Isaac Ambrose

Isaac AmbroseIsaac Ambrose (1604–1664) was an English Puritan divine, the son of Richard Ambrose, vicar of Ormskirk, and was probably descended from the Ambroses of Lowick in Furness, a well-known Roman Catholic family.

He entered Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1621, in his seventeenth year. Having graduated B.A. in 1624 and been ordained, he received in 1627 the little cure of Castleton in Derbyshire. By the influence of William Russell, earl of Bedford, he was appointed one of the king’s itinerant preachers in Lancashire, and after living for a time in Garstang, he was selected by the Lady Margaret Hoghton as vicar of Preston. He associated himself with Presbyterianism, and was on the celebrated committee for the ejection of “scandalous and ignorant ministers and schoolmasters” during the Commonwealth.

So long as Ambrose continued at Preston he was favoured with the warm friendship of the Hoghton family, their ancestral woods and the tower near Blackburn affording him sequestered places for those devout meditations and “experiences” that give such a charm to his diary, portions of which are quoted in his Prima, Media, and Ultima (1650, 1659). The immense auditory of his sermon (“Redeeming the Time”) at the funeral of Lady Hoghton was long a living tradition all over the county. On account of the feeling engendered by the civil war Ambrose left his great church of Preston in 1654, and became minister of Garstang, whence, however, in 1662 he was ejected with the two thousand ministers who refused to conform. His after years were passed among old friends and in quiet meditation at Preston. He died of apoplexy about 20 January 1664.

As a religious writer Ambrose has a vividness and freshness of imagination possessed by scarcely any of the Puritan Nonconformists. Many who have no love for Puritan doctrine, nor sympathy with Puritan experience, have appreciated the pathos and beauty of his writings, and his Looking to Jesus long held its own in popular appreciation with the writings of John Bunyan. [from Wikipedia] [Dr. Joel Beeke’s excellent biographical sketch via Monergism]

The Complete Works of Isaac Ambrose:

The Christian Warrior: Wrestling with Sin, Satan, the World, and the Flesh. (177 pages)
[pdf via Google Books]
Ephesians 6:12. Digital Puritan Press Paperback and e-Book available here.

Looking Unto Jesus. (300 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
Hebrews 12:2, 1 John 2:2. Also appears in Works, below.

Prima, Media, et Ultima. (572 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]

  1. Prima (the first things). Doctrine of regeneration, the beginning of a godly life.
  2. Media (the middle things). The means, duties, ordinances, both secret, private, and publick, for continuance and increase of a godly life once begun, till we come to heaven.
  3. Ultima (the end things). Meditations on life, death, judgment, hell, the sufferings of Christ, and heaven.

Redeeming the Time. (15 pages)
[pdf web via J.I. Packer]
Ephesians 5:16. Preached at the funeral of the Lady Margaret Houghton, January 4, 1657.

The Well-Ordered Family. (46 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]

The Works of Isaac Ambrose. (570 pages)
[pdf epub mobi txt web via Internet Archive]
This volume includes:

  1. A brief biographical sketch by the publisher – pdf, 4 pp.
  2. The Doctrine of Regeneration. (John 3:3) – pdf, 32 pp.
  3. Directions to a Man in the Act of the New Birth – pdf, 36 pp.
  4. The Practice of Sanctification – pdf, 12 pp.
  5. Of Self-Denial – pdf, 21 pp.
  6. Of the Life of Faith – pdf, 18 pp.
  7. Of Family Duties – pdf, 13 pp.
    Also appears as “The Well-Ordered Family” above.
  8. Looking unto Jesus. (Hebrews 12:2, 1 John 1:2) pdf, 335 pp.
  9. The Ministration of, and Communion with Angels. (Hebrews 1:14) – pdf, 88 pp.

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4 thoughts on “Isaac Ambrose

  1. I have on order Tom Schwanda’s book, SOUL RECREATION. I desire to read all of Ambrose that is available. I have a couple of copies of his Looking Unto Jesus and would inquire you if the works you have online are all Isaac’s writings extant. Are you aware of anything other than what you have graciously provided that I should seek out? Further, are you aware of any research or articles on Isaac Ambrose that would provide clarity on this godly man’s thinking, ministry, and life?
    I Remain Grateful To
    You For Your Most
    Wonderful Website,
    William Weathers

    • To my knowledge the listed titles include everything Ambrose published, which is in the public domain (in other words, not part of the restricted section of Early English Books Online). There is of course our new reprint of The Christian Warrior. I’m sure there are other resources on the life and ministry of Pastor Ambrose, though I’m not immediately aware of any.

  2. My family is in possession of a book “Ultimate”. Our relatives ( David Montgomery)brought the book to the US in 1762.. The book is by Isaac Ambrose, Minifter of the Gofpel. We are interested in what the appraised value may be.

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