Crisp, Tobias

, a puritan writer of considerable eminence, the third son of Ellis Crisp, esq. an alderman, and probably related to the family of the subject of the preceding article, was born in Bread-street, London, in 1600, and educated at Eton-school. He afterwards went to Cambridge, where he studied until he took his degree of B. A, and was, on his removal to Oxford, “for the accomplishment,” says Wood, “. of certain parts of learning,” incorporated in the same degree as a member of Baliol-college, in the end of Feb. 1626, and the degree was completed by him in the act following, July 1627. In this year he was presented to the rectory of Newington Butts, near Southwark, but enjoyed the living only a few months, being removed on account of a simoniacal contract. In the same year, however, he became rector of Brinkwortb, in Wiltshire, and a few years after proceeded D. D. At Brinkworth he was much followed for his edifying manner of preaching, and for his great hospitality. But on the breaking out of the rebellion, being noted among those who were inclined to favour the republicans, he met witk. such harsh treatment from the king’s soldiers, as obliged him to repair to London, where his preaching, although at first acceptable, was soon accused of leaning to | Antinomianism, and involved him with many of his brethren in a controversy. He was baited, says Wood, by fifty-two opponents, in a grand dispute concerning the freeness of the grace of God in Jesus Christ; and by this encounter, which was eagerly managed on his part, he contracted a disease that brought him to his grave. This disease, communicated by infection, and probably nowise connected with the eagerness of his dispute, was the small-pox, of which he died Feb. 27, 1642, and was buried in the family vault in St. Mildred’s, Bread-street. In his last sickness, he avowed his firm adherence in the doctrines he had preached. The dispute mentioned by Wood, was probably carried on in person, or in the pulpit, for we do not find that he published any thing in his life-time; but, after his death, three 4to volumes of his sermons were printed by his son, under the title of “Christ alone exalted,” containing in all forty-two sermons. When they appeared, we are told, that the Westminster assembly proposed to have them burnt; and although we do not find that this was done, Flavel, and other non-conformists, endeavoured to expose the danger of some of his sentiments. Here, probably, the controversy might have rested, had not his works been again published about the revolution, by one of his sons, with additions. This excited a new controversy, confined almost entirely to the dissenters, but in which some of the most eminent of that body took a part, and carried it on with an asperity which produced considerable disunion. In particular it disturbed the harmony of the weekly lecture established at Pinners’ -hall, and the congregation mostly inclining to Dr. Crisp’s sentiments, the minority seceded, and began a weekly lecture at Salters’-hall. The principal writers in this controversy were Williams, Edwards, Lorimer, &c. against Crisp; and Chauncey, Mather, Lobb, &c. for him; and after a contest of seven-years, they rather agreed to a suspension of hostilities than came to a decision. The truth appears to have been, that Crisp was extremely unguarded in many of his expressions, but was as far as the fiercest of his antagonists from intending to support any doctrine that tended to licentiousness. A very full account of the whole controversy may be seen in the last of our authorities. 1


Ath. Ox. vol. II.—Lysons’s Environs, vol. I.—Bogue’s History of the Dissenters, vol. I. p. 399.