top of page
< Back

Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625) and the First English Advocates of Restoration of the Jews to Palestine

Dr. Franz Kobler

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Sir Henry Finch (1558-1625) and the first english advocates of the restoration of the jews to palestine 1 By Franz Kobler, Dr. of Law. The subject of this paper belongs to the history both of the Jews and of England, and it refers to the sphere of religion as well as to that of politics. It is the fate of many matters that overlap different orbits in this way that only on rare occasions one or another of the respective students takes care of them, and that they become thus a kind of scientific no man's land. This happened in the present case. Not earlier than 1861 the first attempt was made to deal with the history of the Christian movement for the Restoration of the Jews to Palestine by the outstanding theologian, David Brown. He, however, treated the matter from a merely theological angle. After the publication of this quickly forgotten book more than half a century had to pass before the matter was again taken up. Zionism had in the meantime entered upon its decisive phase. With the preliminaries and the issue of the Balfour Declaration a vivid interest in the historical antecedents of the British pro-Zionist policy was aroused. In 1917 Albert M. Hyamson presented the first account of the " British Projects for the Restoration of the Jews ". While this survey was concerned mainly with the events of the nineteenth century, Nahum Sokolow in his " History of Zionism " (1919) traced and investigated the Christian current tending to the restoration of Israel, particularly the British sector of this movement, as far as the beginning of the seventeenth century. There was, however, according to Sokolow's intentions, in his general history of Zionism no room for special inquiries about the origin and the first stage of the movement. During the twenty-five years which have since elapsed the restoration of the Jews has taken shape in an amazing way. The building of the Jewish National Home in Palestine is in progress,2 in spite of the unparalleled trial which the Jewish people has to face at present. At the same time a special crisis has developed within the complex of the British policy towards Palestine. Thus many reasons justify right now an attempt to examine thoroughly the origin of the interest that the non-Jewish world has taken in the re-establishment of the Jewish people in the Holy Land. I must ask for permission to begin with a preliminary survey of the develop? ments in the Christian world which finally culminated in the appearance of the first English advocates of " the Restoration of the Jews ". The re-emergence of the Holy Land and, particularly, of Jerusalem to their former or even more splendid glory constitutes not only the never abandoned hope of Israel but also an essential part of the Christian eschatology as developed by the founders of the Church. The principal expectations, based chiefly on the Book of Daniel and the Revelation of St. John, were the return of Jesus and his victorious struggle against Antichrist whose fall would lead to the Millennium, the heavenly kingdom of peace bound to last a thousand years and to be followed by the Last 1 Fourth Lady Magnus Memorial Lecture, delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England on 27th April, 1944. 2 It has since been realized by the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948.</page><page sequence="2">I02 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) Judgment. The Christian fathers?Justin, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Lactantius, and others?imagined these events as impending and taking place in the Holy Land, with Jerusalem, miraculously rebuilt, as centre. The national and territorial revival of the Jews, however, never entered into the theories of the early fathers. Nevertheless these perspectives for which the term Chiliasm or Millenarianism has been coined show a character similar to that of Jewish Messianism. Origen, in the third century, was one of the first authors who opposed these expectations. He branded them as views of those who '' believing in Christ under? stood the divine Scripture in a sort of Jewish sense 55. The most radical change of the millennial hope was, however, caused by St. Augustine at the beginning of the fifth century. He created in his famous book De Civitate Dei the doctrine according to which the Church itself embodies the millennial Kingdom of God. Gradually, as Augustine's views became predominant, Millenarianism ceased to be a significant feature of Christian theology. But even before the end of the Middle Ages a new process set in. The dis? appointment caused by the failure of the Church, after the elapse of a thousand years since the beginning of the Christian era, led to a revival of the millenarian ideas. The Italian monk, Joachim de Fioris, in the twelfth century, was the first prominent promoter of this trend. A new revolutionary school of millenarian thought came into being. The Roman Church and Papacy were now regarded as the embodiment of Antichrist, and the establishment of the Millennium as a pro? spective event and even close at hand. Pre-millenarian beliefs of this kind lay at the core of the Hussite and Anabaptist movements of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They influenced even the German and Swiss Reformation. In particular Calvin, with his inclination towards the Old Testament and Theocracy or rather Bibliocracy?to use the term of Professor Choisy?established a strong link with Millenarianism. It was, however, not on the Continent, but in the British Isles, then in the throes of a political and religious upheaval, that the new millenarian ideas reached their full development, and became a historic factor of the utmost importance. After England's break with Rome under Henry VIII the Church had lost her significance as the religious guide of the English people. Her place was occupied by another spiritual power : the Bible. John Richard Green, in his Short History of the English People, published sixty years ago, described this development with eloquent words : " No greater moral change ever passed over a nation than passed over England during the years, which parted the middle of the reign of Elizabeth from the meeting of the Long Parliament. England became the people of a book, and that book was the Bible." We may add to this statement a splendid confirmation made in our own days by G. M. Trevelyan : " . . . though Shakespeare may be in the retrospect the greatest glory of his age, he was not in his own day its greatest influence. By the end of Elizabeth's reign, the book of books for Englishmen was already the Bible." With its faith immediately rooted in the Holy Writ, the eyes of England began to turn towards the establishment of the Kingdom of God or?as it was termed alternatively?the Kingdom of Christ, as an aim to be materialized by and within England. One of the first champions of this idea was the prominent German theologian Martin Bucer who, in the middle of the sixteenth century, lived for a time in England and taught theology in Cambridge. In his book De Regno Christi, presented to the</page><page sequence="3">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) young king Edward VI he contended that a Kingdom of God where the law of Scripture would govern the whole human life should be created by the King. The similarity or rather identity of such an intended new Protestant state with the biblical theocracy was indicated by the recommendation of the early Jewish kings? David, Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah?as the shining examples for the ruler. These bibliocratical views were accepted by the leading English Protestants such as Thomas Becon and Bishop Sandys, and became current during the second half of the sixteenth century. The sect of the Independents, the centre of the most intensive religious activity, felt the call to translate their faith into deeds by fighting for the coming Kingdom of God. Millenarianism was, however, not confined to the Inde? pendents. In the words of Mr. G. P. Gooch, " at the basis of the creed of every religious body of the time, except the Presbyterians, lay the millenarian ideas." There were obviously profound differences between these conceptions of a religious, political, and social revolution and those of the early Christian fathers. One of the principal of these differences concerned the part which the Jews, sym? bolically and effectively, were supposed to play in the preparation of the forthcoming Millennium. The England of rising Puritanism was, above all, not only powerfully drawn to the majesty of the Divine Law but also to the marvellous and yet simple story of the ascent of the Hebrew people from slavery to freedom and of its struggle for the Promised Land. The fighters for the Kingdom of God saw themselves treading a similar road, and began to identify Israel's history with their own. The events recorded in Scripture, the persons mentioned in it, seemed to have counterparts in contemporary happenings and in living people. Moreover, the Bible influenced the Puritan hopes and coloured their hopes. "In Puritanism," says John G. Dow in