Soon after this time, Mr. Freeman began to feel scruples concerning those parts of the service which expressed or implied a belief in the doctrine of the Trinity. As he said, long after, "There was a certain concealment practiced before about the Trinity. Fisher (of Salem) has a singular way of satisfying his conscience. He was asked how he could read the Athanasian creed when he did not believe it. He replied, 'I read it, as if I did not believe it.' These are poor shifts. Mr. Pyle being directed by his Bishop to read it did so, saying, 'I am directed to read this, which is said to have been the creed of St. Athanasius, but God forbid that it should be yours or mine.' Another man had set it to a hunting tune and sang it. These, I think, would hardly satisfy the conscience of a truth-loving man." Nothing could have been more remote from his own character.
To the growing clearness in Mr. Freeman's opinions on this doctrine, various circumstances probably contributed. First, it was in the very air of the times and the place, as is shown by the way that similar opinions spread in Boston a little later. And then, the favorite authors whose writings he was reading, — particularly Dr. Priestley, of whom he was a life-long admirer, — were strongly anti-trinitarian. ...
Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Atmosphere When A Unitarian Minister Must Read a Trinitarian Creed
From the book on James Freeman: