Love Under Fire


Betrayed by Diplomacy

The papal leaders finally resorted to diplomacy. They struck a compromise with the Bohemians that betrayed them into the power of Rome. The Bohemians had specified four points as the condition of peace with Rome: (1) the free preaching of the Bible; (2) the right of the whole church to both the bread and the wine in the communion and the use of the mother tongue in divine worship; (3) the exclusion of the clergy from all secular offices and authority; and, (4) in cases of crime, the jurisdiction of the civil courts over clergy and laity alike. The papal authorities agreed to accept the four articles but said “that the right of explaining them ... should belong to the council—in other words, to the pope and the emperor.”20 So they signed a treaty, and Rome gained by deceit and fraud what she had failed to gain by conflict. Placing her own interpretation on the Hussite articles, as she had on the Bible, she could twist their meaning to suit her purposes. LF 52.7

Many people in Bohemia could not consent to the treaty, recognizing that it betrayed their liberties. Disagreements arose, leading to strife among themselves. The noble Procopius fell, and the liberties of Bohemia died. LF 53.1

Again foreign armies invaded Bohemia, and those who remained faithful to the gospel met with bloody persecution. Yet their firmness was unshaken. Forced to find refuge in caves, they still met to read God's Word and unite in His worship. Through messengers secretly sent to different countries they learned “that amid the mountains of the Alps was an ancient church, resting on the foundations of Scripture and protesting against the idol-worshiping corruptions of Rome.”21 With great joy, they opened correspondence with the Waldensian Christians. LF 53.2

Faithful to the gospel, the Bohemians waited through the night of their persecution. In the darkest hour they still turned their eyes toward the horizon like people watching for the morning. LF 53.3