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by the priests. Matthew here repeats many of his previous arguments in favour of frequent communion.
It is not easy to form a general opinion of the character and the ' writings of Matthew of Janov. The brilliant work of Dr. Kybal, who has for the first time given us a thorough insight into the nature of Matthew, has, it can almost be said, rendered him yet more enigmatical. Janov will never obtain popular favour, as the silence of his contemporaries and immediate successors proves. The man was soon forgotten, though, as recent research has proved, his writings largely influenced the Hussite movement. The sympathy and veneration which the absolute simplicity, self-abnegation, enthusiasm, indomitable faith, tender kindness even to the most venomous enemies that characterise Hus have obtained for that great Bohemian, will never be awarded to Matthew of Janov. All the writings of Janov are tainted with bitterness, and they sometimes convey an impression of insincerity, though this ceases to be the case when Matthew writes—according to his belief,— under the mystical inspiration of Jesus Christ. Matthew’s repeated renunciations of opinions which he continued to hold strengthen this impression, and it is impossible, when reading his eloquent denunciations of the grasping extortions of the papal see, not to remember that he also had availed himself of the advantages which resulted from the system of papal benefices. It must indeed be admitted that this was no exceptional deed on the part of Matthew, and that he was driven to it by sheer want of means. Perhaps “ his poverty but not his will consented.” Both the life and the writings of Janov teem with contradictions. As Dr. Kybal has truly said of his works, we find in them entire submission to the church, and on the other hand haughty self-confidence and audacious criticism of the ecclesiastical system, sometimes timidity, sometimes the free expression of extreme views, sometimes consciousness of the importance of the hierarchy, of which Matthew himself formed part, and conservative views, at other times openly expressed popular democratic opinions. Such a man could never be revered by the people as were Milic and Hus.
Yet it would be very erroneous to underrate the importance of Matthew in connection with the Hussite movement. He was by far the most learned of the forerunners of Hus, and as a thorough scholarly theologian he greatly influenced the masters of the University of Prague, who by the vicissitudes of civil war became, soon after the death of Hus, the supreme arbitrators on religious matters in Bohemia. Chief among the pupils of Janov was Master Jacobellus of Stribro, the originator of utraquism. Jacobellus entirely adopted Janov’s views regarding the advent of Antichrist, and he has in his work on that subject incorporated large parts of Janov's treatise, though, as was then frequently done, he omitted to mention the name of the writer from whom he borrowed.‘ It was formerly also believed that Jacobellus derived from Janov his doctrine of utraquism or communion in the two kinds. The utraquist archbishop of Prague, John of Rokycan, maintained at the council of Basel that Matthew of Janov had first taught in Bohemia the doctrine of utraquism whose emblem, the chalice, became so distinctive a feature in the Hussite wars. Recent research has proved to a certainty that Janov never taught or preached utraquism.2 He, however, always insisted on the right of laymen to receive communion frequently, and maintained that through the sacrament a mystical union is established between God and the worthy communicant. This supreme favour and grace should not, Matthew declared, be reserved to priests, but should be granted to laymen also. Saintly laymen, he maintains, have the right to receive communion as frequently as priests, Dr. Kybal has first pointed out how close the connection is between the principle of the frequent communion of laymen, as maintained by Janov, and the utraquism of the Hussites 0f the fifteenth century. Both claims were founded on a democratic basis and were protests against the theory of the inferiority of laymen which priests—and often the most unworthy priests—were maintaining in Bohemia at this period.
1 Dr. Kybal has published an interesting article on the connection between Matthew of Janov and Jacobellus of Stribro in the Cesky Casopis Historicky (Bohemian Historical Review, vol. xi.).
1 This has been principally proved by Dr. Kalousik in his erudite treatise, 0 Historii Kalicha v. debach predhusitskyoh (On the history of the chalice in pre-Hussite times).
