The Incline: Without Forward Pressing

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 Incline: Without Forward Pressing

Scripture Reference:

Description: Three persons watch as a ball rolls down an inclined board. In the distance a church can be seen on a high hill. 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 Matthew 7:13.

What thou dost see run on its own,
Doesn’t go forward on Flat ground.

The Incline, lets all that’s Round,
Willingly roll to the ground;
That is, the World and its Heart;
That is a Round and Sloping structure,
For the fast run down to hell,
A low place of eternal pain.
Nature that again loves nature,
Is always downwards inclined,
Like the Incline and the Round object.
Like joins like,
According to the clear evidence of all things,
So rolls the heart on the incline of sin.
But then the easy course,
Is likewise not on the path to Heaven,
Although so many hearts roll down it,
Like a Ship before current and wind,
Until it finally encounters a shipwreck,
And all the waves that wreck it.
The way to Heaven is upwards,
And is walked with difficulty,
Each one should mark that well,
So that he, to his advantage, avoids
All that easily slides and glides,
And keeps each outcome in mind.

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

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