January 2014


Posted January 4, 2014

{Writings of Robert Tichborne}

I have delightfully looked upon these Clusters of Canaan’s Grapes, and have helped them to the Press, that they may be Wine for common drinking; I only mind the reader, that these Grapes yield the New Wine of the Gospel; let him take heed he puts it not into the Old Bottles of envy or of malice, of prejudice or of contempt; if he do, his Bottles will break; and though the wine, {because it is saving wine} cannot but be safe, yet himself will be a loser, yea, in danger to be lost; whereas, his profit and salvation are {I believe, on this side the glory of God} the highest end of the Author, is this publication, as they are of the licenser.

Joseph Caryl

A Saint in Christ

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What a saint is not? What a spiritual saint is; first he is more than a moral man; for he that is less than a moral man is a beast, and he that is at the height of a moral man is but merely a man, a fine civilized piece of clay, loving himself, and therefore doth not devour one another, because another man should not devour him; decked with his own accomplishments, and glorying in his own Babel, but surely a spiritual saint is more than this! Yea secondly; he is more than a formal or legal professor. What is a formal professor? He is one that lives by sense, and not by faith, that is only taught of man and not of God, that hath all his light from within him, from the practice and notion of others, and not from the precepts or Spirit of God within him. A formal professor is one that can see and practice anything which may please all, or, the most of men; he is always learning, but never learned, because he is always studying man and never Christ; he is one which you shall ever find in the crowd where the majority are, there you shall be sure to find him. If you meet him and tell him of a Christ crucified, “I but {saith he,} doth any of the Pharisees believe in his name?” He is a man much in worship, but the inscription is to the unknown God; his eyes are in another’s head, and therefore he is led about by another to act as a blind man; no form comes amiss to him, for he is nothing else but form; he is one so ignorant as that he thinks it a crime for any man to see more than himself, though he be blind; and if the man that sees will but deny his light, he will do the best he can to pluck out his eyes; he is so proud of his chains of darkness that none shall live where he can rule that will not wear his feathers; this soul is mother and nurse both, to that brat of hell, the persecution of the true saints; this man of form knows no heights, bredths or length above himself, and if he snatch a piece of the Word of God, he only hath it in the letter, and so never reaches Christ in it; this is a formal professor. But what is a legal professor? He is a man seemingly nearer heaven, but if he be not carried along further no man farther from it, for he is a man full of the word in the letter; but altogether empty of it in the Spirit; he is a man exact in the language of Mount Sinai, but cannot pronounce a plain syllable of the language of Zion; he can tell you that God is a just God, and a severe Judge, a revenger of himself upon sinners, but is not able to pronounce God as a Father, and a reconciled God in Christ; he is exact to tell you of precept, duty and transgression, but is not able to unfold the Mysteries of Godliness, Christ in the flesh; if a word of Christ drop out of his mouth, it is to tell you what qualifications must fit you for Christ as he thinks; when he hath found a leprous soul of sin, he cannot show it Christ, but says he, “go wash in the tears of repentance and you shall be clean,” though he never show him Christ which must wash his repentance; if he finds a poor saint under some affliction, he cannot make up the wound by leading the soul to the love of God, from whence that affliction came, but saith he, “look into yourself, inquire for that sin the punishment of which you now lie under, God is a just God, if you will sin you must bear the indignation of the Lord for it; go fall on your knees, weep and fast, and pray and vow, make God some amends.” This is all the relief he can give, and so he pours oil into the flames of sorrow, and vinegar into the bleeding wounds of poor saints. This legal soul lives upon his duties, and not upon the Free Grace of God in Christ, and therefore he can give no other counsel than he hath experience of, for he never tasted in the spirit the goodness of the Lord, and therefore can never speak good to his own soul, or any other from God; and if he speak any good to a soul it is from duties; “do and live,” is the effect of all his language. I only give this as a word of caution, that we hearken not to the councils of such men, lest we become like those foolish Galatians, which began in the spirit, but were like to end in the flesh. Let this be enough in the negative what a spiritual saint is not. What a saint is? But then what is a spiritual Saint? Why he is one that lives by faith above sense; one that is all in God, and nothing in himself; he is taught of God to know him; he is drawn by God to love him; he is persuaded by God to trust in him; he is filled with God, and lives upon him; he is satisfied with Christ, and rejoices in him; he so lives in Christ, that he makes his boast of him, as the Apostle, Romans 8, the latter end. “Who shall condemn; nay who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect?” He is one which in the spirit is able to look from eternity to eternity, and therein behold that eternal love of God which gave out Christ to manifest his love to us in him, and hath made him one with Christ in all his merits, righteousness and benefits; he is able to see into that love and eternal purpose of God that made Christ to be sin for us, “that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He can see God his Father, and in the spirit of adoption call him Father; he can read his Salvation written in the Covenant of Grace; he can behold himself one in Christ, as Christ is in God; he assuredly knows that Christ hath borne his grief, and that God hath wounded Christ for his transgressions, bruised him for his iniquities, and laid the chastisement of his peace on