The Drawbridge: The One Helps the Other

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 Drawbridge: The One Helps the Other

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man watches how the bridge keeper uses one hand to pull the heavy bridge open that spans the city canal, so a sailboat can pass under 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 Luke 11:9-10.

Heavily downward leaning,
Allows for receiving light from above.

One sees the Man, with one hand,
Pull up a massive object!
Force is assisted by judgment,
That doesn’t let itself be easily ascertained:
How does one imagine and look,
For the important object, of the Souls’ salvation,
Over which life doesn’t extend
Which all wise men loved most?
But were the work only so set up,
To tip toward Salvation,
That One hand with little strength,
Would get great help from above.
Doing the seemingly impossible, that is done,
By means of a wise arrangement,
By which the heavy flip-over,
Would slant greatly to the hand.
The Business of Eternal Salvation,
Should tip the scale to the heart,
Then would the path already be prepared,
By which the need would be met;
That huge need of the Spirit!
Therefore the hand must use judgment,
So that we in the least, as well as in the most,
Do not reek of folly.
When one pulls, a heavy weight,
That is itself inclined to us,
So it descends, and so the light comes,
And what is aimed for is achieved.
Thus is the situation, with God and Man,
According to the most precious wish.

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

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