Ainsworth, Henry

Ainsworth, Henry D. D., one of the earliest leaders of the Independents, then called Brownists; a celebrated nonconformist English divine, who was born at Pleasington, then a small hamlet in Lancashire, about the year 1560. In early life he gained great reputation by his knowledge of the learned languages, and particularly of Hebrew. He removed about 1593 to Amsterdam, and had a church there (with an interval spent in Ireland) until his death, which occurred suddenly in 1622. Suspicion of his having been poisoned was raised by his having found a diamond, of great value, belonging to a Jew, and his refusing to return it to him till he had confessed with some of the rabbins on the prophecies of the Old Testament relating to the Messiah, which was promised; but the Jew not having sufficient interest to obtain one, it is thought he was the instrument of his death. Ainsworth was a man of profound learning, well versed in the Scriptures, and deeply read in the works of the rabbins. His much celebrated "Annotations on several Books of the Bible" were printed at various times and in many sizes. In those on the five Books of Moses, Psalms, and the Canticles, the Hebrew words are compared with and explained by the ancient Greek and Chaldee versions, and other records and monuments of the Hebrew. The "Annotations on the Pentateuch" were republished in Edinburgh (Blackie and Son, 2 vols. 8vo) in 1843. — Neal, Hist. of the Puritans, 2, 43; Wilson, Dissenting Churches, 1, 22.

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