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changes that passed on his mind, and of the difficult experiences that he had been exercised with. These things reached the hearts of the tried ones, and they gathered food under it; which was quite a mystery to Prodigalis; that a man in misery should be a minister of comfort. They appeared to him in no better light than the Philistines, who shouted against Samson when he was bound, but dared not so much as look him in the face when he was free. The weak and feeble believers, being so joyful, provoked him to spiritual jealousy. His adversaries hearing his complaints, and perceiving him at times to falter in his speech, triumphed over him while the Antinomian hypocrites, who hated his experience, who talk of faith and religion, while strangers to the power of both, were in daily expectation that his mouth would be stopped, and his ministry and profession sink into obscurity, and plague them no more.

Besides, he soon found that the bands that he felt in the pulpit followed him into his study likewise, until he went mourning all the day long. He had not arrived to that profound depth of experience that Paul had when he said, "And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation," 2 Cor. i. 6.

Ahimaaz. Though I often appeared so forward formerly to run with tidings, yet since I have been

called by grace, I have trembled for fear it should ever fall to my lot. I see it the most important work under the sun. A minister, as a public person, has many that will cleave to him, which are looking to him, and depending on him, under God, for instruction; and these persons he must be accountable for, as a ruler of the household; which if he lead wrong, their blood is on his head: for they depend on him, by taking him to be what he pretends to be, namely, God's saint, God's servant, God's ambassador, and God's mouth. This is what every real minister is, and this is what every false preacher pretends to be, as well as a true one. If he be a false prophet, he will spit his venom at those that are true, and, to the utmost of his power, endeavour to vindicate himself in these characters, which his arrogance has assumed; and blind, and bind all to him that he can. If he be a real believer in Jesus Christ, and one that is sent of God, he is right in vindicating himself in the above characters, and in declaring God's plain truth, as he hath felt it in his own heart; and as he lives it in his own life, he is a true saint, servant, and ambassador of Christ, and a faithful leader: he delivers his own soul, by declaring the whole counsel of God; and clears himself of the blood of those that perish in their sins; and is a minister of the Spirit to those who are truly spiritual.

While, on the other hand, he that is a deceiver comes in God's name, who never sent him: he says he is sent of God, or inwardly moved by the

Holy Ghost, when he never was; personates God, whom he is a stranger to; appears in an office that God never conferred on him, and opposes those whom Christ hath sent. Hence poor deluded souls, by believing his lies, look to him for instruction, as God's servant, when he is not: and if he prevails with them to adhere to, and live and die in his delusions, both the leader and the led end in destruction together; or, as Christ saith, The blind lead the blind, until both fall into the ditch.

Cushi. What you have said is true: but Prodigalis was no deceiver; He went forth and wrought, and the Lord worked with him, and confirmed his word with many signs. But to be brief about his next trial. This bondage in his pulpit soon followed him home to his study, as was before observed, and at a throne of grace also, until his life, as well as his ministerial work, became both labour and sorrow.

Under this most distressing and most miserable cross Prodigalis found dreadful murmuring and complaining his old besetting sins began to call for some acknowldgement of past favours, and offered their pleasures in this his comfortless situation, if by any means they might gain a little lost favour, be a present prop, or lend a little present assistance toward lengthening of his tranquillity.

This bait was not altogether unseasonable. Darkness and bondage in prayer; the same in study; the same in company; the same in the pulpit; made him catch at comfort from any quarter.

Carnal comforts are never represented to an heavenborn soul in so delusive a garb as when divine consolations are fled. When the good man is not at home, but is on a long journey, and hath taken the bag of money with him, then it is that the world comes with her much fair speech, and flattering lips, in order to cause us to yield, Prov. vii. 19, 20, 21.

Now was the time for Satan to work; and as he found that all divine comforts were gone, by the groaning petitions of Prodigalis; and that many of his former besetting sins began to gain upon his affections, and to meet with a little indulgence, though it was but in thought; yet the devil drew him, before ever he was aware, to the court of conscience, and made his appeal to the heart, the thoughts, and even to the very conscience of Prodigalis.

First, The Plaintiff shewed, that his heart was got cold to the work, worship, people, and ways of God; which the Defendant could not deny: for as he had met with nothing but frowns of late, in the ways of God, and as all divine comforts had left him, he could not deny but that earthly comforts had been indulged and embraced by him, as a rival to the God of all comfort.

Secondly, The Plaintiff shewed, that the life of a real christian was such as never to offend either God, conscience, or men; that the real saint was one that exercised himself day and night, always

to have a conscience void of offence both towards God and towards men, Acts xxiv. 16.

Thirdly, That Prodigalis had left his first love, Rev. ii. 4; that as iniquity had abounded, his love had waxed cold; and therefore he had apostatised in heart from his God. Nor could he be deemed one of the number of them that persevere; "for he that endureth to the end [in his first love] shall be saved."

The plaintiff further shewed, that the thoughts of Prodigalis were often very carnal; and that, instead of having every thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, at certain seasons he had not a thought for Christ.

Fourthly, That Prodigalis not only allowed these wanderings of heart, but at times really encouraged them, and seemed to be entertained by them, especially when the presence of his Lord was gone; and therefore he could not say, "I hate vain thoughts, but thy law do I love.”

Fifthly, The Plaintiff shewed, that he not only indulged these vain thoughts that lodged within him, but that in the hours of sensible desertion he had endeavoured to suck comfort from them.

Sixthly, That in some of his peevish fits he had even envied the happiness of the wicked, who are not in trouble, as other men, nor plagued like other folks.

Seventhly, That he had gone so far in this his peevishness as to call the proud happy, whom God

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