The Anvil: That Remains Standing

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 Anvil: That Remains Standing

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man comments to his friend that an anvil can remain in front of the house since its weight makes it safe from theft; other lighter objects are carried inside the house. 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 2 Corinthians 5:4.

The weight that is immeasurable,
Frees itself from Theft.

What is heavy, is trusted outside,
Since the man, who out of evil desire,
Considers the goods of another also his own,
Cannot carry that heavy object to his abode:
So heavy should the human heart be;
So heavy should its Salvation be,
And the avoidance of Eternal hellish pain,
That it would be inclined to virtue.
Then would the Thief, who always lurks for Souls,
And is eager to share the rich booty,
With his mate, who also seduces life,
Not so easily steal the Heart that’s too heavy to lift.
For outside; is here, in this Time,
As we live on earth in this world,
And are an Object of assault, of all struggles,
Spied on and always surrounded by cunning deception.
Therefore the heart that doesn’t make itself heavy,
But is airy and light, is also easily stolen,
By him, who always watches out to steal hearts,
And who eagerly drags many into his dark cave.
O Man! save your very best possession,
And make your Heart out of virtuous weights,
A troubled heart is better here,
Until the hand of the Lord will make it lighter.
When thou no longer dost need to stand outside,
But in God’s House, art taken from the Earth,
Then the burden of heaviness will certainly perish,
And the light Heart will indeed come at the right time.

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

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