THE TRUE ACCOUNT OF THE BEHAVIOUR AND CONFESSION Of the Criminals Condemned, at Justice-Hall in the Old-Bayly on Friday the 9th of December, 1687.
Of Which Thomas Sackvil, William Harbert, John Pritchard, John Grevil, and John Snipe, were Executed at TYBURN On Friday the 16th of this Instant December, 1687. The other Condemned Persons, are Reprieved by His Majesties Gracious Clemency.
The Ordinary visited the Condemned Criminals frequently, till their Execution. On the Lords Day in the Afternoon, he Preach'd on the 12 Ver. Of the 14 Chap. of Solomons Proverbs, viz. There is a Way which seems Right to a Man, but the End thereof are the Ways of Death. The Text relates to such Artisices of close Refined Hypocrisie, which varnish over an External, Heartless Professon of Christianity; and yet, being void of sincere Religion, degenerates at last into Atheism, or mere Prophaness.
Drivers Observations were deawn from the Words.
1. That it is very difficult to believe aright, in the midst of the specious intrigues of Error.
2. False Religion by an Imitation of the Truth, hath a deadly Design to undermine it.
While it claims Pedigree with true Religion; it is swayed by the Worldly Spirit of Self-interest, and fetches a secret Circumference to promote Impiety.
3. The least Mistakes in Religion, which deside the Conscience and Conversation, if persisted to with Obstainacy, are very dangerous to the soul; therefore, such persons, who drink in all Opinions which tend to Looseness, that they may sin more quietly, or get Ease, (as they presume) to a troubled Conscience, are in the ready Road unto dispare.
4. Truth prosess'd in its Purity, if not lived up unto in Obedience, will as certainly ruin the Soul, as false Religion. The most deplorable State of Hypocrites, who frame their Religion to worldly Interest and indulgence of their Lusts, is the unsuspected disappointment of their misgrounded Hopes of Bessedness.
If Devotion, which is Erroneous, be very dangerous to the Soul, how great will the Misery of such be, who Perversly Prevent their Course of Life, in sinning Knowingly against Conviction, yet perersist in so doing
Here were laid down, Characters and Marks of false Religion, and of pure inire Christianity.
Then the Causes of Believing false Religion, as it were sacred Truth.
Thirdly, Antidotes to prevent the Belief of false Religion, with Rules and Directions, how to preserve in Christ's pure Religion.
In the Afternoon, the Ordinary Preach'd out he 4. Verse of the 5 Chap. of the I Epistle of St. John, viz. This is the Victory whereby we overcome the World, even our Faith:To provent the mischievous Effects of CO
vetousness, which is the Root of all Evil, this Prescription in the Text, is a safe, sure, and proper Antidote. For the clearer Explication of this fundamental Duty of Christianity, these particulars were shifted.
1. What are those Stratagems of the World which Faith overcomes?
2. Arguments to demonstrate, that Faith only can overcome the World.
3. In what Method doth Faith exercise it self, to obtain Conquest over the heretical seducing world, the defiling Customs of it, with the leud Counsels and Examples of sinners. Also, over the Flatteries of the world with the unjust Censures, and false Accusations of worldly Men, against the Encroaching, Cumbersome Cares of the World; Faith studys the Souls best interest, viz. to please God, in being conformed to the Conduct of his Word and Spirit. Faith scornfully rejects all worldly Treasures, which betray the Souls Integrity, by preferring the instimable Riches of every Grace deposited in the Heart, as the pledge of an undefiled Inheritance, in the Clestial Kingdom. Least sensual pleasures should stupifie right Reason: Faith sublimates the souls Affections, to fix only in God, at the Center of infinite delight and satisfaction. Faith represents worldly grandure, as the delusive Scene of a vain Mind because it self only dignifies Christians with the Prerogative of the Sons of God.
None but Regenerate persons, are in any Capacity to overcome the World. Refined Hypocrites, while they retire into the Wilderness, carry the woolf their corrupt Nature with them; and what safety is in shunning the World, as a common Pest-house, while the secret love of Lusts is not Antidoted by the prevalency of renewing Grace: The deepest Impressions of Conviction wrought by Experience of the Worlds Vanity, cannot Sufficiently defend us, from the deadly Stratagems, Unless the New Creature be produced by the over-shadowing Consecration, and efficacious Blessing of our Baptism." This cannot wean our fond love from Earthly Vanities, nor lay an Obligation strong enough, to resign our Hearts to Christ by self-denial, to which, the Friendship of the world is a sworn deadly irreconcilable Enemy.
How doth Faith in the Son of God Conquer the World?
1. It estimates Christ's Conquest for us, as the chief part of our Redemption and Salvation. It is a faiding, defiling, delusive Scene of Temptatious, while it sawns upon us: Therefore, we ought to look strangely on it, as the Pillow of our security, and the Caterer, which makes Provision to betray us, to the fulfilling of our fleshly Lusts. Faith practically improves the Efficacie of Christs Offices. As an infallible Prophet, he forefees and discovers the Cheats of the World; As a dying Priest he hath stained by his Bloodshed, the inticing Glory of it, so that it is abhorred as a loathsome Carcase. As a King, Christ out-bids the splendid Grandure of the World, that he may Engage our Love, and Confirm our Loyalty to himself.
3. Faith relys on Christ's Judgment, as the Essential Wisdom of God, who can best compute how incapable the whole Creation is to satisfie the Affections of a wanton Curiosity. Person of strong delight in the world, are usually the subjects of the strangest punishments by it. But Faith foresees the pleasures of sin, as sineking, while their Sweetness bewitches Men to Renounce the Hopes of Eternal Joys.
4. Faith Eyes Christ's Conversation and Example, as the pattern of Mortification. Thus it Argues.
Did Christ, the Creator and Heir of all things. make the least use of them, who could not be defiled by it? And shall not Christians Renounce and Mortifie the Ambitious, Covetous, Sensual Spirit of the world, least they wallow in the Mire of its pollutions.
5. Faith assures us, that Christ chose to Conquer Satan and the world, in the very weakness of our debased Nature on the Cross, that he might give them a more shameful deadly Rout. Therefore let us maintain the Conflict, because the Victory is most certain, as made ready to our Hand.
Tho' Satans Malice be not abated thorow Christ's Conquests; yet his Courage and Confidence of Success is. As for the world Christ hath so Triumph’d over this, on his Cross, as to make its very Enmity, truly fervicable to the Happiness of his Redeemed Saints.
How doth Faith Exercise it self, to gain Conquest over the World ?
1. It convinces us, that the love of it, doth not only degrad us from the excellency of our Heavenly Descent, but also deads our Communion with God and Christ. That its Friendship, as Delelah is great Exhauster of the vital power of Godliness thereby tobetray us to the wiles and assaults of of Satan.
Faith assures us, that tho the world fly from us as a Shadow while we conrt it, yet, being kept under as a Slave, it will be moee observant of us, and serviceable to us.
The Love of the world being Buried in Christs Grave, becomes the New Creatures, Festival in the Vigor of every Grace, while such pine themselves to Death by disappointment, who most curely Believe, and strictly Embrace its tempting Charms.
3. Faith make a discovery of the worlds deceitful Beauty, in its forded Night-dress; as all fecular Enjoyments will be reckoned mere Vanity when our selves are ready to be lodged in a Bed of Clay. They shall suffer the punishment of their Witch-craft, in the universal Conflagration of the world. Faith conquers transitory delights, by a solemn renewed Dedication of the Heart to God It makes the world an Underling, to promote the flock of good works, and render the course of our Obedience more delightful. It rallys together our scattered Affections, spent on Vanity, and cures the languishing of our love to Christ, opening a Vein of Repentance, and applying the
virture of his Blood, as a warm Fomentation to discuss the herditary Disease of Covetousness Faith assures us, that, that Man will readily obey Christ, who is disintangled from the love of the world. But to a Muck-worm sensualist, the easiest Methods of Religion, are a diresal pennance The very mention of self-denial, is as the sting of Death, to him who is fettered with the love of earthly Vanities: But an heavenly life, in the Contemplation and Enjoyment of God, is proper only the mortified Christian, who fixes his Souls Chastity and Loyalty on Christ.
