Thursday, November 15, 2007

robinson crusoe - repentance

I finished reading Robinson Crusoe a few weeks back and would like to share some of the ideas and thoughts that came out of reading this classic piece of literature. By the way, when I say I finished "reading" this book what I really mean is I finished "listening" to the mp3 version of this book which I downloaded for free from This is a very cool website where you can download a ton of audio books which are in the 'public domain' for free. There are some of the great classic books of literature available and you can even volunteer to be a reader.

The first chapter of Robinson Crusoe entitled "Robinson's Family—His Elopement from His Parents" begins with a dialog between Robinson and his father. Here Robinson's father tries to talk him out of 'going to sea' and leaving the family. He reasons that there are those in the world who have gone to sea and attained great fortunes and those who have gone to sea and become men of desperate fortunes and that the position in life where you can be the most satisfied is on neither extreme, but somewhere in the middle. Eventually and against his father's wishes Robinson left home for a life at sea. The decision to leave was one that he would never be able to get back and one often lamented throughout his life.

Chapter two entitled "First Adventures at Sea—Experience of a Maritime Life— Voyage to Guinea" describes Robinson's first adventure at sea which was not a good one.

"Never any young aventurer's misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine. the ship was no sooner gotten out of the humber, but the wind began to blow, and the winds' to rise in a most frightful manner; and as I had never been at sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in body, and terrify'd in my mind: I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and how justly I was overtaken by the judgment of heaven for my wicked leaving my father's house, and abandoning my duty; all the good counsel of my parents, my father's tears and my mother's entreaties came now fresh into my mind, and my conscience, which was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has been since, reproach'd me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my duty to god and my father."

Robinson found himself in a life and death situation where he vowed that if he could be saved from this predicament he would go directly back to his home and live there the rest of his days. Unfortunately this was not to be, for after another storm and a sunken ship Robinson has this discourse with himself.

"As to going home, shame opposed the best motions that offered to my thoughts; and it immediately occurr'd to me how I should be laugh'd at among the neighbours, and should be asham'd to see, not my father and mother only, but even every body else; from whence I have since often observed, how incongruous and irrational the common temper of mankind is, especially of youth, to that reason which ought to guide them in such cases, viz. That they are not asham'd to sin, and yet are asham'd to repent; not asham'd of the action for which they ought justly to be esteem'd fools, but are asham'd of the returning, which only can make them be esteem'd wise men."

And here is the lesson that is pulled from the first part of this book and so eloquently spoken by Daniel Defoe. Many times we are not ashamed to sin, but are ashamed to repent. We are not ashamed of the actions that are foolish, but are ashamed to admit that we have made a mistake. 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." The creator of the universe who knows us better than we know ourselves is willing to forgive if we will admit our faults, yet we let pride keep us from repenting and changing our lives.

May we see that God loves us and is willing to forgive, if we are willing to repent.

No comments: