|Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings|
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by James Durham
Verse 15. A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
The fifth, sixth, and seventh similitudes, are contained in this verse, wherein the Lord, following the same scope, further insists and explains what manner of fountain this is, which makes the believer so fruitful. 1. She is 'a fountain of gardens.' A fountain was spoken of, verse 12, whereby is signified an inward principle (to say so) or spring, which from within sendeth forth and furnisheth waters: here she is called 'a fountain of gardens,' she was called a garden, verse 12, here 'a fountain of gardens' in the plural number. By this is holden forth, 1. The end of grace in a believer, it is given him, not only for himself, but also for the use of others, as the gifts of the Spirit are given to everyone 'to profit withal,' 1 Cor. 11:7. 2. It shews that believers act and exercise their graces for others' edification, as a fountain that someway is common for the use of more gardens, and so it points out what public spirits they should have, intending the edification of all to whom they can conveniently communicate their gifts and graces. 3. It shews the abundance of spirit and life (to say so) wherewith Christ's Bride is furnished, so as she may communicate for the admonishing, strengthening, and edifying of others with herself, as it is, Rom. 15:14, where believers are said to be full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
The sixth similitude is, 'A well of living waters:' this is not only to difference her from a cistern that hath water, but hath no spring in it, but also to show the nature of the Spirit of grace in believers, it proves quickening and healing to those that have it: both these are held forth, John 4:14. He that drinks of this 'water shall never thirst,' for it shall be in him 'a well of living water, springing up to eternal life.' So is it also, John 7:38,39, where the Spirit of grace is, it will be springing; and grace will never dry up, where it is true.
The last similitude is, 'And streams from Lebanon:' which saith, that Christ's Bride is not only a fountain, but also she is a stream: and it holdeth forth, 1. That grace in her hath its rise from another, though it beget a spring in her, as if Lebanon sent a stream to a garden, which did become a spring by its constant flowing there. 2. By a stream also is set forth the abundance of grace in believers, it is in them not as a brook, but as a stream. Next, Lebanon was a hill much commended, it is like sweet streams issued from it: it is written that Jordan which watered much of the land, had its rise and spring there. In the 5th chapter, verse 15, Christ's countenance is compared to Lebanon, and so here, while the flowing of grace in her is called a stream from Lebanon, the derivation of grace, and of the Spirit from Christ Jesus is holden forth; which though it have a seat, and becomes a fountain in the believer, yet it hath its rise from him, and is kept flowing and springing by him; it is as a fountain derived by a stream from Lebanon, and otherwise any spring of grace, that is in a believer would soon run dry. All these being put together, and compared with what is before, shew, 1. That the believer is fitted by Christ not only with spiritual life, and a stock of habitual graces, but also with every thing that may make him lively and fruitful in the exercise of these. 2. This contrivance of spiritual influence that makes believers fruitful, is a most lovely and excellent thing. 3. The great commendation of believers is grounded upon the graces of the Spirit that is in them, and upon the influences of the same Spirit that comes from Christ to them. 4. Where grace is, it will have fruits, and be savoury in the conversation, in the exercise thereof. 5. It is the best evidence of grace, and of Christ's influence and Spirit, when it appeareth in the fruits, these prove the believer to be an orchard and a fountain. 6. Those graces that make a believer fruitful, have not their rise in, or from a believer, but from Christ, and the fountain that is in them, is but a stream that comes from him.
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