The Lime Kiln: Avoid What Can Be Avoided

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 Lime Kiln: Avoid What Can Be Avoided

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men point to Lime kilns situated across the water with flames bursting high up into the air. The furnace closer by has a path that leads around it, whereas the furnace located in the distance does not seem to have a path around it. 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 Matthew 13:41-42.

What appears terrible from afar,
Ensure that each spares himself from that.

He who sees this Kiln burning,
In his approach and within reach,
Has through fear no dread,
That the flames will reach him.
For him there is a path beyond it.
But he who will encounter a Kiln,
With an open door as an entrance,
For the walking of his feet;
There will be a bad situation,
As this Kiln is located,
Right by the path that he will take,
The one without any detours.
O wee! O woe! Such a state!
Yet, that situation will occur,
It is best, therefore, through wise reflection,
To take, in time, another path.
Which path? The path of true virtue,
That passes by that blazing Kiln,
And runs in joy and pleasure,
To thank and praise God,
For deliverance from the great danger.
O Man! The path of the worldly life,
Runs into the Kiln, too ghastly, Therefore, must thou abandon this path,
Now it is still thy wished-for time,
To avoid the blazing Kiln.

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

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