|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
PART II.BRIDE'S WORDS.
Verse 3. As the apple .tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons: I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
The second part of the chapter may be subdivided in two; first, from the third verse, the Bride comes in, speaking as in a lively frame, to verse 8. 2. From that to the end, she speaks as being at some distance with the Bride-groom.
In the first part, 1. She commends Christ, and lays down this commendation, as the ground of her consolation, verse 3. 2. She proves it by her experience, ibid. 3. Explains the way of her coming to that experience, verse 4. 4. She cries out under the sense of it, verse 5. 5. She shows his tender care of her in that condition, verse 6. And lastly, expresseth her fear, lest there should be any change to the worse in her condition, and her care to prevent it, verse 7.
The dependence of the third verse upon the second, is clear: she takes the commendation out of Christ's mouth, which he gave her, and after that same manner almost turns it over on him, as she had done, chap. 1:16, and then comforts herself in him: hath she crosses? Then he hath a shadow to hide her, and with this she settles herself, and doth not complain of her sufferings, Hence, Observe. 1. There is no staying of the heart against afflictions, but in Christ, 2. It is better for believers to insist in commending him, than describing their crosses.
Here there is, 1. The Bride's esteem of the children of the world, called here the 'sons,' they are like wild barren trees, that give no fruit, or comfort: the world is exceeding little worth, especially to those who know Christ. 2. Her esteem of Christ, he is like the 'apple-tree;' there is great odds betwixt Christ and all the world; there is ever fruit to be found on him, and a shadow in him. This is proven by her experience (for they who have felt and tasted how sweet he is, can speak somewhat to this) I encountered with many difficulties (says she) like scorchings of the sun: (see on chap 1 verse 5.) and could find no shelter, nor refreshment amongst the creatures: but I resolved to make use of Christ by faith, in reference to them (even as men do, by interposing a tree betwixt them and the heat, that they may have a shadow) and I found refreshing and ease, by the benefits and privileges that flow from Christ, and are purchased by him, and are enjoyed by virtue of an interest in him; which were very comfortable, even as sweet apples from an apple-tree, are refreshful to one sitting under its shadow in a great heat.
Observe. 1. Believers may be scorched with outward and inward heat; they may be exercised not only with sharp outward afflictions, but also with the sense of God's wrath, and with the fiery darts of Satan's temptations. 2. Christ is a complete shadow, and a cure for all. 3. They that would find Christ a shadow from the heat, must make use of him, and employ him for that end; they must 'sit down,' &c. 4. Believers never flee to his shadow till some heat scorch them; for, her being scorched with heat, is supposed here as that which made the shadow refreshful. 5. Faith in Christ, will compose believers in the midst of the greatest difficulties; it will set them down, &c. yea, and delight them also. 6. Much of the nature and exercise of faith, in its use-making of Christ, appears in its interposing of Christ betwixt us and wrath, or whatever may be troublesome to us, end in the quieting of ourselves upon that ground; for, this is it that is meant by sitting down under his shadow. 7. There are many choice and excellent fruits in Christ, that flow from him to believers. 8. All the spiritual benefits and privileges that believers enjoy, are Christ's fruits; they are his fruits by purchase and right, and by him communicated to believers. 9. Believers eat and feed, and may, with his blessed allowance do so upon what is his. 10. Christ's fruits are exceeding sweet, when they are eaten; they are satisfying, and, as it were, sensibly sweet. 11. These sweet fruits are neither eaten, nor the sweetness of them felt by believers, till they go to Christ's shadow, and sit down delightsomely under his righteousness; then they become refreshful.
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