Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 6th.

Monday. 8th.

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

Morning pleasant and cool. Read some portions of Hazard’s State Papers1 and a little of Chalmers. The more I read, the more I am satisfied of the correctness of my views in the North American. Attended divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham, but I am mortified in having so continually to record that I cannot follow him. His morning Text was from Philippians 2. 12. “Work out your own Salvation.” He said that the Doctrine commonly adopted was that man being under the original curse pronounced upon the fall of the first of the species was therefore to redeem himself from his original sin. He expressed his dissent from the doctrine. This is one great obstacle in my way. How the words of the Bible can be evaded.

Afternoon, Psalms 19. 11. “In keeping of them there is great reward.” The merit of virtue is in itself and not in any direct advantage to be realized from it. Reward commonly means some personal advantage accruing from the performance or omission of some Act. But the Preacher meant to inculcate the use of virtue in itself as administering to the happiness of the mortal, without reference to any future state of Happiness or Immortality. This is all very well, but I do not think refinement of this kind will often reclaim from vice.

I walked home with Mr. Chadwick and he gave me Mr. Ingham’s Letter to read—A violent attack upon the President.2 What a state of things in our Country! I afterwards read a Sermon from Massillon—Text, Matthew 17. 3. “Behold there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.” The subject was the respect due to religion 107from the great. By religion he means that of faith and practice combined. The views are two, first as it respects themselves. The exalted station given to them on earth makes it more of a duty that they should demean themselves virtuously, second as it respects their inferiors, and the public generally, by spreading a spirit of piety. He goes on to advise the support of religion as an aid to Government, and says that it is a fact, that heresy in the Church has always been connected with rebellion in the State. This is a Jesuitical doctrine. It rests upon the expediency of sustaining a particular Sect without examination of its principles, and is not worthy of the rest of the Sermon. Evening at home. I read as usual the Spectator.

1.

Ebenezer Hazard, Historical Collections; Consisting of State Papers and Other Authentic Documents; Intended as Materials for an History of the United States, 2 vols., Phila., 1792–1794, concerning which, see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:109.

2.

The editors have found no further information about S. D. Ingham’s letter, apparently published as a pamphlet, of near this date and of this character. Perhaps it was a version of his address to his constituents in Bucks County, Penna., after his return from Washington in late June, which was printed in the county newspaper. William A. Ingham, Samuel Delucenna Ingham, privately printed, 1910, p. 13.