The Tow Barge, So That Thou Dost Untie, and Fasten Firmly

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 Tow Barge, So That Thou Dost Untie, and Fasten Firmly

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man on the foreground point to two tow barges filled with passengers on the river. A small one in towed by a man and a large one on the opposite side of the river is towed by horse with a rider. 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 12: 26, 32.

God’s Hand, it tows thee; be sure to hold tight,
So thou dost proceed with thy entire burden.

When the line tight, as it should be,
Then the burden proceeds easily;
But the barge must be in the water.
Should it be on land or sandy ground,
It would be an impractical thing,
Which one does not have to tell anyone:
So also, o human! so heavily laden,
Who would gladly be light and farther away,
A hand exists that would tow thee forward;
But drive the barge of flesh and blood,
On the water of a tender soul,
In order to reach from here to home;
And fasten the heart with a knot,
By the line of faith and hope,
To God’s might and will,
So would thy life’s journey proceed,
To the most agreeable place,
Even if thou didst sleep and sit quietly;
Like the man in the Barge,
Who hastens his progress while sitting,
So the nights and the days pass,
Though unnoticed, yet quickly to the End,
By which a Soul, turned to God,
Is carried, steadfast, towards Him.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.