Therefore, let us understand well, the right End and Use of all the Creatures so that we seek and intend the Glory of God, in all we do and possess Be very suspicious of a prosperous Estate, which strengthens the Disease of Covetousness. Be more afraid of the world when it smiles than Srowns.
Keep a strict constant Guard over your senses. Pray that God would turn away your Eyes from beholding the vain Objects of worldly sordid profit and Sensual pleasures, that he may quicken you in ways of Righteousness and Eternal Life. Converse as little as you can with worldly Company. This will leave a tructure of defilements on their Spirits, as Snails do Slime on the Plants they cleave unto: To be lost for ever, in the admiring Chase of the world, betrays you to such a Doom, which will break your very Hearts with anguish; but to conquer all temptations of the world, by an Heroick Faith, will make you to in the Approbation of the God of Glory.
I proceed to an Account of the Behaviour and and Confession of the Condemned Criminals.
Thomas Sackvil, of St. Giles’s Cripplegate, Condemned, or that he on the 20th day of October last, did Assault Ellenor his Wife, with a Fire-shovel, giving her a Mortal Bruise on the left side of her Head, of which she died; her last words were, Lord have Mercy upon me, he hath Murther'd me!
The Ordinary visited him several times; and advished him to humble himself before God, for all h fins, and especially for the Barbarous Murther his Wife, desiring him freely to confess the Truth; he is Aged 50 Years, was Born in Bromminghan, Bred up to the Trade of a Lock smith , and served as a Journeyman at that Occupation. After some time so spent, he came to London, but left his former Employment to make Bricks , which Continued, till an unhappy difference arose betwixt him an his Wife, whom he Married at the of 25 Years. He denys not, that his Daughter was present when he struck her. The occasion of it, as he says, was this. She having two Payls in the House, he sold one of them , and went to an Ale-house adjoining, to receive the Mony of him, who bought the Payl; his Wife came thither to fetch him home, and they had quarrle some words about selling the Payl, and for his expanding part or that Mony Thereupon, as he was goig abroad again, she pull’d him back; and he striking at her, gave her a black and blew Eye. After this, his Wife grew more is passion, and gave him reviling Language, as he pretends; whereupon he struck her again; but he says that her Death was occasioned by her running back from him, and falling against the Fire-Irons, which bruifed her Head.
The Ordinary insisted several times, that he would not palliate so Barbarous a Crime, but confess the whole truth, and give Glory to God’ Justice, which had overtaken him, and brought him to condeign punishment: And yet, it he persisted to couceal or extenuate any Circumstance of the Crime, he would grow daily more impenitent, and hazard his Salvation. Not withstanding all Arguments used to bring him to acknowledge this heinous unnatural sin; he was little affected with it, At last he said, that for sevetal Nights he could not sleep, but was in a manner Distracted, for his ill-spent Life, viz. in Excessive Drinking, and prophane Swearing, for which provocations of God he justly left him to this mischievous quarrelsomeness with his Wife; and that if he escape Death for this unhappy Fact he will endeavour to amend his Life, and better to follow his Employment to maintain his Children. But whatever he pretended, his Repentance is very doubtful, because he could not be prevailed upon, to acknowledge the Crime, as a Murtherous Act, but an Accident only
2. William Harbert, Condemned for several Robbery on the High-way, at Bristol Cawsey on the 5th of December last. The Witness gave plain Evidence against him. Two persons were Robbed and Bound by him and others of his Comrades, who strip’d them, and left them in a Field, to the hazard of starving with cold.
