The Stone: Broken, to Be Healed

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 Stone: Broken, to Be Healed

Scripture Reference:

Description: On a large field, one man shows another a big stone. In the background two women remove stones from the field and put them in their baskets. 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 Jeremiah 5:3.

Motto: What closes itself, keeps the blessing out.

The boulder lying in the field,
Receives dew as well as rain,
Like the growing and rejoicing shoot,
(In its charms to be praised,
Promising a good food,)
That next to and around it sprouts.
Yet with all that preparation,
The stone will not thrive.
It all flows over it;
The Summer comes and goes,
The Years turn and turn,
It is and remains a hard stone.
How the World is in its vastness,
As far as the eyes measure
A meager and wasted land!
How already there lies a seeding of stones,
(We mean the hard hearts)
Here and there on all sides.
Where so many rays of grace,
Where so much dew from deeds of love,
And rain of mercy,
Encouragement and friendly bids,
For the great good offered it,
Slide fruitlessly over it!
So hardness lets slide from it,
A fair number of good seasons,
While the Landlord expects fruit:
But it slides off it, and up and down,
As it’s left, so it’s found again,
The great good remains unvalued.
Shall then God’s favor drift like water,
And shall ye remain human stones,
From which desire is not unlocked?
So that the blessing may sink in,
And that perishing dryness drink,
So that life will grow like an herb?
For thou, O stone! of the human life,
Art elevated to a higher level,
Than dead and mindless dust;
The Sinfulness must lock thee out,
And keep outside what makes life,
That way thou dost remain hard and coarse.
When then the Landlord comes,
(To remove the evil,)
And cleans his Field,
By removing brush and stone,
Expect then the fate, with this one and the other,
Of being hurled away by the Lord’s hand.

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

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