Extracts of Letters of Mr Dury
Concerning his Scriptural Analysis.
It is a great part of our happines that wee can give one to another occasion to praise and magnifie Gods glorious name and as your pious endeavors and zeale to advance good Workes hath given mee at this time occasion to performe thes
same duty so[altered] j finde myself obliged towards you to give you in the way of my calling some occasion to performe the same duty towards him in like manner, which j will labour in due time to doe, by setting myself to fulfil your honorable desires, to know somwhat distinctly the Method which j vse to call demonstrative in the Analysis of Holy Scripture. This your desire Mr H. hath notified vnto mee and it is so laudable in itself and so acceptable to mee to heare it to bee in you that j cannot but resolue with myself to give you some satisfaction, so farre as the Lord will permit and these distracting occasions of mine will suffer mee to doe in an Epistolical way, that you may see the true grounds and fundamental Rules of that Method which in due time will require a large and compleate treaty. Pray together with mee that I may bee enabled to answer your expectation and desires, and that I may bee led in the Simplicitie of divine truth to fulfil his good pleasure in every part of this laborious calling
to Mr St Amands from
Stockholme the 18 of Nov. 1637.
As for your pious affections to these my endeavors I acknowledge myself so farre obliged that there can bee nothing in the way of my calling wherin you may bee gratified which I shall not bee most willing to performe. Therfore seeing j haue vnderstood from Mr H. a desire to bee stirred vp in your mind to know the Method of that Analysis of Scripture which in some writes of mine I vse to call demonstrative I will study to give you some satisfaction in this, that by your judgment the matter may bee more fully tried, and if in any thing faultie also rectified. I made this promise a Weeke agoe. Now I pray you take not this iteration as a shift to put of the performance, but rather as a further confirmation of my purpose, which by reason of many
distractions at this time I cannot suddenly performe For j am here wrastling with great difficulties. Assoone as j am at a little liberty of Spirit you may God willing expect assuredly the effect of this promise.
from the same place the 25 of Nov. 1637.
Now j am forced to breake of although j had also intended to haue written to Mr St. Amand at least a beginning of the description of the demonstrative Analysis. For j purpose to deliver it vnto him fully in several Letters by parcels because according to the Scope which a Man doth intend in Analysing so the grounds must be laid to proceed after that once the general foundation is known. Now j haue not time to discourse of this busines, but the next occasion God willing shall afford it to you.
2 decemb. 1637.
[another hand?: Worthy Sir.]
I intend nowe to make a beginninge of performance of that promise which heretofore I have made concerninge the Method of Scripturall Analysis wherein as I acknowledge my selfe a debter vnto all men for theire edification soe I reioyce when I receive opportunitie from any to be serviceable vnto them in this kinde, For every one is not Capable of these thoughts, and they ought not to be obtruded vnto any least they seeme to proceede from a selfe seekinge humour in some novelties./ For this is all the danger which in this businesse I doe apprehend, not that the thinge in it selfe is a noveltie or that I am Conscious to my selfe of any affectation of noveltie For I professe that I ayme at noe such thinge, but only that the apprehensions of other men may cast such an aspersion vpon the matter before they knowe what it is when they only heare the name of a Demonstrative Analysis, for the tearme demonstrative seemeth to purport some newe matter more then formerly hath bene taken notice of, yet in effect it is none other thinge or other matter in substance, but only a Method more exactly observed of applyinge the same rules and matter which formerly hath bene made vse of, for interpretation of scripture./ And to speake truth all true Analysis is a demonstrative Analysis, for it cannot be true except it be demonstrable. So that I [catchword: might]
