Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday. 11th.

Monday. 13th.

Sunday. 12th. CFA


Sunday. 12th. CFA
Sunday. 12th.

In conformity with my resolution of yesterday or I might rather say, my project, I intend not to mention any of my regular duties, considering them as having been performed without there is some notice given of the exception, or as they are incidentally noticed in commenting upon any of my reading.

Filled up my morning by looking over Spence’s Anecdotes which may truly be called a lounging book,1 holding some pretty good things and many trifling ones. Then went to hear Mr. Frothingham preach from John 9. 34. “Dost thou teach us,” directed principally to the prevailing arrogance in the world of listening only to the suggestions of established reputation and slighting truth on account of it’s source. There is much to be said on that subject and I am of opinion no where to more purpose than here. The attachment to prescription here is very inveterate. In many respects it leads to good, but in some it’s operation is all evil. The Afternoon Sermon I liked the best however. It was from James 4. 7. “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” A mere examination of what the devil is, and an eloquent refutation of the idea that man has not the power to resist, with a touch at the orthodox doctrine of predestination. The fact he thinks that for power you may read Will. Mr. Frothingham did better than usual because he was more animated, and therefore felt strongly the words he was delivering. When this happens he gets out of the sing-song which he has formed for himself as the beauty of delivery.


Returned home and read a Sermon of Massillon from Luke 11. 26. “And the last state of that man is worse than the first.” It was upon the character of the vacillating and inconstant in religion. He thinks their’s is the most hopeless case of all. Because they derive no benefit from the knowledge of the truth, from any taste for religion which it forms nor from the administration of the Sacraments. The liability to return to the paths of vice deadens all their morality and renders them entirely unfit to be depended upon in any way. Their case is therefore more desperate than that of the hardened sinner.

Evening. Read Grahame’s second volume but found I had got the substance of it pretty well in my first reading. I also found the idea I was in search of which I think will do for the foundation of an Essay. The Child was fretful today but did not appear much unwell.


Joseph Spence, Anecdotes, Observations and Characters of Books and Men, London, 1820; primarily a record of Pope’s conversations and those of members of his circle.