The One Hand Washes the Other: So It Goes Well

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 One Hand Washes the Other: So It Goes Well

Scripture Reference:

Description: Outside her house, one woman washes her hands while the other comments on it. In the background flows a river; a village can be seen on its other side. 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 7:1.

If so the One serves the Other,
Then purity remains its friend.

When the One hand would not wash the other,
Then it would not only fail to pass before the wise eye,
But it could not happen at all,
Because the dirt would be removed from neither:
When the Spirit and the Flesh, which live with each other,
Following this reasoning, did not want to show their duty,
To remove the dirty impurity,
Which defiles them, in this life;
Then both would remain dirty,
When each carelessly lets his work be.
Yet the sensible and reasonable judgment,
Tackles wisdom like a child,
To follow so its teaching and laws:
Water; that (given us by God,)
Washes the dirt from the Soul and the body,
When each of them tends to its duty.
The Body serves the Spirit with trial and suffering,
The Spirit serves the flesh with fear and avoidance,
So that by the One, audacity,
And by the Other, sinful blemish is prevented.
Then they keep, in this path on earth,
The right course, and are valued by God,
And when the Day of Judgment is entered upon,
Body and Soul will stand purified before God.

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

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