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Ah! well for us all, some sweet hope lies
And, in the hereafter, angels may
The clear, bright morning, the burning noon, the still, calm evening, the rocky mountains of New England, the broad prairies of the west, and the gorgeous scenery of the south, have each and all been the theme of his song. There is a quiet beauty, a half-sad gentleness in many of his poems, which contrasts strangely with the fiery eloquence which characterizes others. No American poet has, in our opinion, equaled Whittier in all that is intensely passionate, impetuous and warlike, and there are few that equal him in the pathetic and the beautiful. His sarcasm is terribly keen—as a sample of this, we refer the reader to his poem upon the publisher of a popular magazine, who took such exceeding pains to let the south know that he employed no anti-slavery writers upon his namby-pamby monthly. One of the most memorable of his poems, is that upon Daniel Webster. It is like the wildly solemn wind in late autumn, moaning through the pines over the desolateness of Nature. No ordinary poet could write a poem, meet even for the fall of such a great man as Webster—but “Ichabod” is a poem which, in grandeur, is fit to commemorate the downfall of such a collossal man! But we will not attempt a criticism upon Whittier-we have intended only to point out what are to us some of his most striking characteristics, illustrating these by a few specimens of his reform-poetry. We know of no man more worthy of the name Agitator than he, and few there are living in the world, more sure to live in the hearts of future generations.
HORACE BUSHNELL, D. D.
It is our intention in these sketches of modern agitators, not to be confined to one class of reformers. We shall endeavor to draw the portraits of agitators in church as well as in state ; of some of those noble men who have battled manfully the slavery of intemperance, as well as of the agitators against negro slavery. But we have been struck with surprise to find that the modern agitator is usually an advocate of all the just reforms of the day. It is very difficult to find a man of original and reformatory ideas in the church, who is an opponent of the cause of temperance, or who withholds his sympathy from the friends of freedom. The leading enemies of rum are generally friendly to the cause of the slave, and the antislavery men of the land are almost unanimously devoted temperance advocates.
The reader will perhaps naturally suppose that when we placed Dr. Bushnell's name at the head of this article, we had in mind the theological agitation caused throughout the country, and especially in Connecticut, by his somewhat celebrated volume, entitled, “ God in Christ.” Such was not the case. As to the merits of that controversy, which is not yet settled, we have here nothing to say, either in approval or condemnation of Dr. Bushnell. We make no pretensions to theological acquirements, and are not competent to discuss, much less decide, the points in dispute. But we look upon Dr. Bushnell as one of the most profound agitators of the age. We think in reference to theological matters, that the spirit of the age is in him. The drift of his published writings is continually toward a liberal, unsectarian, and practical christianity. He makes deadly war upon mere creeds, and urges most earnestly upon the christian world a better practice. “ Deeds, not words,” is the essence of the religion he preaches. It seems to us that the reader must be obtuse who reading Bushnell sees only his peculiar views of the trinity and the sufferings of Christ. His opinions upon these points may be accepted or rejected, and the time may be coming when they will be forgotten, but he will be remembered; and the books which contain his peculiar views may live, but they will not detract from the author's reputation. As an early, eloquent, and intellectually powerful advocate of a more generous christianity than that born of creeds, as a great defender of the important truths of the gospel upon philosophical principles, he will live in future generations. In this skeptical age, such a man is precious to the cause of pure religion, for he meets the skeptic with sound argument, instead of denunciation, with a profound love for Christ, instead of a burning hatred of those who unfortunately have lost, or never found, the path which leads to Him. It is this catholic, charitable tendency in all Dr. Bushnell's wri. tings which awakens agitation wherever they are read, and which excites the bitter opposition of conservatives in the church. He has been accused by men actively engaged in important reforms of withholding his aid from them, and of being so absorbed in convincing men of the importance of more religion in the life, as to overlook the miserable drunkard in the streets, and the panting fugitive at his door-in fact, to neglect to practice what he preaches. But it must be remembered, that, to some men, it is given to enunciate great principles which underlie the foundations of society, or which should underlie society, and of such men little more can be asked. A slave-holder cannot live upon the food which Dr. Bushnell offers to him; the rumseller would choke upon it. And though the doctor does not often preach anti-slavery or temperance sermons (perhaps not so often as he should,) yet when he does, he speaks boldly for the right. Years ago, on the eve of an exciting election, he came out in his pulpit one Sabbath day with a sermon upon the duties of christian voters, which was like a bomb-shell thrown into a peaceful town. It was unexpected; the people