The Hartlib Papers

Title:Letter, John Dury To ?
Notes:Turnbull (HDC p272) suggests just after April 1653.

Worthy freind
your discourse with me the last weeke, & the earnestnes of your desire to see the grounds of my resolution made out; which is to bee quiet, & do my duty under the present power, as acquiescing in this reuolution of gouvernment hath put me upon a designe to giue you satisfaction, at least so farre as the opening of my thoughts will yeeld it, & as it may please God to blesse it unto you; <to cleer> to both you see <unto you> your duty in this iuncture of time wherin many are staggered; & murmur at the proceedings of those that are in power. but I haue beene taught by <of> God, to quiet mine owne affections; & <still my> thoughts at the Changes which fall out of <hee brings upon> this <present> world as <chiefly when> they relate to the great wheele of <a nationall> Gouvernment, which as it is supreme so <it> stands immediatly under the hand of the most high, who ruleth in the Kingdome of men & giueth it to whomsoeuer he will. I say I haue been taught to quiet my spirit at the <such> Changes, because I cannot find that it doth belong unto me, to iudge definitiuely of the rights which the supreme powers ouer us in the world <have>, <or> pretend to haue unto their places. <for> first I said, that it is no part of my duty as a Christian; to subiect <burden> my Conscience, & burden it with the affaires of state <which are> intrusted to the management of other men: those whom God doth engage into public places, it is their proper worke to Charge their Consciences with the care thereof; & if they do not lay their trust Conscionably to heart for the ende for which God hath put them in their places; but turne it to their priuat aduantages, I think it is a happines unto them, soone to bee put out of the same; because the lesse time they stay therin, the lesse guilt they contract unto their soules, & the lesse iniurie they do unto the public. [left margin: 1. Petr. 4. 15] the Apostle forbids <bids> all Christians to looke to themselues that they bee not found <as> busie bodies in other mens matters, & this sinne he ranketh in that place under <with> the Generall head of euill doing, & sets <it> parallel to the particular sinnes of Murther & Theft; now if I being a priuat man; should take upon me to Charge my Conscience with the iudicature of Public affaires; to determine by what right those that manage them take upon them their public places; I should as I conceiue go beyond my line, & shew my self a busie body in other mens <their> matters. <for> my Christian aime & profession, doth oblige me <only first> to worke out mine owne Saluation in mine owne <priuat> calling, with feare & trembling, & <then to> hold forth the word of life <to others> that is the rule of harmlesnes & unblameablenes; as it becommeth a Child of God, without rebuke [left margin: Phil 2. 15, 16] in the midst [word deleted] of a crooked & perverse nation <therefore> a Christian if he bee true to his aime, doth <should> behaue himself as a stranger & Pilgrim in this present world; intending only to use it as his passage towards the Kingdome that cannot bee shaken; now it would bee a mad course for a stranger & pilgrime in euery country where hee comes, to take upon him the iudicature of the affaires of gouvernment in that country; & to make it a matter of Conscience to himself, to determine the rights which the supreme powers haue to their places. I say this would bee a mad stranger & pilgrim who would oblige himself to this <left margin: in forreign places where<euer> hee passes.> & so I conceiue that hee is as farre out, in the profession of Christianity who will take upon him the iudicature of supreme rights to power <in this world> as a matter of Conscience <for Conscience which in Christianity> in Christianity is engaged only to the loue of Christ, whose Kingdome was not <being> of this world; he determined not the rules of right to <left margin: the supremacie of power amongst men. but left them as he found them in it till he [bring them all?] bring all power under his owne.> Secondly as it is no part of my duty as a Christian; so neither doth it belong unto me, <either> as a good <commonwealthe man> Citicen of a Commonwealth, being in a priuat station; or as a discreet man <left margin: being in a priuat station> to make my self a iudge of the rights & wrongs which may bee, in the reuolutions of gouvernments <therin> wherof it is morally impossible for me to know exactly the true causes & circumstances. <for> no discreet man will iudge of differences in small matters by the outward appearance <only> without searching into the Causes & circumstances which make <the> matters of fact to bee truly right or wrong; & should I in this great matter[altered from the greatest matters], <left margin: take upon me to bee a iudge therin, when as> [whence?] it is not possible for me (I being none of the Counsell) to know satisfactorily, what the causes & circumstances of the change are? take upon me to bee a iudge therin? or am I obliged, being but a priuat man, & endevouring to behaue my self as a good Citicen in this commonwealth <my place>, bound to search into those causes & circumstances to [perform?] performe my duty? I suppose none will say so <left margin: for <because> I may <fully> know my duty without that discouerie> & if it doth not at all belong to my station, nor is a part of my duty to search theerinto; what discretion would it bee in me, to apply my self therunto <to take that care upon mee>: & except I should take <it> upon me to make this [search?] I conceiue it would bee an unconscionable & indiscreet part in me, to settle any iudgment of those <in> matters so then it is <both> a thing morally impossible for me to know the grounds of right & wrong in this reuolution; nor is it <& if >[word deleted] & also not requisite for me to search therinto; for the performance of my part of my <the> duty, of a priuat Citicen in this Commonwealth; (seing all that I haue to do,is cleer before me without that search;) therefore <left margin: of such a nature. all which being so> <it followeth that> I am bound to quiet my spirit in <about> this business; & leaue the iudicature of the [word deleted] right and wrong therin, unto God & those to whom his Prouidence in due time may referre it.
