I recently made a trip to the British Library at St. Pancras, London, and digitized quite a few scarce English books by my personal favorites like F. W. Boreham and H. A. Birks (author of Jesus, a Man of Sorrows; The Life of Thomas Valpy French; and numerous other works). Birks was a scholar and preacher who published several books intended especially for use during Lent:
- Jesus, a Man of Sorrows (now available for Kindle)
- God’s Champion, Man’s Example (forthcoming)
- The Shadow of the Cross in Our Lord’s Ministry
For the occasion of Lent 2020, I wanted to make this third book publicly available, so I have uploaded at the link below.
Unless you have library access in Cambridge, Dublin, Edinburgh, Cardiff, or the British Library in London, you will probably never see a physical copy of this book. It has been out of print since 1892—for 128 years.
The Shadow of the Cross in Our Lord’s Ministry – free PDF download (17.1 MB)
If you are looking for a 40-day daily devotional created just for Lent, you can also check out In the Desert with Jesus.
“Here and here alone
Is given thee to suffer for God’s sake.
In other worlds we shall more perfectly
Serve Him and love Him, praise Him, work for Him,
Grow near and nearer Him with all delight.
But then we shall not any more be called
To suffer, which is our appointment here.
Canst thou not suffer then one hour? or two?
And while we suffer let us set our souls
To suffer perfectly, since this alone—
The suffering—which is this world’s special grace,
May here be perfected and left behind.”
Source: Mrs. Hamilton King. Quoted in Herbert Alfred Birks, Jesus, A Man of Sorrows: Lent Addresses. 1900.
As Lent approaches, here are three recommendations for getting into the spirit of the season:
- When God Died by Herbert Lockyer
Herbert Lockyer wrote these 12 meditative sermons specifically for the Lent season, which culminates in the commemoration of the Holy Week and the death and resurrection of Jesus. The sermons focus, though, on the meaning of the crucifixion of Jesus. These classic sermons by Herbert Lockyer were out of print for more than 75 years, and have been republished by Pioneer Library.
- The Loneliness of Christ by Robert Keable
This Catholic author wrote a stirring devotional about a seldom-explored side of Jesus’ life: loneliness. Lent is typically focused towards the cross and resurrection of Christ, but it also commemorates his temptation in the desert. Jesus’ loneliness is part and parcel of his work as our Forerunner, our Captain, and our Savior.
- Concerning Christ’s Temptations by Thomas Fuller
If you love Puritan literature, you should definitely check out Thomas Fuller. He is a 17th-century Chesterton, combining unexpected insight with a witty turn of phrase. Puritan writers love to turn Scripture over and over, drawing all that they can from it. These twelve sermons were originally published more than 350 years ago, but they have been edited and footnoted to make them a little easier for modern readers.
- Sign up for Lent devotions from Pioneer Library
This Lent, Pioneer Library will be publishing short Lent devotionals to encourage meditation on the temptations of Jesus. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15) This is the key verse to this devotional, which takes an inward look at the experience of Jesus in each of the three temptations. If the Holy Spirit led him to and through temptation in victory, he can do the same for us.
If you want to receive devotionals on the desert temptations of Jesus, you can sign up your email address by typing it in the sidebar to this page.