Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Robert E. Lee: Prayer for an End to Slavery

 (Photo:  Old Christ Church, Alexandria, Virginian.  This is the Episcopal church where both George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshipped).

Contrary to the revisionism of modern historiography, the Civil War was not fought over slavery but over the issue of the rights of states to secede from the union. In fact, Robert E. Lee prayed for an end to slavery:

"The doctrines and miracles of our Savior have required nearly two thousand years to convert but a small portion of the human race, and even among Christian nations what gross errors still exist! While we see the course of the final abolition of human slavery is still onward, and give it the aid of our prayers, let us leave the progress as well as the results in the hands of Him who, chooses to work by slow influences, and with whom a thousand years are but as a single day." Excerpts from Robert E. Lee's Letter to President Pierce prior to the War

It would seem that Robert E. Lee the Episcopalian was also Robert E. Lee the Calvinist since his emphasis on the narrow way of the few shows that numbers and practical results are not the basis for theological truth. Lee's remarks show that he had an overwhelming confidence in the Calvinist doctrine of divine providence.  In fact, one could justly argue that Lee was correct since slavery was in fact abolished and that God's decreed will was the result that slavery was in fact abolished. 

Moreover, Robert E. Lee regarded the United States of America as a "Christian nation". While some might see Lee's exhortation to leave the abolition of slavery in God's hands as complicity with slavery as an institution, it is obvious that Lee was himself opposed to slavery, since he freed some of his slaves inherited from his wife. It is unclear whether or not he freed all of them.

(See Article XVII of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion).

Robert E. Lee's Religious Views


aaytch said...

It does not follow that the Civil War was not fought over slavery because Robert E. Lee prayed for it to end. In fact there is very little evidence that slavery would have ended without the war. The war itself, and its result, was the outworking of God's providence. Allen Guelzo has much to say on this subject.

It seems to me that the property rights guaranteed by the constitution are not subject to nullification by the states, and neither are the Natural Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In a nutshell, Lincoln insisted that Natural Rights take precedence over property rights, and the South disagreed.

In today's politics, you might argue that the federal government conspires to take away our Natural rights, and that nullification of the laws that do so is therefore justified.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hudson, you need to go back and study your American history. The issue of states rights versus a strong federal or central government goes all the way back to the Federalist Papers, well before the Civil War was fought. The same debate continues today between Republicans and Democrats over the issue of over-regulation, out of control spending by the Federal Government, etc. Even as far back as the American Revolution taxation was still an issue after the war was over. The Whiskey Rebellion is evidence enough of that.

While is true that the Abolitionists used the war to accomplish their goals, the war itself was fought over the right of the North to levy tariffs which penalized the South's export of cotton and other goods and rewarded the industrial North's export of textiles and other industrial products. The South needed manual laborers to compete while the North did not.

The two factors that cause the war were: 1)States rights and the right to secede from the union and 2) over regulation by the North which caused economic hardships on the South.

Slavery was a side issue that Lincoln decided to use to hurry to end the war, hence the Emanicipation Proclamation.

As for "natural" rights, you're using secularist terminology. Natural rights comes from the Deist idea of "natural law". There is no such thing as natural law. As the Constitution says, all men are created equal and are endowed with certain rights by the Creator.

The Christian view, however, is that Scripture determines the moral law, not natural reason. Reason from below or from a man-centered perspective always leads to irrationalism and the erosion of God given rights in the political realm. The Magna Carta was written based on the Bible, not natural law.

All of mankind is bound by God's inspired Word whether or not they admit it. The only revelation from God that is sure is the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Man's reasoning is darkened by sin (Romans 1:18-24).


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