The Rain: To Be Fertile

Book Title: Beschouwing der wereld : bestaande in hondert konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken.

Author: Luiken, Jan, 1649-1712

Image Title: The Rain: To Be Fertile

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man, a woman and a dog are sheltered from a pouring rain under a roof. In the distance a man and a child run next to a walled garden to escape the heavy rain. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and composed the poem that accompanies it. The etching was executed by Jan Luiken or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708), who had used this image in an earlier work, which may be found in the Digital Image Archive under the call number 1699Weig. The attendant scripture text is Isaiah 45:8.

O Earth bear thy fruit,
Upon the gift of the sky.

When heaven waited long,
With the blessing of a cloudburst,
Then the earth had to nearly perish from thirst,
With its creation, of grass and blood.
O Pleasant streams of rain,
That so agreeably from the sky
Come down as a refreshment,
For which the dry earth longs.
Thy long stay creates desire,
And draws the extended eye,
Since need, wants to receive thee gladly,
From down here to high:
As all human strengths,
With all their wisdom and understanding,
Must wait for thy blessing,
That comes from the highest hand.
But if only more uplifting thoughts,
At water’s salvation and necessity,
Would contemplate that great drought.
As someone led into hell,
And demands, in the painful feelings,
Only so much refreshment of liquid,
(In order to cool his tongue,)
As would hang from a finger.
That is dryness and drought,
That each should indeed take to heart,
So that he looks to the heights,
In order to stand out of that danger.
Now it is still a time of blessing,
Since God opens his windows,
With streams of merciful rain,
To fertilize eternal good.
He wants to give a living rain,
That will safeguard us from thirst,
And springs in the eternal life,
In the wonderfully watered valley of roses.
O Water! that so dearly enjoyed,
Art so useful in this time;
The Spring from which thou hast flowed
Is the deep secret of Eternity.
To that must thy use beckon us,
For he who dwells near this wellspring,
Its stream will water him eternally,
From dryness his soul is spared.
But that it may prepare thy mind,
In the living fear of God,
And constantly warm thy cold heart,
To choose the best part of thy destiny.

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

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