The Sea Beacon: To Avoid, and to Lead

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 Sea Beacon: To Avoid, and to Lead

Scripture Reference:

Description: On the beach, a fisherman, holding a net, points to a strongly smoking sea beacon; several boats sail on a choppy sea. 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 1 Timothy 1:18-19.

The Light is certainly useful and good,
If thou dost open thine Eyes.

The Beacon stands on the shore,
To prevent a sad harm,
Through watching and careful avoidance;
So that the captain with his cargo,
In darkness in the dead of night,
With man and all are not Shipwrecked:
With the one, it also shows us,
How many Beacons are standing:
On the Shore of the human life,
Where everyone with precious goods,
In the fragile Ship of flesh and blood,
On the world’s Sea, must struggle past.
How many Beacons of grief!
At the corner where the vessel struck,
And was destroyed with man and goods;
Therefore each should take heed,
So that he acts wisely,
And is not swallowed up like others.
There are also Beacons standing,
To approach safely,
Into the beautiful Heavenly harbor,
Prepared by God’s Commands,
Which since ancient time,
Gave their lights in the World’s sea.

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

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