Here is a bit of thinking I never thought before. This is from a passage talking about reading and translating French and Italian Romances:
To continue—after years of discretion— in this vanity, is an inexcusable desertion of pious sobriety : and to persist so to the end, is a wilful despising of God’s sacred exhortations, by a constant, sensual volutation or wallowing in impure thoughts and scurrilous conceits, which both defile their authors, and as many more as they are communicated to. If “every idle word shall be accounted for,” and if “no corrupt communication should proceed out of our mouths,“ how desperate, I beseech you, is their condition, who all their life time, and out of mere design, study lascivious fictions : then carefully record and publish them, that instead of grace and life, they may minister sin and death unto their readers ? It was wisely considered, and piously said by one, that he “would read no idle books ; both in regard of love to his own soul, and pity unto his that made them ;” “for,” said he, “if I be corrupted by them, their composer is immediately a cause of my ill : and at the day of reckoning —though now dead—must give an account for it, because I am corrupted by his bad example, which he left behind him : I will write none, lest I hurt them that come after me ; I will read none, lest I augment his punishment that is gone before me. I will neither write, nor read, lest I prove a foe to my own soul : while I live, I sin too much ; let me not continue longer in wickedness than I do in life.” It is a sentence of sacred authority, that “he that is dead is freed from sin ;” because he cannot in that state, which is without the body, sin any more ; but he that writes idle books, makes for himself another body, in which he always lives, and sins—after death—as fast and as foul as ever he did in his life ; which very consideration deserves to be a sufficient antidote against this evil disease.
It is from Henry Vaughan. The quotation within the quotation suggests to me that perhaps we ought to be willing to spend our days in a grey twilight, if necessary, in anticipation of the joys of heaven, but especially here, for fear of compounding the guilt of another. Now Traherne and Jane Austen will certainly deliver me from a world of grey twilight. But the radical earnestness about it, whether the argument is right or not (I am inclined to think it is), I admire.