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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


It would be wholly unnecessary to notice the name of garden (taken from the Hebrew word Gan), being so generally understood, were it not that the church of Christ is so frequently represented under the similitude. Indeed, the church is sometimes called gardens, to denote both their number and variety; by which is meant, the particular names of the churches of Jesus, such as the apostles of Christ; yea, Christ himself directed Epistles to the churches at "Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Philippi," and the like, and the seven churches in Asia. But though these were diversified, and scattered abroad in the earth, yet still, after all, the church of Christ is but one and the same. So said Christ himself. "My dove, my undefiled, is but one; she is the only one of her mother: she is the choice one of her that bare her." (Song of Song of Solomon 6:9) The Jerusalem which is above, and which is the mother of us all, knows but of one church, of which Jesus is the Head; for both Jew and Gentile will ultimately be brought into one fold. And in the meantime all true believers in Christ have one faith, one hope, one spirit, one heart and affections; all united to their glorious Head, and all united to each other, as "members of his body, his flesh, and his bones." (Galatians 4:26; John 10:16; Ephesians 4:4-5; Eph 5:30) And what endears the whole, and renders it most blessed is, that Christ the glorious Head, to whom the whole body is united, supplies all, justifies all, sanctifies all, and is himself the all of life and strength, and the portion to his people, in grace here, and glory hereafter. So sung the church, and so all the redeemed know. "A fountain of gardens is my beloved, said the church, a well of living water, and streams from Lebanon." (Song of Song of Solomon 4:15)

And while we eye Jesus as the source of life and fruitfulness to his garden the church, it is blessed to see how very lovely the similitude of a garden, corresponds to the state of Christ's church. As first a garden is an enclosure, separated and fenced round; so the church stands in the midst of the world's wide wilderness, gathered from it by sovereign grace. (Song of Song of Solomon 4:12; Isaiah 5:1-2) Secondly, a garden is the property of some owner; it is not alike common or open to all: so is the church. Jesus hath bought it with his blood; the Father hath given it to Christ by grace; and the Holy Ghost hath made it Christ's, by the sealing act of covenant faithfulness. Thirdly, a garden is distinguished from the common fields or hedges of the highway, by having nothing growing there but what has been planted; exactly thus with the church. Every thing in it is of the Lord's right hand planting; for Jesus saith himself, "Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up." (Matthew 15:13) Fourthly, in a garden there are great varieties of plants and shrubs, and fruit-trees and flowers; so in Christ's church the fruits of the Spirit appear in a beautiful and regular order, some by the exercise of one grace, and others by another, but "all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Corinthians 12:11) Fifthly, a garden is under the eye and inspection of its owner, and very frequently visited by him; and the Lord Jesus is said to have his eyes upon his Judea from the one end of the year even to the other end of the year. Yea, the Lord Jesus walks in his garden the church, and makes this his sacred haunt, where he delights to come and visit his people. The church speaks of her Lord to this effect: "My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens and to gather lilies." (Song of Song of Solomon 6:2) And elsewhere she invites Jesus to come into his garden, and to eat of his pleasant fruits. And Jesus as instantly accepts the invitation, and saith, "I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse! I have gathered my myrrh with my spice." (Song of Song of Solomon 4:16; Son 5:1) Sixthly, a garden requires much care in dressing, and pruning, and weeding, and the like; so the church of Jesus hath the constant care of her Lord. He saith himself, "I the Lord do keep it; I will water it every moment, lest any hurt it; I will keep it night and day." (Isaiah 27:3) And how, through pruning dispensations weeding out the remains of indwelling corruption in the heart, and by the digging round and nourishing the graces of her Lord's own planting, doth Jesus keep alive and cause to flourish the several circumstances of his church and people. And lastly, to mention no more, as in gardens the owners gather for their use the several productions of their gardens, so Jesus for his own glory gathers the fruits of his own Holy Spirit, planted in the hearts of his redeemed while on earth, gathers their persons at death, and transplants them into his garden above, to flourish under his almighty hand in glory for ever. So very beautiful is the similitude of a garden to the church; and, no doubt, under several other particulars the allusion might be found to correspond. Jesus! I would say, let thy garden thy church be always blessed with thy presence!

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Garden'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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