The Hartlib Papers

<TRANS ID="7E_109.html">7/109/1A-2B</TRANS>
Title:Pact Signed By Dury, Comenius And Hartlib, And Later By William Hamilton, English Translation Of Original Latin:
Dating:3/13 March 1642
Ref:Translation of 7/109/1A-2B
Notes:Translated by W.J. Hitchens
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The text of the fraternal pact devoutly entered into in the sight of God for mutual advancement in the promotion of the public good of the Christian Religion.
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We whose names are subscribed here below do declare that, after we observed that by God's mercy we were moved by the same spirit and that our hearts were kindled with true Zeal for the glory of God and for advancing in public the good of our neighbour, by all means consistent with our Christian vocation; being set in the sight of the thrice Good and Great God, who searches out the secrets of our hearts, we agreed amongst us these conditions of a fraternal pact to be kept irrevocably in the fear of his name; for a closer fellowship of minds in true brotherly love, for a more ardent kindling of Zeal purified from earthly affections by mutual admonition and example and for helping one another to carry out more effectively those designs which God proposes and will propose in future.
We vow, therefore, and, with our hands raised to Heaven, we take our oath and make these promises that follow, to God and to one another in his presence.
1.
That we shall have before us the sole aim of manifesting God's glory and of promoting public support for our fellow men; and that aim we shall determine according to the unique example of the Truth revealed to us in the words of the Gospel, free from all preconceptions and prejudices of human opinion, whether our own or that of any other men of partial views. And likewise that we shall seek nothing privately for ourselves in our public endeavours and shall strive to secure nothing (such as renown or any outward reward) other than that which we shall ascertain to be fully necessary to the end which we have set before us.
11. So that, with God in his goodness, we may pursue this end, we set ourselves the task of recalling
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to a better and fuller accord in their profession of religion those who have already been called to acknowledge Christ; and of seeking all lawful and possible ways of illuminating with the light of the Gospel those upon whom Christ has not yet shined; and lastly to arouse among them all, whether they have answered or are still to answer the call, a true zeal for godliness and charity. And this we shall do by all the means already shown to us and to be shown hereafter by God's mercy, namely:
1. Through the achievement of Religious Peace among
those who are in disagreement.
2. Through a system of education for Christian Youth
in greater conformity with the aims of true
Christianity.
3. Through the reform of the study of true Wisdom, and
some will have to be stirred up to lay hold upon it,
to the particular end that all men may discern more
readily the customary vanities of the world and may
clearly recognise the right paths to true happiness.
111. To the end that we may have God's favour toward us in this our purpose, we shall strive in daily prayers before him, in turn, both for ourselves and for all those others, wheresoever they may be, who, whether we are aware of them or not, are now stirred by God to like endeavours, or will be stirred hereafter: that he may lead us every one by his spirit and that he may rule us evermore in unity to the working out of all his good purposes.
1V. We meanwhile promise one another that in these matters we shall do nothing except it be by mutual design and consent; and that in these concerns no one of us will, apart from the others, make any decision by himself if it has regard to the undertaking of actions of special importance: but that such decisions will be taken after the exchange of counsels (whether in person or by letter) as often as that may be done. But if that may not be done, then we shall indeed inform one another of the action taken, of the reasons for it and the manner in which it was done.
V. We promise that no one of us will conceal from the other any of his thoughts, even his innermost thoughts, which have to do with this proposed goal, but will declare openly in the sight of God everything which God suggests to him concerning any cause proposed as yet for debate or to be proposed hereafter.
V1. That no one of us will take an inflexible stand against the purposes agreed among the others, but will rather yield to them, even if he may not perhaps be able to perceive fully the strength and weight of the reasons
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that are put forward. But if anyone believes that his arguments are far and away stronger, by reason that they cannot obviously be refuted, he will not be bound to follow the judgement of another rather than his own, but the matter is to be left in suspense and commended to God in prayer.
V11. We promise that we will preserve complete faithfulness in our dealings one with another, not only in fostering with one mind the spiritual motives of our designs for shared endeavours (which will always be subservient to the public good of all men) but that we will indeed do those things which it behoves close brothers and Christ's true members to do even in sending one another the outward means of support for our temporal life, by which our common fellowship can be confirmed, any wants that we chance to have may be made good and our infirmities may be supported.
V111. We also take it upon ourselves to freely admonish one another (but as between close friends) for any errors that may be committed out of human ignorance; and when one of us is reproved by another (or even when one is reproved by all the rest, or all the rest by one) we will not take it ill, even though the reproof may perchance be oversharp.
1X. It has seemed proper, and we faithfully so promise, not to divulge to others these conditions of our pact (entered into in the sight of God chiefly for our conscience's sake) unless by common consent, and then to those alone of whose suitability for future association in our treaty we are assured: namely those of whom it can be agreed by sure signs that they have in like manner both the desire and the power to foster and promote our universal designs with pure heart and single mind in the fear of God. Exception may be made for Patrons and supporters if perchance it seems needful to open these matters to them, to demonstrate the integrity of our intentions.
X. Finally, if anything further is discerned by common accord as likely to benefit this our religious fellowship in God it must be subscribed to these conditions of this our pact and will be equal to them in force.
Drawn up in London                John Dury
on 3/13 March 1642           Jan A. Komensky
                               Samuel Hartlib
                               William Hamilton
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[right margin:]
No: [7?]
/       Text of the Fraternal Covenant