Laurence Clarkson

English theologian

Laurence Clarkson (1615–1667) was an English theologian, member of the Ranter movement and accused heretic. The Ranters were a dissident religious movement that occurred during the English Civil War and advocated for moral and spiritual beliefs that rejected the theological and moral authority of both the Catholic Church and the Church of England. The key theological ideas within the Ranter movement was the rejection of established Christian view of sin, in favor of the theological belief that sinning was a necessary component of Christian faith.



A Single Eye, All Light, No Darkness; or Light and Darkness One (1650)

  • I have travelled from one end of England to another, and as yet could find very few that could define unto me the object of their worship, or give me a character what that God is, so much professed by them; yet notwithstanding I could come into no city, town, nor village, but there I heard the name God under one form or another, worshipped that for God, which I had experience was no God: So that in the period of my pilgrimage, I concluded there was gods many, and lords many, although to me but one God: Therefore at my return, I was carried out by God to hold forth to the creature, the God yesterday, to day, and for ever.
  • If God be in all things, as in all men, the wicked as the godly, wherein then is the state of the wicked worse than the godly? Yea, if God be in both, why have they both one title, but one wicked, another godly?
  • The very title Sin, it is only a name without substance, hath no being in God, nor in the creature, but only by imagination; and therefore it is said, the imaginations of your hearts are only evil continually. It is not the body, nor the life, but the imagination only, and that not at a time, or times, but continually. Herein sin admitting of no form in itself, is created a form in the estimation of the creature; so that which is not to God, is found to be in a something creature; as you have it related, One man esteemeth one day above another, another esteemeth every day alike: what to one is pure, to another is impure; herein it appeareth but a bare estimation.
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