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

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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 13 of 15)
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them. Madagascar is the probable seat of the mis-
sion ; but this is not certain. Brother and sister
Judson have become Baptists, have been immersed
at Calcutta, and of course will not come with the
rest. They have all been sick.

( Perhaps you may censure me, my dear mother,
for leaving Serampore before Harriet's confinement.
I wish I had time to answer you fully on this head ;
but I can only say she did not expect to be confined
short of three or four months from the time of our
departure ; that the usual length of a voyage to the
Isle of France, is not half that period ; that Bengal
is the most sickly place in all India, and this is the
most healthy spot in the eastern world ; and that it
was the unanimous advice of all our friends that we
should go. Brother Judson would then have em-
braced the opportunity had I declined it.

4 1 have now one request to make, and then I will
close. Dr Woods and Dr Griffin will both see this
letter. I wish one of them to preach a sermon on
this occasion ; that it be published ; and that an en-
graving, prepared from Harrietts miniature, be pre-
fixed, and a short account of her sickness and death


be added. Do let my request be granted. It will
do good. It may be the means of converting many
of Harriet's dear young friends, and it will, I h pe
some time or other reach me.

4 1 thank Dr Woods a thousand times for his ser-
mon on the death of Mrs Church, as well as for his
Missionary sermon, which last I received by way of
Calcutta. My dear, dear mother, I must bid you
farewell. God Almighty bless you, and reward you
& hundred fold for all your kindness to me. Do not
forget me ; I shall never forget you. Write when-
ever you have opportunity. I send my love to all
my acquaintance, and to all Harriet's friends, for her
sake. My ever dear mother, I remain yours affec-
tionately, SAMUEL NEWELL.'

Mrs M. Atwood.

Mr Newell inclosed a fragment, (from which the
following sentences are taken) in Mrs N.'s own hand.
It is the commencement of a letter which she began
to write to her mother, but which she was never able
to resume. During the former part of her voyage
from Calcutta to the Isle of France, she wrote oc-
casionally in her Diary, as appears by extracts made
from it in the foregoing letter.

Port Louis, (Isle of France,) Nov. 3. 1812.
* My ever dear Mother,

' SINCE I wrote you last I have been called by

God to rejoice and weep ; for afflictions and mercies

have both alternately fallen to my lot. I address

you now from a bed of great weakness, perhaps for



the last time. Yes, my dear mamma, I feel this
mud-walled cottage shake, and expect ere long to
become an inhabitant of the world of spirits. Eter-
nity, I feel, is just at hand. But let me give you
some account of God^s dealings with me, which I
shall do at intervals, as strength will admit."

[After mentioning the birth of a daughter, with
fond anticipations of happiness, she adds the follow-
ing sentences, which are the last she wrote.]

6 On the cabin floor, with no other attendant but
my dear Mr Newell, we could weep for joy, and call
ourselves the happiest of the happy. But alas ! on
the evening of the fifth day the dear object of our
Jove was snatched from us by death, and on the day
following committed to its watery grave. Heart-
rending stroke to a parental heart ! Mine almost
bled with deep anguish'

Mr Newell, apprehending that the foregoing letter
might not reach America, wrote a letter to Mr A.
Hardy, with a view to repeat the substance of what
he had before written. Extracts from this letter are
here added.

Port Louis, (Isle of France) Pel. 23. 1813.
' My dear Brother,

' I WROTE to our dear mother, Mrs Atwood, in
December, by way of London. As that may fail, I
shall briefly recapitulate some things which in that
I stated at length. We were all ordered away from
India by Government. I embarked with Harriet
for this place, in August. We had a most disas-
trous voyage. On the Sih of October, H. was de-


