Grace & Peace bee with yow from God
the Father & our Lord Iesus Christ Amen.
I could wish that many euen all Godly men that are well affected to the protestant Churches, & loue the aduancement of the Gospell therin were so desirous as yow are to know & to set foreward all the meanes that tend to the welfare & prosperitie of the same; & because yow rightly conceiue that in the worke of ecclesiasticall pacification which is now thought upon by all sides this effect may receiue a great furtherance; I can not but satisfie your desire to let yow know three thinges; first what my whole scope & intention is in prosecuting this businesse so earnestly as I doe; Secondly how farre the worke is gone on alreddie according to this intention; & Thirdly what further hopes there are of bringing it to some issue.
As concerning the first I can take God to witnesse upon my soule; that I haue no priuat ende worldly respect or partiall intention in going about this worke, but that I only aime at this; to procure (if by the mercifull assistance of God it may bee brought to passe) meanes wherby the lamentable breach which so many wayes distracteth mens mindes, & stoppeth the full course of the Gospell, may bee taken away, first amongst those that are called Caluinists[altered] & Lutheranes, & then also (if it bee possible) amongst all others which agree in the fundamentall points of Religion. therefore I trye first what meanes will bring this to passe betwixt the Caluinistes & Lutheranes, that they which are least distant may bee brought first to concord & unitie before the worke bee extended towards others; & to doe this I find none other way then to procure & sue for the assistance of such men as doe professe or at least should professe most of all others Religion & Godlinesse, that they would bee pleased in the wayes their lawfull callinges to ioyne in endevours & giue assistance to so good a purpose. Now to bring them on all sides to doe this I can challenge no greater obligation ouer them but that of their owne conscience so farre as it is subiect to the word of God & that of the possibilitie of so good a worke which all men ought to pray for.
As touching the tye of Conscience it is true indeed that there is none with whom I haue to doe, that denyeth himself bound in conscience by the word of God (wherby wee are expresly commanded to seeke peace & follow after it as farre as in us lyeth) to labour for peace; yet neuerthelesse there bee few that really answer this tye & commandement by actual obedience, but many stand a loofe & gaze as it were at me wondering what I meane to doe; many feare to engage themselues in a worke of such a nature lest they bee thought fooles & prostitute the good opinion which the world hath of their wisdome: many excuse themselues in respect of the difficultie & impossibilie of the worke, thinking that it is enough to free them from endevouring to obey this holy command if they imagine once the effect of the worke to bee impossible for them to doe; wherin although they bee much deceiued (seeing it is required of us under paine of eternall curse, to yeeld perfect obedience to the law which is impossible for us to doe) yet I take it as a taske to shew in this particular that it is not only possible but easie also to bee done by Gods grace, & the assistance of those that ought to cooperate in it.
Therefore to come to the matter I use to shew both at once the Possibilitie [catchword: & the]
& the facilitie thus
1. the agreement is alreddie made in Poland & in Bohemia, it is therefore possible to bring it to passe elswhere also: & why may it not now bee aswell effected as in former tymes betwixt Bucer & Luther?
2. There is no impossibilitie to agree the parties wither in respect of the matters nor of the manner of proceding in the agreement.
The matters wherin the difference standeth are the points of Doctrine or Else the Ceremonies.
Concerning the Ceremonies we are agreed in all sides that they may bee different, & yet cause no rent in the Church nor hatred & persecution in mens conuersations.
Concerning the points of Doctrine it may bee euidently shewed that there is no fundamentall difference & by consequent no true cause of a schisme; for both sides confesse that no schisme should bee where there is no fundamentall difference; now to shew that there is no fundamentall difference betwixt the Churches it may appeare most plainly 1. by the tenour of the public confessions of the Churches conserned with the confession of Auspurg 2. by the agreeing explications of the confessions
of <in> the authentique actes of diuers conferences, chieflie in the last conference held at Leipzick in the yeare 1631; & although there should bee some difference either indeed fundamentall or retrenching upon the fundamentalls neuerthelesse the means of reconciliation ought not to bee neglected, but should bee rather so much the more dought for in a lawfull way that either the one or the other side might be drawen out of so dangerous an errour.
