A True ACCOUNT Of the Behaviour, Confession, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Prisoners that were Executed at TYBURN, On the Twenty First of December, 1689.
ON the Lord’s-Day, the Ordinary preacht in the Forenoon on the 17th Verse of the 9th Psalm, The wicked shall be turned into Hell, with all the Nations who forget God. In prosecuting of which Text, these general Heads were insisted on:
1. The Reasons of the Comprehensibleness of the Threatning, Why all the Nations who forget God, shall be turned into Hell.
2. The Difference was stated twixt the forgetting of God by prophane persons, by Hypocrites, and God’s own People, and wherein the Hypocrites forgetfulness of him, is a Sin of the highest stature.
3. Several Instances were shewn, in which we forget God, tho’ we do not suspect it.
4. The Causes of it.
5. The greatness of this Sin, it being a complication of pride of Heart, of great Ingratitude, because the Lord hath given us so many ways of remembring him; it is Sin of Atheism, and the Seed-plat of sinsul Abominations.
6. The many Mischiefs and penal Effects which flow from it.
7. What it is to remember God practically, in many parculars.
8. Arguments to excite to those several Duties.
9. Rules and Directions how to improve the mindfulness of God to the Soul’s present Comfort, and eternal Happiness.
At the Conclusion of the Sermon, the Ordinary gave a particular Charge to the Condemned, fitted from the Text, which is too long to insert.
In the Afternoon, he preacht on the 10th Verse of the second Chapter of the Revelations of St. John, viz. Be thou faithful to the Death, and I will give Thee a Crown of Life.
In treating of which, three Thing’s were shewn:
1. Wherein Fidelity to God, to Men, and the Interest of our own Blessedness are concerned.
2. Arguments to practise and persevere in all the kinds and degrees of Fidelity.
3. Rules and Directions so to do.
At the Conclusion, the Ordinary gave this Charge to the Condemned;
You have heard of the indispensible Duty of Fidelity to God, to Men, and the Eternal Interest of your own Souls. But what great Cause have you to reflect, with Grief, upon your Neglect of Fidelity in all the kinds and degrees thereof, especially as to God, the Author and Preserver of your Being. How many Obligations of Divine Mercy and Goodness hath he heaped upon you, to allure and bind you to your Duty and Allegiance unto himself. He might have stifled you in the Womb, as foreknowing that you would, in time, vent the Venom and Malignity of your corrupt Nature against himself, yet he hath, in wonderful Long-suffering, waited to be gracious, in order to your Return from a wilful course of Provocation : But you have abused and perverted Divine Patience , which mould have led you to Repentance, having turned it into an Argument of presumpruous Sinning.
How have you berray’d your Souls to Eternal Ruin, if Christ’s redeeming Mercy do not retrieve your rebellious Disloyalty to himself? You have sinned against the very Remedy of your Recovery from the Abyss of Sin and Misery. You have been unfaithful to the Spirit of Grace, the Comforter, who only can relieve you in your distress. How have you quencht his holy Motions and Solicitations, whereby fee hath essayed to overcome your Stubbornness with his Goodness.
You have been unfaithful to the Checks and Admonitions of your own Consciences. You have wasted and destroyed the Integrity, Watchfulness, and Tenderness of then. And so, nor only have been forgetful of God, but have forsaken him, by running into all Excesses of Sinning, with greediness, as if you had been covetous of Damnation. The Lord’s hand is now justly strercht out against you, as yet, he invites you to repent, and turn to him with your whole heart.
Be not so treacherous to your Selves, and your Eternal Happiness, as to bless your Selves in a false Peace, presuming of Salvation, without the real Qualifications thereof wrought in you.
Now, in the Evening of your day of Grace, let not the Son of Righteousness set on you in dismal darkness, but awake you from security in sinning, to a state of Righteousness.
Fear the Fickleness and Falsness of your hearts, in your present Remorse anal purposes of turning to the Lord, if your Lives may be spare. Some, when the Lord delivers them from present destraction, more harden their hearts, and rebel against him. Such cannot trust rationally in God’s mercy, all they can expect, is to be turned into Hell, as Forgetters and Forsakers of the Holy and Living God.
Such cannot hope for the Crown of Life and Righteousness, who despise Christ’s Sacred Laws, in the projecting of al Iniquity. But if you sincerely turn to God, he will pardon your former Provocations. If you faithfully cleave to him in dying, you Shall receive the Crown of Life and Glory, which never withers away, but flourishes Eternally, in the Beatisick Vision of God, in the immense, unchangeable Fruition of him, and an heavenly Conformity to him in perfect Holiness, which only can inflate you in all kinds and degrees of Blessedness.
On Monday the Ordinary required an account of their course of Life, and what fitness they were in for their approaching Dissolution.