his essay on " Hebrews and Puritans ", " there is something of that perspective character which is the cardinal feature of Jewish belief, something of that preparation and trust which constitutes the essence of the Messianic hope." This was why Israel's hopes of the World to come permeated millenarian conceptions in England more than in any other country. The sacred promises and the prophecies were taken over by the English as applying to themselves. They had a new vision of a New Jerusalem, the goal of their fight and pilgrimage. Zion became the symbol of their own national future. To be sure, this millennial hope to establish another theocracy on British soil seems to be far away from the original millenarian idea of a glorious earthly Zion to be erected in the Holy Land. There was, however, from the outset in Puritanism a tendency to literal interpretation of Scripture closely linked with purely spiritual aspects. This may be partly ascribed to the mixture of a visionary and realistic instinct of a nation which, while Thomas More conceived Utopia and Shakespeare wove his dream of Prospero's island, was about to create a world-wide empire, linking the West with the East. A. S. P. Woodhouse, a modern American historian of Puritanism, pointed out with regard to the English millenarians, how much of a spiritual religion can be woven into their fantastic literal reading of the Bible. And this may be applied vice versa. What later developed into the doctrine of special radical sects such as the Fifth Monarchy Men, was already present in the teaching of many Puritans during the first stages of the movement. To them as to the early Christians, there appeared the vision of a Zion which shall take the place of Rome and bear out the prophecies by becoming the heart of a kingdom of peace. The fulfilment of these prophecies was looked upon as an apocalyptical event which had to precede L*</page><page sequence="4">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) the dawn of the millennial era. The profound faith of the Puritans in the Word of God enjoined also acceptance of all promises explicitly and unmistakenly relating to the Jews, as contained in numerous passages of the Old and the New Testament. This belief was greatly supported by the spiritual affinity with Israel, depicted above, and also by understanding of post-biblical Judaism which the English Hebraists helped to spread. Thus the Puritan millenarians not only revived but even developed the buried " opiniones Judaicae", and created a particular Christian-Jewish Messianism, the doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews. That this development took place in that country where almost no professing Jews had been seen for centuries may be regarded as one of history's strangest paradoxes. And yet the contemporary Jewish world was by no means without influence on the emergence of the British doctrine concerning the future of the Jewish people. It is above all a most remarkable fact that the fundamental changes inside Christianity coincided with the greatest tragedy the Jews had experienced hitherto during the dispersion : the utter destruction of the mighty and flourishing Jewish settlements in the Iberian Peninsula. This event, followed by a long and widespread migration of Jews?Marranos and professing Jews?gave a tre? mendous impulse to Jewish Messianism. The Messianic idea, always present and working in the mind of the Jew, became a dynamic historical force. The capture of Jerusalem by the Turks in 1517 provided another incentive for political and spiritual movements. While David Reubeni, the mysterious and self-appointed ambassador of the legendary Joseph, king of Chabor, and Solomon Molko, the former Marrano Diego Pires, undertook the first fatal attempt to create a favourable attitude of the Christian world towards the Restoration of the Jews, while Joseph Nasi, the Duke of Naxos, tried in a realistic way to revive the Jewish settlement in Palestine, the great masters of the Cabbalah reshaped the Messianic conceptions and influenced very deeply even Christian thought. This tide of events reached also the English shores. A gradual process of a mutual approach between the English and the Jewish people began immediately after the Spanish catastrophe and continued during the whole epoch of Reformation and Puritanism until the climax was reached by the tacit readmission of the Jews to England under Oliver Cromwell. Thanks to the thorough research of recent years we are well informed about the Marrano communities in Tudor England and the relation of these first pioneers of the Jewish resettlement in Great Britain to the non-Jewish world. A strange mixture of esteem and mistrust, admiration and hatred is the characteristic of the co-existence of the English society and that secret Jewish colony. In spite of the striking contrast between this attitude and the un? limited affection for ancient Israel, the fact remains that not only the Jew of the biblical times but, in a very high degree, the living Jew too, became a favourite object of interest in England in the course of the sixteenth century. There are numerous allusions to the Jews in the dramatic works of a number of contemporary authors ; there is Marlowe's Jew of Malta and, above all, Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, providing ample evidence that during the same period, when the " ancient people of God " became the model for the English nation, the contemporary Jew roused her most vivid attention. Moreover the two great plays we owe to the genius of Marlowe and Shakespeare have a strong bearing on the commotions which shattered the Jewish world. In many passages Barabas and Shylock do not speak or act merely as individuals. The hatred directed against their people?" our sacred</page><page sequence="5">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) IO5 nation " in the words of Shylock?the wrongs inflicted upon their brethren drive them to action. The hated types of both characters are the heritage of medieval enmity but incidentally they reveal signs of the times. They are indeed two-faced. One face looks back, the other forward. And so did England then in general with regard to the Jew. While the Jews remained banned from the British coasts, intensive Hebrew studies, travel, and correspondence served the purpose of a more intimate approach to them. The productions of the Hebrew press found their way into Elizabethan England, and with them the new trends of Jewish teaching. Jewish scholars, although converted, such as John Immanuel Tremellius and Philip Ferdi? nand, assisted the great English Hebraists in educating the generation which created the Authorized Version of the Bible and contributed to the spreading of rabbinical wisdom.. It was from this stock that also the first outstanding advocates of the Restoration of the Jews have originated. The earliest literary expression of the doctrine can be traced as far as to the great Franciscans Duns Scotus and William of Occam in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Furthermore the teaching of John Wycliffe about Antichrist and the part the converted Jews will have to take in the ultimate struggle contains elements to be developed afterwards in the doctrine. But it happened during the last decades of the Elizabethan era that the question of the Restoration of the Jews became a matter of continued theological inquiries. The rise of these efforts is marked by a strange and tragic event which like an impressive prelude opens the great historic drama of the British movement for the resettlement of the Jewish people in its ancient homeland. Francis Kett, a descendant of the famous Norman family, the most distinguished member of which, Robert Kett of Norfolk, became, also during the reign of Elizabeth, the leader of the first agrarian revolt and paid for this deed on the scaffold, is the hero of this first chapter of our narrative. He was a fellow of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and published in 1585 a tract The glorious and beautiful Garland of Man's Glorification ; containing the Godlye misterie of heavenly Jerusalem with a dedication to Queen Elizabeth. Three years later, Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Norwich, summoned him to his court, and condemned him on a charge of heresy. In a letter to Burghley, Lord High Treasurer, the Bishop urged Kett's speedy execution, "as a dangerous person of blasphemous opinions." The Articles of Heretical Pravity attributed by Scambler to Kett show that he was a millenarian who maintained that Jesus with his Apostles were then in Judaea gathering there God's people and that the faithful must go to Jerusalem. According to Kett's convic? tion Christ was " not God but a good man who suffered once for the world " and will " be made God after his second resurrection ". Kett was condemned to death and burned alive in the castle ditch at Norwich on 14th January, 1589. It is reported that when he went to the fire he was leaping and dancing, and that when in the fire he cried only " Blessed be God ! " and so continued until he was suffocated. The millenarian element tending to the Restoration of the Jews can clearly be discerned in Kett's views. He considered Judaea and Jerusalem as the scene of the coming redemption and looked forward to a gathering