The Hartlib Papers

Title:Letter, [John Beale] To [Hartlib]
Dating:8 June 1657
Ref:25/5/13A-20B
Notes:Transcribed in logical sequence.
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               1 Dreames Iun: 8. 57.
   I will now examine my experiences (for I will not call it an opinion) with some of those writers which you sent mee. First I intreate you to read Gassend in Peresk. pag. 138.139.140. You should first read the places which I recite in thiese discourses, because I intend to comunicate unto you most considerable mysteryes, but with such reservednes & caution, as I first Covenanted, Tanquam inter nos, et tamen coram Deo.
   I doe not exclude our right honorable Lady, but I must præscribe your warines, That you doe not in thiese things by any meanes overcharge anothers beleefe. For I must bee Magisteriall When God & my owne conscience & the workes of God are my witnesses, & noe[altered] others can bee my abetters. I must despise disputants & infidells. For Gods indications are far above the reach of Cavills. Note here pag. 140. line, 18, Howe thiese learned & witty men do professedly derogate from the Lord & [attri?] <attribute> it to the sport of fortune, there leaving it a fit case to amaze the vulgar.
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   This I accompt more inexcuseable in Men, that are soe apt to confesse enthusiasmes, & prophesyes, & miracles in their owne party. I say boldly, Hee that cannot see the hand of God in all things, Hee does not knowe God, as hee ought to doe. Hee that cannot see God & his Angells in such cleare things, Hee hath taken up some resolution, which has hardned him against Light. Let them shewe mee in which of Gods Testaments such dreames are imputed to the sport of fortune, & only allowd to bee the fooles wonder.
   I parallell the case thus. When I was in Geneva in the house of Monsieur Sarrazin then Syndique, My spirite was much troubled with some of the writings of Socinians & of H Grot. most witty & learned men. In a dreame I had a Vision of one that lead mee to Dr Paschal, (whom at that time I had not seene) shewd mee the Man, directed mee to enquyre Many bookes; I modestly seemd to aske their price. Some hee sold & the reste with many manuscripts of his
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owne hee gave. On the morrow morning I pursued the dreame. The figure of the man was the same, The words & deedes in all things the same. If by this dreame & by a following dreame some yeares after, I had not beene instructed in some greate points of religion, I had resolvd to forbeare the pulpit; For I found my selfe at a greate uncertainety in weighty Matters. Nowe I am taught to looke upon many sharpe disputations, as very lowe quarrells, fit only to breake charity, which is the bond of christianity.
   If it bee demanded Whether I ground the election of my religion upon the authority of a dreame. I answere Noe; For I knowe the evill spirits are as busy with us in our dreames, as when wee are waking. But, as the Sun needes no other light to prove its presence; soe God & his good angells bring light enough to cleare up to our undrstandings a full apprehension of Divinity, the Shecinah. More of this hereafter. Ibid pag.141
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Wee are told of an Astrologer, but I have far other thoughts then hee suggests. I knowe the Comon Astrology to bee sometimes vaine & fraudulent[altered from fraudulant?] & sometimes develish. But there is a lawefull art, by which bad seasons of dearth & infections may bee discerned; not soe particularly as some pretend to it: but in generalls. And there is a deeper art of draweing powerful influences to the good of Mankind & the other inhabitants of the earth. And there is yet a deeper art of observing Gods signes & marks or prognostiques of Iudgements & Mercyes. Some have the spirit of discerning the Star of Iacob, & some can beleeve that the stars in their order fought against Sisera. & some have noe præiudice against those Wisemen that came out of the Easte to bring the first offerings of Worship & fit presents to the Holy babe; They were the first That put Herod & the Pharisyes in mind of their newe borne Messias, & their testimony was this, They had seene his star; And the Quire of Angells seeme to beare witnesse to their Testimony. Search the [left margin:] Scriptures for in them you shall have fullnesse of Evidency. No bondage, no deliverance, no captivity without a signe.
