Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guess who did just that?

Now, I was pleasantly surprised after reading Barnes Notes (New School Presbyterian of 19th C.) on the curse of Cham, to read what Charles Hodge* (Old School Presbyterian of 19th C.) had to say on Ephesians. He differred in nothing from a Catholic on that point. Here is his summing up on slavery according to Ephesians VI:*

It is thus that the Holy Spirit deals with slavery. Slaves are not commanded to refuse to be slaves, to break their bonds and repudiate the authority of their masters. They are required to obey with alacrity and with a sincere desire to do their duty to their masters, as part of their duty to Christ. Masters are not commanded as an immediate and imperative duty to emancipate their slaves, but to treat them according to the principles of justice and equity. It is not to be expected that men of the world will act in conformity with the Gospel in this, any more than in other respects. But believers will. And the result of such obedience if it could become general would be, that first the evils of slavery, and then slavery itself, would pass away as naturally and as healthfully as children cease to be minors.

Now, the thing is this is not just a theory of how slavery could be abolished in South Carolina (I suppose Hodge wrote this before the Civil War). It is also a correct description of how the Roman Empire, which as Chesterton said under Constantine was "as much a slave state as South Carolina" before the war, eventually became (under its successor states with often Germanic monarchs as also under Slavonic States once they were Christianised) a territory where slaves were basically a very obsolete social description.

But as the men and women involved in this change were retty obviously Catholic and not Calvinist - how come he did not find the true Church? Especially as his final words in the Epistle commentary were a clear recommendation of lives such as those of St Bennet and St Francis.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
BU Nanterre
Sept Fondateurs des
Servites de la BVM

* CCEL - Charles Hodge - Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians

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