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 4 of 15)
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dertaken to be my Physician ; he has graciously re-
stored me to health ; and when greatly distressed
with pain, he has afforded me the sweet consolations
of the Spirit, and brought me willingly to resign my
soul into his arms, and wait the event of his Provi-
dence, whether life or death.

Oh, that this sickness might be for my eternal
good ! may it be made the means of weaning me
from all terrestrial enjoyments, and of fixing my hope
and trust in the merits of Jesus ! Then should I
have cause to bless God for his chastening rod, and
through eternity, count all these afflictive dispensa-
tions as great mercies.

Feb. 18. How easily can God disconcert the plans
formed by short-sighted mortals ! I had fondly flat-
tered myself, that before this, I should have met
with the assembly of the saints, and have sitten
under the droppings of the sanctuary ; that I
should have joined my Christian friends in their
social conference, and heard the truths of the gospel
explained by our dear Pastor. But Jehovah deter-
mined otherwise-. He has again laid his chastening
rod upon me, by afflicting me with sickness and
pain. But, * I will bear the indignation of the
Lord, because I have sinned against him, 1 I have
a renewed opportunity of examining my submission
to God ; and do now, as in his presence, renewedly
resolve to devote myself a living sacrifice to him.


I think I can say, that afflictions are good for me.
In times of the greatest distress, I have been brought
to cry within myself, ' It is the Lord, let him do
what seemeth him good.' I think I am witting to
bear whatever God sees fit to lay upon me. Let
my dear heavenly Father inflict the keenest anguish,
I will submit ; for he is infinitely excellent, and can
do nothing wrong.

Feb. 25. With the light of this holy morning,
I desire to offer to the kind Shepherd of Israel, who
never slumbers nor sleeps, a morning tribute of
thanksgiving and praise Oh that my whole soul
might be drawn out in love to God ; and may all
my faculties unite with the inhabitants of the New
Jerusalem, in praising the immortal King, for what
he has done, and still ?.v doing for rebellious man !
But I fall infinitely short of the honour due to his
glorious name. When shall I arrive at the destined
port of rest, and with the blood-washed millions,
praise the Lamb of God for redeeming love ? Hasten,
blessed Immanuel, that glorious period, when all
thy exile children shall arrive at their eternal home !
Oh, for a tongue to sound aloud the honours of the
dear Jesus !

March 2. Have, this afternoon, been solemnly
admonished, by seeing the remains of Mr E. carried
by the house. And can it be that I, who am now
so actively engaged in the affairs of this world, shall
shortly be conveyed, on a bier, to the cold grave ?
Yes, the righteous judge has declared to the race of
Adam, ' Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou
return.'* Soon this sentence will be executed upon
me. Prepare, O my soul, to meet thy God !


March 6. What unspeakable consolation does ifc
afford the children of God, to reflect that the great
Jehovah is carrying on his work of grace; that
earth and hell combined, cannot hinder what he has
designed to accomplish {

March 10. How awfully depraved is the natural
heart ! Every day I can see more and more of my
own apostacy from God. Break, compassionate
Immanuel, Oh ! break this stony heart of mine, and
compel me to live as an obedient child !

March 13. How engaged am I in the concerns
of this world ! I cannot but ask myself the question^
have I any reason to imagine that I am interested
in the covenant of life ? If so, why am I thus ?
Why this awful distance from God? 'Search me*
O God ! and know my heart ; try me, and know my
thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.'

March 2. Have again been permitted to attend
a religious conference. Mr T. preached from these
words, Do thyself no harm.' How astonishing
that I can be so negligent in duty, when there are
so many immortal souls around me, that are doing
themselves eternal harm ! Why do I not feel their
awful condition, and solemnly warn them, both by
precept and example, c to flee from the wrath to come?'


Haverhill, March 31, 1810.

