Theodore Parker: Preacher and Reformer

By John White Chadwick | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER III
THE YOUNG MINISTER

NEARING his twenty-sixth birthday in 1836 Theodore Parker was, at his entrance on the ministry, older than the majority of those who enter this profession, but hardly more mature except in scholarship. From the start his preaching manifested qualities that were a surprise to those who knew the habits of his mind and anticipated for him a scholarly career, with a professor's chair in Hebrew or some other language as its happy goal. The surprise was shared by those who invited him to preach in their churches, not knowing what manner of spirit he was of. The fame that every. where preceded him was that of a young man of remarkable intellectual attainments, versed in many languages and a devourer of many books. Meeting him face to face and hearing such sermons as he had to preach, they found him human to a degree their candidates and settled preachers had not often reached. It is true that in his proverbial barrel, which at this period was but a little keg, there were sermons that smelt of the lamp; and it is true that he was grieved because these did not make the impression which he thought they

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