The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Hand ?, John Dury To Andrew Ramsey
Dating:21 March 1642

Right Reverend Brother in Christ.
your letter dated the 2. which I received 3. days ago which was the 18th. I am desirous of nothing so much as (of that which yow intimate in your resolucion) to keepe an entercourse of letters with Godly & learned men in matters belonging to my spirituall calling which through Gods blessing may tend vnto publicke edificacion: therefore I am very willing to give yow satisfaccion in the things which yow demand of me; which are foure or five namely. 1. concerning my purpose whether I intend to continue in the worke of reconciling protestants any longer. 2. concerning the practises of the popish Agents for the sea of Rome. 3. concerning the hopes of a true & solid Reformacion of this Church if Episcopacy be put downe. 4. concerning those that plead for Independency if they may be induced to embrace Presbyteriall government. 5. & lastly concerning moderne writers who have exactly treated of Primitive Church-goverment of which matters I will speak in order.
First touching my purpose I have made a vow never to leave the thoughts of reconciliacion; but to endevour the worke so farre as I shall find any opportunity to proceede conveniently. Therefore I am lying in waite for the occasions which I hope Gods providence will offer. I have made here divers overtures to the Parliament, which are not rejected but approved by some of the leading Members thereof, & it seemeth that nothing is wanting to the effect but a publicke settlement of the more important affaires of State. I have made also an overture vnto the Commissioners that are here from Scotland to shew the necessity & conveniency of keeping Correspondency [catchword: with]

with the Reformed Churches in matters of Ecclesiasticall concernement; because I suppose it will not be possible in humane appearance to bring this Kirk to a true settlement & free it from the distractions into which it is like to fall except the better party in some solid way maintaine Intelligence with yow & yow & they together with the Churches of the low Countryes which do matters in a Synodicall way; & if this Correspondency betwixt yow & Holland, & the sounder men here were framed to resolve vpon matters by a concurrence of Counsells & prayers I am perswaded we should be able by Gods assistance to gaine the purpose of a true & solid Reformacion here; & then to propagate the fundamentall wayes of Reconsilacion from this ground of our vnion vnto all the rest of the Evangelique Churches. And if this way of correspondency betwixt yow & the low Countryes to helpe forward the Reformacion here, cannot be compassed, I see no possibility to proceed hopefully in the worke which these 12. yeares I have prosecuted: yet although this should not be intended if I could be setled in a place convenient & sett apart for the worke with maintenance to print the things intrusted to me from all sides for the advancement of Reconsiliacion & Reformacion amongst the Evangeliques: I am confident that by the grace of God much might be advanced & built vpon the grounds that are already laid: but if this also cannot be effected, then I suppose that God doth call me to a life wholy private whereunto I shall be willing to retire my selfe, to ripen all the [catchword: indigested]

indigested matters till better occasions be offered & more publicke affections be raised in the hearts of men then now are stirring. Here yow have my full resolucion concerning my worke; & if yow be pleased to let me know your best advice concerning it for the publick good yow shall do me a great deale of pleasure. It would be a matter of very great & profitable vse to show the true Harmony of all protestants in the fundamentalls of Doctrine & Discipline as they agree in the Truth of the Gospell one with another & are opposite to Papists; this would be a ground of their future vnion one with another, & of their preservation against Popish machinacions which are sett a worke to divide & distract them more & more: & if no such thing be laid to heart, I cannot see but that we shall fall more & more to peices amongst our selves on all sides & give them the advantage which they seeke to bring their plots to passe against vs.
For now to speake in the second place, of their Practises for themselves to maintaine their tottering sea of Rome & vndermine vs: I can tell yow that the mistery of iniquity in their worldly Policy doth worke strongly; because they leave nothing vnattempted to bring their ends to passe, they vse both faire & foule meanes; & deale with persons of all degrees & all humours, with instruments that are fit to perswade & by inducements answerable to their affeccions. In France besides others the Cardinall hath gained Hugo Grotius to become an Agent for the Popes cause; & to that effect he hath written of late some Treaties; the last whereof is a coment <H: Annotata> vpon Cassander his consultacion [catchword: concerning]