FAVOURED by Divine Providence with an oppor-
tunity of expressing my gratitude to my beloved
Miss W. for all the testimonies of friendship which


she has shewn me, I cordially embrace it. Your
last friendly letter was this day received. To -assure
you how much happiness your letters confer on me,
would be but what I have already told you. The
one I received when on a bed of sickness, was a real
treasure. My feeble health alone, prevented my
answering it before. I have lately been led to dwell
much on the doctrine of the Divine decrees. I
should like to have your ideas on the subject. AU
though God is under no obligations to save o f i\e of
the apostate race of Adam, and it would not dero-
gate from his justice, were he to send all to eternal
torments ; yet, to display the riches of his grace, he
determines to save a few. Why should we say,
what doest thou ? The children of God are, or
ought to be, lights in the world. But I fear that I
shall be a stumbling-block to others. I have often
thought myself one of those who are ' tossed to and
fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.'
When I hear arguments on one side, I think I am
convinced ; when on the other, I think the same.
But I leave this subject for the present.

Let me tell you, that I fondly indulge the hope of
seeing you before long. Mr H. and myself have
thought considerably of a ride to Beverly. Should
not our wishes be frustrated, I shall probably see you
in four or iive weeks ; if not then, I shall relinquish
the idea, as I shall commence attending school in
May. When I see you, I will relate to you my ex^-
ercises in my past illness.

Have we not abundant reason to rejoice in the
government of God? He is carrying on his work,
converting sinners, and making the wrath of man


to praise him. Oh, that Haverhill and Beverly
might experience the influence of the Holy Spirit !
God can work here as easily as in Salem and Man-
chester. Let us be ardent and constant at the
throne of mercy, that the blessed Immanuel would
revive his work, and pour out his Spirit on the
churches and people with which we are connected.
Oh ! why, my friend, are we so cold and stupid ?
I earnestly request an interest in your prayers.
Yours sincerely, HARRIET.


April 6. This evening had some interesting con-
versation with a friend, upon the past scenes of my
life. Oh, how is my life filled up with folly and sin !
Surely, if I am ever pardoned and accepted by the
blessed Redeemer, . I must ascribe it wholly to the
mercy of God.

April 29. A sudden death this week. Mrs C.
was in health and prosperity one hour, and the next
in the cold embraces of the universal conqueror !
May this solemn event be sanctified to surviving
friends ! And may it lead me to place my affections
on the things of eternity !

May 4. Just returned from the house of God.
Had a most interesting sermon preached by Mr A.
Text, fc Ye are the salt of the earth ; but if the salt
have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted." 1

Mr E. called upon us a few moments, and in-
formed us, there was a great revival of religion in
his society and town. Oh, how did it rejoice my
heart ! However cold and stupid, I can in sincerity


say, that I love to hear of the conversion of sinners.
Must Haverhill be left destitute of the work of the
Spirit ? Oh, let me be ardent and constant at the
throne of grace, for the out-pouring of the Spirit,
and a revival of religion amongst us.

May 11. Called upon a friend this morning,
"who, to human appearance, is on the brink of the
grave. She was speechless, though not senseless.
Her very countenance declared the importance of
religion. Never shall I forget the affectionate man-
ner in which she pressed my hand to her bosom, and
lifted her eyes to heaven, as if calling down a Tbless-
ing upon me. Oh, that I could rightly improve
this affecting dispensation of Providence ?

May 24. I have been where heaven and hell, the
soul and eternity, appear important subjects ! The
people in B. are awake. Attended two evening lec-
tures the meeting-house thronged with solemn and
attentive hearers.

May 29. Attended singing school this evening.
Though meetings for this purpose be ever so plea-
sant, yet so great have been my temptations the
winter past, that I could not feel sorry that the
meetings were concluded. Hope I have not brought
dishonour upon the cause of Jesus, by my careless
behaviour before my companions.

May 30. Election day. This day recals many
painful events, which occurred last year at this time.
How was I then labouring for the meat that perish-
eth/ following the leadings of a trifling heart ! It
was infinite mercy, that snatched me from the abyss,
and, as I humbly trust, made me a monument of re-
deeming love * Praise the Lord, Oh my soul T


June 2. Have had some interesting conversation
with Miss W. upon the situation of my dear E.
Who knows, thought I, but what she might now
have been earnestly engaged in the cause of the
Redeemer, if it were not for my unchristian conduct.
How can I think of being an enemy to the souls of
my dear friends ?

June 3. Solemn indeed have been the transactions
of this day. Oh, that they might be remembered
with joy through eternity ? Had some humbling
views of my past ingratitude. The aggravated
transgressions of my life, the last six months* in
particular, have been laid open before me. Have
again solemnly resolved to live to God. If I
should again become stupid ; but no, I cannot
I will surrender myself to Jesus. He will keep me
from falling, and present me faultless before his
Father's throne.

