The Desert: It Is Only a Passageway

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 Desert: It Is Only a Passageway

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two travelers walk through a desolate mountainous landscape. 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 Psalm 119:19 and Jeremiah 9:2.

Motto: Extend thy journey, To Paradise.

To him who yearns,
For the first cause of his life,
In which he desires eternally to be,
In the heavenly garden of the holy Eden,
That divine Fatherland of peace,
For him the world is a desert.
And though along its paths,
Neither City nor Villages are placed,
There a Pilgrim sees only distress,
And the rot of earthly desires,
There the city of Peace of the Souls’ repose,
The abode of salvation, is not found.
Also it is desolate and barren,
Without food for those fervently desiring heaven,
The wild trees standing there,
Are sprouts of the cursed earth,
That never begot something higher,
Than that which satisfied the temporal part.
Also, hidden here and there,
The wild animals sit in their dens,
The roaring of the old Lion,
From testiness and anger,
Is heard from time to time,
With other terrible cries of the field.
There are also adders and snakes,
On the trail of these wild ways;
That peril and danger that causes,
Him who comes to travel this path,
Following the claim of prudent and wise men,
To always have to walk with care.
So that he, the old man of sins,
Would not be devoured by the animal:
O Jesus! King of that land,
Where the heart has resolved,
To arrive so happily,
Hold thou life by the hand.
Thy wisdom can guide it safely,
Thine omnipotence can free it,
From all peril that threatens.
Therefore, those who stay with thee,
And steadily trust in thy favor,
Great is the salvation that each will obtain.
Rejoice thee then O strangers.
Who escaped from the land of carelessness,
On the trail of prudent counsel,
Through the world’s wildness and desert,
After the Gloominess the Sun will shine again,
At the end of grief and evil.
Rejoice thee in thy Pilgrim’s steps,
That thou in thy simplicity,
In spite of all might and cunning,
Of the evil ones who make it unsafe,
Will safe with God get through it,
Which uprightness never fails.
O Inheritance! City of eternal peace,
Thou dost encourage us to walk forward,
This life is a Desert for us,
Where we do not belong at all,
Even though we are born there,
Life desires yet to be elsewhere.

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

Click here for additional images available from this book.

Request a high-resolution file (fees apply)

Rights Statement: The online edition of this work in the public domain, i.e., not protected by copyright, has been produced by Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.
Rights Status: No Copyright - United States
Pitts Theology Library provides copyright information as a courtesy and makes no representation about copyright or other legal status of materials in the Digital Image Archive.