John Greenleaf Whittier

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Amesbury, 1st mo., 17, 1872.

I should think it must be rather difficult to edit a Friends paper just now. It is a transition time, a day of sifting and inquiring, of expedients and experiments, almost a spiritual chaos. But the Divine Order surrounds all; and what now seems to us discord may be only the adjusting of the keys for a greater harmony hereafter. I confess I have no very strong hopes from the experiment of protracted meetings and forced revivals. Some minds may be arrested and turned from evil, but others may be confirmed in indifference by exhibitions of extravagance and irreverent rant. The experiment must have its run; I shall not contend with it, for I have no taste for the bitterness of ecclesiastical quarrels. I would gladly credit it with all the good it may accomplish, but I believe that there is a "more reasonable service." There are those connected with it whom I love and reverence, to criticise whom I am quite unworthy; but for myself I have an instinctive dread of noise and excitement in religious matters, and such representations of the Heavenly Father as are calculated to awaken selfish fear rather than the love which casts it out.