Harriet Atwood Newell.

Memoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; online

. (page 1 of 15)
Online LibraryHarriet Atwood NewellMemoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; → online text (page 1 of 15)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook






M n . s II AK K IE T NE WEI, L,














And some further Particulars respecting Mr Newell and his
Companions in India.









THE following Memoirs of Mrs NEWELL, are de-
rived almost entirely from her own writings. No-
thing has been added, but what seemed absolutely
necessary, to give the reader a general view of her
character, and to explain some particular occurrences
in which she was concerned. These Memoirs con-
tain only a part of her letters and journal ; the
whole would have made a large volume. The la-
bour of the compiler has been to select, and occa-
sionally, especially in her earlier writings, to abridge.
The letters and journal of this unambitious, delicate
female, would have been kept within the circle of
her particular friends, had not the closing scenes of
her life, and the Missionary zeal which has recently
been kindled in this country, excited in the public
mind a li vely interest in her character, and given
the Christian community a kind of property in the
productions of her pen. It was thought best to


arrange her writings according to the order of time ;
so that, in a connected series of letters, and extracts
from her Diary, the reader might be under advan-
tages to observe the progress of her mind, the deve-
lopment of her moral worth, and some of the most
important events of her life.




THE subject of these Memoirs was a daughter of
Mr MOSES AT WOOD, a merchant of Haverhill, Mas-
sachusetts, and was born October 10, 1793. She
was naturally cheerful and unreserved ; possessed a
lively imagination and great sensibility ; and early
discovered a retentive memory and a taste for read-
ing. Long will she be remembered as a dutiful
child and an affectionate sister.

She manifested no peculiar and lasting serious-
ness before the year 1806. In the summer of that
year, while at the Academy in Bradford, a place
highly favoured of the Lord, she first became the
subject of those deep religious impressions, which
laid the foundation of her Christian life. With se-
veral of her companions in study, she was roused to
attend to the one thing needful. They turned off
their eyes from beholding vanity, and employed then*
leisure in searching the Scriptures, and listening to
the instructions of those who were able to direct them
in the way of life. A few extracts from letters,
which she wrote to Miss L. K. of Bradford, will in
some measure, show the state of her mind at that



" Dear L. I NEED your kind instructions now
as much as ever. I should be willing to leave every
thing for God ; willing to be called by any name
which tongue can utter, and to undergo any suffer-
ings, if it would but make me humble, and be for
his glory. Do advise me what I shall do for his
glory. I care not for myself. Though he lay ever
so much upon me, I would be content. Oh, could
I but recal this summer ! But it is past, never to
return. I have one constant companion, the BIBLE,
from which I derive the greatest comfort. This
I intend for the future shall guide me.

" Did you ever read Doddridge's Sermons

to Young People ? They are very beautiful sermons.
It appears strange to me, why I am not more inte-
rested in the cause of Christ, when he has done so
much for us ! But I will form a resolution that I
will give myself up entirely to him. Pray for me
that my heart may be changed. I long for the
happy hour when we shall be free from all sin, and
enjoy God in heaven. But if it would be for his
glory, I should be willing to live my threescore
years and ten. My heart bleeds for our companions,
who are on the brink of destruction. In what man-
ner shall I speak to them ? But perhaps I am in
the same way."

In another letter to the same friend she says,
" What did Paul and Silas say to the jailor ? Be-
lieve in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou slialt be
saved. Let us do the same. Let us improve the
accepted time, and make our peace with God. This
day, my L. I have formed a resolution, that I will


devote the remainder of my life entirely to the ser-
vice of my God. Write to me. . Tell me my nu-
merous outward faults ; though you know not the
faults of my heart, yet tell me all you know, that I
may improve. I shall receive it as a token of love."

The following Summary Account of her Religious
Exercises was found among her private papers.


" A REVIEW of past religious experience I have
often found useful and encouraging. On this ac-
count I have written down the exercises of my mind,
hoping that, by frequently reading them, I may be
led to adore the riches of sovereign grace, praise
the Lord for his former kindness to me, and feel
encouraged to persevere in a holy life.

