From Here to Forever


Chapter 6—Two Heroes Face Death

As early as the ninth century the Bible had been translated and public worship was conducted in the language of the people of Bohemia. But Gregory VII was intent upon enslaving the people, and a bull was issued forbidding public worship in the Bohemian tongue. The pope declared that “it was pleasing to the Omnipotent that His worship should be celebrated in an unknown language.”1 But Heaven had provided agencies for the preservation of the church. Many Waldenses and Albigenses, driven by persecution, came to Bohemia. They labored zealously in secret. Thus the true faith was preserved. HF 61.1

Before the days of Huss there were men in Bohemia who condemned the corruption in the church. The fears of the hierarchy were roused, and persecution was opened against the gospel. After a time it was decreed that all who departed from the Romish worship should be burned. But the Christians looked forward to the triumph of their cause. One declared when dying, “There shall arise one from among the common people, without sword or authority, and against him they shall not be able to prevail.”2 Already one was rising, whose testimony against Rome would stir the nations. HF 61.2

John Huss was of humble birth and was early left an orphan by the death of his father. His pious mother, regarding education and the fear of God as the most valuable of possessions, sought to secure this heritage for her son. Huss studied at the provincial school, then repaired to the university at Prague, receiving admission as a charity scholar. HF 61.3

At the university, Huss soon distinguished himself by his rapid progress. His gentle, winning deportment gained him universal esteem. He was a sincere adherent of the Roman Church and an earnest seeker for the spiritual blessings it professes to bestow. After completing his college course, he entered the priesthood. Rapidly attaining eminence, he became attached to the court of the king. He was also made professor and afterward rector of the university. The humble charity scholar had become the pride of his country, his name renowned throughout Europe. HF 62.1

Jerome, who afterward became associated with Huss, had brought with him from England the writings of Wycliffe. The queen of England, a convert to Wycliffe's teachings, was a Bohemian princess. Through her influence the Reformer's works were widely circulated in her native country. Huss was inclined to regard with favor the reforms advocated. Already, though he knew it not, he had entered upon a path which was to lead him far away from Rome. HF 62.2