Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 29th. CFA Sunday. 29th. CFA
Sunday. 29th.

Morning still cloudy and dull. I read Sir James Mackintosh in whose favour I have postponed all my other occupations. Then to meeting where I heard Mr. Frothingham 1 Timothy 6.3. “Wholesome words”—One of his most polished and beautiful efforts. He spoke of their effect in three ways, first as modes of advice and expostulation, second as modes of encouragement, third of consolation, and on the whole 398three he introduced observations which show his acquaintance with human feeling to be greater than one would suspect. There was much in the discourse which did me good because it fell upon my precise state of feeling with great effect. I hope I was better for it.

In the afternoon, 2. Samuel 24. 14. “And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait. Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for his mercies are great, and let me not fall into the hand of man.” I recollect this discourse when delivered before. It relates to that singular census of David which brought upon him and his people such a severe punishment—No more incomprehensible story in the whole of Ancient Scripture. There is an appearance of priest craft in it.

Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me. Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow upon that mysterious subject, the sufferings of Christ foretold in the Old Testament. The Dr. explains the case more clearly than I have yet seen it and I am inclined to his opinion, but it is not long since Mr. Noyes in an able Essay in the Christian Examiner denied all the ground—And the thing is not clear, that is certain.1 Acts 3. 18. “But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his Prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” My main difficulty is that to doubt on this point is like shaking the whole of the Christian religion.

Finished copying my long letter to my father and sent it — This is a venture.2 Evening, young Mr. Miller was here for an hour. I read Sir James.

1.

On the essay-review by George Rapall Noyes, “Christology of the Old Testament,” see above, entry for 9 July 1834. CFA had then called the views expressed by Noyes “very abominable.”

2.

In response to JQA’s determination to oppose Van Buren’s appeasement of the South on Texas at the cost of the alliance effected against Webster in Massachusetts, CFA, after recognizing the difficulties of his father’s position and affirming his conviction “that in this Country it is impossible to continue in public life with any success, on a basis distinct and independent of parties,” urged upon JQA all the unhappy consequences for himself and his political beliefs of forwarding Webster’s triumph for whatever reasons. “To all this I am aware you will oppose the ... evident disposition to court the South at any expense.... I see it all and understand it. But ... Mr. Van Buren is involved in very great difficulties out of which his being a Northern man is the greatest.... Mr. Van Buren is undoubtedly in a false position and must remain so for some time.... He is therefore flexible but he wants time to get rid of the election and he wants to shun committal. On some accounts it might be prudent for the Northern party to grant him the indulgence.... The great point to be gained seems to be delay. Delay to enable Mr. Van Buren to get rid of General Jackson,... to give him an opportunity to develope his own system,... to more fully organise a party in this quarter upon which it might be practicable to oppose him in case that system is not a fair one,” (28 May, Adams Papers.)

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