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We were to glance at his character as a minister of the gospel. It is well known that Mr. Chapin is an able champion of the doctrine of universal salvation. We have neither time nor inclination to inquire now what is the foundation of his belief. That he is sincere in it, probably few will dispute; and it makes him a better man and more like a christian, than many who profess a more orthodox faith. By his own congregation, at least, he is deemed an earnest laborer, and by others, a mistaken workman in the great harvest. By all it is admitted that he is extensively useful. His idea of religion is well given by himself, in the following passage:
“ It must be understood that ' being religious' is not a work apart by itself, but a spirit of faith and righteousness, flowing out from the center of a regenerated heart, into all the employments and intercourse of the world. Not merely the preacher in the pulpit, and the saint on his knees, may do the work of religion, but the mechanic, who smites with the hammer and drives the wheel; the artist, seeking to realize his pure ideal of the beautiful; the mother, in the gentle offices of home; the statesman, in the forlorn hope of liberty and justice; and the philosopher, whose thoughts tread reverently among the splendid mysteries of the universe.
It is needed that men should feel that every lawful pursuit is sacred and not profane; that every position in life is close to the steps of the divine throne; and that the most beaten and familiar paths lie under the awful shadow of the Infinite; and they
will go about their daily pursuits, and fill their common rela. tionships, with hearts of worship, and pulses of unselfish love, instead of regarding religion as an isolated peculiarity for a corner of the closet and a fraction of the week, and leaving all the rest of time and space an unconsecrated waste, where law. less passions travel, and selfishness pitches its tents.”
We leave the diversity of theories for those who take a deeper interest in metaphysical disquisition than we, and turn to the contemplation of his character as a reformer. If we have rightly estimated his talents and training, he is the man, of all others, who would be selected to lead the sympathies of a progressive age. His main efforts have been directed in two channels: one, the relief of the poor, the degraded, and the outcast about him; the other, to the cause of temperance generally. In pleading the cause of “humanity in the city,” no one has labored more faithfully than Mr. Chapin. He seems acquainted with every phase of their wretched life. He enumerates the causes of their destitution, and points them to the remedy. Their miserable condition comes home to his philanthropic spirit, and spurs him to vigorous action. No matter how low-sunken may be the victim of appetite or lust, he reaches out the helping hand, with a dollar in it, and says, “Brother, take courage, you may yet be a man." The assurance inspires the wanderer with new life, and he forgets, for a time, that “no man cares for his soul,” or his body
either. He takes confidence, and goes on his way rejoicing
For the young men of New York Mr. Chapin has always manifested a deep and lively interest. Many of his public lectures have been exclusively for their benefit. The cause of temperance has ever found in him one of its most ardent supporters. In his own city he fought the license law with all the force he could bring to bear upon it. He took the ground that it was a legalized system of crime. He maintained that if any shops should be licensed, they should be the low kennels, which could tempt only those who were already, comparatively speaking, past hope. He has also lectured much upon the subject in other places, and stands among the first of speakers upon the platform of temperance.
In Mr. Chapin's sermons we find frequent allusions to slavery, which evince hostility to the system, but he has not made that a special branch of his labor. We should be slow to believe that a man of his honesty and humanity would withhold his influence from the right side of the question.
As has been intimated, Mr. Chapin is now settled in New York. He labored for a number of years in Richmond, Virginia, and in Boston and Charlestown, Massachusetts. He is a little more than forty yea of age, and is now hale and hearty, in the meridian of his usefulness.
JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.
The poet Whittier was born in the year 1808, in Haverhill, Massachusetts. His horne was upon the banks of the wild and beautiful Merrimack river. His ancestors for a number of generations had lived upon the same spot, and it is dear to him, not alone for its beauty of scenery, or from the fact that it was his birth-place, but because every nook and corner in it, or around it, is connected with him, through his ancestors. They were Quakers of the old George Fox stamp; men of iron endurance, christian integrity, and sublime simplicity, and consequently suffered severely at the hands of the Puritans. The father of the poet was a plain farmer, and Whittier either worked upon his father's farm, or attended a district school until he was eighteen years old. He then devoted a year to study in a Latin school, and this, we believe, comprises what is popularly called his education. He was a home-student, however, and probably at twenty possessed a better disciplined mind than one-half of the graduates of our colleges, and his store of valuable knowledge was by no means small.
In 1828 Mr. Whittier went to Boston to undertake the editorship of “The American Manufacturer,” a journal principally devoted to the support of a protective tariff. At this time, and for some time after, he was an ardent admirer of Henry Clay and his political views. Before assuming the editorship of the “Manufacturer,” he had contributed articles to journals published near his early home, and had now a favorable reputation as a writer, of both prose and poetry, in that vicinity. He conducted the "Manufacturer” with remarkable ability for one so young and inexperienced, but he shortly gave it up. In 1830 he went to the city of Hartford to edit the “New England Weekly Review,” where he remained for two years. He exhibited marked talents in his management of the Review. A portion of the time he was warmly engaged in politics, and a part was devoted to literature. About this time he published his “Legends of New England,” and wrote a memoir of his friend Brainard, the Connecticut poet. While he was connected with the Review, he contributed to it several poems of great beauty, which attracted attention throughout the country. In 1831 he left the Review. His nature was too gentle, too refined and sensitive for the heartless strife of journalism. He could not feel at ease tied to an editor's chair, compelled to write a great deal which was distasteful to him, and to read everything whether