Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 27th.

Monday. 29th.

Sunday. 28th. CFA


Sunday. 28th. CFA
Sunday. 28th.

Morning clear with a decided change in the Weather to cool. So that attendance at Church was much more agreeable. Read and composed in the Morning but never in writing have I met with so much difficulty as in this instance. Have not I studied the subject enough? If so let me set about a re-perusal of the Orations and all the Commentary. Perhaps the real secret remains behind.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Ripley preach. Text Revelation. 11. 15. “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” He entered into an explanation of the purpose of Christianity, the tendency of its doctrines to establish social equality, its inconsistency with the monarchical system with which it was so long connected and its increasing power with the increase of civil liberty in the world. Thus it is that the kingdoms of this world are becoming the kingdoms of our Lord. The whole made however so faint an impression that I may give a wrong idea. The Book of Revelation is a mystery. The Chapter from which the text was taken is to me incomprehensible and I can not see the application either for illustration or practice to be made by the text. He might as well have taken the first verse in Genesis, or any other. Mr. W. P. Lunt preached in the afternoon, from 1. Corinthians 7. 31. “And they that use this world, as not abusing it.” The subject is old but of a plain practical nature. The Speaker entered into an examination of the true use of the world, of the folly of abandoning it entirely, and of the moderation necessary in its enjoyment. After all the Greek Sage gave the substance of all this reasoning in two words, μηδὲν ἄγαν.1 Excess as much to be avoided in the privation as in the enjoyment of human blessings. A volume would not teach a clearer lesson. Mr. Lunt has cultivated manner with some success.

Afternoon read a Sermon of Massillon. Text from Luke 1. 32. “He shall be great.” The subject, the character of Christ’s greatness as 123explained in the Bible. Of this he made three divisions—first, because he is the Son of God, second, because he is the Saviour of the world, third, because his kingdom endureth forever. He made the application practical as far as it was possible from a spiritual to an earthly kingdom. Certainly the eloquence of this Writer is great. But his manner is too full of point. The mind gets tired and requires relaxation by variety. Evening passed altogether with my Wife. Read the Spectator as usual.


Nothing in excess. The words are Solon’s.