The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Scribal Hand I, John Beale To ?
Dating:28 November 1659
Ref:60/1/1A-4B
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          For [symbol] Opitulante Deo. Nov.28. 1659
     This to bee conceald from all that are not sub Sigillo [symbol]
Much Honoured Sir
               I owe a fuller answere to your deepely oblieging letter of Nov.16 & a further explication of O P. Briefely by touches, as leysure alloweth you say it was a good Providence in the discovery of the Mysticall man. Indeed I did not thinke they could soe hastily bee soe high, bitter, & vnjuste. Yet I sawe through his raptures, & did not feede on them as wholesome diete, but as wee eate Caviale, & Italians tell us vs Chi Mangia di Caviale; Mangia Moschi merdi et salæ: Hee eateth salt, Dung, & flyes.       I have beene long accustomed to allowe all kinds of notions as the evidences of humane ignorance; & I forbeare judgement till they are ripe for the execution of deedes. And nowe I see, that if speciall providence had not reserved my freedome for your hands, it had beene loste. Henceforth tis wholly at your disposall. I have noted many markeable Providences that occurd betweene you & Mr H. & myself since our letters first leade vs into this familiar acqvaintance. [If? MS torn] I had leysure, I would give you a liste of such Providences, that [relate? MS torn] to myself as seeme to mee to bee more strange, & rare than I have [seen? MS torn] in any Romancy, & yet I thinke I have seene the best & worst of those kinds of Coniected Writings. Some of my notes would bee of the kind, which might incur the carnall Censure, As the foole thinketh But others would bee such, as would rayse the objection, Hee is mad & hath a devile. The To the first it might well bee retorted, The foole hath said in his hearte. To the 2d I would oppose, The effects & demonstration of the spirite. Neither it is allwayes vnfit, or vaine, to tell storyes of ones selfe, when the busines is weighty, & may fully bee proved. Tis a benevolence, if a man can sacrifice himselfe as a publique Anatomy for the behoofe of posterity. And the Anatomy of the living is more instructive, than that of [catchword: the]
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the dead. And Howe else shall wee knowe the Secrete transactions of Spirits, the intercourse that hath beene betweene the father of Spirits & or Spirits?     This I will attest, That about 32 yeares agoe I was perfect in the way of Calvine. At that time my Spirite was first awakened to look into the abysse of Eternity. I studyed with all diligence to make my election sure, & my zeale was soe ferve nt that to strengthen my dependence vpon infallible Prædestination, I learnd Bradwardine Memeratively. From him I betooke to the reste of the Schooleman, & all other kinds of philology I leave it to my Contemporaries to say, whether they knewe any mans Industry, that for reading, & writing, repeating, recollecting & composeing, exceeded mine. This I can truely say, that my spirite could take noe reste neither at Table nor at Bed: all our discourses were literary & all my dreams advanced the same persuite. My complexion being firme & healthfull was inclinable to lust, & my resolutions beeing fully & stiffely against it, I betooke me to the more incessant & hardes studies, & the only remedy & best diversion. When by journeyes divided from Libraries, I betooke to Lord Bacon, Qvercitanus, or others that seeme dissonant from our schooles. Thus by devouring all writing I became fully acqvainted with the vulgarity & singularities of all eminent Jesuites, & other Romanists, Lutherans, & Remonstrants.
     I must omit those strange Providences that lead mee, & opened my Spirite to inquire amongst them all candidly & impartially for the best evidences of liquid truth: 2 or 3 things I can only note now. Casually at serieant Byngs house neere Cambridge heard a very witty Gentleman extoll Dr Brookes then Master of [Trinity?] in College, for the ablest man, liveing in giveing a cleare, full, & rationall accompt of evry kind of learning, & of evry notion in Religion, I did note it the more, because wee had not His [catchword: name]
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name in any High esteeme. Soone after the Dr deceased, & by the helpe of William the stationer, I had the search of his study. There I found indeed greate variety of reserved learning, & the speciall bookes had some markes of his affection & industry. There I first met with sharpe disputations against the schoole notions of Trinity, & other points, that seeme to affront reasone, & the simplicity of Christianity. This spurd mee to bee at charges in Italy, Franckfort, & London for the lists of all stationary Marts.     And when I travayled, I pursued all varietyes of literature with the same diligence. And then I began to observe, Howe my dreams were by very much more instructive then my studyes, more enlarged Conceites, more solid & soe truly divine, as to give mee many considerable touches of the future & to give mee an insight into the very thoughts & hearts of others. Within my owne breaste I retained this treasure, not fayling every morning to examine all the imployments & suggestions of my Spirite, whilest I slept.       At Lions in Monsieur de Cordons shop, I did freqvently enqvire for strange bookes. At laste Monsieur Cordon told mee, that hee never heard of any [one? MS torn] of those bookes for which I had inqvired in many dayes visits: That it was strange to him, but Hee hoped, I was more noble, than to offer him collusion. I satisfyed him, That beeing a travaylor, I sought for none but rarityes.     Soone after I left his shop, a man, or the devill seemd to overtake mee; Tempted mee with very subtile disguises to diabolicall Magic, enforct vpon mee (if I might beleeve my eyes) a specimen of Magicall Art. The Lord knowes that by his grace my heart did allwayes (& then especially) abhor those abominations. But I recovered my wits to en [catchword: trap]
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trap the temptor to discover his fraud before English Witnesses, who are yet alive. And from hence wee are 3. Witnesses to the reality of those villanyes.    When I came to Geneva, I had a dreame that discovered one Dr Paschal to have a full library of those bookes which I desird; Put words & directions of adresse in my hearte. As soone as I awaked I enqvired of Syndyke Sarasin, & hee directed mee to the man. My words & manner of Adresse procurd mee the very answere of my dreame. for 4lb sterlings himself offered mee a parcell of bookes, for which I should willingly given <1> [letters deleted] or 200lb. And after other conferences, gave mee all his MS some of his owne, very large, & ready for the presse. Thiese & a good part of the bookes are (or should bee) nowe in the custody of P or of somebody else for him. And to him, whilst all things were fresh & witnesses at hand, I discovered the Maine particulars. Howe many large overtures of fortunes by Matches, & other kinds of Promotions offerd by the late King & his Land, & others of the chiefe nobility by strange Providence & both very stiffe & vnusuall resolution I did refuse, at severall times even beyond credibility, I can name you good witnesses nowe, liveing in Westminster & part is knowne to in part in some others of good credite more fully.
