1369-1415 The Church by Jan Huss

De ecclesia. The church by Huss, Jan, 1369-1415; translated by David Schley Schaff, 1852-1941  Publication date 1915


The One Universal Church Divided Into Three Parts

It having been said what the holy universal church is — that she is only one just as the number of all the predestinate is one, and also that she is distributed in her members throughout all the word — it must be known that this holy universal church is tripartite, that is, divided into the church triumphant, militant and dormient.

The church militant is the number of the predestinate now on its pilgrimage to the heavenly country, and is called militant because it wages Christ’s warfare against the flesh, the world and the devil.

There will, however, be one great church on the day of judgment, made up of all these. And as a symbol of these three parts the doctors say the sacrament of the Eucharist is broken into three parts.

The first part, the part immersed in the liquid sacrament, they say, signifies the church triumphant which is absorbed and inebriate with the dipping of the divine essence, as says the head of the church, Cant. 5:1, making merry with his friends and companions: “Let us be drunken, my beloved,” [drink abundantly, Rev, Vers.].

But the two other parts in the hand of the Lord and to be purged through the merit of the church are set forth by those two parts which the priest holds in his hands, the greater, being laid down, signifies the militant church and the lesser, resting upon it, signifies the church waiting in purgatory. For this church in purgatory depends upon the suffrages of the church militant. And for these two parts we pour out our double prayers to the Lamb, who is the head of the church, that he may have mercy upon us.

But as for the third part, to whose dwelling-place and rest we look forward, we pray that the same Lamb of the three-fold nature may at last give us peace. For this reason, Christ in his state of humiliation visited three places of the church, (i) the navel of our habitable world, dwelling thirty- three years in Judea and Jerusalem; (2) the limbus, in which the Fathers were purified, by bringing out a fragment of his church in the spirit, and (3) ascending to heaven he led captivity captive, which, after his triumph, he crowned by placing it at God’s right hand. This, therefore, is the three-fold division of this one universal or catholic church, although, however, there are particular churches.

De ecclesia. The church by Huss, Jan, 1369-1415; translated by David Schley Schaff, 1852-1941  Publication date 1915


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