membra vicinacio tenebrarum! O con cealed thievery, to give an appearance of humility and chastity! O gloom of the dark deed which plunders the glory of Christ forever! O ﬂeeting remembrance of holiness which strives after death in the name of beauty! O “silver that has been refused,” which according to the saying of Isaiah “is not worthy of God!”20 O dishonored Sabbath in which the works of the ﬂesh come to light in the last days and times! O foot, that failest on the way to holiness and dost not arrive at a sure habitation! O ship burst open by pirates, thou that gettest away empty and miser able! O house that is undermined by bur glars whilst the watchmen sleep and lose the costly treasure! O maidenly youth, thou that fallest off miserably from right conduct! O enlargement of trust in this world which turns into desolation in eter nity! O consequence of unchastity which brings down upon itself the malady of melancholy! O fountain of sweet poison which springs up from the ﬂesh as inex tricable entanglement! O wretched house founded on sand! O despicable crime of (this) time, that corruptest not thine own members but those of a stranger! O ﬂeet ing enjoyment on a brink of collapse! O parcel of deceit! O unsleeping ardour for the perdition of the soul! O tower that is in building to be left unﬁnished! O shameful work, thou art the scorn of them that pass by! Why, O virgin, dost thou not ponder over it and estimate the heav enly charges before laying the founda tion? In the beginning thou hast acted too hastily, and before the house was com pleted, thou hast already experienced a terrible collapse!21 In your case the say ing of the law has been fulﬁlled, the prophecy has come to pass: Many a tract of land, it says, is built upon and soon it grows old; temples and cities are built in the land and soon they are abandoned!22
O ﬂames of lust! The unclean profane with their lust the temple of God and by Him are condemned to destruction! Oh, a contest is entered upon in the stadium, and when it has hardly come to grap pling, the shields fall to the ground! O city captured by enemies and reduced to a wilderness! Against this whorish behaviour the Lord turns through Ezekiel saying: “Thou hast built thee thy brothel, thou hast desecrated thy beauty and thy come liness in every by-way, thou hast become an unclean woman, thou who hast heaped up shamelessness for thyself. Thy dis grace in the unchastity which thou hast practised with thy lovers will yet come to light. And again, As I live, saith the Lord, Sodom has not so done as thou Jerusalem and thy daughters. But the in iquity of Sodom, they sister, is fulﬁlled. For Samaria has not committed the half of thy sins. Thou hast multiplied iniqui ties beyond thy sisters in all that thou hast done. Wherefore be ashamed and take thy disgrace upon thy head.”23 O how frequently the scourgings and beatings of God are not spared, and yet no one takes to heart the word of the Lord to be concerned about the future life! Has not Jerusalem, possessing the law, sinned more than Sodom and Go morrah, which possessed no law? And have not the crimes of Jerusalem, whose sons and daughters have stood under the banner of faith, outweighed those of Sa maria, which already from the beginning was worldly-minded? On the unprecedented crime of this new people the apostle says: “One hears commonly of unchastity among you and
Isa 1:22 or the Apocryphon of Isaiah. 21Cf. Luke 14:28ff. 22The source of this apocryphal quotation cannot be determined. 23Cf. Ezek 16:24, 25, 31, 36, 48, 49, 51, 52.