The Religion of Gerrard Winstanley and Digger Communism
By Donald R. Sutherland *
Essays in History 33-2
On 16 April 1649 Henry Sanders sent an alarming
letter to the Council of State reporting that several individuals had begun to
plant vegetables on St. George's Hill in Surrey. Sanders reported they had
invited "all to come in and help them, and promise them meat, drink, and
clothes." They intended to pull down all enclosures and force the people
there to come and work with them, and they claimed their number would be several
thousand within ten days. "It is feared they have some design in
hand." The Council of State sent the letter to Lord Fairfax, lord general
of the army, along with a dispatch stating:
By the narrative enclosed your Lordship will be informed of
what hath been made to this Council of a disorderly and tumultuous sort of
people assembling themselves together not far from Oatlands, at a place called
St. George's Hill; and although the pretence of their being there by them
avowed may seem very ridiculous, yet that conflux of people may be a beginning
whence things of a greater and more dangerous consequence may grow.1
Fairfax was then ordered to disperse the group and prevent a repetition of the
Three days later Fairfax received a letter from the officer
charged with dispersing the group. The officer reported his meeting with a
"Mr. Winstanlie and Mr. Everard," the "chief men that have
persuaded these people to do what they have done." He wrote that Winstanley
and Everard wanted to meet with Fairfax and that the general would "be glad
to be rid of them again, especially Everard, who is no other than a mad
man." After reporting his intentions to pursuade the group to leave, the
officer casually remarked that "the business is not worth the
writing nor yet taking notice of."2
Bulstrode Whitelocke recorded of Winstanley and Everard's
interview with Fairfax in his Memorials. Everard, the apparent spokesman,
said he was of the race of the Jews and that God would restore his people's
freedom to enjoy the fruits of the Earth. He spoke of receiving a vision telling
him to plough the earth as an attempt to "restore the Creation to its
former condition." They did not intend to knock down enclosures or touch
other men's property, but simply to till the commons until all men should join
them. During the entire interview Winstanley and Everard refused to remove their
hats, for, to them, Fairfax was "but their fellow creature."3
William Everard, however, soon left this group, known as
the Diggers, and thereafter Gerrard Winstanley was their chief spokesman.4
Winstanley defended the movement and complained about the mistreatment its
members received in the year that they cultivated the commons. Examples of this
mistreatment were numerous. Some of Fairfax's soldiers beat a man and boy and
set fire to one of the group's houses.5 In the
same month two freeholders, William Starr and John Taylor, with some men in
womens clothing, assaulted four Diggers. In July Winstanley and several other
Diggers were arrested on the charge of trespassing on St. George's Hill.6
In January 1650 Winstanley listed the many insults which the Diggers had
suffered, including: being shut up in Walton church twice; having their houses,
tools, and carts repeatedly damaged; their tools broken and carts cut to pieces;
their crops destroyed; and their persons beaten and arrested.7
In February, Winstanley wrote to defend the Diggers against
charges labelling them as Ranters, a group of sexual revolutionaries. In a
postscript to this defense, Winstanley recorded that imposters were going about
the country soliciting funds for the Diggers by showing a letter purportedly
bearing his signature. The document was a forgery, Winstanley insisted: "we
desire if any are willing to cast a gift in . . . that they would send it to our
owne hands by some trustie friend of their owne."8
The Digger movement in Surrey ebbed in early 1650 and in
March members were driven off St. George's Hill. Yet, in the spring they
continued their work on a nearby heath in Cobham, despite harassment. In April
the movement collapsed when a Parson Platt, the lord of the manor, and several
others destroyed the Diggers' houses, burned their furniture, and scattered
their belongings. Platt threatened the Diggers with death if they continued
their activity and hired several guards to prevent their return to the heath.
Winstanley recorded these events as well as a final defense of the Digger
Very little is known about Winstanley's life prior to the
Digger movement, other than what can be gathered from his own writings. He was
born in Lancashire,
probably in 1609, and raised to be a tradesman. At the beginning of the Civil
War he was engaged in the cloth trade and a member of one of the City Companies
of London. Probably as a result of the war, Winstanley suffered bankruptcy, and
in 1649 he apparently earned his living by tending his neighbor's cattle.10
More, yet only a little, is known of Winstanley's life after the Digger's
dispersal in 1650. In particular, funds from his father-in-law greatly improved
his social status in the late 1650s. After the death of his first wife and
subsequent remarriage he cut his ties to the Digger community and moved to
London in 1665. Apparently he died on 10 September 1676.11
Neither the pre-1649 nor the post-1650 period need detain us, however, for in
this paper I will concentrate on Winstanley's association with the Digger
movement and on his religious arguments in support of the movement.
There are essentially two schools of thought regarding
Winstanley's religion and its relationship to the Digger movement. One school
considers Winstanley's early mystical writings as largely unimportant as a basis
for Digging. Its proponents place great emphasis on a shift from the mystical
and millenarian to the rational in Winstanley's thought.12
Winstanley's writing was "couched in somewhat mystical phraseology, which
manifestly serves as a cloak to conceal the revolutionary designs."13
His vision was a "sudden mental clarification"14
or "his sub-conscious self, clarifying, it may be, the confused discussions
he had with the Levellers."15
The other school holds that Winstanley's primary
justification for the Digging experiment was religious. His aim was "to
declare the divine desire, intention, and purpose, and thereby warn the wicked
and bring assurance to the righteous." The Diggers' activity would usher in
the millennium and fulfill the will of God. Winstanleys visions were a major
reason for his activity. Even if he only thought he heard directly from God, his
visions were still quite important to him.16
The best arguments for the first school of thought have
been expressed by Christopher Hill, who formulated the issues as follows:
whether Winstanley's God was transcendent or immanent; whether the
"millennium" was to be introduced by Christ's reappearance or by man's
own initiative; whether Winstanley heard a divine voice or not; and, for
Winstanley, was private property the cause or consequence of man's Fall?17
On the issue of the transcendent or immanent God, Hill has
argued that Winstanley believed God was impersonal and immanent. Hill has
pointed out that Winstanley made "Reason" synonymous with
"God." For Winstanley, the creation was ex deo, instead of the
orthodox position, ex nihilo. God was not transcendent; Winstanley
believed the idea that God existed beyond man was a deception and idolatry.18
Related to this issue was Winstanley's conception of Christ's
resurrection. J. G. A. Pocock has pointed out that, for Winstanley, the
"community of ownership in the earth and the resurrection of Christ are
interchangable concepts." Pocock related this to James Harrington's
equating the republic with the "soul of man" and "image of
God"; the republic, not the Church, was the "Bride of Christ."
Hill delineated Winstanley's view that Christ would not personally return.
