The Serving Platter

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 Serving Platter

Scripture Reference:

Description: As a figure browses shelves well-stocked with platters and serving dishes, a hungry dog sniffs for something to eat but all the platters are empty—a quotidian parable of John’s admonition that Christians share what they have with those in need (1 John 3:17). The poem observes that just as a hungry person may come into the kitchen and be disappointed, so in the earthly house many empty platters of the soul are found. The soul apart from God and virtue is indeed an empty platter. 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: What can it profit.

He who came hungry into the kitchen,
And looking to be satisfied,
Noticed many empty Platters,
His Hunger would disdain all of those.
For one, even if only made from clay,
Supplied with dished up food,
Would earn regard and praise,
And he would value it above all others.
How can it be that one finds in the world’s house
Many empty Platters of the Souls,
And Hunger finds no one at home
To satisfy its appetite.
When man does not give his share to God,
And to Virtue, so follows the question,
Is he not an empty Platter,
On which no food is carried?
The Platter is then not the Goal,
But only a Container of the worthy being:
The Flesh is not what is esteemed by God,
But the Spiritual Heart is praised.

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

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