Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Saturday 14th.

Monday 16th.

Sunday. 15th. CFA


Sunday. 15th. CFA
Sunday. 15th.

Raw and cloudy with Wind still East. Passed the morning in finishing the Aeneid with which I have been very much pleased. The thing seems to me to be an honour to the human intellect for imagination, for pathos, for perfect harmony, for beauty. And there is moral in it so far as the Ancients allowed themselves to have moral.


I attended Divine Service all day. Heard Mr. Frothingham preach. His Text, “Isaiah 21. 11–12. “He calleth to me out of Seir. Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night? The watchman saith, the morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come.” He explained in the first place the literal meaning of the Text. And then applied the words to the present state of things, to the future, and to the chance of death. The Sermon was admired but it did not strike me. His afternoon’s discourse was much more simple, Nehemiah 9. 6. “Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their hosts, the earth and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all.” It turned upon the attribute of God as a Creator, the doubt that had been early expressed by a particular sect of his having to do with so corrupt a thing as matter, and the belief drawn from phrases of the New Testament that the Saviour was the Creator of all things. He inclined to the construction of the spiritual creation of all things. It was useful but dry.

Read a Sermon of Massillon upon Scepticism, John 7. 27. “Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth, whence he is.” Turning off from the discussion of the main question as to the truth of the religion, he considered only the motives for doubt of it in many cases. 1. Dissoluteness which resorts to disbelief as a protection. 2. Ignorance of a wilful kind. 3. Vanity of knowledge. He treats of them successively with great power. Evening quiet at home.