A cooler but yet a pleasant day. I read a portion of Chateaubriand before service in the morning—Egypt and the pyramids which after all he only saw at a distance. This book turns out to be only scraps saved from the materials used in the Martyrs and is interesting only in the first volume.
Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham. Matthew 6. 13. “And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” This is a text upon which I have heard many discourses and none as it seemed 193to me very perfectly conclusive. The preacher expressed surprise that any doubt could be entertained upon it’s meaning which he thought was this—Suffer us not to be led into temptation too great for our strength. After all this appears to vary the sense but little and the whole question goes back to free Agency. If the Deity controls all actions, the prayer is one of supplication to an all powerful judge and executioner. If on the contrary and as I incline to believe, the individual has a power to guide himself then it is a request that his power may be strengthened against temptation or that he may not be called upon. The other portion of the text seems to apply the same idea, an escape from danger brought upon ourselves either by our own imprudence or in the course of providence.
Afternoon, Mark 6. 25. “And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.” He proceeded to illustrate the common character of this request in ancient times by anecdotes of ancient history and then made his application, not by alluding to the possibility of any similar incident in these days, but by speaking of the tendency to unreasonable demands. Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me.
Read Barrow. Acts 10. 42. “And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be Judge of the quick and dead.” The last judgment. Christ and not God to be the Judge, and to judge both living and dead. These were new views to me which in many respects required reflection. I did not read the discourse thoroughly enough. Evening at home. Conversation and Lamartine.
Morning dark with rain which subsequently turned to snow. I went to the Office and was occupied much as usual. Despatched a considerable number of my Pamphlets of which the printer sent me several. I still find no remark made upon it so that my courage is nearly vanished. I requested the printer to send a copy to each of the Newspapers. Wrote up some of the arrears of my Diary and Accounts. Thus passed the morning.
Home where I read some of the Port Royal Greek grammar. Afternoon, reading Burnet and Forster. The account of the English Revolution is never uninteresting, let one read it ever so often. Burnet gives to the picture more life because he was himself an actor, and though this 194renders it absolutely necessary to take his statements with qualification, yet it enables one to arrive at substantial truth. Forster becomes more interesting as he leaves Brussels. His book was written in 1789, consequently about the very time of the French Revolution and he is a warm democrat. Evening at home. Read Lamartine, and Chateaubriand.