Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 16th.

Monday. 18th.

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

Fine morning and the weather far more in character with the Season. I passed an hour in reading Chalmers on the adaptation of the mind to external nature, being the first of the Bridgewater treatises.1 A book written with too much of a flourish of trumpets constantly going beforehand but still not without it’s value. There is an affectation of a dignified, antique style about it which I do not admire, and a use of words and phrases which appear in these days quaint.

I attended divine service this morning and heard Mr. Barrett2 preach from 1. John 4–5. “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world and the world heareth them.” An attempt to distinguish the worldly man from the man of the world, him, who makes it his object from him who keeps it in subjection to higher duties and purposes. There was nothing remarkable in it.

I did not attend in the Afternoon as my Wife went to ride with me. There is a difficulty now that Mr. Brooks comes into town about a Pew. I must get one at all hazards. Read a Sermon of Atterbury’s finishing the subject discussed last Sunday. The fourth point of which was to 215show the advantage of the miraculous spread of the Gospel, and the last, when and how and why it stopped—As sensible as usual.

I finished in the Evening the Fair Maid of Perth and also began reading one course after closing another—I closed the last number of the Lounger. This is also the last of the periodical Essayists included in my course began not less than three years since. With little intermission I have in that time regularly read two papers daily and each twice over, and in this manner have accomplished the Tatler, Spectator, Guardian, Adventurer, Rambler, Idler, World, Observer, Connoisseur, Mirror and Lounger. I now undertake a far more necessary study, that of the Bible in the same manner. I begin with Genesis and propose to take Hewlett’s Commentary to aid me,3 two Chapters nightly to be read once with the Notes and once without. May God prosper the undertaking.

1.

Thomas Chalmers, Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, in the Adaptation of External Nature to the Moral and Intellectual constitution of man, 2 vols., London, 1833, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.

2.

On Rev. Samuel Barrett, see vol. 4:297.

3.

A copy of Commentaries and Annotations on the Holy Scriptures by John Hewlett, 5 vols., London, 1816, is in MQA.