Winstanley equated the Resurrection and the Second Coming. For Winstanley,
"Jesus Christ . . . is not a single man at a distance from you";
"[Christ's] Second Coming in the flesh . . . is justice and judgement
ruling in man." The Second Coming was not a descent of Christ at a later
date; it was a continual experience in the hearts of men.
The Digging was not merely symbolic; it was a political
act, "part of the rising of Christ in sons and daughters which would
establish a just commonwealth on earth." Hill thinks Winstanley did not
distinguish between economic, political, and spiritual freedom; his philosophy
was "strictly this worldly."19
Winstanley's understanding of Christ's Resurrection and
Second Coming leads to the issue of how the "millennium" would be
introduced. Winstanley gave some hints by suggesting there would be no later
Second Coming, only Christ's repeated Resurrection in men. Hill argues that for
Winstanley the antithesis between men transforming the world and Christ
reappearing in person to do the job is a false one. Winstanley believed the
Second Coming had already begun and that because of this, men had merely to wait
until they were filled with Christ, and then take action. An external Messiah
would not establish the Kingdom; it would be through the individual spiritual
transformation of men and women.20
One of the proofs Winstanley gave for the validity of his
message was that he had received it in a vision. On this subject, Hill has much
to say and he is consistent.21 Hill does not
deny Winstanley believed he had received a divine vision for his instructions.
But, Hill thinks it proper to ask if Winstanley actually did receive a vision.22
He describes Winstanley's vision as a "sudden mental clarification," a
message so new that "he attributed it to a divine command."23
Hill maintains that many seventeenth-century me who were not considered mystics
claimed to have had visions.24 Thus, visions and
dreams in the seventeenth century may have been the explanations given for
"sudden mental clarification" after arduous periods of contemplation
over difficult subjects. Hill suggests Winstanley may have had such an
experience.25 Since "rational men" do
not believe in supernatural visions today, Hill asserts that historians ought to
seek alternative explanations for evidence of such occurrences. Supernatural
explanations do not convince him.26
Finally, concerning whether Winstanley believed private
property the cause or consequence of the Fall, Hill argues Winstanley used the
Genesis story as a
metaphor for the establishment of private property.27
Hill shows that Winstanley rejected the Genesis myth of the apple as "a
cheat imposed by the clergy upon the people."28
Winstanley's belief ran contrary to the orthodox position, which held the result
of the Fall to be a general moral decay following Adam and Eves indulgence in
pride. His exclusive association of the Fall with only one vice -- private
property -- led Winstanley to dwell mainly on the evils rising out of that vice
and to thereby replace the idea of a universal moral Fall.29
Hill and others assert that concerning the Fall,
Winstanley's theology was dialectical.30
"The Fall constitutes the progressive destruction of innocence through the
creation of private property."31 Hill noted
that Winstanley ignored the "chicken-egg" question of which came
first, private property or the Fall, and that, for Winstanley, the two were
inseparable.32 For Winstanley, "no human
act is caused by a mere inner compulsion or a simple outer force."33
The arguments for the second school of thought on
Winstanley's religion are represented here by Lotte Mulligan, John K. Graham,
and Judith Richards. In this historiographical contretemps, Mulligan, Graham,
and Richards fired the first salvo. They engaged Hill in a scholarly debate with
their critique of Hill's Winstanley: The Law of Freedom and Other Essays.34
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards' disagreements with Hill
center on what they consider a fundamental error in Hill's study of Winstanley.
They argue Hill's interest in Winstanley arose "from his perception of the
seventeenth-century writer as modern." For them, the "modern"
view of Winstanley "misconstrues his intellectual sources and historical
significance by minimising the part theology played in his theories of social
and moral change."35 In transforming
Winstanley into a modern man, Hill had to "make allowances for the biblical
idiom which Winstanley shared with almost all his contemporaries, and try to
penetrate through to the thoughts beneath."36
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards reject this approach, claiming it is impossible
to study a "subterranean idea" beneath the language in which that
thought is expressed.37
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards agree with Hill that
Winstanley's theology was indeed unorthodox, but they argue that this does not
mean Winstanley did not have an "alternative theology." Concerning
God's transcendence or immanence, they assert that for Winstanley God was both.38
From Winstanley's belief in God the Creator, they concluded he believed God to
be transcendent. They respond to Hill's claim that since Winstanley described
the creation as the clothing of God, Winstanley believed that God is the
creation and that God does not exist transcendentaly,39
by arguing that, yes, Winstanley did see the creation as Gods raiments, but that
did not mean the wearer did not exist.40
Winstanley did not comprehend God and creation as one and the same. Mulligan,
Richards went one step further by arguing that Winstanley, at least in the
pamphlet, Fire in the Bush, believed in a personal God. They have argued
that since Winstanley believed God would intervene to establish the millennium,
this further proves he believed in a transcedent God.41
In sum, they argued that "the driving force behind Winstanley's thought . .
