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 14 of 15)
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to blunt the sensibilities of her heart, or to extinguish
her natural affections, than the supreme love of God
has in any case whatever. Every Christian is the sub-
ject of an affection which holds an entire superiority
over the natural affections, and makes them subser-
vient to its purposes. Had our natural affections been
designed, as the highest principles of action, the Lord
Jesus would never have set up another principle above
them. Our dear departed friend, did not more truly
rise above the natural principles of action, than every
Christian does, when he seeks the glory of God in the
common business of life. The nature of her affections
was the same with that of Christians generally. If
there was a difference, it consisted in this, that she
was more earnest and undivided in her attachment.
It is to this circumstance, that we must trace her pe-
culiar magnanimity, and elevation of spirit As all the
powers of her soul were united in one grand object,
she rose to an uncommon pitch of energy ; and things,
seemingly impossible to others, became practicable
and easy to her.

In acquiring the force and decision of character,
which she finally exhibited, it was of great importance,
that the question of duty was fully settled in her own
mind. Had not this been done, she must have beea
often turned aside from her object by secret mis-
givings of conscience. Her attachment to the object
must have been weakened ; and every step must have
been taken haltingly and tremblingly. But by much
deliberation, and many prayers to God for direction,
the question of duty was at length settled ; afrer which
she proceeded without wavering. Devoted as she was,


to the cause of Christ, and borne on with a strong de-
sire of advancing it in Heathen lands, she was prepared
for trials The hardships and sufferings, peculiar to
the Missionary life, became perfectly familiar. They
were so closely associated in her mind with the glory
of God, and the conversion of the Heathen, and so
continually mingled with her purest affections and joys,
that, instead of aversion and dread, they excited sen-
sations of delight.

Is it possible that a character so elevated, should
not be universally admired? Is it possible that any
should be found capable of admitting the thought,
that conduct so noble, so Christ-like, was owing to a
weak or misguided zeal ? Shall I stoop to notice so
unworthy a surmise ? If compassion to those who in-
dulge it require, I will. Look, then, upon the Apos-
tles, and primitive Christians, who were so united and
consecrated to the Saviour, that they were willing to
endure the greatest evils for his sake; whose ardent
love to him rendered every affliction light, and recon-
ciled them to the agonies of a violent death. Will
you urge the charge of misguided zeal against the
holy Apostles?

The character of Mrs NEWELL, instead of being
exposed to any dishonourable imputation, had an ex-
cellence above the reach of mere human nature. Be-
hold a tender female, when all the sensibilities of the
heart are most lively, united to friends and country by
a thousand ties; a female of refined education, with
delightful prospects in her own country ; behold her
voluntarily resigning so many dear earthly objects, for
a distant Pagan land. But this fact becomes still
more remarkable, when we consider the circumstances
attending it. She made these sacrifices calmly ; with
a sober deliberation ; in the exercise of those sensili*


lilies which would be overwhelming to mankind in
genera], and yet with steady, unyielding jirmness ; and
all this, not for wealth, or fame, or any earthly object,
but to make known among the Heathen the unsearchable
riches of Christ.

I should blush to offer a vindication of a character
so fair and exalted as that of HARRIET NEWELL, a
lovely saint, who has finished her course, and gone to
receive an unfading crown. But if there be any one
base enough to envy such excellence, or rash enough
to impute extravagance, and folly ; I would refer him
to a case not wholly unlike the present. On a certain
occasion, Mary came to Jesus, as he sat at meat, hav-
ing an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and
poured it on his head. Judas, and some others insti-
gated by him, charged her with extravagance and
waste. But Jesus approved her conduct, declared
that she had wrought a good work, and that it should
be known for a memorial of her, wherever the Gospel
should be preached in the whole world.

Do I still hear it said by some foolish calculator,
that ' she threw herself away ?' But do you not ap-
plaud the conduct of a man, who goes to the earth's
end to glorify a worldly passion ? And can you think
it reasonable to make greater sacrifices for self-interest,
than for the kingdom of Christ ? * Threw herself
away /* What ! Does a devoted Christian, who for
the love of Jesus, forsakes all that she has, to receive
an hundreu-fold here, and life evenasting in Heaven,
throw herself away ?