of God's people in the Holy Land. That this was understood literally of Israel is in accordance with Kett's Unitarian conviction which resembles in some degree the Jewish Messianic faith and was perhaps influenced by contemporary Jewish teaching. Moreover, soon after Kett's execution, in 1590, a tract, apparently suggested by the martyr's fate, was</page><page sequence="6">io6 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) published wherein Kett was expressly blamed for his belief in Israel's return. This publication, although directed against such an expectation, must be regarded as the first known document in which the Restoration of the Jews was dealt with in a discursive way by an English author. Written in Latin by the prominent scholar and Calvinist theologian Andrew Willet (died 1621), the tract was entitled De Universali at JVovissima Judeorum Vocatione and dedicated to Lord Burghley. This may be taken as an indication both of the importance attributed to the subject and of the fact that the publication of the tract was in connection with Kett's trial and condemnation. Willet foretold and advocated the general conversion of the Jews in the sense of Paul's prophecy in Romans XI, but rejected the idea that they could regain the earthly government of their country. If the Jews, Willet argues, did not succeed in re-establishing their commonwealth in antiquity under more favourable conditions, and even with the help of the Emperor Julian, when they were deceived in their Messianic hopes for fifteen hundred years, how can they expect that they will be restored now while they are dispersed, and their tribes? Judah, Levi, and Benjamin?so confused that discrimination between them is quite impossible ? He dismisses also as a fable the belief based on the apocryphal book of Ezra, that the Lost Tribes of the Israelites are still existent and will return to Palestine. We learn from a passage that Willet was quite familiar with David Reubeni's and Solomon Molko's activities. Moreover the comparison of Molko with Francis Kett provides the best evidence that Kett's views were considered as directed to a Restoration of Israel. With regard to the historic character of this remark, I quote this passage in the original language :? " In ista heresi de Israelitarum reversione nimium sibi placuit homo ille impurissimus qui se Solomonem regem praedicabat, at dignas tanta impietate poenas Mantuae in Italia sub Carolo quinto Caesare subiit and sustinuit : and Kettus ille nostrus Anglus iustissima sententia nuper ignis and flammae adjudicatus est, Norvicci crematus, in consimili heresi deprehensus, obstinate persistens." 1 Willet's tract probably influenced the distinguished theologian Thomas Draxe who in 1608 published a book on the same subject and even with a partly identical title : The World's Resurrection or the Calling of the Jews?a familiar Commentary upon the eleventh Chapter of Saint Paul to the Romaines . . . Conversion was also for Draxe the essence of that mysterious event termed Calling of the Jews, but unlike Willet he did not reject the idea of Israel's earthly restoration. His millenarian perspective is reflected in the close link between the redemption of mankind and the fate of the Jews. The idea that they owed their preservation to unfathomable designs of Provi? dence was expressed by Draxe with great frankness and warmth :? " It is a marvellous work of God, and not without mystery, that the Jews, wandering and dispersed in all countries almost, should still continue such a distinct and unconfounded nation, . . . and so constant keeping and observing of (as much as they possibly may) their ancient laws, rites, and ceremonies. . . . They have been in the time of greatest persecution, when the tyrants of the world sought to extinguish and root out the Scriptures, (and still are) the faithful keepers of the Old Testament : and all this may put us in some good hope of their future calling and conversion." 1 " In this heresy of the belief in the return of the Israelites that most infamous man has indulged too much who proclaimed himself King Solomon but for such a great blasphemy suffered due punish? ment [at the stake] under the Emperor, Charles V, at Mantua in Italy [in 1532] : and Kett, our Englishman, who, having been caught in a similar heresy and stubbornly maintained it, was by a most just sentence recently condemned to death by fire and flames, and burnt at Norwich."</page><page sequence="7">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) IO7 Draxe outlines a complete plan for promoting the materialization of this hope, but not without an astonishing criticism on the behaviour of the Christians against the Jews. With regard to this attitude we may consider Thomas Draxe as one of the pioneers of toleration and readmission as well as of the Restoration of the Jews. Six years before the Baptist Leonard Busher in his Plea for liberty of conscience (1614) fought against the exclusion of the Jews from England, arguing that their conversion was impeded by this measure, Draxe wrote the following courageous words :? " We must not roughly either contemne much less condemne the Jews, nor expell them out of our coasts and countries but hope well of them, pray for them, and labour to win them by our Holy zeal and Christian example." The following passage may well be understood as referring to the expected actual return of the Jews to their land, although a merely spiritual meaning in the Pauline sense cannot be ruled out :? " Then shall the miserable and seduced Jews be brought home, the hearts of God's people replenished with inspeakable joy, all nations shall glorify God and we shall in short time be fully and finely perfected and glorified." In a later work, An alarm to the last judgment (1615), Draxe took up the matter again, and spoke more distinctly of the earthly restoration. This, however, may be already ascribed to the influence of his extraordinary contemporary, Thomas Brightman, who, by the directness of the approach to the central point of the question and by the enduring inspiration he gave to authors similarly minded, may be regarded as the father of the doctrine concerning the Restoration of the Jews. Thomas Brightman (born 1562), earned his fame not before his early death in 1607. Two years later, his opus mysticum Apocalypsis Apocalypseos was published in Latin. The first English edition, under the title Revelation of Revelation, followed in 1616. It has been said of Brightman that his life was most evangelical and he himself claimed that he had written his work " under Divine InspirationIt became, indeed, a Puritan text-book which survived the reigns of James and Charles. The main subject of Brightman's Revelation of Revelation was the overthrow of the Antichrist whom he identified with papal Rome. This event will be followed by the destruction of the Turks and by the Calling of the Jews, what Brightman considered as the final and most joyful happening. It consists not only in their becoming a Christian Nation but also in their return to Palestine and in the restora? tion of their kingdom. Brightman formulated and answered this essential question with a striking precision :? " What ? Shall they [the Jews] return to Jerusalem again ? There is nothing more certain : the prophets do everywhere confirm it and beat upon it." Brightman based, however, the fundamental argument of the thesis put forward in his Revelation of Revelation not on the predictions of the prophets, but on John's Revelation, particularly Chapter XVI, verse 12, where is narrated the vision of the sixth Angel who, at the command of the great voice, by pouring out his vial, dries up the river Euphrates that the way of the kings of the East might be prepared. Referring to the apocryphal Apocalypse of Ezra, Brightman declared the Jews themselves as identical with the Kings of the East and the drying up of the Euphrates as a providential analogy of the miracle at the Red Sea in the time of the Exodus from Egypt. Like the early Christian father, Lactantius, Brightman predicted " that the whole East shall be in obedience and subjection unto them, so that this people are not</page><page sequence="8">io8 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) called kings unworthily, in regard of their large and wide jurisdiction and empire ". He described, however, the aim of the restored Jewish commonwealth as a peaceful one :? " to make the goodness of God shine forth to all the world when they shall see Him to give to that nation (which is now and hath been for many ages scattered throughout the whole world and inhabited nowhere but by leave and entreaty) their owne habitations where their fathers dwelt. ..." Brightman gives exact calculations of the time when these events will occur. They are mostly based on the Book of Daniel, and betray as to their method similarity to those of Isaac Abrabanel. The year 1650 is regarded by Brightman as the beginning of the Apocalyptic period expected to last until 1695. Brightman dealt with all these questions also in a special work, published in 1614 in Latin and in 1635 in an English translation. The instructive title of this book reads : A most comfortable Exposition of the last and most difficult part of the Prophecies of Daniel?wherein the restoring of the Jews and their calling to the faith