E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
The world, the flesh, and the devil. The world, i.e. the things of this world, in contradistinction to religious matters; the flesh, i.e. love of pleasure and sensual enjoyments; the devil, i.e. all temptations to evil of every kind, as theft, murder, lying, blasphemy, and so on.