The Coat Hook

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 Coat Hook

Scripture Reference:

Description: Paul told the Christians at Corinth that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God and that the perishable cannot inherit the imperishable (1 Corinthians 15:50). Luiken observes that while the clothes hung on coat hooks received much attention from humans, they were inconsequential and will be removed upon one's death. The true strength of a human lies in the soul and deserves much more attention than clothing or other matters of appearance. 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’s inside is most valuable.

If someone wears a Cloak or Coat,
Though one does not see his limbs,
One says: there goes, or stands the Man;
And that passes for common Sense.
But if the Coat or Cloak
(However respectable, however special,)
Hangs on the Coat hook,
It has lost the Name of Man:
The Soul, dressed with Flesh and Blood,
(Though one sees nothing of its parts,)
Is called Human, as one knows,
Even though his powers play within.
But if He removes the Coat from the body,
Then it loses its value,
Which gave Him the Name of Human,
And is shoved in the earth.
This is what one sees,
Of the Noble Image of the human life,
The Coat, or the Outer-garment,
That is taken off by Death.
Who then would base his regard,
(Because of a dull and obtuse mind,)
More on the Coat than on the Man,
So as to love Pretense more than true Being?

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

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