. [was] that moral reformation and freedom both would follow not from changing
institutions but through the direct intervention of Christ's Second
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards reveal Winstanley's
eschatology as dualistic; while "the transformation was to be inward,
through God immanently, it was to be brought about by an outward miracle
directed by a transcendental God." Winstanley thought God would transform
men internally. He did not anticipate an outward means of bringing about the
change in society. On the other hand, Winstanley believed in a literal Second
Coming, or, in other words, that Christ would appear in order to affect change
in men. Mulligan, Graham, and Richards argue the purpose for digging can be
perceived in Winstanleys dualistic eschatology. The digging was the outward
symbol of the inward change. It demonstrated God's power and, it was hoped,
would hasten the internal change in men's hearts.43
Another aspect of Winstanley's religion on which Hill and
his detractors fundamentally disagree is the nature of Winstanley's voices and
visions. As stated above, Hill has not denied the validity of Winstanley's
experiences, in as much as Winstanley believed he heard voices or saw
visions. But, Mulligan, Graham, and Richards have been relentless in asserting
not only that Winstanley believed he heard voices and had visions, but also that
the historian should take Winstanley's evidence at face value and not explain it
away as "sudden mental clarifications." The contrast, then, is not
over what Winstanley says, but whether it is true or not. Mulligan, Graham, and
Richards think that dismissing Winstanley's voices, as Hill does, is to
"take unwarrantable liberty with the words [Winstanley] used."44
Perhaps. But if everyone agree Winstanley believed he heard voices then there is
no more dispute over the text and the remaining arguments are over primary
assumptions. On this issue Hill is correct; if Mulligan, Graham, and Richards
really think Winstanley heard voices the discussion is closed. But Hill has
sought alternative explanations.45
Hill suggests Winstanley's theology concerning the Fall is
his most heretical belief.46 On the other hand,
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards think Winstanley held the traditional position
that Pride led to man's Fall and that, therefore, private property was a
consequence of the Fall. But they agree Winstanley also believed man fell
because of buying and selling and that "the inward bondages of the minde,
as covetousness, pride, hypocrisie, envy, sorrow, fears, desperation, and
madness, are all occasioned by the outward bondage, that one sort of people lay
another."47 Mulligan, Graham, and Richards
see in this either an inconsistency in Winstanley's thought or a mere reference
to society after the Fall.48 They suggest
Winstanley believed in a "universal moral fall" with the particular
evil of private property as one result. Thus they disagree with Hill, who argues
Winstanley did not believe in a "universal moral fall."49
In spite of their disagreements over Winstanley's religion,
Mulligan, Graham, and Richards, generally agree with Hill when they point to
inconsistencies in Winstanleys writings. They refer to such as
"dualism" or as mere inconsistency. On the other hand, Hill prefers
the term "dialectical." While Hill claims to observe this aspect
throughout Winstanley's writings, his opponents see it only in particular
Hill uses the term dialectical according to the Oxford
English Dictionarys definition: "pertaining to the process of thought
by which contradictions are seen to merge themselves in a higher truth that
comprehends them; and the world process which develops similarly." Whether
or not Winstanley was intentionally dialectical is impossible to determine with
certainty, but Hill's definition and application of the term to Winstanley's
thought are workable and sufficient to explain apparent contradictions in
Winstanley's theology. To Hill this dialectic in Winstanley's thought appears to
any reader willing to lay aside his "modern prepossessions." The OED
definition which Hill found acceptable, he also described as a "little
too Hegelian." Surely then this is one of those modern prepossessions which
Hill wished to see laid aside.51
Actually, Hill's recognition of the dialectical nature of
Winstanley's thought was preceded by T. Wilson Hayes's obfuscating study of
Winstanley's rhetoric. Hayes wrote that, for Winstanley, "no human act is
caused by a mere inner compulsion or a simple outer force. He combines
references to internal and external forces whenever he gives causal
explanations, and he holds to this dialectic throughout his writing
career."52 Hill was particularly keen to
point out Winstanley's dialectical approach in the discussion of private
property and the Fall.53 Here, Hayes's
definition fits best; his use of the term dialectic probably best applies to
causes for sin. The OED definition is broader and can apply to other
problems, such as whether Winstanley thought God existed outside nature or not.
The problem is that a search for dialectical aspects in
Winstanley's thought may still be driven by modern assumptions, or assumptions
at least alien to a seventeenth-century man or woman. What is needed is a
fresher examination of Winstanley's theology, an examination largely free from
the debate between Hill and his opponents. Perhaps Winstanley's theology was
richer than either Hill or Mulligan, Graham, and Richards have been able to
show; freed from their debate, Winstanley might appear different.
This is not say, however, that Hill or Mulligan, Graham, and
Richards should be ignored, for they have provided valuable insights. Hill in
particular has at least provided a set of interpretive assumptions which have
made Winstanley's voluminous and occasional writings somewhat coherent. What
follows here is an examination of some aspects of Winstanley's theology which
have been largely overlooked or not emphasized by Hill, Mulligan, Graham, and
Richards in their historiographical fisticuffs.
Concerning his conception of God Winstanley wrote,
whoever worships God by hear-say, as others tels them, knows
not what God is from light within himselfe; or that thinks God is in the
heavens above the skyes; and so prays to that God which he imagines to be
there and every where: but from any testimony within, he knows not how, nor
where; this man worships his owne imagination, which is the Devill.54
Winstanley also used the word Reason for God because "I have been held
under darknesse by that word [God], as I see many people are."55
Hill has already pointed this out.56 But there
were some other aspects of Winstanley's conception of God which Hill has not
Winstanley first asserted that God was Reason in The
Saints Paradice and later explained his assertion more fully.57
When the first Digger leader, William Everard, was arrested in April 1649
Winstanley penned a defense of Everard and himself. He wrote a vindication in
defense against the slanderous charges made by the Kingston parish ministers and
others. Apparently both were accused of "blasphemous opinions: as to deny
God, and Christ, and Scriptures, and prayer. . . " Winstanley devoted
almost the entire introduction of that work to an explanation of his use of the
word Reason for God.58
Winstanley wrote, "Reason is that living power of
light that is in all things." For Winstanley, Reason was an active force
guiding love, justice, and wisdom. Without Reason there would be madness and
disorder. The end of love, justice, and wisdom was the preservation of the whole
Winstanley also addressed the relationship between human
reason and Reason. He likened man's reasoning to a "creature which flows
from that Spirit to this end, to draw up man into himself" or to "a
candle lighted by that soul." But this light, because it shines through
flesh, "is darkened by the imagination of flesh." The
"Spirit" to which Winstanley referred was Reason, in which man's
reason finds its source. Likewise, Winstanley referred to man's reason as candle
light, but the candle was lit by "that soul," or Reason. Man's reason
provided for some
illumination of many things, but not of everything because of the flesh. The
Spirit Reason, or God, guided every mans reason in order to bind "every
creature together into a onenesse; making every creature to be an upholder of
his fellow." Thus Winstanley defined Reason as a moral guide to which man
either accommodated or distanced himself.
Winstanley also wrote that Reason was not the only name for
the "spirituall power"; according to him, "every one may give him
a name according to that spirituall Power that they feel and see rules in
them." Although he contemplated the idea that God was not captured merely
by his own definition of Him, Winstanley was dissatisfied with traditional
notions of God as "chief maker or Governor." He chose Reason because
he perceived God as "that living powerfull light" and not simply as
words. Winstanley encouraged people to "rest no longer upon words without
knowledge" and instead "look after that spirituall power; and know
what it is that rules them, and which doth rule in and over all, and which they
call their God and Governor or preserver." In other words, Winstanley
considered the terms "chief Maker or Governor" too impersonal. He
wanted his readers to know the God behind their pastors' words, a powerful God
pervading everything and sustaining everyone, not just a privileged few.60
Winstanley's vitriolic and extreme anticlericalism
contained an element of method. His stress on experience over and above mere
knowledge of the words of others laid the foundation for his criticism of the
clergy. In an earlier work, Winstanley wrote that "[h]e that preaches from
the book and not from the anointing is no true minister but a hireling that
preaches only to get a temporal living."61
In another early work, Winstanley gave fuller expression to his criticism:
Corrupt wisdom is forcibly pressed upon the Saints instead of
the free grace of God. Man will not believe that God will now give his spirit
to tradesmen, as formerly He gave it to fishermen, but believe that only those
who have human ordination may teach. Thus the flesh labors to kill God's
witnesses by getting an authority from magistrates to make ecclesiastical
laws. . . . Ecclesiastical power is not ordained of God but is got by crafty
men from Kings, to kill the truth and persecute the Saints.