Should any ask, what that hundredfold reward was,
our appeal would be to herself, to her peace, and
quietness, and joy in God. For several of the last
months that she spent at home, and from the time of



her leaving America till her death, her religious enjoy*
ment was almost constant, and at times elevated.

In her last interview with her beloved friends in
America, and in the scene of final separation, the con-
solations of the Spirit supported her, and produced
not only a tender meekness and calmness of mind, but
astonishing resolution. Her happy serenity continued
through the dangers of a long voyage, and amid all
the difficulties which befel her, after arriving in India.
Her spiritual enjoyment was not materially interrupted
by the various distresses, which prevented the esta-
blishment of the mission; nor by the sufferings she
was subsequently called to endure ; no, not even by
the pangs which rent her heart, over a dear infant
child, wasting away with sickness, and soon committed
to a watery grave. Through all this sorrow and suf-
fering, the Lord was with her, and gave her rest.
During her last long and perilous voyage, separated
by half the globe from the presence of a mother, whose
presence was more tha<n ever needed, and without a
.single female companion, she could thus write : It is
for Jesus, v.ho sacrificed the joys of his Father's king-
dom and expired on the cross to redeem a fallen
world, that thus I wander from place to place, and feel
no where at home. How reviving the thought ! How
great the consolation it yields to my sinking heart !
Let the severest trials and disappointments fall to my
lot, guilty and weak as I am, yet 1 think I can rejoice
in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation.'

In her last illness, which was attended with many
distressing circumstances, she possessed her soul in
patience and peace. God was pleased to manifest
himself to her, as he does not to the world. * During
her whole sickness, she talked in the most familiar
.manner, and with great delight, of death and the


glory that was to follow.' At a certain time, being
advised by a physician to cast off such gloomy thoughts,
* she replied, that those thoughts were cheering and
joyful beyond what words could express.' When
it was intimated to her, that she could not live through
another day ; * Oh joyful news ! she replied, / long to
depart ; and added soon after, ' that death appeared
to her truly welcome and glorious.'

But the simple narrative of her afflicted husband
shows, better than any thing which I can say, that
amid all the pain and languishment of sickness, and in
the near view of death, she had that enjoyment of God
her Saviour, and that hope of a blessed immortality,
which was an hundred-fold better than all she had for-

To her widowed Mother, this is an affecting scene.
But in the midst of your sorrows, dear Madam, forget
not what reason you have to be comforted. Remem-
ber the grace of God, which was manifested to your
dear Harriet, which, we trust, effectually sanctified her
heart, and brought her to love the Lord Jesus Christ
in sincerity. While you mourn for her earthly death,
bless God that you do not mourn over a child, who
lived without God, and died without hope. Call to
remembrance her dutiful and pious temper ; her re-
solved and peaceful mind in the parting hour ; and the
fortitude and resignation, which she afterwards exer-
cised under her various afflictions. Give thanks to
God for the consolations which were afforded her
through a languishing sickness. Her amiable and
elevated conduct reflected honour upon the grace of
God. Through all her sufferings, especially when her
dissolution drew near, she displayed a character that
was ripe for Heaven

It must afford you peculiar satisfaction to contem-


plate the usefulness of her life. ' That life is long,
which answers life's great end.' This was eminently
the case with your beloved daughter. Had she lived
in retirement, or moved in a small circle, her influence,
though highly useful, must have been circumscribed.
But now, her character has, by Divine Providence,
been exhibited upon the most extensive theatre, and
excited the attention and love of Christian nations.
Yea, may we not hope, that her name will be remem-
bered by the millions of Asia, whose salvation she so
ardently desired, and that the savour of her piety will,
through Divine grace, be salutary to Pagan tribes yet
unborn ? Madam, what comforts are these ? comforts
which many mourning parents would gladly purchase
with their lives. Let your sorrow then be mingled
with praise. Render thanks to God, and magnify his
name, that he has given you a daughter, so lovely in
her character, so useful in her life, so resigned in her
sufferings, so tranquil and happy in her death. It is
better to be the parent of such a daughter, than to
have brought forth a child to bear the sceptre of the
earth. Nor is she the less precious, or the less yours,
because she is absent from the body and present with
the Lord. Dwell upon these cheering thoughts, and
enjoy these comforts ; and may all your surviving
children enjoy them too. In her example, in her diary
and letters, and in her dying counsels, she has left
them a legacy, which cannot be too highly prized*
Let me affectionately intreat you, my beloved friends,
to attend seriously to the weighty counsels, which you
have received from the dying lips of a dear sister. In
her name, in the name of her bereaved husband, by
whose request I now address you, and in the name of
her God and Saviour, I do now, from this sacred
place, repeat that solemn counsel. God Almighty


