Isaac Ambrose, Puritan divine

   Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664) hailed from Lancashire, and studied at Brasenose College, Oxford. He enjoyed the favour of King Charles up until the outbreak of the Civil War, but his Puritanism got him into trouble with the king's commissioners, and he was several times arrested and imprisoned.? He aligned himself with the Presbyterians and apparently managed to get on the wrong side of Parliament, as well as the king; he was imprisoned in London for a couple of months in 1849. In 1654 he became minister of Garstang, but was ejected for nonconformity in 1662.
      That may sound like a fairly heavy dose of tribulations but Ambrose "was not naturally a partisan" and "He avoided the political controversies of the time" ( DNB ). Furthermore, his gentle disposition and earnest character won him the supposrt of powerful patrons, who ensured his sufferings were minimised. By the standards of the day, Ambrose's yoke was a very lightweight one, of the variety reserved for those who kept a low profile. The real persecution was reserved for those who stuck their necks out!
      Ambrose spent his last years in peaceful meditation, and apparently died of apoplexy the very day after finishing his final work, A Discourse Concerning Angels . I am pleased to have copies of his works (even thought they are not first editions) because, of all the Puritan divines (for the most part a pretty graceless and bluntly-spoken bunch), he stands out for the elegance and purity of his prose style, which ranked in popularity with Bunyan for many years. Shown here are the title pages to three of his sermons.


Ultima: The Last Things, in Reference to the First and Middle Things: or, Certain Meditations on Life, Death, Judgment, Hell, Right Purgatory and Heaven. Delivered By Isaac Ambrose, Minister of Christ at Preston in Amounderness in Lancashire (London, Printed for Tho. Sawbridge, and Tho. Cockerill, 1688, fol., pp. nos. 271-364). This treatise was (I believe) first published in 1640, as the second of two (the first one being Prima , but it is often cited as dating from 1650, since this is when it first appeared in its final form, as one of three treatises ( Prima, Media & Ultima ).


Redeeming the Time: A Sermon Preached at Preston in Lancashire, January the Fourth, 1567. At the Funeral of the Honourable Lady, the Lady Margaret Houghton. Revised and somewhat Enlarged; and, at the Importunity of some Friends, now Published. By Isaac Ambrose, Preacher of the Gospel at Garstange in the same County (London, Printed for Thomas Sawbridge, and Thomas Cockerill, 1689, fol., pp. nos. 365-378). This was first published together with a 1658 edition of the Prima, Media & Ultima treatises. This revised and enlarged version first came out in 1674.



The Doctrine & Directions, but more especially the Practice and Behaviour of a Man in the act of the New Birth. A Treatise by way of Appendix to the former. By Isaac Ambrose, Minister of Christ at Preston, in Amounderness in Lancashire. (London, Printed for Thomas Sawbridge, at the Three Flower-de-luces in Little-Britain, and Thomas Cockerill at the Three Legs in the Poultret, 1688, fol., pp. 29-55). By "the former" is meant the treatise Prima , to which this was originally appended.

These sermons are disbound (evidently salvaged from a complete volume), incomplete (i.e., the Prima and Media treatises are lacking) and in indifferent condition, but I would love to match them up to form a complete set and have them properly bound.