The Sword: Is That the Nature of the Lamb?

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 Sword: Is That the Nature of the Lamb?

Scripture Reference:

Description: Portrayed is a terrible fight between two groups of warriors dressed as Roman warriors. On the right a warrior defends himself with a spear against one outfitted with a helmet, shield and sword. 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 adapted this image from one used in an earlier work, which may be found in the Digital Image Archive under the call number 1699Weig. The attendant scripture text is Isaiah 65:12.

Defeat thine inclination to sin,
That is the true war.

The warrior is a sharp rod,
Of God’s wrath, in his hand,
And makes bleed through his blows,
The life of the punished land.
If we study then this tool,
What does its cruel attack beget,
A dismal sound of lamentations,
That turns the land into a vale of tears.
The evil tree is cut down,
That, barren, took up space,
After the eye of the all-seeing,
Had long enough endured its wild nature.
But when the rod is worn out,
And its work is done,
Then it is thrown into the fire,
And must perish as dust and ash.
Therefore, it is better to take oneself,
Into a state of readiness,
So that one through the right life,
Would be a tool of God’s right hand.
A servant of his mercy and love,
In whose prepared surface, though,
God’s finger engraved the lesson,
Of Jesus, his beloved Son.
That Lamb, that came to bear our burden,
That neither tore nor bit,
That was beaten before its enemy,
And suffered for the world’s sins.
That holy Lamb that came to teach us,
From the example of its own state,
That its Disciple should defend himself,
With love and doing good against evil.
That Lamb that has swallowed up the evil of our sins,
Not with an assault of fire and flame,
But with love,
Well then Christians, follow the Lamb.
For, he who wants to see with enlightened eyes,
Into the world’s sad vale of tears,
Suffused with so many evils,
A fruit of Adam’s fall;
He sees two human bands,
Which, each consisting of so many thousands of men,
Turn terribly against each other,
And attack each other.
Never had the one deceived the other,
Never abused or scorned,
They never laid eyes on each other,
They never harmed each other.
And they, who would be Angels,
According to the law of God’s created image,
Whose action no one had to fear,
Richly endowed with love and goodness;
They are now, to the contrary, possessed,
Like the sharp, pointed beast,
Called the steel pig,
And are feared from all sides:
With sharply honed point and edge,
Of metal dug from the mountain,
Which the murderous craft, cunningly forged for slaughter,
Upon the wicked, brotherly reception:
To treat each other dreadfully,
And like a wheel of frenzy,
Frantically crush each other,
Till blood and dust are mixed.
O Wellspring of gentleness,
Lamb of God, that walks before us,
Mighty King of love and peace,
Protect thy people from such an evil.

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

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