“I am very anxious that you should know something about the history of Jesus Christ. For everybody ought to know about him. No one ever lived who was so good, so kind, so gentle, and so sorry for all people who did wrong, or were in any way ill or miserable, as he was.” Charles Dickens wrote The Life of Our Lord around the same time he was finishing David Copperfield, but to listeners raised on a diet of Dickensian wit and indignation, his rendering of Jesus’ life may come as something of a surprise. You won’t find even the shadow of a Micawber or a Mrs. Gamp anywhere in this brief volume; no Pecksniffs, Podsnaps, or Mulberries, either. Instead, Dickens approaches his subject with simple reverence, retelling the New Testament in a manner suitable for his own young children—who were, in fact, his only intended audience. Indeed, he strictly forbade publication of The Life of Our Lord during his lifetime and begged his sister to make sure that they “would never even hand the manuscript, or a copy of it, to anyone to take out of the house.” It wasn’t until the death of Dickens’ last living son that the manuscript was finally published in 1934.
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