might call this Method whereof I intend to speake aswell the true as the demonstrative Analysis, yf there were not greater danger in the former then in the later denomination by reason of the iealousie of learned men that would imagine that I supposed all other Analyticall Methods except mine owne to be false, by which meanes I should be exposed to more danger of obloquie./ But now I am free from arrogateinge to my selfe that which is not answerable to modestie, and I vse to call that peculiar way of proceedinge which <I> make vse of, to finde out the meaneinge and order of scripturall doctrines demonstrative, because it doth sett a mans intellectuall facultie in such a course of meditation that he is able to demonstrate every thinge which he apprehendeth in the text of scripture to be true by somethinge that is vndoubted and goeinge before that which he doth apprehend, For it is Methodus procedendi a simplicissimis ad composita et demonstrandi rem quamlibet a priori cognito, Howe at this time I neede not to tell you what I meane by Analysis and what the end of it is, for I suppose you knowe that Analysis is the resolution of a Compound into its simples, and that the end of such a resolution in the text of Scripture is to dive into the true meaneinge thereof, or rather to apprehend the whole wisdome and science of the discourses which the spirit of God vttereth in the scriptures to instruct vs vnto salvation, I say that the end of all Analysis is to apprehend the wisdome which is in scripture vnto salvation, And the end of this Method which I vse is to apprehend it demonstratively that is infallibly./ Soe that a man shalbe able to demonstrat every thinge which he doth apprehend to be certainly true a priori noto et infallibili till he come to the first principles of infallibility which noe man can deny, soe that by a continuall orderly concatenation of apprehentions the vnderstandinge is ledd by infallible degrees from one intellectuall obiect to another till it gather them all vp together in one summe soe that it can all at once apprehend the whole, and all the parts thereof distinctly & conionctly in theire severall relations each to other and each to the makeinge vp of the whole, And I can not compare the manner of proceedinge better then to an arithmeticall addition or multiplication wherein one summe beinge added to another maketh vp the third and many summes or numbers beinge added into one, make vp a greate totall summe, Soe it is in this Method of apprehendinge intellectuall obiects one obiect is added to another to make vp a third which is Comon to both, and many obiects are reckoned or summed vp together to make a totall summe and generall conclusion of some intellectuall matters, But here you will say howe can this be done aswell and demonstratively in obiects intellectuall as in arithmeticall numbers? I will answere you that the one can be done aswell as the other yf the right obiects be represented to the minde, and yf the right Method of [catchword: summinge]
summinge vp the same, be made vse of. for I in this businesse must doe as Mathematicians in theire demonstrative sciences vse to doe, I must take a postulatum to be given or graunted vnto me, vpon which the whole grounde of these demonstrations will rest, Nowe this Postulatum is a thinge which I suppose noe rationall man will denye, vizt. that yf the vnderstandinge can apprehend truely the simple axiomes of a discourse, and that yf these simple axiomes truely apprehended, be rightly ioyned together, that the compound which resulteth from the same <in the vnderstandinge> cannot be false; vpon this one Postulatum (which yf neede were might be proved by a Mathematicall Demonstration of lynes and figures) relyeth the whole demonstrability of this Analyticall Method which I intend to speake of vnto you for you knowe that all rationall discourses are nothinge but soe many Systemes of simple axiomes or sentences ioyned in a certeine frame together towards some scope, Nowe he that is to consider the discourse of annother man, he doth it to conceive the right meaneinge of him that spake it, that is to say to frame in his vnderstandinge the same thoughts which the speaker had in his minde when he vttered his discourse for to knowe the wisdome and science of a man I must knowe his thoughts and to knowe his thoughts, I must consider that wherein he doth vtter the same, Nowe men vtter theire thoughts by discourses, therefore theire discourses are to be taken & apprehended, But howe shall I be able to apprehend the whole discourse of a man and all the wisdome which is in it truely and infallibly? I have non other way but to trace the footestepps of his vnderstandinge in frameinge it, for yf I can bringe my vnderstandinge to goe througe all the intellectuall obiects and to goe in the same way through the same by which his vnderstandinge went, Then I am sure that my vnderstandinge shall receive the same thoughts which was in his minde when he vttered his discourses: But howe shall I trace the footestepps of his vnderstandinge to frame my thoughts in the same manner? I can doe it none other way then beginninge as he beganne, and proceedinge as he did proceed in his discourse; But howe did he beginne and proceede in his discourse? That doth appeare by the discourse it selfe, And therefore I must take it to taske