June 4. Have been solemnly impressed with the
worth of immortal souls this day. The welfare of
my school companions, lies near my heart. In
what way can I be serviceable to them ? They have
souls as valuable as mine. Oh, then, let me use my
best endeavours to bring them to the knowledge of
the truth, and save them from the awful punish-
ment, which awaits the finally impenitent.

June 8. Afflicted with a severe pain in my head.
A celebrated author observes, that every pain we
feel, is a warning to us to be prepared for death.
Oh, that it may have this effect upon me !

June 20. How unsatisfying and unstable are all
the enjoyments of time. I am daily more convinced
that nothing short of the unchangeable Jehovah,


can afford real happiness. To-day we may imagine
ourselves possessed of a friend, who will not forsake
us ; to-morrow that same person may prove a de-
ceiver. May I learn wisdom from the news I have
this evening heard ! Oh, that such things might
have a happy tendency to wean me from this world,
and prepare me for another !

June SO. Called on my dear friend E. She has
lately experienced affliction. She told me that she
was resigned to divine Providence, and could
rejoice, even in the hour of distress. Happy
composure ! What joys, Oh ye deluded followers of
unrighteousness, have you to boast, compared with
that experienced by a humble follower of Jesus ?

July 1. Hail sacred morning ! once ushered in
with the most interesting events, ever registered in
the records of time. On this holy morning, the
Saviour rose from the grave. Expect this day to
commemorate the sufferings of the Lamb of God.
Grant me, gracious God, sweet communion with
thee. Let me not eat and drink judgment to myself.

July 7. How have I spent this day ? What a
dreadful sink of wickedness is my heart ! Must I
resign the idea of ever feeling the power o/^ religion ?
Surely, if I am a child of God, I could not live so

July 19. Favoured with the privilege of attend-
ing a lecture this afternoon. Our dear minister
preached from these words, ' How long halt ye
between two opinions ?** a most solemn discourse.
In the evening, a meeting at Mr D.'s for religious
conversation. A small number of young people
appear unusually solemn. Has not God already


begun to shew the riches of his grace ? Will he
not arise, and have mercy on Haverhill, and make
it a place where he will delight to dwell ?

August 6. How soon are my resolutions to live
wholly to God, broken ! My conscience daily re-
proaches me, for my unfaithfulness to my compa-
nions, to myself, and to my God. If any one should
have told me, when light first shone on my mind,
that I should feel such indifference to the salvation
of sinners, and so little love to God, as I now feel,
I should have exclaimed, impossible !

Oct. 10. This day entered upon my eighteenth
year. Seventeen years have rolled, almost insensi-
bly, away. I still remain a pilgrim in this barren
land. Merciful Jesus on the commencement of this
year, may thy supporting hand be underneath me,
and if my life is prolonged, may it be more faithfully
devoted to thee, and to thy blessed cause.

Oct. 20. A female friend called upon us this
morning. She informed me of her determination
to quit her native land, to endure the sufferings of
a Christian amongst heathen nations to spend her
days in India's sultry clime. How did this news
affect my heart ! Is she willing to do all this for
God ; and shall I refuse to lend my little aid, in a
land where divine revelation has shed its clearest
rays? I have felt more for the salvation of the
Heathen this day, than I recollect to have felt
through my whole past life.

How dreadful their situation ! What heart but
would bleed at the idea of the sufferings they endure,
to obtain the joys of Paradise ? What can / do, that
the light of the gospel may shine upon them ? They


are perishing for lack of knowledge, when I enjoy
the glorious privileges of a Christian land. Great
God direct me ! Oh, make me in some way benefi-
cial to their immortal souls !

Oct. 21. Had a joyful meeting this day, in the
house of God. fc When I am weak, then am I
strong.' Have experienced the truth of this decla-
ration this day. Went to meeting in the morning
afflicted with bodily pain, yet joyful in the God of
my salvation. Reflecting on the melancholy state
of our church, was distressed, lest the deserved
judgments of the Almighty should be poured upon
us. But .the words of the dear Redeemer, ' Fear
not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure
to give you the kingdom,' sweetly refreshed and
animated my desponding spirit. I desire ever to
bless the Lord, for the manifestations of his love
this day. He has taught me, that neither Paul nor
Apollos is any thing without his grace. Ministers
may faithfully preach, but the word will not prove
successful, if God does not touch the heart.