In this tract Winstanley spoke of upheaval leading to reform. One result would
be that "[t]radesmen will speak by experience the things they have seen in
God, and the learned clergy ill be slighted." In The Saints Paradice,
Winstanley wrote that "the time approaches when the spirit will begin to
appear in the flesh . . . and when the ignorant become learned in the
experimental knowledge of Christ."62
Winstanley always laid great stress on individual experience
against the presumptions of the clergy and scholars. He desired for everyone to
speak "his own words, not another mans as the Preachers do, to make a trade
of it." He railed against collecting tithes while many lived in poverty and
accusingly exclaimed that "Priests and zealous professors" worshiped
the devil.63 In an introductory letter to Truth
Lifting Up its Head, Winstanley asserted that clergy and scholars did not
have "the alone priviledge to judge; for the People having the Scriptures,
may judge by them as well." He assumed that although scholars could
translate Hebrew and Greek, "to say this is the originall Scripture you
cannot: for those very Copies which the Prophets and Apostles writ, are not to
be seen in your Universities." Further, scholars could not compare their
copies with the original manuscripts, for "you doe not know that but as
your Fathers have told you." With all the different translations and
interpretations, Winstanley wondered which should be trusted. Scholars' debates
confused the people who generally agreed with Winstanley that scholars could not
claim the sole privilege to judge Scriptures by the Spirit, for "the Spirit
is not confined to your Universities; but it spreads from East to West, and
enlightens sons and daughters in all parts."64
Winstanley's goal was to reveal the errors of clerics and
scholars, to reveal them as blasphemers even as they accused him of blasphemy.
Winstanley ended by writing that after the apostolic period passed, "then
began false Christs and false Prophets to arise, that speak from tradition of
what they had read in Books; expounding those writings from their imaginary
thoughts . . . and to punish such as speak from the testimony of Christ within
Winstanley's criticism of the clergy and scholars, his
preference for Reason -- a God who was not wholly other -- and his stress upon
personal experience were woven together with his peculiar biblical hermeneutic.
Regarding Winstanley and the Bible, Hill proved that Winstanley was unorthodox.
Winstanley was fond of making allegories of such biblical stories as the Fall,
Cain and Abel, and the Israelites entering Canaan. A new examination of
Winstanley's use of the Bible is needed, not to discount Hill, but to show that
much of Winstanley's use of Scriptures was homiletical and probably stemmed
largely from his religious individualism.66
In an early work, Winstanley wrote that what was important
was not the Apostles' writings but the spirit that inspired them. Thus everyone
might understand Scripture by possessing the spirit even if they had not been
taught by others. Again, in Truth Lifting Up Its Head, Winstanley
asserted that "the Spirit within" must prove which copies of Scripture
were true and that this spirit was "not confined to your
Universities." He defined the Gospel as "the Spirit that ruled in the
Prophets and Apostles, which testified to them. . . . Secondly, then their
writings is [sic] not the Spirit; but a report or declaration of that law and
testimony which was within them."67
Winstanley rejected the charges that he denied the
Scriptures. He called the writings of the Apostles "reports or
declarations" of the Gospel. The writings themselves were not the Gospel.
Winstanley seemed to argue that the importance of the written Scripture would
pass as each individual experienced "that the Father dwels and rules in
him." The "declaration or report of words out of the mouth or pen of
men, shall cease; but the spirit endures for ever; from whence those words were
breathed: as when I have the thing promised, the word of the promise
Regarding the assertion that the Scriptures are God because
the Word was God, Winstanley answered that if God is the written word, then He
has been torn to pieces by "the bad interpretations of imaginary
flesh." Winstanley interpreted the spirit as the Word and the Scriptures as
the testimony of men about that spirit. He encouraged his readers to "learne
to put a difference betweene the Report, and the thing Reported of."69
Winstanley had little use for biblical scholarship. He
whosoever takes those Scriptures, and makes exposition upon
them, from their imagination, and tels you that is the word of God, and hath
seen nothing: That they are the false Christs and false Prophets. . . . Men
must speak their own experienced words, and must not speake thoughts.
When speaking thoughts men spoke from their imaginations, or what was more
likely, from the imaginations of others. If his readers must listen to other men
on Scripture, then they ought "read the record." That is to say, they
should study the biblical text itself.70
Moreover, Winstanley argued that without the spirit, the
Scriptures were worth considerably less. When charged with denying the value of
Scripture as a rule to live by, Winstanley responded that the "Law and
Testimony to which I must have recourse for my comfort, is not the words or
writings of other men without me; But the spirit of the Father in me, teaching
me to know him by experience . . . this is the Law and Testimony."71
For Winstanley, the Scriptures were insufficient because they were not his own
words but those of men with similar experience. Yet Winstanley did not deny the
truth of Scripture but argued that its truth could be perceived with the
spirit's witness, "when I look into that record of experimentall testimony,
and finde a sutable agreement betweene them, and the feeling of light within my
own soule, now my joy is fulfilled." Scriptures were to be used as records
of "pure experience, and teachings of the Father." However,
Winstanley wrote that men may not teach or "passe construction [upon] the
meaning, by way of office," because "no man can safely tell another,
this is a positive truth of God, till he have the same testimonial experience
within himself as the penmen of Scripture had." Winstanley knew no other
way of expounding upon Scriptures than to demonstrate the personal workings of
the spirit within each individual.72
Hill wrote that Winstanley should be read like a poet, that
is to say, "concerned not too pedantically with the letter, but with the
spiritual content." Hill also felt Winstanley "drew on Bible stories
largely because he thought they would help his contemporaries to understand
him." It was probably true that Winstanley's contemporaries were familiar
with biblical imagery. However, Winstanley did not use it as contemporary
biblical scholars did.73
In one of his early writings, Winstanley used the story of
the Fall to show that all men and women would be saved. The serpent of
selfishness found its way into the heart of Adam but, Winstanley argued, God
could not destroy Adam, for "God would suffer dishoner because his work is
spoiled." What would be destroyed was the Serpent. When this work was
finished, God "will dwell in the whole creation . . . without exception, as
he dwelt in Christ."74 Winstanley repeated
this idea in The Breaking of the Day of God. He also noted that the Old
Testament law and ceremonies "were types, making known how Christ should
come in the flesh." And he further compared the "sin of the Jews . .
to keep to Moses after Christ came" to the "sin of the gentiles to
keep to the letter of the Apostles after God has taken up his saints into
spiritual enjoyment of Himself."75
The Breaking of the Day of God is essentially a
commentary on the book of Revelation. The particular passage of interest to
Winstanley was: "And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for
one thousand two hundred and sixty days, cloathed in sackcloth" (Revelation
11:3 Revised Standard Version). Winstanley explained the testimony of the
witnesses, who they are, the meaning of the 1260 days, how the witnesses died,
and their resurrection.76 He argued that the
testimony of these two witnesses is "that Jesus and his Saints make one
perfect man." The two witnesses are "Christ in the flesh and Christ in
the spirit or the mystical body of the Saints." The biblical text says the
two witnesses are "the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand
before the Lord of the earth" (Revelation 11:4). Winstanley explained that
the olive trees and lampstands "typified" the two witnesses. Out of
this he developed explanations of other types. Zerubbabel, "chief of the
fathers of Israel," is a type of Christ and Joshua the type of the
"mystical body of Saints before God caused their iniquity to pass
away." The battle of Christ against the beast typifies "the struggle
of the Saints against the wisdom of the flesh," and Heaven "either God
or the Church." The 1260 days calls
to mind the time from Christ's baptism to his death, and "the battle of
Christ against the dragon, and also the struggle between spirit and flesh in
every believer." The death of the witnesses reveals "the struggle of
the beast against the Saints." He also likened the death of the witnesses
to the Church's persecution of the saints.77
Winstanley concluded by asserting that the two dead
witnesses would rise again. With a comment on Revelation 9:12 ff, he compared
the judgment and destruction described in these verses to his own time.
Winstanley thought the "kingdom of Christ" already had begun to appear
among the Saints. The earthquake described in chapter eleven of Revelation
signified "God shaking down the false forms of pretended divine worship,
and also kings, parliaments, universities, and human learning -- all that stands
in the way of His work."78 He also
interpreted the conflicts described there as typical of the struggle between
internal or personal experience and the outward forms of the Church; this was
the struggle between the Saints and the ecclesiastical authorities.79
In Truth Lifting Up its Head, Winstanley discussed
the stories of the Creation and the Fall, asserting Adam, or the first man,
endeavoured "to make himself a Lord over his fellow creatures . . . seeking
to advance himself, though it be to others ruine."80
Hill argues Winstanley did not believe a single man named Adam really existed.81
It is true Winstanley wrote, concerning Adam, the Serpent, the Garden, the Tree
of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the Fall, and the promise of redemption, that
"wheather there was any such outward things or no, it matters not much, if
thou seest all within, this will be thy life."82
This was generally consistent with his stress upon individual experience over
reliance upon the words of others or cold acceptance of the biblical letter.
However, Winstanley described Adam in a three-fold sense:
First, Adam, or first man, that went astray from his Maker,
which lived upon earth many thousand yeares agoe, which the eyes of every man
Secondly, Every man and woman that lives upon the objects of
the creation, and not in and upon the spirit that made the creation, . . .
make up but the one first man: so that we may see Adam every day before our
eyes walking up and downe the street.
But Thirdly, I see the two Adams in every man: The first Adam
hath his time to rule first in me; when the chiefe powers . . .. lead me forth
to looke after objects . . . more then in the spirit . . . till the fulnesse
of time come . . . that the second Adam, Christ, shall come . . . and deliver
me from his bondage.83
Clearly, Winstanley believed in an historical Adam but found meaning only in the
universal Adam who lives in all men and women. The second Adam, or second man,
is "the well-beloved Son" and "a mighty man." The second man
contrasts with the first who drew men away from God; the second "draws
mankinde back againe to his maker." Furthermore, just as the first Adam is
in every man, so the second man will rule in all men and women.84
Early in 1649, Winstanley wrote his first defense of
digging, The New Law of Righteousnes, presenting fuller allegorical
explanations of some scriptural passages. Prior to this time he seems to have
contented himself with spotlighting certain passages from Genesis and Revelation
in order to demonstrate man's internal struggles with the Serpent, the Saints'
struggles with ecclesiastical power, and the coming of Christ in all men and
In an introductory letter, "To the Twelve Tribes of
Israel that are Circumcised in Heart, and Scattered Through All the Nations of
the Earth," Winstanley set the tone and established the imagery he would
adopt in this work. He said the "seed of Abraham" lay hidden in his
readers hearts, an internal blessing which, like Jacob, "is hated,
persecuted and despised." The rising up of Jacob would mean the fall of
Esau. Those with Jacob's blessing, "Abrahamites," were Jews, for
"it is Abraham's promised seed that makes a Jew."85
Winstanley seems to have adopted a certain type of docetism,
when he argued
it was not the man of the flesh that was called Abraham, but
the Law of righteousnesse and peace, that did rule and govern in that body, he
was the Abraham; the flesh is honoured with such a name by him that dwelt
therein; the name of the flesh before this righteous power was manifest in it,
Accordingly, the "body called Christ, was not the anointing, but the Spirit
in that body, was the Christ." The Spirit Christ, the "spreading
power," is able to fill all with himself. The "new Law of
righteousnesse and peace, which is rising up, is David your King."
Winstanley believed the coming of the "New Jerusalem" would not arrive
in the future but in his own time, "the glory of the Lord shall be seen and
known within the Creation," and "then shall Jacob rejoyce, and Israel
shall be glad."86
In the main text of The New Law of Righteousnes,
Winstanley began by repeating much of what he had written in Truth Lifting Up
its Head. He repeated his argument of the first Adam, stressing more the
evil of private land ownership. He wrote, "let all men say what they will,
so long as such are Rulers as cals the Land theirs, upholding this particular
propriety ofMine and Thine; the common-people shall never have their
Winstanley described "the mystery of the Spirit"
or the method by which self-
interestedness could cease. The Spirit could make man forsake the first Adam and
make him "delight in the Spirit Reason." Winstanley argued the Spirit
demonstrated this in three dispensations. God called Moses to reveal in him
"types, shadows, sacrifices; that man-kind by them might be led to see his
Maker." The "Apostolical testimony" also witnessed "the Lamb
Jesus Christ, that was the substance of Moses." The third dispensation is
by "Divine discovery" where "the Lord takes up all into himself .
. . and acts through all." Winstanley argued that Moses and Jesus are types
and that "the same Spirit that filled [Christ], should be sent into whole
mankind." As Moses gave way to Christ, the "Moses administration began
to be silent." Likewise, Christ gave way to "the holy Ghost, or
spreading Spirit." Furthermore, those still living "in dipping, in
water and observation of Gospel-forms and types, live yet under the ministration
of Jesus Christ after the flesh." Winstanley called for the cessation of
these outward forms to allow the Spirit Christ to rise up "in sons and
daughters, which is his second comming." Winstanley likened those under the
"Moses ministration," to those who "worship Christ at a distance
in their severall Congregations and forms," calling both groups persecuters.
The former persecuted Christians, the latter were enemies to the
"ministration of Christ in Spirit and in truth." Winstanley also
compared this persecution of the Saints to the Egyptian bondage of Israel.88
Winstanley described the struggle within each man "for
government in him" as a struggle between two powers, Jacob and Esau,
"the two Adams in mankind." The first Adam strove to kill the Spirit
Christ through covetousness. He "branches himself forth . . . to fetch
peace into himself, from objects without himself." The second Adam, or
"man of Righteousnesse Christ . . . spreads himself as far as the other, to
undermine him." This second Adam was content with poverty and "to live
upon providence . . . killing thy discontented covetousnesse." Winstanley
compared the first Adam to Esau, "that stepped before Jacob, and got the
birthright, by the Law of Equity was more properly Iacobs." Jacob, of
course, typifies the second Adam.89
Winstanley thought it was time for Jacob to rise and
restore the Earth to a common treasury; it was time for David to reign again. He
warned "Lord Esau" that "the poor begins to receive the
Gospel." He encouraged the "Tribes of Israel, that are now in
sackcloth," for they would be delivered. Winstanley triumphantly declared
that "the voice of the Lord, work together and eat bread together, doth
advance the law of Reason and Righteousnesse." Landowners who refused to
submit he compared with Pharoah, "who is their type." Winstanley
called for the release of Israel, so that they might "work all together,
Eat bread altogether."90
Winstanley saw the forbidden fruit causing the Fall in the
Garden not as a "single fruit called an Apple" but rather the
"objects of Creation," the fruit of the
"Seed . . . that made all things: As riches, honours, pleasures." This
was "the messe of pottage" which Esau craved and preferred over
righteousness and exchanged for his birthright. Therefore, man should not blame
one man, who died thousands of years ago, "but blame himself, even the
powers of his own flesh, which lead him astray."91
To drive home his argument, Winstanley urged his readers to
internalize biblical history. Adam and Christ, Cain and Abel, Abraham, Moses,
and Israel were to be seen within. The "Canaanites, Amalekites, Philistines
. . . are to be seen within you, making war with Israel, Christ within
you," as well as the land of Canaan, a place of rest. Within, too, lives
the traitor Judas, "a treacherous self-loving and covetous spirit."
The stone that covered Christ's grave is inward unbelief; its removal, liberty.
Internalized, Heaven and Hell appear as the powers of light and darknesss.92
Any glory seen with the eyes is "but the breaking forth of that glorious
power that is seated within," and furthermore, those who look for Heaven
"but within your selves, you are deceived." Moreover, since Hell is in
each man and woman, torment and terror do not come from any outward location,
thus, man may only be troubled by internal problems. A troubled conscience,
"thinking every bush to be a devil to torment him" arises "from
the anguish of his tormenting conscience within." Concerning a physical
Hell, Winstanley was agnostic; since no one had returned from the grave to
testify, "men ought to speak no more than they know."93
Winstanley ended this pamphlet with a scathing attack on
the clergy, whom he called them the "Scribes and Pharisees" of the
universities -- "the standing ponds of stinking waters." The clergy
inhabited the houses of opposition; the Churches, the successors of Jewish
Synagogues, oppressed the Saints because "out of these despised ones, doth
the spirit rise up more and more to clearer light, making them to speak from
experience." The end of the persecution was to hinder Christ; "whereas
people should all look up to him for teaching . . . the schollars would have the
people to look up to them for teaching." Winstanley called the clergy
"Witches and Deceivers" for they picked the peoples purses by
"divination and sorcerie."94
Hill was right; one reason Winstanley used biblical
language was because it was familiar to his readers. However, he used it with a
specific purpose in mind. Winstanley wanted to stress the importance of personal
experience and to argue for common ownership of the Earth. These very specific
goals gave Winstanley's use of Scripture its homiletical quality. Because of his
interest in the internal meaning of a passage, Winstanley discounted the bald
exegesis of the scholars. The Spirit behind the Scriptures mattered more and
sought to inspire all men and women, just as it inspired Moses and the Apostles.
Therefore, the Bible should
conform or adjust, as it were, to what the Spirit already revealed to each
individual to be true.95
The pamphlets Winstanley wrote after the Digger movement
began in April 1649, and until the end of that year, were almost all topical and
directed at specific audiences.96 Winstanley
used much of the same biblical imagery as before in The True Levellers
Standard Advanced, a general propagandist address in defense of the Diggers,
although he added a play on the two syllables in Adam. Referring to the first
Adam as A-dam, because he dammed up "the Spirit of Peace and
Liberty," Winstanley argued that this power in man led to covetousness. He
again employed the images of Esau and Jacob as types of "the powers of the
Earth" and "the meek Spirit . . . in & among the poor common
People." Winstanley also reasserted his analogy of the Saints as the
Israelites in Egyptian bondage. He urged landowners to "Let Israel go
Free" and "dis-own this oppressing Murder, Oppression and Thievery of
Buying and Selling of Land."97
In the other pamphlets from this period, Winstanley
employed biblical imagery as before. However, early in 1650, near the end of the
Digger movement, Winstanley presented his most systematic theology. To explain
why Winstanley wrote Fire in the Bush, Hill offers that Winstanley may
have wanted to return to religious writing in order to sort out his theology and
economics, since he realized the movement was failing and his Digger pamphlets
were loaded with historical and legal arguments.98
In Fire in the Bush, Winstanley systematically (and
repetitively) explained the Garden of Eden, the Fall, and man's regeneration or
salvation.99 Apparently, Winstanley wanted to
expand this work, for he listed other chapters proposing to further explain the
bondage of Creation, the dispensations of mans history, and th nature of
temptation, Heaven, and Hell. In an introduction, dedicated to the churches,
Winstanley expressed sorrow and pity for the state of the church. He toned down
normally caustic remarks about the clergy, although he continued to argue that
they worshipped only an outward Christ. He blamed the churches for helping to
maintain private land ownership. He wrote this pamphlet as a plea to know Christ
inwardly and to lay open all lands.[100[
Here, Winstanley expressed his pantheism: the Creation is
"the cloathing of God," all things contain Him and "by him all
things consist." The Garden of Eden represents the earth and mankind in it;
the five rivers flowing out of the garden are named after the five senses. The
Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life also exist in each man.
The Tree of Knowledge, imagination, causes man to fall. This imagination fills
men with "feares, doubts, troubles, evill surmisings and grudges." The
Tree of Life, on the other hand, a "restoring power," causes man to
know "sinne and sorrow no more; for all teares now, which blind
Imagination brought upon him, are wiped away; And man is in peace."