" The first ten years of my life were spent in
vanity. I was entirely ignorant of the depravity of
my heart. The summer that I entered my eleventh
year I attending a dancing school. My conscience
would sometimes tell me, that my time was foolishly
spent ; and though I had never heard it intimated
that such amusements were criminal, yet I could not
rest, until 1 had solemnly determined that when the
School closed, I would immediately become religious.
But these resolutions were not carried into effect.
Although I attended every day to secret prayer,
and read the Bible with greater attention than be-
fore ; yet I soon became weary of these exercises,
and, by degrees, omitted entirely the duties of the
closet. When I entered my thirteenth year, I was
sent by my parents to the Academy at Bradford.


A revival of religion commenced in the neighbour-
hood, which, in a short time, spread into the school.
A large number of the young ladies were anxiously
inquiring, what they should do to inherit eternal
life. I began to inquire, what can these things
mean ? My attention was solemnly called to the
concerns of my immortal soul. I was a stranger to
hope ; and I feared the ridicule of my gay compa-
nions. My heart was opposed to the character of
God ; and I felt that, if I continued an enemy to
his government, I must eternally perish. My con-
victions of sin were not so pungent and distressing,
as many have had ; but they were of long continu-
ance. It was more than three months, before I was
brought to cast my soul on the Saviour of sinners,
and rely on him alone for salvation. The ecstacies,
which many new-born souls possess, were not mine.
But if I was not lost in raptures on reflecting upon
what I had escaped ; I was filled with a sweet peace,
a heavenly calmness which I never can describe.
The honours, applauses, and titles of this vain world,
appeared like trifles light as air. The character of
Jesus appeared infinitely lovely, and I could say
' with the Psalmist, Whom have I in heaven but thee ?
and there is none on earth I desire besides thee.
The awful gulf I had escaped, filled me with asto-
nishment. My gay associates were renounced, and
the friends of Jesus became my dear friends. The
destitute broken state of the church at Haverhill
prevented me from openly professing my 'faith in
Jesus ; but it was a privilege which I longed to en-
joy. But, alas ! these seasons so precious did not
long continue. Soon was I led to exclaim, Oh !


tliat I were as in months past ! My zeal for the
cause of religion almost entirely abated ; while this
vain wo~rld engrossed my affections, which had
been consecrated to my Redeemer. My Bible,
once so lovely, was entirely neglected. Novels and
romances engaged my thoughts, and hour after hour
was foolishly and sinfully spent in the perusal of
them. The company of Christians became, by de-
grees, irksome and unpleasant. I endeavoured to
shun them. The voice of conscience would fre-
quently whisper, fi all is not right.' Many a sleep-
less night have I passed after a day of vanity and
sin. But such conflicts did not bring me home to
the fold, from which, like a strayed lamb, I had
wandered far away. A religion, which was inti-
mately connected with the amusements of the world,
and the friendship of those who are at enmity with
God, would have suited well my depraved heart.
But I knew that the religion of the gospel was vastly
different. It exalts the Creator, while it humbles
the creature in the dust.

" Such was my awful situation ! I lived only to
wound the cause of my ever blessed Saviour. Weep,
O my soul ! when contemplating and recording these
sins of my youth. Be astonished at the long-suffer-
ing of Jehovah ! How great a God is our God !
The death of a beloved parent, and uncle, had but
little effect on my hard heart. Though these afflic-
tions moved my passions, they did not lead me to
the Fountain of consolation. But God, who is rich
in mercy, did not leave me here. He had prepared
my heart to receive his grace ; and he glorified the
riches of his mercy, by carrying oil the work. I was



providentially invited to visit a friend in Newbury-
port. I complied with the invitation. The evening
previous to my return home, I heard the Rev. Mr
Mac F. It was the 28th of June, 1809. How did
the truths, which he delivered, sink deep into my
inmost soul ! My past transgressions rose like great
mountains before me. The most poignant anguish
seized my mind ; my carnal security fled ; and I
felt myself a guilty transgressor, naked before a holy
God. Mr B. returned with me the next day to
Haverhill. Never, no never, while memory retains
her seat in my breast, shall I forget the affectionate
manner in which he addressed me. His conversa-
tion had the desired effect. I then made the solemn
resolution, as I trust, in the strength of Jesus, that
I would make a sincere dedication of my all to my
Creator, both for time and eternity. This resolu-
tion produced a calm serenity and composure, to
which I had long been a stranger. How lovely the
way of salvation then appeared: Oh, how lovely
was the character of the Saviour f The duty of pro-
fessing publicly on which side I was, now was im-
pressed on my mind. I came forward, and offered
myself to the church ; was accepted ; received into
communion ; and commemorated, for the first time,
the dying love of the blessed Jesus, August 6th,
1809- This was a precious season, long to be re-
membered I Oh, the depths of sovereign grace !
Eternity will be too short to celebrate the perfections
of God.
August %!th, 1809. HARRIET ATWOOD. V