And as I am obliged for these grounds conscionably to bee quiet within my self; so I think I am bound no lesse conscionably to consult with my duty, how in this iuncture of time I should behaue my self towards God & my neighbours in this commonwealth. As to God; I suppose you will reddily yeeld that I ought to ad looke up & obseruing his hand which is lifted up ouer these nations; to adore his Prouidence, to Reuerence his iudgments & hope in his mercy: wee haue seen in so few yeares yeares in these three nations so great reuolutions, wrought by so unexpected [catchword: wayes &]

wayes & meanes, that who euer doth not see the hand of God therin, but will attribute the euents unto humane <mens> counsels, must needs bee uoid of all understanding both in Divine & humane affaires. therefore seeing Gods iudgments are in the earth I set my self to wait for him in the way therof, & the remembrance <desire> of my soule is towards the remembrance of his name: [as I?] seeking[altered from seek] to obserue his Counsell for the reuiuing of his worke, (his wonderfull worke) in the midst of this generation, that in my place I may bee subseruient therunto.
As to my Neighbours (of which number you are one) I think it my duty, where euer I find an open dore to steppe in; to serue them in the best things through loue. upon this account now I offer my self by the opportunity which you haue giuen me [word deleted] <unto> you; to as to an inhabitant of the world; [that?] to desire you to looke upon God's iudgments as they are in the earth; that you may learne righteousnes, & not beare any envie at his poeple, or at his instruments, lest you bee put to shame: [left margin: Esa. 26. 10, 11.] for all those shall bee put to shame that will not obserue[altered from obseruer] & consider <see> the hand of the Lord when it is lifted up; <& his Maiesty when it appeareth> yea the fire of the Lords enemies shall devoure them. & this I put you in mind of <I say> as an inhabitant of the world <that you should> Looke about & see what desolations the Lord hath wrought, & is still working in the earth; & learne from thence to feare before him. but as you are an inhabitant of this Commonwealth & of Sion, I think it my duty to put you in mind of the great & mercifull deliuerances shewed by God unto this Nation; & to his poeple, who haue trusted in him & stood up for his cause of Christian, & Liberty iust Civill Liberty: you may see all along that hee hath broken the yokes of bondage, & cast downe the mighty from their seats; who pretended to sit therin for by themselues, or sought to sit therin for themselues, rather then for his poeple & seruice. looke upon the true intrinsecall Causes of the <former> reuolutions all along; as now they haue been discouered, & then tell me whether the hand of God did not light upon each party assoone, as it [beganne?] was fully set, to act only for it self in its place. I shall not descend to particulars, but as you are a good Commonwealths man learne by this to act for the public, & not for your self; & <for the public good sake> that you may bee in a capacity to do this first your first duty is to quiet your spirit from murmuring <now> & not suffer my distemper to arise upon <not> your affective, [word deleted] arise you for <passion to diuert you from> your duty in your stations as sullen Children sometimes use to do, who will not eat their meat because <when> they haue not their will. & what you resolue to do your self encourage others to do in like manner; chiefly those whom you think most able to helpe with counsell or endevours to settle us in the Liberty which wee haue fought for <left margin: which I take to bee a Regular Christian Liberty wherin we may bee> to bee free from Anarchy on the one hand & tyrannie <from> the Tyrannie of arbitrary power on the other; hauing iust commonwealth lawes wherunto all may bee equally subiected; for our mutuall goodnes safety & nationall interest; that wee may bee preserued from oppression at home, & invasion from abroad <abroad from invasion>. So farre as in your station you can Contribut unto these aimes I conceiue it is your duty as a good Commonwealths man cheerfully to concurre with others therin, not suffering your self to be staggered at the irregularity of any who may seeme <to you> to act beyond their line. for what althogh some