A most extraordinary day for weather, first, a chilly East wind, then a sudden change to West, then North with a most furious gust of wind, and a very little rain. I passed my morning in the room with the child who seemed very sick. These violent and sudden attacks occur so regularly that it seems to be part of the system of the child. They create in us much anxiety.
I attended Divine Service and heard Mr. Motte of Boston who also dined with us.1 His discourses were from Ephesians 6. 24 and 1 John 2. 25. The morning was taken up in a view of the character of a Christian which he considered a name distinguishing only such as are followers in faith and practice of Christ, so that according to him an infidel might be nearly a Christian—The divinity of Jesus being the only thing in the way. He also fell into the same train of reasoning about Judas Iscariot that we had last Sunday. His Afternoon discourse was upon the light of natural religion. He is a thinker, although perhaps wanting in basis. This idea of saying fine things of Judas is most preposterous.
Read a Sermon from Massillon being the first on the Anniversary of a Saint. The Volume I now begin consists of ten Sermons of this kind. This was a eulogy of Saint Agnes, one of the martyrs of the Church. He drew from her life the following moral, 1. the superiority of the truely pious over all the temptations of the world 2. the victory which they can also achieve over suffering and death. Men are not to plead their situation in life or circumstances for sin, nor should they excuse themselves because of the difficulty of virtue. The same general subject makes the greater part of the Sermon read by me on the 24th of February last. This is a youthful, that was the mature effort. Evening at home. Read Puckler Muskau.
Rev. Mellish I. Motte was a classmate and college friend of GWA; see vol. 3:110–111.