The True ACCOUNT of the Behaviour and Confessions OF THE Condemned Criminals IN NEWGATE, VIZ. John Dikes, Thomas Broughton, John Paine, and Sarah Walker, OF WHICH Thomas Broughton, for a Rape Committed on the Body of Catherine Phrasier, of about 7 Years of Age, and John Paine, for Stealing of two Horses were Executed on Wednesday, January 20th. 1685. AT TYBURN.
AT the Sessions in the old-Bayly, on the 15th. and 16th. of Days Junuary, 1685. These four Persons received the sentence of Death, viz. John Dikes for High-Treason, in Clipping the Kings Coin, Thomas Broughton for a Rape committed on the Body of a Girl of seven Years of Age; John Payne, for stealing two Horses, and Sarah Walker for Felony.
It is observed that frequent Examples of publick Justice, have not been hitherto sufficient to deter some Persons from committing very Soul Capital Crimes. The Ordinary to prevent false Stories of such, thinks fit to give this Advertisement, that the true Account of their Behaviour and Confession, (as taken by him in Writing from their own Mouths) is attested under his own Hand, which Account may be a useful Service, to reclaim Vicious Youth; by forewarning them not to fall into the same Crimes left they draw down the snare of an ignominous Death upon themselves.
This Account therefore the Ordinary now gives, that on the last Lords Day being the next Day after Condemnation, he endeavoured to make the four mentioned Malefactors sensible of their several Crimes; and withal sollicited them to look back on the whole course of their Life, in as much as the just God never leaves Sinners destitute of his preventing Grace, till they first harden their own Hearts indulging themselves in some secret Sins, thereby strengthening Vicious Inclinations in themselves, by considerable degree of Atheism, because they are not for some time Discovered and brought to publick Shame.
The Ordinary on the Lords Day Read the sacred Offices of the Church, and Preach'd also twice to the Prisoners. His Text was in the 13th. Chapter of St. Lukes Gospel, and the 24th. ver. viz. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate, for many I say unto you shall seek to enter, and shall not be Able.
From which he treated of these particular Proportions, First that it is a very difficult thing to get to Heaven. Or the way to Eternal Happiness, is through the strait Gate of an holy frame of Heart, and a mortified course of Life. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate, &c. There are many Zealots whose strictness is not commanded by God, but is of their own Invention. This is to presume to climb up to Heaven by some specious false way, by a posterne Gate, not prescribed nor instituted by the sacred Oracles of God. The direct lawful and safest means of entrance into Heaven, is the impartial discriminating Gate of Faith, Repentance; Self-denial, Mortification of every defiling Lust: For none can enter into Life Eternal for any fond favour, partial Affection or by pleading the merit of any Saint, but such only who can shew the mark and Seal of Christ’s renewing Spirit upon their own Hearts.
Here the Ordinary demonstrated the many narrow strict Passages, in which some strick and cannot go thorough. First few by Regenerating Grace (which implants the New Divine Nature) proceed to mortifie such Lusts which are rooted by an habituated Custome. True Christianity oblieges to offer an Holy violence to Natural Corrupt self, and not to trust to the highest attainments in a Righteous course of Life. Yet self Justiciaries, while they make this a sufficient and meritorious passPort to Heaven, despise Christ's imputed Righteousness, as a putative seign'd Riddle. Yet must we not so absolutely rely on Christ’s Merits as to neglect the relative Duties of the Christian State; but must resign our wills to the obedience of Gods Laws, to prove the truth of our reliance on his Mercy. We must level all our Natural Civil and Spiritual Actions at Gods Glory, as the mark and center of our Salvation.
We must return Kindness to our bitterest Enemies, this is truly Christian, and carries a singular stamp or the Divine Nature.
Another strait Gate, is to abridge our selves of things Lawful, if they be not expedient; yet to do our Duty Hourly, exactly, and with Delight, not regarding tho it be Censured as a piece of Morosity and Hipocricy: Also to forsake all things for Christ, counting them to be but Dross and Dung to preserve the integrity and peace of a good Conscience: To imbrace Christ by self-denial, without taking any exception at the Cross, so as to fall off from the profession of his pure and strict ways. To suffer for Christ and Righteousness sake is the most glorious passage in a Christians whole Pilgrimage, and as honourable as the priviledge of his Baptism.