open your hearts to receive the message. * Tell them,
she said, * tell them from the lips tf their dying sister,
that there is nothing but lehgion worth tiring Jbr Oh
exhort them to attend immediately to the care of their
immortal souls, and not to delay repentance. Let my
brothers and sisters know that 1 love them to the end,
I hope to meet them in Heaven But Oh if 1 should

not' No wonder that tears bursting from her eyes,

and her sobs of grief at the thought of an eternal se-
paration from you, prevented her saying more. * May
the Spirit of Truth carry her dying intreaties, and
tears, and sighs to your hearts,' and engage you to
follow her, as she followed Christ. This dear departed
friend wished you to partake with her the joys of sal-
vation. She never repented of her undertaking; never
regretted leaving her native Jand for the cause of
Christ. And could she return and live on earth again,
instead of retracting her labours and sacrifices for the
advancement of the Redeemer's cause, she would re-
pair to him earlier, give up all for him more cheerfully,
and serve him with greater zeal. Imitate her humility,
self-denial, and faith, that you may again enjoy her
society, and dwell with her for ever, where sorrow
and death shall never enter.

In the death of Mrs NEWELL, her husband sustains a
loss, which no language can adequately describe, and
no earthly good compensate. God, whose ways are
unsearchable, has taken from him the wife of his youth,
a companion eminently qualified to aid him in all his
labours, to soothe him in all his sorrows, and to further
the great work in which he is engaged. Had he no-
thing but earthly good to comfort him, a mind so quick
to feel, would be overwhelmed with grief. But he
will not forget the God of all comfort. He will re-
member that gracious Redeemer, who took him out of


the horrible pit and miry clay; who shed upon the
darkness that once enveloped him, a cheering light ;
who inspired him with hope, and put it into his heart
to preach salvation to those who are perishing for lack
of vision. This mighty Redeemer will he the rock of
his confidence, and a very present help in the time of
trouble. It must be a subject of delightful recollec-
tion to our afflicted brother, that he has enjoyed the
privilege of being united, in the dearest of all relations,
with one of so amiable a temper, of an understanding
so highly improved, of benevolence and piety so emi-
nent, and so entirely devoted to the best of causes.
He will also love to remember the favour which God
has conferred upon his beloved partner, in enabling
her to do and suffer so much, and permitting her to
die thus early for the name of Jesus ; in permitting
her to be the^rs^ martyr to the Missionary cause from
the American world ; in removing her after so short a
warfare, from a world of sin and sorrow, and carrying
her so quickly through a course of discipline, which
prepared her for a crown of distinguished glory. The
God of Jacob bless and comfort our dear brother, and
give him strength according to his day. And may
this severe trial be turned to the furtherance of the
Gospel among the Heathen.

Friends of the Missionary Cause! Let not your
hearts be troubled by the adverse circumstances which
have attended the commencement of our FOREIGN
MISSION. Recollect the various hindrances, disap-
pointments, and sufferings, encountered by the APOS-


were destined to spread the triumphs of his cross
through the world. The experience of ages leads us
to expect that designs of great moment, especially
those which relate to the advancement of Christ's


