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 5 of 15)
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ing the light of a Saviours countenance ? Are you
fast progressing heavenward ; and are you possess-
ing joy that is unspeakable and full of glory ? This
I hope is your situation. ' A soul redeemed de-
mands a life of praise.' Let our future lives evince
our gratitude, and every thought be brought into
subjection to the Father of spirits. It is now about
three weeks since I left H. Last Sabbath I en-



joyed the pleasure of hearing the good Dr G. preach.
This pleasure I hope often to be favoured with
while I continue with my sister M. I have been
these two days with our friends the Misses F.*s.
My time has passed very pleasantly with them.

I have more things to tell you than I have time
to write. A number of interesting occurrences
have happened since I saw you. Should 1 again
be indulged with an interview with you, I fear I
shall tire your patience with a history of my troubles
and pleasures. But I must leave you, my M.
May you enjoy the influences of the Holy Spirit in
life, consolation in death, and a seat in the mansions
af blessedness !



Feb. 4. For four weeks past, have been visiting
my sister at C. The first week, I was remarkably
favoured with the presence of Immanuel. Never
before did I gain such access to the mercy-seat, and
entertain such glorious views of the character of
God, and such humiliating ideas of my own as a
sinner. But I have since experienced a sad reverse.
My God why hast thou forsaken me ? O for that
invigorating grace, which the Saviour dispenses to
his followers ! But can I hope myself his follower ?

Last Sabbath went with Mr H. and sister M. to
hear Dr G. His language, his very features, spoke
the emotion of his soul. His text was in Corin-
thians, ' When I was a child, I spake as a child,' &c.

As we entered the meeting-house, they were sing-
ing my favourite hymn, ' Lord, what a wretched


land is this,' &c. in a melancholy air. Such were
my sensations, that I could hardly refrain from
weeping. How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord
of hosts, where the gospel of Jesus is proclaimed !

Feb. 25. After spending the day in tritiing con-
versation, I was permitted to enjoy the privilege of
attending a Christian conference, where the evening
was spent in praying, singing, and conversing upon
the things of religion.

Feb. 25. Mr H. and sister M. informed me that
my dear mamma wished me to engage in a school,
the ensuing summer. Can I think of such a respon-
sible situation as that of instructing little immortals ?
I know that I ought not to consult my own ease ;
the question should be, how can I be most useful
in the world ? I hope I shall be directed by Heaven !
Oh, that God would use me as an instrument of
promoting his glory ; whether it be in the domestic
circle, or in the arduous employment of ' teaching
young ideas how to shoot.'

Feb. 27. I have spent the greatest part of the
day in reading. I find that I am indeed ignorant
long to have time to devote myself wholly to the
improvement of my mind. While endeavouring to
obtain useful knowledge, Oh may I never forget,
that if at last found a hypocrite, I shall be capable
of greater sufferings than if totally ignorant.

Feb. 28. Afflicted with a violent pain in my
head. Experience daily evinces, that afflictions will
do me no good, unless sanctified. Have had some
sense of the presence of Jehovah, and some longing
desires to be wholly conformed to him. When shall
this vain world lose its power to charm> and the re-


ligion of the Gospel influence my heart and life ?
Oh, when shall I die, when shall I live for ever ?
How many times this day, have I repeated that
hymn of Dr Watts, ' Lord, what a wretched land
is this." 1

March 1. Father of lights, it is the office of thy
Spirit, to create holy exercises in the hearts of thy
creatures. O may I enter upon this month with
renewed resolutions to devote myself exclusively to
thee ; that at the close of it, I may not sigh over
mispent hours.

March 3. Heard an admirable sermon this morn-
ing from Dr G. Have likewise communed with
God at his table. Oh, this cold, stupid heart, I
long for wings to fly away from this clod of earth,
and participate the holiness and pleasures of the
saints within the vail.

March 4. Have this day visited at . The

entertainment of the evening was splendid and ex-
travagant. Query. Is it consistent with the humble
religion of the Gospel, for professors, who ought to
deny themselves, and take up their cross daily, to
expend that money which is God's, and is only lent
them for pious uses, in providing dainties to please
the palate, and in clothes to ornament their bodies ?

