The Sulfur-Bin

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 Sulfur-Bin

Scripture Reference:

Description: While a young boy puts bundles of dry twigs on a table near a bin containing sulfur, his mistress admonishes him to be careful not to start a fire. The poem nearby elaborates: Just as fire and sulfur result in a quick flame, so do the sins of the land, when they reach God’s fiery wrath (Isaiah 1:31). 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: Reaction follows matter.

When Fire and Sulfur come together,
A flame is soon observed:
Likewise the sins of a country,
When fully born,
Draw God’s fiery Wrath,
That sets them on fire.
O Mankind, learn to fear the Lord,
So as not to be like Sulfur,
But like nonflammable Gold,
That can pass through the Furnace,
Without being hurt by the fire
And keep its true substance.
O Sulfur, truly to be feared,
First arisen from the Sulfur-pool,
How the cunning that desires evil,
Through its deceitful tricks,
With hatred, looking like great favors,
Has smeared so many hearts with thee!
How will that End,
When they approach God’s fiery Wrath,
At the grand End of this time!
There threatens a fire of all fires,
There threatens an Eternal inferno,
O Woe, o pain! from alas! and regret!
O Barren soul, fat from sins,
That, like a Sulfur-match,
Must expect that threatening evil,
Look again, in time, with better Eyes,
And seek with all thy Soul’s power,
Help and counsel from the Almighty,
So that thou dost escape this blow.
(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker).

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