The Second Sunday in Lent
Chrysostom on Thessalonians iv
ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Augustine of Hippo fought against the heretic Pelagius, who preached that men had the capability to do good, and thus earn their justification, within themselves, if they just would do so. Later the Synod of Orange issued canons against pelagianism... and although original sin and the fallen state of man has been dogma since then, pelagianism and its daughter semi pelagianism are alive and well amongst some. I mention this because of the collect appointed for this day.. Please read it closely. I think you will see how it reflects the very doctrine that Paul gave us in Romans, and Augustine articulated in his writings.
"For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification."
The artwork is by William Blake , entitled The Whore of Babylon, a Pen and watercolour over pencil, 266 x 223 mm, 1809, London, British Museum 1847-3-18-123. I encourage you to read of him -- a contemporary of Wilberforce and fellow advocate of abolition. CS Lewis called him a "great genius". He was a mystic and a visionary. And now for this Sunday's collect, lessons, and homily.
He says, "That each one of you know how to possess himself of his own vessel." It is, then, a matter to be learnt, and that diligently, not to be wanton. But we possess our vessel, when it is pure; when it is impure, sin possesses it. And reasonably. For it does not do the things which we wish, but what sin commands. "Not in the passion of lust," he says. Here he shows also the manner, according to which one ought to be temperate; that we should cut off the passions of lust. For luxury, and wealth, and idleness, and sloth, and ease, and all such things, lead us on to irregular lust. "Even as the Gentiles," he says, "which know not God." For such are they who do not expect that they shall suffer punishment..... see more here