The Hearth

Book Title: Het leerzaam huisraad : vertoond in vyftig konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Hearth

Scripture Reference:

Description: As two are gathered to warm themselves before the hearth, the reader is reminded of the divine admonition that Christians are to love one another sincerely (1 Peter 1:22). The poem nearby notes that though the fire in the hearth is useful, when it is on the bed or in the wooden attic, it is destructive. 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 wrote the accompanying poem.

Motto: Here and elsewhere

The useful Fire, that does so much,
In service of skillful housekeeping,
Is on the Hearth wondrously good,
To prepare food, and fight off the cold:
But outside this limit and boundary,
In the bed, or the wooden attic,
It was terribly destructive,
As House and all, burned to Ashes.
O Man! Care for thy life’s fire!
So that it remains as intended,
And does not ignite house and barn,
To drive thee out naked.
Its rightful purpose,
Is, to burn in the love of God
And not in this present Time,
Where it shames body and soul.
Therefore prepare and tend its flame,
On the Altar of a firm conscience.

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

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