that are peeuishly discontented neglect their duty or fearefully discouraged neglect their duty & suffer all to go to wrack <left margin: should their example be my rule? or what although others> [or those that?] seeme more foreward then they ought to bee <& by> oueracting their duty & seeme to <left margin: set us upon the brink of a precipice, from whence wee may <iustly fear to> fall either into under a worse Tyrannie then euer yet wee were under; or under a greater Anarchy then any nation hath been subiect unto, if wee <go but> but steppe one foot steppe out of the way. shall this precipitation of theirs excuse me, if I resoluedly go beyond my line; because they are rashly gone beyond theirs? surely no.> [several lines deleted] but the more others seeme to bee irregular in their course; the more carefully I ought to bee to walke exactly by a rule in mine owne. if others <seeme to> Change their aimes because they are for <& desert> the public, because <happly> they are disappointed of their priuat designes <& hopes> or forget their Principles & promises, because they haue <gained the> gotten <beyond them hopes> priuat aduantages <which they never could have hoped for> beyond their expectations; should their misbehaviour sway me to the like irregularity either way; to helpe on the Confusion & tumultuously to disturbe the peace? I suppose no, but if I am bound so much the more as a good Commonwealths man, to keep stedfastly to my aime; to maintain & hold forth my Principles; & to performe my promises for the public to the utmost of my power. & thus I haue giuen you an account of my duty as I am a member <an inhabitant> of this Commonwealth in this iuncture of affaires. there is yet another sort of Duty incumbent upon me & you, as wee are inhabitants of Sion & members of the Commonwealth of Israel. And in this respect I conceiue our duty to bee <is> to looke stedfastly to the accomplishment of the promises which God hath made unto his Church, concerning the Kingdome of Christ; & to fitte our selues as wise Virgins with oile in our lampes, to bee reddie to accompany the Bridegrome into his wedding Chamber. wee know that the greater the confusions & unsettlements are in the affaires of this world; the neerer our deliuerance is & our settlement <is> by Christ; for the Apostle tels us that Gods meaning in his promise of shaking both earth & heaven, is a purpose to remoue those things that are shaken, that those things which cannot bee shaken may remain with us. [left margin: Hebr. 12. 26 26, 27.] what is it that hinders us from the enioyment of things that cannot bee shaken? is it not our resting upon the thinges which can bee shaken, & our unwillingnes to part with the settlement which wee seeme to haue in them? & if wee are loath to bee unsetled in such enioyments as these; do wee not resist the settlement wherunto [catchword: wee are]

we are called by the promises? our main duty then is to study the promises made unto sinn more then hitherto wee haue done, & hoping for the accomplishment therof to looke upon these Changes wherat men are troubled as the footsteps of Christ in drawing neer unto us: & this will perfectly quiet our spirits & fitte us better for all manner of duties then any other consideration whatsoeuer: now the duties which wee should intend, that wee may bee fitted to pertake of the promises when the time of the accomplishment therof shall come <to passe> are briefly these. [left margin: Phil. 4. 5.] 1. in respect of other men wee ought to Moderat our affections, & manifest our equall frame of spirit; as expecting the Lords presence who is the Iudge of all; & [quiet?] all will right all. [left margin: Iam. 5. 9.] 2. in respect of difficulties & hardships which at the time of Sions deliuerance will bee upon the world, wee must arme our selues with patience & therin possesse our soules. [left margin: Luke. 21. 19. Iam. 5. 8. Matth. 24. 42. Luke. 21. 36.] 3. in respect of our owne Saluation, wee are bound to watch & pray; & to looke to our selues lest we bee ouercome with the lusts & cares of the world, & that day come as a snare upon us: therefore our Care must bee to prouide oile for our Lampes & to trimme them, to put on our wedding garment & to perfite holines without which no man shall see the Lord. [left margin: Hebr. 12. 14. 2. Petr. 3. 11. Ephes. 4. 