livered of a daughter, three weeks before we arrived
here. Our dear babe took cold and died suddenly
on the 13th, five days old. Harriet took cold at
the same time, being exposed to a violent storm of
wind and rain. The cold settled on her lungs, and
terminated in a consumption. She rapidly wasted
away, and on the 30th of November, ended her
days in this place. Two physicians beside myself,
attended her during her sickness. It would be gra-
tifying here to relate the exercises of her mind dur-
ing her illness, and at the hour of her death ; but I
have time only to say, that she died rejoicing in the
sure prospect of eternal ljfi' y through the blood and
righteousness of Jesus Christ. Thus, my dear
brother, I have been called "to lay my beloved Har-
riet in her lowly bed, within the short period of ten?
months from the day of our marriage. I have bu-
ried both my parents, and several near relatives ;
but I never knew the bitterness of grief till I saw
my dear wife expire. It is now about three months
since she died ; and I feel my loss more deeply than
when I followed her to the grave. I trust that this
very afflicting stroke of Providence has been sancti-
fied to me. I feel more like a pilgrim and stranger
on earth, and 1 long to finish my work and be away.
But I must not spend time in describing my feel-
ings on this mournful occasion ; you can easily ima-
gine all that I would say.

6 1 have one request to make of you comfort our
dear mother. Tell her that her dear Harriet never
repented of any sacrifice she had made for Christ ;
that on her dying bed ' she was comforted with the
thought of having had it urher heart to do some-


thing for the Heathen, though God had seen fit to
take her away before we entered on our work."* Tell
that dear woman, that Harriets bones have taken
possession of' the promised land^ and rest in glorious
hope of the final a i universal triumph of Jesus
over the gods of this wld.

* Give my love to a. our friends. How glad
should I be to see you all ! Tell little Aaron about
my dear babe ; we called her Harriet Atwood in her
baptism. Poor thing, she found a watery grave.
Mary, my dear sister, do not grieve too much for
Harriet ; she is well now. O may we be counted
worthy to meet her in the mansions of the blessed !
Dear creature, she comforted me with this hope on
her dying bed ; and this blissful hope is worth more
to me than all the wealth of India.




No. I.

A Sermon delivered on occasion of the lamented

MATTHEW xix. 29*

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren^
or sisters, or father, or mother, or ivife, or children,
or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred
fold ; and shall inherit everlasting life.

THE Scripture suras up all that is in the world under
three heads ; * the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye,
and the pride of life.' According to this, it has been
common to make a threefold division of natural men ;
the sensual, the covetous, and the ambitious. But our
blessed Lord, in the text, exhibits a character widely
different; a character formed on another principle; a
character altogether superior to any thing which can
result from man's unrenewed nature. The devoted
Christian is born of the Spirit. All his moral beauty, his
usefulness, and enjoyment, are the work of divine grace.

But where shall we find the singular character ex-
hibited in the text ? I answer, in every place, and in
every condition of life, where we find true religion.

The poor cottager, far removed from public notice,
and destined to the meanest employment, possesses
this character. He gives himself and all that he has


to the Lord. He loves Christ above his cottage, his
food, and his rest, and is ready to part with them all
for his sake. In the sight of God, that same poor man
forsakes all for Christ. He who can forsake his sins,
and resist the claims of corrupt passion, performs, to
say the least, as difficult a service, as to forsake houses,
brethren, and lands. The poor man, who has little to
07 VP, and much to bear, frequently shows the self-de-
nying spirit of religion to the greatest advantage. In
his heart often burns as pure a flame of love and zeal,
as in the heart of an Apostle. It may not be visible
to the world : but it is visible to Him who seeth in
secret. His prayers are animated by fervent affection
for God and man ; and when he contributes his mite
for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, he
does it with a heart large enough to part with millions.
The character here exhibited belongs to the devoted
Christian who is possessed of opulence. Though he
does not literally forsake houses and lands, he uses
them for the glory of Christ. And as he supremely
regards the divine glory, and uses the things of this
world in subserviency to it, he is ready, when duty
calls, to surrender them for the same object. To use
riches for Christ, and to forsake them for Christ, evince
the same elevation above self-interest, and the same
devotedness to the cause of God. He, then, who
values his estate for Christ's sake, and uses it for the
advancement of his cause, has the same disposition and
character with those, who for the same object actually
suffer the loss of all things. In heart he gives his
earthly all to Christ ; saying with sincerity, here Lord,
I am ; and here are my possessions. I yield them all
to thee. 1 will either use them, or part with them, for
thy sake, as thou wilt. Animated with such sentiments,
he esteems it comparatively loss, to do any thing with


his property, which tends merely to secure his private
advantage ; while he esteems that, as the best use of
his property, which tends most to advance the kingdom
of Christ. It is for the sake of that kingdom that he
values his earthly possessions. Take away that king-
dom, and his possessions lose their highest worth.

