The Plough: Broken for Proper Healing

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 Plough: Broken for Proper Healing

Scripture Reference:

Description: A farmer, carrying a whip, tills his field with a plow pulled by a horse. 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 2 Corinthians 4:17.

After breaking follows a better Whole
And gives his Master the best Part.

As the field is plowed,
So God’s hand plows the human heart,
So it lies open for him;
And then, after it is sowed,
The spirit cuts its noble fruit,
And gives praise and thanks to the highest.
What is then the Plow that cuts through the heart?
That’s suffering, struggle and bitterness.
What is then the fruit that such a device will give?
Faith and hope in the highest good,
A peaceful pleasure in the Soul and the Spirit,
And finally the eternal life.
That is a precious fruit,
Indeed worthy of our Soul’s desire,
And to suffer being plowed,
And to wait patiently,
Until this Harvest-time has arrived,
And lets us cut the noble fruit.
So one does not remain like an uncultivated field,
That unplowed and unsuitable,
After its own fancy and pleasure,
From its unprepared earth,
Bears a wilderness of weeds,
And carries many thistles,
Like the unprepared heart,
Is found, alas! before God.

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

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