3. Hebr. 10. 24, 25.] 4. in respect of our Brethren in Sion our Duty is to endevour to keep the vnity of the spirit in the bond of Peace; & to prouoke one another, to loue & to good workes; & not <to> forsake the assembling of our selues together (for the obseruation of Holy ordinances) as the Custome of some is: but exhorting one another, & so much the more, as we see the day approaching. if wee were really & throughly possest with these thoughts our spirits would not, nay could not, bee disquieted with the affections which now rise up in them about worldly matters, but [word deleted] <you> should find cause <left margin: as well as I> to acquiesce at this present reuolution of Gouvernment which is come so unexpectedly upon us. But that you may not mistake me, in this matter of acquiescing at the reuolution of Gouvernment, I shall tell you what I meane by it. I meane by it somewhat more then to bee simply quiet: for hee that is only quiet; is meerly passiue at the Changes; & though he hath gotten the Mastery of his affections not to bee troubled therat yet hee may bee unwilling to Act, & doe his duty under the present Gouvernment with Cheerfulnes, because it is not constituted in that frame which hee doth better like & would rather wish; & so doth not acquiesce therin, but wisheth for something else; & upon this account although he acts nothing against [it?] the present Constitution of affaires; yet hee acts nothing willingly under it as a Duty of Choise which is his <hee> Choiseth <freely> but as a Duty which necessity <hath> enforced[altered from enforceth]; now this is not in my sense any acquiescing in the Reuolution, but <rather> an inward auersion from it; & although duties may bee performed by such a one under the present frame of state, yet they come not from a right Principle which will make them either acceptable to God, or profitable to him that doth them; or constant in the issue: because they are not heartily performed, but the mind as it were haled to them, & hee that doth them hath no comfort in them because there is happily <will bee> an inward grudging at the performance of them, in respect of those for whom they are performed: I therefore distinguish between the quieting of the spirit & the acquiescing at the reuolution; because the duties which are performed from a meer passiue disposition are quite of another nature then such as arise from an acting principle & frame; which makes the heart to go along with the Duty which is done. The Apostle Commands Christian seruants under heathen masters to do all, whatsoeuer they do, heartily, as to the Lord & not unto men. [left margin: Coloss: 3. 23.] how much more should free borne Christians liuing in a Christian Civill gouvernment obserue this rule, to <do> all matters of duty heartily, as to the Lord Christ whom they serue in their station; for the Duty is to bee lookt upon as obligatorie in it self for the <because> good of <to> others; & obligatorie to me in my station, because Christ hath set me in it to serue others therby through loue; [left margin: Colos. 3. 24.] & upon this account I can apply the promise annexed to this precept, which is that of the Lord I shall receiue the reward of the inheritance; because I serue the Lord Christ & not men; & what I do for him I ought to do <it> heartily; as acquiescing in the disposall of affaires wherin my <the> performance of my duty is required.
Hitherto I haue giuen you the grounds <an account> of my quietnes [word deleted], & of my resolution to performe all dutyes heartily <do my duty> as acquiescing in the present reuolution <of affaires in the grounds> which lye[altered from lyes] nee neerest to my heart <because they> as flow[altered from flowing] from [th?] the life of the spirit wherin I desire to doe all things; there bee many other grounds which may bee alledged upon a rationall account, & may perhaps take more with some others who trouble their heads with coniecturall rationall discourses & coniecturall probabilities of dangers then I hope you do; yet because they will bee bussing their thoughts <to> into your eares <to perhaps> to stagger you; let me offer that which in a rationall way from the word of God, may bee obserued for their use; & which from the present circumstances of affaires is obuious to euery [catchword: mans understanding]

mans understanding.
