The Field: In the Right Place

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 Field: In the Right Place

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two women cut the stalks of grain; behind them two men bind the sheaves, and someone plows 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 scripture text is Zechariah 8:12.

See to it that thou dost properly spend,
Thy labor and thy sweat.

The Holy Word has told us,
About two kinds of field:
A field of sowing and of mowing:
The one, that is of the flesh,
Carries the fruit of ruin;
Vanity is satisfied with that one.
But the other Field is the Spirit,
That has always been beneficial,
In that it rewards its worker.
He who has plowed and sowed it,
Fetches a rich Harvest, while he reaps,
The fruits of eternal life.
O Man! who so plows the earthly,
And is satisfied with the least part,
Let thyself be told by wise advice,
Thou dost labor for food that perishes,
And the Field of such high quality,
Thou dost carelessly allow to lie idle.
So is the hundredfold neglected,
While one keeps the straw and chaff,
That cannot satisfy any hunger,
A meager nourishment for the animal,
Or as food for the fire,
So one plows at his great harm.
Let him then sweat in such labor,
Who does not know any better,
But he who has been shown the best,
Where the light of the Gospel resides,
That shows all things clearly,
Is always to be blamed for his actions,
If he does not select the best,
And loses the most for the least.

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

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