By the dead corse of a seventeen-year-old girl who often bewailed the fact that one cannot have dealings with girls who talk wickedly (1846)
By the dead corse of a seventeen-year-old girl who often bewailed the fact that one cannot have dealings with girls who talk wickedly
At the grave of this girl who has now been laid to rest, I will have to break to you, girls, that the deceased complained about you quite often during the time of her prolonged illness. But what did she complain about? you will ask. That you have had that kind of talks one could not be able to listen to without one’s virtue and modesty being corrupted, talks the subject of which were immorality, recklessness and indecency. During the course of her prolonged indisposition it would have indeed been a necessity for her to maintain social intercourse in order to pass the time and thus to ease her suffering, she was also advised to it from all sides, only the wisdom that entered her heart forced her to utter the above quoted complaint, and wanted her to be delivered from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things. a)
Do ye know, young girls, what you do, when you speak these froward things and hence the virtuous people in your circle are not able to enjoy your companionship with a quiet conscience? Alas! You thereby only give proof of your already corrupted hearts, and how sorrowful and horrifying is it that you display this proof already in these days of your youth. – And to assure you that you bring such things about by talking so wickedly, hear Jesus Christ himself speak b): A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Do ye know, what else you are doing? Alas! You are driving the good men away from your company and henceforth only the bad will remain. How else should it be possible that evil proceeds further and further inside of you, for there are no good men left in your company to keep you from evil? To a point where Saint Augustine speaks c): here it is shameful not to be shameless.
Do ye know, what else you are doing? You bring it upon yourself that you will have to give account thereof in front of our almighty God. But I say unto you, speaks Christ, that every idle word – and all the more every wicked talk – that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment? d) Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh e) he speaks at another place. And it shall always remain the truth that evil men bring trouble upon others and corrupt good manners. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners, f) Paul declares.
Is it not horrifying that some men will have to accuse you before God of corrupting their manners with your talk? Will you die as cheerfully and happily, as the now buried has? Cheerful was her prospect of eternity, happy her passage to it. She faced dying and suffering with the Apostle and as a gain. When during one’s lifespan, one has dedicated oneself to virtue and modesty in word and deed and seeks to foster virtue and modesty through word and deed in oneself and others, then one can die cheerfully, happily and blessedly.
a) Proverb 2, 10 – 12. b) Luke 6, 4. 5. c) Pudet, non esse impudentem. Confess. cap. 9. d) Matthew 12, 36. e) Matthew 18, 7. f) 1. Corinthians, 15,33.
From: Johann Michael Illmensee: Kurze Grabreden (Brief Eulogies). Second volume. 4th edition. Constance and St Gall 1846, p. 81-84 (Translated from the original in German Language).