Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 17th.

Monday. 19th.

Sunday. 18th. CFA Sunday. 18th. CFA
Sunday. 18th.

Morning clear with a pleasant wind from the Westward and altogether an agreeable day. After my morning’s occupation, I attended divine Service and heard a Mr. Edes, a young man not yet settled,1 preach two very respectable Sermons upon 1st. the servitude of sin. Text John. 8. 34. “Whosoever committeth sin is the Servant of sin.” He drew a contrast between the disgust commonly entertained at the slavery of the body, and the indifference with which the slavery of the mind is regarded. And filled his Sermon by citing examples of the influence of the passions upon man. His afternoon discourse was upon 1. Peter 1. 13. “Be sober” and was of rather a higher order. He inculcated the necessity of sobriety in all matters of life, whether in pleasure or in business, in happiness or in misery. The subjects of neither one new. But then what can be new that relates to the Christian faith? The latter subject is as old as the μηδὲν ἄγαν of the Greek wise man.

Read one of Massillon’s Sermons in the afternoon, upon the Obstacles to the truth existing in the heart of the great. His text from Psalms 2. 2. “The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the Rulers take Counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed.” He divided these obstacles into two: The Jealousy of all distinction which does and will always exist among men to depress true honour and virtue, and the self interest which pushes to the acquisition of 140fortune. He shows how these Passions operated to attempt the destruction of the Saviour and how he finally triumphed over these passions. This makes the substance of the Sermon, in which the parts are worked with very considerable power. But the eloquence of Massillon is not the eloquence of business, it is the stately movement of a studied uncontested style, not the fire and steel as Cicero calls it of the real battle of Wits. I read Bacon’s Essay on Regimen of Health.

Evening passed with the family. I read a part of the Spectator and a little of the Review of Affairs in 1830 in the Cabinet Cyclopedia. Mr. and Miss Whitney2 called upon Miss Roberdeau and Abby.

1.

Both Edward Henry Edes and Henry Francis Edes, Brown 1828, graduated in divinity at Harvard in 1831 ( Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ). JQA further identified the preacher as the son of Dr. Henry Edes (Harvard 1799) of Providence, and as newly installed at Taunton (Diary, 18 Sept.).

2.

That is, Rev. Peter Whitney and his daughter Caroline (vol. 1:164; 2:153, note).