THE German writers have of late years endeavoured to establish a theory regarding the problems that confront the historian when he attempts to define to what extent general conditions and to what extent the acts of individuals should be considered in history. In other words, the historian should inquire to what extent events occurred in consequence of the social condition, the geographical situation, and the political position of a country, and to what extent the personality of one great and representative man influenced the course of history. If we attempt to solve this problem in connection with Hus, we undoubtedly find that his individuality was largely the cause Of the momentous events which have rendered his name famous. Before Hus’s time Milic had been a saintly enthusiast and a vigorous denouncer of the sins and corruption of the times. Matthew of Janov, one of the most learned theologians of the period, had energetically attacked the evil rule of Rome which the schism had rendered yet more scandalous, and he had spoken strongly against the idolatrous veneration of pictures and statues. Hus alone possessed the qualities of a great popular leader. His absolute self-renouncement, the indomitable courage with which he met moral and physical pain of every description for the cause which he firmly believed to be that of God, his enthusiastic devotion to the Slavic and particularly to the Bohemian race, his striking and popular eloquence—all combined to make him the idol of the Bohemian people, whose greatest representative in the world’s story he remains.
If we endeavour to ascertain how great our knowledge Of the events of the life Of Hus is, we meet with a great contrast. While we have numerous and varied accounts of his later life—the events during his imprisonment can be traced almost day by day—very little is known of the early life of the great Bohemian church— reformer. The almost entirely absent contemporary records are replaced by later legends which are mostly attributable to members of the community of the Bohemian brethren, who believed themselves to have most purely preserved the teaching of Hus. Many of these legends are touching and not devoid of historical value. We are mainly indebted to the careful studies recently published by Professor Flajshans, the greatest authority on Hus of the present day, for whatever knowledge of the youth and early education of Hus we possess.
We are unable to state positively in what year Hus was born. The oldest traditions stated that he was born on July 6, 1373. More recently such great authorities as Palacky and Tomek gave July 6, 1369, as the date of the birth of Hus. According to the latest researches the exact year of his birth cannot be affirmed, but it undoubtedly took place in the period between 1373 and 1375. The day is quite uncertain. The tradition that Hus was born on July 6 is merely founded on a fanciful analogy with the day of his death, which occurred on July 6. I
John Hus, or, “ of Husinec,” was born in the village of Husinec near the small town of Prachatice, which is not far from the frontiers of Bavaria. This fact deserves notice, as the racial strife which is the keynote of Bohemian history at all periods has always raged most fiercely in those districts where the domains of the Bohemian and German language meet. Husinec and the surrounding district lie on the line of delimitation of the two languages, the SPrachengrenze as it is called in German.
Hus's father was called Michael, and as it then was customary in Bohemia to describe men only by their Christian name and that of their father, young Hus was first known as John son of Michael (Jan Michaluv, in Bohemian). At Prague he was inscribed in the books of the university in accordance with the name of his native village as John of Husinec. Only after the year I398 we meet with the signature of “ John Hus ” or sometimes “ John Hus of Husinec.” Aft er the year I400 the church-reformer always signs himself simply as “ John Hus,” though he is in official documents often described as “ Magister Johannes, dictus Hus de Husinec.” The parents of Hus were peasants who possessed but scanty means, but endeavoured as far as they were able to give a good education to young John, who was his mother’s favourite son. John Hus had several brothers, of whom, however, nothing is known.1
It is probable that Hus received his first education at the school of the town of Prachatice near Husinec, though here as elsewhere great uncertainty prevails with regard to the earliest events in the life of Hus. His mother is stated to have generally accompanied him when he walked to Prachatice, and an ancient legend tells us that when he was returning from school one day a sudden storm obliged him to seek refuge under a rock. His mother joined him there, and almost immediately afterwards lightning struck a juniper bush close by and set fire to it. Hus's mother said that they must immediately return home, but young John answered, " You will see that I also, like this bush, shall depart from this world in flames.” 2
It would be very tempting to refer in more detail to the picturesque legends that are connected with the youth of Hus, but they would not, perhaps, have for English readers the same interest that they have for Hus’s countrymen. At an early age, probably about the year 1389, young Hus proceeded to Prague to pursue his studies at the university there. That university is henceforth closely connected with the life of Hus, as it was indeed with the whole history of Bohemia at this period. The Emperor Charles, King of Bohemia, founded the University of Prague in 1348. As a contemporary chronicler writes,3 Charles, “ inflamed by love of God and impelled by his strong affection for his neighbours,
1 The fact that John Hus had brothers is only proved by a passage in one of his letters written from Constance to his disciple Martin, in which he says: “ Recommendo tibi fratres meos; carissime fac sicut scis ad illos." (Palacky, Documenta Mag. joannis Hus, p. 120.)
' Flajshans, M istr fan Hus.
’ Chronicon Benessii de Weilmil, edited by Emler, p. 517.