This William Harbert is Aged 23 Years, he was Born in Wales. He followed Husbandry for above 10 Years; afterwards he wrought in a Brewhouse about 3 Years, then he went into Wales, and afterward into Hereford shire, he wrought in the last Corn Harvest , for the space of two Months, then he came to London, where he hath been for a quarter of a Year but meeting with bad Acquaintance he Robbed with them on take Highway. He says that they stop'd five persons at Bristol Cawsey he denys not, that he took the Mare by the Bridle, for carrying away of which from the right owner, he stands Condemned. The Ordinary ask'd him how he observed the Sabbath he replyed that he sometimes went to Church, but there he little minded his Duty to God, or the things of his Eternal Peace, for which neglects , as also Swearing, and keeping Company with ill Women; he says that he is justly brought to this fatal punishment He had mean Education , and therefore said that he could not give any large Account of what relates to his Soul; but he hopes that he Repents of all his sins, and in particular, for his Robbing on the Highway. He wep'd, and said, if the King spares his Life, he will never wilfully offend God, nor offer violence to any person for the future, but fellow some lawful Employment.
3. John Prichard, alias Green, Condemned for joyning in a Robbery with the laid William Harbert; he denyed not the Crime, but said that deep Poverty inclined him to it. He Repented that he left off an honest Employment at Sea , for he had been thrice before at Argeirs, as a Soldier , and had served the King at Tangeir; but since he grew idle and expensive among vain Company. I told him that Robbery was a great sin against humane Society, and free Commerce, by putting Travellers in Terror and hazard of their Lives; that he could not offer violence to another, but he must first raise out the Sentiments of common Equity, in violating the publick peace, as well as the dictates of his Conscience. He replyed that this was a great Grief to him, not for the fear of Death, but the manner of drawing it upon himself.
He desired me to advise him, how to prepare for an happy going out of the World, for he expected not any Reprieve: He joyned on Monday, with the other Criminals in Prayer. I hope he was truly sensible of his ill course of Life.
He told the Ordinary, that he was much concerned for his Souls future State: He denyed not the Fact; he bewailed his ill spent Life, being now desirous to turn to God, and make his peace with him.
I told him, that Christ was the only Mediator; who made God's Justice satisfaction for sin. He confess'd that he Renounced any Trust, in his sorrow for his sin, and made his prayers to God, only thorow Christ, that these is no other Power that can grant prayer, and that his Faith was only fix'd on him.
I ask'd him how he knew true Faith from false, he said it wrought a good Conscience in all things that he repented he had wronged the Integrity and Peace thereof; but he hoped God would be Merciful to him.
5. John Snipe, Condemned for breaking the house of Sir William Smith, in the Parish of Stepney, on the 12th of October last; he was Born in Northampton-shire; he was Bound Apprentice to a Dyer in Thames-street, and as he said, served out his time, and set up his Trade; but his House and Goods being Burn’d, he was reduced to extream Poverty, which occasioned him to betake himself to ill ways of getting Mony; he denyed not, but that he lad been a great sinner, but express’d in what particulars.
6. Lawrence Vanghan, Condemned for Robbing William Taylor on the King's High-way, of a Castor Hat and other things, in the Street. He was Born in the North of Ireland t He was not willing to tell me what Employment he followed; there upon I said, that Idleness is an Inlet into the Temptations of Satan, and breeds a secure presumption in sinning.
He said, that now his sins came to his Remenbrance, and lay heavy on his Soul but he hoped he had made his peace with God, and that he seeks only to Jesus Christ, for the quieting of his Confidence. I told him that a good and comforttable Conscience, must be made holy, by an heart purisying Faith. I ask'd him, what is the Nature of true Faith and Repentance, in Order to Salvation; he said that Faith is a Reliance on God in Christ, for pardon of sin, upon sorrowing and for saking it with a true heart.
Lawrence Vaughan was Reprieved on Friday Morning the other five Condemned Criminals were Executed at Tyburn, one of them, Namely John Prichard, alias Green, Confess'd there, that he had served his Majesty 20 Years, had he served God as faithfully, he had not come to this untimely End: He said that this Robbery was the first which he Committed, and desired all the Spectators to take Care or Warning by him: He leemed more Penitent than the other. The Ordinary Prayed with them in the Morning, before they were carried to Execution, and gave them Advice in order to their Death. At Tyburn he Prayed with them, and after some time, went out of the Cart, and stay'd till they were Executed.
This may be Printed, R.P. December the 16th. 1687.
LONDON, Printed by D.Mallet,next Door the sr, between Fleet-Bridge, and Bridewel-Bridge, 1687.