kingdom, will be opposed by mighty obstacles. The
adverse circumstances, therefore, which have attended
the outset of our Foreign Mission, are far from pre-
senting any discouragement. They rather afford new
evidence, that this Mission is to be numbered with
all other enterprises, calculated to promote the honour
of God and the welfare of men. These various trials,
brethren, are doubtless intended not only to qualify
Missionaries for greater usefulness, but also to humble
and purify all, who are labouring and praying for the
conversion of the Heathen. How effectually do these
events teach us, that no human efforts can insure suc-
cess , thai the best qualifications of missionaries abroad,
with the largest liberality and most glowing zeal of
thousands at home, will be of no efficacy, without the
blessing of God When, by salutary discipline, he
shall have brought his servants to exercise suitable
humility and dependance, and in other respects pre-
pared the way, no doubt he will give glorious success.
The cause is his ; and it is vain to depend for its pros-
perity on human exertions. The death of Mrs NEWKLL,
instead of overcasting our prospects, will certainly
turn to the advantage of missions. It will correct and
instruct tho.*e who are labouring for the spread of the
Gospel. The publication of her virtues will quicken
and edify thousands. It will also make it apparent,
that the missionary cause has irresistible attractions
for the most excellent characters. Her character will
be identified with that holy cause. Henceforth, every
one who remembers HARRIET NEWELL, will remem-
every one, who reads the history of this Mission, will
be sure to read the faithful record of her exemplary
life and triumphant death. Thus, all her talents, the
advantages of her education, the beauties of her mind.


and the amiableness of her manners, her refined taste,
her willingness to give up all that was dear to her in
her native land; her fervent love to Christ, her desires
and prayers for the advancement of his kingdom ; her
patience and fortitude in suffering, and the divine con-
solations which she enjoyed, will all redound to the
honour of that sacred cause, to which all she had was
devoted Her life, measured by months and years,
was short ; but far otherwise, when measured by what
she achieved. She was the happy instrument of much
good to the holy kingdom of Christ, which deserved all
her affections and all hjr labours. She died in a glo-
rious cause. Nor did she pray, and weep, and die in
vain Other causes may miscarry ; but this will cer-
tainly triumph. The LORD GOD of Israel has pledged
his perfections for its success. The time is at hand,
when the various tribes of India, and all the nations
and kindreds of the earth, shall fall down before the
KING OF ZION, and submit cheerfully to his reign.
A glorious work is to be done among the nations.
Christ is to see the travail of his soul, and all his be-
nevolent desires are to be satisfied. . The infinite value
of his atoning blood is to be completely and universally
illustrated ; and the full orbed splendour of redeeming
love is every where to shine forth. The power of God
will soon accomplish a work, which, seen in distant
prospect, has made many thousands, now sleeping in
Jesus, before leap for joy. Blessed are they who are
destined to live, when the earth shall be filled with the
glory of the Lord. And blessed are we, who live so
near that day, and even begin to see its bright and
glorious dawn. O SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS arise.
Shine upon the dark places of the earth ; illuminate
all the world. AMEN.


No. II.

A brief Account of the American Missions.

[From the Introduction to Dr Woods' Sermon,
preached ' on occasion of the Ordination of the
Rev. Messrs Newell, Judson, Hall, Rice, and
Nott, Missionaries to the Heathen in Asia.']

IT seems proper that in this place, some account
should be given of the origin and progress of that Mis-
sionary zeal, which has issued in sending messengers of
peace to publish the Gospel in the eastern hemisphere.
It has been often said, within a few years past, that
Christians in America ought to support missions among
the Heathen in Africa or Asia; but the writer of these
paragraphs is not able to state, whether any young
man of suitable public education seriously thought of
engaging personally in such a mission, earlier than
about four years ago. About that time some of the
young men mentioned Just below, while pursuing their
studies in different places, and unacquainted with each
other, made missions among the Heathen a subject of
deliberate and prayerful contemplation, and resolved
to devote themselves to this service, should Providence
prepare the way. They considered it doubtful, how-
ever, whether they should have an opportunity of en-
gaging in this employment ; and in the mean time they
sedulously examined, and re-examined the subject, and
used every advantage in their power to gain informa-
tion respecting the state of the Heathen, and the en-
couragement to preach the Gospel among them.