of Christ, after the utter overthrow of their last enemies, is set forth in lively colours. . . . This book was especially destined for the Jews and, therefore, as stated in the preface, intentionally based exclusively on parts of the Old Testament (Daniel and the Song of Songs). To what extent Brightman himself realized that he was about to initiate a new doctrine, may be gathered from a striking sentence in the Revelation of Revelation : " I have seth downe these things with more store of words, because I would give our Divines an occasion of thinking more seriously of these things." This purpose was to be fulfilled indeed. The influence of Brightman's posthumous work can be clearly traced in the respective English literature. Thus, Thomas Draxe in his new book already mentioned not only referred to 4 4 master Brightman " but quoted him copiously, particularly when dealing with the Restora? tion of the Jews, as one of the signs heralding the approach of the Last Judgment. " Shall the Jews be restored unto their Country ? " he asks like Brightman with great frankness. The answer, although on Brightman's lines, shows a characteristic caution. " It is very probable," he declares, adding three reasons :? First, all Prophets seem to speak of their return, secondly, they shall no longer be in bondage, thirdly, God having for many ages forsaken his people shall the more notably show them mercy. Another follower of Brightman was Giles Fletcher (1549-1611), an eminent Elizabethan who attracts the attention of posterity for many reasons. Although his two sons, Phineas and Giles Fletcher the Younger, gained more fame in English literature by poetry than their father, he, too, belongs to English literature as poet, historian, and prolific writer on various subjects. But his main merit lay in the diplomatic field, where he proved " a faithful agent for Queen Elizabeth at the palace of the Great Czar of Muscovy ". He was there in the years 1588 and 1589 and secured, not without serious differences with the court, valuable advantages for the English merchants. After his return from Russia, Fletcher published a book on this then still very remote country. Another fruit of his stay in Russia is a treatise devoted to the question of the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel. It was not published during Fletcher's lifetime, but only sixty years after his death, when the tract, under the title Essay upon some probable grounds that the present Tartars near the Caspian Sea, are the Posterity of the ten tribes of Israel was edited, in 1677, by Samuel Lee as the first part of</page><page sequence="9">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) IO9 the book Israel Redux, or the Restauration of Israel. According to Lee's information, the manuscript of Fletcher's treatise had been delivered to him by the author's grandson, Phineas Fletcher, a worthy citizen of London. The fact that Lee gave such prominence to Fletcher's essay shows the significance attributed to it by this widely learned scholar. Moreover, the paper was re-published eighty years later by another pioneer of the Restoration doctrine, the mathematical divine, William Whiston, Sir Isaac Newton's successor at Cambridge. When the essay actually was written is unknown, but as Fletcher died in 1611 and he refers in the tract to Brightman whose work did not appear before 1609, we may suppose that in the treatise on the Ten Tribes we have before us one of Fletcher's last literary produc? tions. The belief in the continued existence of the Israelite tribes was common to Jewish Messianism and Christian Millenarianism. Many conjectures were made concerning the whereabouts of the tribes, their identity with other nations, and the part they will play in the events preceding the coming of the Messiah and the Millennium. The appearance of David Reubeni and the news spread over Europe about a Kingdom of the tribe of Reuben gave a new impulse to the old interest in the Tribes. A striking sign of this current is a curious English print which bears the title : News from Rome. Of two mightie Armies, as well footmen as horsmen : The first of the great Sophy, the other of an Hebrew people, till this time not discovered, coming from the Mountaines of Caspij, who pretend their wane is to recover the Land of Promise, &amp; expell the Turks out of Christendome. With their multitude of Souldiers, &amp; new invention of weapons. Also certaine prophecies of a Jew serving to that Armie, called Caleb Shilocke, prognosti? cating many strange accidents, which shall happen the following yeere, 1607. Translated out of Italian into English by W. W. The first part of the pamphlet consists of a letter from a Signor Valesco to the " Renowned Lord, Don Mathias de Rensie, of Venice ", dated from Rome the first day of June, 1606. But there is evidence that the tract was a reprint of a previous edition, the year of the prophecy having been altered at the time of republication. This fact is, by the way, of considerable literary interest, as the Shakespearean scholar, James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps based on it the conjecture that the name of Shylock in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, first performed in 1596, was suggested by this tract. If this theory is correct, we are perhaps justified in assuming that Shakespeare was not unaware of the messianic tendencies then current among both Jews and Christians, and that they to some extent have a share in the origin of the play of the humiliated Jew's scornful rebellion. The authorship of the pamphlet is still a mystery. The assumption that it has to be considered as an attempt to enlist the co-operation of England in the liberation of Europe from the Turks, and that it thus represents a continuation of the activities initiated by Reubeni and Molko in Rome about fifty years earlier is but a guess. The author seems to have been rather afraid of the approaching conflagration, as he at the end of his story turns to all Christians with the warning to pray to God to withhold the impending calamities and to convert their hearts. He informs the reader of an imminent war to be waged by Hungary, Bohemia, and Moscovia with the purpose of driving the Turks out of Europe and of a Hebrew people so far unknown, mighty and marvellously swift, about to recover the Land of Promise. Reference is made to the Hebrew tribes driven by Alexander the Great beyond the Caspian Mountains where they remained hidden</page><page sequence="10">no SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) for centuries until the Dutch arrived in their country and taught them the science of modern weapons. The mighty army, thus built up, is thoroughly described with all particulars and reported to be already very near the frontier of Palestine. There is in some respect a striking conformity of Giles Fletcher's essay with this pamphlet. Fletcher gives many reasons for his assumption that the Tartars confined within a district near the Caspian Sea may be the posterity of the Ten Tribes of Israel carried captive by Shalmaneser into the mountainous region of Assyria and Media. Although no mention is made of the Khazars, the inhabitants of the Jewish kingdom which actually had been situated in the neighbourhood of those regions and, according to some sources, had survived even until the fourteenth century, Fletcher's speculations were most probably based on hearsay about that proselyte nation. But while leaving the clarification of the facts to " further and future inquiries of merchants and travellers to be discussed and argued among the learned ", he did not hesitate to identify, in a true millenarian manner, the rediscovered tribes with the Kings of the East of John's Revelation. His interpretation follows that of Bright man, praised by Fletcher as " the last interpreter of that book, whom God endued with special gifts and great brightness after his name, for that full clearing and exposition ofthat prophecy, above all that hitherto have written on it ". To be sure, Fletcher attributes the title " the Kings of the East " to the Ten Tribes only who, after having crossed the miraculously dried Euphrates, will be privileged with the re-establishment of the Kingdom in the Holy Land. The scattered children of Judah and Benjamin?that is the Jewish people?were, according to Fletcher, not to be vouchsafed the grace of returning immediately with the Ten Tribes. They will be, however, by the example of those other tribes, encouraged to join together and to march out of the places where they are now towards the country of Judaea without any hindrance or resistance of other nations. Fletcher is confident that God in preserving that people from mixture and confusion with other nations did this for the purpose that the truth and certainty of His word may be known when He for His own mercy and promise sake will receive and call them again. Thus Fletcher's short treatise reveals clearly the fundamental principles of the doctrine which began its march through the ages, the belief that the Jews will not only be converted but, together with the descendants of the Ten Tribes of Israel, also restored to the land assured to them by an eternal covenant. Soon after the death of Brightman, Draxe, and Fletcher, at the beginning of the seventeenth century, a man, Henry Finch, appeared who for several reasons was to become more closely associated than any of his predecessors with the origin of the doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews. The fact that he developed more than initiated the doctrine, that he even has to be regarded as the last representative of the first group of supporters does not diminish the merits of this extraordinary personality. Through Henry Finch the question of Israel's restoration, particularly in its political sense, became for the first time the subject of a special and comprehensive treatise. Furthermore, the persecution he had to suffer for his belief in the revival of the Jewish people gave a dramatic colouring and brought the rising Christian theory of the return of the Jews into the limelight of history. Henry Finch was not a divine as were Brightman and Draxe, but like Giles Fletcher a layman. He was the son of Sir Thomas Finch, Knight Marshal of the Army who, on active service at Havre, was drowned in 1563 on the warship Grey? hound. Henry, born in 1558, was educated at Oriel College, Oxford, and was</page><page sequence="11">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) III called to the Bar at Gray's Inn in 1585. He entered Parliament in 1593 for Canter? bury and was appointed Recorder of Sandwich in 1613. As a lawyer he gained a great and lasting reputation by his Nomotechnia, a treatise on common law, published in 1613 in legal French and dedicated to James I. As an exposition of the common law, Finch's Law, as the book was called, was superseded only by Blackstone's Commentaries, and so far as it dealt with jurisprudence only by the great work of Austin. The unusual skill and learning shown by Finch in this work brought him into the first rank of contemporary lawyers. In 1616 he was made a Serjeant at law, and knighted. His distinction as a legal expert may also be gathered from the fact that he belonged to the group of outstanding jurists who assisted Francis Bacon in his attempt, fruitless as it was, to codify the Statute Law. But law and legal matters were by no means the only interests of Henry Finch. This contemporary of Bacon and Shakespeare was a true representative of the Elizabethan renaissance, a man with a wide horizon and of great erudition, well acquainted with classical literature, who liked to quote Plato and Cicero in his legal work, and was, above all, an eager student of the Bible and theology. This exemplary logical and reasoning mind was indeed capable of deep religious insight and mystic visions. Calvinism with its bibliocratical tendency appealed to his legal mind and involved him in meditations on divinity and a true divine government. In this respect Dudley Fenner, the eminent Calvinist theologian, became in par? ticular his inspiration. Religious and legal aspects were in Finch's thoughts closely bound together, as he himself has expressed it in a most eloquent manner in the preface to his work The sacred doctrine of Divinitie, gathered out of the word of God, published anonymously in 1599 and erroneously ascribed to Dudley Fenner. Here we find the following passage : " And for my parte, I am of that judgement, that it is so far from being unmeet for a Gentleman of the Innes of the Court, to deale in these Holy studies, that I could wish of the Lorde, that the Noble Men of the Court itselfe, and all others whose wits are either by nature or education more pregnant, would fine and file them upon such endeavours as these are. So should they fitt themselves not only to pass from the Princes Court into the Lordes owne Court, their to reigne for ever more ; but should able themselves ten thousands times better to all honourable services of their Prince and countrie in a wiser and more polique government of the Commonwealth, than Macchiavel that cursed hellhound can furnish thereof. For besides many notable draughts of policy, here and there scattered throughout the whole Scripture, especially the stories : that one book of Proverbs as it were the Lord's owne Politickes, is able to yielde more sound precepts of sure and safe government, than, I will not say Macchiavel but than all Macchiavels in the world when they shall have met and shall beaten out their brains about that consultation." Thus Henry Finch's personality reflected exactly that type of Puritan who, to quote Dow's essay again, though ultra-Christians in some respect of their creed, found in the Scripture of the Old Testament rather than of the New the fundamentals of their religious thought and conduct. A personal relation to another similarly disposed man, William Gouge, teacher of Hebrew at King's College, Cambridge, and Rector of St. Anne's, Blackfriars, who was, as has been stated, the only steadfast pupil of Philip Ferdinand, the baptised Jewish scholar, strengthened Henry Finch's inclination to theology. Gouge was twenty years younger than Finch. In him, whose strictness of fife and piety gained him the name of an 44 arch-puritan ",</page><page sequence="12">112 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) the famous lawyer found an enthusiastic admirer of his divine aspirations. Induced by this admiration, Gouge published in 1615 Finch's theological treatise An Exposition of the Song of Solomon called Canticles. In his preface to the Christian reader Gouge declared : " The author as a man of great place and note in the Commonwealth, his humility will not suffer him to have his name made known. Though by profession to be not a Divine, yet in knowledge of those learned tongues wherein the Scriptures were written, and in understanding of the mysteries contained in them, he is a very deep and profound Divine." The Exposition shows Finch an adherent of the traditional allegorical method used for the explanation of the Song of Songs. In the great crisis of the Church, the biblical love-song more than ever has been looked upon as a key to the expected healing of the break within Christendom ; the mystical union of the Church with the Lord. Finch followed these lines but applied at the same time, like Brightman, the meaning of the Song to what he called the " church of the Jews". Referring to Song of Songs, VIII, 9, 10, he speaks of" a particular church of the Jews (which) shall then be made the Catholick church of all the world ; a new manner of citie must be built : wherefor plucking down the mid wall of partition, a new wall and new gates shall be made to enlarge the city : a new government and discipline, new officers, pastors, teachers, etc., to administer it. . . . The house of saints shall be erected by the preaching of the Gospels to be the palace of the great king : a stately and magnificent palace. ..." The vision of a rebuilt and magnificent New Jerusalem described in this work bears already traits of the revived early Christian eschatological views. Finch's next theological work, the enlarged Doctrine of Divinity, with a treatise concerning the Old Testament or the Promise, may be considered a continuation of these perspectives. One only of the two planned volumes of this work was published in 1617. As the title indicates, the book visualises the Old Testament of which, in Finch's words, the Jews were trusted to be the keepers and registers as the Messianic promise of redemption. Although the second volume did not appear we know from a remark made by Finch himself that he dealt in this work with the ultimate events and that he tried to describe them thoroughly. But the theological attempts of the famous lawyer would have hardly aroused attention of posterity, if there had not, in 1621, appeared that book which was destined to be epoch-making by giving the most powerful impulse to the development of the doctrine concerning the Restoration of the Jews. The title of the work which ran to 247 pages was : The World's Great Restauration or The Calling of the Jews and (with them) of all the Nations and Kingdoms of the earth, to the faith of Christ Like Finch's previous theological writings, this book also was published anonymously, the publisher being again Finch's friend and apostle, William Gouge. Once again he praised the author in an introductory letter as a man 66 who hath dived deeper into that mysteries that I can doe ", emphasizing particularly " his great understanding of the Hebrew tongue ". Moreover much was done by Gouge and the author himself to emphasize the extraordinary significance attributed to the book. Besides the publisher's letter to the Christian Reader, a lengthy Epistle dedicatory " To all the Seed of Jacob, farre and wide dispersed " and another dedication to the Children of Israel " written for their sake in Hebrew " and translated into English was prefixed to the book. In the first edition a special leaf was reserved for the Hebrew lines, a mosaic of quotations from the Old Testament. The English translation reads as follows :?</page><page sequence="13">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) 113 " The Galling of the Jewes. A Present To Judah And The Children Of Israel that joyned with him, and to Joseph (the valiant tribe of Ephraim) and all the House of Israel that joyned with him. " The Lord give them grace, that they may returne and seeke Jehovah their God* and David their King, in these latter dayes." What this unique present to the Jews really meant, was explained in the Epistle dedicatory which opens, " Daughter of Tsion1 by fleshly generations : Jerusalem which sticcest close to carnall rites and ordinances, and to the legall worship : To you I bring this present, whereever you dispersed. A spark out of a Diamond ; one drop out of that Sea, which the whole Ocean cannot holde. Flowing from the infinitens of wisdome revealed in the Scriptures. Concerning thy repayre, and thee home again, and to marry thee to himselfe by faith for everymore. . . " The letter continues in this style, praise and blame of the Jews being put together in sharp contrast. Needless to say Finch makes the alleged offence committed against Jesus responsible for the calamities which have befallen the Jews during the dispersion. In this respect he does not differ from the traditional Christian attitude. But he predicts a great change which is about to be performed by the Lord :? " Out of all the places of thy dispersion, East, West, North and South, his purpose is to bring thee home again, and to marry thee to himselfe by faith for evermore. In stead that thou wast desolate and forsaken, and sattest as a widow, thou shalt flourish as in thy youth. Nay, above and beyond thy youth. . . . Out of thee shall come gems and precious stones, richer than of the Saphire ; ruddier than the Carbuncle, shining above the Topaze. Ezraes, Nehemies, Mordecaes, builders of a better Temple than that which thou hast doated upon so long. . . . Thy gates shall be made of pearles, and thy street of pure gold. All the Gentiles shall bring their glory into thy empire, and fall downe before thee. ..." The treatise itself contains the scriptural evidence and a thorough description of this vision. Finch based his assumptions on a literal interpretation of the biblical prophecies which reminds one of the method applied by the early Christian fathers and at the same time betrays the accuracy of a trained legal mind : " Where Israel, Judah, Tsion, Jerusalem, etc., are named . . . the Holy Ghost meant not the spiritual Israel, or Church of God collected of the Gentiles, no nor of the Jews and Gentiles both (for each of these have their promises . . . apart) but Israel properly descended out of Jacob's loynes. " The same judgment is to be made of their returning to their land and ancient seates, the conquest of their foes, the fruitfulness of their soile, the glorious Church they shall erect in the land itselfe of Judah, their bearing rule farre and neere. These and such like are not Allegories setting forth in terrene similitudes but meant really and literally of the Jewes. . . . Neither were Josias or Cyrus more plainely named hundred of yeares before they were borne, then these things are plainely delivered the confirming of that people's faith. Wherefore wee need not be afraid to avere and mainteyne, that one day they shall come to Jerusalem againe, be King and chief Monarches of the earth, sway and governe all, for the Glory of Christ that shall shine among them. And that is Lactantius5 faith (Lib. 7, Cap. 15) : The Romane name (I will speak it because it must one day be) shall be taken from the earth, and the Empire shall returne to Asia, and again shall the East beare dominion, and the West be in subjection. ... 55 1 This is how Finch transcribes the Hebrew word, " Zion."</page><page sequence="14">SIR HENRY FINCH ( 1558-1625) The most important consequence of this interpretation is the approach of the reshaped Christian views to Jewish Messianism. Neither the outspoken conversionist tendency of Finch's doctrine nor his and Gouge's sharp rejection of "Jewish fables " (rabbinical concepts and abrogated ceremonies) can conceal this fundamental attitude. It means the break with the practice of ascribing the curses of the prophecies to the Jews but the blessings to the Christians and the Church. It means that Jewish history is again understood as a unity stretching from the biblical times until the present and future days. The Jews living in the Diaspora are being looked upon as a distinct nation, the destinies of which are firmly determined in Scripture and ruled by the same divine purpose as in the biblical era. Above all, their final deliverance will consist in their spiritual redemption and incidentally in their restoration to the Land of Israel. Finch proceeds methodically in outlining these expectations according to the oracles of God. After having laid down his main views in certain aphorisms or positions, he surveys and examines all pertinent prophecies, beginning with Balaam and ending with St. John's Revelation. There is no doubt that Thomas Brightman was Finch's prototype, the main aspects of The World's Great Restauration being identical with those of the Revelation of Revelation and Brightman's Exposition of Daniel. It is also probable that Finch, although arguing against rabbinical concepts, used directly Hebrew sources. His calculations and the modelling of the ultimate deliverance after the Exodus from Egypt recalls especially, as in the case of Bright man's prophecies, Don Isaac Abrabanel's conjectures made in his Messianic treatises. We may perhaps even assume that the man whom Gouge praised so enthusiastically for having dived deep into the divine mysteries was not unfamiliar with cabbalistic views. The sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century was the classic age of Jewish mysticism. In Safed, the city of mystics, Moses Cordovero (1522-1570), Isaac Luria (i 534-1572), the greatest genius of the revived secret doctrine, and Hayyim Vital Calabrese (1543-1620), his pupil and apostle, developed a new cabbalistic teaching. One of its main characteristics was the blend of mystical and Messianic ideas. It may be not inappropriate to mention that Tikkun, the central notion of Lurian mysticism, means exactly the Restoration of all things concluded by the Redemption of Israel. An echo of these mystical trends could have reached England through various channels, particularly through the instrumen? tality of the Jewish Hebraists who had settled there at that time. Even an outstanding cabbalistic philosopher, the Marrano Abraham Cohen de Herrera (died in 1631), who was captured in Spain, lived during Finch's lifetime for a time in England. To be sure, no metaphysical meditations are to be found in Sir Henry Finch's book, and despite the main title not the Restoration of the World but the Calling of the Jews is the principal item of his treatise. It means, in accordance with the teaching of his predecessors, both the conversion and the restoring of the Jews and the Ten Tribes, that is of the whole nation of Israel, " not of a few, singled out here and then." The first gathering will be out of the north and the east. These crowds will repair towards their own country. On the way the Euphrates will be made dry for them to pass over, as the Red Sea and the Jordan were made dry for their fore? fathers. In the land of Judaea they will be opposed by the Turks but a great victory will be won on the shore of the Sea of Gennesaret, God miraculously fighting for them. This will mark the end of the Turks, the " little horn " of Daniel's fourth beast, identified by Finch with the Saracen, the other three monarchies being the</page><page sequence="15">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) 115 Persian, the Macedonian, and the Roman Empire. These catastrophes leading to the establishment of the Jewish Kingdom will happen between 1650 and 1695. Although this whole conception was based on Brightman's expositions, Finch's perspectives showed a special colouring by the mixture of religion and politics reflected in the vision of the restored Jewish Commonwealth. The perfect theocracy, the ideal of the epoch, is here visualized and projected by the theological lawyer into a redeemed Palestine. Notwithstanding the spiritual character of the kingdom, Finch leaves no doubt about its actual reality. He declares of the returned Jews and of their restored country :?" They shall inhabit all the parts of the land. They shall live in safety, plant their vineyards, and continue to stay there for ever. The land shall be more fertile than ever it was, the country more populous than before ; there shall be no separation of the ten tribes from the other two, but all make one entire Kingdom and a most flourishing Commonwealth." Finch speaks expressly of a " body politic where unto all other corporations in the world are but counterfaits ", where " knowledge, wisdom, pietie, justice, tem? perance, honour and magnanimity will be found ". This ideal Jewish kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital, not a Church or a commonwealth created elsewhere, shall become the centre of the world. Also in this respect Finch's picture did not permit any uncertainty that it had to be understood literally. " Then shall be established that most glorious kingdom of Jerusalem, under which all the tribes shall be united. So ample shall be their dominion that not only the Egyptians, Assyrians, and the most extensive countries of the East, converted by their example, but even the rest, the Christians, shall of their own accord submit themselves and acknowledge their primacy.'' Thus Finch's book culminated in a sublime millenarian vision, that boldly contrasted the eschatological prospects to contemporary realities. It roused hopes of an imminent