Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday. 12th.

Monday. 14th.

Sunday. 13th. CFA


Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

A most lovely day, such as we seldom have at so advanced a period of the season. I employed an hour in assorting and arranging old papers which have been accumulating. Then attended divine service where I heard Mr. Austin1 preach from John 5. 36. “The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me that the Father hath sent me.” I recorded on Monday last that Mr. Frothingham had then explained to me the nature of the 130religious difference which has lately taken place in the Unitarian ranks. It seems that Mr. George Ripley one of several clergymen who have imbibed a fondness for German metaphysics has in a late review in the Christian Examiner advanced an opinion that the miracles performed by the saviour are no evidence of his divine mission. Mr. Norton has taken this in such dudgeon as to withdraw very formally in a Newspaper paragraph his support from the Review i.e., the Examiner , and the Clergy generally are at work upon it.2 Mr. Austin’s Sermon was as pointed as his text, and seemed to me to make out an unanswerable case.

Walk with Mr. Walsh who dined with me. Afternoon Proverbs 18. 15. “The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.” A sermon of good sense but not striking. Read a discourse of Dr. Barrow from Acts 9. 22 the whole instead of part of the verse as last Sunday. “But Saul increased the more in strength and confounded the Jews which doubt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ.” A further argument upon the true character of the Saviour from the nature of his power and the spread of his doctrine.

Evening, T. K. Davis took tea here and passed a considerable part of the evening. General conversation in which he was very pleasant. If I could find many of his character here how much pleasanter would this place be to me.


Probably Rev. Daniel Austin of Brighton, Harvard Divinity School 1827.


The controversy among Unitarian divines derived from Rev. George Ripley’s essay-review of James Martineau’s The Rationale of Religious Enquiry (London, 1836) in the Christian Examiner, 21:225 – 254 (Nov. 1836). Ripley’s response to the attacks upon his position is noted in the same, p. 402 – 403 (Jan. 1837).