The character presented in the text clearly belongs
to every faithful minister of the Gospel, even in the
most peaceful days Whatever may be his earthly
prospects, he cheerfully resigns them for Christ's sake.
The love of Christ bears him on. He declines no la-
bour, no sacrifice, no suffering. He foregoes indulgence
and ease. In private he gives himself to reading, me-
ditation, and prayer. In public, he preaches the word,
and is instant in season, and out of season. Worldly
pursuits he totally abandons, and sets his affections on
the kingdom of Christ. * If I forget thee,' he says,
' O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.'

This character is strikingly exhibited by a devoted
Christian in times of persecution. He feels as Paul did,
when his friends, anxious for his safety, besought him
not to go to Jerusalem. ' What mean ye,' he said,
to weep, and to break mine heart ? For I am ready
not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for
the name of the Lord Jesus.' Times of persecution
and distress, have a favourable influence upon Christian
character. In such seasons, as the prospect of earthly
happiness is overcast, the followers of Christ are led
to a more serious contemplation of the heavenly inhe-
ritance, and naturally form a stronger and more ope-
rative attachment to that kingdom in which their all
is contained. They are reduced to the necessity of
feeling that they have no other interest, and no hope
of enjoyment from any odier quarter. Accordingly,
they make a more unreserved surrender of every thing


for Christ, and become more consistent and more de*
cided in their religious character. In the discharge
of difficult duties they have less hesitation. They are
less ensnared by the friendship of the world, and less
awed by its frowns. The prospect of suffering, as it
becomes familiar to their minds, ceases to move them.
To give up the interests and pleasures of the world
for the sake of Christ, becomes habitual and easy. It
costs them no struggle, and no sigh. They are pre-
pared to encounter any trial, even a violent death,
without fear or reluctance. Yea, they rejoice in their
sufferings, and gladly Jill up what is wanting of the af-
flictions of Christ in their flesh, for his body's sake t
which is the Church.

The Christian Missionary, whose motives are as sub-
lime as his office, forsakes ail for Christ in a remarkable
sense. The proof which he gives of devotion to
Christ, is indeed of the same nature with that which
other Christians give ; but it is higher in degree.
Others forsake the world in affection, but enjoy it stilU
He renounces the enjoyment as well as the attachment*
Other Christians esteem Christ above friends and pos-
sessions, and yet retain them far enough for the grati-
fication of their natural affections. The Missionary,
who has a right spirit, counteracts and mortifies na-
tural affection, by actually abandoning its dearest
objects. The distinction in short is this : other Chris-
tians have a willingness to forsake all for Christ ; the
Missionary actually forsakes all. The cause of Christ
among the Heathen possesses attractions above all
other objects. It has the absolute control of his heart.
He forsakes father and mother, house and land, not
because he is wanting in affection for them t but because
he loves Christ more. He forsakes them, because his
heart burns with the holy desire, that Christ may have


the Heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost
parts of the earth for his possession.

The wife of a Missionary, when influenced by the
Spirit of Christ, gives still more remarkable evidence
of self denial and devotion ; evidence, I say. mure re-
markable, because for her to forsake friends and coun-
try, is an instance of greater self denial. The tie,
which binds her to her relatives and her home, is
stronger. Her mind is more delicate in its construc-
tion ; more sensible to the tenderness of natural rela-
tions, and to the delights of domestic life. When,
therefore, she forsakes all, for the name of Christ, she
makes a higher effort ; she offers a more costly sacri-
fice; and thus furnishes a more conspicuous proof,
that her love to Christ transcends all earthly affection.

My friends, have I been entertaining you with vi-
sions and dreams? Or have I been teaching realities?
If you admit the truth of the Bible, you must admit
that men of the character above described, have existed
in ail ages of Christianity. Indeed, no other can be
acknowledged as disciples of Christ. For he himself
has declared, that whosoever forsaketh not all that he
hath, cannot be his disciple. And again, to teach us in
the most forcible manner, that our affection for all
other objects must fall below our affection for him, he
says ; If any one come to me, and hate not his father,
and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren,
and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my
disciple. However severe and impossible these condi-
tions of discipleship may seem, they have often been
performed. Yea, there are multitudes who daily per-
form them, and to whom the performance appears not
only just, but pleasant Multitudes, now on earth,
have that supreme love for the Lord Jesus, which
leaves little of the heart for any thing else. When


they enlisted into the service of Christ, they engaged
to follow him, though at the expence of every earthly
interest. In the very act of faith, there is an implicit
forsaking of all things for Christ. So that when the
trial comes, and they really forsake all things on his
accpunt. they only do in open act, what they did
in heart before. When they are called to surrender
all things, even life itself, for Christ's sake, they are
not called to perform a new condition, to which they
did not consent in the first exercise of faith. They
made choice of Christ and his ways, Christ and his
cross. Had they certainly known, when they first re-
ceived Christ, that they did it at the expenee of every
earthly good, they would not have received him wUh
any less cordiality and joy. Paul knew from the first,
that he must sacrifice every thing for Christ ; which,
in his view, was only parting with trifles to purchase a
pearl of great price. * What things were gain to me,
those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I
count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge
of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the
loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I
may win Christ.' Such was the spirit and practice of
the first Christians. They rejoiced that they were
counted worthy to suffer for Christ. To honour him,
they gladly took the spoiling of their goods, resigned
their dearest friends, and endured persecution and
death- There are those at the present day, who pos-
sess the same spirit ; who willingly give up their
worldly interest, and subject themselves to the hatred
of men, for the sake of their Lord ; who willingly suf-
fer reproach, and expose their name to be trampled
under foot, that Christ may be magnified ; who hold
nothing so dear, that they will not cast it away for
Christ's sake.


Do you still ask, where such characters are to be
found? I answer again, wherever there are CHRISTIANS.
You may fix your eye upon ministers of the Gospel,
upon ambassadors of Christ in Pagan lands, and upon
good men in the various walks of life, who give, I say
not the same degree, but the same kind of evidence of
devotion to Christ, with that which was given by the
holy Apostles. And he who slights the evidence of
supreme love to Christ, which those exhibit, would
equally slight the evidence, which should be exhibited
by a new race of APOSTLES and MAKTYRS.

The reward of Christians is as certain, as their devo-
tion to Christ is sincere. They receive an hundredfold
tVf this present life. Great peace have they, who love
God's law. The wicked, from the very nature ot their
affections, are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest t
w/iose waters cast up mire and dirt. But cordial devo-
tion to Christ, imparts serenity and peace to the soul.
How happy are they, who cast off the slavery of pas-
sion, who have given up the vain cares and pursuits,
which distract the minds of worldlings, and yielded
themselves wholly to God, resting in him as their all
in all.

To them belongs the pleasure of benevolence. As
this is their ruling affection, they must be happy in
proportion as its object is promoted. That object,
which is primarily the prosperity and happiness of the
kingdom of Christ, is absolutely secure. Christians
know it to be so, and therefore enjoy a peace, which
no adversity can destroy In all that they do, and in
all that others do, to advance the welfare of the Re-
deemer's kingdom, they partake the purest pleasure.
Let them see the glory or' God displayed in the salva-
tion of sinners ; let them see the Church look forth as
the morning; let them enjoy communion with Christ ;


and they have enough. This is their object, their
treasure, the heritage which they have chosen. The
eternal glory of God, and the boundless good of his
kingdom, is an object infinitely excellent, and worthy
of supreme regard. The pleasures of those who are
devoted to this glorious object, and see that it is per-
fectly secure, is a kind of divine pleasure, partaking
of the nature of its divine and infinite object.