I conceiue then that a man euery man may find iust & sufficient reason to acquiesce in this Change of Gouvernment who will seriously & without passion & preiudice reflect first <either> upon God as hee hath a hand in it; or upon himself as hee is under it; or upon the men that haue been instrumentall in making it; or upon the Change it self <which is made> & the probable consequences therof.
    first if a man doth <rationally grant> belieue that God hath a hand of Prouidence in any thing hee will see reason to acknowledge this Truth which the Scriptures hold forth that hee is the iudge of all the earth & that he executeth iudgment & righteousnes & Louingkindnes therin, that in these things hee doth delight; [left margin: Ier. 9. 24. Deutr. 32. 4.] & that all his workes are perfect. & if his Prouidence is to bee seen in any thing it it is <to bee> seen most in the Changes of Nationall Gouvernments. now if this bee so there can bee no reason why I any should bee disquieted at his disposall of the gouvernment from one hand into another. [left margin: ps. 75; 6, 7.] God claimes this eminently unto himself as his peculiar worke, that he puts downe one & sets up another as a iudge; & therefore forbids us to think that promotion doth come from any worldly Contriuances either from the east or the west or the south lest wee murmur at men & not regard him in the busines. & if this is his alone priuiledge & his worke who art thou that will controule him in his wayes & will not acquiesce [at?] therat? [left margin: Ezech. 21. 26, 27.] wee are told that which is come to passe concerning the Kingdome of Israel, that hee would exalt him that is low & abase him that is high, & would ouerturn ouerturne ouerturne that kingdome & that it should bee no more untill hee come, whose right it is, & that hee will giue it him. this is fallen out in Israel to this day; & shall bee so till the Messiah come whose right it is, to posse the nations & to receiue the utmost endes of the earth for his inheritance; & if God hath thus determined his Counsell ouer his owne poeple Israel till Christ come can wee expect it should bee oterwise among the Gentiles? surely no, & therefore there is no reason; that wee should bee disquieted & not acquiesce at the Changes which are brought upon the Gentiles. [left margin: Zeph. 3. 6, 7, 9.] Chiefly seing hee hath declared that hee will make their towers desolate, & devoure the earth with the fire of his iealousie, till hee turne to the poeple a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord with one consent: & if this is to bee the issue of these Changes, is it not our happines to bee under these Changes <the same>? from hence wee may gather the reason & ground of that precept which is giuen to all soules; [left margin: Rom. 13. 1, 2.] That they should bee subiect to the powers that are ouer them; because the powers that are <are of God &> are Gods ordinance: & hee that resists the powers resists the ordinance of God. now if wee acquiesce not; wee resist in our affections; & reiect the ordinance of God which is ouer us.
Secondly consider thy self as thou art under the present gouvernment; art thou not under the protection of it? canst thou protect thy self without it? dost thou not desire to bee in safetie by it? <left margin: dost thou not endevour> that thy lot may prosper in it? if not; get thy self <gone> from under it & chuse another place of abode; but if thou canst not with convenience remoue; there is no reason but thou shouldest acquiesce to yeeld subiection, & that willingly & cheerfully, to that power from which thou canst haue protection <but> if thou art discontented at thy lot, which is not in thy power to alter; thou art a foole <because thou> that troublest thine owne peace in vain. consider also this that there is no power in being <left margin: but this which is now ouer thee; if thou wilt not do thy duty under this thou must either approoue of an Anarchy (which no rationall man <can> intend to set up) or of some other ruling power which <if> thou seekest to set up without a due call & in [any?] turbulent way, thou makest thy self guilty of seditious <practises> & wilt deserue to bee punished accordingly>
Thirdly consider the men by whom the Change of Gouvernment is wrought: hitherto in their former undertakings for the Liberty & safetie of this nation they haue freely ventured their liues, & do still stand in the same resolution; they haue hitherto held forth honest & iust Principles & Aimes, & still hold forth the same: they haue been trusted hitherto, & they haue not bee unfaithfull to their trust; but by them God hath brought under the enemies who did oppose our liberties & our safetie, & <of the public safetie & of our Liberties.> therefore there is no reason but that they should bee trusted henceforth nor is it <as heretofore: because it is not> iust that now they should bee suspected of euill designes; seing in <looke upon> their former contests wherin they appeared against the King <left margin: more then the Parliament did.