him, and all this so fully and really, as that by the stripes that God laid on Christ, his soul is healed. He sees that God hath made Christ’s soul an offering for the sins of his people; and that he hath beheld the travail of his soul, and is well pleased; so that now this spiritual man draws up this conclusion. Whatever of sin and punishment was mine, was taken from me, and made Christ’s, and he has fully satisfied for the one, and borne the other; so that now from the justice of God I can conclude this, that neither of them shall be laid on me again. Christ’s Righteousness and his glory is so made mine, that I stand spotless in the one, and shall be perfect in the other to all eternity. Thus is a spiritual soul led up to God, and made to know his great design from eternity; namely, to make Christ his wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, and that in all these he stands perfect before God, in the perfection of Christ. This soul lives in the region of God’s love, and in Christ’s Righteousness, and sees himself above all condemnation; and yet the least transgression {in him} discovered to him by the love and Spirit of God, melts his contrite heart into nothing; “I see {says he,} that I am alive in Christ through the eternal love of God, and that makes me thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead. I died to sin in Christ, and if now I live, it should not be to myself but to Christ.” {II Cor.5:14,15} And to this the love of Christ constrains me; for, {says he,} “this I know, whoever is in Christ is a new creature, old things are passed away and behold all things are become new.” {vs.17} And therefore saith he, “whatever is sin is the old man;” and of this he cries out as the Apostle in Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am;” the law of my flesh rebels against the law of my mind. Sin hath less entertainment nowhere than where the love of God by his Spirit dwells, for perfect love casts out fear, {saith the text,} and perfect love kills corruption. Love to Christ kills and buries sin, when legal fear only lays it on the ground, and thus it lives again and possibly kills the legalist at last; but the spiritual man keeps nothing to himself, but carries all to God and Christ; he lives only in God and Christ; and when he finds corruption in himself, he presently by the Spirit lays it down at the feet of Christ, and tells him, “Oh Lord, my glory, {saith he,} is to live to thee and whatsoever is thine. Oh then {oh Lord,} be zealous of thy glory; thou has taken the guilt and punishment of all my corruptions from me; is it not also for thy glory to take the reign and the power of them from me too?” Yes, {saith Christ,} and I will make my promise good, for “sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the Law, but under Grace.” {Rom.6:14} “True Lord, {says the soul,} and I believe it, that to live under the reign of Grace is the only way to keep sin under me.” Thus a spiritual soul having a sight of his sins, of all men hath least fear in point of condemnation, because this soul is filled with the perfect love of God which casts out fear, but the inbeing of this love of God in the soul makes as little love to all the incitements of sin, as it hath fear of the condemnation thereof. Sin in all its temptations hath the quickest denial from such a soul of any, for he answers sin thus; “sin, {says he,} the love of Christ constrains me to hate thee;” this soul tells sin he will but lose his labor in tempting him, “for, {says he,} I am not at my own disposing, I have given myself up to Christ already, and Christ have taken possession of me, and lives in me by his Spirit, and for thy temptations I shall carry them to Christ, and sure I am thou canst not live in his presence, for he hath overcome thee for me, and he will destroy thee in me.” Thus the Spirit changes a soul from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, and is made to live in this light, which is the light of God’s reconciled countenance in the face of Christ; and in this vision of God in Christ the soul is changed into the image of Christ from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. {II Cor.3:18} This spiritual man as he lives upon God in the spirit, so he worships God in the Spirit; he knows neither the Mount, nor Jerusalem as his place to worship in; he only knows Christ as the proper medium to worship God in, and he knows not Christ after the flesh neither, but after the spirit; his feasting is with God and upon God, and he knows no form or figure, nor externals to make him a rest of, for he can only rest in the bosom of God and Christ; he knows no fellowship but with the Father and the Son, and as he enjoys God and Christ in the saints, so he hath sweet fellowship with them. God is both the light and the life of his worship; his way and his end in his worship. This is a dove that can rest nowhere but in the ark; Church fellowship to him without Christ, is no more than a selected piece of a sunken world; the ordinances, {if Christ be not in them,} is to him but as the grave. When Christ was risen all his inquiries are, “where is he whom my soul loves?” “Show me Christ in a saint, Christ in an assembly, and Christ in an ordinance, and then you show me my life, and upon this ground I can live and die with you,” saith he. This soul can measure all men and things by Christ; but Christ by nothing but himself, that Spirit of Christ which dwelleth in him; and thus you have some weak discourses of a spiritual saint. Oh let us stand in that liberty with which Christ hath made us free; we can stand in none but in Christ, and that is the freeness of Grace, that we should stand forever spotless and blameless in the sight of God through him. Oh then, if the glory and honor of God in Christ be dear to us, how can we that are delivered from sin live any longer thereto. It is impossible that we can love Christ and sin too; and therefore where Christ lives by his love he constrains the death of sin. The exhortations is to saints to live in the Spirit; and that is, trampling upon all below God and Christ, and behold ourselves heirs of that glory, and co-heirs with Christ in that glory that is God and Christ to all eternity. Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Posted January 6, 2014

