« PreviousContinue »
strangers; for, concerning these, he thus gives a charge in Isaiah xvi. 3, 4. Hide my banished on s, bewray not him that wandereth. Let my outcasts dwell, (or sojourn) with thee Moab: Be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler.
Third. Yea, even after their rejecting Jesus Christ, and the Lord's rejecting them, yet the apostle saith of them that they are beloved for their fathers sakes, Rom. xi. 28. And for the Lord's covenant sake with their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, atter this sin and scattering, the Lord will restore them, as he saith, Levit. xxvi. 41, 44, 45. Micah vii. 19, 20.
Fourth. When for their sins the Lord was displeased with the Jews, yet he hath a special eye to them; observing all the unkind carriage of others towards them, and is sore displeased against 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 distressed Jews, as much of this nation, as, or more than, of any other nation.
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 flesh, 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. i. 12, 13, 19.
2d, In our nation, the good people generally have more believed the promises touching the calling of the 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. xxii. 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 punishing 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 yet thou hast vouchsafed thy mercy) that we, going on in thy grace, may not be instruments of thine 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 peoples, 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 left out. There is not the like in all his notes, shewing his great affection for the Jews conversion.
Some others, though desiring heartily the Jews conversion, yet feared greatly it would prove the subversion of many here, if Jews were suffered to return hither, because so 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 nothing 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 them.
One humbly proposed this, as a medium, that seeing, if the Jews coming hither be denied, we seem to deal more hardly with Jews, than with Turks, whose coming hither to trade and converse we deny not: Ff
And, if they do come upon terms and agreements, there may be inconveniences, and offending of many: That, because the lawyers say, there is no law against their coming, there may only be a connivance and permission of them; and, if afterwards there be inconveniences, there may be proceedings against them, and no just cause of excep.
Some questioned whether the Jews conversion shall be of the nation; or but here and there one, as of French, &c. or not until Christ appear unto them, as in converting Paul. And though we should shew mercy to Jews, yet begin at home, and not so infect ourselves, or wrong our merchants. The merchants said, such an inlet would be to inrich foreigners, and impoverish English merchants. [Merchants, especially, had caused the Jews departure from England, whereby some thousands of Jews perished in the Thames, by the cruelty of a ship-master, that was to transport them; partly otherwise.]
Some judged, seeing the Jews deal chiefly in way of merchandise, and not in husbandry, nor buying houses, nor in manufactures, that the Jews coming, and so trading, might tend to the bringing lower the prices of all sorts of commodities imported; and to the furtherance of all that have commodities vendible to be exported; and to the benefit of most of our manufactures, where they shall live, by their buying of them. And thus, though the merchants gains were somewhat abated, it might tend to the benefit of very many in our nation, even in outward things, besides the hopes of their conversion; which time, it is hoped, is now at hand, even at the door. [This last was spoken of at a more private meeting.] One of the lawyers rehearsed from records the history of the Jews in England, and many of their sufferings here in the time of Constantine the Great, and of some Kings before the conquest, and then of William the Conqueror's calling them to England, and their sufferings, and other proceedings since that time, until Edward I's reign, when many thousands of them were urged to leave England, and a great part of them were drowned in the Thames, or in the deep waters. And, now that they are gone, they wished not their return hither again. Also, the lawyers said, that there is no law that forbids the Jews return into England.
All having been heard, the Lord Protector on the eighteenth of December, and before, professed that he had no engagement to the Jews, but only what the Scripture holds forth; and that
He had hoped by these preachers to have had some clearing of the case, as to conscience. But seeing these agreed not, but were of two or three opinions, it was left the more doubtful to him and the council; and he hoped to do nothing herein hastily or rashly; and had much need of all their prayers, that the Lord would direct them, so as may be to his glory, and to the good of the nation.
And thus was the dismission of that assembly.
The preachers sent unto, that met, were these:
1. Dr. Tuckney of Cambridge, and Dr. Whichcock; Mr. Newcomen of Essex, Dr. Wilkinson of Oxford, and Mr. Rowe of West
2. Mr. P. Nye, Mr. Carter, Mr. Caryll, Dr. Cudworth, Mr. Bridge, and Mr. Ben of Dorchester.
3. Mr. Thomas Goodwin, Mr. Jessey, and Mr. Dike near Essex. Of merchants: the lord mayor, the late lord mayor, and the two sheriffs of London: Alderman Tichburne; Mr. Cresset, master of the Charter-house, and Mr. Kiffen.
