
a relation stains the honour of profes^on. He
who makes religion his business is like a star'
shining in the proper orb and station wherein
God hath set liim. |

Char, 6. He who makes religion his busineasj
hath a care of his company^ — He dares notj
twist into a cord of friendship with sinners:'
"I have not sat with vain persons." (Ps. xxvL
4.) Diamonds will not cement with rubbish.
It is dangerous to intermingle with the wicked,
lest their breath prove infectious; sin is very
catching. They "were mingled among the
Heathen, and learned their works. And they
served their idols; which were a snare unto
them." (Ps. cvL 35, 36.) If you mingle
bright and rusty armour together, the rusty
will not be made bright, but the bright will be
made rusty. He who makes religion his busi-
ness, likes not to be near them whose nearness
sets him further off from God, and whose em-
braces, like those of the spider, are to suck out
the precious life. The godly man ingrafts into
the "communion of saints," apd hereby, as the
scions, he partakes of the sap and virtue of
their grace: he who makes it his bus^ess to get
to heaven, associates only with those who may
make him better, or whom he may make better.

Char, 7. He who makes religion his business
keeps his spiritual watch always by him.

(1.) He watcheth his €jf$: "I made a cove-
nant wjth mine eyes." When the eye is gad-
ding, the heart is defiled.

(2^ He who makes religion hif business

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watcheth bis tltougku, lest tbey should turn to
froth: ^How long shall thy vain thoughts
lodge within thee!" (Jer. iv, 14.) What a
world of sin is minted in the fancy 1 A child
uf God sets a spy over his thoughts, he sum-
mons them in, and captivates them '*to the
obedience of Christ.'* (2 Cor. x. 5.)

(3.) He who makes religion his business
watcheth over his pemiom. — Passion is like
^(unpowder, which the devil setting on fire,
blows np the soul. Jonah in a passion quarrels
M'ith the Almighty. (Jonah iv. 1, 9.) He who
is devoted to religion watcheth his passions,
<est, the tide growing high, reason should be
carried down the stream, and be drowned in it.

(4.) He who makes religion his business
watcheth his cfirtiei. — "Watch and pray.**
(Matt, xxvi. 41.) JP*rrt, He doth watch tii
prayer. The heart is subject to remissness; if
it be not dead in sin, it will be dead in prayer;
a Christian watcheth, lest he should abate his
fervour in duty; he knows if the strings of his
spiritual viol slacken, he cannot ''make melody
in his heart to the Lord." (Eph. v. 19; Col.
iii. 16.) Secondly f He doth iratch after prayer.
Asa man is most careful of himself when he
comes out of a hot bath, the pores being then
most open and subject to cold; so a Christian
is most careful whdn he comee from an ordi-
nance, lest his heart should decoy him into sin:
therefore, when he hath prayed, he sets a
watch. He deals with his heart as the Jews
dealt with Christ's sepulchre; they **made the
sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a
watch.*' (Matt, xxvii. 66 ^ A good Christian
having been at the word and sacrament (that seal-
ing ordinance), after the sealing he sets a watch.

(S.) He who makes religion his business
watcheth his temjptationt, — Temptation is the
iicout which the devil sends out to discover
our forces; it is the train he lays to blow up
our grace. Satan ever lies at the catch; he
liath bis "depths" (Rev, ii. 24); his "methods'*
(Eph. iv. 14); his "devices.** (2 Cor. u. 11.)
tie is continually fishing for our souls; and, if
Satan be angling, we had need be watching.
He who makes religion his business is full of
holy exubation; he lies sentinel, and, with the
prophet, stands upon his watch-tower. (Hab.
ii 1.) Solomon saith of a virtuous woman,
"Her candle goeth not out by night.** (Prov.
xxxi. 18.). The good Christian keeps his
watc)^-candle always burning.

Char, 8. He who makes religion hb business,
every day casts up his accounts to see how
things go in his souL (Lam. iii. 40 ) Solomon

saith, "Know the state of thy flocks." (Prov.
xxvii. 23.) A man that makes religion his
work is careful to know the state of his soul;
before the Lord bring him to a trial, he brings
himself to a trial; he had rather use the look-
ing-glass of the Word to see his own heart, than
put on the broad spectacles of censure to see
another's fkult. He plays the critic upon him-
self. He searcheth whether he have grace or
no, and he tries whether it be genuine or spu-
rious, lie is as much afraid of painted holiness
as he is of going to a painted heaven. He tra-
verseth things in his soul, and will never leave,
till that question, "whether he be in the fiuth,"
be put out of question. (2 Cor. xiii. 6.) Here
is the man making religion his business: he is
loath to be a spiritual bankrupt; therefore is
still calling himself to account.

