The Sacred Doctrine of Divinitie, Gathered out of the Worde of God is a seventy-seven-page octavo for which no one claimed public credit. The book appeared in 1590 (n.s.), as shown by the date of the preface, January 1, 1589, though the title page is misprinted 1599. No place of publication is named; in fact that book came from the press of Richard Schilders at Middleburgh. The author chose anonymity. He must have been known at the time but was not identified inprint until some thirty years later. He was Henry Finch (1558-1625), third son in a prominent family of the Kentish Weald, who became a member of Parliament, a knight, serjeant-at-law to James I, and a respected student of the common law. His stepfather, Nicholas St. Leger, was active in the puritan interest in Parliament, and Finch, too, had a puritanic streak that marked his religious writings from The Sacred Doctrine of Divinitie, his first, to his last and best known, The Worlds Great Restauration, or the Calling of the Jewes, a millennial tract of 1621 that put him at odds with the king.
This much is known: author, printer, date. What has remained obscure, even unguessed at, is the authorship of the long unsigned “Preface to the Christian Reader.” In addition, the work is freighted with glosses that sometimes squeeze the text into a corner or drive it off a page entirely. There are reasons to believe that these marginalia are largely the work of another hand than Finch's, in all likelihood the same that wrote the preface.