Sept. 1. A large number of my companions of
both sexes, with whom I have associated this sum-
mer, are in deep distress for their immortal souls.
Many, who were formerly gay and thoughtless, are
now in tears, anxiously inquiring, what they shall
do to be saved. Oh, how rich is the mercy of Jesus !
He dispenses his favours to whom he pleases, with-
out regard to age or sex. Surely it is a wonder-
ful display of the sovereignty of God, to make me a
subject of his kingdom, while many of my compa-
nions, far more amiable than I am, are left to grovel
in the dust, or to mourn their wretched condition,
without one gleam of hope.

Sept. 4. I have just parted with my companions,
with whom I have spent three months at the acade-
my. I have felt a strong attachment to many of
them, particularly to tho.se who have been hopefully
renewed the summer past. But the idea of meeting
them in heaven, never more to bid them farewell,
silenced every painful thought,

Sept. 10. Being indulged with the privilege of
visiting a Christian friend this afternoon. Sweet
indeed to my heart, is the society of the friends of
Immanuel. I never knew true joy until I found it
in the exercise of religion.

Sept. 18. How great are the changes which take
place in my mind in the course of one short day !
I have felt deeply distressed for the depravity of my
heart, and have been ready to despair of the mercy
of God. But the light of divine truth, has this
evening irradiated my soul, and I have enjoyed such
composure as I never knew before.


Sept. 20. This has been a happy day to me
When conversing with a Christian friend upon the
love of Jesus, I was lost in raptures. My soul
rejoiced in the Lord, and joyed in the God of my
salvation. A sermon preached by Mr M. this even-
ing has increased my happiness. This is too much
for me, a sinful worm of the dust, deserving only
eternal punishment. Lord, it is enough. *

Oct. 6. The day on which Christ arose from the
dead has again returned. How shall I spend it ?
Oh, how the recollection of mispent Sabbaths, em-
bitters every present enjoyment. With pain do I
remember the h*oly hours which were sinned away.
Frequently did I repair to novels, to shorten the
irksome hours as they passed. Why was I not cut
off in the midst of this my wickedness ?

Oct. 10. Oh, how much have I enjoyed of God this
day ! Such views of his holy character, such a desire
to glorify his holy name, I never before experienced.
Oh, that this frame might continue through life.

* My willing soul would stay,

In such a frame as this,
And sit and sing herself away,
To everlasting bliss.'

This is my birth day. Thirteen years of my
short life have gone for ever.

Oct. 25. Permitted by my heavenly Father once
more to hear the gospel's joyful sound. I have en-
joyed greater happiness than tongue can describe.
I hate indeed been joyful in the house of prayer.
Lord, let me dwell in thy presence for ever.

Nov. 2. How wonderful is the superabounding
grace of God ! Called at an early age to reflect upon


my lost condition, and to accept of the terms of salva-
tion, how great are my obligations to live a holy life.

Nov. 4. Examination at the academy. The
young ladies to be separated, perhaps for life. Oh,
how affecting the scene ! I have bid my companions
farewell. Though they are endeared to me by the
strongest ties of affection, yet I must be separated
from them, perhaps never to meet them more, till
the resurrection. The season has been remarkable
for religious impressions. But the harvest is past,
the summer is ended, and there are numbers who
can say, we are not saved.

Nov. 25. A dear Christian sister called on me
this afternoon. Her pious conversation produced a
solemn but pleasing effect upon my mind. Shall I
ever be so unspeakably happy as to enjoy the so-
ciety of holy beings in heaven ?

