Emerson Self Reliance Essay Ii
This group of liberals, in the early nineteenth century, began to criticize the Congregational Church and its Calvinist ideals, stating that they hindered the individual’s moral growth.This group of liberals eventually gathered behind a spokesman named William Ellery Channing, who argued the case for this fledgling Unitarian movement (Robinson “Transcendentalism” 14-15).They desired to further reform the church, which they viewed as a “social religion that did not awaken the individual’s realization of his own spirituality” (Versluis 290).These Transcendentalists drew upon the philosophies and religions of the world to push forth their ideas of the importance of the self in spiritual life.In its earliest days, Transcendentalism was known mostly as a religious movement.
Robinson indicates that “Self-Reliance” deals with the fall of humanity, and it’s saving throw, disciplined attention to the inner self (Robinson “Grace and Works” 226).
In the mid eighteenth century, there arose a desire to reform these Calvinist beliefs in order to create a more positive and liberal view of human nature.
A number of ministers in Boston wished to bring about a fresh New England theology that stressed the ethical and pious behavior of the individual in the self-determination of their own salvation.
It is important to note here that the Calvinist belief was that the individual had absolutely no control over their ultimate spiritual fate through their actions in life.
This orthodox belief asserts the Holy Trinity, through which God presents himself, elects those men chosen for salvation or condemnation - a fate decided before the creation of the world (Hutchison 3).