Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 13th.

Monday. 15th.

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

Clear morning and fine day. I occupied part of yesterday Afternoon and this morning in pasting in the rest of the labels in my possession into my father’s books. It is now some years since I received them, and only now have I finished the work.1 Many books still remain without them.

I attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham. Morning from 1. Thessalonians 5. 19. “Quench not the spirit.” A view of the 68danger to a religious spirit in the three ages of youth, manhood and age. I did not catch the Text of the Afternoon’s though a better discourse.

Read Massillon. The book I now am upon is entitled Mysteries, being Sermons upon those Anniversaries which commemorate the supernatural and inexplicable incidents in the history of the Saviour. This discourse was upon the Incarnation. 1. Corinthians 2. 7–8. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew.” Three characteristics he thinks are to be found in man. A disposition to judge of all things by the palpable distinctions of this world, which forms his pride. A reference of every feeling to the pleasures of the senses and an inclination to bring his reason up as the infallible and universal judge. These points he considers to be affected by the mystery of the Incarnation, first in the humility of the Saviour’s worldly situation, second, in the total disregard of all the objects of human desire, third, in the incomprehensible mystery of his birth. On this last point, there is some strong reasoning. Thus passed my day. Gardner Gorham passed the evening with us.


The bulk of JQA’s extensive library was at the Old House (vol. 3:55–56); however, upon the death of GWA, JQA had acquired, largely as an offset against his assumption of his son’s debts, GWA’s large collection of books. These remained in Boston in CFA’s possession (vol. 3:324–325; 4:283–284). Affixing JQA’s bookplate in each volume and cataloging the collection were the means adopted to maintain the identity of the books after they were shelved along with CFA’s own books in his home and at his office. The task had been carried on intermittently since March 1830 (vol. 3:176).