{Biographical Sketch of Robert Tichborne}

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Robert Tichborne, eldest son of Robert Tichborne of the Skinners' Company, was born in London around 1610. His Grandfather was John Tichborne of Cowden, Kent, who was a direct descendant of Sir Roger de Tichborne, a Noble Knight who flourished in the Reign of King Henry II. Brought up to follow his father’s business into the Skinners' Company, {who engaged in the trade of skins and furs,} from apprentice in 1631 to his freedom in 1637; young Tichborne ranked high among the City Merchants of London at the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1636 he joined the Honourable Artillery Company of London, and by 1642 served as a Captain in the Yellow Regiment of the London Trained Bands, which at that time were the City of London’s Militia, composed of householders who fulfilled their constitutional obligation to maintain arms and serve in the defence of their City. On the outbreak of civil war he was quick to display a militant Parliamentarianism and in 1643 became Lieutenant-Colonel of a regiment of London Auxiliaries. In the spring of 1643 he joined other City militants on a London subcommittee established at Salters' Hall to raise a volunteer citizens' army. This brought him into close contact with other emerging leaders of political Independency in the City. After the passing of Cromwell’s “Self-Denying Ordinance,” in April of 1645, when the Parliamentary Army was remodelled, he obtained a Captain’s commission in that Army. Tichborne was speedily promoted to the rank of a Colonel; and in 1647 was appointed Commander of the Tower of London by General Thomas Fairfax. Indeed he was considered as one of Cromwell’s ‘saints’ and according to an official journal entry dated December 24, 1647, at a Council of War, “Cromwell, Ireton and Tichborne prayed, and from Scripture exhorted to Unity and Obedience to Commands.” He appears to have been one of the greatest advocates for the destruction and execution of King Charles I, presenting a petition from the Council of London for his trial; and as a Commissioner of the High Court of Justice, gave judgment, and signed the fatal warrant for his execution on January 27th,1649. It was also during that eventful year that both his religious works were printed. “A Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” dedicated to Lord Thomas Fairfax; and “The Rest of Faith;” which he dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. Notwithstanding the pressure of political involvement during this period, it would appear that he also still managed time to attend to his trade, and thereby largely increased his fortune. Civic honours were heaped upon him, and with the ensuing political transformation in London, Tichborne was elected Alderman for Farringdon in July 1649, and a London Sheriff and Master of the Skinners' Company in 1650. In 1653 Tichborne was elected as one of the members for London of that Parliament which gave Oliver Cromwell the Protectorship. The Lord Protector himself knighted him on December 15, 1655, and summoned him to his House of Lords in December of 1657. In the autumn of 1656 he was elected Lord Mayor of the City of London, and took his oath of Office at Westminster, on October 29, 1656. Of course, upon Cromwell’s death, {on the 3rd of September in 1658,} Tichborne’s political world began to crumble; and as early as April 1660, {after the failure of establishing Cromwell’s son Richard as Ruler of England, and just prior to Charles II being proclaimed King again on May 14th;} Tichborne, along with John Ireton, who were both now considered highly dangerous from their firm adherence to Cromwell, were both arrested, charged with high treason, all their wealth confiscated and were sent to the Tower of London to await their trial. --- Upon sentencing Tichborne humbly confessed to his activity in the execution of Charles Stuart; and among other things said, “My Lord, it was my unhappiness to be called to so sad a work, when I had so few years over my head; a person neither bred up in the laws, nor in Parliament, where laws are made. I can say with a clear conscience, I had no more enmity in my heart to his Majesty, than I had to my wife that lay in my bosom - had I known that then which I do now, {I do not mean, my Lord, my afflictions and sufferings; it is not my sufferings make me acknowledge,} I would have chosen a red hot oven to have gone into as soon as that meeting – the Great God before whom we all stand hath shown his tender mercy to persons upon repentance. Paul tells us, though a blasphemer and a persecutor of Christ, it being done ignorantly, upon repentance he found mercy. My Lord, mercy I have found, and I do not doubt mercy I shall find. My Lord, I came in upon proclamation; and now I am here, I have in truth, given your Lordship a clear and full account, whatever the Law shall pronounce, because I was ignorant. Yet, I hope, there will be room found for that mercy and grace that I think was intended by the proclamation, and, I hope, by the Parliament of England. I shall say no more; but in pleading of that, humbly beg that your Lordships will be instrumental to the King and Parliament on my behalf.” This humble confession and the fact that he had previously saved some Royalists from death by execution, kept him from immediate execution, but he never regained his liberty. He spent the rest of his days in prison, although his wife and children were permitted to live with him during his imprisonment in Dover Castle in 1664–74. He died in the Tower of London on 6 July 1682 and was buried with the utmost confidentiality in Mercers' Chapel. The irony of his imprisonment is that he became a prisoner in the very fortress of which he had once commanded. --- According to Wilson {Dissenting Churches Vol. 1,} there is a report that Tichborne preached frequently in William Kiffin’s Devonshire Square {Particular Baptist} Assembly during the reign of Oliver Cromwell; and another source informs us that Tichborne also had strong spiritual ties with George Cokayne {1619-1691,} an Independent Minister, whose London Congregation met at St Pancras, Soper Lane. This is the same Cokayne, who joined with Henry Pinnell in 1646, in writing a long recommendatory preface to the works of Tobias Crisp. {“Christ alone Exalted,” Volume III, 1646} A close examination of Tichborne’s “Cluster of Grapes” warrant the speculation that these were preached sermons that were {after their delivery} edited, and perhaps improved by the author; and if so; {and if Tichborne did frequently preach at Devonshire Square;} these discourses may indeed be the closest example of the type of preaching that characterized this formative Particular Baptist Assembly. Certainly, when one compares the contents of this work with the London Confession of 1646, the writings of Samuel Richardson, {another early Particular Baptist,} and the early sentiments of William Kiffin himself, one detects a beautiful Gospel Accord in their essential exaltation of Christ’s Glory and Pre-eminence in Salvation. {A note of interest obtained from the Cromwell family papers at the Cambridgeshire Record Office is the fact that Tichborne; who was Lord Major of London at the time; performed the marriage ceremony of William Kiffin’s daughter Hannah, who in 1657 married Benjamin Hewling; a rich and eminent Turkey merchant, and citizen of London. The paper states that the marriage was witnessed by both William Kiffin and Hanserd Knollys.} --- Joseph Caryl {Nonconformist 1602-1673} in an attempt to promote the book said: “I have delightfully looked upon these Clusters of Canaan’s Grapes, and have helped them to the Press, that they may be Wine for common drinking; I only mind the reader, that these Grapes yield the New Wine of the Gospel; let him take heed he puts it not into the Old Bottles of envy or of malice, of prejudice or of contempt; if he do, his Bottles will break; and though the wine, {because it is saving wine} cannot but be safe, yet himself will be a loser, yea, in danger to be lost; whereas, his profit and salvation are {I believe, on this side the glory of God} the highest end of the Author, is this publication, as they are of the licenser.” --- In conclusion let us examine a few of Tichborne’s own motives for sending forth his book, as found in its Preface to the Readers: I know that you will wonder why I mean to appear in print, especially in these times, when plain truths from the most of men, will find nothing else but plain scorn; most men have sight but on one side, and their stomachs so full of crudity’s, that they cannot else but vomit up with scorn in the face of him that brings them, even saving truths; beside you will think I cannot be ignorant but to know, that my very name will prejudice these truths unto many that live by fancy more than faith; such as will cavil with all Truth that comes by hand they like not, and have little other grounds for the Truth they take up, but that it come by such hands that they at present fancy. I confess that I cannot make myself so ignorant as not to understand these things; nor is it my design by appearing in print to make myself public, for I expect by it to be the derision of most men; nor do I print because I think the press wants work, for I am thoroughly convinced that much evil hath overspread this Land by those many unsavoury pamphlets, and those rending, dividing principles which have this way been spread abroad, by which the members of Christ have been scandalized, rent and divided and have almost made themselves a prey to the wild boars, and the subtle foxes, which have no higher ends but to destroy the tender vines. The reasons why I choose to render myself to the world’s scorn in this matter and manner are these: It is the manifesting of his Free Grace that is my design in giving forth freely as I received; and I shall I trust with much more ease bear the reproaches of the world than I could a concealment of the love of God in Christ. - God hath moulded me into his will, and I do freely cast myself upon his love and power, to bear up my spirit to carry me through good and evil reports, and I hope shall ever esteem of this worlds scorn as not worthy of thoughts in that day when God shall manifest his will and work to me. A second reason why I thus appear, is that I might be a Christian servant to fellow saints. God is as free in giving as he is in saving, he gives what he pleaseth, how he pleaseth, when he pleaseth, and by whom he pleaseth; and this I have in some measure experienced of God, and I think it my duty to be a servant to God and to fellow saints, to bring unto them what I have received from him. When saints reveal their knowledge and experience of God, they do thereby confirm, strengthen and build up one another in their most holy faith; and I know of no higher work that saints on earth have than this, and were it more in practice, I do verily believe that the beauty of holiness and the power of godliness would be more transparent; but instead of serving one another this way in the Spirit of God, we are devouring and destroying one another by an evil spirit of lying and slandering, and needless jealousies one of another. This is either in the beginning or the end of most men’s discourses, of their printings; and it hath been, where I am sure it ought not to be, in men’s preachings. These tares which the evil man hath sown amongst the good seed have exceedingly scandalized the Gospel of Christ with the professors thereof; and if God delight in this generation, he will exceedingly humble us under this very thing. Instead of crucifying Christ in one another, saints should be servants to carry Christ to each other; I mean their light in Christ, and their experiences of the love, faithfulness and holiness of God. This would increase love to God and his people instead of devouring; beget embracings into the bosom and arms of love, and faithfulness; not to stab and scandalize, but to honour and vindicate every child of God. A third reason that moves me in this, to stir up those many thousands which this land affords that are abundantly more able to take up this necessary work. Truly it is sad to see how frothy and light things do take up the spirits of able and godly men, when is this only thing necessary is as it were quite forgotten, not only dead but buried out of sight. I do believe these last seven years have brought forth as little of this fruit, as any seven years before, in which men did complain that they dare not send truths abroad, lest in so doing they should be confined to prisons. Had the seven years liberty that the Press has had been improved in this, through the blessing of God, it might have left such monuments of God in the world as after ages might have blessed him for. I do believe Satan hath blinded much of this work from appearing by the scandal and reproach of the world which is usually cast upon it; truly I found it a very hard thing to get over, but when God gave me to understand, that the good and comfort of one soul was of greater weight than the reproach of all the world, I was immediately carried above that temptation, and I hear mention it to stir up others to the same work; for doubtless God hath many thousand poor saints in this Kingdom which will gladly gather up those pearls of Divine truths, which the swine of the world trample under their feet; and if but one soul bless God in truth for the revealing of these truths, though many thousands profane ones should come scorn me to my face, yet I shall not lose my end, nor repent of my reproaches, if God be honoured by them. My last reason is to give the world a true discovery of my spirit, and light in those things which I count weighty, and every Truth of them to be more concernment than a thousand worlds. I cannot tell the thoughts of men concerning myself, nor will presume to take the place of God to judge the thoughts of any; but this I can truly tell that in the following truths I have clearly opened my heart to the view of every reader, and have faithfully given to the world what light God hath given to me in those main truths and fundamentals of Salvation, in which my soul lives, and what I can cheerfully die in, the next moment. - I shall hold you no longer in the porch, but open every door of the house that you may both read and see the truths of God made known by his Spirit, to the weakest, and one as unworthy as any of his servants, Robert Tichborne.

