Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 13th.

Monday. 15th.

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

Fine day. I passed the morning in reading German. Attended divine service and heard a young man Mr. Briggs just commencing his profession.1 In the morning from John 14. 21. “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father and I will love him and manifest myself in him.” The nature and force of love, as explained by the Saviour. In the afternoon Hebrews 13. 18. “For we trust we have a good conscience.” The intricate question of conscience is rather trying to a young beginner. However he managed it judiciously insisted only upon the necessity of enlarging it’s power by knowledge and especially by religion and of listening to it as the dictate of a judge not of a reasoner. He has considerable power. A degree of eloquence in his manner, and a fervor of style which might (I should think) raise him quite high in public estimation.

At home, read a Sermon of Warburton, upon the love of God. 1 John 4. 20. “If a man say, I love God and hateth his brother, he is a Liar, for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” He traces Religion up to Love, 386Love up to benevolence and benevolence to selfishness. This appearing to be the origin with him of the moral sense. Benevolence being the general Law which prompts to Love, it extends both to that for God and man and cannot easily be found where both of these its natural consequences do not exist. I do not at present entirely assent to this derivation of our moral sense, and of our virtues. The Sermon has nevertheless some merit.

In the evening, I read to Mr. Brooks at his request a Sermon of Sterne’s upon the text of this afternoon. It is a mixture half facetious, half profound with occasional touches of nature, like every thing else of that author. German. A new story in which I do not succeed so well.

1.

George Ware Briggs had received his degree in divinity only in the preceding month ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).