Where is the vast difference between the children
of God and the children of this world ? As far as I
have examined the subject, it is my candid opinion,
that if Christians would appropriate more of their
property to charitable purposes, instead of making
such extravagant provision for the flesh ; would
men imitate the example of the meek and lowly
Jesus, feel indifferent to the smiles and frowns of


the world ; religion would flourish, the kingdom of
God would be built up, and happy effects would be
visible through the world.

March 9- This is a delightful evening ! Not a
cloud is in the heavens to intercept the bright rays
of the moon. All nature, both animate and inani-
mate, appears combined in the blessed employment
of praising God. The moon shining in her glory,
and the planets and stars, are monitors that speak
aloud more lovely to me, than ten thousand human
voices. Awake, my slothful soul ; nothing in crea-
tion has half thy work to perform, and Oh, let it
not be said, that nothing is half so dull !

March 25. God has not left himself without
witness in the earth. No ; he is still manifesting
the riches of his grace, in bringing home his chosen
ones. A young lady of my acquaintance, formerly
gay and a stranger to piety, has hopefully become a
follower of the Lamb ! And has my dear M. chosen
Jesus for her friend and portion? I cannot but
stand amazed to see the salvation of God.

March 30. Have found much encouragement
and satisfaction of late in reading some of Newton's
works. They are indeed a treasure. He penetrates
my heart ; and while he exposes my depravity, he
points me to the Lamb of God, who taketh away
the sin of the world.

April 1. This is an interesting public day. O
that the Supreme Ruler of all events, would incline
every citizen to vote for that man who is most wor-
thy of the office of a governor. The aspect of the
times is dark ; but God can bring good out of evil,
and continue to us our national blessings. I often


find this reflection a sweet solace in the hour of
darkness, that no event, however small, can take
place without the permission and direction of the
great Jehovah.

April 7. This a day, on which God usually
manifests the glories of his character to his dear
children. How exactly calculated are all the means
and ordinances of the Gospel, for the comfort and
improvement of the saints. What an act of love
and wisdom was it in God, to select one day from
the week, to be appropriated to his worship. Were
it not for this glorious day, I should be in danger
of losing all sense of eternal things.

April 9. What shall a stupid Christian do?
Stupid Christian did I say ! Can a Christian ever
feel stupid ? It is an inconsistent title. But not-
withstanding all my death-like stupidity, I cannot
renounce the hope of being a child of the Most
High. What shall I do, a dependant, guilty crea-
ture, to gain access to the mercy-seat, and derive a
supply of grace from the fountain of life ? Draw
me, thou Saviour of sinners, and I will run after
thee. O lead me beside the still waters, and refresh
my soul with heavenly food.

April 17. How shall I record the events of this
day ! How can I tranquillize my disturbed mind
enough to engage in the once delightful employment
of writing ? Returned from Boston in the evening,
after spending three days very agreeably with my
friends C. and N. M. handed me a letter with an
appearance which indicated that something unusual
was contained in it. I broke the seal, and what
were my emotions when I read the name of


This was not a long wished-for letter : no ; it was
a long dreaded one, which I was conscious would
involve me in doubt, anxiety, and distress. Nor
were the contents such as I might answer at a
distant period ; they required an immediate answer.
And now what shall I say ? How shall I decide
this important, this interesting" question ? Shall I
consent to leave for ever the Parent of my youth,
the friends of my life, the dear scenes of my child-
hood, and my native country, and go to a land of
stranger 3) 4 not knowing the things which shall
befal me there ?"" O for direction from Heaven ! O
for ' that wisdom which is profitable to direct T I
will go to God, and with an unprejudiced mind,
seek his guidance. I will cast this heavy burden
on him, humbly trusting that he will sustain me,
and direct me in the path of duty,

April 19. The important decision is not yet
made. I am still wavering. I long to see ancf
converse with my dear mother. So delicate is my
situation, that I dare not unbosom my heart to a
single person. What shall I do ? Could tears di-
rect me in the path of duty, surely I should be
directed. My heart aches. I know not what to
do ! * Guide me, O thou great Jehovah P

April 21. Have now retired to my chamber,
once more to vent in silence, my unavailing sighs,
and with an almost bursting heart, implore divine
relief and direction.

I shall go home on Tuesday. Never did I so
greatly long to visit the dear native dwelling.

