IN the Forenoon of the Lord's Day the Ordinary preached on Psalm 32. 10. viz. Great plagues remain for the ungodly, but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy embraces him on every side.
These Words declare the sad Catastrophe of the wicked, while they seem rooted in Secular Power and Prosperity, they may be secure, yet they are never safe. It is otherwise with the Righteous, while such are beset with Calamities and the Snares of Death round about, Divine Mercy encompasses them as a Shield. At Destruction it self, while prosecuted against them, with utmost Malice, they shall laugh, because the Lord will keep such in perfect Peace, whose Minds are syncerely staid and fixed upon him.
Here were produced the Characters of a true and false trusting in God for Temporal Preservation and Eternal Salvation; which were suited to the Solemnity of Thanksgiving for the Reduction of Ireland under his Majesty's Happy Government, and to the Spiritual Condition of the Condemned Criminals.
The Conclusion of the Sermon was directed to the Condemned in this Charge. Take heed that you deceive not your selves, with vain and false Hopes of future Happiness; presume not to be compassed about with Divine Mercy on every side, in your present; Perplexities, if you persist to embrace any Lust, in the love and dominion of it. The Lord will turn the Counsels and Projects of the Wicked upon their own Heads, and snare them in the Work of their own Hands even while their Confidences are highest, that they shall be rooted in the Enjoyment of their worldly Prosperity; God's Artillery of Judgments is never spent, he will strike home, once for all, as having Treasures of Wrath and Eternity before him, wherein to punish Sinners. How dare any persist to fliffen their Hearts, in Pride and Rebellion against the Holy God O retreat in time lay down the Weapons of Unrighteousness, submit to the Terms of God's Discretion, to deal with you how he pleases, so that he will forbear to frown you into Hell. Give Glory to the Lord God, by a penitential Submission, before he cause Darkness, thick Darkness upon your Spirits, so that the things of your Eternal Peace should be hid from your Eyes: Plead therefore from the depth of a Contrite Heart, that though you have hitherto een rebellious, yet now you sincerely desire, That your ways may be agreeable to the Divine Law, so as to keep it with your whole Heart.
This cannot be obtained, unless Divine Grace confirm you in a serious Resolution to repent: This consists in the universal change of your Corrupt nature. If you be created to every Good Work, as new Creatures in Christ, the Agonies of Death shall not appale you, you shall not be prest down to Hell, under the weight of God's severest Wrath, but shall have Divine Mercy to encompass, to imbrace and shield you on every side: You shall be as safe while you walk through the Valley of Death, as Salvation it self: You shall be filled with insuperable Consolations, yea, Transports of celestial Joys, to all Eternity.
On Mnday the Ordinary visited the Condemned Criminals: After he had prayed with them, he required an Account from them severally, How their Hearts were affected with the Sermons and Prayers on the Lord's Day; especially with the Afternoons Discourse on the Revelations 2. 21. viz. I gave her space to repent in, yet she repented not: They said, that they hoped, they did repent of all their Sins, and should be fit to die.
I proceed to take an account of their former course of Life, and in what frame of Heart they were for a blessed Eternity.
I. Mercy Harvey, condemned for murthering her Bastard male Child. Some time before her Ttyal I visited some sick Prisoners in Newgate, and hearing there of such a wretched Person, I supposed that there would be small hopes of her Life, therefore I went to her and prayed with her, That God would make her very sensible of so great a Crime, and fit her for Death. After which I discoursed with her, and ask'd, Whether she had any Promise of Marriage with him who begat it? She answered no. Or whether he did promise any Maintenance for herself? She replyed no: but by often soliciting her she yielded to his Desires. She said that when she proved with Child, she dispaired how to provide for it, and so Satan tempted her to expose the Child to Death, by her concealing the whole matter, till it was discovered and her self apprehended for it. After her being condemned, I endeavoured to make her more deeply sensible of so great a Crime: She said that she had been very sinful, yet did not acknowledg any particulars of an ill Life, only that she had not been careful to know more of her Duty to God, did omit praying, and that she did sometimes deny a Fault when her Mistress charged her with it, and she knew her self to be guilty. She said, That it grieves her at the Heart, that she hath by this notorious Sin, given such publick Scandal and bad Example to young People; and that she was Cruel, in depriving the Child of Life: But she hopes that the Merits of Christ's Blood shed, will wash away her Sins, upon her sincere Repentance.
II. Anne Henderson, condemned for stealing a Silver Tankard, She is a Scotch-Woman, born near Berwick, her Employment was to carry Drink, to Wash and Scoure : She seemed very penitent, for offending God chiefly, rather than for publick Shame and Fear of Death. She gave a tolerable account of the nature of Saving Faith and says, She hopes she shall dye in Peace; being accepted with God through Christ's Righteousness.
III. Peter Vallard a Frenchman, condemned for High Treason, in clipping and diminishing the Currant Mony of this Kingdom. He denies not the Fact. He was a working Silver-Smith , which Trade, he says, he neglected, and was tempted by Clippers, who are since fled from Justice, who told him, That he might securely clip in some Ditch. He is very penitent for this and all other Sins of his life, praying fervently for God's Pardon, and that his Heart may be changed, to hate those Sins, wherein he most delighted.
IV, V. Thomas Rogers, condemned for clipping of Mony, found in the bottom of a Chest, with Shears and Files to diminish the King's Coyne. His Wife also was condemned for participating in the same; for all who joyn in High-Treason the Law counts Principals. The Wife is more sorrowful than the Husband; which denies the Crime, though clearly and sufficiently proved upon him. I leave them both to God's Judgment.
VI. Thomas Castle alias Cassey, condemned for High-Treason, in counterfeiting and making of false Shillings, found in his House, in the bottom of a Salt-box, with Crucibles, Clippings and Files, to carry on that wicked Trade. He expresses some Remorse for his Crime. He confest that he had led a very ill Life, and denyed not that he knew Clippers, but was unwilling to discover them: Whereupon I told him, That his Repen
tance cannot be counted syncere, because he refuses that by Justice such Crimes may be prevented, whereby the Community is so much dammfied. He had a competent measure of Knowledg and said this aggravated his Sins, but was not willing to declare them in particulars.
VII. Thomas Rowland, condemned for robbing in the Kings High-way, to the value of 1200 pound Sterling in Bone Lace; He is 40 years of Age, was a Bricklayer . He was condemned also for robbing in the High-way, to the value of 84l. 9s. which was fully proved also on him; yet he was so impudent as to deny both the Crimes. He would not acknowledg any of his particular Sins, though he said that he had led no good Life. I endeavoured to bring him to some sense of his Evil Courses; hereupon he withdrew himself from good Instruction and Prayers.
VIII. Bryant Cane, condemned for Felony and Burglary, being one of those 14 who robbed Mr. Baker of Marybone, helping to bind and gag the servants in the Family. He refused to come to me, though I solicited him, and remains obstinate, neither will he acknowledg whether he be a Papist or a Potestant.
IX. John Lowbridge, condemned for stealing a Mare; he was Apprentice to a Butcher , and confess'd that he had been sometimes drunk on the Sabbath-day. He would not acknowledg any other Sin, nor give any account whereupon his Confidence, as he said, of future Salvation was grounded.
X, XI. Jane Eaton, aged 19 Years, condemned with Katharine Jones,, for breaking the House of John Prescot, and carrying away Goods from thence, which were found upon them both. They deny not the Fact. Eaton said, That she was maintained well in her Father's House, but overrun it by the Perswasion of a Soldier, and was iniced by other evil Acquaintance, to break the Sabbath; but now she says her Heart is Penitent, in the remembrance of her Sins. Katharine Jones, her Companion in the Robbery, was little affected with her Crime: She left her Service she was in, being invited to break the Sabbath, and was more stubborn than some other Criminals.
XII. Constance Waynwright, aged 16 Years, was condemned for stealing a Silver Tea-pot and other things, with some Mony: She left her Service to joyn with bad Company; She neglected the Sabbath Duties, and that now she fears God's Displeasure more than than Hell; and hopes that if she truly repent, through Christ's Merits, she shall be saved.
This is all the Account which I can give of this Sessions, though I visited them every Day.
Dated this 23d of October 1690.
On Friday the 24th of this Instant October, Thomas Castle alias Cassey, Thomas Rowland and Mercy Harvey, were all conveyed to the Place of Execution (the other nine being at present Reprieved by their Majesties Clemency) Thomas Castle being drawn on a Sledge, the other two in a Cart, as usually: When they were there, they were all three tyed up, under the Gallows, in one Cart; after which Mr. Ordinary came to them, using all manner of Godly Exhortations with them, to acknowledg their wicked Devices, for which they were brought thither to dye; yet notwithstanding the great Pains and unwearied Industry of Mr. Ordinary to bring them to a free and ingenious Confession, the two Men, viz. Castle and Rowland, seemed stubborn, and would not be brought to any manner of Confession, relating to the Crimes for which they suffered: Upon which the Ordinary quoted an Instance to the Spectators, relating how two Men, who (some years since) were brought thither to die for murthering their own Wives, and remained stubborn, wishing that they might never enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, if they were guilty of it; but at last Mr. Ordinary seeming to decline them, and being gone out of the Cart into the Coach, the Cart being ready to draw away, they humbly begged, That he might come to them again before they were turned off; which he did, and they immediately confess'd, That they perpetrated the Murther with their own Hands, &c. All which shews how the Justice of the Nation is arraigned, and how little Confidence and Belief there is to be put in such notorious Offenders as these, who are brought to dye for their own wicked Inventions.
Thomas Castle and Thomas Rowlond, both were very careless, and very unwilling to hearken to the godly Exhortations of Mr. Ordinary, though he used all means to bring them to themselves; so he left them to the Mercy of Almighty God, who is the Searcher of all Hearts.
As to Marcy Harvey, executed for destroying her Bastard Child, she confess'd the Fact now, as she did in effect at her Tryal: But she being very sick, and unfit for Discourse, there can nothing futther be said of her, but what she hath before confessed.
Thomas Castle being sentenced to be Drawn, Hanged and Quartered for High-Treason, the Night before his Execution obtained theis Majesties Clememcy so far, that he was only drawn on a Sledge, but not quartered, &c.
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