     My note is, That I am amazed at the depthes of that gracious Providence, which constraind mee to with stand thiese Temptations, which I could not fathan, when I was under triall. But about the beginning of thiese wars I was destitute of a Library, which to mee by long custome became more necessary to my Spirite than foode, sliepe, & rayment. To decline engagement of bloud I betooke to retirement. The whole day & much of the night I spent on a Mountanous hill (which in my letter to Mr Evelyne I call [catchword: Bukbury]
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Bukbury hill, & partly for this testimony I desird you should viewe what passeth betweene Mr Evelyne & my selfe.) In this time the Lord shewed mee, That there were in thiese dayes such as might justly bee called Holy (yea & prophetiqve) Inspirations. I may as iustly deny God, as deny it; My sight which never was cleere, but fit for endlesse reading, was disenabled to hold out a full periode: My hand used to perpetuall scribling, was unable to write 3. lines. Whilest I offerd to write pimples would visibly arise on the backe of my hand, & if I ceasd not presently, become a very sore teter. Beeing disenabled for a yeare to reade, or write, I betooke wholy to prayers, maditations fasting retirement. Then I observd my dreames more solemnely & devoutly & had qvite another viewe of all former Providences. I sawe the things that then seemed too hard for a mortall man to beleeve till their issue proved the truth of the premonishment. It [is? MS torn] fit to say what enlargement I had (without industry or inqvisition by free grace) caste vpon my vnderstanding. The disability of reading or writing any usuall portion continued 7 yeares.
     At laste I fell vpon some things, which doe surely[altered from surly] belong to a better day, which is not far off. One age will shewe vs, what is Vniversall Love, & Vniversall commerce in mutuall peace & noble Communications. And Men of the least graine of common reasone will very largely knowe, That noe words nor notions, but [symbol] purity, & Mercy are the only & necessary evidences of the true Vnition of Christ. All that I have sayd here, I have written it with an eye to [symbol]. And under the same engagement, I nowe adde, That within thiese 12 monethes, I have had the same [catchword: kinds]
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kinds of impression vpon my Spirite (which is a phrase too much abusd & prophaned) of a wonderfull affluence of [symbol] metalline for publiqve uses. Night & day it was for some monethes, more than 40 times pressed vpon my spirite. I wonderd at that kind of importunity, & stood vpon a strong in such materialls, which are soe often the occasion of sin, & stood vpon a strong gvarde of resisting it, as a most subtile temptation, & finding some lines in many of [symbol] letters, that seeme to foment such expectations, I had many times serious thoughts to diswade him from those kinds of expectations, least they should bee a diabolicall snare. But I could not obtaine it of myselfe to say any thing ti it Pro or Contra.
     Nowe you doe awaken, mee to listen what this strange Matter is, that hath filled your hearts with hopes, as with newe Wine. I discerne, That your complexion is not præsumptuous & you speake as of things within graspe. I will not aske you to discover more then comes freely, & with safety, & full power from you, Yet this I would note to you. If ... Vermudis bee of the Society of Antilians than for some monethes I have had notice of it. And lately some of the Bishop of Worcesters MS are by vnexpected Providence come to my hands; But I have not the skill to discerne pearles from barley corne.
     For any engagement that is purly vpon the accompt of proclayming the [symbol] of God to all nations, I doe truste in the Lord That Hee will enable mee to lay downe my life, & all my substance in it. And my wiefe (of whom you may heare the testimony of my Sister B. nowe dwelling in Cary house over [catchword: against]
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against the
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[another hand:]     Mixt Papers & Letters