So far as religion was concerned the earlier transcendentalists had contented themselves for the most part with voicing a protest against the supernaturalism inherited by their era from the days of the Mathers. In his Divinity School Address Emerson insisted that revelation was not a phenomenon peculiar to a past age but a vital element of human nature. Content with insinuating this disturbing doctrine into the consciousness of the orthodox, and perhaps fearing the odium theologicum, he retired from the scene of controversy and addressed his attention to those who sympathized with his opinions. In regard to theological argument Emerson was adroit. George Ripley succeeded him as the protagonist of the transcendental view of religion, and after an unsuccessful attack upon the dogma of miracles, gave place to Theodore Parker, who attempted to carry the implied principles of the New School to their logical conclusion. Parker's unbounded energy, hampered as it was by ill health and the turmoil of the abolition movement, was probably most responsible for the diffusion of radical religious opinions among the intellectual ranks of America.
But the transcendentalists really did not discard altogether the supernaturalism which they attacked so vehemently. In the final analysis, they merely substituted a subjective supernaturalism for an objective supernaturalism. They transferred the miraculous from the sphere of the concrete and the material to a psychological state. John Winthrop found a Remarkable Providence in the fact that mice gnawed at the Book of Common Prayer but left the Greek Testament and the Psalms untouched. Emerson found a heavenly dispensation in the "untaught