Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

The cold which has been very great since the month came in was today greater than ever. And I felt it sharp enough in attending divine service through the day. Heard Mr. Frothingham preach in the morning from Luke 16. 25. “But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy life-time received thy good things and likewise Lazarus 200evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.” The whole of the parable he considered to mean nothing more nor less than the justice of God which made compensation in the future for the sufferings of this life. The circumstances he thought were totally allegorical and meant to put the case more strongly before the minds of the People, who had previously been habituated to ideas of Heaven and Hell according to the Pagan Mythology. But this business of allegorizing the Scriptures is next to conjectural criticism upon the Text, the most easy handle for every change. Afternoon. Text Matthew 5. 16. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The object seemed to be to direct to action, to the performance of virtue to the extent of ability and situation. How sensible I am of the urgency of the call upon me. But perhaps the time with me has not yet gone by for preparation.

Read a Sermon of Massillon’s upon Prayer, on the same Text as that last Sunday. A division more practical as I think, for it advised Prayer in the first place for what was proper, in the second, in a proper manner. This is the real difficulty of all Prayer. Even Massillon occasionally errs in his conjectures upon it. At one moment he talks of appeasing an angry God, at another of doing violence to him in order to obtain a desired object through importunity. How low such ideas place the attributes of a Deity.

The remainder of my time was taken up in writing out my second Number upon the Treasury Report and in the evening, reading Barrow’s second Sermon upon the profitableness of Godliness, recommending Piety as the best policy, as well as the most worthy quality. After it the Spectator.

Monday. 19th. CFA Monday. 19th. CFA
Monday. 19th.

Morning at the Office, engaged writing my Journal &ca. But I. H. and J. H. Adams called in soon from Quincy and prevented my paying any farther attention to my Article as I contemplated. The latter had just received Orders from the Navy Department to join the Peacock and to report himself therefor to Com. Morris at Charlestown. In consequence of this Mrs. Adams wrote me in a letter about the want of funds necessary to equip the youth to sea, and more than half intimating an unwillingness that he should accept.1 I saw that decision on my part would be the only thing to save him so I determined upon advancing him a small sum of money, just enough to take away the excuse, and upon taking at once all the measures which should engage him irrevocably almost to the Service. I accordingly declined the 201Company of I. Hull, and went with Joseph myself to Charlestown. We did not find Com. Morris, so that we were obliged to return home with the object unaccomplished. I did not feel like giving Joseph a chance to see his Mother again, so I kept him at my House this night. My morning was thus pretty much consumed.

Afternoon, read Cicero de Divinatione Book 2d. containing a refutation of the Stoic Argument. Evening, Gibbon and the Spectator. My Wife came downstairs to dine.

1.

The letter is missing.