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              2    Signes & Dreames
It may allso be obiected, That wee are comded not to be afrayd of the Signes of Heaven. Soe I say allso & againe. Let not Gods good people bee afrayd of Signes &c For there is noe charme nor Inchantment in force against Gods Israel. But let sinners behold the hand of God, & repent, [& here?] least they perish in the day of his fierce wrath.
   Heretofore I sent you word, Howe it raind true & reall bloud in Scotland, & in two significant places of England before the Scots were overthrowne. I sawe it, I tooke many good witnesses of it, I can send you the monuments of it. This is contemnd by Gassendus, not soe by mee. Some other Signes I noted in former letters.
   Nowe I refer you to Mores [Mastix?] his letter paragraffs 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24 beginning pag 309. which I desire you may read & compare wth second last pag. 281. 282. When you have perusd it, can you allowe him this faythlesse conclusion, pag. 312, line 6, That the Congruity may bee only casuall. Surely old Iacob would
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have acknowledged the presence of Gods Angells, at least Hee would not fly to the altar of chance. Is this our Moderne piety? or necessary principle of Orthodoxe truth? Howe little doe they knowe of Gods Worke, & of the most profound Wisedome, that can deny a dreame to have ought in it from God & his Angells, because some of our former studyes are intermingled in the representation! Are Gods condescensions an argument for our iust contempt!
   See againe there the discourse of Enthusiasme parag. 57. 58. pag 57. There & all along, hee makes it <a> worke of Sanctity to shut his eyes, That Hee may see lesse, than the Heathens did, who are there recited. And our reason must bee wrackt to find out sanative contagions (which I will not deny) rather then Gods greate name acknowledged, & his Wonders declared, when our duety is enforced.
   For a parallell to this, I told you in a former the Vision which I, <&> other good Witnesses had, when the Protector was setting foorth for Ireland. In all thiese
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changes I had allwayes strong præmonitions. Must I attribute all to casualty. I tell you truely, I abhor such doctrines, as the worst branches of Epicurisme. Two Instances I offer, the one of publique, the other of private matters. When Colchester held out against Fairefaxe, & Pembroke Castle engaged Cromwell, <I> beeing then Chaplaine to the Gar: of Shrewsbury! My heart fayled mee. My family was sorely tempted; my life many wayes attempted. The Presbytery charged mee uniustly of a wilde independency. The Governour was allmost in the same case, & had some hard thoughts of mee, That I had involvd him too deepely & unnecesarily. In this distresse, I was parting with my family, dismissing them to their neerest alliances; & altering the property of my goods.
   As all outward signes of Hopes & comforts were taken from mee; soe secrete advertisements of comfort & successe were many wayes multiplyed unto mee. In the humblenes of my soule & in greate afflictions I sought for Gods directions, but I did not dare to prescribe the Wayes of God. The Lord answerd mee
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many wayes, Whereof one was thus. A very Reverend Ministr, Bac of Divin. very aged then, & nowe deceased: a man generally[altered] acknoweledged to have many deepe & profound kinds of learning; Hee had sufferd on both sides for refuseing to engage in any interest of war. Hee came to my house, bound my Secresy as to a very greate Secrete. Then assurd mee in Gods name That Hee had a revelation, That the Scots should bee ovethrowne. Thrice hee came to my house, declaring that Hee had that only errand to confirme my fayth. When I insinuated to knowe the manner of the Revelation, Hee interrupted mee with an authoritative checque, saying that it was soe, & hee had it from God. Hee added that for some yeares the Sectaryes would prevayle but the governement would settle to bee Presbyteriall. The Private matter was more personall to mee; To take mee off, When I contended with Mr Tombs for the Hospitall of Ledbury: what checks I then had by dreame & Vision before my spirite was awakened, I may well be ashamed to relate it. For the story is very long, & [left margin:] manifold, & too hard for another to beleeve: & too much an euidence of my naturall unbeleefe.
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                 3 Dreames.
