The Mail: Fast for Profit

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 Mail: Fast for Profit

Scripture Reference:

Description: The mailman sits on a horse with a heavy pack tied behind his saddle to which a horn and a dagger are attached. Two men discuss the mailman. A village can be seen in the distance on the other side of a river. 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 Psalm 145:18-19.

The Speed may be good,
If it hurries to well-being.

Thou dost go fast, by day and night,
So that business of great importance,
Is transported speedily,
And each is soon answered.
But, as to the most significant matter,
That is most important to each one,
So that one hits it like a target,
The speed is, still much faster.
No sooner do I, to the highest court,
Send my desires and prayers,
No sooner do they depart from me,
No sooner has their journey ended.
Although they journey far and wide,
To the dim eye of our senses.
Yet because it’s in Eternity,
There is neither End, nor Beginning.
As, where one calls for an audience,
Regardless the place or the time,
There is the Eternal Eye, and Ear,
Not to be avoided by any sort of hiding.
O Wonderful fortune!
That enriches us so quickly,
Because of the most difficult matter,
Which appears to be our Demand from God!
Where does the listless Soul remain?
To act so blithely in its interest,
By putting a speedy heel into motion,
For earthly flesh and bubbles.
Who buys into the nameless joke?
Of him who neglected that favor,
To be allowed to speak to his God,
So Salvation would give him entrance,
In return for so much profit, for the enjoyment of which,
The whole world is rotten.

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

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