April 22. Perhaps, my dear mother will imme-
diately say, Harriet shall never go. Well, if


should be the case, my duty would be plain. I
cannot act contrary to the advice and express com-
mand of a pious mother.

The fact was, that her mother made no objection to
her accepting the offer of Mr Newell, but cheerfully
left her to act according to her conviction of duty.


Havcrhill, April 29, 1811.

IT has not been for want of inclination, or from
forgetfulness, that I have thus long neglected writ-
ing to my dear friend, Miss W. ; but every day has
brought with it various and new occupations ; and
though my friends have not been forgotten, yet I
confess I have not been so punctual as I ought. I
need not assure you, that your letter produced
many pleasing sensations. I hope this will find
you enjoying the presence of our covenant Saviour,
and engaged in the promotion of his glorious cause.
Christians are greatly criminal for not living in the
constant enjoyment of God. He is ever ready and
willing to manifest the glories of his character to
their souls ; and nothing but their native opposition
to holiness, and their love of evil, ever prevents.
Are not believers inconsistent creatures ? They can
speak of a Saviour's love the happiness resulting
from an acquaintance with God, and point out the
road to impenitent sinners, which alone will lead to
substantial bliss ; and yet often wander in forbidden
paths, lose all relish for spiritual enjoyments, and
rest contented with the low pleasures of sense.


If I am a child of Jesus, this inconsistency has
often been mine. And yet I long for a greater
sense of my dependance, and more entire conformity
to Him who died for me. If any thing here deserves
the name of happiness, it does not spring from earth.
No ; it is of heavenly birth, and comes from the
regions of purity. The vast and boundless desires
implanted in the human heart, cannot be satisfied
with any thing short of God. Nothing in heaven or
earth is capable of affording real bliss without him.

I have spent three months this last winter with
my sister at C. My religious privileges have been
more extensive than usual. I have been favoured
with frequent opportunities of hearing Dr G. preach,
and have likewise attended many serious meetings.
But I still wanted a heart to improve under the
cultivation of Jehovah's hand. Neither afflictions
nor enjoyments will do us good, unless sanctified by
divine grace.

Since my return to H. I have sometimes enjoyed
much consolation in committing myself and all my
concerns into the hands of God. Some circum-
stances, which at some future time I may communi-
cate to you, I hope will have a tendency to wean
me from this world, and fasten my heart to Heaven.
I do, my dear friend, find this ' a desert world,
replete with sin and sorrow.' I often long to leave
it, and find a sweet release from every woe.

I visited Miss F. at Boston, often. H. returned
from H. about three weeks since ; she observed, she
intended writing to your sister N.

I have not read the book mentioned in your last.


but confide in your judgment ; think it must be


I hope to have the pleasure of a visit from you
this summer; I wish much to see you and your
sister ; hope you are both enjoying the light of the
Sun of righteousness. Persevere, my friend, in the
Christian life, and pray for your friend Harriet.
Our pilgrimage will shortly be ended, and all the
trials of life will be over. Oh, may we meet in
heaven ; and join with the angelic host around the
throne, in adoring the matchless perfections of
Immanuel, through the ages of eternity ! I am, my
dear Miss W. affectionately yours,



Haverhill, Sabbath eve, May 1811.

WHILE agitated with doubts and conflicts, with
the gay world in opposition, it has afforded me
much consolation to think I have a friend in M.
who can feel my sorrows, and sympathize with me
in grief. I have passed through many interesting
and solemn scenes, since I last saw you. Return-
ing to Haverhill, I found my dear mamma calm and
composed. So completely was she filled with a sense
of the shortness of time, the uncertainty of life, and
the duty of giving up our dearest comforts to the
Lord, that she never raised one objection, but
wished me to act according as my conscience di-
rected. I felt an unspeakable consolation in com-
mitting the disposal of this event to God. I
thought I could willingly renounce my own opinion.


