|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
Verse 2. Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
In the second verse, the Lord proceeds from the 'thighs,' to the 'navel' and 'belly:' which parts, were not touched in her commendation, chap. 4. These parts in men's bodies have not much beauty in them; and therefore, it seems, that by them the Lord points rather at what is inward and useful, in the spiritual complexion and constitution of believers, than what is outward and visible in their walk, that serving no less to their commendation than this.
The navel hath much influence on the intestines; and when it is sound, it furthers much the health of the whole body; so, Prov. 3:8, it is said, the fear of the Lord 'shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones;' that is, it will be exceeding useful and profitable for thy well-being, as it is useful for the body to have that part in good case: and, on the contrary, a wretched miserable condition (such as is our condition by nature) is described by this, 'thy navel was not cut,' &c. Ezek. 16:4. It is known also, that in nature, the navel hath much influence on the child in the womb, which may be especially taken notice of here, as appears by the following commendation, namely, that it 'is like a round goblet,' that is, well formed and proportioned (opposite to a 'navel not cut,' Ezek. 16:4. 'which wanteth not liquor,' that is, furnished with moisture for the health of the body, or entertainment and nourishment of the child in the womb.
Before we further clear the words, or observe any thing from them, we shall join to this the fourth part here commended, and that is, the 'belly:' the word differs in the original, from that which is translated belly: being spoken of him, chap. 5:14, and it is taken for the inward parts, Jer. 15:35; Prov. 18:8. It hath a special influence on the health of the body, and on the bringing forth of children: it is here compared to 'an heap of wheat;' to 'an heap,' to shew her bigness, as being with child, and still fruitful, and that in abundance: to 'an heap of' the grain of 'wheat,' to shew, it was not big with wind, but with good grain, even the best, whereby she feeds him herself, and others: and so, as in the former similitude, she is represented to be furnished with liquor, so here she is set forth to be furnished with bread, whereby her spiritual liveliness and healthfulness may be understood. Again, this heap of wheat is said to be 'set about with lilies,' not only thereby to express its beautifulness, with its usefulness, but also the fruitfulness thereof, in having particular graces as lilies growing about it, which are moistened and nourished by these two parts; the navel and the belly. Now we conceive, that most likely (though it be hard to be peremptory) the graces of the Spirit may be understood here, which being infused in their habits, and drawn forth in their actings by the influences of the Spirit, are compared to waters and liquor, and are said to be in the belly of the believer, John 7:38, ('He that believes on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of waters') because they have such influence on the new man, and (to speak so) are the health of the navel thereof. In sum, the sense of the words comes to this, O prince's daughter, thou hast a lively spiritual constitution, by the inward flowings of the Spirit, whereby thy navel is formed and beautified (which was by nature otherwise) and therefore thou art not barren, but fruitful, and that of the most precious fruits. Hence observe, 1. That believers' inward constitution and frame, is no less beautiful than their out-ward conversation and walk: this 'King's daughter is all glorious within,' Psalm 45:13. 2. Soundness within, or heart-soundness is no less needful than outward fruits, for completing a believer's commendation; to have the navel well formed, is as necessary and requisite, as to have the feet beautiful with shoes. 3. Inward liveliness, or a well furnished inside, hath most influence on a believer's liveliness in all external duties: this keeps all fresh, being like precious liquor which makes Christ's Spouse fruitful and big, and that not with wind, but wheat.
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