Lulled to sleep.

September 4, 2008

One of my favorite books of The Chronicles of Narnia series is The Silver Chair.

Prince Rilian, the crown prince of Narnia, has been captive by the evil Witch for 10 years in her world underground. After he is freed by Puddleglum, Eustace, and Jill, the Witch becomes white with rage. She enters the room after he’s been freed, but instead of using brute force to recapture him and his friends, this is what she does:

When she had come to a little ark set in the wall not far from the fireplace, she opened it, and took out first a handful of green powder. This she threw on the fire. It did not blaze much, but a very sweet and drowsy smell came from it. And all through the conversation which followed, that smell grew stronger, and filled the room, and made it harder to think. Secondly, she took out a musical instrument rather like a mandolin. She began to play it with her fingers–a steady, monotonous thrumming that you didn’t notice after a few minutes. But the less you noticed it, the more it got into your brain and your blood. This also made it hard to think. After she thrummed for a time (and the sweet smell was now strong) she began speaking in a sweet, quiet voice.

“Narnia?” she said. “Narnia? I have often heard your Lordship utter that name in your ravings. Dear Prince, you are very sick. There is no land called Narnia.”

… “Madam,” said the Prince sternly, “I have already told your Grace that I am the King’s son of Narnia.”

“And shalt be, dear friend,” said the Witch in a soothing voice, as if she was humoring a child, “shalt be king of many imagined lands in thy fancies.”

“We’ve been there, too,” snapped Jill. She was very angry because she could feel enchantment getting hold of her every moment. But of course the very fact that she could still feel it, showed that it had not yet fully worked.

… [But as the minutes passed,] it didn’t come into her mind that she was being enchanted, for now the magic was in its full strength; and of course, the more enchanted you get, the more you feel that you are not enchanted at all. She found herself saying (and at the moment it was a relief to say):

“No. I suppose that other world must be all a dream.”

… “There never was a sun,” said the Witch.

“No. There never was a sun,” said the Prince, and the Marsh-wiggle [Puddleglum], and the children.

For the last few minutes Jill had been feeling that there was something she must remember at all costs. And now she did. But it was dreadfully hard to say it. She felt as if huge weights were laid on her lips. At last, with an effort that seemed to take all the good out of her, she said:

“There’s Aslan.”

… The Witch shook her head. “I see, ” she said, “that we should do no better with your lion, as you call it, than we did with your sun … Come, all of you. Put away these childish tricks. I have work for you all in the real world. There is no Narnia, no Overworld, no sky, no sun, no Aslan. And now, to bed all. And let us begin a wiser life tomorrow. But, first, to bed; to sleep; deep sleep, soft pillows; sleep without foolish dreams.”

And they all comply and drift into sleep. All but Puddleglum. He walks over the fire and stomps it out, replacing the drowsy smell with the smell of burning Marsh-wiggle flesh. This arouses everyone out of their sleep. The pain in his foot rouses him; the burning of his foot rouses the others; the rousing of all enrages the Witch because her tactics are frustrated.

… Ah, we need more Puddleglums in this world.

When I first moved home a couple years ago, my greatest fear was falling spiritually “asleep.” But interestingly enough, because of that fear, I stayed alert. I remembered I needed to be a soldier, keeping watch at all hours because of my Enemy that never sleeps, my sin that still dwells in me, and my Lord who may return at any moment.

But now that I’ve been home longer, now that I’ve seen that I haven’t fallen away as I thought I would, I’m becoming drowsy. I’ve forgotten that the Enemy’s greatest tactic, the most strategic way for my flesh to have its way, is to lull this guard dog (me) to sleep.

The Israelites, multiple times in their history, grew comfortable and forgot God. They were well fed, had comfortable homes, had peace with the neighboring nations, and forgot God. They were lulled to sleep, and they forgot God. Let me not forget Him. Let me not fall asleep.

In Revelation, the church in Sardis is rebuked for its deadness. They’re told to “Wake up.”

Self, wake up!

Let’s wake up.


3 Responses to “Lulled to sleep.”

  1. Ruth Ann Says:

    That reminds me of a story I heard about a seminary student. Before he went to seminary, he struggled with lots of temptation. After being a seminary for a few months, he told his adviser how great he was feeling. “I’m surrounded by Christians and Biblical teaching, and I don’t feel tempted by anything anymore!” The adviser was upset and told him, “That means Satan feels you’re no longer a threat to him.” [The story was more detailed than that, but clarity fades with time. :P]

    Before I heard that story, I had thought that temptation was a bad thing to be avoided. I guess it’s the same idea as your blog in reverse.

    Btw, do you type in all of your book excerpts or do you cheat with a copy/paste somewhere? 😛

  2. tia Says:

    hola gatito! haha, maybe that was funnier yesterday …

    i do type in the book excerpts. copy/paste would probably be smarter, but my brain didn’t think of that yet ;] but i don’t mind typing it in; it lets me soak it in again.

  3. simp1ysteph Says:

    thanks tia..i needed this one =]

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