The Jack: Powerful, beyond Conjecture

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 Jack: Powerful, beyond Conjecture

Scripture Reference:

Description: In the foreground, a man compares the power of his hand with that of a screw jack, powered by a crank. Behind him, several workers use a jack to lift heavy slabs of stone while working on building a gate. In the right back-ground two men work on the roof of a church. 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 1 John 5:4-5.

What is small, and scorned,
Has, however, much power.

If the hand cannot lift it,
Because of the enormous weight,
Then the Jack must be used,
Which cranks, even though the bulk be huge.
How many hands hang slack!
Which leave the work standing and lying,
And don’t work with full force,
But say casually, and cowardly:
Who can lift it? It’s too heavy;
To wit, the work of the Soul’s Salvation.
That is day by day, and Year upon Year,
While Death follows on one’s heels.
There it remains; and one doesn’t look around,
To also find a Jack,
Of strong belief, that wise jack,
That can crank the whole world away.
Do the things of this Time then,
In their importance surpass so far
The things of eternity,
In attention, practice and toiling?
Where then is the human intelligence,
In reflecting on these matters?
Thou canst feel it with thy bare hand,
And dost not even need to make a scale.

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

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