   To proiect upon Parrhesiastes his Enthusiasme. I knowe not the author; I perceive him to bee elegant, & not unlearned in the vulgar literature, & to have very many very deepe apprehensions, but altogether ignorant of the depth of the matter which he takes in hand. For when Hee swims in the very streame, his conclusions & results declare[altered from declares], That hee apprehends not what hee hath in hand: Whilst hee grasps it, hee knowes not what is in his hand. But before I offer to lay open his errours, I desire your patience to weigh my undertakeings [are?] <as> here briefely layd downe in a fewe naked propositions without prooffes, amplifications, or lustre.
   1 That the Most Holy doth make use of the Ministery of Angells in the governement of the world in this age as[altered] in former dayes.
   2 That for greate occasions, agreeable to the glory of his owne greate Name, & the Depthes of his owne Wisedome, & for the good of his church & beleevers, Hee sends his good Angells upon speciall Embassyes to the Sonnes & daughters of Men, even in thiese dayes, as heretofore.
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   3 That a certaine preparation of the minde & spirite, by humiliation of the flesh, & serene attention, & humble reguard, & many other meanes & methodes which may bee layd downe, is an expedient to obtaine this intercourse of Heaven.
   4. That as the information was heretofore more frequent, & more ordinarily by dreames, & Visions in deepe sleepe, soe nowe allso.
   5 That thiese Angelicall advertisements doe more frequently belong to publique affayres, & publique persons See Enthus sec. 31. pag. 29 line 29.
   6 Yet here wee distinguish, That sometimes for the sins of a governour or people, there is noe vision: Or the sonnes of God are layd aside, And then the old Sentence is in force, Quos perdere vult deus [occæcat?].
   7. That thiese Angelicall revelations are noe dærogation to the Governement of our Lord christe, who sitteth on the right hand of God, & dispenseth all power of Angells & Men, for the Interest of the church.
   8 Nor no derogation to the Light of the Gospell, but at emergent occasions a more
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expresse confirmation thereof.
   9 That hee that hath the Light of God as it is reveled by our Lord Christ Iesus in the Holy records, hath such cleare Light as must not give place to any pretences or appearances of Angells; For by it wee may trye the Spirits, whether they are from God, or Satanicall.
   10 That in this use of Triall as well the narrative or historicall parts as the precepts & promises of the old & newe Testament are with greatest reverence & caution to bee interpreted by the coherence of the antecedent & consequent, & analogall places; & that it is a dangerous presumption to detort it from the simplenes & plaines of the relation to allegoryes & allusions.
   11 That Miracles, & Prodigyes, & Omens, & Prognostique Signes of the times cannot detract from the glorious Miracles of our Lord Christ, which are full of profound Mysteryes proper for the Gospell, beeing in answere to foregoing Prophesyes, Emblems of spirituall importance, demonstrations of the Spirite, & Types of things
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to come.
   12 That Satanicall possessions were not peculiar to the Iewes, or to the age in which Christe came in the Flesh; but have beene (as Witches & charmers, & Wisards) in all foregoeing & succeeding ages, & amongst all nations.
   13. That our Lord Christe allowes, & appoints the intercourse of Angells to bee as constantly assiduous with <some of> his holy people for their guard, comfort, & information; as any evill spirits can bee familiar with Witches by the appointement of Satan yea beyond comparison.
   14 That Gods good spirite requireth Temperance That the Temple of the Lord bee not defiled with uncleane lusts: Humility is a contrite hearte Esay. 57. 15. See Casaub: Enthus: pag. 61, That wee <bee> more willing to receive information from others, than to pretend to infallibility in things that are too deepe for us: & charity, That wee may decline oppositions & contentions & revilings & seeke the wellfare of others, especially of the publique, rather than our owne pleasure, or glory.
