The High Dike: One Retains Through Diligence

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 High Dike: One Retains Through Diligence

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two travelers view the long, winding high dike between the sea on the right and a deep polder on the left that is being constructed by many workmen. 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 Peter 3:17.

Against yielding,
One must build Dikes.

Each should become a Dike-master of his Heart,
So that it does not become powerless,
Against the rush of high currents,
That comes frequently from the great World-Sea,
To the threat of alas! and woe,
On its system of Dikes.
For many sit and sleep peacefully,
With a weakened and low shoreline
Careless, in the proper arrangement,
Through which the Work of the Soul,
Does its best with all the senses,
To repair, where it breaks apart.
For he who thinks about it; the enormous Danger,
It is the threatening of that huge distress,
That would defile the Eternal life!
And who endures the bitter regret,
That slovenly carelessness,
Brought him in extreme misery!
One should then build on the High-Dike,
Industrious like the Workman:
That Dike, which must defend the Heart,
So that is doesn’t drown in evil,
But stands surrounded by Virtue,
And lives Eternally in all that’s good.

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

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