It seems to be the case that categorisation based on identifiable Belief, Agnosticism and Atheism is becoming more and more inappropriate with categorisation based on more subtle and complex positions in relation to Faith, Spirituality and the place of Science becoming more valid.
At that time Emerson had no sufficient reason to believe that he could establish himself as the most notable that he would eventually become ~ some years later.
An Emerson scholar named Alfred Riggs Ferguson has suggested that by "doffing the decent black of the pastor, he was free to choose the gown of the lecturer and teacher, of the thinker not confined within the limits of an institution or a tradition." This, later, Emerson has been described by Lawrence Buell in a prize-winning major biography, published to coincide with the two hundredth anniversary of Emerson's birth by a press affiliated with Harvard University, as having become "the leading voice of intellectual culture in the United States"!
Emerson's principled Testament of Faith of 1832, associated as it would have been with a significant loss of worldly security consequent to his resignation, surely stands in contrast to the Agnosticism and Atheism so widespread today.
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I mean, I don't understand what it is that is being added, either to their lives or to the storehouse of human wisdom by bringing in this additional dimension of explanation.
Oppose this to Banquo's simple surprise:
The growths of genius are of a certain character, that does not advance the elect individual first over John, then Adam, then Richard, and give to each the pain of discovered inferiority, but by every throe of growth the man expands there where he works, passing, at each pulsation, classes, populations, of men.
Then in the necessity of recollecting himself
That being said the above selection may seem, in some readers' estimations, to be "wordy exaggeration."
In fairness to Emerson a few details from his life story may persuade that he personally "walked-the-walk" as a person-of-spirit as a younger man and that such "spiritual goodness" as he himself attained unto may have helped him to also attain unto "a degree of wisdom."
Emerson was born in 1803 in Boston, Massachusetts, into familial circumstances where seven close ancestors had been ministers of religion.
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The soul's advances are not made by gradation, such as can be represented by motion in a straight line; but rather by ascension of state, such as can be represented by metamorphosis, ~ from the egg to the worm, from the worm to the fly.
Then he would have accepted inspired knowledge from his father.
Following on from graduating from Harvard University's Divinity School he himself extended that family tradition, becoming "approbated to preach" by an Association of Ministers in 1826, gaining an assistant minister's appointment in 1829, and then - resigning from ministry - in 1832.
Paradoxically, Emerson's resignation can be seen as an utterly sincere "Testament of Faith" rather than as a lapse in belief.