and <to> consider it & to resolve it, and to suffer my vnderstandinge without all preiudice and foreconceited opinion to be ledd alonge by it as his was ledd that first spake it in a simple meaneinge./ For all my labour must be to conceive of his words as he did vtter them, and therefore as I have once alreadie said, I must beginne and proceed with him, Nowe he did beginne as all men doe with simple axiomes & compounded [catchword: those]
those together in an orderly way, Soe then I must in his discourse first consider his simple axiomes and observe the orderly settinge of the[altered from same?] same together[altered from togeather], and this is the first rule of this demonstrative Analysis that the discourse which is to be Analysed must be resolved into simple axiomes and that these axiomes must be sett downe distinctly in theire owne order accordinge to the particles whereby they are connected one with another, this I vse to doe, (when a matter is of ymportance and to be done exactly) in write, transcribeinge all the Authors words in theire order, but soe that I separate every axiome one from another and sett downe the particles of theire connection a parte over against every axiome to which it belongeth as for example yf I would consider exactly Peters words Acts 2. 38. 39. to the Iewes I would set them downe thus./
Acts 2.|Then Peter said vnto them
v. 39.| | Repent
|and | Be baptized / every one of you
| | - - - - - / in the name of Iesus Christ
| | - - - - + for the remission of sinnes
|and | ye shall receive the guift of the holy ghost
39. |for | The promise is vnto you
|and | - - - - - -/ to your Children
|and | - - - - - -/ to all that are a farre of
|even| - - - - - -/ to as many as the Lord our God
| | shall call./
This writeinge downe of the axiomes of a whole discourse doth only serve to fixe the imagination that it shall[altered from should?] not waver or faile in the apprehention of the Letter of the discourse, because the Litterall sense of every discourse is the grounde of all the sense that is in it, Therefore the Analysis which I call thus demonstrative hath twoe maine parts, and in each parte there be severall degrees accordinge as in the consideration of scripture men eyther intend or are able to raise theire thoughts to the apprehention of truth and divine wisdome revealed in it, The parts of an Analysis are first the Literall Analysis of the bare words of the text for theire proper sense to be [word deleted] <founde> out Secondly the Materiall [
Analysis?] Analisis of the sentences for the apprehention of the Science and wisdome which is hidden and <or> revealed in them accordinge to theire frame and composure to make make vp a whole discourse./ The Litterall Analysis must leade vs to the materiall by certeine infallible degrees, or els we shall have noe true demonstration./ And the whole fault which I have founde in our ordinary Analyses and in mine owne practise before I came thus to reforme my meditations, is in this one thinge, that we vse to fall instantly vpon the matter and doe not suffer our thoughts to rise in due order from the Litterall sense vnto the matter of the sentence, By which meanes we are ledd away to drawe all to be answerable to our first incident [catchword: probable]
probable conceptions. which yf they be true and lickly and that we can handsomely make the whole context and other matters without apparent constraint of the same to agree with them, then we say that we have the true annalysis of the text both of words and matter, but we are much Deceived, not soe but that the thinge which we say may be in it selfe true and perhaps alsoe a parte of that truth which is in the text which we have Analysed, but only in this regard we are Deceived that we thinke we have hitt vpon the
same <true> Analysis when it is not soe, & that we have founde the[altered] Depth of our Authors wisdome and true materiall sense of his discourse when we have not at all reached vnto it, And that only because our vnderstandinge is too nimble and deceiveth vs with a faire showe of some truth which satisfieth the desire of knowledge in some kinde and soe we rest contented, & because we are in love with our owne conceptions we can hardly be ever brought backe againe from such conceptions which are thus taken vp, but standinge in defence of them, least we should seeme to have erred in our interpretation (which is a disparagement for a Learned man before the world) or be ignorant of the truth, we bend our witte to make the first thought which was taken vp to appeare the