Thus shortly concerning the matter which is controuerted wherin there is no difficultie if men would not bee contentious, either by reason of wilfulnesse as some Divines who loue more their owne opinions then God his glory & the peace of the Churches; or else by reason of state as some Politicians[altered] who find out & foment differences betwixt parties that they may rise or stand in the midst of their divisions.
Concerning the manner of proceeding it ought not to bee by way of dispute or conference upon the points controuerted; for this way of proceeding is expressly forbidden in the Scriptures Rom. 14. 1. Philip. 2. 2, 3. & 3. 15. 16. but it ought to bee by the way of Charitie & of the communion of Saints which is so oft & so earnestly recommended to us in the scriptures Rom. 14 & 15 Chapter throughout, & 1. Cor 8. 9. 10, 12, 13 Chapter Ephes. 4. Phil. 2. & 3. Chapter &c. This way of holy communion & Charitie must bee applyed either in Generall or particular: In Generall these Rules must bee obserued.
1. that we ought to exhort one another dayly & prouoke one another to loue & to good workes. Hebr. 3. 13. & 10. 24.
2. that wee should doe euery thing to mutuall edification 1. Cor. 12. 7. & <14. 26.>
3. that wee should beare with the weake ones & not please our selues, but rather become all unto all Rom. 15. 1. & 1. Cor. 9, 20, 21, 22.
4. that wee should observe unitie & conformitie in that wherunto wee are come; & wait till God shew more light to others that differ in iudgment Phil. 3. 15. 16.
By these & such like Generall Rules through necessarie consequences, wee labour to call back the Divines unto their duties, that in the feare of God they may undertake & follow the wayes of publick edification & lay aside all humane passions of self conceipt & pride which ouerrule men in the heat of disputations; therefore to the end that in our selues & others this may bee preuented wee labour to put these Rules in practise & according to these we seeke to attaine the thinges following [catchword: 1. first]
1. First wee labour to engage by promise all learned men that are able to giue aduice in this worke that they would bee willing to employ the talent that God hath bestowed upon them to his glory & the good of his Church in this worke which they cannot refuse to doe if they will not wound their owne consciences & shew themselues to bee unprofitable seruants who hide their talents in the ground.
2. after a promise made I striue to establish a mutuall correspondencie betwixt those that haue undertaken; for the obligation of a promise is to no effect if the way of communication & correspondencie bee not followed for what availeth the profession of loue if there bee no communion? & what is communion amongst Christians but a correspondent communication of Gods gifts one to another? which is no lesse requisite to bee practised in spirituall thinges then it is found necessarie to entertaine commerce & trading betwixt nations in outward commodities.
3. But least this should seeme some subtile deuice to ouerthrow the state & to erect a common wealth in the midst of another common wealth; wee do craue permission & leaue of the magistrate to doe this, & entreat him to bee willing to assist by his authoritie so good a worke; for God hath called him to this aswell as the Ecclesiastiques & wee presume not to doe any thing without his knowledge, except it bee a thing of such a nature & so expresly commanded by God that it can not bee disalloued off by any: Such are all those duties which depend directly upon the rules forenamed concerning the communion of Saints which are the foundation of the Spirituall Estate of the Church of God amongst men in this world & which are all summed uppe in one only rule which is the scope of the calling of a Christian taught by the Apostle Gal. 5. 13. when he saith: My Brethren yow are called to libertie, only use not libertie to bee one occasion to the flesh, but by loue serue one another. in this our calling wee haue a freedome, but with this restriction, that wee should not propose to our selues in it any carnall respect or worldly end; but that all our libertie should bee set a worke to serue willingly & freely one another through spirituall loue. therefore the intention to serue others is the ground worke of the communion of Saints according to the saying of out Lord, if any will bee great among yow let him bee the seruant of all Math. 20. 26, 27. For this cause also I entreat the magistrat to serue freely the Church of God without any carnall & human respect, & beseech him to giue me leaue to doe the same in this subiect of Ecclesiasticall unitie, & if this bee agreed unto there is nothing difficult in all the worke but by the Grace of God all will bee easie because the conscience of an upright man will easilie perceiue & teach him the wayes of mutuall edification according to God his commandements, & this intention once beeing truly undertaken will of it self worke out the rest.
