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Quotations about Liberty and Power

About this Quotation:

This quotation is part of a series for “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on the theme of “Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will towards men” [Luke 2:14]

We begin with two letters Hus wrote while in exile to his followers in Prague exactly 600 years ago. Jan Huss was excommunicated from the Catholic Church and forced to go into exile for his criticisms of the corruption which plagued it. Less than three years after these letters were written Huss was caught and burned at the stake for the crime of heresy. He refused to recant his views, was forced to wear a paper hat with the inscription “Haeresiarcha” (the leader of an heretical movement), was tied to a stake with a heavy metal chain around his throat, then burnt alive and his ashes scattered in the Rhine river. It is in the light of these appalling actions that one should read his letters urging his followers in Prague to heed the teachings of Luke that there will be “on earth peace to men of goodwill”. Hus goes on to say in a most prophetic manner that “After His manner, therefore, I desire peace for you also, dear friends—peace to you from Him, that you may … love one another, ay, and your enemies —peace to you, that that you may peaceably hear His word—peace to you, that you may speak with discretion—peace to you, that you may know how how to be silent with advantage”.

Other quotes about War & Peace:

25 December, 2012

Jan_Hus_300

The 1st Day of Christmas: Jan Huss’ Christmas letters and his call for peace on earth (1412)

Read the full quote in context here.

The Czech religious reformer Jan Huss (1372-1415) wrote two letters from exile to the people of Prague in celebration of Christmas in 1412. He emphasizes that Christ is the peacemaker and that his message was “peace be to you” (pax vobiscum):

Dear friends, although I am now separated from you, because perchance I am unworthy to preach much to you, nevertheless the love which I bear towards you urges me to write at least some brief words to my loved ones.

Lo! dear friends, to-day, as it were, an angel is saying to the shepherds: I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. And suddenly a multitude of angels breaks into praise, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill!

… Such, then, is the mercy that comes to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, Who grants you also peace. Our Master, the Peacemaker, taught His disciples to be peacemakers, so that, in whatsoever house they entered, they were to say: Peace be to you. When He rose from the dead and entered into the midst of them, He said: Peace be to you. When, too, He was minded to depart from them to His death, He said: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. After His manner, therefore, I desire peace for you also, dear friends—peace to you from Him, that you may live virtuous lives and overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh—peace to you from Him, that you may love one another, ay, and your enemies —peace to you, that that you may peaceably hear His word—peace to you, that you may speak with discretion—peace to you, that you may know how how to be silent with advantage.

The full passage from which this quotation was taken can be be viewed below (front page quote in bold):

XXII. To the People of Prague (December 25, 1412)

Dear friends, although I am now separated from you, because perchance I am unworthy to preach much to you, nevertheless the love which I bear towards you urges me to write at least some brief words to my loved ones.

Lo! dear friends, to-day, as it were, an angel is saying to the shepherds: I bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all people. And suddenly a multitude of angels breaks into praise, saying: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill!


As you commemorate these things, dear friends, rejoice that to-day God is born a man, that there may be glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill. Rejoice that to-day the infinitely Mighty is born a child, that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice that to-day a Reconciler is born to reconcile man to God, that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice that to-day He is born to cleanse sinners from their sin, to deliver them from the devil’s power, to save them from eternal perdition, and to bring them to eternal joy, that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice with great joy that to-day is born unto us a King, to bestow in its fulness upon us the heavenly kingdom, a Bishop to grant His eternal benediction, a Father of the ages to come, to keep us as His children by His side for ever: yea, there is born a Brother beloved, a wise Master, a sure Leader, a just Judge, to the end that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice, ye wicked, that God is born as a Priest, Who hath granted to every penitent absolution from all sins, that there may be glory, etc. Rejoice that to-day the Bread of Angels—that is, God—is made the Bread of men, to revive1 the starving with His Body, that there may be peace among them, and on earth, etc. Rejoice that God immortal is born, that mortal man may live for ever. Rejoice that the rich Lord of the Universe lies in a manger, like a poor man, that he may make us rich. Rejoice, dearly beloved, that what the prophets prophesied has been fulfilled, that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice that there is born to us a Child all-powerful, and that a Son is given to us, all-wise and gracious, that there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Oh, dear friends, ought there to be but a moderate rejoicing over these things? Nay, a mighty joy! Indeed, the angel saith: I bring you good tidings of great joy, for that there is born a Redeemer from all misery, a Saviour of sinners, a Governor of His faithful ones; there is born a Comforter of the sorrowful, and there is given to us the Son of God that we may have great joy, and that there may be glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill. May it please God, born this day, to grant to us this goodwill, this peace, and withal this joy!

XXIV. To the Same (Without date: January (?) 1413)

Such, then, is the mercy that comes to you from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour, Who grants you also peace. Our Master, the Peacemaker, taught His disciples to be peacemakers, so that, in whatsoever house they entered, they were to say: Peace be to you. When He rose from the dead and entered into the midst of them, He said: Peace be to you. When, too, He was minded to depart from them to His death, He said: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you. After His manner, therefore, I desire peace for you also, dear friends—peace to you from Him, that you may live virtuous lives and overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh—peace to you from Him, that you may love one another, ay, and your enemies —peace to you, that that you may peaceably hear His word—peace to you, that you may speak with discretion—peace to you, that you may know how how to be silent with advantage. For he that hears in a humble spirit, doth not contend in a cause with malice; he that speaks with discretion, overcomes the contentious; he that keeps silence to good purpose, doth not quickly wound his conscience. For these reasons peace be unto you, grace and mercy—grace that preserves from sin; mercy that delivers from eternal fire and the peace of eternal repose in the eternal joy, which comes to all the faithful after this paltry life—from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, to whom be praise for ever and ever. Amen.

[More works by Jan Huss (1372 – 1415) and on The Protestant Reformation]