TO THE PARLIAMENT of the Common-wealth of ENGLAND, who are in place of Authority to do Justice, and in present power to ease the oppressed Nation from its Bonds.

Councel and Advice unto you, from a Friend that seeks after Truth and Righteousness from you, and alwayes faithfully desires the Nations good, and that the Govern­ment thereof may be established upon a Just and Equal and Right Foundation, that the Lord God may pos­sess his Right, and all men their Right in our Land, and that men of Truth and sound Judgement, may be set to Judge the people in outward things, and the Exercise of good Conscience in Faith and Worship left unto God, that Blessings and Mercies, true Freedom, Peace and V­nity, may run down as a stream in the Land of our nativity, and that all the contrary may be cast out, and removed far away from us, and for this Cause, these things fol­lowing do I propound unto you, that you may read and consider, to the end that Righteousness alone may be e­stablished in the Nation, both in the Foundation and Practice of Government.

FOR as much as this Nation, the Land of our Native inheritance (as we are members of it) hath long been held under great bondage and captivity, and the free-born people have born the heavy yokes of tyranny and oppression, both in respect of the foun­dation of Government, and also in respect of practice thereof; [Page 2] for not onely the practice, but also the very foundation of Go­vernment, and the choosing of Governours also hath been out of course, and not rightly laid, nor established in Righteous­ness, by reason of that darkness that hath been over all people, in the dayes of the reign of Antichrist, whose kingdome and government hath been in dominion in all Nations, ever since the falling away from the Faith, once delivered to the Apostles, and then came the earth to be subjected under the tyranny and oppression of that fourth Beast, Dan. 7. And while thus it hath been in our Nation that our Kings have attained to the Throne of Government hereditarily, and by succession of Birth, and our Parliaments and Rulers have attained to the place of Judgement over us, by such a way of traditional choise, as hath been the custom in our forefathers dayes (that knew no better, being in the dayes of Apostacy & great ignorance themselves) and thus it hath continued for many Ages, whereby the Inhabitants have been alwayes suffering under, and lyable to great oppres­sions & vexations, being subjected under such a Government, falling as aforesaid, from Parents to Children, after the manner of the Heathen Nations, and being subjected to such Laws, made and executed by men, not truly called and ordained of God thereunto, insomuch that nothing hath been perceived nor in­tended by men of the hand of the Lord, and of his good Spirit in the calling of our Kings, and choosing of our Rulers; but these things have com'd to pass and been after the Tradi­tions of men, and not after the Order and Councel of the Lord God; And our Nation hath been under the bonds of sla­very in this respect, even because men have governed that ought not: and while the great and rich men hath been set to rule over the poor, and while men for earthly honour, and for riches sake in birth and breeding, have claimed to be Princes over us successively, and to be chosen our Rulers according to custom, without respect to their vertue and goodness, and with­out true calling from the Lord, or any certain Testimony from him, and thus it hath continued for many ages; because of which the free born people hath deeply suffered the cruel op­pressions of proud and ambitious and self-seeking men, who hath long ruled for themselves, and not for the Lord, and have com'd into the place of Authority over us, otherwise then by appointment and right calling from the Lord, as I have said; and [Page 3] thus the Government of our Nation hath been out of course, and not as the Lord requireth it, even until this day, while great darkness hath remained upon the hearts of the people, which hath so blinded them, that they have not known their own bondage, nor yet how to be redeemed into perfect liberty, while they have subjected themselves (through ignorance) to be ruled by such men as had no right from God to that place of Rule and Government.

