The Bookcase

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 Bookcase

Scripture Reference:

Description: Those devoted to the study of Scripture are like the good soil that receives the seed of God’s word and are fruitful (Luke 8:15). The poem observes, as well, that a single book, printed in the heart, is worth more than a thousand books in the bookcase. While a grand library may give the impression of learning and elicit honor, it is better to choose the will of God, store it up in one’s heart, and so find wisdom and the favor of God. 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: Why so many?

One Book, imprinted on the Heart,
Is worth more than a thousand in the case:
For a thousand, to the eyes’ delight,
Through which the mind raises itself,
As if one were wise and learned,
And will, therefore, also be honored,
Those do not bring profit; but that One,
In which God’s Will appeared to us,
So that the human Heart,
Would be led to the highest Good,
By pursuing these lessons;
He who knows to carry that in his Heart,
As his most splendid Treasure,
Has truly achieved Wisdom;
Not to be honored by men;
But, following inner desires,
To choose, from the All and Many,
The Only One, the Best Part.

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

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