Media: conference - Choice heads 2 The miseries of man in the State of nature

2. What are the miseries of man in the State of nature?

1 HE is impure in conception Ps li 5
2 He is born in iniquity Ps li 5
3 He is defiled with sin in the whole nature Ps Ixiv 6 Ezek xvi 6 Rom vii 24
4 His thoughts are corrupted with sin Gen vii 5 Eph iv 17 18
5 All the members of his body and powers of his soul are defiled with sin 2 Pet ii 14
6 His members are servants to unrighteousness and to iniquity Rom iii 13 16 vi 19
7 He is fpiritually blind Rev iii 17 Jer x 14 1 Cor ii 14 Eph v 8
8 His mind is fet on evil works Eph iv 18 Col i 12
9 His will lufteth after evil Rom viii 7
10 His heart is deceitful and def perately wicked Jer xvii 9
11 His affections are inordinate Isa lix 7
12 He hath a defiled confcience Tit i 15
13 He hath an insatiable desire after sin Job xiv 4 xv 16
14 He is full of sin Prov xxii 15 Rom i 24 vii 5 14 2 Pet ii 19
15 He is dead in sin Eph ii 1 2
16 His civil actions are fin Prov xxi 4
17 His best services are fin Prov xv 8 9 28 29
18 He is unable to any good Ro iii 12 vii 19 viii 8 2 Cor iii 5 Rev iii 17
19 He is hated of God Ps v 5
20 He is separated from all fellowship with God Isa lix 2 Eph ii 12
21 He is under God's curse Gal iii 10 Deut xx 16 17 18
22 He is without Christ Eph ii 12 and out of the communion of saints Eph ii 12
23 He is a bondslave of Satan John viii 34 44 2 Cor iv 4 Eph ii 2 Heb ii 15
24 He is a child of wrath Eph ii 3
25 He is subject to all the calamities and curfes of this life Deut xxviii 15 16 etc
26 His life is fhort and vain and full of toil and care Gen iii 19 Eccl v 14 Pfa ciii 14 15
27 He is liable to death Rom v 12 vi 23 Gen iii 19 Deut xxx 28 Ps lxxxix 48
28 He is guilty of damnation Rom v 17 18 viii 6 2 Thess ii 11 12
29 He shall not as such inherit the kingdom of heaven 1 Cor xv 50 2 Thess i 9
30 He is an enemy to his children Deut xxviii 18

Media: conference - Choice heads 1 The happiness of man's condition in the state of innocency

Of some questions of practical divinity which at the conference were propounded and answered.
The questions propounded were of several sorts
1 Choice heads of practical divinity
2 Wholesome cases of conscience
3 Some controverted points
The questions of the first sort were these and the like

1. What was the happiness of man's condition in the state of innocency?

1 GOD made man in his own image Gen i 26 27 ix 6 Eccl vii 29 Eph iv 24
2 Man was wonderfully and fearfully made Ps cxxxix 14
3 Man was made Lord of all the creatures Gen i 26 28 Ps viii 6
4 Man had a perfect knowledge of God Rom i 19 20 and of the creatures Gen ii 19
5 Man had sweet and immediate communion and conference with God Gen i 28 & iii 8
6 Man was placed in paradise Gen ii 15
7 Man was made a little lower than the angels Ps viii 5
8 Man laboured without pain Gen iii 17
9 Man lived without sin fhame Gen ii 25
10 Man was crowned with glory and dignity Ps viii 5 1 Cor xi 7
11 Man was God's delight Prov viii 31
12 Man had a possibility not to die Gen ii 17 and iii 19
13 Man had a free choice of good and evil not neceffitated to either Gen ii 16


Westminster Conference Paper 3 (Puritan pastor)

Schwanda notes how Ambrose “stresses that the minister’s time is not his own and he needs to use it for the benefit of his people.” Ambrose wrote

