Morning cloudy with a cool, snowy feeling air. I spent some time upon my Roman coins and then attended divine service where I heard Mr. Lothrop preach a discourse from Romans 20. 2. “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” The whole object of this discourse seemed to be to discuss the question of abolition without mentioning it. He tried to explain what he considered to be zeal without knowledge; it might be either intemperance, or overbearing illiberality, or aiming at what was useless or impracticable—on the other hand however it was difficult to judge with clearness any present movement. He had learnt to distrust his own judgment. Whether the time had come for one of those stands which are the great means of advancing the human race could be finally determined only by the event. The course of Jesus Christ, that of Luther and even that of the soldiers at Lexington might have been considered as zeal without knowledge if they had not been productive of such extraordinary results to the world. The best written sermon Lothrop has preached in my hearing and generally well reasoned.
Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me. He has orders to join the John Adams as a mathematical teacher. Mr. Frothingham in the afternoon. 1. Thessalonians 5. 14. “Support the weak.” Read a discourse by Sterne upon thanksgiving. 2. Chronicles 15. 14. “And they swore unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets. And all the men of Judah rejoiced at the oath.” A historical sketch of the reign of Asa and a parallel with the preacher’s own times. Evening at home.