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Saturday, June 12, 2010

All Things are Pure

French convict, Henri Chariere, a.k.a. Papillion, was planning the final stage of his getaway. Having already miraculously defied the odds to escape from the penal island, Royale, he needed a boat to sail to British Guiana where he and his friends believed they would be allowed to settle as free men.

Another escapee, a Chinese man called Ciu-Ciu, arranged to buy a boat off a negro woodcutter whom he called Chocolate. Having inspected the boat, and seen it was basically sound, Papillion cut a deal with Chocolate which included a satisfactory price and the purchase of some other supplies for their journey. Papillion tore some bank notes in half and told Chocolate he could have the other half when he delivered the finished boat and the other supplies.

When the day arrived for them to settle, Chocolate had done exactly as he was required. Papillion was impressed by the faithfulness of this man who was willing to help a stranger, an escaped convict. Chocolate had brought his half of the bank notes and asked Papillion to stick the notes together again for him. It apparently never occurred to Chocolate not to trust Papillion, or that Papillion might simply keep the money for himself after he rejoined the halves.

Chocolate was a simple man: a honest, hardworking man who wanted to believe the best of Papillion, and of people in general. He could not imagine people were deceptive because he himself was without guile. He had seen first hand the inhumane treatment that prisoners received from their captors in penal settlements like Royale, so he wanted to help Papillion escape and start a new life. Papillion saw God in this man.

"To the pure, all things are pure, but to the corrupt and unbelieving nothing is pure; their very minds and consciences are corrupted. They profess to know God, but they deny him by their deeds..." (Titus 1:15,16)

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