4. Lastly concerning the setting uppe of this Religious correspondencie amongst Divines by the cooperation of Statesmen that are in authoritie wee intend to prescribe nothing to any man, but rather leaue euery one to his owne Godly zeale & charitable affection towards the worke to doe as it shall direct & moue him; & for the confirming & dilating of it wee require the aduice of those that are most able to direct us, & offer our selues as an instrument & cursitor to linke & knitte mens affections & bring mens intentions together; in giuing [catchword: them]
them occasion to act one toward another in loue these things which belong to mutuall edification; & wee professe our selues to bee first reddie to all dueties according to our abilitie which wee require of others. Now what this sort of negotiation hath wrought hitherto I will shortly let yow know in the next place; where I am to speake of the progresse of the worke.
Therefore concerning the progresse of this purpose in the worke of Pacification betwixt the Lutheranes & the Caluinistes, it is brought so farre on that all the Churches of both sides are really engaged & set upon the worke; for not only all parties both in & out of Germanie are prouoked & called upon, but they also haue declared themselues in some sort reddie to enter in treatie & giue their assent to any equitable propositions that may bee made by fitt mediators in the worke: for both those of the Reformed side in Germanie, & also the Lutheranes haue opened themselues in this matter, the Reformed haue written letters to this effect unto the Church of England, which I haue deliuered unto my Lord of Canterbury, & those that are in France Geneua Heluetia & other parts haue testified the like desire by letters which I haue receiued as for the Lutheranes, first many of their chief Divines haue giuen me by letters under their hands the like assurance; & then their chief magistrates by common consent at the dyet of Frankfort haue resolued to see the matter further prosecuted & taken in hand; thus all sides are brought alreddie to compromit & undertake the matter; so that none are wanting that are not prouoked, & few are wanting that are not yet condescended & haue not answered our intention; the particulars of all which proceedings are to bee seene more at large in a speciall narratiue containing all the circumstances of my negotiation for these two yeares by past in Germanie; therefore I will at this tyme remitte yow to that relation; that when yow shall see it yow may iudge of the progresse by the thinges that are fallen out; & from this subiect I will go on to the third point at first proposed which is to shew what may bee further intended & attempted in the worke wherof that I may speake somewhat in order to the purpose before all other thinges I will first shew why I think it requisite that the worke should bee further prosecuted. Secondly what should now bee endevoured in it; & lastly how these endevours may bee brought to some hopefull effect.
