Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 19th.

Monday. 21st.

Sunday. 20th. CFA Sunday. 20th. CFA
Sunday. 20th.

Cloudy with heavy rain all day. I copied several Letters for my father and prepared them to go in the Mail. Attended divine service at Mr. Frothingham’s and heard him preach two Sermons on one Text. Genesis 27. 34. “And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding bitter cry and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.” He began by considering the question of the superior purity of the early ages of mankind—Denied it and held it to be discouraging to the honest efforts of the present generation. Considered the history of the Patriarchal period and selected the incident of the birthright of Esau—Commended him and severely reprehended Jacob. Considered the passages in Hebrews and the Prophets which looked otherwise, explained them and closed by a comparison between the narrow birthright of the Jews, and the universal spiritual birthright of the Christian dispensation. I did not go with these Sermons. It is clear to me that Jacob was the chosen of the Deity and that the character of Esau though fair in seeming represents the halfway morality and religion which would sacrifice much it most values for considerations of a temporary nature. At the same time I do not justify Jacob, but the wisdom of the Divinity is never to be questioned by me, even though I can not see the mode in which it is exercised. Jacob no doubt met with strict Justice, tempered with mercy. Occasionally these discourses occur in which I find myself at issue with Mr. Frothingham. His mind is not so stern and stiff as mine.

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s from Hosea 2. 19—20, the last upon the monastic vows. “I will betroth thee unto me forever, yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness and in judgment and in loving kindness and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness, and thou shalt know the Lord.” The division follows the Text. 1. An Alliance of righteousness, 2. of judgment and kindness, 3. mercies, 4. faithfulness. It appears that this woman left her Mother, being an only child, her friends, her station, to become a Nun, against the consent and wishes of them all. This may be Christianity, but it is not the form of it which ensures my confidence and worship.

The baby was unwell today and made us uneasy. In the evening, I 198wrote a short letter to Mr. Brooks1 and read Bacon’s physical mythology of the Ancients explained.


Letter missing.