Morning warm, although a high wind dispelled all the inconvenience one might otherwise have experienced from it. I attended divine service all day and heard Mr. Whitney preach but without much benefit to me as one of his hearers. I rarely find any thing in his Sermons which is not a repetition of the most commonplace popular notions. Mr. Whitney is a worthy man in his life and conversation I believe, but it is difficult to pay him that degree of respect which he perhaps deserves.136
Read a Sermon of Massillon’s upon St. Stephen. Acts 6. 10. “And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” His uniform mode of treating these subjects is by urging the example. To be a defender of the truth requires that a man should be enlightened, intrepid, and full of the spirit of charity. St. Stephen became so from the possession of such qualities. This is cause to exhort others. I think Massillon understands reason far more than most panegyrists.
A considerable period of time was passed in reading some of the letters of J. Adams to his Wife 1774–6. Many of them are admirable and richly merit publication. I have a great mind to make a collection. At any rate, the more valuable ones I must copy. Evening at home. I read a little of Captain Hall’s book of travels,1 and a couple of Observers which I did not like.