The reasons why it is requisite nay almost necessarie for me to prosecute the worke further are not only the same which moued me at first to undertake it but others also which now make the first more pregnant & urgent to enforce me to continue. For if at first the nature of the worke, the commandement of God, the necessitie of the Churches, the publick edification of the Godly, the aduancement of the Gospell, the desires & wishes of the best sort, the call & prouocation of freinds, & the euident sight of fitt meanes & wayes able to reach to so good an end were sufficient to moue a good conscience in the feare of God through faith to venture upon so great an enterprise; farre more now shall the same reasons bee of force to persuade nay to enforce to continue, seeing they are all yet in full vigour & strenthened in me by greater experience of the worke & larger insight of the circumstances & nature of it; unto which a more particular engagement by expresse promise of continuance concurring make me altogether unable to dispose otherwise of my self then as it shall bee found most expedient for the aduancement of this enterprise. for I will not conceale from [catchword: yow]
yow deare friend, that which I haue not yet imparted to any other since I came into England, that when I was at Hanaw & hadde made intimate acquaintance with the preachers of that place I proposed certaine questions unto them conveying the continuall furthering & prosecuting of this businesse unto a full period; unto which the grauest & most iudicious of them said that it was not fitt they should giue any answer
thi till they should know what my finall intention was in the worke & what[altered from which] use I would make of their counsells; that therefore they would desire me first to set downe that which I would undertake, & oblige my self to doe & then they should bee reddie to assist me with all their best aduices upon any occasion; this demand of theirs I thought very reasonable & condescended to it; & so set downe in write certain purposes which I did promise to follow if they thought good & would approue of them: this was done by them, & so I was bound by some sort of contract not to leaue the worke but to follow it in a lawfull way towards great & small, so long as I should see hopes that it might bee brought to some issue. The coppie of this my promise made to them I will send yow herafter; with the coppie of their aduices giuen in answer to my questions; by which yow shall see that I am not only bound as a seruant of God, for the goodnesse of the cause to perseuere seeing he hath both commanded such a worke in his word & blessed hitherto wonderfully my endevours in it; but am also engaged by promise to that Church & to many others, euen to all such as haue entrusted me with their letters to bee their seruant & Cursitor in this worke, so long as I shall see any possibilitie to labour in it with profit, therefore to saue my credit euen towards men I can not leaue now the course so well begunne & so prosperously hitherto set foreward by many; who by my forewardnesse haue undertaken many thinges which perhaps they neuer would haue attempted otherwise, & who in all likelihood will bee discouraged if I should neglect my duetie this then may suffice to shew why I think my self bound to prosecute so good a worke to some further period if God will permit.
Now to come to the other point to shew what I could endevour in it further if I should go ouer againe although in all matters which depend upon individuall circumstances, & the disposition of other mens mindes such as this is Consilium in arena sit capiendum yet me thinkes foure thinges besides some other collaterall endes, might chieflie bee aimed at & intended in my iourney.
These are 1. To obserue & consider what is further done since my departure out of Germanie either by those that I haue stirred uppe my self or by those that haue beene stirred uppe by others; or those that haue cooperated of their owne accord.
2. To ripen & confirme the counsells & resolutions of those that haue undertaken
3. To dispose & draw on those that are more slack then others
4. To Contract & summe uppe the effect of all particular resolutions, to some generall issue & conclusion in the worke; to the ratification wherof forraine Churches & Divines may bee able to concurre & giue assistance: these are the maine endes & purposes which I can further undertake in going ouer againe. of which I think it needlesse to discourse at large; seeing it is very difficult to forecast what the particulars will bee in a thing of so large a compasse only this I can say with whom each of these intentions is most to bee prosecuted First then for the purpose of obseruation it must bee alwayes Generall towards all; but chieflie towards those with whom I haue not beene heretofore familiarlie acquainted; such are those of Bremen, Denmarck, Holstein & the lower Saxonie
( in whom (whether they bee more willing or more unwilling) I must see what their inclination is; & according as I shall find them endevour to make the best use of them that I can.
Secondly for the purpose of ripening the counsells alreddie taken in hand this must bee chieflie done towards those that haue declared themselues by [catchword: letters]
letters, in showing them the answers therof & giuing them further occasions to proceede in taking a rise from the counsells of other Churches which I shall bee able to impart unto them.
Thirdly to dispose those that are yet somewhat more auerse then others, this must bee done towards such Lutheran Churches & vniuersities which haue beene more deeply engaged in the quarrell then others; such are Tubingen, Marpurg, Giessen Wittenberg &c. with these I must labour to dispossesse their mindes of præiudicate opinions; & giue them some good impressions & assurances of the sincereitie of those whom hitherto they haue suspected to deale deceitfully with them.