Gkar, 9. He who makes religion his business
will be religious, whatever it cost him.—He is
a resolved man: "I have sworn that I will
keep thy righteons judgments.'* (Ps. cxix. 1 06.)
There are some who mti he rich (1 Tim. vi. 9);
and there are some who «ttf he godly. (2 Tim.
. iiL 12.) He that makes religion his business
will not, as Luther saith, be put off with other
things: he can want health, ridhes, friends; but
he cannot want Christ or grace. He wUl be
godly : let the times be what they will, they
shall not take him off th« work of religion; he
will follow Christ upon the water; the floods
of persecution cannot drown his zeal; he doth
not say, "There is a lion in the way;** he will
wrestle with difficulties, march in the face of
death. The Christians of the primitive Church
cried out to the persecutor, " Hew ns in pieces,
bum us: we will never worship your idols."
These were in good earnest for heaven. There
is a great deal of difference between those who
go to sea for pleasure, and those mariners who
are to go a voyage to the East Indies : the first
upon the least storm, retreat back to shore; but
they who are embarked for a voyage hold on
their course, though the sea be rough and
stormy, and will venture their lives in hope of
the golden harvest at the Indies. Hypocrites
seem religious when things are serene and
calm; but they will not sail in a storm: those
only who make religion their business will hold
out their voyage to heaven in the midst of tem-
pests and death-threatening dangers.

Char. 10. He that makes religion his business
lives every day as his last day. — He prays in the
morning as if he were to die at night; he lives
as if he were presently to be called to God's bar;
he walks "soberly, righteously, and godly **]

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(Tit ii 12); he girds his loins, trims his lamp,
sets his house in order, that when death comes
for him with an habeas eorjmSf he may have no-
thing to do hut to die. Behold here the man
who makes religion his business.*

JoHif HusB was condemned before the Council
of Constance for adhering to certain of the
** heresies" of Wycliffe. It was in his case that
the Church of Rome sanctioned and exempli-
fied the atrodous principle, that ''no faith is to
be kept with heretics." When John Huss
went to stand his trial before the council, he
received a " safe-conduct," or pass, from the
Emperor Sigismund, certifying that he should
be allowed to go to Constance, and rdum in
safety. After the council had condemned him,
however, they passed a decree to the effect that,
Huss being a heretic, the emperor ** should not
in this case be obliged to keep his promise, by
whatsoever tie he might have been engaged;"
and, accordingly, Huss was handed over to the
tender mercies of the magistrates of Constance.
The following account of his sentence and death
is taken from a work of singular interest, a
translation of which has recently been publish-
ed—" The Befonmri before tie Be/omation;* by
Bonnechose: —

John Huss remained for thirty days in prison
after having publicly replied to his judges; and
it was on the 6th July that he appeared for the
last time before the council, in the fifteenth
general session, in order to hear his sentence

The Cardinal de Viviers prerided: the em-
peror and all the princes of the empire were
present; and an immense crowd had assembled
r'rom all quarters to view this sad spectacle.
Mass was being celebrated when Huss arrived;
iud he was kept outside until it was over, lest
:he holy mysteries should be profaned by the
presence of so great a heretic. A high table
had been erected in the midst of the^ church,
and on it were placed sacerdotal habits, with
which John Huss was to be invested, in order
to be stripped of them afterwards. He was
directed to seat himself in front of this table
on a footstool, elevated enough to allow him to
be seen by every one. On taking his seat, he
made a long prayer in a low voice; and, whilst
he was employed in this self-communion, the
Bishop of Lodi ascended the pulpit. He took for
his text this passage of St. Paul: *" That tke bodif of
iinuugfu be destroyed:* (Rom. vi. 6.) He conclud-
ed with these words, addressed to Sigismund:
•* Destroy heresies and errors, and, above all,"
• ThU sdmlrable paper Is from the tane pen «• the arti-
cte. entUied •* How to read the Bible with piollt,'* prevloutly
liMened, pp. 4SS

pointing to John Huss, " this obstinate heretic
It is a holy work, glorious prince, that which
is reserved to you to accomplish— you, to whom
the authority of justice is given. Smite, then,
such great enemies of the faith, in order that
your praises may proceed from the mouth of
children, and that your glory may be eternsL
May Jesus Christ, for ever blesBed, deign to
accord you his favour !"

