ON Saturday the Ordinary Visited the Condemned praying for them, that the Lord would Convince them of their sinful and deplorable Condition, as having Intangled themselves in the snares of Death, by their Dissolute Practices, against all the warnings of Publick Justice on other Criminals, and that they would Endeavour to search their Hearts and call to Remembrance the secret sins, which had provokt the Lord to set them out, as monuments of his present severe, yet Righteous Judgement.
On the Lords Day in the Forenoon, this Text was preacht on viz. the 60 ver. of the 119. Psalm, I made hast and delayed not, to keep thy Commandments. Whence eight particular false Opinions were confuted, which cause Persons, either to think Repentance needless, or to delay it, to the hardning of the heart by many deceits in sining. The Conclusion was directed to the condemned with very affectionate Counsel and made a good Impression on hem.
In the Afternoon the Ordinary preach'd on the 12th. ver. of the 11th. chap. of St. Matthews Gospel. The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the Violent take it by force. The Gospels Dispensation is called the Kingdom of Heaven, because it most clearly Reveals the present State of believing in Christ, for Righteousness to justifie penitent believing Sinners, together with their Regenerating Grace of implanted Holiness, and the inestimable rewards of the future State of Glory. From whence several Inferences were drawn in aggravating that Indifferency of Spirit, which most are guilty of, in neglecting this Coelestial Kingdom.
2. Second Head, about what particulars must this Holy Violence be exercised.
3. How we must Form and lay Siege Regularly to the Kingdom of Heaven. As the Original Phrase implys. Wherein were many Allussions practically improved.
4. The Inefficacy, yea danger of a false Superstitious Zeal, in the prosecution of Heavenly Concernments.
5. Directions how to Scale the Walls of Gods Coelestial Kingdom, by persevering in the Use of proper means. These were aid down, with many Encouragements drawn from Possessing, the Rich Treasures laid up therein.
The Conclusion of the Sermon was thus directed to the Condemned.
You have heard what that Holy Violence is, which takes the Kingdom of Heaven by force, yet, How have you Proclaimed and Prosecuted an open War against God himself, tho he hath entreated you to be Reconciled in Christ.
You have Violated all the Laws of Humanity and Common Equity. You have by your Excesses in Sining drawn upon your selves a Violent and Shameful Death.
And are these the Instances of Good Nature to your selves, liberty to sin hath been very sweet to you. Now mortifie outright in an holy Revenge, the whole body of your Corrupt Nature, strive to demolish the strong holds of Sin and Satan.
You have been swift and earnest in pursuing a Course of Impiety, of which Repent. But you will never be ashamed of a well Tempred Zeal, by expiring your last Breath, in the Commendable Consumation of your short Race, in pios Exercises.
The Kingdom of Heaven hath in a wonderful Condescention, made offers to you of Salvation, when Divine Justice might, as a Flaming Cherubin, have obstructed your Entrance, for your sloth and obstinate Contempt of it. Yet, it is not too Late, to make your selves happy, in the possessing of it, if you offer an Holy Violence, to make sure of it, according to the Rules of Gods appointment.
On Monday, the Ordinary with another Minister Visited them, who stated the Nature of True Repentance towards Cod, and Saving Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,
After several Prayers made for them, in the Afternoon they were required to give an Account what well grounded Hopes they had of a future State of Blessedness.
On Tuesday they freely gave an Account what their Course of Life had been, and of some particular Sins, which they said, lay as an heavy burthen on their Conscience.
I. William Harsey, Condemned for killing two Men, he said, he had pious Education which he had sinned against, he confess'd the Crime publickly, with great penitency, saying, that he had often prophaned the Lords-Day, and had been guilty of Excess in Drinking, that he was so when he killed the two Men, one of which was his Friend: And that his former Drunkenness had led him to Acts of Uncleanness, that he had been accustomed to most Sins, of which, he hopes that now he sincerely Repents.
II. William Smith, Condemned for Fellony. He was Apprentice to a Vintner , after five years, he betook himself to Military Imployment , he said that he was guilty of all sins except Murther, he named Sabbath breaking, Drunkenness, and Uncleanness. He seemed Penitent.
III. Mary Jones, Condemned for Shoplisting, she came as a Person of Quality , to avoid suspition of her Dishonesty, She said, She was brought up to make Hoods and Scarfs , but Marrying of an Apprentice, and supplying his Extravagancies with Money, She fell into Poverty, and so was induced to the forecited Felonious Practices. And that this was not the first Attempt in that kind. She seemed Penitent, and said, that if She might be sared, She would never follow the like way again, but whatever She suffered She would endeavour to live honestly.
IV. Mary Mott, Condemned for killing her Male Bastard Child, she said, that he who begat it, promised her Marriage: When she was quick with Child, she sent him notice of it, but he ran away, and took no Care of her, so distrusting Gods Providence how she should maintain the Child, she put it up in a Basket, and exposed it in a Gutter, to starving. She said that she had an hard cruel heart, for which she now Relents, as also, for Sabbath breaking, for Drunkenness, and the frequent neglect of Prayer and all other Religious Dutys.
