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OF THE LATE
PROCEEDINGS AT WHITEHALL,
CONCERNING THE JEITS:
Who had desired by Rabbi Manasse's, an agent for them, that they
might return into Eng.and, and worship the God of their fathers here in the synagogues, &c. Published for satisfaction to many in several parts of England, that are desirous and inquisitive to hear the truth thereof.
London, printed for L. Chapman, at the Crown in Pope's-bead Alley, 1656.
Quarto, containing sixteen pages.
To the Reader.
Because many good people in divers parts of this nation, who have often prayed heartily for the Juws conversion, have heard a rumour of a late debate at Wbliehall, about the Jews having a liberty to return into England, and are very desirous to know the truth of things in those proceedings, and what is the issue of those debates; and hence, from several parts, letters have been written up to their friends in London, desiring more fully to be certified herein: For their satisfaction, and for brip to others that would send the narrative to their christian friends, this collection thereof, by one that was present at all the debates, is yielded to be published.
Y letters from Oliver, the lord protector, several doctors, and other
preachers, godly men, and some merchants and lawyers convened with him, and others of the council, [the fourth of December last, 1655, and so on two or three days weekly, to the eighteenth] to consider of proposals in behalf of the Jews, by Rabbi Manasses Ben Israel, an agent come to London in behalf of many of them, to live and trade hore, and desiring to have free use of their
&c. The things being spoken unto pro and contra, at several meetings, some more private, and some more publick, at Whitehall, and elsewhere.
The most did fear, that if they should come, many would be seduced and cheated by them, and little good would be unto thein. Hence divers of the preachers judged, that though never such cautions 10 prevent those evils were prescribed, yet they would not be observed; and therefore they could not consent to their coming.
2. The major part judged that there might be such pledges or sureties, &c. to keep due cautions [viz against their blaspheming Christ, and the christian religion, and against seducing, and cheating, &c.] as they may be observed, and then they may come.
3. Some judged, that due cautions warranted by holy scriptures being observed, it is a duty to yield to their request of coming hither; considering,
1. It is God's will there be dealing courteously with strangers, and persons in affliction, Exod. xxiii. 8.
2. Especially respect is to be had to the Jews, Isa. xiv. 3, 4.
1st. Because, their debtors we are, Rom. xv. 27. as the Gentiles, Macedonians, and other Gentiles, were in the apostles days (which was not, because those believing Jews at Jerusalem administered spiritual things to those believing Gentiles, which they did not) but because we partake of the Messias, and promises, and salvation, that was to the Jews, as natural branches of the olive-tree, Rom. ix. 4, 5. Eph. iii. 8. Rom. xi, 17, 24.
2dly, Because their brethren we are; of the same father Abraham; they naturally after the Aesh, we believers after the spirit.
3dly, Because we believe those natural branches shall return; and it shall be great riches and glory to the Gentiles, especially to such where they are, and wbu deal kindly with them, Rom. xi. 12, 18, 25, 26. anil we hope the time is near.
Because many Jews are now in very great streights in many places; multitudes in Poland, Lithuania, and Prussia, by the late wars by the Swedes, Cossacks, and others, being driven away from thence: Hence their yearly alms to the poor Jews, of the German synagogue, at Jeru. salem hath ceased; and of seven hundred wi.dows, and poor Jews there, about four-hundred have been fanished, as a letter from Jerusalem to their friends relates.
Also, the Jews in France, Spain, Portugal, and in the Indies, under the Spanish, &c. if they are professed Jews, must wear a badge of it, and are exposed to many viulences, mocks, and crueltics; which, to avoid, many dissemble themselves to be Roman Catholicks; and then, if in any thing they appear Jewish, they forfeit goods, if not life also. Now some of these intreated Rabbi Manasses to be their agent, to intreat this favour for their coming to England, to live and trade here, &c.
And it seems to some, that it would be very acceptable to the Lord, if favour be shewed them, so far as is lawful herein. As it was very displeasing to the Lord, when for their sin he cast them out of Canaan, that others added to, or heaped on their affliction, Zach. i. 15, 16.
And that Edom looked on, and was as one of their enemies, Obad. ver. 12, 14, and did not hide, and entertain his outcasts, as he charged Moab to do, Isaiah xvi. 3, 4. Now England hath as much cause as any nation, if not more, to favour and relieve the Jews in this their suit; considering,
1. The Jews that dwelled in England under Richard the First, and King John, Henry the Third, and Edward the First, suffered very great injuries, cruelties, and murders, by kings, by the barons, by Londoners,
Yorkers, people of Norwich, Stamford, &c. as our own chronicles shew, especially Stow's Survey of London, and Annals. And if, alter Saul's dea'h, the Lord plagued Israel year
year, till some satisfaction was given 10 the surviving Gibeonites, for Saul's slaying many Gibeonies in his zeal for God; it is feared, il may offend the Lord, if we yielii not to the Jews this courtesy which they de. sire; and it may be accounted some kind of satisfaction to them.
2. In no nation, there have been m vre faithful, frequent, and fervent prayers for the Jews, than in England.
3. None are more likely to convince them by Scripture, and by holy life, than many in England: And Gentiles, being called a foolish nation, must provoke Jews to jealousy, or emulation; and happy is Eng. land, if it be instrumental in so blessed a work.
The person, that spoke to that effect, had written thus:
Many of the Jews in Jerusalem being now very cruelly dealt withal, and persecuted by the Turks (as their letters thence, desiring relief from other Jews in Germany, Holland, &c. sent thither by the hand of rabbi Nathan Stephira, their messenger, do manifest :) Other Jews in several nations persecuted by papists, unless they will turn papists : Many of these desiring by their letters to rabbi Manasses Ben Israel, as he said he had shewed to the lord protector, that he would intreat favour of our state,
1. That Jews might have leave to come into England, to live and trade here: And,
2. That bere they might have their synagogues, &c. provided that due care be had in respect of these, as much as is, or ought to be, in respect of our own, and other nations, to prevent
Blaspheming the Lord Jesus Christ;
All unrighteousness, &c.
1. That it is not sinful or unlawful to suffer their coming hither, their living and trading here, and worshiping the true God here, and hearing his holy law, and his prophets read unto them every week, pube lickly.
First reason, because this is against no law, neither of the land [as the lawyers here affirmed), nor of God, as not being forbidden in the Old or Now Tistament,
And, therefore, it is no sin nor transgression: For where there is no law, there is no transgrıssion, Rom. iv. 15.
Second, That it is so far from being a sin, that it is a duty, in such case, to receive and harbour them.
This may appear thus : First reason. It is a duty commanded, and commended of God, in general, to be kind to strangers,harbouring them, &c. Exod. xxii. 21.and xxiii. 8. Levit. xix. 34. Deut. x. 19. Gen. xviii. 1, 2, 3. xix. 1, 2, 3. 1 Tim. v. 10. Heb. xiii. 2. Such favour we permit and grant to other strangers.
Second. The Lord requires this duty, as well, or more, towards Jews, even when for their sins the Lord bad cast them out, as to any other
strangers; for, concerning these, he thus gives a charge in Isaiah xvi. 3, 4. Hide my banished on: s, bewray not bim that wandereth. Let my outcasts dwell, (or sojourn) with ihee Muab: be thou a covert 10 them from the face of the spoiler.
Third. Yea, even after their rejecting Jesus Christ, and the Loril's rejecting them, yet the apostle saith of them that they are beloved for their fathers sakrs, Rom. xi. 28. And for the Lords covenant sake with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, after this sin and scattere ing, the Lord will restore them, as he saith, Levit. xxvi. 41, 4+, 45. Micah vii. 19, 20.
Fourth. When for their sins the Lord was displeased with the Jews, yet be hath a special eye to them; observing all the unkind carriage of others towards them, and is sore displeased ayai 'st all such as help on their affliction, Zach. i. 15. By speaking proudly against them, or looking on as one of the afflicters, or that deliver them up to such, &c. Obad. ver. 11, 12, 14.
3. That the Lord may require and expect this kindness towards dis. tressed Jens, as much of this nation, as, or more than, of any other nation.
Considering, 1st, That the Lord hath exalted England in spiritual and in temporal mercies and deliverances, as much as, or more than, any other nation under heaven : And all this only for the sake of our Lord Jesus, who, concerning the Aesh, came of the Jews, Rom. ix. 5. and by whom the covenants and promises made to the Jews, are made over to us that are faithful, Rom. xi. 16, 18, 24. Eph. iii. 6. Eph. ii. 12, 13, 19.
2d, In our nation, the good people generally have more believed the promises touching the calling of ihe Jews, and the great riches and glory that shall follow to Jews, and us Gentiles; and have, and do still, more often, and earnestly pray for it, than any other nation that we have heard of.
3d, Many of the good people here, being persecuted in queen Mary's days, and under the prelates since, have been kindly harboured as strangers in other lands; and, therefore, should the more pity and harbour persecuted strangers, especially persecuted Jews, Exod. xxiii. 8.
4th, Many cruel and inhuman injuries have formerly been done in our nation against the Jews that intruded not England, but had been called, and invited to come and dwell here:) Cruelties by several kings, by lords, and by occasion of the merchants urging their banishment, multitudes of them were drowned in the Thames, or in the sea.
Cruelties by Londoners, especially at Richard the First's coronation; and soon after by Yorkers, by people of Norwich, Stamford, &c. as Stow's Survey of London, and his annals, and Hollingshead, and other English Chronicles fully shew.
For such gross injuries, the Lord may be very sore displeased with England, as sometimes he was with Israel in general, for the injuries that had formerly been done by Saul their king, in his zeal against the Gibeonites ; until such satisfaction was made, as the surviving Gibeonites desired of David, 2 Sam. xxi. 1, 2. And then (and not till then) the Lord was intreated for the land, ver. 14.
Now if the favour of harbouring the afflicted Jews, which now they intreat, be granted to the surviving Jews, it may be accounted as some kind of satisfaction. But if this be denied them, it is feared the Lord may shew his displeasure to be great against England: That this denial may also occasion the more hardship unto them, by others that shall hear thereof.
Another of the preachers said to this effect: Though the Jews are now in hardness of heart, and worthy of punishments; yet we had need beware, lest we be occasions of hardening them, or instruments of pu. nishing them. It is very remarkable what worthy Beza saith, in his notes on Rom. xi. 18. on those words, ‘Glory not against the branches : He saith thus: “ To glory in the Lord (that is, for God's benefits to rejoice) we ought; but not so that we despise the Jews, whom rather we should excite to that excellent emulation : And for the neglect of this duty, without doubt, they are and shall be punished, that at this day call themselves Christians, and moved only by wickedness, and perverseness of mind, do by all means vex; and proposing examples of so many filthy Idomanies, do more and more harden them. But as for me, willingly every day I pray for the Jews, thus: O Lord Jesus, thou, indeed, justly revengest the contempt of thyself, and worship, upon this ungrateful people, whom thou punishest most severely. But, O Lord, remember thy covenant, and respect them now in misery for thy name's sake. And grant this to us (the most unworthy of all men, to whom
thou hast vouchsafed thy mercy) that we, going on in thy grace, may not be instruments of tiine anger against them: but rather, both by the knowledge of thy word, and by the examples of holy life,' by the powerful virtue of thy holy spirit, we may recal them into the right, way, that by all nations, and peuples, thou mayest once be glorified for evermore. Amen.'
This is Beza's prayer, that he expresseth in his notes; it is a remarkable digression, that he would not have this leit out. There is not the like in all his notes,' shewing bis great affection for the Jews conversion.
Some others, though desiring heartily the Jews conversion, yet feared greatly it would prove the subversion of many herc, if Jews were suffered to return hither, because su many here are soon carried aside to new opinions.
Some answered, that now persons are carried away under a notion of further light, or of new discoveries of Christ, or the gospel : But are not like to be taken with the Jewish religion, that deny Christ, and deny the gospel; and have notbing in their solemn worship that is so taking, but rather much that is very ridiculous: Therefore they are not so like to seduce others.
To this it was replied, that the offering children to Moloch, and other idolatry, might seem not to be taking; yet how it took with the Jews. And the opinions of the Quakers, and of the ranters, are not so taking to some, yet many are carried away by thein.
One humbly proposed this, as a medium, that sceing, if the Jews coming hither be denied, we seem to deal more hardly with Jews, than with Turks, whose coming bither to trade and converse we deny noi: