Christian Counsel AND ADVICE UNTO The Rulers and People OF ENGLAND; Even unto all such who have not yet sinned out their day of Blessed Visitation from God, which he in his infinite love and mercy hath held forth, and is holding forth unto the Children of men, throughout all Kingdoms of this World. With Christian Counsel, and good Advice, against that grievous crying Sin, and most abominable Transgression of Persecuting men about Religion, for the answer of a good Conscience towards God. Presented unto all that bear Rule in Ecclesiastical Affairs now in the Church of England.

By a Servant of the Lord (whom he hath raised up among many Brethren to make mention of his Name in Righte­ousness, and to hold forth the Testimony of his Everlast­ing Gospel unto all Nations, as the Lord orders.) John Higgins.

Precept upon precept, line upon line, hath the Lord in his infinite mer­cy sent unto you, Oh ye Rulers and people of England.

Printed in the Year, 1663.

Christian Counsel and Advice unto the Rulers and People of England, &c.

LEt a Christian spirit of moderation appear among you all, Oh ye Rulers and People of England; for not in our own name, but in the Name and Spirit of the Lord God Everlasting is my appearance unto you all at this time, that you may come certainly to be informed, and come to know and understand what the Lord our God hath done, and what he is a doing in this the day of his blessed appearance and visi­tation, even with the tender of Eternal Salvation unto all the sons of men in General. Be ye therefore moderate, Oh ye wise men and flourishing in knowledge, that the nobility of your un­derstandings may come to be opened, and ye come in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ to see, and to behold this most Excel­lent mystery of Eternal salvation unto all your immortal souls, and also the blessedness, peace, and prosperity of you all (as men) throughout all the Kingdoms of this world.

And now in this the Lord hath opened my heart, and I shal make mention of his Name in righteousness, shewing unto all people of the large and Universal love of God unto all the sons of men in general; That as all have followed the first Adam in­to sin and Transgression against God their Creator, and so are become degenerated into a strange spirit, and a contrary na­ture against God; even so in like manner, Christ Jesus the Son of God, the second Adam, the Lord from heaven, who is a quic­kening spirit, he is appeared, and is appearing to lead all his fol­lowers back again out of the sin, out of the transgression, and out of the state of degeneration, and to give unto every one a right spirit, and make them partakers of his heavenly divine nature; And this is he whom the Father hath freely tendered unto all the sons of men, and hath sent him a light into the [Page 2] world, that whosever believs in his Name, and follows him (who is the Light, and the Truth, and the Way to the Father) shall not abide in darkness, and captive under sin and trans­gression, and in the state of degeneration; but all that through faith and obedience comes to follow him who is the true Light and Power that proceeds from the Father, he is un­to them all the Author of eternal salvation, and that through faith and obedience unto his spiritual Rule and Government, which is to be known in every one; and thus he is become the Captain of our salvation, our Leader and Commander, and by his spiritual rule and government in all them that believe, he eads them out of sin and transgression, and out of the state of degeneration, and so from under the wrath and condemna­tion, and brings into favor with God again.

Now then, unto his name and power and spirituall Gover­ment must every soul be subject, and this is that which the Lord God Everlasting requires of every one, to be made Conformable in faithful obedience unto the Rule and gover­ment of Christ's spirit, and light and life manifested in mea­sure in every man; for behold this is the day wherein he is, and is to be proclaimed Lord of Lords, and King of Kings, and under his Rule and goverment spiritually must all the Kings and Princes, and great Potentates of the earth be made subject, and his King­dom shall be over all the Kingdoms of this world, and he is come and coming to Rule and to Reign in his Kingdom in truth and in Righteousness, and he Rules according to the good will and pleasure of the father in all things, even in all who are faithful and obedient to the Rule and goverment of his righteous Scep­ter; so that by him Kings must Reign, and Princes decree Justice, and he is to be head & to have the preheminence in all things, and this is his priveledge, & perogative given unto him of the father, and he wil not give it unto another; wherefore it was said in a certain place—Bring those mine enemies that would not that I should Reign over them, and slay them before me.

