Pair of Tongs

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: Pair of Tongs

Scripture Reference:

Description: As a child warms his hands over the fire, an older and wiser woman uses tongs to stoke the fire, reminding the reader of the biblical admonitions to prudence (Proverbs 27:12). The poem nearby teaches that by handling fire, one learns to be careful and is kept safe when dealing with life’s dangers. 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: Not without prudence.

The hand uses two Iron Fingers,
So that one can control the fire as required,
And still not burn oneself;
Here carefulness needs to be learned:
If one would thus grasp the Things,
Which the present human life,
Needs to handle all life long,
And with which it is always surrounded,
A Worldly Fire, which burns the Soul,
Through negligent and careless handling,
And causes it much grief,
One would avoid much harm.
But alas! The Flesh is spared more
Than the Eternal noble Part.

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

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