I have seen the glory of God in his sanctuary.
c I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my
God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.'
The Lord is good ; may it be my delightful em-
ployment on earth to praise him ; and in heaven
may 1 join the enraptured millions, in a song that
shall never end.

Oct. 23. Mr M. introduced Mr N.* to our fa-
mily. He appears to be an engaged Christian. Ex-
pects to spend his life, in preaching a Saviour to
the benighted Pagans.

* Mr Newell, it is presumed.


Oct. 81. Mr N. called on us this morning. He
gave me some account of the dealings of God with
his soul. If such a man who has devoted himself
to the service of the gospel, has determined to labour
in the most difficult part of the vineyard, and is
willing to renounce his earthly happiness for the
interest of religion ! if lie doubts his possessing love
to God, what shall I say of myself?

Nov. 4. Have once more commemorated the
dying love of Jesus. Have entertained some faint
views of the character of God; and mourned for
the evil of sin. How condescending is God, to
permit hell-deserving rebels to commune with him
at his table ! What on earth can equal the love of
Jehovah ? He treats those who are by nature his
enemies, like children.

Nov. 6. Sleep has fled from me, and my soul is
enveloped in a dark cloud of troubles ! Oh, that
God would direct me ! Oh, that he would plainly
mark out the path of duty, and let me not depart
from it !

Nov. 10. Have this day commenced reading
Law's Serious Call to a holy life. How infinitely
short do I fall of this holy conformity to my Maker,
which he describes as the property of a Christian !
I am as much obligated to yield myself a willing
soldier to Christ to fight his battles, and glorify him,
in every action of my life, as he who ministers at
the altar, and performs the office of a preacher.
Why then am I not employed in his service ? Why
stand I here idle all the day ?




Nov. 18, 1810.

* How gracious, my dear sister, has God been to
us ! Uninterrupted health, food, and raiment are
ours. But when I enumerate our many mercies,
it is with deep humility that I look back on my past
life, and discover so little gratitude, and so much
unworthiness. How much has sovereign grace done
for me ! Though I have solemnly professed to find
consolation in Religion, to derive my hopes of hap-
piness only from God ; yet how often have I roved
in quest of pleasure, and dishonoured the best of
Masters, by an unholy life. How ungrateful have
I been for the common mercies of life, and for the
still more precious blessings of the Holy Spirit.
May every temporal blessing which your heart can
wish, be yours. But whatever be the trials through
which you are called to pass, Oh, may that heaven-
born religion attend you, which can sweeten the
bitter cup of life, afford you joy in this vale of tears,
support you in nature's last extremity, and conduct
you to the Heavenly Canaan, where undisturbed
happiness will ever reign ! Life is but a vapour.
Whether we spend it in tranquillity and ease, or in
pain and suffering, time will soon land us on the
shores of Eternity, our destined home. These
things, my dear sister, my heart tells me, are solemn
realities. They are not fictions. Though the lan-
guage of my past life has been, 6 there is no future
state ;' yet I now feel there is an Eternity, where I
shall meet my earthly friends, and stand accountable



at the great tribunal for my conduct towards them.
I regret the loss of those hours I have lost in vanity,
and in wounding the cause of that dear Redeemer,
whom I think, if I am not greatly deceived, I can
now call mine. I think I can say with the Psalmist,
4 Whom have I in Heaven but thee ? and there is
none upon earth thit I desire beside thee. 1 His re-
ligion comforts and supports my drooping spirits ;
his promises encourage, and his glories warm my
heart. But where am I ? The striking clock re-
minds me of the lateness of the hour. These de-
lightful, these heart-consoling subjects have almost
made me forget that tired nature requires repose.'


Haverhltt, Nov. 20, 1810.

