The Dredge Mill: Earthly Matter Is Sludge

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 Dredge Mill: Earthly Matter Is Sludge

Scripture Reference:

Description: A large, horse-powered dredge mill is located on a boat and in the process of dredging sludge from the bottom of a canal; the sludge is deposited in small boats and taken away. A cityscape is visible on the far side of the canal. 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 7:1.

There is surely something hidden:
Where is the Dredge-mill?

O Were man’s practice so,
As to extract from his heart’s-bottom,
The earthly mud and sludge,
That would be a wished-for mud-draining.
Is the dredge-net for him too small,
To finish the job,
He builds a wonderful device,
So he would make better progress.
Why isn’t also in the heart’s canal,
(Befouled, through many years,)
The practice to clean created,
So as to cleanse the Soul’s-water?
And not a little at a time,
To extract the mud of the world,
But to dredge boats full of such sludge,
In a short time and easily.
One wouldn’t then be wrong:
A Contraption,
That looks for what is invisible,
And pushes all that is visible away;
That would be a powerful Mill,
Where the life of Faith and Hope,
Serving as strong horses,
Would turn the scooping-wheel.
O Man! embark on the practice,
Of emptying thy sludge.

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

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