The Healthy One: While It May Happen to Thee

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 Healthy One: While It May Happen to Thee

Scripture Reference:

Description: A man sits on a chair next to his bed and in front of a table loaded with half eaten food. He listens to a man standing in front of him. Beyond this room, goods are unloaded from a ship. 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 Hebrews 3:7-8.

What would be advantageous to us,
Do not pass fruitlessly by.

He who has unknown Wealth,
And yet lives in poverty,
Because he does not consider it right to spend it
What advantage does one draw from that?
He is rich, and remains a poor man,
Who is beside the mark of mature reason.
One hears well what health says:
But this fruit is to us too evil;
To be pleased with the earthly matters and the flesh,
The possession of goods is too large,
And this income too base,
One must hunt for a higher return.
What then: Go and stand before the deathbed,
And listen to the lamentations,
Of him whose wealth has been taken away:
How he regrets, and how he grieves,
That he has not spent it better,
Than on heaps of idle dreams.
What hearest thou from the pale mouth?
Alas if I only would become healthy again!
I intend to spend that wealth,
Not on the bad unworthiness,
Of the useless things of this time,
But on worthy Devout living.
There thou hast a witness,
How precious the good conscience is,
Possessor of healthy days:
While thou art enriched with those,
See to it that thou lookest out of thine eyes,
To hunt with those for that treasure.

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

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