The Lock: Close in Front and Behind

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 Lock: Close in Front and Behind

Scripture Reference:

Description: The image portrays a round lock with two arches. The gates under one arch are open; those under the other one are being opened in order to let a waiting ship pass though. 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 1 Thessalonians 5:22-23.

Transport thy freight,

He who wants to travel through the World,
And wishes that his poor Soul,
Might not flow away with the World,
But that he would keep it for God,
Can learn from the water-lock,
That he should make Gates in the heart,
To expel Vanities,
And so safely get through:
Because, if the world has its practices,
In things of a lower grade,
Why should the Heart give way to the World,
In diligent and wise deliberation?
The Heart is experienced as a Lock,
Constantly pressed and surrounded,
By many floods of sins,
As everything presses on the heart.
He who here fails to Close the Gates,
And lets the fast flood in,
Huge is the evil that will happen,
And will make the Heart too afraid!
Thou must indeed pass through the world,
All of those who are born in it,
But to exit this world,
Is the only matter where everything leads.

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

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