But now in as much as the Lord God our deliverer hath begun to appear for the freedom of the Nations, and hath shewed us the captivity and bondage which our forefathers have lived un­der, and we our selves been subject and lyable too, by reason of the Government standing in a single person successively, and we being forced to live under the Authority of such men as had no right from God thereunto, as I have said; And now our eyes are opened to behold better things, and we are in good expectations, that the Lord will suddenly so appear, as to free us from future oppressions in this respect, for we look for a New Earth, as well as for a New Heaven, according to the Lords promise to us, which is to be fulfilled in these latter dayes; and that we shall have Judges as at the first, and Coun­cellors as at the beginning, and that all our bonds of oppres­sion shall be broken, that have lain upon us by unjust men, who have made Laws, and executed them for us, without true calling to such a work; And the Lord alone will appear to be the King and Judge and Law-giver over all, and will commit the giving forth and execution of good Laws into the power of faithful and just men ordained of God, who will Judge for him altogether, and not for man, neither will be perverted by earthly honour and riches, but will regard the Cause of the Poor, and the Afflicted; and these things we are waiting for, to be brought to pass in their season, and the hand of the Lord will accomplish it, if not by you, then even contrary to you. Wherefore I am moved in Spirit, and in love to you and to this Nation, to lay it before you, and to desire it of you (in whose hands the Liberties of this Nation yet remaineth) that you will so prepare and allow the Foundation of Government in this Na­tion, that the Lord may be the chooser of our Rulers, to give and to execute righteous Laws for us, and that men that fears God and hates covetousness and every evil way, that Just men [Page 4] and Righteous men, men of Truth and uprightness, men of hu­mility and soberness, men that are Constant to good Principles, and such whom the Lord hath blessed with the Spirit of sound Judgement, and with understanding, who may truly discern of Causes and equally Judge thereof, men that are for the Just freedom of all, and for the General good of all, and men that in all things will seek the glory of the Lord, be they rich or poor, high or low in birth or breeding; yet let such be Rulers among us, and Judge this Nation, that all that do well may have praise and be justified, and all that do evil may be afraid, and punished; and hereby shall the whole Nation be refreshed and comforted with the Mercies of the Lord, and his Name shall be the greatest among us, and Truth and Righteousness should run down, when Justice sits in the Throne; And not men for greatness sake, in Titles or Birth, or otherwise, Chosen in Tradition, and not by Appointment of God, but men for Ver­tues sake, and not for earthly honour which perisheth, not Cove­tous nor Ambitious men, not proud and vain-glorious men, not such as seeks the honour from below, that respects vain titles & flat­teries of men, not such as will seek themselves, and be perverted by gifts, not such as are Persecutors for a good Conscience sake, that are Zealous, but not according to knowledge, not wilful and heady men, not unconstant and changeable men, not Traitors that have turned for self-advantage, and will change with the times to any way of Government for earthly honour, for such will Judge for man and not for God, not ignorant men that wants the Spirit of sound Judgement, nor such as are prophane and without the fear of God; nor such as these, be they rich or great, let not such be our Governours nor Judge over us, to make Laws and execute them for us in our Nation; let all such men be cast out from among you, and disenabled by certain Just restrictions from ever receiving Trust or Authority over us; for while such men have been in power and sate in the Throne, Justice and true Judgement have been perverted, and our Land hath groaned under oppre [...]sions, and the Inha­bitants mourned for very grief of heart, because of the a­bounding of injustice and cruelty through their Rulers; and the Lord hath been vexed with them, while ini [...]uity hath sate upon the Throne, and wilfulness Judged the people, and mercy been wanting, and just Judgement neglected, and the whole [Page 5] Land hath laid desolate because hereof; And therefore I call unto you on the Lords behalf, make way and prepare for Righteousness to sit as Judge, & that men alone, that fears God, and are ordained of him thereunto, of what Profession or Birth soever they be, men of truth and justness, that have the Spi­rit of a good understanding, and are called of God, may have Authority in our Nation, to give Laws and execute them for us, such being brought into a capacity by you to be chosen, for to such men appointed of God, and fitted for that end, and truly called of him, being qualified as aforesaid, do we give the Authority and Power in our Nation, to Judge and to Go­vern in the things pertaining to this World, and over us as we are Members of this Nation, and over the outward man, and in the things between man and man, even to be a terrour to such as are without the fear of God, and to punish such by Just Laws without; as breaks the Law of God within, though to the Lord God alone, we give the Authority and Power over us to Rule us and to Judge us in that Relation, as we are Members of his Kingdom, and over our inward man, and in the things pertaining to our Consciences in all things related to his worship, and service, and faith, and practices in Religion.

And for as much as in the late dayes of darkness, through the unjust practice of Government in the hands of uncalled and ungodly men, the exercise of our Consciences hath been violated, by men not ordained of God, who have not known the perfect station, nor cause and end of Civil Government, nor how to Rule and Govern over us as men, and over our outward man (which is onely the end of outward Rule and Govern­ment) but have assumed unjustly the Seat and Throne of Christ Jesus, and have ruled over our Consciences, and oppressed our inward man with false Judgement imposed upon us, through limitting of us from and compelling of us to such or such a way of worship and Religion, even contrary to the Spirit of God, taking upon them without any call from God at all, but as Vsurpers, to be Judges in mat­ters of Faith, and Doctrines, and Worships, wh [...]ch pertains unto the One God, and not unto men; and unto the Spirit of Christ we give the exercise of our consciences in our duty to God in all things pertaining to worship and faith towards him, and not unto you nor any man upon the earth; but I say be­cause [Page 6] the civil Magistrate hath judged where he ought not in matters pertaining to God onely, and not to him, and so hath abused his Power, and exceeded the measure and line of his Authority, hereby have we been wofully oppressed in our consciences, and for the very pure exercise thereof, have we been accounted great offenders and even righteousness hath been punished, as a haynious crime, and the most innocent as great transgressors, even while the civil Magistrate hath compelled to, and limmitted from such wayes of worships and practices of Religion, and so been as Lord over our consciences; we have been an oppressed People, and killed all the day long, and our oppressions because hereof, hath reached unto heaven, and entred into the ears of the Lord, and hath overturned, and confounded Powers and Authorities, men and Lawes, even because of this thing, (to wit, oppression of good conscience) which may be to you examples for good, who cannot give his glory to any other, neither the exercise of his Peoples consciences ▪ to any, saving his own Spirit, that onely leads into all Truth in worship and practice; Wherefore it is upon me to lay it before you (even you as the first Asserters of, and contenders for Eng­lands Liberty) and whom the Lord hath honoured in beginning to remove Tyranny and oppression, and reaching after our long lost Liberties) that you will learn wisdom from the God of heaven to be ordered to his glory, and to order others in Righteous­ness, that you may escape the pits and snares that many are fallen into, in such pathes of oppre [...]sing tender conscience. And particularly that you will leave unto God alone the exer­cise of Peoples consciences in Faith and worship; and clearly de­vide and distinguish between Rule and Government over the People of this Nation as they are Men, and Members of the Nation, and as Members of the Kingdom of Christ, and wor­shipers of God in Spirit; and that you will put a difference be­tween the civil Government of our Nation, in the things pertain­ing to mens bodies and Estates, and their outward carriages as men one towards another and between Church Government and the things related to the worship and service of God, and in faith and practices of Religion towards him, in which rela­tion, we give the Government over us to Christ as I have said, for he alone is true Judge concerning faith and worship and Re­ligon, and men are but to Judge over men in those things that [Page 7] pertains to this world, and over the outward man; And there­fore I lay it before you that the Foundation of Government in our Nation may be so allowed, confirmed and established by you, as that the civil Magistrate may be prescribed by you, the very length and breadth, the heigth and depth of his Authority and Trust; and that the exercise and liberty of our consciences in the worship and service of God may not be intrusted with him to Judge over us in matters of Faith & Doctrines & worships, but that he may be wholly excluded, from medling in that case, and from imposing any thing upon our consciences in that relation; and may not have the Power to Limit us from, or compell us to any such or such way of worship and Religion, Church and Mini­stry, but that he may be secluded from Judgement over us, in all things pertaining to the Kingdom of Christ Iesus, and that our liberties and exercises in his worship and Church and Ministry may not be at all intrusted with any man, nor left to the Judgement of the civil Magistrate; for Christ alone by his good Spirit, is Supream Judge, over our inward man, in all things pertaining to worship, faith, Church and Ministry.

Wherefore I Call unto, and do advise you on the Lords behalf; Let conscience go free, and leave it to the exercise of the Spirit of God onely, do not limit the Lord, nor prescribe him a way, how he must be believed in and worshipped; for that belongs unto him and not unto you nor any man; therefore I demand of you as our perfect right that you suffer the Government of our Nation to be so established, as that God may have his Right (to wit) the full Government in all things pertaining to his own Kingdom; and the civil Magistrate may be secluded from Judgement over us, in all things concerning and appertain­ing to the worship of our God, and faith towards him; And also that all unrighteous Lawes and Decrees, yet remaining in the [...]and, founded in the dark night of Apostacy, and practiced in cruelty, whereby the exercise of good conscience hath been persecuted, and the innocent made as offenders, may be speedily repealed and made void, that henceforth for ever tender conscience may be freed, and the exercise there­of given to God alone, that he may Judge and rule in his own Kingdom, and Just men may rule and Judge in the things pertaining to the outward man, and over such as transgresseth the Law of God within them, and hereby should blessings and [Page 8] Peace, and loving kindness, and tender mercies from the Lord spring forth in glory amongst us, and the Nation would be refreshed from all its sorrowes, and eased from all its oppres­sions, and all righteous men would reioyce, and give glory to God, and Ages to come, should speak well of you, if that the Foundation of Government be so setled by you, as that every man may enjoy his right one from another, and be defended therein; and God the Creator of all may possesse his right from all, and be suffered to be the onely exerciser of his People in his worship, that he may have what is due and belongs to him from you and all People, & such a Government would be blessed for ever; And if you fulfill this my advice you may be happy, but if you do not, but wil be oppressors of conscience by unjust laws, then the Lord will bring distruction upon you, and over­throw your Power; and liberty will he bring some other way to his chosen heritage, in whom his soul delighteth; Therefore take this my Councel, even as you hope to prosper, for this I know from the Lord, upon the rejecting or receiving hereof dependeth your standing or your fall, your renown, or per­petual reproach, even your blessing or your curse, and the time is at hand that many shall confesse the Lord gave good Counsel unto you, By his servant


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.