Lawyers: the Lord Chief Justice Glyn, and the Lord Chief Baron Steele.
The protector shewed a favourable inclination towards our harbouring the afflicted Jews, professing he had no engagements, but upon Scripture grounds, in several speeches that he made. So did some of his council, though some inclined not to their coming hither. The counsel of the Lord, it shall stand.' What shall be the issue the most wise God knows, and he will order all for the best.
Rabbi Manasses Ben Israel still remains in London, desiring a favourable answer to his proposals; and, not receiving it, he hath desired, if it may not be granted, that he may have a favourable dismission, that he may return.
But, other great affairs being now in hand, and this being a business of very great concernment, no absolute answer is yet returned unto him, unto this present day of the conclusion hereof, being vulgarly the first of April, 1656, old stile, but, according to the Holy Scripture, the fourteenth or fifteenth of Abib, the first month (called also Nisan, Exod. xiii. 4. Esth. iii. 7.) at which time the Jews feast of passover was to be kept, Numb. xxviii. 16, 17.
Many Jewish merchants had come from beyond seas to London, and hoped they might have enjoyed as much privilege here, in respect of trading, and of their worshiping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob here in synagogues publickly, as they enjoy in Holland, and did enjoy in Poland, Prussia, and other places. But, after the conference and debate at Whitehall was ended, they heard by some, that the greater part of the ministers were against this; therefore they removed hence again to beyond the seas, with much grief of heart, that they were thus disappointed of their hopes. Jews must be planted into their own olive, and great riches shall that be to the believing Gentiles, Rom. xi. 12, 15. Isa. Ix. 1, 2, 3. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper, that love it,' Psal. cxxii. 6.
Here followeth part of a letter, written at Leghorn, 1652, and sent by the preacher in the Phenix frigate to a friend in London.
Leghorn, a-board the Phenix, 19 of the 1, 1652.
WE have great cause to rejoice, that the Lord carrieth on the endeavours of his people to long after the good of the poor blind Jews. Some of us were desirous to see their synagogue; and, coming, they were at their service; but their glory we forbear to mention, their lamps, their candlesticks, their mitres, their bells, Aaron's bells they say.
We spoke to one that could speak a little English, a very grave pro
per man, and asked him the meaning of such and such things; and we, as we durst, spoke of the Messias, and his actings.
But he said, the Messias was not come; moreover, that the Jews are naughty men now, but they shall be good. We asked, When? They answered, it is about ten years first.
They long to hear that England would tolerate them; surely, the promises of Jehovah will be performed, and he will give them favour in all nations. O that England may not be slack herein! Shall they be tolerated by the pope, and by the Duke of Florence; by the Turks, and by the Barbarians, and others? And shall England still have laws in force against them? When shall they be recalled?
Truly, we are persuaded, the antichristian state must have a great fall before their conversion. O that the poor Jews might have toleration to come into England, out of her, that they may be succoured in that terrible day!
A postscript, to fill up the following pages, that else had been vacant: containing,
1. The proposals of Rabbi Manasses Ben Israel, more fully. Part of his letter, written Anno 1647.
3. The late progress of the gospel amongst the Indians in New
THE substance of the late proposals by Rabbi Manasses Ben Israel was to desire these favours:
1. That the Hebrew nation may be received here, and be protected from all wrongs, as the English are, or should be.
2. To have publick synagogues allowed in England, &c. to observe their religion as they ought.
3. To have a burying-place out of the town, without being troubled by any about their burials.
4. To traffick as freely in all sorts of merchandise, as other strangers.
5. To the end that the Jews that come over may be for the profit of this nation, and prejudice or offend none; that a person of quality may be assigned by the lord protector, to receive their passports, and their oath of fealty to him.
6. To prevent trouble to our judges and others, that matters of differences amongst the Jews, may be accorded and determined by the heads of synagogues, and others with them, amongst themselves.
7. To repeal any laws, if any such be, as are against Jews, for their greater security.
This was the substance of the proposals.
The protector, when the proposals had been read, said, If more were proposed than it was meet should be granted, it might now be consi