Jan Amos KOMENSKÝ - life, work, legacy

Sermo secretus


Sermo secretus Nathanis ad Davidem

The secret speech of Nathan to David


Origin of the work:
  1651 Sárospatak

  1902 Prague, J. Kvačala, Korrespondence J. A. Komenského II

1937 Prague, Czech translation by J. Hendrich

1972 Praha, Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VI, Czech translation by J. Hendrich

1974 Prague, J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 13



A political tract written by Comenius in Latin, calling upon Sigismund Rákóczi to create a coalition of Central European states against the Habsburgs and the Papacy.




The family of the Rákóczi Princes ruling in Transylvania was of the Reformed faith, and had within its territories many religious exiles from among the Brethren. When they were disappointed by the Swedes through the Peace of Westphalia, the hopes of these exiles were pinned instead upon the Rákóczis, especially after Prince Sigismund took Henrietta, daughter of Bohemia’s ‘Winter King’, Frederick of the Palatinate, to be his wife. He was married by Comenius himself, who dedicated this work to Sigismund prior to the wedding.

Comenius allegorically presents Prince Sigismund as the chosen King David, and himself as the royal counsellor, the prophet Nathan. He declares that it is Sigismund’s task to create out of the evangelical states of Central Europe a union that will destroy the power of the Catholic Habsburgs, the Papacy and the Jesuits. The road to this end also lead to the prince raising his family to the level of royalty. He shall free his nation from the threat of Turkish subjugation. In all this he will help in the Christianisation of the Turks, and the unification of the world, in which the greater role will be played by Christians. It would benefit all the nations of the world to publish the General consultation on the improvement of human affairs (the Consultatio).

This work survives only as a copy which Comenius amended and extended in his own hand. It was not, however, published in his lifetime, as the both the young newlyweds died soon thereafter.


For further study, see also:

Vybrané spisy J. A. Komenského, vol. VI. Prague 1972, pp184-191

J. A. Comenii Opera omnia, vol. 13. Prague 1974, pp28-30

J. V. Novák & J. Hendrich, Jan Amos Komenský, jeho život a spisy. Prague 1932, pp457-458

Dějiny české literatury I. Prague 1959, p433

Jan Kumpera, Jan Amos Komenský, poutník na rozhraní věků. Prague & Ostrava 1992, p296




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