The Path: It Is Good to Rest upon Finished Work

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 Path: It Is Good to Rest upon Finished Work

Scripture Reference:

Description: Two men view travelers who rest, sleep or walk along a long path leading to a distant village; a horse-drawn coach rides in the opposite direction. 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 Proverbs 8:20-21.

Motto: Not yet here, but in the distance.

The path is undeniably good,
A means by which one must proceed
To the place where one must be,
Therefore its praise is not denied.
But where is he, who goes along the way,
Possessing a clear destination,
Who lets himself be so charmed by the path,
That he can forget the objective?
Or it must be a lazy beggar,
Who is not attached to anything,
And homeless, makes with large or small,
His home in barn or on path.
Who builds differently on the path?
Who plants there, or who wants to sow there?
Who camps out there by shrub and hedge,
Where he never returns to mow?
It would be foolish: Why does one see then
Along this path of the temporal life,
Many a nimble and clever man,
So closely surrounded with such doings?
That he spends the time of travel,
In these and those circumstances,
And wastes life on the path,
Forgetting to go forward.
O Man who otherwise sees acutely,
Where art thy senses and thoughts?
Is eternal salvation not the goal,
That everyone should consider diligently?
And is life in this time,
Not merely a path for arriving?
What leads us from here to there,
On that, one should expend diligence.
Canst thou then not see in the normal view,
That making a home along the path,
Is not what thoughtful people do,
Is not a wise consideration:
So be warned in thy doings,
And do not put down roots on this earth,
Its fruit would not nourish thee eternally,
If it were the case that this earth would bear thee fruit.
Go as a traveler along thy path,
Unto the place of eternal rest,
Deny thyself untimely rest on the way,
Though thy weariness desires it.
If thou hast turned thine eye to God,
And that object draws thy desire,
Thy path of Pilgrimage runs soon to an end,
Then shalt thou receive rest and delight.

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

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