January 1, 1820 – This day we joyfully hail the New Year with the hope that it will be to ourselves and our friends and the church an acceptable year of the Lord, and to the Heathen nations, especially to the Sandwich Islands the year of Jubilee, of spiritual emancipation from sin after the gloom of servitude of Fifty Centuries. The day is exceedingly fair, and the family generally in health with the exception of slight indisposition in the case of Brothers Ruggles and Whitney.
Lat. S, 32°, 30′, Lon. W. 43° (Thaddeus Journal)
Saturday, Jan. 1st., 1820. Pleasantly has the sun of a New-Year risen upon me. Far removed, yes, long removed from every object which was dear, which was pleasant or even familiar to me when the last year commenced, shut up within confined walls upon the great deep, with dark uncertainty, under what circumstances, if at all, I shall ever tread upon ground again, destined as I am to a now cheerless land where the will of a heathen ruler, uninfluenced by even a knowledge of Christian principles, is law for all in his dominions; where is the ground of that serenity so sweetly felt, when the last sun of the declining year withdrew its beams,—when the midnight watch, calling, twelve o’clock, announced that another year had commenced its revolutionst–which is now felt, as thoughts arise of the dark, unknown paths of its revolving days? Fain would I hope that it was through strength given by Him who sitteth upon the circle of the Heavens, distributing to each his portion as his infinite wisdom and goodness direct, whose piercing eye surveys things past, present, and to come, as one eternal Now, assuring us that such is his condescension that the very hairs of our head are numbered, and that in his vast dominion, not even a sparrow falleth to the ground without his notice. Fain would I hope it was his divine consolations, and not a cold indifference to either good or ill, which enables me to look around and inwardly exclaim, never could I more cheerfully hail a New-Year’s morning! With my dearest friend I was permitted to unite my supplications before the voices of the little multitude were heard about the vessel—then go on deck and receive the usual greetings. Most earnestly did I desire, when Capt. B— congratulated me upon the New- Year, and could not help saying to him, that it was among the first wishes of the morning, that it might indeed prove a happy one to him. 0, that a Sovereign GOD, who dispenseth his favors as he will, would make the beginning of years to that man, giving him true repentance, bringing him to the foot of the cross; and cause that another anniversary find him speaking the language of a new-born soul. At the family altar, the 29th of the 1st of Chron. was read, and our attention directed more particularly to the 5th and 15th verses as affording matter for meditation through the day. A hymn was sung, composed by Mr. C-—, for the occasion. The words of the king to Esther, “What is thy petition, and what is thy request?” as also of GOD to Solomon, “Ask what I shall give thee,” have been much in my mind. Is not the same gracious voice to me,—says it not, what is thy petition, and what thy request? Thou, Lord, knowest. Am I deceived when I say, my first petition, my most earnest request is, that I might know and love Thee moz-e—serve Thee better, and say more from the heart, “Thy will be done.” Other things I would, I do leave with Thee—only give unto me thy presence in the trying hour. Thou wilt not deny me, when to the bleeding Lamb, who took our sins upon him, in the awful hour of darkness, it was denied, that it might forever shine upon every trembling soul who comes to GOD through him.
Reflecting farther upon the claim which my dear and affectionate sisters have upon my pen, as by that means only must all their future knowledge, concerning their absent sister, be obtained, I an led to alter my mind, respecting my Diary, and consider it, from the commencement of this year, in some measure, dedicated to them. And, 0, my beloved sisters, what events this hand may have to record, or your eyes to peruse, our Father, our Covenant GOD and Father knows, and He alone. Sufficient for us that He has it all under his direction,—that our “times are in his hands.” When my soul gets hold there, I think I do feel that there is no path so rough, but, leaning on his arm, I could walk in it for his sake and the Gospel’s. May his grace prepare my heart, when penning, and your hearts, when torrents of tears may be flowing over many mournful pages here, to say, to dwell upon it, “Father, glorify thy name.” (Sybil Bingham)
Jan. 1, 1820. This morn, I hail as the commencement of a New Year. The past has led me through many new and untried scenes. What is before me I know not. I hope to feel a perfect confidence in God, and in whatever situation I am to be content. I rejoice that I can tell you I have been contented and happy. I know not that I have ever “cast behind one longing lingering look.” May your souls be comforted in my absence with the consolation and hope, that we may at last meet, to part no more. (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
Jan. 1, 1820. – The events of 1819 are closed till I come to four the bar of Christ. Oh what a complicated mass of iniquity will then be brought to light! In the lord will I hope for strength to fill up this year in faithful labour to build up his kingdom. That I may hereafter pursue my studies to more advantage I have formed a plan to regulate my time.
From ½ past 5 to ½ past seven – private and family devotions,
do (ditto) ½ past 7 to 9 – breakfast & recreation,
do 9 – to 1 – study of theology,
do 1 to ½ past 2 – dinner, recreation, and private devotion,
do ½ past 2 to 6 – study of the language, miscellaneous reading and writing
From 6 to 8 – supper and exercise,
do 8 to ½ past 9 – private and family devotions,
do ½ past 9 to ½ past five – sleep.
Probably there will be some difficulty in keeping these rules on board a vessel but I think they will be of use. (Samuel Whitney Journal)