John Davies, he is Condemned for Felony and Burglary, which he acknowledged to the Ordinary. He is aged 23 years, was born in Wales. He says that he had Religions Parents, who bred him up in the Fear of God: That he read often in the Bible at 10 years of Age, and made many Remarks on the Scriptures; so that he trembled at first when he went about any evil Action. He acknowledg’d that he had cherish evil Inclinations in himself, till by Custom in Sinning, the Devil got a deeper possession of his heart. I give you his own expressions. He freely confest that he converst with lewd Women, was not much guilty of Drunkenness, but of many other Notorious Sins. That he had sinned against the clear knowledg of God, and strong Convictions in Conscience, which made him adventure to commit the grossest Sins. He said that he is now troubled for breaking God’s Laws, and that Sin is an heavy burden on his Conscience. That he had rather dye than live, to fill up a fuller measure of Sinning. He cry’d out, that himself was the most villainous of Sinners, but added, that God hath infinite power to work true Repentance. I askt him, What it is? He answered, An hearty Grief for Sin, chiefly as an Offence against the holy and merciful God, that he trusted that by his Favour he would work Contrition of heart in him, as he had piercd the heart of Christ by his Sins. He said, that he expected nothing but Death, and therefore depends only on God for Eternal Life. I askt him. What Saving Faith is? He reply’d, It justifies a Sinner through Christ’s Merit only, and not as our Act, which is Imperfect; yet, he added, that Faith doth not only lay hold on Christ’s Rightteousness, but purifies the heart, working by Love, in Obedience to all God’s Commandments: For, said he, such deceive themselves, who only beg pardon, and not a change of heart. He added, That is the Blood of Christ, and not his own Tears, which can wash away the guilt and defilement of Sin ; yet he begs an heart of sh to moun aright for Sin. And said, Oh that I may be spared one week longer to exercise true Repentance, for this World and Life is but a Shadow. I was much pleased to hear him speak so knowingly in the Qualifications for Salvation, and I hope it proceeded from his heart.
John Peartman, Condemned for Robbing one John Hozey on the Road ‘twixt London and Bristol, of a Gelding price 12 l. and taking our of one of his Packs several Goods of considerable value. He is aged 33 years, was bred a Salesman of Cloth, Gloves, and several forts of Haberdashery . He set up his Trade, and lived on it Credibly; but left it, two years since, as rought into Debt, by keeping expensive Company. Thus he was prevailed upon to use Gaming, excessive Drinking, Sabbath-breaking, and other Sins, which made way for Robbing to supply his extravagant Coarses. He said, that now he ates that Sin most, which he indulged most. That it troubles him, that be abstained from the Sacrament, because he had several Law-Suits, and could not bring his heart to be willing to forgive his Enemies: But now he doth, though it be a very hard work. He said also, that it much troubles him, that he hath not lived upto his knowledge in Religion, but aggravated his Sins thereby; yet he believes that God can, and will, for Christ’s fake, paron all his Sins, as he hath promised to true Penitents. I askt him What Sincere Repentance is ? He replied, It is an hearty Sorrow for all Sin, joined with an earnest begging of power against it to resist it, otherwise, Prayer for Pardon is Hypocrisie. He concluded, that he doth, as much as lies in his power, endeavour to repent. That he is much discouraged, by the greatness of his Sins; and that the connual dread of his suffering a shameful Death, doth amaze and distract him. I replied, that such thoughts of Death which do unfit him for his Duty in preparing for a better Life, are to be supprest, by praying to God to sanctisie his Distress, that so this Cup of Trembling may be turned into a Cup of Salvation.
Walter Mooney, Condemned for Murder, was a Person of ill Life, and very Ignorant, bred up in a False Religion, and therefore, as much as he could, did decline me, tho’ I spared not to convince him, and exhort him the more earnestly.
On Saturday, the 21st of December Instant, Walter Mooney, John Peartman, and William Davies; were all Three conveyed in one Cart to Tyburn; and when they came there, Mr. Ordinary and another Minister took great pains with Walter Mooney, to persuade him to believe in Jesus Christ, (he being a Roman Catholick ) telling him, That there was no Name given under Heaven, whereby a Man could be saved, but by the Name of Jesus Christ only. He gave no Answer to this, nor to several other Questions that were put to him, only said, That he would rather take an Affront from any Man, than give one.
John Peartman prayed very fervently, and was extremely penitent, warning the Spectators to beware, left they fall into the same Sin; with several other Expressions, favouring of a godly Spirit. And indeed was so penitent, that it drawed Tears from abundance of those that beheld him, and heard his dying words : For he seemed by his Prayers, and the rest of his Behaviour, to be a person that had been well Educated, c. He forgave the person that swore against him, not denying that he rob’d the Carrier of the Goods, but had no design to steal the Horse. He prayed to God for mercy, and willingly submitted himself to the execution of the Law.
William Davis desired all his dear Brethren to take warning by him, left they come to the fame punishment, telling them, That he was but 23 years of Age, and that he had been a Robber for Four years last past, not only in England, but in other Countries; and could not be contented to abide with his Parents at home, (tho’ he lived well) but run into Extravagances, keeping com pany with lewd Women, besides breaking the Sabbath day; and was guilty of all manner of enormous Sin;, for which he prayed God to forgive him.
Then the Ordinary and another Minister prayed for them, endeavouring to strengthen their Faith; after which, committing their Souls to God Almighty, the three Prisoners were Executed.
This is the whole Account which I can give of this Session, tho’ I visited them every day till their Execution.
Licens’d, Decemb. 23. 1689.
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