Calvinist doctrine included the idea of the inherent corruption of human nature and the concept of salvation coming only by the discretion of God himself (Robinson “Transcendentalism” 14).
Plagued by a lack of self-confidence at this time, Emerson was struggling with the decision to commit himself to a career in the ministry.
Channing’s poetic style from the pulpit encouraged Emerson, who had previously found Unitarian theological and doctrinal preaching distasteful.
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.