The Lord appoints these strict Passages to Heavenly Glory, that there may be some fitness of Conformity, betwixt the means and the End. This more endears the reward of eternal Life; for things easily obtained are not Prized.
Hereby Christians are quickned to industry, and leveled to Humility, in the fight and observation of their Defects. The difficulty also of Salvation, causes us to set an higher Estimation on Christ and sure Grace, because from him we derive all that Strength whereby we strive, and in him we find Acceptation, so as to be admitted when the Gate is strait and narrow, suspicious Persons cannot so easily slip in, and Lazy Persons are kept out: even Earthly Prizes, and Advantage are not won without much Striving and selfdenial. They who run in a Race, observe set Laws. I. Cor. 9. 24 25. Mortification of Lusts, and the severe duties of Religion are that very way which the Saints in all Ages have chosen to walk in, toward Heavenly Glory. Christ's Commands are not Grievous, but Pleasant, as far as they are Renewed: They delight to be under the conduct of Christ’s Spirit. To live by the Divine Law, to work by Christ's Copy and Example. Salvian says his commands are not Fetters, but Ornaments; they are suited to the humane Nature, not to oppress but guide it as renewed to eternal Happiness: serenity of mind in an holy course of Life, may prevail with us to persevere in it against all difficulty, and
Opposition. Yet Obdurate Sinners exercise much Violence upon their Confidence while they indulge themselves in a sinful sensual course. It is an harder task to please any Lust, than Christ. Usually our temporal Interest, and welfare in the World, falls in with the ways of Holiness, also there is no comparison betwixt the trouble of Obedience, and the pains of Hell. The sorrow of Repentance, and austerities of Mortification, restore to a sound vigorous constitution of Soul, fit for Divine Service. And Christ hath not denied his Saints any Delight which is truly such, but only those Pleasures which are incompetent for us, as rational sober Persons. Yea how useful is the Cross it self to give us the higher sense of Cestial Pleasures.
Upon all these considerations, which attemperate the difficulty of entering into Heaven thorough the strait Gate, it is to be charged upon our foolish sluggish prejudices only, that Christianity is counted a Gloamy Coast, and an unmerciful Task.
Here the condemned Prisoners were Exhorted to repent that they had so much neglected and despised the offer of Grace and Salvation. That in stead of an holy Violence to enter into Heaven by the strait Gate of Repentance Mortification, they had rather striven to Raze out the Natural Impressions of Good and Evil. That they had stifled and resisted the Checks of Conscience, and had striven against their Maker himself, even while he sought to overcomes their Stubbornness with his Goodness. That they had turn'd Gods Grace into Wantoness or Sloathfulness, and hereby judge'd themselves unworthy of Eternal Life: But as yet the Kingdom of Heaven suffres violence, in condescending to beseech you to be Reconciled unto God; yea he waites to be Gracious, as Satan watches to Destroy you. And will not you strive to get your Souls disintangled from his deadly Snares? If you strive sincerely to be saved, it shall not be in Vain; the Redeemer of Souls is Almighty, and will cast our Satan, tho he hath long laid a Claim and prescription to you.
This was the summary of the two Sermons on the Lords Day, which much awakned the Condemned Prisoners from their Security.
On the Munday I Visited them, and after Prayer and Exhortation, Pray’d for them a second time, which prevailed upon them to make freely these Confessions following.
John Dikes, Condemned for Clipping the Kings Coin, he said that he was now 33 Years of Age, he was an Apprentice in the Minoryes. Afterwards he was seven years in Imployment for himself. Then he left his Habitation and went into the Dutch Wars , in which service he received one wound in his thigh, and in one arm a small shot after which he returned home again, and upon his deliverance from death in the wars, resolved to live a sober Life, which for sometime he continued in; and did not Converse with any bad company. But being brought into Straights and a Low condition, he sell into the above mentioned Crime for supply of his wants, which he is now heartily sorry for, and doth not disown the Fact but beggs of God to make him truly sensible of this and all other his Sins.