In the spring of 1810, these young gentlemen, with
others who joined them, disclosed their views to the
Professors in the Theological Seminary at Andover,
where they were then prosecuting their studies. In
June following, they applied for advice and direc-
tion to the General Association of Massachusetts
Proper, then sitting at Bradford. The application was
made in writing, and signed by Messrs Adoniram
Judson, Samuel Nott, Samuel J. Mills, and Samuel
Newell. They state the history of their views and
feelings on the subject, and make several inquiries,
with respect to which they solicit the advice of their
fathers in the church. The Association appointed a
Committee to make report on the application ; and in
consequence of the report, proceeded to institute a
Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, for
the purpose of devising ways and means, and adopting
and prosecuting measures for promoting the spread of
the Gospel in Heathen lands.' The Board was com-
posed of nine gentlemen well-known to the Christian
public. The Association advised the young gentlemen
' to wait the guidance of Providence in respect to
their great and excellent design.' The Board of Com-
missioners held their first meeting at Farmington,
(Con.) Sept. 5, 1810. After forming a constitution,
and appointing officers, they took measures to obtain
the best information in their power, respecting the
state of unevangelized nations ; highly approved the
readiness of the young gentlemen at Andover to enter
upon a Foreign Mission ; and advised them to pursue
their studies * till further information relating to the
missionary field should be obtained, and the finances
of the institution should justify the appointment.'
They also prepared and published an address on the
subject of missions.


The Board met again at Worcester, Sept. 18, 1811.
During the year which had elapsed, the Prudential
Committee of the Board examined and approved of
four young gentlemen, as future missionaries to the
Heathen ; viz. Messrs Judson, Nott, and Newell, above-
named, and Mr Gordon Hall, also a student at An-
dover. Mr Mills had not finished his theological edu-
cation, and was not examined with his brethren. The
Committee also sent Mr Judson to England, to confer
with the Board or Directors of the London Missionary
Society, and to procure important information on the
subject of missions, which could not be so well pro-
cured in any other way. lie was welcomed with yreat
cordiality by the Directors, who engaged to take him
and his three brethren under their care, and to allow
them salaries, and employ them on a mission, if the
funds of the American Board should not be competent
to their support.

The Board appointed the four brethren above-named
Missionaries, ' to labour in Asia, eiiher in the Birman
empire, in Surat, or in the Prince of Wales' Island, or
elsewhere, as in the view of the Prudential Committeej
Providence shall open the most favourable door ;' and
advised them to wait the further intimaiion of Pro-
vidence as to support from this country (America) in
the proposed Foreign Mission.'

At this meeting Mr James Richards and Edward
Warren, students at Andover, offered themselves to the
Board for the missionary service, and were approved
and taken under the patronage of the Board.

The missionary brethren were, in the meantime, fit-
ting themselves for their future arduous employment.
Messrs Newell and Hall attended courses of medical
lectures both at Boston and Philadelphia, in order to
be more extensively useful among the Heathen.


About the middle of January, 1812, it was found
that a ship was soon to sail from Philadelphia to Cal-
cutta. No time was to be lost. Robert Ralston, Esq.
of Philadelphia, with that zeal for missions and for
Christianity which he has long manifested, took an
active and very friendly part in facilitating the embar-
kation of the young men, both by procuring passages
for them on very favourable terms, and by making a
generous donation. Messrs Newell and Hall hastened
to meet their brethren at Salem, where it was deter-
mined by the Prudential Committee to have them
ordained, and to send them immediately to the field
of missionary labour. Mr Luther Rice, who had been
a studt nt in the same theological seminary, and was
then employed as a candidate for the ministry, offered
himself to the Prudential Committee to join the mis-
sion, and was approved and accepted. The Prudential
Committee sent to several neighbouring churches, and
convened a Council* at Salem on the 6th of February,
at which time and place the five young gentlemen were
solemnly consecrated to the service of God in the gos-
pel ministry among the Hrathen. On this occasion
the order of the public exercises was as follows :
The Rev. Dr Griffin made the introductory prayer ;
the Rev. Dr Woods preached the sermon from Psalm
Ixvii. ; the Rev. Dr Morse offered the consecrating
prayer; the Rev. Dr Spring delivered the charge; the

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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 14 of 15)