WILL it afford my dear Miss H. the best satis-
faction to hear of the health and happiness of her
friends at Haverhill ? Let me assure you of our
perfect health, and of our united wishes for your
happiness, both temporal and eternal. While many
of our friends are languishing on beds of sickness,
sighing for the return of health, while many
have gone the ' way of all the earth,' ' have heard
their sentence, and received their doom ;' we are
still enjoying the blessings of health, and are not
out of the reach of pardoning mercy. Ought
not a review of these daily blessings to excite in us
the liveliest gratitude ? How should our whole lives
be a constant series of grateful acknowledgment to
the Parent of mercies, for bestowing such great, such
unmerited favours on rebels doomed to die ! Is my
friend, Miss H. rejoicing in God ? Does she find


joy and peace in believing ? This I sincerely hope
is your happy situation. I have infinite reason to
confess my obligation to God, for the faint disco-
veries I have lately entertained of his glorious cha-
racter. Yes, my dear Miss H. I still find the pro-
mises precious, and Jesus unchangeable. Though
I am worthless and undeserving, yet the blessed
Immanuel is lovely, and worthy of the united praises
of saints and angels. Though I am often led to
doubt my interest in this dear Saviour, yet some-
times I can rejoice in his perfections, and exclaim
with Thomas, ' My Lord and my God !'

You have, undoubtedly, heard of the departure
of Mrs S. Her faith and patience endured to the
end. What a happy exchange has she made ! Who
would not wish to die the death of the righteous ?
who would not wish their last end to be like her's ?
Mrs M. appears to enjoy religion ; she wishes
much to see you. A general stupidity to the one
thing needful still prevails. When will the showers
of divine grace be poured out upon this place ? Will
not this church, this vine of God's planting, rejoice
to see the work of the Lord prospering ? Your ear-
nest prayers are requested for a revival of pure and
undefiled religion in Haverhill. Mr Newell preached
a lecture here last evening. Do we not need such
faithful preachers here as much as the benighted
Pagans in India ? Is not the situation of gospel
sinners much more desperate, than that of those who
have never heard of a Saviour ? But still we have
reason to rejoice that God has inclined a faithful
few to preach Jesus to the Heathen. Oh, may their
labours be blessed ! May they see the inhabitants


of the wilderness embracing the offers of mercy !
We shall expect to see you with Mr W. on Satur-
day. Do not -disappoint us. Accept this from



Boston, Feb. 18, 1811.

WHAT, my dear friend, (if I may enjoy the pri-
vilege of corresponding with you) shall be the sub-
ject of our letters ? Shall the common occurrences of
life, and the flattering compliments of the polite
world, fill our sheets ; or that religion, which is the
glory of the bright intelligences in heaven, and the
consolation of trembling believers on earth ? I think
I can confidently affirm, that the latter will be your
choice. As for myself, I can say that if I never
felt the power of this religion, yet it is a theme upon
which I love to converse, write, and reflect. It is
a duty incumbent on the children of God to reprove,
encourage and animate each other on their journey
tq the upper world Every Christian has difficul-
ties to overcome, temptations to encounter, and a
warfare to accomplish, which the world are strangers
to. If pilgrims in the same country can in the least
console each other, and sweeten the thorny journey,
by familiar intercourse, they ought not to neglect it.
We, my dear M . are professedly interested in the
same cause. Our home is professedly in heaven ;
we have temptations, difficulties, trials, and doubts,
which, if we are believers, are in unison. I feel
that I need the prayers and the advice of all the
followers of the Lamb. I have ' an evil heart of
unbelief,' prone to ' depart from the living God.'


Will M. pray for me ? Will she bear me in remem-
brance when supplicating mercy for other sinners ?
You shall not be forgotten by H. No. If the
Friend of sinners will lend a listening ear to my
feeble cries, M. shall be strengthened and blessed.
By these united cries, we may draw down from
Heaven favours never to be forgotten. Painful re-
collection often recurs to those weeks that I spent
at Bradford. I say painful, because I fear that my
conduct brought a wound on that religion, that I
should wish to honour. While I lament with hu-
mility the loss of many precious hours, and the stu-
pidity which I then experienced, I have reason to
adore the mercy of Jehovah, that has since granted
me refreshing showers of grace. Yes, M. my mind
has been greatly exercised since I last saw you.
Never before did the promises of the Gospel appear
so precious, the character of God so lovely, and im-
mortal souls of so much worth. I tremble at the
idea of being again involved in the vanities of a
world which can afford no pleasure, and of feeling
indifferent about the kingdom of Jesus. But I am.
a dependant creature ; if forsaken of God, I shall
perish. My hope is on his grace. What, my
friend, is the state of your mind ? Are you enjoy-

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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 4 of 15)