I am well aware, that these are unintelligible things
to those who are destitute of religion. What does a
man, without taste, know of the sweetness of the honey-
comb ? How can blindness perceive the pleasantness of
light, or deafness the charms of music? But inquire
of those who are entitled to speak on the subject,
inquire of fervent Christians, what the rewards of self-
denial are. With one voice they answer, that those
who forsake all for Christ, receive an hundred -fold, even
in this life.

It is the uniform method of divine grace, to give
spiritual comfort to those who are freed from earthly
affection. The more the world is excluded from the
hearts of believers, the more they are tilled with all the
fulness of God. Blessed exchange ! What tongue can
describe the happiness of the saints, when they part
with all that they have for the name of Christ, and
He, their all-gracious Saviour and friend, takes up his
dwelling in their heart! Oh what peace! What quiet-
ness! What a beginning of Heaven ! Ask the Apo-
stles, in the midst of their labours, privations, and
sufferings whether they are losers on Christ's account?
You hear them speaking of perpetual triumph, of
comfort in tribulation, of joy un.vpeakable and full of
glory. The lonely desert, through wliich, with weary
steps, they travel, witnesses their joy. The dungeon,
where they are chained, witnesses their holy transports,


and hears their midnight praises. Perils innumerable
by land and sea, weariness and painfulness, cold and
hunger, prisons, stripes, and tortures, cannot deprive
them of their joy.

But all the enjoyment of Christians in this life, is
only the beginning of their blessedness. The consum-
mation of it, is the everlasting life which they will
inherit in the world to come. It will be a life of perfect
holiness, and perfect endless joy. They will live in
the society of holy angels, and dwell in the presence
of their blessed Lord, who loved them, and gave him-
self for them. While they behold his glory and enjoy
his love, they will perfectly possess the object of all
their desires. They wish for no higher happiness,
than to enjoy God for ever. This is everlasting life.
Give them this, and they ask no more.

I have been led to this train of reflections, by an
event which has lately arrested the attention of the
public, and caused sensations of unusual tenderness in
the friends of Zion. You are aware, that I refer to
the lamented death of Mrs HARRIET NEWELL. I re-
joice that, after the most intimate acquaintance with
that excellent woman, I am able to say, that she hap-
pily exemplified the character which I have drawn.
From the uniform tenor of her conduct for several
years, we are fully persuaded that she was one who
forsook all for Christ, and who received an hundred-
fold in this present life. And on the ground of God's
immutable promise, we are equally persuaded, that she
now inherits everlasting life i n heaven.

But let God, our Saviour, have the glory of all the
moral beauty which adorned her character. The tem-
per of mind which she manifested, was contrary to
every principle of human nature, while unrenewed.
If she was indeed, what she appeared to be, it was by


the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the
Holy Ghost.

Before she indulged a hope that she was a subject
of spiritual renovation, she had a long season of dis-
tressing conviction, careful self-examination, and earn-
est prayer. She could not admit the comfortable
conclusion, that she was born again, before she was
conscious that she had given herself to the Lord, and
yielded sincere obedience to his holy commands.

Long before she thought her own salvation secure,
she began to exercise an enlarged affection for the
kingdom of Christ, and to be fervent in her prayers
for the building up of Zion. and the salvation of the
Heathen. This became the prominent feature of her
religion the supreme object of her pursuit. A con-
siderable time before a Foreign Mission from this
country was contemplated, the universal diffusion of
the Christian religion was the favourite subject of her
meditations and prayers.

When, in the course of Divine Providence, one of
those, who had devoted themselves to the Foreign
Mission, sought her as the companion of his labours
and sufferings, her great concern was to discover the
tvill of God. When she became satis6ed respecting
her duty, her determination was fixed. Here you
come to the point where her character began to assume
a lustre, which excited the admiration of all who
shared her friendship. Through the grace of God,
she entirely consecrated herself to the establishment of
the kingdom of Christ in Pngan lands. To this great
and glorious object, all her thoughts and studies, her
desires and prayers tended. It was with a view to this,
that she considered her talents and acquirements of
any special importance. Even her health and life



seemed of little consequence to her, except in relation
to this grand object.

But this enure self devotion bad no more tendency

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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 13 of 15)