The Lawful Contest

Book Title: De onwaardige wereld : vertoond in vyftig zinnebeelden, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Lawful Contest

Scripture Reference:

Description: Resignation and Perseverance are engaged in a wrestling match; one of the wrestlers [Resignation] has his foot on the World. On the left are two devils who withdraw from the radiant shield held in front of them by an angel; a second angel holds a reef above the head of the wrestlers. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem and for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant scripture text is James 1:12.

Resignation and perseverance,
Had a great disagreement,
Each wants to overcome the other;
And therefore placed in the Wrestling-ring,
Each shows his strength,
In the presence of two Kingdoms,
The Angel from the eternal light,
Directs his favor and support close by,
To the Part, of the true desire for God;
While the Servant of the Night
Lurks on the side, longs and keeps watch,
That the Sinful Part will defends himself.
Oh Nobel power of the Spirit be strong,
Even if the clumsy flesh makes work for thee,
With stubborn wrestling and squeezing,
Stand firm and place foot near foot,
So that thou dost keep thyself to the highest good,
His presumption shall not coerce thee.
If thou dost pay attention to thine grips,
And dost keep thine foot thus firmly placed,
So as to tread upon this world,
Thine courage will obtain as reward,
The Palm-branch and life’s crown,
In the Kingdom of Eternal peace.

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

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