|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
Verse 13. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard;
14. Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh, and aloes, with all the chief spices.
The fourth comparison follows, verses 13, 14, wherein she is compared to an orchard (as before to a garden) planted with divers and excellent plants. Now this includes these three things, which he adds to the former commendation, 1. That the believer hath many graces, he is an orchard that is planted with many trees and plants. 2. That the believer's graces, as they are many, so they are various; and therefore trees and spices of divers sorts are reckoned here. 3. That the believer's graces are excellent for kind, as well as many for number and variety, they are as 'spikenard, saffron,' &c. 'with all the chief spices.' And as it commends an orchard, to have many plants, and great variety, and to want none; so to have them of the best kinds, adds much to the commendation, when it is fruitful of these. Thus the believer is furnished with many various graces of the Spirit, as plants planted in his soul, and these of the best kind, rising from the most excellent seed that can be, the Spirit of Christ. And so the graces of believers are rare and precious, in respect of any thing that natural men have, which are but like shrubs in a dry wilderness.
Besides these, we may further observe, 1. That to have fruit, and abundance of fruit, will not prove one to be a believer, except it be choice fruit which he brings forth. 2. Believers' fruits, and the graces that are in them, differ from the most excellent parts and gifts that can be in natural men, or most refined hypocrites. 3. It is excellent and commendable, when all the graces of the Spirit flow and increase together in the believer.
It is like, the Holy Ghost may here signify the effects and properties of divers graces, by these several spices and fruits; and, it may be, Solomon understood the particular signification of every one of them; for, having so great an insight in natural and spiritual things, it is like he did not conjecturally, but on knowledge, mention such spices and no others; but we must hold on the general they are precious, medicinal, savoury and delectable fruits, and so are the graces of the Spirit to one that path them, to others they converse with, and to Christ in respect of his acceptation; they are like an orchard, or garden, that abounds with these: this is the scope, wherein we rest.
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