Posted January 11, 2014

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{Writings of Robert Tichborne}

Christ - the Bread of Life: “I am that bread of life.” {Jn.6:48} These words are a clear and plain testimony of our Saviour concerning himself. In verse 33 of this chapter, he tells the Jews that the bread of God came down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world; and then in verse 35, and verse 48. This is the marrow and the life of all our Saviour’s discourse in this chapter as it were centered in this 48th verse. “I am that bread of life.” In verse 33 he calls himself “the bread of God,” and the “life of the world;” and in verse 38, he shows how he came to be the life of the world, even by the will of God, sent by God, and his business the work and will of God. In the 39th and 40th verses, he tells us, “and this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Here our Saviour clears up whom he meant by the world; namely, the elect and chosen of God, which are given to Christ by his Father, and then declares that his work is his Father’s will, and tells us what it is; namely, that all which God his Father had given him, should have everlasting life in him. He tells us how faithful he will be in this work, so that nothing shall be lost that God hath committed to him; and tells us that this is the will of God, that every soul which he hath given to Christ should have a discovery of him, and believe on him, and that in all this will of God runs the seed of eternal life. For that part which is capable of lying down in the dust to sleep, even that part shall not be lost, but shall be raised up at the last day; that is, the last day of the world, which passeth away like a dream in the night. Now if we lay all this together, must we not needs acknowledge this truth, that Christ is the bread of God, the bread of life; yea, the God of life! Our Saviour uses this term of bread indulgently to the weakness of our flesh; but his work is in the Spirit, and if God give us the Spirit with the letter, we shall discern the glory of Christ as he is our life in his own light. This appears by our Saviour’s own words in verse 63 of this chapter. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing; the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Christ’s words are spirit and life, because he himself is our spiritual life. In verse 49, Christ tells us what he doth mean by this bread of life. “Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead;” as if Christ should say, no externals whatsoever in your life; you may feed on them all your way in the wilderness, and yet soul and body die. But in the two next verses, he speaks plainly what is the bread that he meant. “This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” {Jn.6:50,51} Here I say Christ demonstrates what is the bread that he meant, namely himself in the flesh, and he becomes this bread of life by giving his life in the flesh for us. In the 53,54,55 & 56 verses of this chapter, our Saviour shows us how that interest in him as a crucified Jesus is our life, and that he may fully clear this out to us, he holds forth himself not only a crucified Saviour, but a living God. “As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” {vs.57} Our Saviour’s argument seems to be thus; I live as one in God, and you as one in me; and thus is Christ that bread of life, or that bread which gives life to his own in the world. Thus much for proof to the two heads that were first to lay down; I shall now hold out such spiritual observations from what hath gone before, as I have received from Christ. And the first observation shall be this namely, that Christ only is a saints life. By this I mean, that every spark of a saints life lies in Christ, and so in Christ, that it is nothing else in which Christ is not all. Christ is so fully and solely a saints life, that take all duties, ordinances, privileges and external advantages, whatsoever subtracted from Jesus Christ, and they are all dead things; but like the grave clothes in the sepulture, when Christ was risen. Our Saviour himself bears witness to this truth, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” Is a Truth so dear to God and Christ, that Christ speaks to it in this place as fully as terms can express it, both in the affirmative and the negative. “I am the life,” {saith Christ;} that is, in the affirmative; and so the life, that no man comes to my Father, the fountain of life, but by me; there is the negative and affirmative; affirmative, both in the negative exclusive from Christ, and in the affirmative, inclusive. If we consult that place and John 16:14, where our Saviour speaks of the office of the Spirit, and his work in the hearts of his people, we shall find him speak to this thing that we have in hand. “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Mark it, the work of the Spirit is to reveal Christ to us as he is our life, and so glorify Christ in showing him to be our life. And if Christ had said, the Holy Ghost when he comes, he shall show you your names written in the book of Life with my blood; all your sins laid on me, and that I have buried them in my own wounds, so that they shall never rise up in judgment more against you; my Righteousness your robe of glory, perfect glory in the sight of God; my Law of love written in your hearts to be the power that shall slay sin in your lives. Thus the Spirit shall glorify me in showing you that I am your life in whole and every part thereof; Christ as he is one with God is our fountain of life, &c., and in all our addresses to God, he is our way, truth, and life. For further confirmation take the experience of the Apostle; for says he, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God,” {Gal.2:20;} and in another place, “for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” {Col.3:3} “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” {I Cor.1:30} Mark it, for here Christ is made all by God to us; for what can you call life, but is not bound up in some or all of these. The 29th verse of that chapter gives a good and full reason why God made Christ all to his people; namely this, that no flesh should glory in his presence. This reason is so full that the truth stand strong upon it against all gainsayers; grace would be no grace if flesh had anything in itself to glory of in the presence of God; our life to be only in Christ, preserves as entirely the glory of God, free Grace, as it doth the safety of our souls; for that soul that glories in Christ as his life, glorifies the free Grace of God which gave that life. When the Apostle speaks of the acts of life in his soul, he makes Christ all; for says he, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And the same Apostle in another place says, it is merely of Grace that I am what I am; so that you see where Christ is made all, there Free Grace hath the glory of all, and this is the great design of God to all eternity to glorify his free Grace in Christ. Thus much shall suffice for the first observation that Christ only is a saints life. A second observation is this; that if it be thus, saints should value and esteem Christ as their life. Saints, what mean these carnal fears? Does not Christ live? If the world be nothing, is not Christ enough? Why fear ye so much to lose that meat which perishes, when Christ this bread of life lives forever; cannot you be content that the world should bring forth wants? Why there is no other place of want but that, for there is bread enough in your Father’s house. Heaven only is the proper place of fullness; doth it not speak an undervaluing of Christ that carnal fear shall possess our spirits of want, when Christ the fullness of the Godhead bodily is our life and our portion. Nay, what mean these stoopings and bendings of our judgments, affections, and services to the world, and worldly ends; is not this the end of it, to live in their love and esteem, for as to make a portion of perishing things and friends of the unrighteous mammon? Saints, will this stand with an esteem of Christ as our life? A soul that truly values Christ, it pants thus in spirit, O let me know truths as they are in Jesus, and obey them in the Spirit of Christ. God hath made the world my footstool, as it his, and I am one with him; Christ is only my life and glory; I would trample upon my footstool, and lie down in the bosom of Christ who is my life and glory; this is a soul that truly values Christ. But tell me saints, if we value Christ as our life or portion, and our crown of glory, our best and truest friend, our faithful brother and our loving husband, one that hath borne all God’s wrath for us, who hath died that we might live, and whose love is so great. If we thus look on Christ and value him, why is it that we so easily grieve him? Ingenuous nature reaches this, to be tender of offending them that we value, and put a price upon their love. Doth not Grace exceed nature in this? Surely it doth! Oh then let our lives speak our love to Christ, and our value of him. An experienced soul in the ways of Christ will tell you that it is the hardest travel that ever it went, to step a step in the ways of sin, after it hath apprehended the love of Christ and been taught by the Spirit to value that love; and I believe that if Satan could speak truth, he would confess it to be the hardest work he hath to draw a soul that beholds Christ’s love and values that love in any soul. Therefore as the only remedy against sin, eye Christ, love and value him! But saints, if we thus value Christ as our life and our all, whence is it that in time of distress we seek relief of broken cisterns, and forsake the Fountain of Life? My meaning is this; when under a weak or wounded state by sin, we fly to duties for relief, and not to Christ to renew the graces of Christ in us, and not to eye our interest in Christ as he is the gift of free Grace; this is an undervaluing of Christ who in Proverbs 3:18 is said to be a tree of life; those graces you would live on is the fruits of this tree, and are only fruits of life as they flow from interest and communion with this tree of life. Do but consider the folly of your spirits when we fly from Christ to duties, and to the stirring up of gifts and graces in us for our relief in such a state, for fallen man is a creature that can act no grace in himself, and grace without the breathings of Christ is as dead as man, as no grace can act itself. Take our Saviour’s testimony to this truth, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches; He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing.” {Jn.15:4,5} Christ is the life and motion of every Grace. It is a mistaking Christ, and an undervaluing of him, when we go to duties that they may carry us and commend us to God. Christ is the only way to God, and is only he that carries us as living souls to duties, and through duties, in and by his own Spirit. The Apostle knew this well enough when he made that prayer, “that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power.” {Col.1:10,11} His desire was that the Colossians should live up to Jesus Christ and walk worthy of the Lord. I think that there is not any piece of the old man in saints that darkens more of the glory of God’s free Grace, and damps more of the comforts of his people than this doth, to go any wither but to Christ in straits; for this must needs put a dishonour upon him, and be an undervaluing of him; for doth it not imply thus much, that the thing we seek after is not to be had in Christ, or not so soon in Christ as in duties, or at least that it is not only to be had in Christ, but it is all one whether we go to him or not. Now all these are conceptions of the old man in us, when we through the Spirit look upon Christ as our life, we shall see all fullness in him; grace enough to pity, to pardon, and to die for us; righteousness enough to clothe us, and to present us spotless to the pure eyes of his Father’s glory. Power enough to take us out of Satan’s hands, and to defend us from all enemies and all evil. Wisdom enough to make us wise in him, to guide and to govern us, that our conversations may be like children of light and heirs of glory; goodness enough to supply all wants in us, and to give out fullness of his own Grace to us, yes and happiness enough to satisfy our souls to all eternity, and the soul says, Christ is enough; yea, he is all, and whether should I go but to him, for he hath the words of eternal life; yea, he is my eternal life. This is the frame of such souls as do truly prize Christ as their life. Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Posted January 13, 2014

