Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

Another lovely day. The air was soft and vegetation begins to give decided evidence of its influence. As it is probable I may soon go out of town, I occupied myself during all my spare time in continuing the Catalogue of my Books. An assistance which I absolutely need while it is necessary for me to keep them in double rows.

Attended Divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham and Mr. Barrett.1 The former took his Text from Hebrews 12. 1. “Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” The subject was revealed religion, and it appeared to me very likely to have made a part of the Dudleian Lecture preached by him last week.2 The Sermon of Mr. Barrett was from 55. Isaiah 10–11. “For as the rain cometh 297down from heaven and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth.” He considered the Analogy, the necessity in the one case of planting the seed, before the promised benefits can be enjoyed. Of spreading the word before it will improve us. He then discussed how this might best be done and adverted severely upon the prevailing mode of worship in the stricter sects as narrow and bigoted. I think in this respect that there is great cause for complaint. Our religion is rather fanatical.

Afternoon. Read a Sermon of Massillon’s upon the lighter kinds of transgression. John II. 4. “This sickness is not unto death.” He commences by adverting to the habit of disregarding such vices as are not mortal. He holds this to be injurious 1. as it affects the heart by hardening it, 2. as its consequences are fatal, first, as it acts directly, second as it has an indirect operation. Quiet evening at home. Omitted Paley.

1.

Probably Samuel Barrett, Harvard 1818, minister of the Twelfth Congregational Church, in Chambers Street, Boston; later an Overseer of Harvard College ( Mass. Register, 1832; Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).

2.

To his sermon delivered in the University’s chapel on 9 May as the year’s Dudleian Lecture, Mr. Frothingham had given the title, “The Manifestation of Christ.” The title was probably the ground for CFA’s supposition that the sermon of the morning was but a repetition. However, the Dudleian Lecture was on the text of 1 Timothy, 3:16 (MS in MH-Ar: Dudleian Lectures).

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

A very warm day. Our Summer comes without any Spring. I continued and finished the rough draught of my Catalogue. This will require copying after which I do not think I shall give any further trouble to that matter. Went to the Office. Received a letter and documents. The former from T. B. Adams about his Property.1 It will require an elaborate answer. Occupied in business and a walk. My time was not profitably employed however. Returned home.

Passed part of the afternoon in reading Sismondi, and rode out with my Wife the rest. Quiet evening at home. The Child was not very well today. This always affects my spirits. But independent of this I suffered considerably from depression all day.

The utter waste of my powers and my time which is taking place and the little prospect of any future improvement affect me. I have lost a great deal of the springy elasticity which distinguished me a year or two ago. My efforts fail, and my confidence in my own powers go with 298it. I hope this does not forebode what I have all along dreaded and what has been so often predicted of me, a life of ease, and of inglorious sloth. Advantageous as my situation is in a worldly point of view, I have nobler purposes to accomplish than the mere life of a fainéant. I belong to a race2 who have refused no labour, and in comparison with whom my idleness would only present a pitiful picture of degeneracy. O, May this not be!

1.

Letter missing.

2.

CFA generally uses the word, as here, in the sense of “family.”