Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 5th.

Monday. 7th.

Sunday. 6th. CFA Sunday. 6th. CFA
Sunday. 6th.

Another fine morning. I was grieved to find this morning my child’s eye affected by a violent cold and inflammation.1 How it can be accounted for I am entirely unable to say unless it proceeds from teething. It disfigures her exceedingly. The anxieties on account of children are infinite. And I know of none so torturing. My reliance is invariably upon a higher power. What could I do without it?

Went to Meeting all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham in the morning from Joshua 10. 13. “And the sun stood still and the moon stayed.” He denied the possibility of such an event. An assertion as rash as it was presumptuous. Had he confined himself to the probability of the story, I should perhaps have considered the question whether the Deity would stop the course of creation for the sake of the slaughter of a battle. But I can not and hope I never shall doubt the power of the Deity to do what seemeth to him good with the works of his hand. The rest of the Sermon was a pretty application of the idea to the various desires of Man, whether as impelled by ambition, by avarice, money or the various other passions.

In the Afternoon Dr. Lowell2 took up the same subject of time as connected with the opening of the year and illustrated it forcibly in one or two familiar points according to his custom. He rarely says much that is novel. But his discourses are always calculated to affect strongly the mass. His single idea that this was the beginning of a year at the close of which perhaps many of those present would not be living created a profound silence. Yet there is no more common topic in the Pulpit.

At home, I did not succeed in reading Massillon until evening.3 Being obliged to go for the Dr. on account of our anxiety for Louisa, our child. His report is that her sickness comes from the eye teeth. He lanced the Gums. I read some of Ruffhead.4 Massillon’s Sermon was upon the danger of falling back into Sin. Division, three causes. 1. The precautions against dangerous temptation omitted. 2. Resolutions wantonly violated. 3. The Reparations for sinful conduct not practised. Text. Romans 6. 9. “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead 6dieth no more: death hath no more dominion over him.” Easter day. The Text has but an indirect application. Passed an hour at Mr. Frothingham. Our friend Buckingham came in.5

1.

Louisa (LCA2), now eighteen months old (vol. 4:111 and Adams Genealogy), was the object of unremitting parental solicitude.

2.

Charles Lowell, minister of the West Church, Boston (vol. 2:395).

3.

CFA, in pursuing his study of pulpit oratory, was in the habit of reading and commenting on a sermon of Jean Baptiste Massillon each Sunday (vol. 4:97).

4.

The Life of Alexander Pope by Owen Ruffhead; see vol. 4:416.

5.

Joseph T. Buckingham, editor of the Boston Courier, was only in some senses a friend of the Adamses (vol. 3:342).