THE BEHAVIOUR OF Edward Kirk, After his CONDEMNATION FOR Murdering his Wife; WITH THE Advice and Prayers which he left with the Ordinary, desiring him to Publish the same for the Reclaiming of Vicious Youth. TOGETHER With the Behaviour of the other Condemmed Malefactors in NEWGATE.
WHEREAS at the late Sessions of Gaol-Delivery held in the Old-Bayly on Wednesday and Thursday, the 2d. and 3d.Days of the July,1684. Nine Persons received Sentence of Death, viz. Edward Kirk, John Mould, John Holtam, John Bennet; John Richardson, James Walden, Mary Shelton, Andrew Hill, and Morgan Reading.
Now whereas several Malefactors Condemned to Dye, do in the Prison of Newgate, desire the Ordinary to Publish their Conferrences with him, therby giving an Account of their Penitency; and to Warn others by their Examle of suffering Justice, to avoid the same Crimes. The Ordinary thereupon thinks it a necessary Service to give a faithful Account of the said condemned Malefactors Behaviour; hopeing thereby it will be a means to reclam Vice in Youth.
This account therefore he now give, that on the next Day after Condemnation (they all appeared together in the Chappel) where they were Exhorted and Prayed with; the like was done on Saturday.
On the Lords Day, following being the 6th. of July Instant those for whole Execution the Warrant was directed, were at the Chappel; where the Ordinary Preached on this Text viz. the 33. Chapter of the Prophet Ezek. and the 11th. Verse. Say unto them, as I Live, faieth the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the Death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from his way and Live: Turn ye turn ye from your Evil Ways, for why will ye Dye, O House of Israel.
The Ordinary observed, that Edward Kirk who was Convicted for the Murder of Joan Kirk his Wife , in cutting her Throat on Sunday, the 25th. Day of May last, in the Fields near Paddington, whom he often Visited before his Tryal; seemed then to be more affected with his Horrid Crime, then was observed before, and since continues so.
WHereas, the All-searching Eye of God with whom Darkness is Light, and by whom the most Hidden and Secret Things are made Manifest, has made a just Discovery of my Transcendent Wickedness; I think it equally my Duty to God and Man, to second it with a Penitent Confession, that so the dear Interest which the Meritorious Death and Passion of Christ hath purchased for Sins of frail Man-kind may be applicable to my self: For such is the Misery and weight of Sin I lie under, that unless the Miraculous Grace and Mercy of my Creator interpose, is sufficient to press me down to the neathermost Hell. Upon this Consideration, I esteem it my Duty to Publish to the World the occasion which had the influence on my Punishment, or what is the Meritorious cause of my Fatal and untimely End. The occasion was so slender, that it rather aggravates my cruel Crime, than mittigates it. My Wife for whose Murder I duly suffer was of that Temper, that she was indefatigably officious to hunt me from Place to Place; but whether out of Love or Necessity she did it, is a difficulty to Discern, and therefore I proclaim her Innocent; and dare impute nothing to my Excuse, my Passion being above my Principle; and that Grace of God which should lead Men to a true and sincere Repentance, for want of a true management of it, was taken away from me, and I left;, like the Jews, in my own Willfulness and Stubbornness, to act whatever my Spiritual Enemy the Devil could impose upon my Inclination: and indeed the influence, of may Wickedness is such, that if I had the Greatest affluence of Sublunary Enjoyments, it inbitters the most hopeful passages of my Life; and nothing can be Sweet and Cordial to me but the precious Blood of Christ, which was shed for the Sins of the Penitent; such likewise is the present Punishment of the Murder; that through the sense of it, I am Involved into a Deluge of Melancholy, sometimes preventing my address to God for assurance of Pardon: yet according to that Gracious Light which it pleaseth God to intrust me with, I continually lie under the contest of Sin and Satan, and heartily beg for that Supernal Regeneration, which is a turning from Darkness to Light, and from the power of Satan, to the Kingdom of God, Now, because the world is more Govern'd by Example than Precept, I am highly and zealously concerned, to propose the reflection of my Condition to all those who are miserably biased to. a Dissolute and un-Christian Life; that from my doleful End, they may be cautioned to discard all such Ways as may be Effectual to draw them on to Perdition, and living: without God in the World.
Nor can I forbear to express my Inclination which was always equal to the Natural, State of all Men: yet such was my Misfortune, that I added the Whip and Spur to make it Strong and Vigorous, and was as inquisitive to know Lewd Company as ready to Imbrace whatsoever was adapted to Irregularity, the Sin of breaking the Sabbath I cannot pass by, and was continually Guilty of: upon which Holy Day I committed the Heinous Sin of Murder; while Pride, Lust and Luxury, had the sole Dominion over me, and was frequently more acceptable than any thing of Piety and Godliness: Thus my Soul being surfeited with all manner of Sin, I am brought to condign Punishment: Take timely care therefore
all Young-Men, how you are drawn in by the Bewitching Lust and Love of Women: for tho my Relations were Responsable, and gave me a Good and Pious Education, yet the Grace of God which is infinitly eligible before the whole World, was wanting in me, and justly left me to the Guilt of Murder. Let no Man therefore trust in uncertain Riches, nor bolster himself up with the sufficiency of his Friends, in order to any hopes of Security from suffering the just Punishment of an evil Life; for there is a just God that made and Governs the World, who will not only in this World, but in that which is to come, Shower down Hail, Fire, and Brimstone on those who tread under Foot the Son of God, and put him to open Shame. If this Confession and Advice have efficacy to reclaim any, it only gains the end for which I design’d it, and to God above be Glory. Amen.