& Lastly for the purpose of drawing all priuat resolutions to a publick issue & conclusion; that must bee intended towards the consilium formatum; towards the States assembled at the Dyets which are oft tymes appointed either of one particular Prouince or of many Prouinces together; & towards the Ecclesiasticall consistories & Theologicall colledges of Imperiall Citties. to these informations must bee giuen of the correspondent desires of other Divines & Churches to further Peace; & their publick authoritie must bee engaged to giue assent & recommend, & undertake iointly with others & execute in their owne quarters the resolutions which shall bee taken in common: Thus the purposes & the persons with whom they must bee prosecuted are brieflie set downe; now it followeth in the last place to speake of the meanes & manner of bringing all this to passe, both which must bee answerable to the Generall intention which I haue at first declared in the beginning of this discourse; for if these particulars bee not subordinate unto that Generall they can not bee lawfull or usefull in the worke; therefore to speake of euery purpose by it self I will shortly intimate what I conceiue will bee most requisite, to bee done that it may bee attained.
1. to obserue what is done since I came from thence I must make my addresse to the speciall agents of euery quarter; & converse with them; in which conversation I must haue a single intention to see how much good there is to bee taken hold of & what euill there is yet to bee ouercome. & in taking notice of that which is good I must see how it may bee quickened & strenthened, & blowen uppe as cole of fire to kindle others; that so the euill may bee ouercome by the good according to the Apostles rule Rom. 12. 21. contrary to the practise of many now a dayes who are only wise in considering the faults of other men to complaine & murmure ouer them & to suspect worse thinges then they see; wherby they labour to discourage themselues & others in good intentions, & through feare leaue off to doe good thinges or doe them sneakingly without a louing cariadge & manly resolution; euills neuerthelesse apparent or iustly to bee suspected, must not bee neglected; but thought on how they may prudently bee auoided or preuented.
2. To ripen & confirme good undertakings the meanes will bee 1. to shew the consent counsell & undertakings of others; that by the forewardnesse of some all may bee prouoked. 2. to shew the shame & dangers that will ensue if the beginnings of a good enterprise bee not followed to some purpose. 3. to procure some Authentique & actuall declarations to oblige the undertakers to bee constant in the way resolued upon.
3. To dispose those that are more auerse then others. 1. I must converse with them as a stranger & so discouer the ground of their auersnesse & see by what meanes it may bee remedied. 2. other Agents of their owne side may bee set a worke to mollifie them & make them flexible to good resolutions. 3. all pretenses & excuses which they shall make may bee taken away. 4. the way of proceeding in the worke may bee [catchword: shewed]
shewed so plaine & reasonable that they shall not bee able to except any thing against it or refuse to condescend unto it. 5. their owne Magistrates may bee moued to dispose them to reason by authoritie when they are wilfully contentious without cause.
1 4.> Last[altered from lastly] of all to know how I would labour to bring all particular intentions & resolutions to a generall issue; I would first haue yow conceiue aright what I meane by this issue & effect of the worke; & then to consider of the meanes: I call the issue of this businesse for which I intend to take all this paines the willing agreement of parties in one resolution affection & conclusion to follow wayes & use meanes of peace & unitie which may bee shewed unto them to bee most effectuall for their mutuall edification; these wayes & meanes may bee referred to the two partes of their unitie wherof the one may bee a preparation unto the other; the one may bee a ratification of the conference held at Leipzick, & the other a more absolut agreement in some fundamentall confession & forme of Leiturgie & Discipline to which all sides should giue approbation as sufficient for saluation & most profitable for publick edification. now to procure these endes & bring the matter to this issue these following meanes must bee made use of.
1. by the Dyet or by the Consilium formatum a deputation might bee made of some men to whom the consideration of this matter should bee referred in the name of the foure Circles & their confæderates; this will bee done without difficultie, because before I cam last from Francfort it was intended; & if then I hadde seriously urged it; it would haue beene done; but I durst not undertake the businesse more publickly then I hadde warrant for, & therefore because I could not treat with them so solemly as they would haue intended, I left it at the period of a public decree resolued upon at the Dyet.
