Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jerome on the the persistence of the flesh even in the desert

I preached Sunday from Galatians 5:16-18 and meditated upon the spiritual state of the regenerate man and the struggle within between the flesh (remaining sin) and the Spirit (the indwelling presence of God).  “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh” (v. 17).  In the message I made reference to a quote from the Church Father Jerome in which he laments the fact that though he had withdrawn from the world, the temptation to sin was still present in his heart.  Here’s the quote from Jerome:

O how often I imagined that I was in the midst of the pleasures of Rome when I was stationed in the desert, in that solitary wasteland which is so burdened up by the heat of the sun that it provides a dreadful habitation for the monks!  I, who because of fear of hell had condemned myself to such a hell and who had nothing but scorpions and wild animals for company, often thought that I was dancing in a chorus with girls.  My face was pale from fasting, but my mind burned with passionate desires within my freezing body; and the fires of sex seethed, even though the flesh had already died in me as a man (as cited in Timothy George, Galatians [Broadman, 1994]:  p. 388).

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