A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Friday the 20th of May, 1692.
THE Ordinary Visited the Condemned Criminals every Day before their Execution; on the Lord's-Day he Preach'd Twice on this Text, viz. Revel. 16. 15. Behold I come as a Thief, blessed is he who watcheth and keepeth his Garments, least he walk Naked, and they see his Shame. After Christ's coming to Judgment was Treated of, in respect of the certainty and terribleness of it, to all such who shall then be found in a State of Security, Unbelief, and Impenitency; the Duty of Christian Watchfulness was Explained, as a means to escape Divine Wrath. These particulars were Treated of, First, What is it to Watch Spiritually. Secondly, The difference betwixt the unaffected Slumber of Sincear Christians, and the voluntary deep deadly Sleep or Lethargy of Impenitent Sinners. Thirdly, The Reasons why it is the Duty of every Christian to Watch. Fourthly, Means or Directions, in observing which, we may be found in a Watchful Frame. Fifthly, Motives or Encouragements to rouze up all Persons, that they may not persist in the pernicious Sleep of Security, at any time, especially when Death and Judgment-Day shall steal upon and surprize them.
After this was shewed, what is meant by the Garments of a Christian, which, he is by Watching to keep clean and close girt about him. Also the Shame and Danger which attends a State of Security, and of not walking suitably to the Duties and Dignity of the Christian Profession, from these words, Least he walk Naked, and Men see his Shame. Lastly, Means and Motives to maintain such an excellent commendable Conversation, as to avoid the shame and punishment of Remisness in the profession of Christianity.
The Conclusion from the whole Text, was thus directed to the Condemned. Examine how you have fulfilled this grand Duty of the Christian Religion, viz. Watchfulness, which is the Guardian of the Hearts Integrity. Rather you have watched to effect your Wicked Contrivances, by taking the most Advantagious Opportunities for the compleating of them, as if you reckoned your safety to Die in perpetrating the Artifices of Sinning. Will you now, at last, return to your sober Wits, in watching at the Posts of Wisdom's House, to learn Instruction to Eternal Life. For shame! do not put off your Watch to the last Hour of your Agonies in Dying. Then the Unclean Spirits will watch to seize on your Souls, as the Just Prey of their Merciless Cruelty. Consider, that Satan's Vigilancy and Diligence is more bent against you now, in contriving to retain you as his Captives, in these your last Hours. Let your watchfulness over your own Hearts be thereupon so much the more increas'd. If now you let fall your Guard of special Circumspection, and in the least intermit the pursuing Holy Frames and Dispositions, Satan will improve this to the hindrance of your Conversion. Beseech the God of all Grace, that he would by his Spirit quicken your Endeavonrs for the working out of your Salvation with the fear of an Holy Caution, least you should mistake in Judging of your Soul's State. Without fervent Praying, your watching will be less Circumspect and Ineffectual, but join them, that they may strengthen and render perfectly compleat each other. O how Dolorous and Reproachful will it be, if you should appear at Christ's Judgment Seat, without the Garments of his Spotless Righteousness! There cannot be any Covert under which you will be able to shelter your selves from the Just Incens'd Wrath of God, unless by Self-Abasement, you become Vile in your own Eyes, that you may be compleat in Christ, come to him therefore without delay. His Righteousness is Alsuficient to cover th Shame of your Nakedness in the Guilt of Sin, and to Cure the Malignity of your depraved Nature. If Christ be formed in you, as the Hope of Glory, the Graces of his Spirit will set you above the fond Love of Natural Life, and the Slayish Fear of Death.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Persons.
I. William Jones, Aged about Twenty Years, Condemned for the Notorious Robbery of George Smith Esq ; of a quantity of Plate to a great Value. He was the Son of a Brasier , who instructed him in that Employment, but being uneasie under his Fathers Government, he left him, and betook himself to an idle course of Life, till he joined himself to very Bad Company. I inquir'd of him how he durst adventure to Commit this Felony and Burglary. He said, That the Devil tempted him to it, and he did not Pray against it. I Ask'd him, Whether any Person informed him, or his other Companions, of the Money or Plate which was in the House, because they went so directly to the Chamber and Closet wherein it was? He Answered me, That no Person whatsoever had made him acquainted therewith, but they thought that snch a fair House might be well stored to furnish them. I inquired of him farther, What Robberies he had Committed besides this? He said, That he knew of the Rifling one Mr. Ansley's House at the other end of the Town, whence was taken a large Sum of Money; but was unwilling to declare who did it. As for the course of his Life, he confess'd, that he had neglected his Duty to God, and been careless of his Souls Eternal Welfare. But now he is sensible how Vile he hath made himself, and Unworthy of any Mercy from God, saying withal, that he hoped he did Repent. Least he should deceive himself, I stated the true Nature and effects of saving Faith and Repentance to him and the other Criminals. Jones was every Day more Relenting, but the rest were too little concerned in appearance, being so near their Death.
II. Joseph Jones Condemned for the same Felony with William Jones. I cannot give much account of his course of Life; he confess'd that he was one of the Four Felons who Robbed George Smith Esq ; in Clerken-Well, and that he had been a great Sin
ner, but he now desired to hearken to good Instruction, and desired my Prayers to God for him.
III. Thomas Standale, Aged Twenty Years, Condemned for the aforesaid Felony. He was an Apprentice to a Stationer in the Countrey, but after he had served some time, he grew weary of being under Confinement to a Trade, affecting an idle Life. This I told him, exposed him to all Temptations of sinning, for Satan watches Men's Idle Times, as being then most bsic to inspect Wicked Thoughts, which soon take full seizure of the Soul, and betray it to the foulest Practices. Upon this he Bewailed his Negligence in Religious Duties, and said, that God thereupon had justly left him to commit much Evil. But if he might now find sparing Mercy, he verily thinks that he should Reform his Life. I told him, That the Heart of Man is very false in its purposes of Returning unto God, and therefore, that he ought to beg of him, that he would undeceive him as to any false hopes of future Blessedness. He took well my Advice, and said, That he would endeavour to put it in practice.
IV. Thomas Wheeler, Condemned for the aforesaid Robbery of Mr. Smith. He did not deny it, and said, that not any person in the Family gave them notice of the great quantity of Plate which was in the Closet, but all Four conceived that it might be so, from some Circumstances which they would not declare. Thomas Wheeler had been a Seaman for some Years together. About half a Year last past he came from Holland into England, and left off all Employment, so that he joined himself to Bad Company. He said, That he led a Vicious Life, particularly in breaking of the Sabbath, and had been excessive in Drinking. He was not so careful as he should have been in making preparation for his Death. Therefore I Instructed him the more in the Qualifications of true Faith and Repentance; but he remained so Ignorant, that he presumed to be happy, without expressing any Remarks of Conversion unto God.
V. Richard Page, Aged Twenty Years, Condemned for Felony. He confess'd the Crime, and that it was occasioned by leading an Extravagant Life, having not answered the Good Education which was given him. That he had spent his Friends much Money, so that they would not supply him any longer to maintain his Excesses. Whereupon he fell into much Discontent, and joined with Bad Acquaintance, who reduced him to great want of Money, and this exposed him to the Robbing of the Chamber in Grey's-Inn, whence he took several-Books of Valew. He said, That this was the first dishonest Fact which at any time he had committed. He was Attentive to the Ordinary's Advice, who endeavoured to make him sensible of his bad Life. And persuaded him to turn to God, whom he had forsaken, as the guide of his Youth. I hope he truly Repented.
VI. Daniel Kyrkham, Condemned for Murther and Robbery on the High-way. I inquired into his course of Life; he told me, That he had Ingenuous Education at Winchester School, but when he grew to more Years, his Parents could not persuade him to take any Employment upon him, but he studied to live by unlawful ways. So, giving the sway to his Excesses, he grew more presumptuous in them, even to commit Violence on the common Roads. I told him, That he could not harden his Heart to that degree, till he first had Conquered the Checks of his Conscience. He assented to this, and said farther, that he had committed gross Sins besides, which had prevailed upon him for want of Praying to God, that he would keep him from the Assaults of Satan, and the Deceits of his own Heart. I told him, That whereas he had Birled Persons Travelling on their Lawful Occasions, he ought now to offer an Holy Violence to the Kingdom of Heaven, to take it as by Force. That it is not an easie thing to Repent in good Earnest, having bound one Sin upon another by Custom, especially, to Mourn for the Universal Depravidness of his Nature, that being the Corrupt Fountain of all Abominations. He seemed Penitent, and had more knowledg than the other Criminals, which, he said, he had not Improved, that he might have led a Sober Life in some lawful Employment. This was now a great Burthen of Grief upon him.
On Friday the 20th of May, 1692, Daniel Kyrkham, William Smith, and Thomas Standale, were Carried in Two Carts to Tyburn, where, being Tied up, the Ordinary Exhorted them truly to Repent of all their Sins, and to call upon God for Pardoning Mercy. Daniel Kyrkham and William Smith behaved themselves very Penitently, joining with the Ordinary in his Prayers, and likewise Prayed for themselves, and desired him to warn the Spectators of falling into the Like Crimes, least they come to the same End.
Then a Penitential Psalm was Sung, and the Ordinary having recommended them to the Mercy of Almighty God, they were all turned off.
This is all the Account I can give of this Sessions.
Dated this 20th. of May, 1692.
LONDON, Printed for L. Curtiss, at Sir Edmundbury-Godfrey's-Head, near Fleet-Bridge, 1692.