The Ant: Industrious, in the Worthiest Way

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 Ant: Industrious, in the Worthiest Way

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two persons regard an ant hill next to a large tree. 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 Proverbs 6:6-8.

Diligence is useful and good;
But best, who does it for the very Best.

Many are as industrious as ants,
And do with all diligence their best,
With fetching, pulling, walking, going hither and yonder,
So as to drag much into their nest;
But there are few, who as true humans,
Are above the concerns of insects,
And out of charitable desire,
Aspire to the Salvation of providing for Eternity:
There diligence was needed,
More than care for the flesh,
Which Wisdom has forbidden us,
Because He has shown us something higher.
Yet to get through that winter,
Which threatens to last Eternally,
Laziness has been widely observed,
While desire is not so widely inclined.
But, with the Ant, located in the dust,
Everything is so determined,
That the body has something to eat,
As long as it exists in this Time.
Yet higher minds walk farther,
And set upon the Eternal,
And work thus so much harder,
That their reward might not escape them.

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

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