The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Extract In Hand ?, John Dury To Hartlib
Dating:31 August 1646
Notes:Original at 3/3/32, copy at 1/6/7.

[another hand:]                  Concerning Borell
[right margin, in pencil:] Concerning Borellius (ut puto)
An Extract of a Letter <from Mr Dury> to Mr Hartlib.
As for our Friend this I can say upon certain Knowledge of Him, of his state and of his wayes: That from his youth since the time that hee lived here in England, and did studie at Oxford, hee hath beene noted for Zeale to religious wayes, and for exemplary forewardnesse to advance the Knowledge of the Truth in matters of Practise. His affection that way, when the German Sigler (who was in the end discovered to bee an Imposter.) was heere, did cost him deare for hee was free of his purse toward him, till hee was found out. And since I know, that hee hath never been wanting, so long as God did continue his Estate to contribute not only unto the Necessities of the Saints, but unto public designes, which tend unto religious Endes. For the Mans spirit doth lye wholly that way not only to bestow his meanes, but to spend himself wholly upon the thinges, that are most eminently vsefull to the Kingdome of Christ in the Gospell as it ought to bee advanced without partialitie towards all men. The

Love of Godliness and Grace, wheresoever it doth appeare to bee in a good Conscience, or wheresoever it may bee wrought, in such as have the Knowledge of Principles leading to a good Conscience; doth raise his affection without partialitie above the Common straine to apply himself towards them for the increase therof; so that hee lookes not at all upon any Mans Opinions, whatsoever they may bee with any prejudice: But walking by an vniversall light, doth take vp everie one, as hee findes him, to prosecute in that degree of growth, wherin hee standes, that which is most usefull for public and privat edification. His partes of vnderstanding are very large and answerable to this Aime of dealing with all men upon vniversall grounds, for though hee can apply himselfe very distinctly to the debate and consideration and search of all particular matters, which may come into debate: yet he carryes along in his mind continually a more transcendent principle and rule of Contemplation, then any Man I have met withall in many of my travells, which made me close more cordially in

all things with him. For as I found his parts answerable to his Aime so I could not but take notice of Gods designe, that certainly hee hath ordained him for some peculiar great worcke in this or the future age, wherein hee is to bee Instrumentall. And the rather because these talents are improoved by a diligence & laboriousnesse, which is undefatigable and imployed about the Objects, which are not ordinarie, or in the eye allmost of any other men, that are noted and cryed upp in the Churches. For wee find that the esteeme of most Men is raised upon the Abilities, which they shew in dealing with peculiar <H: particular> Adversaries in speciall Controversies: But hee is lifted upp above all scantie designes, and hath with long and painfull studies & great expence applyed himself to elaborate [wor?] <H: make out> the Fundamentalls of Christianitie against Atheists and Iewes and against all the presumtuous Professors and Practisers of Religion, in a self conceited way, wherby they indirectly overthrow the truth of that Profession which is truly saving. I have seene divers of his peeces, which are elaborat, and drawne from grounds which are to all men, that are but rationall undenyable. Hee makes no haste to put forth any

thing, nor hath hee any ambition to be knowne to have anything of this kind elaborate, but rather conceales himselfe and his labours, and is not unwilling that others may enjoy the benefitt of them without any notice, that they are his. Hee did spend to satisfie himself in dealing with the Iewes, and to inable other heerafter, to deale with them, seven or eight yeeres with them in constant studie, with a Iew whom hee did hire to goe along with him in the Course of his Studie. I say hee did spend this time with incredible diligence and constancie in the studie of Misnayoth, and of the chief Commentators therof. And because his Iewe could not speak Latin, but Portugall and French only, hee did learne the Spanish and Portugall language to bee able to vnderstand his true and full sense in matters concerning their lawes: And with this Iewes helpe hee gott the Misnajoth transcribed or punctuated, interpreted, and enlarged with Commentaries, which are amongst them Authenticall, such as Bartenora is and others. To the End that both the Common sort of Iewes might Know, what the Constitution of their Reli- [catchword: -gion]

-gion is, and also that the learned sort of Christians upon the same discoverie might bee able to know, how to deal with them for their Conviction. And before I went from him hee told mee, that his way would bee to publish the Misnayoth with points first under the name of some Iew, because if it should bee put forth under the Name, or by the Industrie of any Christian, it would not bee of credit amongst them: And hee told mee that none but Manasseh Ben Israel was fitt, to have the creditt of it, to make it currant amongst the Iewes, and therefore I see, that hee hath brought his designe to passe in this particular: How farre hee will proceed in the publication of the rest, which hee hath in readinesse I am not informed, but I suppose, that hee will neglect nothing that may bee done. No doubt, the Latin translation in due time will bee had both of the text and Commentators. I know his Zeale will not suffer him to rest, till hee hath brought the matter to some period, for although hee hath not such meanes of his owne, as will beare[H alters from bee] the charges, which are requisite in prosecuting this designe;

yet there is hope, that God will raise Instruments to assist him, for no doubt the time doth drawe neare of their calling: And these preparatives are cleere presages of the purpose of God in this worke, for when hee doth beginne to fit meanes, for the discoverie of their errors, and for the manifestation of the Truth of Christianitie upon more vniversall grounds, then as yet have beene offered to them. It is a cleere token, that hee intends to take the vaile from off their faces. And the many wayes which are now intended for the facilitating of the studie of the Orientall Languages amongst Christians is another token of the same purpose of Divine Providence. The Iew which hee made use of is one called Iudah Leon, who at his cost did build the moddell of the temple of Ierusalem, with all the appurtenances thereunto, in a most exact waye according to the description made therof in the Scripture and after the sense of all the Rabbies that are of note and credit. This peece I have seene, and amongst all the rarities and Antiquities, which are to bee taken [catchword: notice]

notice of, there is none to bee compared therunto. When once our Antiquaries shall see the description therof, they will find other Objects of Curiosite then hitherto have beene minded. And that one peece of discoverie of Iewish will bee an Inlett[H? alters from Islett?] to the manifestation of all other things, which concerne the tenour of their Religion. And so a Meanes to raise mens thoughts to mind them and to compare their former and later wayes of worshipping God and to offer unto them that truth of worshipp, which is most spirituall, which the Prophets have foretold, should bee exercised in the Kingdome of <the> Messias. And to advance this designe, hee hath prepared a Treatise fitted for their vse, to demonstrate the Divinitie of the Histories of the New Testament, by all the arguments by which they beleeve the Old Testament to be delivered by God unto their Nation, which arguments hee sheweth to bee more plentifull and more pregnant in the New, then in the Old Testament, which is not only fit to convince them, but to refute all Atheists, who value the holy Scriptures no more then some other

writing of Cunning Men or of Philosophers, that w08rote by[altered from be] their naturally eminent parts wisely, yet in straine differently from others, of which sort there are many in the Christian world, which have as great need to bee soundly dealt withall as any others, for such undermine and overthrow all Religion whatsoever. I could wish from my heart <left margin, H: that if God doth put it in the heart> of this State, or of the Citty of London, to advance Godlinesse and Learning in an vniversall way, which is the least[altered from last] requitall can bee given to his glory for all his Mercies to them: That this Man and such as are qualified in this Kind, might bee sent for and imployed in those workes, whereunto God hath eminently fitted them. I have not time to add, what might bee further said, but I shall commend you to the Grace of God, and all your publick thoughts to his blessing, and myself to your prayers.