and sitting at the feet of Jesus, be guided entirely
by him. Mr N. has visited us frequently. He
wishes not to influence me ; he would not if he could.
And now, my dear M. what will you say to me,
when I tell you, that I do think, seriously think, of
quitting my native land for ever, and of going to a
far distant country, ' not knowing the things which
shall befal me there. 1 Should I refuse to make this
sacrifice, refuse to lend my little aid in the promul-
gation of the gospel among the Heathen, how could
I ever expect to enjoy the blessing of God, and
peace of conscience, though surrounded with every
temporal mercy ? It would be pleasant to spend the
remaining part of my life with my friends, and to
have them surround my dying bed. But no ! I
must relinquish their society, and follow God to a
land of strangers, where millions of my fellow sin-
ners are perishing for lack of vision. I have pro-
fessed, my friend, for these two years past, to derive
comfort only from God. Here then is a consoling
reflection ; the ever blessed Jesus is able to support
and comfort me, as well in the sultry climes of
India, as in my dear native laud. I trust that he
will make his promise good, that as my days is, so
shall my strength be. The wintry storms of life
will soon be over, and if I have committed my im-
mortal interest into the hands of God, I shall shortly
find a sweet release from every woe. So visibly
have I beheld the hand of Providence in removing
some obstacles which once I thought almost insur-
mountable, that I dare not object. All my friends
with whom I have conversed since my return to
Haverhill, advise me to go. Some Christians who


were formerly opposed, after obtaining a more ex-
tensive knowledge of the subject, think females
would be useful. The people of this world probably
view this subject as they do others. Those who
have never felt the worth of their own souls, account
it superstition and hypocritical zeal, for Christians
to sacrifice their earthly pleasures, for the sake of
telling the Heathen world of a Saviour. But all
the ridicule that the gay and thoughtless sinner can
invent, will not essentially injure me. If I am
actuated by love to the Saviour and his cause, no-
thing in earth or hell can hurt me. I must ask
your prayers for me. We have prayed together;
Oh, let us now, though separated in person, unite
at the throne of grace. Perhaps my view of this
subject may be altered ; and God may yet prepare
a way for me to continue in America. Oh, that I
might be submissive and humbly wait on God !
He can direct me at this eventful crisis, and glorify
himself. Affectionately yours,



Haverhill, June 12, 1811.

How shall I sufficiently thank my dear Miss H.
for the kind token of affectionate remembrance,
which she was kind enough to send me? Your
letter really exhilarated my languid spirits. I had
spent the evening in private conversation with our
dear Mr N. The usual subject of the contemplated
Mission was renewedly talked over, and conse-
quently the dangers, the crosses, and the manifold


trials of such an important undertaking, were themes
which engrossed our thoughts. Depressed with
anxious apprehensions, and in doubt respecting
duty, Mrs G. handed me a letter, and the well
known hand of the writer I soon recognised. The
contents dispelled many a heart-rending sigh. This
eve, mamma received a letter from dear brother J. ;
I had previously written to him. Dear boy ! he is
much distressed for Harriet. He thinks she is do-
ing wrong, and causing her friends needless anxiety.
Would to heaven I could prevent distress from ever
entering the heart of a widowed beloved parent, and
the dearest brothers and sisters ! Oh, Miss H. could
these dear friends but go with me to distant India
but alas ! that is a fruitless wish ; but were it
possible that this could be the case, I think I could
quit America without reluctance, and even rejoice
to spend my life among the benighted Heathen.
Sometimes I can reflect on this subject with compo-
sure, and even long to be on Missionary ground,
where superstition and idolatry usurp the sway;
think I can bid my dear friends a last farewell with
calmness, and follow with delight the leadings of
Providence. But at other times I fear this is not
the situation God has designed for me ; and if it is
not, I can never lay claim to the promises of the
Gospel, or expect the support of an Almighty arm,
when dangers stand thick around me. My greatest
fear is, that I shall lose all courage and perseverance
should I set out to go, and not only be unhappy
myself, but make those wretched who are with me,
But are not these thoughts criminal when carried to
excess ? Ought I not to praise the Lord for what I


have received, and trust him for a supply of grace ?
Ought I not to examine the subject prayerfully,
and if on examination I am convinced that Jesus
calls me to make these great sacrifices, ought I not
to do it voluntarily, and leave the event with the
Ruler of the universe ?

I find, my dear Miss H. that I am now in great
danger of being actuated by a strong attachment.
Oh, could I but give the ever-blessed God the first
place in my affection, I should not be in danger of
being misled by earthly objects. Often have I
adopted the words of the pious Mr Newton

* The dearest idol I have known,

Whatever that idol be,
Help me to tear it from thy throne,
And worship only thce.'