Winstanley also again referred to this blessing as the seed of Abraham.101
In an expanded chapter on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and
Evil, or the "Imaginary power," Winstanley labelled Imagination the
God "which generally every one worships and ownes." He further
described the ones who "know not inwardly, by what spirit or inward power
they are ruled." They live under the curse, driven out of the Garden. That
is to say, they are inwardly divided by breaking communion with God, who was in
Winstanley called the "dark power" a dragon
locked in battle with Michael, fighting in heaven, "that is, in mankinde,
in the garden of Eden." This battle continues in mankind, wrote Winstanley,
because the imagination cast the fear of poverty into men, tempting them to
covet the possessions of others. Imagination, a "Judas Ministry," also
strove to convince men that Adam, the Serpent, and all the other elements of the
Garden were merely outward things. To Winstanley it did not really matter
whether these things were outward or not because of the primacy of their inward
In another enlarged chapter, on the Tree of Life,
Winstanley further described evil as a four-fold power equated with the four
beasts mentioned in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel. Optimistic that
Christ would destroy these beasts, Winstanley wrote that when "Christ
comes, and is glorified with thousand thousands attended upon him, they shall
not be cloathed with devouring instruments, like Dragons, but be cloathed with
Love, Righteousnesse and Peace." To encourage his followers, or warn his
enemies, Winstanley pointed to history to show that no nation ever lasted for
long. Christs working through all men and women would destroy all government and
religion. Fire in the Bush expressed Winstanley's optimism of change to come;
the clergy, government, and private land ownership would be overthrown soon
enough. Thus Winstanley's message was one of hope in the face of impending
In his last pamphlet, The Law of Freedom in a Platform,
Winstanley continued to employ religious imagery, such as equating covetousness
with Cain who killed his younger brother Abel. But mostly the pamphlet's
religious rhetoric gave way to an historical and more secular basis. Winstanley
offered biblical narratives as historical examples rather than interpreting the
sacred texts allegorically. For instance, he contrasted the way the promised
land was divided among the tribes of Israel (and not the army) with the way the
duke of Normandy divided a conquered England among his loyal friends. No longer
addressing the Diggers with encouraging words or threatening the clergy with
acerbic language, Winstanley sought to remind Oliver Cromwell and the common
people who fought aside him against oppression that victory contained some new
Gerrard Winstanley's theology remained consistently
unorthodox. His denial of external forms lent itself to mystical pantheism and
rationalism.105 He denied the importance of an
external Christ returning in person to bring salvation, favoring instead a
spiritual rising up in all men and women. By insisting that neither God nor
Christ distances themselves from individuals, but are capable of dwelling in
each man and woman as Reason or the Spirit Christ, Winstanley may have been able
to instill a sense of immediate hope and optimism in his readers. A comparison
of his early works, including The New Law of Righteousnes, with Fire
in the Bush, his last truly religious pamphlet, reveals a consistent
individualism, regardless of whether his rationalism was mystical or secular. The
Law of Freedom also expressed his individualism in much more secular terms.
In fact it is difficult to tell the difference between Winstanley's
individualist mystical thinking and his individualist secular thought.106
The goal of this study has not been to criticize Hill or
praise Mulligan, Graham, and Richards. In fact, it is clear that on most points,
Hill was correct. Mulligan, Graham, and Richards, in criticizing Hill for
turning Winstanley into a "modern," ended up turning him into a quasi
St. Paul. Winstanley was indeed unorthodox, but his theology and social gospel
were rich and worth examining for their own sake, not merely as part of a larger
historiographical debate between marxist historians and their opponents.
*Donald Sutherland received a B.A. from Virginia
Commonwealth University, and a M.A. from the University of Virginia. He now
attends Gorden-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
This paper (his M.A. thesis) originated in a seminar on early modern England.
The author wishes to thank Professors Martin J. Havran and H.C. Eric Midelfort
for their guidance.
1. Cited by Lewis H. Berens, The Digger Movement in the Days
of the Commonwealth (London: Holland Press & Merlin Press, 1961), 34; Calendar
of State Papers, Domestic Series, 1649-1650, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green
(Vaduz: Kraus, 1965), 95, 335.
2. Berens, Digger Movement, 36.
3. Bulstrode Whitelocke, Memorials of the English affairs from
the beginning of the reign of Charles the First to the happy restoration of King
Charles the Second (1682; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1853), 18.
4. Gerrard Winstanley, "The True Levellers Standard
Advanced," in The Works of Gerrard Winstanley, ed. George H. Sabine
(1945; New York: Russell & Russell, 1965), 247-66.
5. Winstanley, "A Letter to the Lord Fairfax and his
Councell of War," in Works, 284ff.
6. Winstanley, "A Declaration of the Bloudie and Unchristian
Acting of William Star and John Taylor of Walton," in Works, 295.
7. Winstanley, "A New-Yeers Gift for the Parliament and
Armie," in Works, 392, 393.
8. Winstanley, "A Vindication of Those Whose Endeavors is
Only to Make the Earth a Common Treasury, Called Diggers," in Works,
9. Winstanley, "An Humble Request to the Ministers of both
Universities and to all Lawyers in every Inn-a-Court," in Works, 419-37.
10. Winstanley, Introduction, in Works, 9.
11. Paul H. Hardacre, "Gerrard Winstanley in 1650," The
Huntington Library Quarterly 22, 4 (1959): 345-49; Richard T. Vann,
"The Later Life of Gerrard Winstanley," Journal of the History of
Ideas 26 (1965): 133; James Alsop, "Gerrard Winstanley's Later
Life" Past & Present 82 (1979): 73-80.
12. Eduard Bernstein, Cromwell and Communism, Socialism and
Democracy in the Great English Revolution, trans H.J. Stenning (London:
Allen & Unwin, 1930), 114; George Jeretic, "Digger No Millenarian: The
Revolutionizing of Gerrard Winstanley," Journal of the History of Ideas
36 (1975): 269, 270; C.H. George, "Gerrard Winstanley: A Critical
Retrospect," in The Dissenting Tradition, Essays for Leland H. Carlson,
ed. C. Robert Cole and Michael E. Moody (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1975),
13. Bernstein, Cromwell, 107.
14. Christopher Hill, ed., Winstanley: The Law of Freedom and
Other Writings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), 24; see also
Bernstein, Cromwell, 107; David W. Petegorsky, Left-Wing Democracy in
the English Civil War; A Study of the Social Philosophy of Gerrard Winstanley (New
York: Haskell House, 1972), 182, 206; Max J. Patrick, "The Literature of
the Diggers," University of Toronto Quarterly 12, 1 (1942): 101;
George, "Winstanley," 212, 24.
15. H.N. Brailsford, The Levellers and the English Revolution
(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), 662.
16. Winthrop S. Hudson, "Economic and Social Thought of
Gerrard Winstanley, Was He a Seventeenth-Century Marxist?" Journal of
Modern History 18, 1 (March 1946): 10; 21; Walter F. Murphy, "The
Political Philosophy of Gerrard Winstanley," Review of Politics 19,
2 (1957): 236.
