The Key: Something Small Does Big Things

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 Key: Something Small Does Big Things

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man shows a key to the door in front of him to a second man; the door has large iron fittings. A horse-drawn carriage and old man with a cane can be seen in the distance. 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 11:52.

What is of little value to the eyes,
Is often a great fortune.

Whoever has the Key can also unlock,
But he who does not have it remains outside the door:
It is a wonder that such a big difference,
In the All, or Not possession, is the result of such a means!
Yet, so little and trifling to unfamiliar eyes,
That they can not detect that difference between no or all power,
In the outward fitting,
Since the Key lay hidden in the pocket:
O Key of the House! The Holy House of the Lord,
The House of Eternal Salvation, of Wealth and Honor,
Of all, and everything that pleases life’s desire;
Which thou dost carry hidden in the heart’s pocket,
So that thou at the End of life, art not stopped in front of the Door,
But canst unlock it to the Salvation of Heaven,
How great is its Wealth, although it seemed poor to the eye,
Although it was little and low, compared to the world’s Rich and High.
How Rich is he, compared to all who are comfortable,
And do not carry this Key hidden with them!
Even if one was overloaded with Silver and Gold,
And all Things loved by the world,
And had only neglected or forgotten that Key,
How Poor he would be, compared to him who possessed it!
So does the means, which is little to look at,
Not miss the right Target, like a fallen arrow,
Whereas all others, with their late beginning,
Waste their arrows and cannot win the prize.

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

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