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Light Shining In Buckinghamshire:
Gerrard Winstanley

Title Page

Light Shining

A Discovery of the main ground;

Original Cause of all the Slavery in the World,

but chiefly in ENGLAND:

presented by way of a Declaration of many

of the well-affected in that County, to all their

poor oppressed Country-men of


And also to the Consideration of the

present Army under the Conduct of the



Arise O God, judge thou the Earth


Printed in the year 1648

Light Shining In Buckinghamshire

JEHOVAH ELLOHIM Created Man after his own likeness and image, which image is his Son Jesus, Heb. I. verse 2. who is the image of the Invisible God: now Man being made after God's image or likeness, and created by the word of God, which word was made Flesh and dwelt amongst us; which word was life, and that life the light of men, I. Joh. 2. this light I take to be that pure spirit in man which we call Reason, which discusseth things right and reflecteth, which we call conscience; from all which there issued out that golden rule or law, which we call equity: the sum me of which is, saith Jesus, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do to them, this is the Law and the Prophets; and James calls it the royal Law, and to live from this principle is called a good conscience: and the creature Man was privileged with being Lord over other inferior creatures, but not over his own kind; for all men being alike privileged by birth, so all men were to enjoy the creatures alike without propriety one more than the other, all men by the grant of God are alike free, and every man individual, that is to say, no man was to Lord or command over his own kind: neither to enclose the creatures to his own use, to the impoverishing of his neighbours, see the Charter, I. Gen. from 26. vers. to the end of the Chapt. and see the renewing of the Charter to Noah and his Sons, Gen. 9. from the I. vers. to the 18.

But man following his own sensuality became a devourer of the creatures, and an encloser, not content that another should enjoy the same privilege as himself, but encloseth all from his Brother; so that all the Land, Trees, Beasts; Fish, Fowl, &c. are enclosed into a few mercenary hands; and all the rest deprived and made their slaves, so that if they cut a Tree for fire they are to be punished, or hunt a fowl it is imprisonment, because it is gentlemen's game, as they say; neither must they keep Cattle, or set up a House, all ground being enclosed, without hiring leave for the one, or buying room for the other, of the chief encloser, called the Lord of the Manor, or some other wretch as cruel as he, and all must be summoned to a Court Leet, there to acknowledge Fealty and Service, and that with Oaths if required (at leastwise if Jurymen) to their Tyrant called Lord of the Manor; and if a Tenant admitted, if Copy-holder, he must take an Oath to become a true Tenant, rather Slave, as afore said; now all this Slavery of the one and Tyranny of the other was at first by murder and cruelty one against the other; and that they might strengthen themselves in their villainy against God's ordinances and their Brothers freedoms and rights: They had always a Commander in chief, which was the most blindest and desperatest wretch, and he was their chief and head, as Nimrod, and he became their King; so that I dare make plainly appear by Scripture and Reason, that Kings were not of God's institution at first, but it arose from the Heathens, viz. those that lived after their own beastly lusts: and when Israel would have a King, their only ground was to be like other Nations; and God told Samuel saying, they have not cast off or rejected thee but me, that I should not reign over them. Read the whole, Chapter of the I of Samuel &c. where observe the Slavery that the people are in that have a King, and amongst the whole Catalogue observe the Tenth of Stocks, &c. and see the 12. Chapter from the 16. verse forward, what judgements God sent in their Harvest for asking a King, and afterwards observe what misery befell, for they were in continual Wars abroad, and at last divided into divisions and had two Kings: Then what woeful civil Wars and murdering one another for the Kingdom: I refer you to the whole book of Kings to judge; doe but read that of their first King Abimelech's cruelty which was Gideon's bastard; Judges 8. and 21. read the 9. of Judges, &c. there he kills his brother with a company of light fellows; and as Kings are the root of Tyranny, so likewise they were the first that brought in wars, see Gen. 14. for their greatness must be upheld by murder and cruelty, as aforesaid, in so much that in Revel. 13. mention is made of an ugly beast with seven heads and ten horns, which horns did persecute the Saints: now in Revel. 17. horns are there declared to be Kings, so that Kings are of the Beast, which is a power that makes all subject to it, but only the Saints, &c. Revel. 13. and 7. And saith the Scripture, the Beast hath its power from the Dragon, Revel. 13. and 4. and the Dragon in Revel. 20. and 2 is the Devil and Satan, so that it is plain, that Kings are of the Beast, and the Beast is of the Devil; and it is as plain, they that worship the King worship the Beast, and they that worship the Beast worship the Devil, Revel. 13: and 4. verse. Now let us a little behold our English Powers, all that which is called Magistracy is from the Kings Patent, and his is from the Devil; for the King's Predecessors, The outlandish bastard William came to be King by Conquest and murder, now murderers are, saith Jesus, the Devil's children, for saith he, the Devil was a murderer from the beginning and he abode not in the Truth: now Kings are utterly against the truth, and persecutors of the Saints; for saith Jesus, they shall bring you before Kings, so that Kings are enemies unto the Kingdom of Christ.

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