VI. Thomas Taylor, for setting a Barn on Fire, and while the Servants came from the Dwelling House, to queuch it, he ran up into a Chamber, pretending to help to preserve the Goods, but ran away with them. He said, he was accustomed to Gaming from 12 years of Age, and that by reason of Idleness he would not be Educated to any honest Imployment. That he had rejected the good Counsel of his Parents, and joyned himself to bad Company, that he never regarded the publick Worship of God on the Sabbath nor any private Duty of Religion. That he was adicted to Swearing and Gaming, which Gaming occasioned, that he had been guilty of Drunkenness, and Whoredom, and all sins except Murther. That he was now ashamed of his very sinful Life, and desired me to pray for him, that God would make him horowly penitent for his secret sins, and all other he Impieties of his Life, whereby he had offended God, and given wicked Examples to others.
VII. William Good, Condemned for Robbing a Person in Hackny-Fields. He denyed not the Fact, and confest that he had been of a dissolute Life, that bad Company Ruined him. That he had been guilty of many sins, and neglecting Religious Duty's. But now he repents of all sin against God, who hath spared him hitherto, but if he may now escape, he hopes God will give him firmness in his Resolution to Reform.
VIII. Humphrey Malice, Condemned for Robbing a Gentleman in Chelsy Field. He said, he was born in Exter, and came to be a Gardiner in Westminster, after that he was a Soldier , and that the greatest sin of his Life was Drunkenness. That by perswasion of bad Company, he had his hand in the Robbery, but no share in the spoil.
This is all the Acconnt I can give of this Session.
Dated this 18th of December 169.
On Friday the 18th Instant, these Eleven Persons were all Conveyed in Four Carts to Tyburn; in Order to be Executed, viz. Humphrey Malice, William Smith, Richard Johnson, William Good, William Harsey, Edward Booth, Thomas Taylor, John Barrett, Mary, Jones, Anne Miller, and Mary Mott. The first that was Tyed up to the Tree, was Mary Jones, who said but very little at the place of Execution; only declared, that she had been very well Instructed in her Duty heretofore by her Parents, to whom she never much hearkned, neither took notice of such Pious Counsels: as were given her, and falling into Lewd Company, brought her to an evil end.
Mary Mott, was seemingly very Penitent, Crying out for Pardoning Mercy from God; for so bloody a Fact, as the Murther of the Innocent Child; but being overwhelmed with Grief, she could not express her sorrow for her sins, and particularly for that for which she Dyed.
Anne Miller, being the next fastened to the Tree began to lament her untimely evil End, wringing her hands, bewailing herself for her former ill spent Life saying; she threw herself upon the Mercy of God' through Christ; for Salvation, not denying but that she justly Suffered, for she had been a very great Sinner, and she was therefore very willing to submit to the punishment of Death.
Humphrey Malice, and Edward Booth, who were both Condemned two Sessions ago, for a Robbery on the High-way in Chelsey Fields; upon on John Nelson a Joyner , whom they stript Naked, and beat him, and left him bound in a Ditch, and finding but 8 d. in his Pocket, they gave him several strips more, telling him that the next time he went abroad, he should put more Money in his Pocket, &c. They Robbed another Gentleman the same Night, in the same Fields, striping him in the like Nature, &c. All which they did not deny, but were wery sorry for the injury they had done, Malice said, he had been very disobedient to his Parents, especially to his Mother. Therefore desired Young People to be warned by his Suffering, how they carryed themselves towards their best Friends; adding that he was troubled more for his ill Carriage towards his Mother, then at the appearance of Death, &c.
William Smith, was very much concerned for his Soul, and hearkned very diligently to the Instructions of the Ordinary, Exhorting all the Spectators to take timely warning (by his Ignominious Death) to prepare themselves for a better Life; Whiles he was speaking these words, a sudden Shout was given by the Multitude, Occasioned, by reason that there was some hopes of a Reprive, coming for some of the Prisoners, but that proved but a false Alarm. After this he said, further that there were several ill Persons about London; that used to buy the Goods that he and others had Stolen which gave great Incouragement to Thieves, for by Reason of such evil Merchandise, several poor Creatures had been brought to such an end, as he himself was just ready to undergo. This (he said) he did not speak out of any particular Malice against of any the Persons, but that all people might take warning by it, &c.
Richard Johnson, Formerly Condemned for stealing a Silver Cup. After he was Tyed up, contined very steadfast and in a devout manner, prayed very affectionately for himself, to the last Breath, but said nothing Publickly at the place of Execution.
William Harsey, Declared that he was very sorry for the wickedness he had done, desiring the Spectators to take heed of Sabbath-breaking and Drunkenness, &c. For those were the sins that put him upon Endeavouring to take away the Lives of no less than three Persons at once, two of which Dyed, but the third thorow the Mercy of God Recovered, being only prickt upon one of his Ribbs.
William Good, Likewise mae publick Confession, that he had been much addicted to the sin of Drunkenness, &c. For which he hopes he shall receive Pardon thorow Christ Jesus, and desired all good Christians to pray for him.
Lastly Thomas Taylor, who Dyed for Firing of Barns, behaved himself very undecently and nhandsomely, all the way from Newgate to Tyburn, seeming very indifferently sensible of his Condition, but when he saw pale Fac'd Death begin to draw the Curtains upon him, he seemed to be a little alter'd, and owned the Facts for which he Dyed, adding also that he had set several Barns on fire besides, and committed many more Felony's, for which he hopes that God Almighty will grant him pardon.
After this the Ordinary prayed very earnestly for them all and Exhorted them to pray for themselves, and to confess their sins for which they were to dye, then a Psalm of Penitency was sung, after which the Cart drew away, and they were all Committed to the Infinite Mercy of God.