The dispute between Spirit and Flesh [from Part I]

Book Title: Jezus en de ziel : Een geestelyke spiegel voor 't gemoed : Bestaaende in veertig aangenaame en stichtelyke zinnebeelden : Nevens Het Eeuwige Vaderland en deszelfs vreugde / [Jan Luiken]; in three parts

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The dispute between Spirit and Flesh [from Part I]

Scripture Reference:

Description: The Soul and the Flesh stand opposite each other, in front of the tower of a large castle, while arguing. The Soul is portrayed as a young woman in a long dress, while the Flesh is portrayed as a man with a huge belly that reaches to the ground. The Flesh has the ears of an ass and a star on his head. The Dutch artist and poet, Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem and composing the poem that accompanies it.

Poem:The Soul contradicts Flesh and Blood.

Wouldst thou then abandon me entirely,
My bosom friend? Oh Soul, and rob me of
My highest good, my lavish frivolous life,
And lead me into abysmal servitude?
Wouldst thou harm thy friend, thy closest bosom friend?
And make him the scorn and laughing stock of all,
And throw him in much distress and misery;
Consider that truly, can that exist before God?
So the Flesh speaks, the old man of sins.
Listen to how I answer him:
It is better that thou art temporarily bound,
Than that thou wouldst push me in eternal bonds:
Thou art a rogue and dost only make misery for me:
Thou dost mean thy belly, and dost act like a beast;
And if thou then dost arrive at thy contrived end,
Since thou hast thy base in the Spirit of Stars,
So shalt thou break off, and let me sail away;
If then God’s light does not shine on my Soul’s fire,
Then I must surely wander in eternal darkness,
As I sprang from the eternal nature;
Therefore, O fellow! I am commanded to watch out;
Thou wilt become dust, I am an eternal Bond,
I do not desire to wander in eternity,
I seek my rest in the eternal Fatherland.

God’s Answer:
"And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee" (Matthew 5:30). "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth" (Colossians 3:5).

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker and Clazien van den Bergh)

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