The Hartlib Papers

Title:Copy Letter In Hand ?, John Dury To Oliver St John?
Dating:31 March 1646
Ref:1/13/1A-2B
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Sir
<H: these are> if before I went from London I could have seene you once at your Lodging in Lincolns inne, at three severall attempts to wait upon yow; I should not have troubled you with these Lines at this time, but I am perswaded <H: resolued> not to be defeated off my purpose which is non other <H: then> to give you a testimony of my Ingenuitie and off the confidence I have in your judgment and zealous affection for the promoting of such wayes and meanes, as may conduce for the composing of differences betweene[altered] the dissenting Members of the Assembly and their Brethren.
The way wherinto the parties are fallen is a Paper debate tending not to healle but rather to widen the Breach & Lay open one anothers infirmities, wherat I confesse I was much greived but could not set a worke instruments, to take them off from it although I thought it very possible to be done. And this was the cheiff cause why I desired to meet with you, that namly in this matter I might have spoken to you some of my thoughts, which now I shall breifly write if happily they may hint some other thing unto you more fit for this end, wherby you may improove in your interest in both parties for their good.
I conceive then that the indulgence[altered from indullgence], which the dissenting brethren[altered from bretheren] sue for; is in their sense such as they thinke the Presbyterians may graunt with a good conscience and I know the chieffest of them nay all of them in the Assembly are soe conscionable that if it [catchword: may]
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it may bee made apparent[altered from aparent] unto them, that it is indeed such that they will not reffuse to give their assent unto it. Therefore I would advise that some course should be taken by them to make it apparent to bee such. Now[H capitalises] this course in my opinion might bee this namely; that theie should open themselves in three things plainly
1    First what they should show positivly and fully, the way wherin they intend to walke in the gathering, constituting and governing of their Churches & in the administring of all the Ordinances of Christ in their congregations. For Except this waye bee knowne how can any positivly <H: give conscionably> advice that it may bee indulged unto them?
2    Then supposing their way to bee not only tollerable but without all exception. I would in the 2d. place advise that they should declare themselves obligatorily to some tye off union, which should bee betweene them and their Brethren, that it might bee seene in what Relation they would stand towards them for mutuall edification. For except this bee really intended, as in the sight of God, and the way thereof known to bee his waye; how can the Duties off holy Communion, which belong to Bretheren in Christ bee performed, and the guilt of a breach of Covenant bee avoided by those that have promised to bring their churches to the neerest conjunction that may bee procured? [catchword: 3.]
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3    Thirdly supposing this tye to bee setled and proffusedly agreed unto by both sides, yet then both sides; but cheiffly the dissenting partie should furthermore declare their advice concerning[altered from concering] the waye and meanes of taking awaye the offences and scandales which may breake that tye, and disturbe[H alters from disturbance off] the setelment off their Peace. For except this also bee pr├Ždetermined how can it bee conceaved that men who are Prudently conscionable will thinke themselves free from the danger off schismes and Divisions, when they cannot but forsee that by reason <H: of> different Practises and tenets, manifold offences will certainly both bee given and taken, which will bee remedilesse and breake all the bonds of Love and Peace, if noe joynt course bee made use off to take them away.
Can two walke togeather saith the Prophet <left margin: Amos.3. 3.> except they bee agreed? and how shall they bee said to agree that doe not positively[altered from possitively] declare their way and what they shall bee bound to intend one towards another?
If these thinges could bee soe insinuated unto them as to incline them to manifest the Truth of their meaning therein, I am perswaded they would prevent many mischeiffs and right themselves very much in many or most mens minds, who are at a losse in their wayes; and gaine from their Bretheren the effects of that Love, which is due unto them, and is now [catchword: like]
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like to bee lost betweene them to the great distraction[altered] of this Church.
You have here breifly that which I thinke is to bee suggested, which I could go back with multitudes of Arguments and reasons why this should bee pressed upon them if need were, but I should trespasse upon your trespasse <H: pretious> time by being too long, & I know it is needlesse to multiply wordes to a man off understanding, therefore I will take my leave and commending you to the grace of God, and your thoughts in this matter to the direction off his Dispersed Spirit I shall with heart and hand subscribe myselfe.
Winton           your Truly affectionate and Humble
31 Martij                  Servant in Christ.
1646
                                  Iohn Dury
            For his much honored Freind Mr St. Iohns his majesties solicitor [three words deleted]