17. Hill has made the point, that these crude either/or issues
do injustice to the complexity of Winstanley's thought. However, for the sake of
showing where the opposing schools of thought differ, this paper, while
conceding that Hill was correct, will use them. See "A Rejoinder," in
Lotte Mulligan, John K. Graham, Judith Richards, and Christopher Hill,
"Debate: The Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," Past & Present
89 (1980): 151 (herafter cited as MGRH, "Debate").
18. Christopher Hill, The World Turned Upside-Down, Radical
Ideas during the English Revolution (New York: Viking, 1972), 111-14,
313-19; Hill, Winstanley, 19, 44ff; Hill, "Religion of Gerrard
Winstanley," Past & Present Supplement 5 (1978): 3, 8, 46-48;
MGRH, "Debate," 147.
19. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 6ff; 6;
49; 29; 53; 56; Hill, World Turned Upside-Down, 120.
20. MGRH, "Debate," 148; Winstanley, "The New Law
of Righteousness," in Works, 182-83.
21. Hill, World Turned Upside-Down, 103ff; Hill, Winstanley,
23ff; Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 46, 20-28.
22. MGRH, "Debate," 149.
23. Hill, Winstanley, 24; Hill, World Turned
24. MGRH, "Debate," 149.
25. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 22.
26. MGRH, "Debate," 149; Hill, "Religion of
Gerrard Winstanley," 21. Even if the historian accepted the possiblity of
divine visions or voices as a matter of faith, in any particular case, it would
still be difficult to prove.
27. MGRH, "Debate," 150; Hill, World Turned
28. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 31.
29. MGRH, "Debate," 150.
30. Ibid., 151.
31. T. Wilson Hayes, Winstanley the Digger: A Literary
Analysis of Radical Ideas in the English Revolution (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1979), 203.
32. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 32-34.
33. Hayes, Winstanley, 15.
34. Lotte Mullligan, John K. Graham, and Judith Richards, "Winstanley:
A Case for the Man as He Said He Was," Journal of Ecclesiastical History
28, 1 (January 1977): 57-75 (hereafter refered to as MGR, "Winstanley");
Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley"; MGRH, "Debate."
35. MGR, "Winstanely," 57; 58.
36. Hill, Winstanley, 19.
37. MGR, "Winstanley," 63.
38. Ibid., 63; 68-72; MGRH, "Debate," 144.
39. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 47.
40. MGRH, "Debate," 145.
41. MGR, "Winstanley," 67ff; 65.
42. Ibid., 61n.
43. Ibid., 68; 68ff.
44. Ibid., 65-67; 66.
45. MGRH, "Debate," 151.
46. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 32-34.
47. Sabine, 520, 511; MGR, "Winstanley," 72-74.
48. MGR, "Winstanley," 73.
49. MGRH, "Debate," 146; 150.
50. MGR, "Winstanley," 65; 73; MGRH,
51. MGRH, "Debate," 151.
52. Hayes, Winstanley, 15.
53. MGRH, "Debate," 150.
54. Winstanley, "Truth Lifting up its Head above
Scandals," in Works, 107.
55. Ibid., 105.
56. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 8; Hill World
Turned Upside-Down, 113.
57. Winstanley, "The Saints Paradice," (abstract) in Works,
96. See also Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 8.
58. Winstanley, "Truth Lifting up its Head," 103;
59. Ibid., 104-105.
60. Ibid., 104-106.
61. Winstanley, "The Mysterie of God concerning the Whole
Creation, Mankinde," (abstract) in Works, 82.
62. Winstanley, "The Breaking of the Day of God,"
(abstract) in Works, 89; 90; 93; see also 96.
63. Ibid., 224; 409; 168.
64. Ibid., 99-102. This was Winstanley's first fully systematic
attack on the clergy. he letter was dated 16 October 1648, while the pamphlet
was dated 1649. The letter may have been attached to the pamphlet at
publication, but Sabine does not say. See also Hayes, Winstanley, 50.
65. Ibid., 101; 102.
66. Hill, Winstanley, 45, 54-59; Hill, World Turned
Upside-Down, 114-20, 209-215; Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley,"
67. Winstanley, "Saints Paradice," 94; 100; 101.
68. Ibid., 122.
69. Ibid., 123, 124.
70. Ibid., 125; 126.
72. Ibid., 127-29.
73. Hill, Winstanley, 54-55; see also Hill, World
Turned Upside-Down, 115-17.
74. Winstanley, "Mysterie of God," 81.
75. Winstanley, "Breaking of the Day," 87.
77. Winstanley, "Saints Paradice," 95; 88.
78. Ibid., 90.
79. Hill, Winstanley, 55.
80. Winstanley, "Truth Lifting Up Its Head," 117.
81. Hill, Winstanley, 54; Hill, World Turned
82. Winstanley, "Fire in the Bush," in Works,
83. Winstanley, "Truth Lifting up its Head," 120.
84. Ibid., 120-21.
85. Winstanley, "New Law of Righteousness," 149-50.
86. Ibid., 151-54.
87. Ibid., 158-59.
88. Ibid., 159-63, 191.
89. Ibid., 173-75, 179.
90. Ibid., 188-89, 194-99.
91. Ibid., 177.
92. Ibid., 215, 227.
93. Ibid., 216-19. Here Winstanley's unorthodoxy clearly lapses
into Christian heresy.
94. Ibid., 238-42.
95. Hill, World Turned Upside-Down, 115.
96. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 24.
97. Winstanley, "True Levellers Standard Advanced,"
252; 254ff; 264ff.
98. Hill, "Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 24-25.
99. MGR, "Winstanley," 68.
100. Winstanley, "Fire in the Bush," 445-49.
101. Ibid., 451, 462; 452-54.
102. Ibid., 456-62.
103. Ibid., 463-72; see also Hill, "Religion of Gerrard
104. Winstanley, "The Law of Freedom in a Platform,"
in Works, 530; 521-24; 501. For the shift in Winstanley's thought, see
Petegorsky, Left-Wing Democracy, 178; Jeretic, "Digger No
Millenarian," 269; Bernstein, Cromwell, 114; Hill, Winstanley,
24; and MGR, "Winstanley," 70.
105. Ernst Troeltsch, The Social Teachings of the Christian
Churches, trans. O. Wyon (New York and Evanston: Harper Torchbooks, 1960),
2:749; and Perez Zagorin, A History of Political Thought in the English
Revolution (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1954), 46-48.
106. Zagorin, History of Political Thought, 47; Hill,
"Religion of Gerrard Winstanley," 49.
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From the film Winstanley (1975) by Kevin Brownlow