The Temptation of Christ by George S. Barrett (Heathen Edition)

The Temptation of Christ

Spine #7
George S. Barrett
First Edition
Heathen Edition
February 17, 2018
February 1, 2023
Heathen Genera
Paperback ISBN
Hardcover ISBN

Christ had left the haunts of men far behind, but he had not left temptation and danger behind. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, He finds the devil waiting for Him even there: and so we learn perhaps the most vital lesson the scene of the temptation was meant to teach us. In every age of the Church’s history men and women have imagined that by fleeing from the world they could flee from temptation: and the “religious houses” of the Roman Catholic Church, its monasteries and convents, the cell of the anchorite or the recluse, and the pillow of the miserable devotee, all have been hailed as retreats from the world, because they were believed to be refuges from temptation. How deadly the disaster that has come to the spiritual life of those who thus imagined they could serve God best by breaking God’s own laws, it is needless to say; but against this foolish dream of escaping temptation by fleeing from the world, the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is the divine and solemn warning. He found the devil in the deepest solitudes of the desert: and we shall find that he waits for us there too, for whether in the city or in the desert the tempter is near.

George Slatyer Barrett, D.D. (1839-1916) was for 45 years (1866-1911) the minister of Prince’s Street Congregational (now United Reformed) Church in Norwich, which under his tutelage was considered “one of the most influential Congregational churches in England.” He was educated at University College, London; trained for the ministry at Lancashire Independent College, Manchester; was invested with the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity at the University of St. Andrew’s; and was the 1894 Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. As an author, he made several important contributions to theological literature, including his best-known work as editor of The Congregational Church Hymnal (1887).

With The Temptation of Christ, Barrett (ever the Nonconformist) challenges traditional thinking concerning Jesus’ time in the wilderness by focusing his attention on its perceived psychological problems, positing “if instead of such a mechanical and literal interpretation of the narrative, we suppose that our Lord was tempted by doubts as to His own Divine plan?” An analysis that has been lauded as “wisely and reverently and spiritually interpreted, with ever fresh pertinence and power.”

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