And now (certainly) this is the day of God's Controversie with his Enemies, and the seed of the Serpent, the power of dark­ness, who is called the Divel, is to be cast out; for in the night of darkness and day of Apostasie he has been exalted, and has [Page 3] Ruled in the hearts of all the children of disobedience, in all un­righteousness and sin against God; and this is he who hath been the author of all Mischiefs, wickedness, and abominations both in publique and in private, that hath been, and that is committed a­mong all the Sons of men; for his Rule and goverment in the hearts of the children in disobedience, has been continually in the Enmity against God, and against all the real appearances of God­liness; and this is he who hath led all the Sons of men into the er­rour from God, and hath exalted himself in the Temple of God, and shewing himself as if he were God, by his rule and Authority in the hearts of all the children of disobedience, who have been and are disobedient to Christ the true light and power of God, who is the captain of eternal salvation unto all that obey & follow him in Righteousness.

And this is he who hath appeared to set up his Kingdom in these latter daies in the hearts of the children of men, that from his Throne Righteousness, and truth, and equity may flourish and be advanced throughout all Nations, and in all the Kingdoms of men upon the face of the whole earth.

Now it is most certain, clear, and evident, how that the power & Kingdom of darkness and Antichrist hath been Advanced among all the Sons of men, and that the hearts of all the children of diso­bedience have been subjected to the power of darkness, the Prince of the power of the Air; this needs no further proof then the sad and grievous abominations which have been, and are com­mitted in this part of the world called Christendom, which are the evident signes and tokens, that the power of darkness (who is the Devil) Rules in the hearts of all the children in disobedience, whose souls are not subject to the Light and power of God; and so it is he that hath been the Author and Original cause of all Transgression and abominations, and blindness of heart that is among the Sons of men, through subjecting the mind unto his power, who hath wholy corrupted man's ways before the Lord; and in this state man is holy dis-inabled to do any thing for his maker, untill his mind and his heart comes again to be turned from the darkness, and from the power of it unto the true light and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is onely and alone (through faith and obedience to his name and power) sufficient [Page 4] for to Ransom men from the Bondage and Servitude of the Devill, the power of darkness; and to give and to inable men with ability, power, and sufficiency to serve to worship the Lord God Ac­ceptably.

So now for this end is Repentance preached unto all the Sons of men, that their hearts may be turned and converted from the darkness, and from the power of it, unto the light and power of the Lord Jesus Christ manifested in them, thereby to be led and ordered in their duty, and obedience, and worship towards the Lord, and in love and unity and fellowship one towards another. And behold this is he that comes to work a Reformation in the Na­tions, and among the Sons of men, through converting their hearts from the darkness and power of it, unto the power of God in the light, whereby men's hearts which have been clouded with dark­ness and ignorance, comes to be opened, and to be brought to an understanding in the light of the knowledge of God, and to be gathered into favor and communion with God, through the work­ing and operation of the sanctifying spirit and life in Christ Jesus, who is the power of God unto salvation, unto all them that be­lieve.

And thus, and after this manner will the Lord Replenish Nations; even by the word of his power manifested in them, thereby to be converted and changed in heart, and mind, and soul unto God again, into his Image in truth and righteousness and true holiness, with­out which none shal see the Lord.

Now then, this is Christian counsel and advice, and sound doctrine unto the Rulers and people of these Nations, and that which shal be answered by Gods Witness in all consciences, whether men wil hear or forbear; all are called to Repent of their disobedience a­gainst God in the measure of his spirit & power manifested in them which is the great and Universal sin and Transgression which men are Guilty of, from the highest, to the lowest▪ Rich, and poor, bond, and free, professors, and Prophane are found Guilty of this sin of disobedience against the light and power of God made manifest in them Oh! how have men (in the darkness of Ignorance) sleighted, contemned, and Blasphemed the worthy name of the Lord by which we are called; and so far have men been erred from the good or­der and Goverment of the true Light, and power of God, that [Page 5] it hath been even a derision in their hearts, and their tongues have uttered Blasphemy against God, and them that Dwell in hea­ven.

Wel, But surely it shall not always be thus, for the Lord our God is daily making himself manifest in his Light, and Power, and Glory, and Wisdom among all them that believe; and so at the brightness of his appearance shall the wicked be ashamed and con­founded, and break their Idols to peeces, and many shall come trembling with broken hearts before the Lord, because of their disobedience to the true Light and Power of God manifested in them. And this is the humility that goes before the honour, even the humility of mans heart and soul unto the power of God in the Light; and this is that which shall be the glory of all Scep­ters, & the beauty of all Kingdoms, & the establishing of Nations in Universal peace, and men shall be abundantly blessed of God, and they shall be a blessing one unto another in the new and Everlasting Covenant of God, from generation to generation.

