Cold weather all comes together. I hope the first and the last attack. Read the second Satire of Horace which is obscene, and upon a subject hardly fit to be treated in so light a manner.
Attended divine Service, Mr. Frothingham in the morning. Text. Luke 15. 14. “And he began to be in want.” The parable of the Prodigal Son. Allusion to the explanations of it. Considered as the 23gentile world. This rather far strained, may be considered more generally to be the spendthrift soul which after exhausting itself in vain efforts after happiness, begins to turn itself in a direction towards purer sources. Upon this the Sermon rested. Afternoon, Mr. Gannett. Matthew 12. 37. “By thy words thou shalt be justified and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” A discourse upon Conversation. The sin of impure, frivolous and idle conversation. The necessity of mixing a proportion of religion and morality in the intercourse of life. I thought the Sermon a good one, directed to a good end however far short it may be of it. Mr. Gannett gives no pleasure in his delivery. But he is a worthy, zealous man and goes to his point without circumlocution. I think he touches, because he produces the most perfect silence, an infallible test as it appears to me.1
Returned home and read a Sermon of Massillon upon the day of Judgment. Luke 21. 27. “And then shall they see the son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” Division very simple—The fearfulness of this day to Sinners because they will be exposed 1. to themselves. 2. to others. The choice of the subject is not happy inasmuch as Man’s mind cannot form any idea of the nature of the trial he is to undergo. The very vagueness forms its most fearful quality. The Deity will judge, that is enough. Evening, read Ruffhead. Afterwards, Mr. Degrand passed an hour.2
For an earlier response to the preaching of Rev. Ezra Stiles Gannett of the Federal Street Church, see vol. 3:421.
On P. P. F. Degrand, a Boston stockbroker who was a long-time political supporter of JQA and sometimes an embarrassing one through his habit of purveying political gossip, see vol. 1:155–156; 3:33, 90–91.