The Armory: Cover the Bare Soul

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 Armory: Cover the Bare Soul

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man shows two onlookers an exhibition of various shields, body armor, and other weaponry from antiquity. The exhibition hall has tall vaulted ceilings. 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 Corinthians 9:25.

Where the very sharpest arrow aims,
There the strongest Shield should be available.

If Antiquity has forged the weapons,
With which they attacked city and country,
Where is now this work’s reward?
But if one saw the Salvation gained by them,
Who were Heroes, for their Souls,
One would see their status as exceedingly beautiful.
As they conquered darkness,
So they became clear suns;
That is a different glory,
Than a head crowned with ornaments,
Of glittering gold and laurel leaves,
For such a brief and base time.
The Shield fashioned from strong faith,
Far surpassed the Iron shields,
And covered more than the heart of flesh;
So that the arrow would be repulsed,
That flew to the Eternal life,
And was shot from Hell.
So it was, moreover, with other weapons,
Used to deter the Enemy’s boldness:
The Arm of flesh conquers only flesh;
But the Heart, armed with God’s power,
Would overcome Spiritual forces,
And would save itself from all fear;
Raised up with Honors by God,
In the glorious Kingdom of the pious.

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

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