The book, ‘The Life of our Lord’ was the last published work of Charles Dickens. It has an individual interest and purpose that separates it completely from everything else that Dickens wrote.
Quite apart form its Divine subject, the manuscript is particularly personal to the novelist and is not so much a revelation of his mind as a tribute to his heart and humanity, and of course his deep devotion to our Lord. It was written in 1849 twenty one years before his death, expressly for his children.
Charles Dickens frequently told his children the Gospel story and made mention of the divine example in his letters to them. The life of our Lord was written without thought of publication in order that his family might have a permanent record of their father’s thoughts. After his death the manuscript remained in the possession of his sister in law, Miss Georgina Hoggarth. On her death in 1917 it came into the possession of Sir Henry Fielding Dickens, Charles’ son. Sir Henry’s will provided that if the majority of the family were in favour of it’s publication, The Life of our Lord should be given to the world. It was first published in serial form in March 1934. (taken form the forward of the book by Mary Dickens).
The book was bought in 1935 by great grandmother as a present for my mother who showed it to me as a child. I loved the book and so it was promised to me. This beautiful book came to me when my mother died and remains one of my cherished possessions.
Written beautifully for children with illustrations that include, ‘The Last Supper’, ’The Transfiguration’, ‘The Crucifixion’ and others; the book begins: “My dear children, I am 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.
It ends: “Remember! - it is Christianity To Do Good Always - even to those who do evil to us. It is Christianity to love our neighbour as ourselves and to do to all men as we would have them do to us. It is Christianity to be gentle, merciful and forgiving and to keep these qualities quiet in our own hearts. If we do this and remember the life and lessons of our Lord Jesus Christ and try to act upon to them, we may confidently hope that God will forgive us our sins and mistakes and enable us to live and die in peace.”
I shall pass it on one day to the children in my family. But for now it remains with me, preciously coveted.