The Waterwheel: The Mill Moved by Water, Living, Enlivens

Book Title: De Bykorf des Gemoeds : Honing zaamelende uit allerley Bloemen / Vervattende over de Honderd konstige Figuuren ; Met Godlyke Spreuken En Stichtelyke Verzen, Door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Waterwheel: The Mill Moved by Water, Living, Enlivens

Scripture Reference:

Description: A waterwheel is turned by water that falls on it from a stream above. On the left two men with a donkey discuss the mill; next to them are two large sacks filled with flour; three sacks filled with flour lean against a wall of the mill on the right foreground. The miller can be seen through a window in the wall. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem, as well as for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant Scripture text is John 6:57-58.

There is surely a Moving force, that touches thee,
If life’s Wheel has been released.

The steadily moving water,
Can make the heavy Mill-wheel turn,
Which otherwise remains motionless,
And lets no use be reaped.
A steady flood of thoughts,
Of eternal good, driven on the Heart,
Moves the Mill of the Soul,
And makes the desire for God alive.
So the Spirit grinds the Soul’s bread,
Through heavy, weighty constant rubbing;
It receives the flour in its bosom,
And leaves the hull outside.
That hull of all things temporal,
That can satisfy no one’s hunger,
Separates him, therefore, from heavenly desire,
And is thus scorned by all wise men.
So that they eat the very noblest kernel,
(From which the hull has been discarded)
Hidden under it,
Eternally as pure bread.
O Spring! of life for the Soul,
Driven by Jesus Christ,
Fall steadily on the wheel of our heart,
So that, steadfast, we live through thee.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

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