The Tar Yard: Dirt Makes Dirty

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 Tar Yard: Dirt Makes Dirty

Scripture Reference:

Description: A worker pours tar from a big barrel into a smaller container. A lady walks past with a gentleman; both pull their clothing close to the body so that it does not get dirt on it. In the left background, tar is being boiled. 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 Peter 2:11.

He who doesn’t look after himself,
Will, through accessory, be defiled.

The Dirty-work makes its servants dirty,
So that they are to be shunned and avoided:
Cleanliness remains hidden from un-cleanliness,
And keeps itself much rather on one side:
So there is then for the wise understanding,
No dirtier work than the dirty business of sins;
Nevertheless, even if it leads to scorn and shame,
Every man is found for this business.
But God, who is himself pure cleanliness,
Avoids it, like all inhabitants of Heaven,
As servants of the work of darkness,
So do Two unlike things separate themselves.
So they also do, who are of a clean Heart,
So as not to defile themselves from the dirt of others,
And they do not wish to put their firmly planted foot,
On the path of dirty sinners.
Dirt it must be that the Almighty hates,
And commands all his people to hate with Him!
Who listens then to the very best advice,
To leave alone the dirty business of sinning?
For who wishes to be hideous?
In the Only Eye of highness and Honor?
For his service and work, having experienced sweat and pain,
To turn his back to Salvation;
While punishment shows its face!
Whoever desires to walk this path still farther,
Should walk alone, so that he cleanses himself,
He does not wish to pay for the foolish actions of those with him.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.