Immediately after the sermon, a bishop retd
the decree, by which the ooimcil demanded
silence: and nothing testifies more strongly
than this the omnipotence which the conncU
arrogated to itself, and the humiliation in which
the lungs and the emperor were held in its
presence. This decree is thus worded: ''The
holy Council of Constance, lawfully assembled
by the influence of the Holy Spirit, decrees and
orders every one, with whatever dignity he
may be invested, whether imperial, royal, or
episcopal, to abstain, during the present sesnon,
from all language, murmur, and noise, which
may trouble the assembly, convoked with the in-
spiration of God; and this, under pain of incnr-
nng excommunication, an imprisonment of two
months, and to be declared an abetter of heresy."

This decree having been read, Henry Piron,
the proctor of the council, rose up and demand-
ed, in its name, the condemnation of John Hnasj
and of his writings.

The council had first sixty articles of Wy-
cliffe, extracted from the books abeady con-
demned, read aloud; and it condemned them
afresh. It then proceeded to the works of
John Huss, and thirty articles were gone
throuffh which had not been preriouslyread
in public, but several of which were a mere
repetition of those on which he had been al-
ready interrogated.

Huss wishwl to reply to each separately; htit
the Cardinal of Caiiibray ordered him to be
silent, declaring that he could reply, at the end,
to all of them together. Huss represented to
him that so great an effort of memory was ab-
solutely impossible, and was proceeding to en-
force his request to be allowed to speak on each
article as it arose, when the Cardinal of Flor-
ence stood up, and exclaiming, •'You are stun-
ning usr* gave orders to the ushers of the council
to seize him, and force him to keep silence.

He was a second time prevented from speak-
ing; and, finding that he was not permitted to
repel so many accusations, he kneeled down,
and, raising his hands and eyes to heaven, re-
commended his cause to the Sovereign Judge
of the universe. ^

After the reading of the articles had been
gone through, the depositions of witnesses
were preceded to, and these were designated
by their titles and qualities, and not by their
names. The accusation previously brought
against him, relative to his doctrine oa the
administration of the sacrament, was again
adduced, although he had victoriously refuted

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it, and had been pronounced orthodox on the
point. He was also accused, amongst other
absurd charges, of having given himself out as
the fourth person of the Trinity. This aoousa-
tion was supported by the tesUmony of a doc-
tor, whose name was not given. John Huss,
replied by repeating aloud the Athanasian

His appeal to Jesus Christ was also again
laid to his charge as a heavy crime. He, how-
ever, repeated it, and maintained that it was
a just and proper proceeding, and founded upon
the example of Jesus Chnst himself. ** Be-
hold r cried he, with his hands joined together
and raised to heaven, ** behold, O most kind
Jesus, how thy council condemns what thou
hast both ordered and practised! when, being
borne down by thy enemies, thou deliveredst
up thy cause into the hands of God, thy Father,
leaving us this example, that we might ourselves
have recourse to the judgment of God, the most
righteous Judge, against oppression. Yes,"
continued he, turning towards the assembly,
' I have maintained, and I still uphold, that it
is impossible to appeal more safely than to
Jesus Christ, because Hs cannot be either
corrupted by preeen^ or deceived by false
witnesses, or overreached by any artifice."
When they accused falm of having treated with
contempt the excommunication of the pope, he
observed : ** I did not despise it; but as I did
not consider him legitimate, I continued the
duties of my priesth<M>d. I sent my procurators
to Rome, where they were thrown into prison,
ill-treated, and driven out. It is on that ac-
count that I determined, of my own free will,
to appear before this council, under the public
protection and foith of the emperor here pre-

John Huss, in pronouncing these last words,
looked stedfastly at Sigismund, aud a deep
blush at once mounted to the imperial brow.

Huss' refusal to abjure having been publicly
repeated before the council, two sentences were
pronounced — one of which condemned all his
writings to be publicly burned; and the other
devot^ him to degradation ftt>m his sacred
o£Bce, as a true and manifest heretic, proved
guilty of having publicly taught errors which
had been long condemned by the Church of
God — of having advanced several things that
were scandalous, rash, and offensive to pious
ears, to the great opprobrium of the Divine
Majesty, and to the detriment of the Catholic
faiUi; — ^in fine, of having stubbornly persist^
in scandalizing Christians by his appeal to Jesus
Christ as to a sovereign Judge, in contempt of
the apostolic see, and of the censures and the
keys of the Church

During the reading of the sentence, Huss,
who was listening very attentively, exclaimed
against it several times, and, in particular, re-
pelled the accusation of stubbornness. '^l
have always desired," said he, ^and am still

most anxious, to be better instructed by the
Scriptures. I declare that my zeal for the
truth is such, that if, by a single word, I could
overturn all the errors of heretics, there is no
peril that I would not encounter for such a
result." He then fell on his knees, and said
** Lord Jesus, pardon my enemies! Thou
knowest that they have falsely accused me^
and that they have had recourse to false testi-
mony and vile calumnies against me;— pardon
them from thy infinite mercv !"