He acknowledges, that the Girl arraigned with his was altogether Ignorant in carrying the Clippings to the Goldsmith and his conscience would not suffer him, to lay that to the charge of the Girl which she was Innocent of, and hazard his own Soul in so doing. What small wrong the Girl did to him in the time of her service, he freely forgives her, and begs pardon of the King and all others who have been Injured by his Crime.
He desired the Ordinary to Pray for him, that the Mercy of his Repreive may so Affect his heart that no further distres may draw him to Sin and that he may Live more observent of God and the Kings Laws, when he shall be delivered out of Prison, to follow some honest employment tho never so mean.
John Paine, Condemned for Horsestealing he said he was borne in Warwickshier, that he is now about 19 Years of Age, that he lived sometime with his Father in the imployment of Husbandry whose good Counsel and Education he refused, and so came from his unto London, where he had the opportunity of falling into bad company, which together with his own evil Inclination, led him to wrong several persons, and thereby to bring himself to
publick shame. That he knew not how to desire any thing of his Father, having been so undutiful a Son, and there being several other Children to provide for, which have not been extravagant as himself.
He desires that he may repent of his evil courses for if he had lived better he might have more hope of happiness after death. He hath not been free to declare the particulars of his Ill course of life, but faith in General he hath been a great Sinner.
Thomas Broughton, Condemned for committing a Rape on the Body of Catherine Phrasier, he said, he was about twenty Years of age, was born in Warwickshire he was an Apprentice to a Taylor in York-Buildings six years. He had a Relation who bestowed some learning on him, as Reading and Writing, which he not Improving, sell into many miscarriages, as false speaking, and drinking somtimes to excesse, and thereby as he says, committed this foul Fact; he had formerly kept company with Lewd Women and committed other secret Sins, for which God hath now brought him to publick shame.
Since he was committed to Prison, he says he hath endeavoured to repent of all his Sins. And hath sought to God by Prayer to forgive him all the follyes of his Youth, he hopes he is penitent from the bottom of his heart, for now Sin is more bitter to him, than formerly it was delightful. Now he spends his time in Reading the Bible,, and if he were to live longer, he would make it the Rule of his life. And warns all young persons not to spend their time Idly which begets wanton thoughts that soon break forth into Immodest Actions.
Sarah Walker, Condemned for Fellony. She says, she was born in Shrewsbury. Her Mother Dyed when she was but three Years Old, and her Father when she was six, whereby she was exposed to a low condition in the world, she came to London to seek for a Lively-hood and got imployment in selling of fruit, and likewise Coffee at Clarkenwell Green. Afterward she Married a Souldier, who was a kind Husband to his power, but she blames her self for being high Spirited and not so suitable a Wife as she ought to have been.
She is sorry that she had Acquaintance with those Persons who occasioned her committing of this Crime she is condemned for; and if her Life be continued, and that she be Transported, she intends never to wrong any Person, but to live Soberly and Honestly, as in Duty she is bound for such sparing Mercy.
On Tuesday I Visited them again, and Prayed that God would make them sincere Penitentiaries, and confirm those good Resolutions they had before Express'd. I importuned them to an humble submission to the preceptive will of God; as also to his Wise and Righteous disposal of them, and assured them, that an Holy striving to enter into Heaven by the strait Gate of Mortification, and universal selfdenial, would not only make them Eternally Happy, but would also put an end to all Unchristian Strises, bitter Envying, and self ruinating Animosities: For the alienation of the Heart from God, is the cause of Mens imbittering their Spirits one against another. But would we strive who should be most Humble and only provoke one another to Love and good Works, we should soon become victorious, by Unanimity in the Christian Faith, and in the Exercise of every Christian Virtue over Satan, our inveterate Enemy. This commendable Emulation for superlative degrees in Holiness will not only make us Excel Hippocrites who fall short of Heaven but also open unto us an abundant Entrance into the Glorious Kingdom of the Blessed Jesus.
Thus have I given an Account of the condemned Criminals, among whom the Clipper and the Woman Felon being both Reprieved, were the most Penitent, and remain such; being rightly affected with Gods and the Kings sparing Mercy.
The Prisoners coming to the Place of Execution, the Ordinary prayed with them. After which, they exhorted the Spectators to take warning (by their untimely Ends) of the Effects of Sin. Then they prayed earnestly by themselves, desiring the People to pray for them; after which they were Executed.
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