Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

The sight of snow again this year was not very agreeable. And the day was cold and blustering. I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham preach all day. Morning. Text from Matthew 3. 9. “For I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” He then explained the passage. John the Baptist had been surprised to find the Pharisees come to him, and he warned them to put no dependence upon their advantages. These they deemed to be of two sorts. One that they being the Descendants of Moses were the chosen of God, and that through their agency alone could any be expected to gain salvation. He said that there were sects now in the Christian Religion who held to similar doctrines and he proceeded to castigate their reasons for them. Afternoon. Text from Matthew 18. 33. “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee.” It was upon forgiveness of sins. A very good Sermon explaining the nature of the Parable, the character 263of the Christian Religion, its mildness, its inculcating forgiveness and the necessity of the practice of that virtue to a disciple of Christ.

On my return home I read a Sermon of Massillon’s according to custom. It was upon the same subject as that of last Sunday. In extracting the Text then however I did not take quite the whole of the Verse as I ought. He endeavours more clearly to show the application which he made of it. He says that a mere fever was a very unusual thing for Jesus to be called to cure. His cures were generally those of persons dying, or even dead. He therefore infers this to mean a state of moral debility. But why it should be lukewarmness and represented by a fever passes my comprehension. His argument against the danger of indifference in Religion today was again threefold. 1. It prevents the special grace requisite for the full support of piety. 2. It inclines man to sin from confusing his nicer distinction of right and wrong. 3. It renders the usual means useless or dangerous, as prayer, the communion &ca. a relapse from which is fatal. The ideas are not much varied in either. Evening quietly at home. Continued the French Revolution.

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

Morning clear but cold. I went to the Office as usual. Nothing of particular consequence in the time. I could not read a line yet my time did not appear to be adequately occupied. Busy upon a lease for one of the Tenants at my new Agency in Quincy. I then took a walk with Mr. Peabody to the North end to observe all the improvements that are making in that quarter. And from thence returned home.

I. Hull Adams returned from Quincy this morning to remain at my House until he goes away. Afternoon I continued my Spanish book with tolerable success.

We took tea early for the purpose of going to the Play. Our party consisted of Mr. Brooks, Mrs. Frothingham, Mrs. G. Brooks and her husband, my Wife and myself. The piece was Cinderella, that part performed by Mrs. Austin.1 It has been got up with much trouble and expense, and is performed on the whole with much better success than I could expect. The music took me back to New York and the period when I heard the Italian Company perform.2 There is a fascination in the style of Rossini though I should hardly think it would bear time and repetition. We returned home at eleven, highly pleased.

1.

Rossini’s opera Cinderella [Cenerentola] with Mrs. Austin in the title role was performed at the Tremont Theatre preceded by a comic opera in two acts, Music and Prejudice, in which Mrs. Austin sang the role of “Alfred (an 264English Gentleman on his travels)” (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 19 March, p. 3, col. 5). On Mrs. Austin, beautiful and with a voice of great purity and range, see Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:309–312 and passim.

2.

That is, June–July 1826; see vol. 2:54–60.