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{Writings of Robert Tichborne}

Law & Grace Distinctions in Christ: What Christ hath borne for saints, they shall never bear themselves: “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident; for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith; but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” {Gal.3:10-13} “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” {Gal.3:28,29} The general scope of the Apostle in these verses, I humbly conceive to be this; namely, to empty the creature of all hopes or possibility ever to attain a happy and blessed condition in itself out of Christ; in which work he strips the soul of all external privileges and duties in points of Justification, and then makes Jesus Christ to be all in all to every redeemed soul. The former part of this tenth verse is a positive conclusion that whoever is under the works of the Law for life, is also under the curse of the Law for death; that is, he which chooses to be approved and justified in the sight of God by the works of his own hands and heart must also be condemned before God in the failings and imperfections of those works. The latter part of this verse is a full proof to the position laid down in the former part of it; that if all things in the book of the Law be done and fulfilled, then the curse of the Law attends and seizes upon every soul as would live by the works of the Law. “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” {Deut.27:26} That soul which would fetch life from the works of the Law must perform all, or he loses all that he hath done, and his soul, along with his dying duties. The observations which I have received from hence are these. --- Observation#1. That God hath not made a separation of the works of the Law from the curse of the Law to that soul which would live by them. And if God hath not, man cannot; this is that state of bondage spoken of in Galatians 4:9,23,30,31. Those who are children of the freewoman, are such as whom Christ hath made free. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” {Jn.8:36} And those are children of the bondwoman that are obliged to anything that is holy in their own strength without Christ. There is no soul free from these bonds but those which are bound up in the arms and cords of Christ’s love; and this is the redemption which Christ made of his elect body, when he was in the flesh, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, to the adoption of sons. {Gal.4:4,5} Christ was made under the curse of the Law, {Gal.3:13,} for the curse and the work of the Law was not separated to Christ when he came to satisfy Divine Justice, no more is it to any soul. In the 11th verse is a second position of the Apostle, which is also a confirmation of the former. The position is this; that no man is justified by the Law in the sight of God; and the demonstration of this truth followeth in the end of the same verse, and in the 12th verse, which shows; first, that God never intended life by the Law. {Gal.3:21} If there had been a Law which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the Law. This is plain, for it was never God’s design and purpose that Righteousness should be by the Law, because he hath not given such a Law out of Christ, which is able to give life. “For by Grace ye are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” {Eph.2:8} All Salvation is entirely of Grace, wholly out of ourselves. God had another end in giving the Law, than that the soul of his people should work life from it; and this end is fuller of glory to his own Grace, and of safety to our souls; namely, that sin might become exceeding sinful, and Grace to be exceeding riches of Grace. The Apostle tells us that he had not known sin but by the Law, and had there been no Law, there had been no transgression; and if no transgression had been, nor any sin known, then the glory of Free Grace had not been lifted up as it is now in Christ. If the Law had not discovered sin, the soul had never known the want, nor the worth of a crucified Saviour, who is the great gift of the Free Grace of God, and a perfect Eternal Redeemer of a poor lost soul. Secondly, as God never intended life to fallen man by the works of the Law, so man can never gain life by the works of the Law. {Lev.18:5} There must be a perfect performance of all the statutes and judgments of the Lord, by every soul that means to live in them and have life from them. It is not a tittle less than keeping the whole Law which can advantage any soul that seeks life from it; so as that soul which in itself cannot keep the whole Law, shall never gain life by the works of the Law. {Gal.2:16} The Apostle there speaks positively twice, that no man is justified by the works of the Law; and that by the works of the Law no flesh shall be justified. This is such a standing truth, that nothing which either is, or can be done shall contradict it. --- Observation#2. That the Law of works condemns every soul in the first Adam, but justifies no soul. The Law speaks only thus, ‘do and live,’ which to fallen man is nothing but the language of death. {Rom.7:8,9} A righteous Law to an unrighteous soul gives life to the sin, but death to the soul. Observe the text; “when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.” By the command sin became exceeding sinful. A soul fallen from God can in itself make no other use of the knowledge of God’s righteous Law, but to sin against it; consult the text in this case. “But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence;” {Rom.7:8;} as if he had said; when once God discovered his holy Law, that sinful nature and unholiness that is in me, made use of it by way of opposition, to run into all manner of concupiscence; though the Law of creation justifies a Holy Creator, yet it condemns a fallen unholy creature. “By the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight;” but that soul which lives upon them shall be accursed and condemned in the want of one tittle; there lies a curse, a condemnation in the Law to fallen man, but no possibility of being justified by it in the sight of a holy and just God. --- But now that we may not be as souls without hope, though he strips us here of all our own righteousness and leaves us by nature under the curse of the Law; yet in the next verse he shows us a Perfect Redemption from the curse of the Law by Christ who was made under the Law to bear the curse and to fulfil the Law on our behalf. And here I shall be a little more large than in what hath gone before; for I have found by experience, that the more clear knowledge the soul hath in this point, the more is the Free Grace of God with the comfort and safety of a poor soul advanced. In this 13th verse the Apostle lays down a third position; namely, that every elect soul is redeemed from the curse of the Law through or by Christ being made a curse for us. {Deut.21:23} The text speaks plainly thus, he that is hanged is accursed; and it is a parallel place with the end of this 13th verse, “cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” Thus Christ was made a curse; now that Christ was thus made a curse for us, for his elect body which was under the Law, look into that word in Galatians 4:4,5, where the text saith, “but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” None can doubt but that Christ is here meant by the Son of God; and then the text plainly speaks, that God in the fullness of his own time sent Christ in the flesh, made under the Law, to redeem his elect body, that were under the works and the curse of the Law, and to bring them to receive the adoption of sons; and in this work Christ was made a curse for us. --- The first observation from hence is this, that whatever Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from. It is the Apostle’s own argument in this place, for that Christ being made a curse for us, we are thereby redeemed from the curse. The same Apostle in Romans 8:32-34, hath the same argument. If God delivered Christ up to death to die for us, then we are indeed delivered; and Christ having died for us, who shall lay anything to our charge, for it is God that justifies, and Christ that died. Christ died that God might justify. Christ was made a curse for us, so that God in justice might acquit us from the curse. So in the first two verses of Romans 8, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ makes the soul free from the Law of sin and death; and in John 8:36, “if the Son therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” This is our Saviour’s answer to those Jews which thought themselves not to be under bondage, because they were Abraham’s seed in the flesh; though our Saviour tells them that this external interest did not make them free men; for says he, notwithstanding this, you are under sin. “Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin;” {vs.34;} and your fleshly interest in Abraham does not acquit you from the bonds and servitude of sin, but “if the Son hath made you free, then you are free indeed.” As if Christ had said, Abraham could not bear your sins, and the wrath of God due to them for you; and therefore you are in bondage still; but what the Son bears, he makes them perfectly free from, for all for whom he bears it. Christ came to save those that were lost, and he tells us when he gave up the ghost upon the cross, that the work was finished; and in John 17:4, “I have glorified thee on the earth; I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Christ tells his Father that he had lost no glory in sending him upon the work of Redemption; for says he, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do;” which was to work out a perfect Redemption for his people. “To bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” {Is.61:1} If this be a truth, as doubtless it is, that whatever Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from; then it will be worthy a saints best and most serious consideration in searching the Scriptures, and in the Spirit giving ear to hear and heart to consider, what they say Christ hath borne for us. --- First, I find by that verse in II Cor.5:21, that Christ hath borne sin for us. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The text speaks in the abstract, “he was made sin for us.” There cannot be a fuller expression; there is the act, God making Christ to be sin for us, or taking all sin off from us, and laying it upon him, as was typified under the Law in the scapegoat, which went into the land of forgetfulness. {Lev.16:8-10} Now the issue and effect of this act followeth in the text, “that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him.” This expression is as full as the former, the Holy Ghost expresseth the sinner for whom Christ was made sin, to be as fully acquitted from sin, as Christ is made sin. Mark the words, “made the Righteousness of God in him;” so perfectly righteous that God owns the soul as one with himself, righteous as being one with Christ, who is the Righteousness of God. Now the soul that is thus righteous must needs be acquitted from all sin. The Righteousness of God and Condemnation for Sin is as light and darkness, which cannot be together in one soul. If Christ once comes into a soul, and tells that soul by his Spirit, that he hath borne all its sins, and so makes the soul to believe in the free Grace of God, and to rest upon Christ as his Righteousness, that soul is as fully in the sight of God acquitted from sin, as Christ was by God made sin for it. This soul stands before God complete in Christ, not having spot or wrinkle in it; all that can be said, is said in this; that soul for whom Christ was made sin is thereby made the Righteousness of God in him; so that Christ having borne the sin, that soul never more bears that in his own person before God, but doth always stand, both before the throne of Justice and the throne of Grace, as fully clothed with Christ his Righteousness, as Christ upon the cross was with his sin. “The LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” {Is.53:6} Iniquity is one with sin here; now then read this truth with an eye and heart of faith, that what Christ hath borne for us, we are fully delivered from, and then will the glory of Free Grace be lifted up, and our souls made to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory in believing. --- Secondly, Christ hath fulfilled the Law, and borne the curse of it for his people. “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” {Gal.4:4,5} Christ was made under the Law to redeem his people from all that in the Law which was weight and burden; yeah, from the curse of the Law itself. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law.” {Gal.3:13} From the reigning and condemning power of the Law; Christ hath fully satisfied the Law on our behalf. In Gal.4:5,6, there Christ hath redeemed us to the liberty of sons, the spirit of adoption reigning in our consciences and conversations above the letter of the Law. So that in Rom.8:2-4; there the Apostle tells us, that by virtue of the Law of the Spirit of life in his union with Christ Jesus, he had freedom from the Law of sin and death. That Law of commandment by which sin revived, and the soul died, he was delivered from by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. For says he, what the Law could not enable the soul to do because of the weakness of the flesh, that did God by sending his Son in the flesh, and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that is, condemned our sins, and satisfied his Law and Justice for them all in the death of Christ; so that now the Righteousness of the Law is fulfilled by Christ for us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The Law was fulfilled and had its accomplishment in Christ; that is, the Law in the letter, and the soul now through union with Christ is taken up to live in the Law of the Spirit of life; that is, the Spirit of God lives in the soul, and is a law, and a life to it, not only teaching, but leading the soul into all Truth. It is the Law of the Spirit, and so the Law of life; it is the Law of love, and so the Law of life. Nay it is God himself dispensing his love, and reigning by his Spirit in the souls and consciences of his people, and so it is the Law of the Spirit of life; and all this to the souls of his people in Christ Jesus. “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” {Gal.5:18} A soul which lives not, and acts not upon Christ in the Spirit, {so far as he doth not,} he is under the Law of Sin and Death in all that he doth; but it is a certain deliverance from the law of the flesh in our conversations, and the law of the letter in our consciences, it is to be led by the Spirit of Christ, and to walk in that Spirit. “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of light; for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth, &c.” {Eph.5:8,9} They were never without the letter; yet sometimes dark saith the text, but the light of the Lord, in which the redeemed of Christ should walk is the light of the Spirit. Now we have all this freedom, because the Son hath made us free, by bearing those burdens for us; and what Christ hath borne for a believer, that a believer is fully redeemed from. --- Thirdly, Christ hath borne the punishment due to sin for us. Observe the text; “surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” “He was taken from prison and from judgment; and who shall declare his generation; for he was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of my people was he stricken; yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief; when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” {Is.53:4,5,8,10,11} I know not how fuller expressions could be made to set forth this thing; that Christ hath borne the punishment due to sin for the believer as fully as he hath the sins themselves. With his stripes we are healed; that is, the punishment of our sins which he did bear for us; so that as the wrath of God due to sin, we shall never bear them again; for what Christ hath borne for us, he hath delivered us from the bearing of it in our own persons, otherwise Christ died in vain; and this text is not made good if we be not healed by his stripes. Now if the punishment be not taken from the believer, as well as the sin, how are the wounds of that soul healed by the stripes that Christ bore for it? And if any shall say, God made Christ to bear the believer’s sins, but the believer must bear the punishment due to those sins, though Christ was wounded, bruised and chastened for them. Such an affirmation will bear very hard upon the Justice of God, and question that truth of our Saviour upon the cross, that he had finished the work of Redemption, part of which is the punishment as well as the sin. I verily believe when Christ bore the curse of the Law, he did bear the punishment due to all the sins of his people; and though I do believe that God chastens every child whom he loveth, yet those chastenings are the fruits of his love and not of his wrath; Christ hath borne all that in being made a curse for us. --- Lastly, Christ hath borne death for us as it is the wages of sin. I Cor.15:53, to the end. By which means death is swallowed up of victory; the sting of death which is sin, and the strength of sin which is the Law, hath lost themselves and their strength when they entered into Christ; so that now a believer can bless God, and through Christ he hath victory over death, sin, hell, law, and the grave; and why so? Why, because Christ had gone through, he has borne and overcome all these for us; and we are more than conquerors through Christ that loved us. We are more, because none of these can conquer Christ; but he hath to all eternity overcome them for us. This sting of death is swallowed up of victory; for it is buried in the wounds of Christ; and Christ is risen, and is seated at the right hand of God, and because he lives, we live also. {Jn.14:19} Robert Tichborne, “Cluster of Canaan’s Grapes,” 1649.

Posted January 26, 2014


Thomas Collier Exaltation of Christ 1641         PDF Format

Samuel Richardson Justification by Christ Alone 1647         PDF Format

London Confession of Faith 1646         PDF Format

{Sermons of Tobias Crisp}

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Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle
and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus. Hebrews 3:1