concerning the reconciliacion of Papists & Protestants, which heretofore in the dayes of the Emperour Maximilian he wrote. Grotius his notes [a commentary?] <in H. hand as j suspect> vpon this treatie are nothing els but a way to shew the Papists where the Protestants cause is weakest & how they may colour their errours with faire excuses that they should not be offensive to the common sort of Protestants. The booke is rare to be had for after that it was put forth about halfe an yeare ago, it was either instantly bought vp greedily by the Papists or els suppressed by the Author not to be sold in publicke; but to be distributed in secret which is the more dangerous way of supplanting our Churches cause. Dr. Rivet in Holland is about to refute it & I suppose his answer will be shortly in print here sent over. In Germany in some of the Lutheran Vniversityes there be some professours of Divinity & divers Statesmen & Chancellours of Princes that are wholy bent to this way: & the Divine of my acquaintance of whome I spoke in my letters to Mr. Hinderson; he is not so faithfull to these cause as I could wish he were. they entertained him in Moravia & Vienna after a Princely maner, & such baits of honour & profit, of outward respect & flattery, if they worke nothing vpon a man, when they are coloured with a good pretence of Religious ends & zeale to Peace & Reformacion it must be halfe a miracle: by his meanes they will learne where our strength or weaknes doth lye, & I feare they will be able to make too good vse of it to our disadvantage; whether they continue in the purpose of calling a Councell or no to make vp a superficiall agreement by the power [catchword: of]

of authority his informacions will be of exceeding great consequence vnto them, if we do not prevent the dangers which may ensue: the maine plot for the present is to beate downe the opinion, which we maintayne, that the Pope is Antichrist; if they can gaine this advantage, that this shall be counted a crime (as in Germany they have intended to make <H: it> heretofore crimen læsæ Majestatis) in those parts, where the supreme Magistrate doth acknowledge the Pope to be the head of the Church, as in the Emperours dominions, in France & in Polonia; & if in other parts the cheife Statesmen, & Princes, & some Divines cry downe, & condemne this assertion; then they have obtayned 2. things. 1. that such as hold this opinion & vent that opinion <it>, shall be punishable by the Magistrate; by which meanes they will picke a quarrell against all the soundest sort of Protestants. 2. that treaties may be intended with Papsits for a reconcilement, & with the Pope himselfe without prejudice; & so a ground is laid for a transaction with some, & the persecucion[altered from prosecucion] of others, which will not concescend vnto the agreement, which may be made. This is the maine purpose at this present, which will more openly breake forth; if either the Emperour prevaile so far in Germany, as he did before the Swedes came into it: or if our divisions & distractions continue & encrease elswhere, so that we can not vnderstand one another in the wayes of mutuall edificacion for our owne good; or of joint opposicion against him, whome we esteeme the man of sinne. for if we labour not to heale our owne breaches by some fundamentall courses of amiable treatyes, the Civill Magistrate will be moved [catchword: every]

every where, partly by his owne wisedome, partly by his (vizt. the Popes & Papall Agents instigacion) to take all the power of Religious matters in his owne hand, & make rules for peace, such as humane policy shall devise; constrayning every one to take a character of profession in Christianity, such as shall breed a conformity with the image of the beast in him: which was intended before our troubles here. Or if the magistrate do not this, & we go still on into more subdivisions, we shall be devoured by our selves, & he will find all the Churches so weake, that he shall be able to do whatsoeuer he pleaseth. But to prevent this, if we cannot gaine fundamentall Rules of agreement amongst our selves, to be setled at least, it would be requisite we should in opposicion to him, be able to shew by common consent, wherein we esteeme him to be Antichristian; that he may not be able to make that a cryme in those that shall give him that title: when vpon solid grounds of truth & publicke consent of protestants it shall be made apparent in what sence he is stiled by vs: & that as long as he doth challenge to himselfe that authority, for which we must count him according to the scriptures to be antichrist; that no protestants can with a good conscience intend to be reconciled with him; or treate for a reconciliacion.
The Episcopacy as it stood here, being in very deed a branch of that Antichristian power, which the Pope as the roote challengeth to himselfe, did labour in respect of its owne standing to beate downe this opinion; that the Pope was the Antichrist; & that the Church of Rome was not veri nominis Ecclesia: but now it is deservedly blasted here, because it was become (besides the vnlawfull [catchword: nature]

nature of it, whereof there is no warrant in the word) altogether insupportable in Tyranny, & made itself a bridge to bring in the yoake of popish superstitions, vpon vs. And if it be not wholy abolished here, my opinion is that this Church will never be at quiet, but will be wholy torne to peeces: & if it be vtterly abolished, yet there will be very great difficultyes to gayne a true & solid Reformacion. I could write a little volume of the causes of these difficultyes; which neverthelesse in due tyme, we hope by the good hand of God, may be remedied, if the King & this Parliament happily agree; & if a Synodicall meeting could be appointed, wherein the Counsells of forraigne Reformed Divines might be heard: but if these things can not be obtayned at Gods hands; & if all parties proceed here, as hitherto they have done, to make themselves strong, to gather followers & to expasperate the spirits the spirits of their opposites where ever they can get any advantage, the case in end will be wofull: I stand as a man wondred at by all, because I keepe my selfe in the posture wherein a pacificator should stand, that is free from open siding; & not so much wondring, as pittying every one, because I find no possibillity, in this heate of passion, & earnest pursuite of particular ends, to suggest Rules vnto them & principles, by which the erring adversaries, might be gayned to the acknowledgement of the right way of proceeding, & the avoiding of scandals, which dishonour the Gospell, & make every thing worke to the worst, which otherwise might do good: I stand I say thus here & labour to do some [catchword: good]

good office, to diminish at least the occasions of new controversies, if I cannot prevaile to helpe the decision of the old ones; but my low voice cannot be heard in so great a tumult; & all my suggestions are put of as things not yet seasonable: for men do not think anything seasonable for the most part, but that which is of present vse, & for the gayning of that particular end, which they aime at: but if I should ever do good, I must stand free from particular engagements, at least in things openly taken notice of: & because I do nothing but by some Rule (which I conceive according to my light to be fundamentall) I cannot concurre with those who walke not so much by a Rule, as by an aime; which they intend for outward respects to prosecute in a private way rather, then to a publicke good. This is the great hinderance of Reformacion that men who have good partes & godly aimes; do not raise their spirits to deale peaceably & amiably, vpon common grounds; & by a method void of partiality; with those that are of different judgement, to informe one another, & to rectify one another of their mistakes: for betwixt the two oposite extreme parties; namely the absolute Domineering lordly Episcopall side; & absolute independent side; the Moderate men, & such as would not have the Church void of all communion & vniformity in a setled government, neither deale one with another so as they should, to come to some agreement in principles: nor do they deale by a regular way with either of the extreme parties; but also is in the a kind of confusion [catchword: &]

& disorder the event of which no man can foresee. yow in Scotland by the providence of God had 4 grounds of vnion in your counsells of Reformacion. first the extreme fiercenes & insupportable irregularity of Bishops in their proceedings, did drive yow to a Resolucion in common to vindicate your liberty by vnanimous consent. And then to bring this to passe yow had in the second place the Presbyteriall meetings, which were not altogether abolished, whereby a forme of Correspondency in Ecclesiasticall matters was left, which gave yow an overture to concurre in the meanes & counsells of a Reformacion. Thirdly your Nationall <Covenant> Synod was not quite forgotten, but happily became a meanes to lift vp an ensigne against popery, & so did bind strongly the consciences of all honest men to one publicke resolucion, & to certayne maine heads of Reformacion. And lastly your acts of former generall assemblies being by a speciall providence of God preserved & produced, they became a patron of true settlement of all things in Church government: but here no such helpes are extant; so that there is no footing, to stand vpon certayne grounds; but men waver in the multitude of new proposalls, not knowing where to fixe their resolucions by common consent; because euery thing is made disputable & doubtfull by reason of the contradiccion of parties, which prosecute seuerall ends in the desire of Reformation. The Remedy of this evill, as I conceive, must be to deale with the independent men; to rectify their judgements, & to free them from mistakes, which they have of [catchword: Presbyteriall]

Presbyteriall government: thinking it a yoake (as some call it) as insupportable as Episcopacy. But to make them sensible of their errour in this, the true Christian liberty which ministers have in Presbyteriall meetings to propose matters & to consult vpon all things proposed, could be made evident vnto them; whereby they should see that (except they will maintaine that a licentious liberty should be graunted to every Minister to do in his particular Congregacion whatsoeuer his owne will shall leade him vnto: & that no respect should be had vnto the brotherly communion which God required in the Members of his Church, to do all things orderly & to mutuall edificacion) no yoake is imposed vpon the spirits of any man; other than that which the word of God doth bind vs vnto; which is the yoake of love, & of Brotherly care to keepe the vnity of the spirit in the bond of peace. If their leading men were dealt withall to this effect in some amiable & orderly way; I suppose they might be gained. And I have thoughts to make it a part of my worke with some of them: but I have wanted opportunity hitherto, & have bin so taken vp with more vniversall relations, that I have not vndertaken the endevour: but if I may obtayne from yow some advice to strengthen me in this purpose; & such informacions concerning the manner of your proceeding in Presbyteriall & Synodicall meetings; which will be able to shew them their mistake. I shall be much encouraged to make it a part of my worke. yow may be pleased then to conferre with your Brethren about this [catchword: motion]

motion; & to thinke whether or no it be expedient to furnish me with some helpes which may enable me to do this more effectually then I should be able to do by my selfe without your approbacion & assistance. It doth import yow much (as I conceive) for the truthes sake to think vpon this, & for the gayning of many that are zealously & well affected vnto Godlinesse that they may not be opposites (by reason of prejudicate opinions & evill informacions) against the righteousnes of your wayes in government answerable vnto the will of God.
Thus I have endevoured with as much brevity as I could, in such weighty matters, to answer your demands; I have written this in some hast because other things lye vpon my spirit, which I must elaborate partly for mine owne, & partly for others satisfaccion: perhaps some expressions may be found, not prudently & accurately enough according to the importance of matters set downe; but I hope yow will interprett all in the best sence.
Now concerning Moderne writers about Primitive government; I make no doubt but yow know Gersom Bucerus, who debated the point accuratly against Doctor Downam. yow know also no doubt Mr. Parker his Ecclesiasticall Discipline: & of late Mr. Salmasius hath written a treaty against the Iesuite Petavius de Presbyteris et Episcopis, to shew their Primitive equality; it is printed at Leyden by Ihon le Maire. He hath a larger treatie in hand de Primatue Papæ; wherein as Mr. de Dieu the Regent of the french Colledge at Leiden told me he doth handle the matter of Episcopacy also at large & the forme of auncient Ecclesiasticall Government. This treatie was begunne to be printed when I was last in Holland, foure or five monethes ago. Besides him there is one Mr. Blondell a man excellently versed in the Auncients who is about a large treatie de [Greek: isotimia altered from isotemia?] presbyteri & episcopi, [catchword: but]

but I suppose it is not yet put to the presse. There be many treaties here come forth relating to that subject, whereof I will send yow a Catalogue God willing, that if yow please to have them sent vnto yow; yow may give order to some merchant to buy them wherein I shall be ready to give him my best assistance. Commend me to your Collegues, & in particular to Mr. <Alexander> Hinderson. The Grace of God be with yow, & blesse your labours in the Gospell to the advancement of his glory; I rest
London this 21. of
march 1642.              your most affectionate Brother
                           in Christ, & faithfull
                                  Iohn Durie
[Hartlib's hand:]
 P.S. Concerning H. Grotius Annotata vpon Cassender j told you only my Conjectures gathered from other writes of his in that nature and chiefely from that wherin hee doth handle de Antichrist and from some acquaintance which j have had with the man. I have not yet beene able to get the ful view of his Annotata but j am promised the same and when j doe get it j will let you know my opinion further therof. Vale in domino.
[scribal hand:]
          To his Reverend & loving
           Brother in Christ Mr
              Andrew Ramsey
              Minister of the Gospell of
               Christ & Pastor in the
                 Kirck of