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they subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and in goat skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. Of whom this world was not worthy.
Men die for the sake of conviction most willingly. They never do that for anything else. Men die for the sake of conviction; ask them and see. Paul, sitting in the midst of your Roman dungeon with only the narrow grating for light and the clanking chains of fellow-prisoners for company, what hast thou done with all the brilliant promise of thy cultured youth? Men used to say that you were the most promising of all the boys who sat at the feet of Gamaliel, that you would some day be the leader of the Sanhedrin, the most renowned rabbi among the learned of Jewry. Now your name is anathema there, none so humble as to do you reverence, and tomorrow the executioner's keen blade shall bring you to an ignominious end. Flaming eyes pierce the prison darkness; comes a voice unwavering, untiring, “I count not myself to have attained, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which were behind. I press on to the mark of the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ—to me to die is gain.” John Huss, through the pikes of yonder soldiers that form a picket fence round your jail, you can see the bringing of the fagots for a funeral pyre; the Emperor Sigismond has violated the safe
conduct that was granted you, if you remain true to conscience and to gospel and to scripture, tomorrow your ashes shall mingle with the waters of the Rhone. Come four laymen sent by the Emperor. Speaks honest Chlum, “Master John, we are laymen and cannot advise you. But if you realize that you are guilty concerning any of the charges consider and recant, but if you do not feel guilty do not force your conscience, nor lie before God, but rather stand fast to the death in the truth which you do know.” Tears flow down the cheeks of Huss as he replies, “Sir John, know that if I was conscious that I had written or preached ought against the law, gospel, or Mother Church, I would recant, but God is my witness the scriptures will not permit me. If these can convince me by scripture I will recant.” They take him to the cathedral. They charge him with things he never said as well as with things he did believe, they give him no chance to argue. He must either recant or perish. He cries to the people, “ These bishops here urge me to recant. I fear to do this lest I be a liar in the sight of God, and offend against conscience and God's truth.” (Would God we had more such men today.) They lead him to a dais and begin to disrobe him of his churchly vestments. They place a paper crown upon his head ornamented with devils; they lead him to the stake, he sees his books already burning. No spiritual comforter must be allowed him, the priests sing a dirge consigning his soul to the devil. As he is chained to the stake the Count
of the Empire asks him once more if he would recant and save his life. Hear the reply, “ As God is my witness I have never taught nor preached save with the one intention of winning men, if possible, from their sins. In the truth of the gospel I have written, taught, and preached. I will gladly die.” So they heaped the straw and the wood around him and poured pitch upon it. When the flames were lighted he sang twice with a loud voice,“ Christ, thou son of the living God, have mercy upon me.” When he began the third clause, “Who was conceived of the virgin Mary," the wind blew the flames in his face and he fell forward. So as he was praying moving his lips and his head, he died in the Lord. The sun which went down on the most disgraceful day of Bohemia's history saw the first rosy streaks of the dawn of a new era of light and freedom. John Huss, mingling with the martyrs and the heroes in heavenly realms, you are glad today that you were counted worthy to suffer for the sake of conviction. Sarpi, child of Italy in the last days of the Renaissance, you gave your life and devotion to the church only to find that conscience and truth bade you to be the stern champion of the state as opposed to the machinations of the papacy, to you more than to any one else is due the overthrow of the temporal power of the Pope. You had to follow a life of arduous warfare even though the English Ambassador wrote concerning you, “He seemeth in countenance as in spirit more like to Philip Melanchthon's gentleness than to
Luther.” They sought to poison you, to assassinate you, to lure you to Rome. And when at length you died, they would not even let your poor body rest in peace in your beloved Venice. Was being true to conviction worth the price? I think I can catch a smile of victory at the thought of what your spirit hath wrought.
Père Hyacynth Loyson, in Paris made brilliant by the court of the last Napoleon, you were the most spiritual, the most elegant, the most cultured, the most eloquent. Oft from Notre Dame and San Sulpice you addressed the multitude. Your name was on every tongue. At the Vatican Council in 1871 you refused to accept the dogma of papal infallibility there enunciated for the first time. You were excommunicated, anathematized, denied the right of continuing your life work in the church that you loved. Through these years you have sought to minister as best you could at Geneva. You were the forerunner of the great modernist movement in the Roman Church, you set an example that will yet gain greater liberty for your brethren. Every springtime you have gone out into the coun-try and standing among the flowers and the fruits in the cart have preached to the common people. Père Hyacynth, the flowers are blooming above your resting-place this springtime, and each whispers of the joy that is yours because you were true to your convictions even unto the uttermost.
If men die and women suffer for their convictions, it's no wonder that convictions are the
invincible source of conquest, for what can stop the way before a being for whom Death itself has no terrors if he oppose the accomplishment of a mighty passion.
Conviction is the fountain source of all development, achievement, and progress. It is the matrix whence are born endeavours and enterprises which seek to put ideals into actual life. It is the motherlode where lie concealed the rich veins of precious metals which shall be mined and turned into mani. fold blessing. Invention, discovery, business proj. ects, scientific endeavour, search for truth, each and all are but expression of the unseen conviction that these things can be, ought to be, or must be attained. Because an old ferryman on the Hudson River in New York, named Cornelius Vanderbilt, had a conviction that the development of the country demanded and justified more rapid transit facilities he died at the head of the first great railroad system of the country. The conviction that there is untold wealth beyond the unknown western sea has sent a Columbus into every realm of industrial and material development. The conviction that the process of nature could be bent to the service of man's desire enabled Burbank at Santa Rosa to produce the gigantic daisy with its fringe of white petals like unto the eternal snow of the lofty Mount Shasta, it enabled him to take a cactus covered with spines like a porcupine and make it produce a fruit as smooth as an apple, albeit as pithy as sugar-cane, but without sweetness. Conviction is a very power