Oh ye Rulers and people of England, that ye had an ear to hear, and heart to understand the Blessed visitation of Gods eter­nal love, and bowels of infinite mercy towards you all; For behold, God hath sent salvation unto you, and among you; & now every one that turns from his iniquity unto the Lord, such, even such are received into favour with God, and their former sins and Trans­gressions comes to be blottted out, and to be remembred no more.

And this is the free love and infinite mercy of the Lord our God, unto all the sons of men without exception, that all through faith and obedience unto God in Christ, the Light and the Truth, might receive Remission of sins, and a portion and inheritance among the saints in Light; and herein the Lord God the Crea­tor of Heaven and Earth, who formed man for a purpose of his own Glory, thus he comes to be glorified in the work of his own Eternal power, and man comes here to be blessed with the inhe­ritance of Eternal life, both in this World, and in that which is to come.

And this was even the intent and purpose of God in the first Cre­ation, who hath given unto man (above all other Creatures which the Lord hath made) a measure of his Divine Light and Spirit, for to order man aright in all holy obedience unto his Maker; [Page 6] But this, even this Spirit of Light and Life from God, the sons of men has even lost, and so has forgotten the Lord, days with­out number; and this Spirit of God is grieved and daily oppres­sed, as a cart is pressed with sheavs; and now this is man's dege­neration, erring from the Light and Spirit of his Maker, and so is become dead unto God in all his ways and courses: and here man having lost his guide, runs on in the darkness of ig­norance into sin and trangression against his Maker, and so posts on unto eternal perdition, and perishes worse then the Beasts, without an understanding.

And now, though sin hath thus abounded, yet behold the love of God in Christ doth much more abound, who has given him for a Covenant, and a Light to the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel; and him hath the Lord appointed for a Leader and Commander unto all the children of men, for▪ to lead them by his Eternal Light and Spirit out of the Fall, and out of the state of degeneration, and to be Regenerated in truth and righteousness unto God again, wherein God is glo­rified, and man blessed with the Light of God's countenance in the everlasting Covenant of endless life, and blessings for ever and ever.

And unto this state of heavenly blessedness, is the Lord God freely inviting all the sons of men, that they may turn from the darkness unto the Light, and from Satan's power unto the power of God the Creator of all, that man through faith and obedience may come to be blessed, with the blessing of eternal life.

Furthermore, the Lord God of heaven and earth, for his glory and honours sake, doth now command and require all men, as well the King on the Throne, as the lowest of men, to bow their hearts, and submit their souls in all holy obedience, and conformity unto the guidance, rule and government of the Light and Spirit of Christ, that he may rule as King in the hearts of all the children of men, in all nations and countries up­on the face of the whole Earth, and his Kingdom is to reach over all the Kingdoms of this world.

And now my friends and Countrymen, both high and low, rich and poor, &c. this obedience and conformity unto the Light and [Page 7] Spirit of Christ, doth the God of Heaven Command & Require of us all, even from the highest to the lowest, upon pain and peril of Eternal Condemnation, and an utter separation from God, and all the Saints in Light.

And these things (Oh ye Rulers and people of England) have deeply entered into the hearts of many thousands in this our na­tive Countrie, even in this Kingdom, and in the Ilands & dominions thereunto belonging; and God hath given us an absolute com­mand, and a perfest sence and feeling in our hearts of that which he requires of us all; and so in obedience to his heavenly calling, many are they who love not their lives unto the death, that God may be glorified, and our souls rest in his heavenly blessings from hence forth, and for evermore.

And now since the Lord God hath thus called us to serve and to worship, and Reverence his holy name, in faithful obedience un­to Christ the Light and the truth, Oh! how hath the seed of the Serpent raged, and raised war against the Lord, and against his Annointed; But the Lord our God is with us, and his Blessed pre­sence dwells in us, and among us; so that in the godly Resolution of our soules we are purposed in the name, and power, and spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to go on and follow the Lamb in righte­ousness wheresoever he goes; and thus we are the Lords, and at the disposings of his blessed spirit to serve, and to worship him, in all godly fear and Reverence, even all the dayes of our appointed time.

