The Bridge: Without This It Would Be Amiss

Book Title: De bykorf des gemoeds : honing zaamelende uit allerly bloemen / vervattende over de honderd konstige figuuren ; met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen, door Jan Luiken

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Bridge: Without This It Would Be Amiss

Scripture Reference:

Description: A traveler carrying a basket on a pole walks across a river on a wooden bridge with many steep steps leading up to the bridge on each end.. Looking underneath the bridge a church can be seen in the distance and a pair of swans closer by. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem, as well as for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant Scripture text is John 14:6.

There a Bridge has been prepared,
In case your path does lead you there.

Carefulness has undertaken,
Thus to provide a method,
To get across the water,
Before which one otherwise must remain standing.
So for the human life,
That must walk through this time,
As a favor from him who must give all,
A beneficial means has been prepared;
A bridge from this earth,
To the blissful Kingdom of Heaven;
The Humanity of Christ, highly esteemed,
To whom no value is comparable.
But the path; in order to end up there,
Is thorny, rugged, hard and narrow,
And demands constant caution,
So as not to suffer a fall.
Yet many, who do not aim so narrowly,
Would rather cross the wide expanse,
So that they do not obstruct their path,
And everything that leads to freedom.
So one comes then at the final end,
Lacking the prepared means,
Separated from the very best,
In front of water without a Bridge.
Then one shall undertake to wade,
But the water has a deep, deep bottom,
That seeks to satisfy itself constantly,
With him who undertook the wading.
O Deep bottom, of Death and Hell!
We must set a better course.

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

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