   15 That as one hath more of thiese revelations, soe ought hee to walke more humbly, & more closely with God, least Satan gett advantage against him [catchword: 16]
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             4. Dreames, Visions &c
   16 That our speciall care bee to keepe our hearts & spirites in all our addresses & applications intirely & syncerely to the Moste High in the only name of our Lord Christe Iesus, least by our voluntary submission to Angells, Wee render up our selves into the hand & power of seducing spirits, which doe allwayes lye in wait for our destruction.
   17 The Meanes, & Methodes, of wayting upon God, of advanceing Firme Fayth, & strong Hope, are soe frequently layd downe in Gods Worde[altered from Wordes]; & as a foundation[altered from foundations] in the first History of the foundation of the world through all the ages of Patriarches, Iudges, & Kings, That wee neede not aske other light: And if more Light bee required, the Evangelists, & Apostolicall writers give it in the fullnes & clearnes of noonetide.
   18 Nowe I desire it <may bee> carefully observed, That the Wisedome of the Easte, even as it consisted in Lawefull Astrology, & in the art of interpreting dreames, &c is a peculiar Wise-
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-dome & Art distinct from Imediate intercourse with God & his holy angells, & from speciall revelation, & if lawefull, it pretendeth to noe familiarity with spirits good or bad. See this wisedome acknowledged by Dan. 2. 15, 24, 48, 49. But hee distinguisheth this art from speciall revelation Dan.2. 27, 28.
   19 I grant it to bee the next step, or at the next dore to divine interpretat revelation; And it <is> not easy, nor safe to adventure to distinguish, what Ioseph or other Patriarches, or Moses did performe by the helpe of thiese deepe Arts only.
   20. I take it to bee a safe observation, That in the ordinary course of things They noted the ordinary Signes & usual indications. In greate & weighty Emergencyes They wayted for the speciall revelations of the Most High.
   [20.?] Now That the Spirite of Man by art & discipline, by preparation of ye body & minde may in dreames & trances, in syncopes, & fits of bodily weakenesses have a deepe insight into things
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absent, & things to come, & things secrete, as is said in the book of wisedome c. 7. verse 21.) This I[altered] say is as well pr & fully proved by Parrhesiastes & Causabone in their two Treatises against Enthusiasme, That I looke upon their Writings as greate helpes to vindicate my undrtakings: & as proving far greater matters than they intended.
   And I looke upon Gods providence in it, as if it did point out to us, That Hee would doe some very greate things, shortly to enlighten the eyes of the World, or at least of his holy people in the world.
   For More in his [Mastix?] letter sec.19 &c confesseth a [monitory?] dreame & Vision, but declareth his unskillfullnes to sever the chaffe from the wheate, which belongs to the art of interpretation.
   Parrhesiastes frequently falls into the very raptures of divine expressions of the [Complaions?], <&> preparations which doe heighten the Imagination, & pre the manner, Howe the soul spirite[altered] in dreames, & fits of bodily weaknes, peepes through the loopeholes of our earthly prison into
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the region of Eternity. See Sec.5. & 6 pag. 6. & sec 8. See the difference of dreames curiously described sec 28. Their divinity sec. 31. See his acknoweledgement of the old Conceipt, How the Pythien oracle might bee inspired by certaine exhalations breathd from those cauerns sec 41. pag. 39. Could more bee attributed to Art? See how the addition of humble sanctity exalts this art to the perfection of Divination sec.53. Lastly I refer to his two last sections 63. 64.
   As Parrhesiastes hath spoken much for the Truth freely & smartly, Soe Causabone Calmely & deliberately by old & newe experiments proves the miraculous vigour of a humane spirite. Helmont hath not assumed more than hee hath proved, sheweing How some can at comand habituate themselves into Excstacyes & make them Contagious & Epidemicall. But I am sorry to see such a learned Men, soe industriously labour to confine all thiese greate operations to nature & soe positively to exclude the imediate hand of God & helpe of good Angells. For Wiches & bad angells Hee acknowledgeth their comunications. But our intercourse [left margin:] with good Angells is too dryly denied.