Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 2nd.

Monday. 4th.

Sunday. 3d. CFA Sunday. 3d. CFA
Sunday. 3d.

Excessively cold, with a sharp wind which makes it intrude into houses through every crevice. The suffering of cold is much increased by wind.

I finished Alison on Taste, this morning. There is a good deal of ground for his principal position that objects are only the signs by which we express certain qualities or affections of the mind, but I cannot assent to it entirely. Because we must say that the beauty of the Created Universe is a mistake, there is no beauty in it any farther than the idea of fitness to arouse certain emotions of men. I must still believe that there is beauty in itself—That the Divinity created the Universe not for man’s faculties, any more than he created Man for the Universe. The whole was framed upon one great plan which could have been regulated on no plan but one that embraced sublimity and beauty. I mean if we admit a Deity at all.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Romans. 6. 5. “If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” A Sermon in some sort preparatory to Communion. In the afternoon, Mr. J. O. Sargent, a young man1 discoursed from 1. Kings 19. 12. “After the fire, a still small voice.” It was a young man’s production, upon a text he justly 42called sublime. It considered the account as representing the modesty of power, it’s unostentatiousness. True enough. But without the knowledge of the power that existed, the voice would strike one but little. The voice was accompanied by all the signs of the most exalted strength, and it is the contrast which makes the sublimity.

At home in the Afternoon. Read Massillon. Luke 3.4. “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Subject, the disposition suitable for Communion, requiring faith, 1. of respect which distinguishes good from evil. 2. of prudence which submits to trial 3. of love which inspires ardor 4. of generosity which meets sacrifices. Evening passed quietly at home. Conversation, not of a very profitable kind. Afterwards, began Burke on the Sublime over again.


John Osborne Sargent, Harvard 1830.