And behold, this is but our Reasonable duty so to do, and as the Lord our God hath engaged us through his infinite love & mer­cy, thus to walk in all holy duty and obedience unto him, even the same Obligation comes upon all, as they wait for an under­standing in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But now this is that which grieves the spirit of the Lord, and is the greatest of abominations, that when a man, or a people, doth not onely neglect their own duty and obedience unto God, but are also smiting & ready to devour the obedient children of the Lord, who fears and Reverences his holy name and power, and dare not sin against him.

Oh this grieves the Spirit of the Lord, and is that crying sin and grievous Abomination which draws down wrath and vengeance [Page 8] from God upon the wicked, and world of ungodly, as it did in ge­nerations past, Oh remember Sodom, and what became of the inhabitants thereof, when they persecuted Righteous Lot.

And this is of concernment for the King and Rulers of this our Nation, to consider and remember, least they also perish in Gods wrath and indignation; But for as much as God hath put it into their heads to do Justice and to execute judgment in the earth, oh that they might serve God in their generation, and set a stop to the violence of the wicked, who are like unto the wild beasts, often ready to rent and devour the innocent and harmless people that feares the Lord, and dares not sin against him, nor lift up a hand with carnall weapons for to defend themselves, but commits their innocent-cause singly and wholly unto him, who will certainly render recompence, and vengeance unto his enemies, either in this World, or in that which is to come; Oh sad to consider! where shall the wicked and the ungodly appear, who do not onely neglect their own Duty and obedience to God but are beating their fel­low-servants, and smiting with the fist of wickedness, even those that fear God, and walk humbly before him▪ and cannot run with the wicked into the abominable excess of Riot. Oh! Consider these things ye that forget God and work wickedness, least he tear you to pieces, and there be none to deliver you; for that for which you cause the ineocent to suffer Buffetings, Beatings, and Persecution, with great, and grievous, and long imprisonments; that for which you cause them thus to suffer, ought to be your own duty and o­bedience unto your Creator, even to fear and to walk humbly with your God, and to wait upon him in his light, and counsell, and to hate and deny every false way of the wicked, and to be led, and ruled, & ordered by the light and spirit of Christ (the beloved of the father) in all your waies and exercise; th [...] I say ought to be your obedience and practice also, who are causing the innocent, faithful, and obedient children of the Lord to suffer for these things, even for their obedience and duty unto the name, and power, and spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Wel, now is the day of the patience and long suffering of the Lord our God, not willing that any should perish in their sins, but that all might repent, & come to the knowledge of the truth, and be saved from the wrath which is to come.

[Page 9]And now God in his infinite love and mercy hath lifted up a stan­dard in the Nations that all may flow unto him, and may be saved with an eternal Salvation, which he hath prepared before the face of all people, and unto him must the gathering of all be, for all the Nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of the Lord, in the new and everlasting covenant of God, where sin and Transgression comes to be blotted out, and man renewed into the image of God again, where he shall give glory and honour unto him that is the ancient of days, whose kingdom is an everlasting king­dom, and of his Dominion there shall be no End.

Christian Counsel, with good Advice, a­gainst that grievous crying sin, and most abominable transgression of Persecu­ting men about Religion, for the an­swer of a good Conscience towards God▪ Presented unto the View and Conside­ration of the Bishops and Priests, and to all that bear Rule in Ecclesiastical af­fairs now in the Church of England.

HEarken, and be moderate, Oh ye Bishops, and Priests, and all that bear Rule in Eecclesiastical affaires, or spiritual matters about Religion, and the worship of God.

It is a Christian spirit of Moderation that would be a comely Or­nament for you all, that ye might shew forth Christian Moderation unto all men, not in shew onely, or in a feigned Humility before men, for that is indeed Hypocrisie; But this we mean is the true Christian Moderation, and it is Really so in Gods account, for you all to be humble and low in heart before the Lord, and to do un­to all men as you would be done unto; not to lay any yoakes, or Bondage upon the Consciences of any in matters of Religion, or Ecclesiastical affaires whatsoever; for in so doing, this spirit of Christian-Moderation would indeed be a very comely Ornament upon you, and would more beautifie, and advance you in the hearts of all true Christian—People, then all your Laws, and Carnall Com­mandements, and ungodly impositions, which many of you hitherto [Page 11] have defiled and polluted your selves withall; and this is such a Monsterous and filthy garment, not indeed fit for a Bishop in the Church of Christ to be cloathed withall.

Now then, this is the thing that lyes chiefly in my heart to­wards you all, Oh ye Bishops and Priests in England, &c. Is it a light thing with you to curse them whom God hath blessed, and to shut out and Excommunicate those whom the Lord gathers into his favor, and into union, and communion with the Saints in light; Behold this, and much more, hath been the practice of some of you; and many of God's dear children and servants have been and are cast into Prisons, Dungeons, and Holes; and many suffer the spoiling of their Goods and Estates because they fear Gods Name, and cannot violate their consciences in bowing down to your inventions and carnal commandements, and abominable impositions, which we know in our hearts, and that by the Spirit of the Lord, that he does not Require such things at our hands, which are imposed upon us, upon great pain and penalties, Oh what Renting, and tearing, and knocking down (and casting into Prisons, and holes) has been of late in our Christian-Meetings in and about this city of London, when not a hand hath been lifted up on our part to defend our selves, be­ing kept out of our own hired houses and Meeting-places, and this we have taken patiently, some having been beaten and knocked down with Clubs and staves; and yet this has not been all, but men, of war hath been sent amongst us, with their Swords drawn in the-hand▪ and their Guns charged against a harmless and peaceable people as aforesaid. And this cruel, violent dealing, has been to the great Terror and Astonishment of the people, who has been spectators, for to see quiet, peaceable, and honest people, so wick­edly and maliciously disturbed and abused by armed men as afore­said, who without haveing Regard either to age or Sex, have laid on with their naked swords, sometimes with the back and broad side, and sometimes with the Edge, and divers has been wounded at Horsly-down in Southwark, and at Bull and Month, London; And the Souldiers Maliciously, wickedly, and on purpose to disturb, dischar­ged their Muskets against a company of Innocent and peaceable people (men and women) as if they had been charging an enemy in the field; Oh what sad, inhumane, wicked, and malicious disturbances are these! I do now Remember that once there wa [...] a Law, (an [Page 12] Act of Parliament) against such who came into peaceable Meet­ings, wickedly, maliciously, and on purpose to disturb, &c. But who knowes what is become of it now. Wel, Is this the way to settle Religion, oh ye Bishops and Overseers of the Church of England, and is this the means to bring into a vniformity in the worship of God, for to plant the Gospel, and to convert soules to God! surely if this be so, then are ye become more wiser then Paul and his Com­panions in the Gospel of peace, who said, The weapons of their warfare were not carnal, but spiritual, and mighty through God, &c. And this indeed is our beleef, that all true Christian-Ministers are yet of the same spirit and mind, and Judgement, as Paul and the pri­mitive ministers of the gospel were in this, to wit, concerning propogating the gospel, not by carnal weapons, nay, nor according to the wisdom of this world, by carnal Laws, and commande­ments of men, But by the spirit and power of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now then the contrary way and practice not running para­lel with the Saints of old, with the Bishops and true Christian Ministers in the primitive time, I say not Running paralel with their's, it's to be Judged, denyed, and condemned, as false and erro­neous; and runs paralel with Cain, who slew his Brother, and was the first persecutor about Religion that ever we read off▪ and so here all persecutors may read and understand their descent, and of what stock and Linage they are, even all along from Cain downward, unto this very day.

And now, oh ye Priests and Bishops, &c. Who are flourishing in the pomp and glory of this world, and think not upon the afflictions of the afflicted, but are rather adding tribulation unto the bonds of the Righteous. Well, God, even the living God, wil avenge the cause of his own Elect; and we are to suffer pa­tiently, continuing in well doing, and he that shall come, will come, and wil not carry, onely in the mean time, in love un­to all your immortal souls, we cannot but tel you of these things, that by bringing forth fruits meet for Repentance, yet may escape the wrath which is to come, and to this faithful testi­mony Gods witness in all consciences shall answer, whether men will hear or forbear.

J. H.

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