Secondly some speciall Lutheranes may bee gotten to go along with me as Agents with commission to sollicit together the worke towards the rest of their owne side; for I assure my self that one may bee hadde from Denmarck or Holstein, & another from the confæderate Circles which will apply themselues wholly to follow this intention.
By this deputation & these Agents the seuerall agreements & consents of the Churches under diuers Princes (which must needs bee seuerally dealt withall) may bee wrought out; to cause them condescend that a meeting should bee appointed of some speciall states men of note & eminent chiefe Divines of both sides in a competent number, wherin two thinges should bee intended. 1. that the points agreed upon at the conference held at Leipzick which was by the last Dyet at Francfort laid as a ground of futur agreement should bee ratified, & the remaining differences should either bee bee decided or left to the schooles, & iudged unworthy to cause a breach in the Churches. 2. that some course should bee thought on to solemnize & confirme by authoritie this agreement, & together with this solemne confirmation to prepare a way & resolue upon further meanes how to take away occasions of mutuall offences & [Iarres?] in tyme to come & how to draw neerer one to another in all manner of publick uniformite.
Now that this motion may take effect, me thinkes it were expedient I should bee able to propose it as an aduice giuen by some of the Bishops of this Church & some professours of the uniuersities & able men for learning in the Churches whose authoritie is respected beiond Seas; & therefore I intend to sollicit for some short declarations of their iudgment, tending to show this much; that the differences remaining after the conference held at Leipzick beeing rather points belonging to the schooles then to the pulpit; & mysteries of hidden science not requisite to bee known for saluation, ought not to [catchword: alienat]
alienat mens affections one from another, nor make any rent in the Churches & therefore that Godly Divines ought to lay aside, & that authoritie ought to inhibite all contentious debates about them; & think upon further meanes of mutuall loue & conformitie, unto the furthering of which they should professe themselues willing to giue their further aduice in due tyme.
When this degree should bee gained in the worke a consultation might bee held concerning meanes of more absolut agreement in one fundamentall confession which might bee receiued by all protestants; & concerning the wayes how to preuent futur differences & how to establish uniformitie betwixt the Churches: which worke of more absolut agreement & uniformitie although I know <it> can hardly bee brought to passe till God send them more outward tranquillitie & peace that a more Generall meeting may bee called; neuerthelesse in the meane tyme; I conceiue that with great aduantage unto the present cause, some preparatiues euen of this greater worke may bee taken in hand; which in this place I will but intimate.
1. The substance of all the best treatises & counsells of ancient & moderne authors may bee compiled & drawen together in one bodie & put forth with especiall recommendations from those that are in authoritie.
2. Polemicall writes & chieflie inuectiues may bee prohibited by common consent & the authors censured.
3. The examples of the Agreements of the Churches of Polonia & of Bohemia may bee urged as a president in this kind, & the necessitie of the like practise may bee shewed in these Churhes at this tyme.
4. but because the agreements of Polonia & Bohemia haue not fully reached to the effect which may bee attained by reason of the loosenesse & confusednesse of their gouvernments & Leiturgies, & some other defects under which they lye a remedie for all this may bee suggested, & conveniently insinuated which in due tyme might take effect to the great aduancement of the Gospell, & preseruation of it from the incroachments of Popish superstition, & to the building uppe of all the Churches in the true beautie of holinesse.
These are the purposes which by the grace of God in using the meanes I think I could bring to some effect; besides which I could intend collaterally some ends which perhaps would proue no lesse aduantagious for the publick good then some of the verie chief.
