The Trees: The Actions Must Speak

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 Trees: The Actions Must Speak

Scripture Reference:

Description: In an orchard, a woman points out a tree to a man sitting next to her. 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 Matthew 7:16, 19.

Motto: As it bears, so it pleases.

As is the nature of the root,
So is the fruit that the tree bears,
If one wished to praise the wild nature,
And pleasantly say that it was
A Pear tree or an Apple tree,
The fruits would have to prove that.
Yet the World’s wilderness has
Been called an orchard,
Each kind of Wildness called a good Christian,
Although it does not appear so
And does not seem to bear fruit;
But truth shall dispute this;
If the root of the heart,
Believes in the eternal good,
The fruits shall be piety;
A Christian life that separates itself,
From the world’s actions and vanity,
Then the tree will be rightly praised.
But whoever regards his Bramble or thorn bush,
When foggy from a strange dream,
As a kind of grape vine or fig tree,
Is like the fruitless Soul,
That considered itself orthodox,
Was it a wonder that people laughed with scorn?

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

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