Friday, February 09, 2007

Reflections on Reading

"I had, God knows, more sincerity than knowledge, in all the methods I took for [Friday]'s instruction; and must acknowledge, what I believe all that act upon the same principle will find, that in laying things open to him, I really informed and instructed myself in many things that either I did not know, or had not fully considered before; but which occurred naturally to my mind, upon my searching into them for the information of this poor savage; and I had more affection in my inquiry after things upon this occasion, than ever I felt before; so that whether this poor wild wretch was the better for me or no, I had great reason to be thankful that ever he came to me: my grief sat lighter upon me, my habitation grew comfortable to me beyond measure; and when I reflected, that in this solitary life, which I had been confined to, I had not only been moved myself to look up to Heaven, and to seek to the Hand that brought me thither, but was now to be made an instrument, under Providence, to save the life, and for aught I knew the soul, of a poor savage, and bring him to the true knowledge of religion, and of the Christian doctrine, that he might know Christ Jesus, to know whom is life eternal; I say, when I reflected upon all these things, a secret joy ran through every part of my soul, and I frequently rejoiced that ever I was brought to this place, which I had often thought the most dreadful of all afflictions that couldpossibly have befallen me." (page 225; The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe from the Gutenberg Project )

I have been reflecting for a while on the concept of "christian." That is, is it accurate to talk about christian books, christian music, christian films, or whatever? I recently decided to reread the story of Robinson Crusoe. It must have been 20 years since I read it. As a child, I had an abridged, illustrated version that I reread till the covers fell off. I had never read the entire book. I knew that there was a lot of religious material in the book that was cut from my abridgment but I had no idea how much. What an awesome book. The author continuously goes back to theme of Divine Providence and the thankfulness toward God that the protagonist often reflects on after his conversion. The passage I quoted above is after Robinson rescues Friday and then undertakes to convert him to Christianity. He does this not by compulsion but by convincing him of the existence of God and his own rebellious state in lieu of God and then pointing him to the Savior. It is all so beautifully laid out. Yet this is not generally considered to be a Christian book. It is simply a good story where a man finds himself on an abandoned island and there learns that His Maker has not abandoned him! If you have not read this book, I would encourage you to get it. I have been encouraged by this fictional character to be more thankful, more in love with God's Word and more outspoken in sharing the Gospel. This is truly a Christian Book.

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