only true and proper meaneing of a place, And hence cometh soe much Debatement and Disputation about the interpretation of places of Scriptures when every one will make his owne opinion seeme the best and the truest by arguments taken from all sides (vizt.) from the scope, from the Coherence of places antecedent and consequent, from parallele places collationed with that which we interpret and from the Annalogie of faith, All which meanes of interpretation are most requisite and vsefull & indeede the only true meanes of findinge out the sence of scripture, but when they are thus confusedly & preposterously not in due order and place made vse of, they can not further serve to demonstrate the truth then to make it probable, And he that can most probably bringe in these thinges to make his opinion, seeme good, he is believed, and indeede doth deserve creditt because he cometh neerest vnto the evidence of truth, But in this demonstrative way all such rash apprehentions of probabilities (yf the Method be followed) will be prevented./ For the only Prudency to be vsed in this Method is to bringe a mans vnderstandinge to a spirituall Captivitie vnder the sense of the Letter and not to flye out from thence till the sentence arise of it selfe from the Letter Soe that the vnderstandinge is ledd and becometh wholly passive as an eye that seeketh somethinge is meerely passive in respect of the obiects that it reflecteth vpon, soe must the vndertandinge be in respect of the words of sacred scripture, and as the eye [catchword: that]
that is to looke vpon a greate heape of different thinges standinge togeather in some closse order (which is not easily perceived except a man looke narrowly and distinctly and orderly to every one as it standeth in its owne place by his neighbour) cannot represent vnto the imagination what the true beinge of that heape is except it consider the partes thereof, and theire orderly Coherence from the least to the greatest to see howe the whole is composed of them: Soe it is with the vnderstandinge in this Case, it can never truely represent vnto the minde the true beinge of a discourse which consisteth in the apprehention of the matter and scope thereof from the severall partes except it be ledd in an orderly way over and through all the parts by which it is made vp, and observe the degrees of the Coherence of those partes in makeinge vp the whole, yf this be truely done, then the matter will truely & fully and the frame alsoe thereof will cleerely result vnto the minde and of it selfe appeare in a demonstrative shape, soe that you shall be able to contemplat the matter every way backward and forward, vp and downe and circularly per minutissima
ad et maxima, <&> finde all the relations that rationally or spiritually can be founde in it, For whatsoever is to be seene in the verball sense is suo modo, in the materiall, and whatsoever is in the outward parte of the materiall sense of a science, is alsoe suo modo in the inward or spirituall parte thereof For the materiall sentences of scripture doe expresse comonly vnder the names of outward corporall thinges spirituall and incorporall matters which are in theire owne kinde as really and truely meant as the thinges which are outwardly named;/ Soe that by this you may nowe conceive howe many partes or rather kindes of Analyses there be in my conception the first is of the words, the second is of the matter, and in this matter I conceive the sensuall and bodily parte which every rationall man may conceive from the scripture, and the spirituall and truely intellectuall parte which none but such as God enlightneth in openinge theire vnderstandinge to conceive and theire harte to beleive, can apprehend./. In each of all these kindes is a severall Analysis not differinge in the Method but in the obiects to be considered vnderstandingly and rationally, for the spirituall obiects in the last kinde are considered alsoe rationally, although the light of that reason is from the spiritt and not from the naturall facultie./ Alsoe each of these kindes have theire severall degrees of which I will speake God willinge hereafter/ Nowe I comende you to God, and rest
Yours in Christ./
[Hartlib's hand: the 9. of decemb. 1637.]
21. of April. 1638.
In denmarke j will if it please God set myself wholly to the perfiting of the Analytical Method of interpreting Scriptures. In the meane time lest j come short of some kind of performance j will cause Peter gather out of diverse writes all the several passages wherin j mention the Analytical way by smal hintes and some larger tractes, that at least out of many parcells you may haue some more light till j bee able to discover the whole Mysterie in a full and orderly Way.