Reflections and Reapings from Robinson Crusoe

The remarkable story of Robinson Crusoe is of course fictional, but has so much to teach us that it surprised even myself. The basic story is of a man who, against the wishes of his father, goes abroad to make his own way or betterment of life. The initial trials and successes are all eclipsed with a final storm that puts Robinson Crusoe as the only survivor on a desolate island for 28 years. It is these long years that slowly change his character, temperament, and outlook.

Excerpt from Robinson Crusoe:
"I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts, that I cannot express them; and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something which he has not given them. All our discontents about what we want appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have."

Through the continual guiding of Providence, as Robinson Crusoe frequently says, he discovers more than just deliverance from death by being greatly provided for on the island; yea, he discovers saving faith in Jesus Christ and his soul is saved upon that island. But of course there is still the deliverance from the island that he longs for, and though his greatest fear is being attacked by "savages", it is the invasion of these people upon his island that starts the wheels spinning towards his ultimate deliverance to freedom.

Excerpt from Robinson Crusoe:
"How frequently, in the course of our lives, the evil which in itself we seek most to shun, and which, when we are fallen into, is the most dreadful to us, is oftentimes the very means or door of our deliverance, by which alone we can be raised again from the affliction we are fallen into. I could give many examples of this in the course of my unaccountable life; but in nothing was it more particularly remarkable than in the circumstances of my last years of solitary residence in this island."

The first instance is how he saves one of these "savages" from being eaten, who he names Friday. Later, this faithful servant helps him rescue two others (one being Friday's father and the other a Spaniard), and more importantly, helps him rescue a captain of an English (British) ship under mutiny. Because of Robinson Crusoe's unfortunate circumstances on the deserted island, (1) Friday believes on Jesus Christ, (2) Friday's father and the Spaniard are sent to rescue 16 other Spaniards deserted on a larger island nearby, and (3) the captain of the ship is saved from mutiny. This ship is the means by which Robinson Crusoe escapes back to England.

What is most remarkable is the revelations received from Robinson Crusoe's time alone with Friday as to the eternal truths of salvation and the sovereignty of God. The first of these being the absolute importance of both the Word of God and the Spirit of God for the knowledge of saving faith in Jesus Christ. The second being the wonderful gift of the Word of God so that anyone who in good faith takes upon himself to read these words will also be able to become a mature Christian as well as lead others to do likewise. And how much more valuable does "Bible study" appear after reviewing the infinite wisdom of God in giving of us His Word and His Spirit to guide us into all truth.

Excerpt from Robinson Crusoe:
"Here I was run down [with questions] again by him [Friday] to the last degree; and it was a testimony to me, how the mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme being of God, as the consequence of our nature, yet nothing but divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of redemption purchased for us; of a Mediator of the new covenant, and of an Intercessor at the footstool of God's throne; I say, nothing but a revelation from Heaven can form these in the soul; and that, therefore, the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I mean the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, promised for the guide and sanctifier of His people, are the absolutely necessary instructors of the souls of men in the saving knowledge of God and the means of salvation."

Excerpt from Robinson Crusoe:
"Another thing I cannot refrain from observing here also, from experience in this retired part of my life, viz. how infinite and inexpressible a blessing it is that the knowledge of God, and of the doctrine of salvation by Christ Jesus, is so plainly laid down in the Word of God, so easy to be received and understood, that as the bare reading the Scripture made me capable of understanding enough of my duty to carry me directly on to the great work of sincere repentance for my sins, and laying hold of a Savior for life and salvation, to a stated reformation in practice, and obedience to all God's commands, and this without any teacher or instructor, I mean human; so the same plain instruction sufficiently served to the enlightening this savage creature [Friday], and bringing him to be such a Christian as I have known few equal to him in my life."

While there were shortcomings to the life of Robinson Crusoe, I wish here only to display the positive influences upon my soul. It was refreshing to read what is considered by some to be the first English novel. The patience in getting through the details is worth the harvest you will reap from an outlook so foreign to our own which realigns our attitude and temperament towards goodwill for both God and fellow man.

No comments:

Post a Comment