This prayer produced feelings of indignation
in some of the members of Uie council, aud
called forth mockery in others, particularly
amongst the heads of the assembly. >

Then commenced the afflicting ceremony of
degradation. The bishops clothed John Huss
in sacerdotal habits, and placed the chalice in
his hand, as if he was about to celebrate mass.
«He said, in taking the alb, ** Our Lord Jesus
Christ was covered with a white robe, by way
of insult, when Herod had him conducted be- ^
fore Pilate." Being thus clad, the prelates
again exhorted him to retract, for his salvation
and his honour; but he declared aloud, turning
towards the people, that he should take good
care not to scandalize and lead astray believers
by a hypocritical abjuration. ^ How could I,"|
said he, ** after having done so, raise my face
to heaven! With what eye could I support
the looks of that crowd of men whom I have
instructed, should it come to pass, through my
fault, that those same things which are now^
regarded by them as certainties, should become
matters of doubt — if, by my example, I caused
confusion and trouble in so many souls, so many
consciences, which I have filled with the pure
doctrine of Christ's Gospel, and which I have
strengthened against the snares of the devil !
No! no I it slmll never be said that I pre-
ferred the safety of this miserable body, now
destined to death, to their eternal salvation!" |

The bishops then made him descend from
his seat, and took the chalice out of his hand,
saying, ^ O accursed Judas I who, having aban i
doned die counsels of peace, have taken paii
in that of the Jews, we take from you this cup
filkd with the blood of Jesns Christ I" {

** I hope, by the merpy of God," replied John
Huss, " that this very day I shall dnnk of his
cup in his own kingdom; and in one hundred
years, yon shall answer before God and before
mel" I

His habits were then taken off one after the
other, and on each of them the bishops pro-
nouiiced some maledictions. When, last of all,
it was necessary to efface the marks of the
tonsure, a dispute arose amongst them whether
a razor or scissors ought to be employed.
** See," said John Huss, turning towards the
emperor, • though they are all equally cruel,
yet can they not agree on the manner of exer-
dsing their cruelty." |

They placed on his head a sort of crown dr

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pyramidal mitre, on which were painted fright-
ful figures of demons, with this inscription,
^ The Abch-heretic/' and when he was thus
arrayed, the prelates devoted his soul to the
devils. John Huss, however, recommended his
spirit to God, and said aloud, ** I wear with joy
this crown of opprobrium, for the love of Him
who bore a crown of thorns."

The Church then gave up all claim to him —
declared him a layman — and, as such, delivered
him over to the secular power, to conduct him
to the place of punishment. John Huss, by the
order of Sigismund, was given up by the Elec-
tor Palatine, vicar of the empire, to the chief
magistrate of Constance, who, in his turn,
abandoned him to the- officers of justice. He
walked between four town-sergeants to the
place of execution. The princes followed, with
an escort of eight hundred men, strongly armed;
and the concourse of the people was so prodi-
gious, that a bridge was very near breaking
down under the multitude. In passing by the
episcopal palace, Huss beheld a great fire con-
suming his books, and he smiled at the sight.

The place of punishment was a meadow ad-
joining the gardens of the city, outside the gate
of Gotleben. On arriving there, Huss kneeled
down and recited some of the penitential psalms.
Several of the people, hearing him pray with
fervour, said aloud, ^ We are ignorant of this
man's crime; but he ofiers up to Grod most ex*
cellent prayers."

When he was in front of the pile of wood
which was to consume his body, he was recom-
mended to confess his sins. Huss consented,
and a priest was brought to him, a aian of great
learning and high reputation. The priest re-
fused to hear him, unless he avowed his errors,
and retracted. ** A heretic," he observed,
** could neither give nor receive the sacra-
ments." Huss replied: ^I do not feel myself
to be guilty of any mortal sin, and now that I
am on the point of appearing before God, I will
not purchase absolution by a perjury."

When he wished to address the crowd in
German, the Elector Palatine opposed it, and
ordered him to be forthwith burned. ** Lord
Jesus !" cried John Huss, " 1 shall endeavour
to endure, with humility, this frightful death,
which I am awarded for thy Holy Gospel. Par-
don all my enemies." Whilst he was praying
thus, with his eyes raised up to heaven, tho
paper crown fell off: he smiled, but the soldiers
replaced it on his head, in order, as they de-

Online LibraryThomas CarlyleThe Christian treasury, Volume 2 → online text (page 113 of 145)