THE UNITARIAN CONTROVERSY.
IT has by this time been made clear that Mr. Parker was not a rash innovator either in doctrine or in practice. He was as far from that as it was possible for a man to be whose steps take hold on new paths at all. By sentiment, affection, association, practical bent of mind, he was conservative, not destructive. He had no disposition to break the bruised reed, or to quench the smoking flax. He loved the church, the ministry, the brethren. Though swift in reception, he was deliberate and cautious in creation. He took time in coming to conclusions, and waited his opportunity. Bearing testimony "in season and out of season" was not his way. He would be sure before he made up his mind; he would be sure before his intimate friend knew that his mind was made up. All things considered, it is surprising that his old opinions gave place so reluctantly to new ones. What he believed was too strongly rooted in his tenacious mind to be pulled up by even a strong hand at the first effort. Like Luther, he clung to the faith of his youth as long as it would allow. In the Divinity School, although he had talked much with Mr. Francis, and read many a book of a rationalizing tendency, he was old-fashioned in his opinions for a Unitarian. The elder ministers were his admiration. His relation to Miss Cabot brought him into familiar acquaintance with Mr. Ripley, afterwards his