1. I could labour to bring them in here with our uniuersities; in respect of the meanes of Learning & good order kept in them; that seeing most of all their owne academies are either ouerthrowne or destitute of learned men they might bee mooued to send hither their sonnes to bee bredde & instructed, by which meanes they would bring home at least the knowledge of the language which is the facultie to make use of our bookes.
2. I could giue them an Impression of the usefulnesse of our bookes exstant in Practicall Divinitie to stirre them uppe to desire the benefit of them.
3. I could take notice of all the rare gifts which God hath bestowed upon the most eminent men in any of those parts, in any kind of learning or facultie; to bring the benefit of it hither either in bookes or treaties exstant or in M. S. or by way of some setled correspondencie to bee entertained that that effect; as for example I might draw Schikkardus his peculiar gifts in the orientall tongues to the profit of our Schooles & Iongius his facultie of teaching Sciences, & searching naturall thinges might also bee gained; & whatsoeuer Docemius or any other hath in a Singular kind might bee ripened, drawen forth & improoued to a publick good by some way of correspondencie & communication.
4. The historie of the true state of the Churches in those partes, containing the diuersitie of their Schismes, divisions & subdivisions, the [catchword: true]
true causes of these, & the differences of all their gouvernments & leiturgies might bee set forth; to shew what the fundamentalls are wherin they all agree or disagree; & what possibilitie there is of reforming in due tyme those euills that giue so great aduantage unto the publick ennemies of the Gospell to preuaile & ouerthrow those Churches.
Now if these either Principall or Collaterall endes bee worth a mans labour if they bee thinges profitable, & necessarie to bee thought on in this age, if they may yeeld in due tyme (when once it shall please God to bring the affaires of Christendome out of this confusion of Civill warres to a more quiet state & condition) comfortable fruits of Peace, Righteousnesse & Publick edification not only to particulars but to whole states & Churches; if they bee thinges agreable to the peace of
the Churches Ierusalem; to the communion of Saints & & to the commandement of God, wherby wee are bound to consider & promote one another to loue & to good workes; wherby wee are enioyned not only to seeke euery one his owne particular, but also that which concerneth others euen that which is laudable honest & lawfull before God & all men to build uppe his Kingdome & resist the power of Darknesse & confusion breaking in upon us: if I say these purposes & these meanes answerable unto them haue these qualities & conditions; then giue me leaue to Enquire of your conscience whether yow think it lawfull before God yea or no for me to bee so foreward in solliciting these thinges or for any Church man (beeing, invited entreated & called upon by others aswell as my self, to giue assistance & cooperate according to his talent in this worke) to bee refractary & negligent? doe yow think that any human respects or childish feares should bee able to keep clergie men backe from doing their duetie in this kind? yet alas it falleth out so what through dulnesse & want of resolution; what through Carnall conceipts & euill surmises, what through other imaginations & want of Charitable affections that it is hard <left margin: nay I think impossible almost> to find but a very few in so great & flourishing a Church that are effectually ioyned in one mind & purpose to prosecute such a worke in which is lesse then this, to assist any Agent that is labouring faithfully in it either in a spirituall or in a temporall way: but I find by experience that if any mans particular forewardnesse transporte him from all priuat endes to such purposes as these bee, hee becommeth for the most part a publick obiect of worldly mens derision & contempt, of partiall mens astonishment & obloquie; of Politic mens suspicion & iealousie of ignorant & shallow minded mens discourses & idle talke, & lastly of the censures & reproofes euen of some men that are thought to bee Godly & well affected to religion; thus of all hee is neglected; of many hee is counted a subtill proiector & practitioner & of some an inconsiderate & presumptuous foole. What then? shall a man leaue off so good a purpose because the world doth crosse it & neglect it? because the great ones seeme to despise[altered] the meane course taken in it: & the common sort take it not to heart? no sure. for my part I know that all thinges belonging to the Gospell, that beare any relation to the nature of it must bee propagated under the crosse & contempt of this world, euen as the Gospell was it self; & therefore I am resolued to set my face as a rocke against the waues & blasts of Scorne contempt & reproach; & if I must (as all men must by nature) pine away & end my dayes in labour & trouble I will rather endure it for so good an enterprise then for any priuat end & intention; if I must dye let me dye in this employment let me dye under this crosse; I can chuse no sweeter death, no crosse is more lighter. yea but what if yow see no possibilitie to proceede for want of assistance on outward meanes? what if none of the [catchword: great ones]
great ones will Patronize so good a cause? will yow neuerthelesse venture to loose your labour & your tyme? if the great ones will not God is greater then all & able to confound the greatest thinges of the world by the meanest & if the meanes of assistance & maintenance bee wanting to go on reddilie in this preconceiued plott; I know that the worke can proceede although that this plott bee neuer effected; for if the end & aime bee from God, hee will find meanes to bring it to passe one way or an other sooner or later; & if I can not bee made use off in so reddie & currant a way as this seemeth to bee, I will not leaue off to seeke out some other way; neither shall it bee losse of tyme or labour, for I know that I serue a Master who is faithfull & is able to reward me; therefore also I shall straine to bee faithfull unto him & constant in this course resoluing to creep when I can not go; & flutter when I am not able to flye; so I know that God his power will bee so much the more manifest in my weaknesse; & if it fall out that the iealousies of opposit factions lye heauie upon me & presse me downe on both sides whiles I striue to walke in a Royall way betwixt them both & will not side with either partie in particular practises: I must resolue to endure that extremitie of partiall mens iudgments with patience, striuing to giue offence to none, & to worke upon that which is effectually good in both; hoping that this will bee both an easie & a pleasant taske if God support my spirit under the burden of outward wants, & endue me with discretion to converse with all men without partiall & priuat intentions. Yet for all this if in this miserable & distracted age, (for who knoweth what light God may bee pleased to
bl bring out of those stormie clouds of darknesse) a man should bee soe happie as to meet with some publick & resolut spirits <left margin: in this countrie aswell as in forraine parts who should bee> reddie to ioyne in these endevours of our spirituall calling; I should bee most entirely bent to contract a holy [2 words deleted] <league> of fraternitie with them; & devot my self as a sacrifice unto their seruice, to bee directed by their counsell & giue them constantly account of all my proceedings.
If the tottering <left margin: state of Roman
policie Papacie> walls of Babylon though shaken in the[altered from their] foundation of [word deleted] [ untrueth?] <therof>, neuerthelesse hath been hitherto supported by the strong societies & correspondent intentions, of many Agents which they haue employed in their superstitions & worldly undertakings; why should not wee thinke that the Church of God (which is built upon the foundation of the prophets & Apostles, Iesus Christ beeing the chief corner stone) although for a while shaken with outward violence & inward broiles, may not bee raised from under this yoacke of persecution if some small societie should bee found to undertake these holy endevours? it is certaine that trueth & righteousnesse will breake forth at last although none beare witnesse unto it but one alone: yet if many stand uppe for it, it is more likely to preuaile; therefore as I said at first I will labour with great & small, in a publick & priuat way to seeke for that correspondencie which is able to attaine through the communion of Saints unto these endes; but if Charitie bee so could & sinceritie so farre decayed that this correspondencie can not bee obtained; yet I will not leaue off to sue for it, & to beare witnesse that in this tyme of decaying Religion all true professors ought to entertaine it; & so for my part I shall quitte my conscience, & shall hope confidently to bee found in peace when the great iudge of all controuersies shall appeare, to iudge the quicke & the dead according to euery mans actions whether good or euill; To his favourable protection & direction in all thinges, who is able to keep us unspotted in the midst of this froward Generation I desire to bee commended by yowr prayers, & so taking my leaue, I rest
Yowr Louing Freind & Seruant
in the Gospell of Christ
Westminster this 31 of March Iohn Durie
A Copie of a Letter from Mr. Durie
touching the worke of pacification