Trial And Martyrdom Of Jerome Of Prague -- By: Oliver A. Taylor

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 002:8 (Nov 1845)
Article: Trial And Martyrdom Of Jerome Of Prague
Author: Oliver A. Taylor


Trial And Martyrdom Of Jerome Of Prague

Rev. Oliver A. Taylor

A Letter from Poggio Bracciolini to his friend Leonardo Aretino, giving an account of the trial and martyrdom of Jerome of Prague.

Milner in his Church History, giving an account of the trial and martyrdom of Jerome of Prague, remarks that “Poggius, a celebrated Florentine, who had been the secretary of John XXIII, and was present at these scenes, has left the most unequivocal testimony to the abilities, fortitude and eloquence of Jerome.” This testimony is contained in a letter of Poggio to his friend Aretino; and here follows. I became interested in it, several years since, while engaged in literary labors; and supposing others might also find it equally interesting, have here attempted to give it in an English dress. It is to be found in the “Historia et Mon. Joannis Hus atque Hieronymi Pragensis,” Ed. Norimb. 1715, Tom. II. p. 532. It derives its value, not so much from the fullness of the account, as the fact that, while it was written by an adversary and may be relied on as true, it gives us a glowing description of the manner in which this holy martyr, through the grace which God conferred upon him, was enabled to stand up bold before his enemies, and faithfully to hold out to the end. In order to be fully appreciated, it should be read in connection with some account of the trials and sufferings of Jerome, drawn out more at large, either that of Milner, or else the one to be found in Fox’s Book of Martyrs, in some of its forms.

It may, however, be premised, in this place, that Jerome was not only a man of great natural abilities, but that he had been honored as among the most learned men of his age. He received his first impulse as a reformer, it should seem, from reading the works of Wickliffe, while at Oxford, about the close of the 14th century; soon after which he returned to his native place, and connected himself with John Huss and his associates, in earnest efforts for restraining the despotism of the papal court, and reforming the licentiousness of the clergy. Of an ardent temperament and a bold, independent address which did not often stoop to conciliate, he soon became suspected of heresy; and upon his removal to Vienna, he was thrown into prison, on account of his opinions,—a confinement from which he was delivered, in consequence of the solicitation of the university of Prague. As soon as he heard, in the year 1415, that his friend John Huss was at Constance ready to appear before the council, he pathetically exhorted him to maintain a firm and unyielding temper in his great trial, and strenuously insist upon the necessity of a reformation among the clergy, assuring him, at the same time, that, if he should receive information th...

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