The Closet

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 Closet

Scripture Reference:

Description: The luxury of this home with its well-stocked linen closet is an indictment of all who ignore the poor and seek their own comfort on earth (Matthew 19:21). The poem urges the reader to get rid of the beautiful linens from the closet of flesh and wood so that the soul may prosper. 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: Decayed and moth-eaten treasure.

There is something kept, O yes! but alas!
With the wrong intent: what is it then!
A junk corner of many objects,
Which are mostly useless,
Even though it’s woolly, soft and fine,
And glistening so as to reach thy heart.
Be it what it may,
It’s a rag, and litter and trash,
To which the noble heart is tied,
As in a house of darkness,
So that it is also a cabinet,
In which junk is found.
Is it possible, that the lofty Soul,
Would fall for such lowly Things,
To fill up its Spacious room,
And leave the favor from true goods
Outside before the closed Soul,
Stand knocking in all its worthiness!
Clear out the Muck, even when made of Gold,
From thy Cabinet, of Flesh and Wood,
To the Fields that sigh for sustenance,
So that the stench and filthy Dung,
Change into the very best
Of sumptuous fruit for the Soul.

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

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