Thursday, July 26, 2012

Utter Disappointment!

Chapter XXV – The Little Evangelist
Miss Ophelia protests how she cannot keep Topsy anymore because of her defiance, and Marie suggests sending her out to “have her whipped till she [cannot] stand!”  To which St. Clare adds, 
“I don’t doubt it.  Tell me of the lovely rule of women!  I never saw above a dozen women that wouldn’t half kill a horse, or a servant, either, if they had their own way with them! – let alone a man.”  
When Eva asks Topsy why she cannot try to be good, Topsy replies that she could never be nothing but a (n-word).  Eva tells her that Miss Ophelia would love her if she were good, and again Topsy believes that nobody could love her because she’s a (n-word).  Then Eva tells her that she loves her simply because she has not a father or mother or friends, - because she’s poor and abused.  Eva demonstrates the pure and simple love of Christ – to love someone not because of what they do or how they are, but because of whom He is.

Chapter XXVI – Death
Eva has been in the process of dying for weeks now, and she calls the household, including all the servants, to her to evangelize one last time about becoming a Christian.  (There is some discrepancy here, it may seem, as to what that means.  Eva’s own words: 
“…you must not live idle, careless, thoughtless lives.  You must be Christians.  You must remember that each one of you can become angels, and be angels forever…If you want to be Christians, Jesus will help you.  You must pray to Him; you must read…(but they cannot read).  Try all to do the best you can; pray every day, ask Him to help you, and get the Bible read to you whenever you can.”  
I’m a little concerned with the doctrine, such as doing good works and being good, which only comes after one is saved; rather, it would have been awesome if Ms. Stowe really pressed upon the need for repentance of sins and trusting in Christ, but I am going to do some research on Ms. Stowe’s theology and see if I can get to the bottom of this shortly.  And the thing about angels, ugh, has been addressed nicely over at Classic Case of Madness.  Check it out!) 

Long story short, Eva dies in the night with her father and self-centered mother and Tom and Ophelia by her side.

Chapter XXVII – “This is the last of earth.” – John Q. Adams
After Eva’s funeral, Tom speaks to St. Clare about his faith, or lack thereof.  St. Clare is just not certain he believes what the Scriptures tell of Jesus, and he wishes to know why he cannot believe like the children, the poor, and humble; Tom recalls that faith is hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to babes.  And St. Clare asks Tom how he knows that there is a Christ, to which Tom replies, (I love this!)
 “…He brings light and joy into a poor feller’s soul, - makes all peace: and I’s so happy, and loves every body, and feels willin’ jest to be the Lord’s, and have the Lord’s will done, and be put jest where the Lord wants to put me.  I know it couldn’t come from me, ‘cause I’s a poor, complainin’ cretur, it comes from the Lord, and I know He’s willin’ to do for Mas’r.”  
Then St. Clare asks Tom to show him how to pray, and they pray together.

E. W. Kembell
Chapter XXVIII – Reunion
St. Clare begins the legal process to emancipate Tom, who is overjoyed about being free, while Ophelia seeks to raise Topsy legally.  Ophelia questions whether her cousin has considered writing up a will as to what should be done with his servants in the event of his death, and, as expected, he hasn’t done anything, yet.  But he’s certainly open to the idea.

One evening while St. Clare reads Scripture with Tom, he is moved in his heart to think of the last judgment – “a righting of all the wrongs of the ages!”  (Now here is one place where repentance is mentioned): when St. Clare discusses the issue of those who do nothing about the wrongs of this world, Ophelia says, 
“…that [they] ought to repent, and begin now.” 

St. Clare then admits how he has been disillusioned about Christianity because of apathetic religious people.  Then he questions who would be willing to educate all of the emancipated slaves.  Of the South, he says, 
“We are the more obvious oppressors of the Negro; but the unchristian prejudice of the north is an oppressor almost equally severe.”

And then just like the wind, everything changes direction!  St. Clare goes out for news, and he ends up being stabbed while trying to break up a fight between two gentlemen.  How frustrating is this?  His heart has just changed regarding his own salvation and slavery, and he was in the process of freeing Tom and possibly thinking about emancipating his servants, or at least writing up a will to protect them; and now he’s gone!  What good he could have influenced!  How do you explain such utter disappointment?  

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