Christianity and Persecution


Saint Jerome

Saint Jerome

Ah! My brother, you are mistaken, you are mistaken, if you suppose that there is ever a time when the Christian does not suffer persecution. Then are you most hardly beset when you know not that you are beset at all. “Our adversary as a roaring lion walks about seeking whom he may devour,” (1 Peter 5:8) and do you think of peace? “He sits in the lurking-places of the villages: in the secret places does he murder the innocent; his eyes are privily set against the poor. He lies in wait secretly as a lion in his den; he lies in wait to catch the poor;” and do you slumber under a shady tree, so as to fall an easy prey? On one side self-indulgence presses me hard; on another covetousness strives to make an inroad; my belly wishes to be a God to me, in place of Christ, and lust would fain drive away the Holy Spirit that dwells in me and defile His temple. (1 Corinthians 3:17) I am pursued, I say, by an enemy Whose name is Legion and his wiles untold; and, hapless wretch that I am, how shall I hold myself a victor when I am being led away a captive? ~Saint Jerome, Letter 14:4 (To Heliodorus, Monk)

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