Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

THE LIFE, &c.

OF

MRS. HARRIET NEWELL.

CHAPTER I.

Birth and parentage of Mrs. Newell—Her attendance upon Bradford Academy-ConversionExtracts from her letters and journal-Death of her father-Public profession of religion.

THE highest excellence, exhibited in the life of a female, usually receives, after her death, no other tribute than the remembrance and the tears of the grateful circle, which she adorned and blessed. The poor may mourn their benefactor, relatives their affectionate mother, wife, or sister; and companions their counsellor, helper, and friend: but no memorial, except perhaps upon her tomb, publishes to others the virtues which made her thus beloved and thus lamented.

But Providence has called some females to more public duties, and connected their names with events of general interest. The history of the hearts and lives of such, is the just property of all.

And when an offering of precious value, and of rich perfume, has been publicly poured upon the Saviour's feet,-"wheresoever this gospel shall be preached, there shall also this that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."

HARRIET ATWOOD, afterwards MRS. NEWELL, was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, October 10, 1793. Her father, Mr. Moses Atwood, was a merchant, extensively and honourably known by his enterprize, benevolence, and inflexible integrity. Her mother still survives to forbid our praises.

Under the nurture of such parents, and in the society of beloved brothers and sisters, her childhood was happy. She was naturally cheerful in her disposition, and ardent in her feelings. In her first, as in her later years, she was always a warm and faithful friend, an affectionate sister, and a grateful and obedient daughter. She early manifested that love of books and of her pen, and that thirst for mental improvement, so conspicuous through her following life; as a proof of which, it may be mentioned that, when only about eleven years of age, she kept a regular diary, in which she wrote the events of the passing day, with frequent moral reflections, suggested by the incidents she recorded. About this time her heart was evidently visited with the strivings of God's spirit; and it is known, from

the recollection of her friends, as well as from her own subsequent testimony, that for a season, she daily attended to secret prayer, and to the study of the scriptures. These employments, however, soon became irksome; and, although she cheerfully complied with all the regulations of her father's household, in attendance upon the public ordinances of the gospel-in outward observance of the holy rest of the Sabbath, from its earliest dawn, until its closing hours assembled the family for religious instruction,-and in all external propriety of behaviour, she ceased to seek for a saving knowledge of Christ as for "a pearl of great price."

In the summer of the year 1806, she attended Bradford Academy, an institution distant about half a mile from Haverhill, which has done much to improve and extend female education, and has been often and remarkably blessed by the spirit of God. Her instructor was the Rev. Mr. Burnham, whom she always afterwards regarded with peculiar gratitude, as one whose counsel had been greatly blessed to her good. Among her companions were many of the friends of her subsequent life; and one of them, Miss Hasseltine, (afterwards Mrs. Judson) was an associate in her last great enterprise.

It was now, when numerous pupils were assembled from various parts of the country, that the attention of many was mercifully excited to the sub

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ject of religion; and they sought, with earnestness, the salvation of their souls. It is true there were many who could not be persuaded to pause in their ceaseless pursuit of pleasure; but the number of those whose hearts were affected was so great, as to spread over the institution a character of deep and solemn feeling, which was evident to the most careless observer. Few persons who visited the seminary during the summer, have forgotten the interesting scenes they witnessed at this favoured spot, when the attention of one and another of the pupils was called, for the first time, to consider the claims of their God and Saviour upon their youthful hearts.

The academy stands on the declivity of a hill, which slopes gradually to the Merrimack river, whose beautiful waters flow along at the distance of a few hundred yards. A narrow lane, shaded by fruit trees, leads from the street to the river bank. Here might be seen at the period of which we are speaking, little groups of scholars, generally of two or three, walking arm in arm, or sitting on the grass, against the stone walls,or more apart under the shade of an umbrella, earnestly communing together upon the means of securing their eternal welfare.

Harriet did not long remain an unaffected spectator of what was thus passing around her, but became deeply anxious concerning her own state. To

her sister, who expressed her sorrow at seeing her so much distressed, she replied, "I only wish that I were more so." In another part of this volume,will be found her own narrative of this interesting period. After walking long in darkness, she at length saw and rejoiced in the "light of the knowledge of the glory of God." At that happy season, she said to an acquaintance, "I have found Christ. I felt assured that, if I sought him with my whole heart I should find him; and I have found him." Five years afterwards, referring to this period, she wrote thus :-"There was an hour, when the light of divine truth irradiated my benighted soul; when I could rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation;"" I could willingly then, renounce the world; for it had lost its power to charm. How sweet was the idea of suffering for Jesus. How sweet to take "a decided part in his cause."

Thus happy in the hope of having obtained for- . giveness, she became earnestly solicitous, that all her companions might ask and receive the same blessing. On her returning one day from the academy, with a sad countenance, and her eyes filled with tears, her mother said to her, "Harriet, I thought you were always happy." She replied, "it is not for myself I have been weeping, but for my companions-to see them so thoughtless." Her efforts to awaken their attention to religious sub

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »