Taken and adapted from, “The Works of Isaac Ambrose, and The Doctrine of Regeneration”
Written by Isaac Ambrose, (1591 – 1664)
Every believer is joined unto Christ, and so joined and so knit, that he becomes one spirit…
- Every believer is joined, as a friend to a friend, as a father to a child, as a husband to a wife, as a graft to a tree, as a soul to a body. So is Christ to a believer; “I live, yet not I, but the Lord Jesus lives in me.”
- Every believer joined, that the believer comes to be one spirit with Christ: this mystery is great, and beyond the reach of that little light I enjoy; only I shall communicate what I conceive, in these three conclusions:
- That the Spirit of God, the third person in the Trinity, doth really accompany the word, but more especially the precious promises of the gospel.
- The Spirit, accompanying the promise of grace and salvation, doth thereby leave a supernatural power, a spiritual and overpowering virtue, upon the soul, and thereby brings it unto Christ: it is not so much anything in the soul, as a spiritual assisting, and moving, and working upon the soul, by virtue whereof it is moved and carried to the Lord Jesus Christ.
- The Spirit of grace in the promise, working thus upon the heart, causes the heart to close with the promise, and with itself in the promise; and this is to be one spirit.
This may shew us that the sins of the faithful are grievous to the blessed Spirit; not only because of mercies, bonds, and enlargements, which the believer hath received, but because a man is come so near to Christ and the Spirit, as to be one spirit with Christ. What, lodge can an unclean spirit have with the clean spirit of the Lord! The Holy Ghost cannot endure this: Let no fleshly communication come out of your mouth, Ephesians 4:29. Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, because by it you are sealed unto the day of redemption: the good Spirit of the Lord hath sealed you unto redemption, and knit you unto himself; and will you rend yourselves from him, and grieve him? O grieve not the holy Spirit.
As there is a union with Christ, so there is a conveyance of all spiritual grace from Christ, to all those that believe in him…
- There is fully enough in the Lord Jesus Christ for every faithful soul.
- As there is enough in Christ, so Christ can supply or communicate whatsoever is most fitting.
- As the Lord communicates what is fit, so he preserves what he bestows and communicates.
- As the Lord preserves what he communicates, so he brings to life the grace that he now only preserves; and in the end he crowns it all.
Hence, we see where the saints of God should go to fetch supply of whatsoever grace they want or need, and yes, to increase and to perfect that which they have already. Christ is made all in all to his servants: Why then, away to the Lord Jesus? He calls and invites, ” I counsel thee to buy of me eye-salve.” If you are an unregenerate and an accursed man, buy of Christ justification; if you be a polluted creature, buy of Christ sanctification: With thee is the well-spring of life, says David, and in your light we shall only see light.
It is not with us, but with you; –it is not in our heads, or hearts, or performances, –it is only in Christ that we may be found, –only from Christ can we be brought.
I deny not but we should improve all areas in our lives, and to use all helps that we may find; but in the use of all, seek only to Christ; with him is the well of life. Away to Christ; wisdom, righteousness, all of it is in him, and there we must have them.
You will say, What are the means by which we may obtain these graces from Christ?
First, look at the promise daily, and keep it within view.
Secondly, yield thyself, and give way to the stroke of the promise, and to the power of the Spirit. For instance, imagine if your heart begins to be pestered with vain thoughts, or with a proud haughty spirit; you must not be discouraged; no, but look at the promise, and hold fast thereon, and say, Lord, you have promised all grace unto your servants, take therefore this heart, and these affections, and let your Spirit frame them aright according to your own good will: by that Spirit of wisdom, Lord, inform me; by that Spirit of sanctification, Lord, cleanse me from all my corruptions; by that Spirit of grace, Lord, quicken and enable me to discharge every holy service. Thus, carry yourself by the power of the Spirit of the Lord, and you shalt find your heart strengthened upon all occasions.
For conclusion, to dart this use deeper into your hearts: If every believer be joined with Christ, and from Christ there be a conveyance of all spiritual graces unto every believer; then above all labor for Christ in all things: never let your heart be quieted, never let your soul be contented, no, not until you have obtained Christ. Grace indeed is good, and duties are good: yes, seek for all, we should do so; perform all, we ought to do so; but oh! Christ in all, above all, more than all.
Thus, I have shown you the way to the Lord Jesus; I have shown you also how you may come to be implanted into the Lord Jesus: and now I leave you in the hands of the Savior, in the heart of the Redeemer; and I think I cannot leave you better.
Meet the author and part of your Christian heritage: Isaac Ambrose (1591 – 20 January 1664) was an English Puritan divine. He graduated with a BA. from Brasenose College, Oxford, on 1624. He obtained the cure of St Edmund’s Church, Castleton, Derbyshire in 1627. He was one of king’s four preachers in Lancashire in 1631. He was twice imprisoned by commissioners of array. He worked for establishment of Presbyterianism; successively at Leeds, Preston, and Garstang, whence he was ejected for nonconformity in 1662.
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 unto Jesus long held its own in popular appreciation with the writings of John Bunyan.
Dr Edmund Calamy the Elder (1600–1666) wrote about him: Ambrose was a man of that substantial worth, that eminent piety, and that exemplary life, both as a minister and a christian, that it is to be lamented the world should not have the benefit of particular memoirs of him.
In the opinion of John Eglington Bailey, his biographer, “He was of a peaceful disposition; and though he put his name to the fierce “Harmonious Consent”, he was not naturally a partisan. He evaded the political controversies of the time. His gentleness of character and earnest presentation of the gospel attached him to his people. He was much given to secluding himself, retiring every May into the woods of Hoghton Tower and remaining there a month.
Bailey continues that Dr. Halley justly characterises him as the most meditative puritan of Lancashire. This quality pervades his writings, which abound, besides, in deep feeling and earnest piety. Mr. Hunter has called attention to his recommendation of diaries as a means of advancing personal piety, and has remarked, in reference to the fragments from Ambrose’s diary quoted in the “Media”, that “with such passages before us we cannot but lament that the carelessness of later times should have suffered such a curious and valuable document to perish; for perished it is to be feared it has”.