* Oh, to grace how great a debtor!'

Dec. 3. I have had great discoveries of the wick-
edness of my heart these three days past. But this
evening, God has graciously revealed himself to me
in the beauty and glory of his character. The Sa-
viour provided for fallen man, is just such a one as
I need. He is the one altogether lovely,

Dec. 7. With joy we welcome the morning of
another Sabbath. Oh, let this holy day be conse-
crated entirely to God. My Sabbaths on earth will
soon be ended ; but I look forward with joy unutter-
able to that holy day, which will never have an end.

Dec. 8. This evening has been very pleasantly
spent with my companions, H. and S. B. The at-
tachment which commenced as it were in infancy,
has been greatly strengthened since their minds


have been religiously impressed. How differently
are our evenings spent now, from what they for-
merly were ! How many evenings have I spent with
them in thoughtless vanity and giddy mirth. We
have been united in the service of Satan ; Oh, that
we might now be united in the service of God !

Dec. 11. This morning has been devoted to the
work of self-examination. Though I find within
me an evil heart of unbelief, prone to depart from
the living God, yet I have a hope, a strong unwav-
ering hope, which I would not renounce for worlds.
Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, for this blessed assur-
ance of eternal life.

Dec. 15. Grace, free grace is still my song. I
am lost in wonder and admiration, when I reflect
upon the dealings of God with me. When I meet
with my associates, who are involved in nature's
darkness, I am constrained to cry with the poet,

* Why was I made to hear thy voice,

And enter while there's room,
While thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come ?'

Dec. 31. This day has passed away rapidly and
happily. Oh, the real bliss that I have enjoyed 4
such love to God, such a desire to glorify him, I
never possessed before. The hour of sweet release
will shortly come ; Oh, what joyful tidings.


Jan. 8. A sweet and abiding sense of divine
things still reigns within. Bad health prevented
my attending public worship this day. I have en-


joyed an unspeakable calmness of mind, and a heart
burning with love to my exalted Saviour. Oh, how
shall I find words to express the grateful feelings of
my heart. Oh, for an angel's tongue to praise and
exalt my Jesus.

Jan. 5. I have had exalted thoughts of the cha-
racter of God this day, I have ardently longed to
depart and be with Jesus.

Jan. 9. How large a share of peace and joy has
been mine this evening. The society of Christians
delights and animates my heart. Oh, how I love
those who love my Redeemer.

March 25. Humility has been the subject of my
meditations this day. I find I have been greatly
deficient in this Christian grace. Oh, for that
meek and lowly spirit which Jesus exhibited in the
days of his flesh.

March 25. Little E.'s birth day Reading of those
children who cried Hosanna to the Son of David,
when he dwelt on earth, I ardently wished that this
dear child might be sanctified. She is not too young
to be made a subject of Immanuers kingdom.

May 1. Where is the cross which Christians
speak of so frequently ? All that I do for Jesus : *
pleasant. Though, perhaps, I am ridiculed by the
gay and thoughtless for my choice of religion, yet
the inward comfort which I enjoy, doubly compen-
sates me for all this. I do not wish for the approba-
tion and love of the world, neither for its splendour
or riches. For one blest hour at God's right hand,
I'll give them all away.



Havcrhill, August 26, 1807.

" IN what an important station you are placed !
The pupils committed to your care will be either
adding to your condemnation in the eternal world,
or increasing your everlasting happiness. At the
awful tribunal of your Judge you will meet them,
and there give an account of the manner in which
you have instructed them. Have you given them
that advice, which they greatly need ? Have you
instructed them in religion ? Oh, my sister ! how
earnest, how engaged ought you to be, for their im-
mortal welfare. Recollect the hour is drawing near,
when you, and the young ladies committed to your
care, must appear before God. If you have invited
them to come to the Saviour, and make their peace
with him, how happy will you then be ! But, on
the other hand, if you have been negligent, awful
will be your situation. May the God of peace be
with you ! May we meet on the right hand of God,
and spend an eternity in rejoicing in his favours.-*


When Harriet Atwood was a member of Bradford
academy, it was customary for her companions in
study, whose minds were turned to religious subjects,
to maintain a familiar correspondence with each
other. A few specimens of the letters or billets,
which Harriet wrote to one of her particular friends
at that time, will shew the nature of the correspon-



Bradford Academy, Sept. 1807.