upheaval the completeness of which could surely not go further than did this imaginary raising of the most helpless and persecuted of peoples to glory and boundless power crowned by the establishment of a connection between its deliver? ance and the redemption of mankind. This was indeed a revolutionary book. It must be realized that the Puritans relied on the Bible as the modern man on eco? nomics and sociology. Daniel and the Apocalypse provided for them the test for their political intentions and expectations. From these books they drew a new interpretation of history and the justification of their revolutionary aspects. Finch's book was a shining example of this kind of visionary politics. It was not surprising that The World's great Restauration provoked violent opposi? tion in a period aimed at absolutism in Church and State. James I was King of England. His hostile attitude towards Puritanism combined with his resentment against Parliament foreshadowed the approaching storm. Since the Conference at Hampton Court of 1604 the persecution of the Calvinists had been active. Many fled to the Continent, and the year 1620 witnessed the historic voyage of the " Mayflower " with the Pilgrims sailing to the New World. There were among the persecuted sectarians also John Traske and his followers who advocated a strict observance of the Sabbath. In the years 1618-1620 some of them were imprisoned on a charge of Judaizing. But besides these happenings great historic events coincided with the appearance (in 1621) of Finch's book and contributed to the impression caused by its prophecies.</page><page sequence="16">SIR HENRY FINCH ( 1558-1625) The Thirty Years War was in its initial stage. The defeat of Frederick, the Elector Palatine and head of the Protestant Union, now king of Bohemia and son in-law of James I, in the battle on the White Hill near Prague had just occurred (1620). The Catholic Empire with Spain's assistance was advancing. This meant incidentally that the bulwark against Turkey was gathering strength. The Ottoman Empire was apparently in decline. In 1571 the battle of Lepanto had crippled the Ottoman sea power; " the Treaty of Torok, in 1606, fixing the boundary between Turkish and Austrian territory marked the point of time at which the first momentum of Turkish conquest came to a stay " (H. A. L. Fisher). Finch's forecast of great commotions, and particularly his prediction that the end of Turkey?the supposed Gog and Magog of the Bible?was near at hand, was perhaps not a mere guess. On the contrary, the millenarian expectations expressed in his book seemed to be somewhat realistic. Thus it is not surprising that the religious as well as the political implications of Finch's book were fully and at once realized by the contemporary readers. In particular the book could not escape the attention of the witty, well informed student on the throne, who wrote, disputed, and harangued, and who himself was an author of various theological works. A clash between the visionary lawyer and " the wisest fool in Christendom " was inevitable. The King took the book of the Serjeant-at-law, whose anonymity was soon pierced, as a personal libel. Finch's religious views were in sharp opposition to the episcopalian opinions of James and even more to the King's theory that his reign having been established by the will of God was in itself a perfect theocracy. There was no doubt, that he, too, was meant by Finch to be included among the kings of the earth who would bow down before the ruler of the Jewish kingdom. James was fifty-five when the book appeared, so that in 1650 he would be expected to undertake the long journey at the age of eighty-four. James was reported to have said that " he shall be a poor king, and he is so old that he cannot tell how to do homage at Jeru? salem ". The arrest of Finch and Gouge followed. Both were thrown into prison in March, 1621. Finch was examined before the High Commission, a kind of ecclesias? tical Star Chamber and an instrument for the persecution of too ardent protestants. He gave his answer in writing. Gouge presented six propositions which were tested by George Abbot, Archbishop of Canterbury. It took several weeks before Finch was released, after having disclaimed " the opinion which His Majesty thinks is asserted in his book " and after an apology " for having written so unadvisedly ". Gouge had to suffer imprisonment for nine weeks ; his release was ordered after Archbishop Abbot's approval of Gouge's propositions. The release of the famous author and of his publisher meant, however, by no means the end of the affair. The appearance of the great manifesto for the restoration of the Jewish people is marked not only by the trial against its originators but also by a striking reaction in all bodies where public opinion could be expressed at that time : in Parliament, in the pulpit, and at the University. Thanks to a thorough edition of the common debates in 1621 arranged by the American historian Wallace Notestein, we are informed that the House during the first session held after the seven years recess, expressed its attitude towards Sir Henry Finch's millenarian views. There exist very instructive annotations about the matter in the diaries of John Pym, who was to become one of the leaders in the Great Rebellion, of Sir Thomas Barrington and in an anonymous Journal. We gather from these records that Parliament besides the historic task of supporting the Protestant cause in the war</page><page sequence="17">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) 117 on the Continent, had to deal, in May, 1621, among other matters, with a Bill concerning the Sabbath, and that on the occasion of the debate on this Bill one amendment only was proposed. This referred to the name Sabbath, the alteration of which to the Lord's Day was desired, because, as Sir Edward Coke, the former Chief Justice of the King's bench who made the report, declared : " many were inclined to Judaism and dream that the Jews shall have regiment and kings must lay down their crowns to their feet." John Pym referred expressly not only to theTraskites but also to " other opinionists concerning the terrene Kingdome of the Jewes ", while Sir Thomas Barrington even mentioned " a book or two . . . lately set forth of the Jews ruling over the world ". Thus, strangely enough, the fear of a Jewish world domination created in the English Parliament, more than 300 years ago, by a book whose author was not a Jew but a distinguished Englishman, was responsible for the fact that the word Sabbath was denied the honour of being used in England officially as the name of the seventh day. The reaction of the Church to Finch's book is recorded in two literary docu? ments which are memorable for the personalities of their authors as well as for their contents. The most vehement attack on the Calling of the Jews was made by William Laud who, under Charles I, was to become Archbishop of Canterbury, the first minister of the Crown, and the most ruthless oppressor of Puritanism and freedom of worship. Laud, at that time Dean of Gloucester and one of His Majesty's Chap? lains, chose an outstanding occasion for his philippic against Finch's book : the celebration of the king's birthday on the 21st June, 1621. Laud preached on that day at Wansted, a hunting seat in the forest of Waltham, before the King on the theme " Pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Ps. cxxii, 6). He poured out a heap of biting sarcasm over Finch and his book. " God, God, what a fine people have we here ? " the King's Chaplain asked, after having quoted the passages on the restored Jerusalem and the kings of the Gentiles who shall do homage to the Jews. And the derisive answer was " Men in the moon ". Laud calls Finch " an exquisite arithmetician ", who found out a third coming of Christ. He ridicules the belief of the " good man " in the existence of the Ten Tribes, and denounces him as a helper of the Jesuites by naming three of them? Salmeron, Lorinus, and Crispoldi?who expressed similar views as the English lawyer. When we read these invectives we cannot help wondering that Finch escaped the fate of the unhappy Francis Kett, a fate which, ironically, the future had in store for Finch's severe critic. Out of the despised millenarian ideas emerged the movement that brought Laud himself under the axe on 10th January, 1645. The other learned assault made upon Finch's book was not less spectacular, the scene being the University of Oxford, and the speaker the highest authority on theology, the regius professor John Prideaux, afterwards Bishop of Worcester. On an important occasion in 1621, Prideaux delivered an inaugural discourse in Latin on the subject " De Judaeorum Vocatione ", thus using the same title as Andrew Willet thirty years before. Prideaux's attitude to the new current, too, resembled that of the Elizabethan scholar. The regius professor opened his discourse with the following passage : " It is known to nearly all, how, amidst our other calamities, Judaism has lately prevailed, to the disgrace of divines and the scandal of the weak. Three opinions are flying about on this subject: that of the madmen, who think that the legal ceremonies to be recalled, that of the dreamers, in whose brains a Jewish monarchie-throne and the frame of a temple are floating ; that of the zealots, who</page><page sequence="18">Il8 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) are looking shortly for I know not what sublimated doctrine, and doctors more than angelical and seraphic from them (the Jews) when converted. ..." With a similar contempt as Laud, Prideaux ridiculed the adherents of the millenarian school by an ironical repetition of their predictions, distinctly referring to Brightman and to Finch's book. He surveys, in order to discredit the belief in the Restoration, the Messianic efforts from Bar Kochba to Solomon Molko. " Such Hebrew roots have been swallowed by some without a grain of salt," he adds with the regret that there are among them men " otherwise learned and orthodox ". While finding the question of a general conversion of the Jews far from being un? disputed, Prideaux discards the idea of the Restoration utterly as a part of the scheme of a Jewish supremacy. Thus, once again we meet, this time within the contemplation of a theologian, the same fear of a "Jewish menace " which was at least partly instrumental for the debate in Parliament. Strange as these fears may appear to a present-day observer, they provide nevertheless much opportunity for astonishing analogies. Laud's and Prideaux's discourses were intended as epilogues. A heretical chapter was to be erased from the records of history. First it seemed as if this aim had been indeed achieved. Finch was silenced. He was 63 when he published The World's Great Restauration. Not more than four years were left to him. No later literary work of his is known. Although reinstated in his office, he was shattered by the unexpected blow. Even his financial situation became precarious, as must be assumed from the fact that in 1623 a concession was granted to his son, John Finch, Councillor at law, of probation for one year from arrest for debts which were his father's but which, from affection, he undertook to pay. Two years later, in October, 1625, Sir Henry Finch died. In the same year James I passed away. The following year saw the birth of Sabbatai Zevi. There is much symbolic significance in these dates. True, the unfortunate experiences of Finch and Gouge, who died in 1653, induced other followers to exercise caution, and the repression from which the country suffered during the reign of Charles I made itself felt in this sphere, too. But already remarkable signs indicated that Laud and Prideaux were quite mistaken when they assumed that the new doctrine had been killed by their blows. More than one witness of the vitality inherent in the Restoration-idea lived and worked in the critical decades which preceded the outbreak of the Puritan Revolution. Joseph Mede, or Mead (1586 1638), after Brightman's death the most celebrated champion of Millenarianism, did not hide his inclination to the Restoration-doctrine. " I have seen Sir Henry Finch's The World's Great Restauration," he wrote to Sir Martin Stuterville on 7th April, 1621, while Finch was still in prison, " I cannot see but for the main of the discourse, I might assert unto him, God forgive, if it be a sin, but I have thought so many a day." There are also unmistakable references to the Restoration of the Jews in Mede's own writings, especially in the Clavis Apocalyptica, which contributed so much to mould the views of subsequent writers. A striking trace of the ideas developed by the first advocates of the Restoration-doctrine may be found also in one of the greatest literary documents of the epoch. Francis Bacon who, by the way, also suffered imprisonment in 1621 in consequence of charges made against him, alluded to the vision of Sir Henry Finch, perhaps in token of his sympathy with his esteemed former collaborator. He makes a Jew, named Joabin, a merchant of Bensalem, tell the story of the Jews living in that country. Although true to their religion, they</page><page sequence="19">SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) "9 acknowledge the divine mission of Jesus, calling him the Milken Way or the Elijah of the Messiah. " And for the country of Bensalem this man would make no end of commending it, being desirous by tradition among the Jews there to have it believed that the people thereof were of the generation of Abraham by another son, whom they call Nachoran ; and that Moses by a secret cabala ordained the laws of Bensalem which they now use ; and that when the Messiah should come, and sit on his throne at Jerusalem, the King of Bensalem should sit at his feet, whereas other Kings should keep a great distance. But yet, setting aside these Jewish dreams, the man was a wise man, and learned, and of great policy and excellently seen in the laws and customs of that nation." Here we have before us a reflex of the Restoration-idea in the brains of a genius. It was at the same time an indication that this idea had been incorporated in the spiritual life of England. The work of the first English advocates of the Restoration doctrine was completed. It was done by men who had been born and who had lived in the Elizabethan era. That Golden Age of England must, therefore, be considered also the cradle of the doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews to Palestine, although the greater part of the pertinent literary documents appeared only during the reign of James I. The hour for a revival of the doctrine struck, however, not before 1640, the year in which the Great Rebellion was set in motion. Then the late pioneers of the Restoration-idea gained the support of a new generation. Above all, the name of Thomas Brightman was on the lips of many. Hanserd Knollys in his Glimpse of Siorfs glory called him " that worthy instrument of God ", his works were reprinted, and even a special tract, with the portrait of the " man bright in prophecy " was published in 1641. In this it was shown " how all that which Mr. Brightman has foretold has been fulfilled and is yet fulfilling whereby it is manifest that Mr. Brightman was a true prophet ". The great historian of the epoch, Thomas Fuller, refers to this development when he, in his splendid Pisgah Sight of Palestine (1650) refers to those " protestant divines who concur with the modern Jews in their belief that they shall be restored to a flourishing Commonwealth in Canaan ". In this connection Fuller, to whom we owe a great deal of our knowledge about the lives of the personalities linked with this subject, alluded also to Sir Henry Finch as the author who " so enlarged the future amplitude of the Jewish State (sic) that thereby he occasioned a confining to himself". But this experience was no more a deterrent. The Restoration-idea found new supporters in all sects, among the visionary enthusiasts and eccentrics like the Fifth Monarchy Men as well as among humanists and enlightened spirits like Samuel Gott, the author of that amazing book Nova Solyma, the first novel of the Jewish renascence to be written (published 1648), like Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Royal Society, and, above all, like John Milton, the poet of Puritanism. A reaction to the English Calling of the Jews came also from Jewish quarters : in Menas seh ben Israel's Hope of Israel and in the choice by Sabbatai Zevi of the Messianic year 1666 after the new calculations of the Puritans. It was on this crossroad of Jewish and English history, marked by the Readmission of the Jews to England, that Jewish Messianism joined a sympathetic current coming from a non-Jewish source. Henceforth the Jewish people's longing for redemption was again and again re-echoed in England. Even the age of enlightenment caused no setback to the doctrine, but marked rather a further development. Isaac Newton himself became one of its adherents. Thomas Burnet, author of the Sacred Theory of the Earth wrote</page><page sequence="20">I20 SIR HENRY FINCH (1558-1625) the first methodical treatise on the subject ; William Whiston, whom we have already mentioned as editor of Fletcher's discourse, enriched the doctrine with new inter? pretations of prophecies, and David Hartley, the physician and philosopher, incor? porated the Restoration-idea in his Observations on Man. In 1747 appeared the first English book dealing with the question without a conversionist tendency, S. Collet's Treatise of the future Restoration of the Jews and Israelites to their own Land. There is much reason, indeed, of being, as Mr. Cecil Roth remarked in his Presidential Address to this Society in 1936, " amazed at the number, the continuity, and the authority of the works in question, stretching back in an unbroken sequence as far as the seventeenth century " and?as we have seen?even beyond that mark. The doctrine of the Restoration of the Jews, developing from a theological theory into a popular move? ment, soon began to play an important part in the life and history of the English and the Jewish peoples. It became, as Sokolow said, " an influential factor in shaping public opinion in this country for many generations." Thus, turning from prophecy to practice, from anticipation to realization, the Restoration movement, with its astonishing number of distinguished characters who devoted themselves to the Restoration ideal, prepared England for its historic mission concerning the fate of the land and people of Israel.</page></plain_text>

bottom of page