The Alps Mountains: But It Must Be

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 Alps Mountains: But It Must Be

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two travelers on mules, ride carefully through a region with many steep cliffs and mountains that peak through the clouds. 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 16:17.

Although the climb is high and steep,
One does it for Eternal Salvation.

He who must be on the other side of the Alps,
Goes with fear and trepidation,
Along a steep, narrow path:
Nevertheless, it is undertaken,
To get to the other country;
Where is human courage lacking?
Only before the path of Virtues,
Leading to Eternal joys,
To which God would even lend his firm hand,
To its walkers,
And lead them through the dangers,
Into the most pleasant country:
Many there are apprehensive,
And arrange to retreat,
And seldom has anyone the courage,
To start on that journey,
And get over this mountain,
In desire for the very highest Good.
They are threatened all the days of their lives
And prefer to remain on the low road,
Near the enjoyable pleasure,
On broad and attractive paths,
Lying along the desire of flesh and blood,
Through the deep sunken valley of the world.
But when they arrive at the End,
Then they experience great misery,
Before the highest mountain of Death,
Where they will remain Eternally,
After floating so long before the current,
That is the state of dire need.
It is better to think about this beforehand,
And hurt the flesh on this journey.

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

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