When shall we hope for a visit from you ? Do
write me often, your letters will always be acceptable.
Although tired and fatigued with the employments
of the day, I have improved this late hour in writing.

Do you not admire Mr Hall ? I heard him preach
a preparatory sermon at Bradford last week ; which
was clear, distinguishing, and very excellent. He
called here one morning, but I had gone to walk.
Mr Nott likewise called on us last week ; we were
in the meeting-house and did not see him. Our
friend N. is still in Salem ; I long to see her.

Can I ask the favour of being remembered in
your intercessions at the throne of grace ! Oh, that
Christians would pray for me. Farewell, my dear
Miss H. May the choicest blessings of Heaven be
yours. I am affectionately yours,



I had forgotten to tell you that our dear Mr W.
called here again, and I did not see him. Do you
think I ever shall ?


June 22. I have this day taken my leave of Mr
N. not expecting to see him again for nine months.
I can hardly feel reconciled to his departure ; but
the will of the Lord be done. Taking every cir-
cumstance into consideration, I am fully persuaded
it will be most for his interest to spend the summer
and winter in Philadelphia. Why then should I
object ?

June 27. It is now almost five years since my
mind became seriously impressed with eternal reali-
ties. What have I learnt in these five years of my-
self? and what of God ? Weep, O my soul, for
past transgression, and present unfruitfulness.


Haverhill, June 29, 1811.

I THANK you, dear C. for your affectionate letter.
My engagements have been such, that I could not
conveniently answer it before ; hope you will pardon
the neglect. The kind interest you have of late
taken in my happiness has greatly endeared you to
my heart. May you never want a friend to sympa-
thize with you when ' adverse fortune frowns,' or
to rejoice with you, when ' life's vale is strew'd with
flowerets fresh.' If the remaining days of my short
pilgrimage are to be spent in sorrow, O that heaven


would grant C. peace and happiness, and a sure
pledge of joys to come. Where my future lot may
be cast, time only can determine. If I can but
maintain a firm and unshaken confidence in God, a
humble reliance on his blessed promises, I shall be
safe, though temporal comforts languish and die. I
am now calculating upon a life of trials and hard-
ships ; but the grace of Jesus is sufficient for me.
The Friend of sinners is able and willing to support
me amid scenes of danger and distress.

When I bade you a parting adieu, my mind was
in a state of agitation which I can never express.
Dejected and weary I arrived at the dear mansion,
where I have spent so many pleasant hours. My
dear mamma met me at the door, with a countenance
that bespoke the tranquillity of her mind. The
storm of opposition, as she observed, had blown
over, and she was brought to say from the heart,
* thy will be done.' Yes, C. she had committed her
child to God's parental care ; and though her affec-
tion was not lessened, yet, with tears in her eyes,
she said, * If a conviction of duty and love to the
souls of the perishing Heathen lead you to India,
as much as I love you, Harriet, I can only say, Go?
Here I was left to decide the all-important question.
Many were the conflicts within my breast. But, at
length, from a firm persuasion of duty, and a will-
ingness to comply, after much examination and
prayer, I answered in the affirmative.

I wish to tell you all the motives that have ac-
tuated me to come to this determination ; likewise,
how all the difficulties, which applied to me particu-
larly, have been removed. But this I cannot do


until I see you. Why cannot you make it conve-
nient to spend three or four weeks with me this
summer ? To assure you that it would afford me
happiness, would be but what you already know.
Write to me C. next week, if possible. Let me
know when I may expect you, and I will be at
home. Perhaps we may go and spend a day or two
with our friends in N. I am very lonely. N. H.
has been visiting at S. ever since I returned from
C. Mr Newell has gone to Philadelphia, where he
expects to continue until a short time before he quits
his native country. He is engaged in the study of
physic, together with Mr Hall. How has your
mind been exercised of late ? Are you living in the
enjoyment of religion? C. we must live nearer to
God ; we must be more engaged in his cause. We
are under the most solemn obligations to be active
in the Redeemer's service. Let us not calculate
upon a life of idleness and ease ; this is not the por-

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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 5 of 15)