> or against a party in the Citie; or against the party which did sway the Resolutions of the Parliament to another aime those [without]? [word deleted] to them must safe for the public, for which they separated <in the Parliament would not vote [Hammilton?] an enemie & which was not would haue brought in the King againe by making voting his answers satisfactory, for which they> <separated> a great part of that Body from the rest: I say in <looke upon> all these contests wherby they did interest themselues in the affaires of state <you will see that> they did behaue themselues with that moderation & discretion & that conduct towards the public <left margin: that none but the incorrigible enimies of the state, did suffer therby> & with that conduct in managing their affaires that were able to giue a rationall account of the iustice & necessitie of their proceedings; & of their interest in the settlement of the state; not being called to their employment as meer mercinary souldiers; but hauing upon a call freely offered themselues therunto as free borne natiues for the defence of the Liberties of the Nation <left margin: & for the settlement of the rights therof which belongs to the militia of euery nation to preserue as it is effectually the strenth> which in <some> former transactions haue been both by the Parlement & by the King put into their hands & been reserved unto them to bee managed: since which time I confesse that I haue lookt upon them as men under another Character & stampe then a meer Army <left margin: which ordinarily is to led by an implicit obedience, & is of the Body therof: & of the militia of this nation in this time they are the [visible?] representatiues.> to bee directed by another counsell & power from without: for if it can bee made out that it may time some time <heretofore> both the King on the one side & the Parlement on the other did deferre unto them the transaction of the public settlement; I know not what they did want of an investiture into Authority aswell to Act with the supreme <in counsells> power power, Chiefly seing they had actually all the power of the Nation in their possesssion: & in that respect were to bee lookt upon as the Representatiue of the Militia of the Nation, which is effectually & by the law of nature the Body <left margin: of the Nation in its strenth> therof. so that upon all these considerations I do confesse, that I can see no reason why they may not bee now trusted as well with the management of this Change, as they haue been with the former <changes>; & therefore <I think> all rationall men ought to acquiesce at this reuolution of Gouvernment aswell as [at?] the former.
Lastly consider the Change it self & compare it with the former <changes> & I suppose you will see a great deale of reason to acquiesce in it, & hope well of it. for in the former Changes <left margin: haue had a good effect hitherto: &> although they <some of them> were greater then this, as when the Kings head was cut off & <all at once the commons> House was Garbled: the House of Lords put downe, the Kings head cut off, & the Kingdome Changed into a commonwealth; yet the issue of that Change hath bee was <hath hitherto been> prosperity unto the Nation, & all that are good Commonwealths men, & haue been quiet; haue found their aduantage therby: & if the experience of former Changes <times> may giue a ground to hope <well> of future, there is no great reason to bee much troubled <at this change> therat: besides the former Changes all along either were wrought with more hazard of opposition & danger of irritating a strong party which sometimes was exasperated therby, but now it is not apparent is reason that any party will bee stirred up by this change or & so no public disturbance like to ensue; which should quiet <incline> the spirits of rationall men to [catchword: acquiesce]

acquiesce <the more willingly> therat: Chiefly seing the manner of bringing the Change about hath been so quiet [&?] easie, of a sudden & without <any> noise, which is a symptome of an acquiescens euen in those that are most immediatly concerned, & are greatest sufferers in the Change; whose silence & condescention to their <owne> remouall from the Gouvernment <may bee thought> was no greater then at that time, then if it hath been euer since; so that a looker on may rationally think that they were willingly put out of <had nothing materiall to say for themselues to stay in their> employment; wee see also that the whole nation is quiet, & for ought that is apparent doth seeme to acquiesce at the Change; & that not so much through feare as through a because they were wearie of the former Constitution, & afraid of being for euer vnder their gouvernment. what their failings were, is not a subiect that I shall rauell into nor is it a proper argument for acquiescing in the Change except wee were sure that the like failings will not bee in time to come; but this me thinks should induce rationall men to acquiesce in the new frame, that it cannot bee coniectured that this gouvernment will bring any greater burdens upon us, then formerly, but in all likelihood wee may expect some ease & more Liberty from pressures then euer. & if no man can rationally think himself worse then hee was before, but may hope for relief from the former burdens in due time; it will follow that hee should acquiesce <& in> [&?] doing his duty <pray &> hope for Gods blessing upon them that are in place, & help foreward in his station the meanes of a righteous settlement.

[another hand:]
     Letters from & to
Mr Durie & Dr Ciprianus Kinner