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“The Destinies of Ecclesiastical Religion”
by Frederic H. Hedge
The Christian Examiner, January, 1867
This essay by “the original transcendentalist” (the first group was called Hedge’s Club) is fascinating for its wry descriptions of the transcendentalists by an inner critic.
But for this course more attention must be paid to Hedge’s defense of the church not only (peculiarly for a Unitarian) as a divine institution, but as more important than theology. Hedge seems to say, “I care not about your beliefs, only the continuity of the church.”
Hedge carries particular interest as one who terms himself an intellectual radical and an ecclesiastical conservative. He seems to argue that religion carries continuing meaning only through the church.
Does Hedge’s challenge set a needed corrective to the Unitarian tendency to concentrate on theology or passing enthusiasms?
The text of “The Destinies of Ecclesiastical Religion” is available from Google Books here.