THE INTELLECTUAL GOURMAND
HE was still determined to be a scholar. He knew that he could not be a power for good unless he had both knowledge and wisdom, and when he wrote that tribute to Doctor Channing he described the ideal minister as master of the greatest subjects of human thought, familiar with history and philosophy and poetry, understanding the nature of man and of society. He remembered well that his teachers in the Divinity School had prophesied for him a career of scholarship, and he had already done something to justify that prophecy. But so many of the young theologians from Cambridge had embarked hopefully upon the seas of learning only to founder: some chose the softer ways and were becalmed in the Sargasso Sea; some went adrift on the rocks of controversy; some were driven far off their course by trade winds. How few there were who held steadily to their chosen ways: you could count on the fingers of one hand the real scholars among the Unitarians; and they had always been so proud of their scholarship, too, looking down their noses at the plebeian denominations. There was Doctor Francis, of course; and Noyes, and Lamson, and Furness down in Philadelphia, and Hedge in Providence. But who else was there? Andrews Norton had shot his bolt, such as it was, and nothing more could be expected of him; Palfrey had abandoned his Jewish Antiquities for the more glittering rewards of politics; Frothingham and Gannett, trained to exact scholarship, were hedged in by their theological preconceptions, lacked boldness of thought and of inquiry; Bellows, who had great gifts, was really but a
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Publication information: Book title: Theodore Parker. Contributors: Henry Steele Commager - Author. Publisher: Little Brown and Company. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1936. Page number: 121.