The Thunder: To Be Astonished

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 Thunder: To Be Astonished

Scripture Reference:

Description: Three people are surprised by a thunderstorm; one watches astonished, the other two are falling down to the ground, as numerous thunderbolts and heavy rain hit the earth. A village is visible in the distance. 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 scriptures are Job 37:5 and 2 Corinthians 5:11.

If thou didst wish Goodness,
It would serve thee as a Shield.

When the Thunderstorm approaches, and threatens us with strong bursts,
Of flickering flashes of lightning and loud thunderclaps,
Then the courageous heart sinks, and tames the vain spirit,
Like the naughty child, that is scared of the rod;
But when the threat of punishment has vanished,
Wantonness begins to raise its head again,
And plays, as before, the old Sinful-game,
Not paying attention to the danger or hell’s threatening;
When something, that is far and faint, appears dim to him;
Then he lets it be and awaits God’s eternal wrath:
But then, when with fine weather, in pleasant time
In which the human life rejoices with joy,
Sometimes suddenly, a thundercloud arises,
That covers the blue of the sky and frightens the people with terror,
So fast comes sometimes the deadly woe and alas!
O Woe! O alas! O Man! thou seest the Thunderstorm come,
That with its look makes thee afraid on thy way,
As the thunderstorm gradually elevates its cloud,
And thou dost take shelter in time, before the Thunder hits:
Be yet so wise as to learn carefully,
That thou seest from afar the eternal suffering of Souls,
And that thou with thy nakedness goest into a good hiding place,
Before the thunder of God’s wrath fells thee.

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

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