As we are candidates for eternity, how careful
ought we to be that religion be our principal con-
cern. Perhaps this night our souls may be required
of us we may end our existence here, and enter the
eternal world. Are we prepared to meet our Judge ?
Do we depend upon Chrises righteousness for ac-
ceptance ? Are we convinced of our own sinfulness,
and inability to help ourselves ? Is Christ's love
esteemed more by us, than the friendship of this

:orld? Do we feel willing to take up our cross
daily and follow Jesus ? These questions, my dear
Miss W. are important ; and if we can answer them
in the affirmative, we are prepared for God to require

our souls of us when he pleases.

May the Spirit guide you, and an interest in the

Saviour be given you ! Adieu. HARRIET.

Wednesday afternoon^ 3 odock.


Bradford Academy, Sept* 11. 180T.

As heirs of immortality, one would naturally ima-
gine we should strive to enter in at the strait gate,
and use all our endeavours to be heirs of future
happiness. But, alas ! how infinitely short do we
fall of the duty we owe to God, and to our own
souls ! O my friend, could you look into my heart,
what could you there find but a sinful stupidity, and
rebellion against God ! But yet I dare to hope !
O how surprising, how astonishing is the redemp-


tion which Christ has procured, whereby sinners
may be reconciled to him, and through his merits
dare to hope ! O may his death animate us to a holy
obedience. H. A.


Bradford Academy, Sept. 1807.

How solemn, my dear Miss W. is the idea, that
we must soon part ! Solemn as it is, yet what is it,
when compared with parting at the bar of God, and
being separated through all eternity ! Religion is
worth our attention, and every moment of our lives
ought to be devoted to its concerns. Time is short,
but eternity is long; and when we have once
plunged into that fathomless abyss, our situation
will never be altered. If we have served God here,
and prepared for death , glorious will be our reward
hereafter. But if we have not, and have hardened
our hearts against the Lord, our day of grace will
be past, and our souls irrecoverably lost. Oh then,
let us press forward, and seek and serve the Lord
here, that we may enjoy him hereafter. Favour
me with frequent visits while we are together, and
when we part, let epistolary visits be constant,
Adieu. Yours, &c.


A very frequent and affectionate correspondence
was continued between Harriet Atwood and the
same friend, after that young lady left the Academy
and returned to Beverly, her place of residence.



Haverhill, Oct. 12, 1807.

ONCE more, my dear Miss W. I take my pen and
attempt writing a few lines to you. Shall religion
be my theme ? What other subject can I choose,
that will be of any importance to our immortal
souls ? How little do we realize, that we are proba-
tioners for eternity ? We have entered upon an
existence that will never end; and in the future
world shall either enjoy happiness unspeakably
great, or suffer misery in the extreme, to all eter-
nity. We have every inducement to awake from
the sleep of death, and to engage in the cause of
Christ. In this time of awful declension, God calls
loudly upon us to enlist under his banners, and pro-
mote his glory in a sinful, stupid world. If we are
brought from a state of darkness into God's marvel-
lous light, and are turned from Satan to the Re-
deemer, how thankful ought we to be. Thousands
of our age are at this present period going on in
thoughtless security ; and why are we not left ? It
is of God's infinite mercy and free unbounded grace.
Can we not with our whole hearts bow before the
King of kings, and say, ' Not unto us, not unto
us, but to thy name be all the glory ?' Oh, my
dear Miss W. why are our affections placed one
moment upon this world, when the great things of
religion are of such vast importance ? Oh, that
God would rend his heavens and come down, and
awaken our stupid, drowsy senses. What great
reason have I to complain of my awfully stubborn
will, and mourn my unworthy treatment of the Son


of God ? Thou alone, dear Jesus, can^t soften the
heart of stone, and bow the will to thy holy sceptre.
Display thy power in our hearts, and make us fit
subjects for thy kingdom above.

How happy did I feel when I read your affec-
tionate epistle ; and that happiness was doubly in-
creased, when you observed that you should, on the

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Online LibraryHarriet Atwood NewellMemoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; → online text (page 1 of 15)