by Daniel Defoe
Robinson Crusoe Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Page Number). We used the 2008 Oxford World Classics edition.
In this Interval, the good Advice of my Father came to my Mind, and presently his Prediction which I mentioned at the Beginning of the Story, viz. That if I did take this foolish Step, God would not bless me, and I would have Leisure hereafter to reflect upon having neglected his Counsel, when there might be none to assist in my Recovery. Now, said I aloud, My dear Father's Words are come to pass: God's Justice has overtaken me, and I have none to help or hear me: I rejected the Voice of Providence, which had mercifully put me in a Posture or Station of Life, wherein I might have been happy and easy; but I would neither see it my self, or learn to know the Blessing of it from my Parents; I left them to mourn over my Folly, and now I am left to mourn under the Consequences of it: I refus'd their Help and Assistance who would have lifted me into the World, and wou'd have made every Thing easy to me, and now I have Difficulties to struggle with, too great for even Nature itself to support, and no Assistance, no Help, no Comfort, no Advice; then I cry'd out, Lord be my Help, for I am in Great Distress. (78)
In the grips of the flu (or "Ague" as Crusoe calls it on page 75), Crusoe has a fever dream in which a man comes down from the heavens and admonishes him for not yet repenting, and tries to kill him with a spear. He begins to see that his past behaviors have been sinful and his miseries are punishments for his rebellious behavior. He finally repents and utters his first prayer. This is the beginning of Crusoe's spiritual life.
Now I began to construe the Words mentioned above, Call on me, and I will deliver you, in a different Sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had no Notion of any thing being call'd Deliverance, but my being deliver'd from the Captivity I was in; for tho' I was indeed at large in the Place, yet the Island was certainly a Prison to me, and that in the worst Sense in the World; but now I learn'd to take it in another Sense: Now I look'd back upon my past Life with such Horrour, and my Sins appear'd so dreadful, that my Soul sought nothing of God, but Deliverance from he Load of Guilt that bore down all my Comfort: As for my solitary Life it was nothing; I did not so much as pray to be deliver'd from it, or think of it; It was all of no Consideration in Comparison to this: And I add this Part here, to hint to whoever shall read it, that whenever they come to a true Sense of things, they will find Deliverance from Sin a much greater Blessing, than Deliverance from Affliction. (83)
Crusoe rethinks the meaning of "deliverance" in that he now realizes it's not the island that he needs to be saved from. Oh, no. It's his own sins. Paradigm shift, anyone?
Religion joyn'd in with this Prudential, and I was convinc'd now many Ways, that I was perfectly out of my Duty, when I was laying all my bloody Schemes for the Destruction of innocent Creatures, I mean innocent as to me: As to the Crimes they were guilty of towards one another, I had nothing to do with them; they were National, and I ought to leave them to the Justice of God, who is the Governour of Nations, and knows how by National Punishments to make a just Retribution for National Offences; and to bring publick Judgments upon those who offend in a publick Manner, by such Ways as best pleases him. (146)
After much thought Crusoe, realizes that he cannot kill the cannibals, since that would be taking up God's office. It's up to God to punish nations of people who do wrong, not an individual man. Note, however, that Crusoe does later decide to intervene in the cannibals' actions when he sees that they are ready to kill and eat a Spaniard. Why?