[Boston—Sunday, 14 June 1874]

Sunday—14. One of June’s perfect days. Wrote introduction to The Childe of Bristane, my version before breakfast and amended the lives I had left imperfect on the new reading.

Last Sunday June 14th Was a fine day & “J.” thought he would like to hear Phillips Brooks preach. “I like to keep the run of the speakers of our time” he said to me in the morning. “I like to know what their influence is and where it lies I should like to go.” Therefore we went & being in good season were greeted by the excellent man himself in the lower hall floor for he has preached at the Technological Hall up-stairs ever since the burning of his church. He greeted us with a cheerful friendly manner, unsuggestive of peculiar spiritual claims of any kind; simply, manly. Smiling full of bonhomie. “You must not think” said “J.” to him as we ascended the stairs “you must not think that I ever said what the newspapers put upon my shoulders about no man of mark having graduated since 1855. I never said any such thing. I took pretty good care to see when you graduated before I made my little speech.” He laughed & seemed truly amused at the whole thing—as if it had never occurred to him that he should be an exception. He gave us a very good and very earnest sermon upon the Service of Christ—the impossibility of freedom from service but the loftiest service is the highest freedom. Twas a good honest sermon but not exactly what I should call an enlightened discourse and yet morally it was lofty and inspiring; but it was the discourse neither of a reader nor a deep thinker; better than either it was the discourse of a man who loves his God and the service of Christ and he drew all men unto him as he spoke. I wish such a man could bring the light of knowledge to bear, for the good of humanity—why need he say there was no hope, no faith, no religion before Christ when we all know there was. It ought not to make Christ less to prove the infinite goodness of the Father in looking after his children through the wilderness of ages before Christ came to hand the torch down to us—for this was what he did—this was his great work.

The day was exceedingly warm and beautiful & we passed the afternoon & evening here alone save dear “J.” went to see his brother to try to help him out of the slough of despond in which he chooses to sit and decay. It is most depressing for “J”. I can see that, indeed it is for both of us.


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