The Knife

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 Knife

Scripture Reference:

Description: Simple lessons of life—pay attention and grasp the knife by the handle rather than by the blade to slice bread—also provide spiritual guidance: be attentive to the word of God and diligently subdue the desires of the flesh, lest you harm yourself in the end by careless living (John 6:63). The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649–1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible 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: After one grasps it.

The Knife, so good, to cut Bread,
When one holds it by the right End,
Is also very bad and sorely to be avoided,
So that it doesn’t injure us grievously.
Common and unesteemed matters,
That are little, and lowly,
Can make us mindful of,
How it goes with the important Things.
If one grasps the Word given by God,
(To live, with a faithful, upright mind,
According to his Will,
And to reach the highest good,)
With the Soul’s desiring,
Not by the wrong, but by the right End,
Man will not hurt himself,
But his Spirit is turned to Salvation.
The proper use, according to God’s demand,
Is, that he with this sharp Knife,
Constantly kills the desire of the Flesh,
That is the correct and true lesson.
But if he seeks the life of the flesh,
In his desire, will and lust,
To give footing and comfort,
And reassures the false desire,
Then, to injure himself, he has grasped the Knife,
By the wrong End.

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

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