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.
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.
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