The Pile Driver: Lays the Foundation

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 Pile Driver: Lays the Foundation

Scripture Reference:

Description: A pile is being driven in the ground with a man-powered rammer while several people watch. In the foreground, a number of workers roll new piles to the pile-driver. 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 Timothy 6:19.

Dost thou not find any foundation to stand on,
Then construct it with the pile-drivers.

The Pile-driver, it seeks a deep foundation,
So that the House stood fixed,
And could not soon collapse;
That house, out of mortar, stone, and wood,
With diligence, begun and completed,
For the benefit of the present life:
But the house of eternal bliss,
That is much more important,
That one they see, (who pay attention to that,)
(To spare costs and effort,
And take the easiest path,)
Put down only shoddily and loosely.
So it sags badly,
And stands in dreadful danger,
Thus there are so many slanting souls,
Because one spends all on the flesh,
And forgets the firm foundation,
So the building collapsed.
O Man! who sees this fault,
Do not build with the careless ones,
Drive your senses deep into the heart,
Through earthly mud and mire,
Down to the foundation of the firm kingdom,
Then shall thy Building defy sinking.

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

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