I hear them (the congregation) crying after me, To your closet, and there pray for us that we perish not; study for us, that we may learn of you how to walk in his paths: for if we perish, and you will not give warning, then must our blood be required at your hands. (1)
That awareness and responsibility, says Schwanda, was a strong motivation for him to make annual retreats.
It is important to notice, more obviously, the time he gave to counselling others. M M Knappen says “conferences with fellow Christians on spiritual matters were a very important part of the Puritan’s spiritual life” (2) He is a typical Puritan in this respect. Schwanda highlights his statement about exhorting sinners to come to Christ

I would be sometimes a Boanerges, and sometimes a Barnabas; a son of thunder to rouse hard hearts and a son of consolation to cheer up drooping spirits. (3)

Examples of his pastoral advice come out in diary entries. On March 3, 1647, a minister seeks help from him. “After acknowledgement of my unfitness and weakness, I directed, as the Lord enabled.” Five days later the two gathered with others for a private day of humiliation. He says that

the terror of conscience had so worn out his spirit and wasted his body that he was not able (as he said) to perform: yet desiring him to depend on God and to cast himself on him for ability, he prayed with such fervency, humility and brokenness of heart that he opened the fountains of all eyes about him and caused a flood of tears in my chamber. I never saw the like day. All the glory to God.

On March 29 the minister expressed his gratitude and wrote that progress had been made. Ambrose responded “O our Father, hallowed be thy name in this and all things.”
When one of his books was used to convert a minister, he wrote

I was told … that Mr B ... in Glasgow ... lighting by providence on my book of the First and Last things, it was a means ... of his conversion; at this time he was ordained minister ... and reported to be a holy and able man. Glory and praise to thee, O my Lord and my God.

He was a spiritual guide to others

March 1, 1647. This day Mistress C sent for me, expressing that my sermons of eternity had struck her with fear and trembling and that she was troubled in conscience and desired to be informed in God's ways. I advised her and prayed with her; many a tear came from her. The Lord by his Spirit work in her a thorough and saving conversion.

Media says “Christians should not triumph over them that are on the ground, and thrown down by a temptation, but rather they should sit by them on the same flat and mourn with them and for them, and feel some of their weight.” He was there in such a capacity when R M drew to his end and “proclaimed God’s goodness and sweetness and mercy, which were his last words” giving up the ghost as they prayed.

With the Barnabas examples, Schwanda gives a Boanerges one.

November 29, 1647. This night I was told that Mistress E D was upon my prayer the last fast troubled in conscience; and that since she had much talked of me and desired to see me, but her companion concealing it, she now apprehended the time was past and utterly despaired. I sent for her and at her first entrance into my chamber, she cried, O that face! I dare not look on it! Shall such a lost creature as I look upon thee? - Had I seen thee yesternight, I might have been saved; but now I am lost, time is past; - O terrors of the Lord are upon me, etc. Yet after she was pleased to hear me pray and then I advised her to search out her sin - to submit to the Lord, to wonder at God's mercy, that yet she lived and was on this side hell.

Schwanda notes that this meeting took place in his study and wonders if the Barnabas in him prompted him “to visit the person in his or her own familiar setting, while the more challenging practice of being a Boanerges was conducted in the minister’s chamber where he had more authority and advantage”. The final outcome is unknown but Ambrose adds
She spake sensibly, acknowledging God to be righteous, that she deserved the state she was in yet promised to yield and to be quiet under God's hand, and to search out her sins: so for that time we parted.
He did not see her again but heard she had suffered a deep depression and was taken by a friend to Ireland. (4)
1. Schwanda 119
2. M M Knappen, Seeking A Settled Heart 16th Century Diary of Puritan Richard Rogers 26
3. Looking unto Jesus 1832 ed 458
4. Schwanda 138, 139, 140


A Prayer of Isaac Ambrose Read by Tim Chester

British Museum Prints

This page shows nine prints held by the British Museum that are from books by Ambrose. They are all by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677). Page link.


Quotation Psalm 20:6

He will hear him. I would be glad of the prayers of all the churches of Christ; O that there were not a saint on earth but that I were by name in his morning and evening prayer (whosoever that art that readest, I beseech thee pray for me); but above all, let me have a property in those prayers and intercessions that are proper only to Christ; I am sure then I should never miscarry: Christ’s prayers are heavenly, glorious, and very effectual.
Isaac Ambrose, 1592-1674.

Thesis extract Ambrose on Christ''s mediatorship

... Isaac greatly steered the doctrinal development concerning the office of Christ’s mediatorship during his lifetime, and he must be credited duly a prime mover, especially since he lived so close to the death of Theodore Beza (d. 1605). Isaac Ambrose understood Jesus’ installation to the office of the mediator to be before the foundation of the world, because of the pactum salutis, which the Father made with Him in the divine decree. He says, “there was a designation and appointment of Christ from all eternity, to the office of mediatorship: whence Christ is said to be sealed by the Father”11 (Jn. 6:27, Isa. 42:1). This was a promise from the Father to the Son, which the Father covenanted with Him.12 Christ accepted this office, for he did not take this office of mediatorship upon himself, but the Father called him to it.13 As we observed in the last chapter concerning the covenant of redemption, it was commonly held within the Reformed tradition that the office of the Mediator was likened to the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. “Observe how the church of God is given to Christ, as a reward of that obedience which he showed in accepting of the office of a surety for us.” According to Ambrose, the Son was given this office of surety (mediatorship) from all eternity. Isaac not only promoted the view that Christ was given the office of the Mediator primordially before the foundation of the world, but he also described the prophetic office of Christ as a mediation of revelation. “Thus Christ is a Mediator…and…by him it is that the mind and will of God is imparted to man” (John 1:18). Through Christ, God imparts his knowledge and ways to man. Christ unfolds the secrets of the Father’s bosom to us. “Christ Jesus is a Mediator, a middler an interpreter, an intermessenger betwixt God and his people.” Christ’s mediation of revelation is, according to the English divine, not only delivered to his people in his own person, but Christ delivers the message of His Father’s will “by his servants the ministers.” Ministers of the gospel are given words from the great Shepherd to mediate the knowledge of God’s truth to the people. The Mediator, through the preaching of His Word and the working of His Spirit, “opens the eyes of the mind,” to see and hear Christ speaking to the heart. However, the puritan sees an end to Christ’s mediatorial work in the new creation, he penned and dedicated a whole chapter to this idea in his work Looking Unto Jesus, which came out to 16 pages describing the cease of the office of the mediator. In Of Christ’s surrendering, and delivering up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, he piggybacks off of Calvin’s notion of the end of Christ’s priestly office, but takes it a step farther. Here, he describes the last presentation that Christ gives to the Father, the church, and the removal of the office, but from the perspective of the Son.

O my Father! See what a number I have brought home to thee; thou knowest what I have done, and what I have suffered, and what offices I have gone through to bring these hither; and now my mediatorship is done, I resign all my charge to thee again; see what a goodly troop, what a noble army I have brought thee home; why all these are mine, and “all mine are thine, and all thine are mine, and I am glorified in them, all that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost,” John. 17:10-12.23 

Here, it seems that although Ambrose believed that Christ was commissioned by his Father to be a mediator from all eternity, he understands that all of the offices of mediatorship Christ took on, “what offices I have gone through to bring these hither,” were solely for a redemptive purpose, to bring the saints to God. “Thus Christ having discharged all his offices imposed upon him, now the work is finished, he leaves his function, by delivering up his commissions to his Father.”26 This motivation for the office of the Mediator is stagnated on Ambrose’s part due to his interpretation of 1st Corinthians 15:24-28. He understands that when the Son gives everything over to the Father, that God might be all in all, this must mean aspects of the office that come from Christ’s human nature.

The Arians hence inferred, that the Son was not equal with the Father, because he that is subject must needs be inferior to him whose subject he is. But the answer is easy, Christ is considered either as God, or as man, and Mediator betwixt God and man; Christ as God, hath us subject to him, and is subject to none; but Christ, as man and Mediator, is subject to his Father, together with us…Christ delivers up his kingdom as man, and as Mediator betwixt God and man: in these respects (as we have heard,) must reign no more, at that day his mediatorship shall cease; and by consequence, in respect of his mediatorship, or in respect of his humanity, he shall that day be subject to the Father. ....