stressed the essential unity of belief in Christian sects, but inferred
that Unitarianism was the most logical and most biblically correct.39
Some of Price's sermons focused on the happiness to be derived
by learning and practicing virtues. These were published with a series
of sermons explaining similarities and differences between various dissenting
Christian sects. Louisa's diary entries indicate that this was the volume
she rented from the library. Louisa admired Price's work, and read deeply
17th Sunday. Read sermons in the morning–go
to Amesbury [meeting house] to hear Mr. Hull [preach.] The people
like him much,–but I think he is rather superficial....
...20. Wednesday. I read, every morning, one or two of Price's Sermons.
They are excellent–the best, I think I ever read....
...25. Monday. Price's Sermons I have read attentively, and can say,
I think his sentiments of religion–it's principles–it's advantages
and blessings to those who practice it as they ought, the most consistent
and reasonable of any. I certainly have taken much satisfaction in
In New England, Price's sermons were being read as part of an influx
of new and dissenting religious ideas. Questions about salvation, the
Trinity and the divine nature Jesus, and how best to live a Christian
life were addressed by Methodists, Universalists, and Unitarians, as
well as other lesser known sects. The autonomous Congregational churches
were free to call dissenting ministers to their pulpits.
Louisa was fully engaged in the that exchange of ideas. During the time
she had the library copy of Price's Sermons, Louisa was invited
to hear a sermon by a minister whose doctrine offended her. Her criticism
shows a spunky sarcasm unusual in her writing and it is steeped in her
associations with class and moral responsibility: