Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

The season is quite an uncommon one for the coldness of the weather. Since our return, there has not been a day which might be called unpleasantly warm. I attended Divine service at the Stone Church1 and heard Mr. Whitney in the morning from Proverbs. I could pay very little attention and was more taken up in pitying his 66condition than in attending to his subject. He could not read with ease his Sermon which had yet been repeated often enough to be familiar. Mr. Whitney is one of that class of men whom the course of things has laid upon the shelf. His congregation have got beyond him, and he is now somewhat dependent upon their compassion. How long their purse strings will endure it I do not know. But the tax is not a trifling one. In the afternoon Mr. Lunt preached, but I was rather drowsy not having had the little nap before service which usually prevents it.2

Afternoon, a Sermon of Dr. Barrow upon Justifying faith. Text, Romans 5. 1. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ.” He first undertakes according to his custom to explain the terms, and devotes this discourse to the explanation of what faith is. He explains this to be the belief in an opinion grounded upon forcible reason. This presupposes an exercise of the mind instead of a blind and superstitious reliance upon an arbitrary proposition. It is also at war with the Calvinistic doctrine of election which he examines at some length. I am not much versed in these high points but I think generally with Dr. Barrow. And I have gained something in this reading.

Evening at home. There were many people here. Mr. Beale with his three girls, Price Greenleaf, Miss Smith, Hull and Joseph with their sister.3 My proposed edifice was the principal topic. The people of Quincy attach great importance to it, I think with very little reason.

1.

The First Church, Quincy, also known as the Adams Temple from JA’s gifts for its construction and from the presence within it of Adams tombs and memorials; see vol. 3:xi–xii, 56.

2.

Rev. Peter Whitney was in his thirty-sixth year as minister at the First Church (vols. 1:157; 5:78); because of his age and declining faculties he had lately been provided a colleague to assume the active role, Rev. William Parsons Lunt, on whom see vol. 6:150, 197.

3.

George W. Beale, for long the adjacent neighbor to JA and JQA, had in recent years taken rooms at Mrs. TBA’s (vols. 3:56; 5:95). Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith, spinster niece of AA, who for some years had lived in the Old House, also resided with Mrs. TBA after TBA’s death vol. (5:66). On Ezekiel Price Greenleaf, son of Thomas and a horticulturalist, see vol. 5:124, 364.

Monday 8th. CFA Monday 8th. CFA
Monday 8th.

Morning pleasant. I remained at home. Occupied for the most part in writing Diary. The long entries upon the Journey make this fatiguing and yet I am hardly willing to abridge them because Journies are the only parts of a record like this that are worth remembering. My residence here has as yet so little worthy of record that I do not know what to say. I have hardly opened a book and have done little else than written a little and rambled about a good deal. When this goes over I 67shall try to resume my daily reading of Livy and to work a little upon the papers which remain of my grandfather’s collection. This with the reflecting and superintending my building will be all I can expect. For the season is now pretty well advanced.

Afternoon completed the marking out of my lot. I do not know how much land I have taken, but it looks a little large. My wish is not to encroach upon my father’s kindness, and take a Lease of any further land in case I should have any disposition to improve it. I am perfectly satisfied with the site. Evening at home.