O Lord God, Good and Gracious, Everlasting and Blessed God; I must confess I have been a great Sinner, and without thy Pardon am utterly Undon for Ever: and therefore I pray thee Lord, that thou wouldest be pleased to wash away all my Sins from my Heart, and give me a new Spirit within, so that I may truly serve thee in Holiness and Righteousness, those few Minutes that I have to live in this World: that when my Soul and Body parts, my Soul may ascend up into Heaven, to God on High: so that he that shed his Precious Blood for Sinners (if it be his Blessed Will) may make my Peace with God. Of all my Sins that I have Committed, there is none so sad and Horrible as the Sin of Murder is: therefore I Beseech thee O Lord, to blot out that loud crying Sin from before thy Presence, so that it may not rise up in Judgment against me, when I come before thy TribunalSeat on High.
Oh! that men would consider this in time, that Sin will one Day change their Countenance; however it cometh in a flattering form, pretending nothing but Friendship but in the end, will leave a Sting behind it, even a guilty Conscience, Terror of Mind, and anguish of Spirit; wherefore let us flye from Sin, as from the biting of a Serpent, that we be not stung to Death; knowing that the ways of Sin, is Death.
O Lord most Holy, Good and Gracious, Everlasting and Blessed Lord God, how Glorious art thou Lord thou art a great and a Merciful God; and thou hast done more for me a thousand times than I have deserved; I confess I have been a great Sinner;
I havedone those things which I should not have done, and I have left undone those things which I should have done. Lord help me, and strengthen my Faith every Minute more and more those few Minutes that I have to live in this World, that when I am departed hence, through the merits of Jesus Christ I may ascend into a Heavenly Kingdom, Amen.
Edward Kirk, acknowledged that he was at the Execution of John Gower, a Coachmaker , who for Murdering his Wife, was Executed at Tyburn, on the 23d.of May last,1684.And that after Kirk returned from Tyburn, Satan suggested him to Murder his own Wife within one hour after; That he Prayed against the Temptation; yet, not so fervently as he ought. The Instigation came with Violence upon him about fix a Clock on the Lords-Day in the Morning, being the 25th.of May,1684.That he then contrived how to draw her out in the After-noon to walk with him into the Fields; That when he got her out, he sometimes went before her, and called to her to walk faster after him: and when they were near Paddington, he told the Ordinary, that he pretended some excuse into a Gravel-Pit, which was within two Fields of Tyburn; That he asked his Wife to give him her Hand, which she did; and so led her into the Gravel-Pit. That when she was there, he Quarreled with her, and Bruised her Face and Head with a Cane; that she begged him to spare her, but he drew out a Knife to cut her Throat: which he attempting to do, she Strugled with him, using these Words, Lord have Mercy on my Soul, Was ever Woman so barbarously Murdered? After he had cut her Threat, and returned home, he endeavoured as much as he could to compose his Countenance and go about his Business, and so order his Behaviour, that nothing more than ordinary might appear in his Looks, to give suspition that he had been about any un-Lawful, much less so Horrid a Fact. He told the Ordinary that he would at his Tryal Plead Guilty, and beg, God and the Kings Mercy; yet against his Resolution he denied the Fact, till it was proved upon him, by his own Confession before his Tryal. Notwithstanding he used many false Stories to evade the Proof of the Fact, as appears in the account of his Tryal. Since his Condemnation to Death he hath plainly Bewailed his great prevarication and false asseverationtos the Court of Judicature; hoping that by Repentance and through a true lively Faith, in the Meritorious satisfaction of Christs Blood-shed; His Horrid Murder, and the denial of it so Impudently in the Court of Justice, will be pardoned by God, to him. And the Ordinary, doth hope that upon narrow search into the frame of his Heart, that Edward Kirk, had some Ground to Expect a happy Eternity, for he said that his Sin was so great that he deserved to Dye; and desired not to Live
Andrew Hill, Aged 21 Years, acknowledged to the Ordinary in conference, that he had spent his time very Idly, and lived a very disorderly Life, often quenching the motions of the Holy Spirit: and warns all Young-Men to mind their Honest Imployments, and not to seek out, nor mix with Lewd Company, lead they come to an untimely Death.
Morgan Reading, Condemned for a Burglary, was very sensible of his Sinful course of Life; and grieved that he had commited several Impieties against clear and strong Convictions in Conscience to the Contrary.
Another of the Condemned Persons, being a Lusty. and Comely Person, of . the Age of Four and twenty Years, is very Penitent, and much bewailed his mispence of Precious Time, neglecting the publick Assemblies on the Lords Day, and the duty of Prayer, whereby he fell under the Temptations of Satan and bad Company; so that he commited many Excesses, such as he desires all Young-Men to refrain from, particularly to bridle their Tongues from Cursing and Swearing, or useing any other Intemperance; for God in due time will discover all who persist in Impenitency.