A True ACCOUNT of the BEHAVIOUR, CONFESSION, AND Last Dying SPEECHES Of the Criminals that were Executed at TYBURN, On Wednesday the 20th of December, 1693.
THE Ordinary preacht to the condemned Criminals in the forenoon on the Lords day: The Text was from the 23d Ch. of St. Luke, the 42d and 43d v. Lord remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom.
These words are the summary of the Christian Faith, declared by the late convered Thief, under the Abasement of Christs Crucifixion. Tho he suffered with him as a notorious Malefactor, yet being baptized in the laver of Christs blood, applied to him by the Spirit of Regeneration, he died as a Martyr for Christs cause, in asserting his Godhead against all the reviling of his Enemies. Let no man expect the like wonderful change of corrupt nature. For this single example of late Repentance, and the thorough Conversion to God in Christ, was and will be without any such future miraculous unparallelled president: This Converts Faith equaliz'd in some degree that of Abraham; for God made an express Covenant of grace with him, and showed him many present favours to encourage his Faith: But this Thief believed, before Christ spake friendly to him. Moses Faith was confirmed by a succession of miracles; God appeared to him in the flaming Bush, not consumed: But this Convert saw Christ crowned with Thorns, the Livery of the Earths curse, for the sin of man. Peter believed, seeing Christ walking on the Sea, as on a firm Pavement; but now Christs hands and feet were nailed to the Cross, as tormented in all the Nerves of his sacred Body, yet this Thief stedfastly confest Christ to be the King of Eternal Glory, tho he were erected higher on the Cross, as a worse reputed Criminal than either of the Thieves. He renounced all the spoils of his robbing Trade as dross and dung, that he might win an interest in Christs favour, counting now, the very fear of God to be his chiefest treasure. How remarkable was his humility and self-denial? he did not desire that he might sit at Christs right hand in heavenly glory, as a peculiar favourite, only he prayed, Lord remember me, shew me the least glimpse of thy favour admit me to be only a Door-keeper in thy celestial Temple, and this shall abundantly satisfy me. It is the sum of all happiness to be the meanest Pensioner of Christs kingly bounty and beneficence. Herein he acknowledged that Christ was the sole purchaser, and absolute disposer of heavenly glory; as if he had thus said, O my Lord I am ashamed and deeply grieve, that I no sooner knew thee, that I might longer have honored and served thee, than possibly now I can, in the extreamest part of my life; thus I seal the sincerity of my heart in owning thee for my Lord and my God, with the chearful shedding of my Hearts blood. Observe Christ waited to be gracious, and therefore immediately accepted this late Converts sincere, yet fervent and modest petition. Observe how Christ replied, as under the form of an Oath, Verily, verily, I say to thee, this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise Late Converts, if they have been notorious sinners, need extraordinary divine assurances of their future blessedness; five reasons were given of this. Let us therefore not delay our repentance and conversion to God; let us greive that we have so long stood out against all the sollicitations of Christs Spirit, to get our hearts renewed and our lifes reformed; so shall we behold the beatifying vision and fruition of the God of glory, in the celestial Paradise; herein all the mysteries of Salvation are made known perfectly, without the least with holding of assent unto them; here God in Christ is all in all, for the perfecting of the Saints felicity. To be with Christ in Paradise is the highest happiness of heaven, Christs continued presence garrisons the celestial Paradise, that Satan, the subtile Tempter, cannot possibly inject into our minds the least diverting thought from our fixt contemplation and rapturous admiration of Gods infinite excellencies, would we enjoy this immediate blessedness after death: Let us then be awakened from our security in sinning. This Convert had very serious and deep reflexive acts of Conscience, which reduced him from his distracted state in sinning to the soberness of a sound mind. He was not converted altogether in an hurry of confused dolorous passions and exclamations against himself, for bringing this shameful death upon himself. It was not the rending of the Rocks, nor the Thunder striking of the dead out of their Graves, which wrought this strange conversion; it was rather his being baptized with the sprinkling of Christs blood on his soul, which sanctifyed the extremity of his sufferings to the healing of his corrupt nature: His heart was changed and mollified, by hearing Christs prayer for his most malicious enemies. Thus Christ showed the miraculous effects of his death in saving this sinner, tho himself was reputed the Chief of Criminals, and was cast out, as the Pest and Execration of the Nation.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Condemned.
And now, that I ay more immediately apply my self, to you who are under a sentence of death; let not this single instance of a late effectual repentance, cause you so to presume on Gods mercy, as to imagine true conversion, in your last hours, an easie and slight performance. No, 'tis certainly a very difficult and laborious work (however possible and performable) for habits of grace and virtue are not ordinarily introduced into the Soul, but by a frequent repetition of holy actions, like as vicious habits were contracted by a reiterated usage of sinful practices, and how hazardous a thing it is, to expect extraordinary means of grace and conversion, after having forfeited the ordinary auxiliaries of Gods Spirit, by a customary disobedience.
The Convert Thief did not trifle with Gods goodness and forbearance (as many men do) but readily answered the first call of the divine Spirit inviting him to repentance. He probably never before heard of Christ never saw any of his miraculous performances, never knew any thing of his doctrine, and consequently had not receiv'd any, till now, external motive to become his follower, and accept of the Gospel terms of Pardon and Salvation.
'Tis likely also that Christ in wisdom deferr'd this extraordinary proof of his Almighty Power, till the last act of his life, thereby to evidence more fully his Divine Nature, and that he is the All-sufficient Redeemer of the world, now when he seem'd by his ignominious sort of suffering the vilest of Malefactors.
Beg therefore of God to quicken your resolutions of turning unto him immediately, and of supplying your late repentance by the more powerful workings of his Holy Spirit upon your hearts.
Divine wrath is let out to the utmost after death, then obstinate Sinners shall for ever be deprived of all the seasons of grace, or any possibility of future happiness; Then shall they be utterly unable to amend any defect in the work of their Conversion. There is a limited Season of Grace, as well as of a mans natural life in this world. Be imployed therefore in the fulfilling of your heavenly Fathers Will, with all diligence and chearfulness, that Christ may say to each of you at the time of your dissolution, well done good and faithful Servant, enter with joy into my everlasting Kingdom.
I proceed to give you an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
I. Richard Kensey, Gentleman, Condemned for the murther of one Henry Hutton, in the Parish of St. Brides within the liberty of London. He was born of Parents of good Reputation, aged 27 years; He came over with King William into England, hath served him; 5 years in Flanders; He was in the Expedition of Ships sent to reduce Corke and Kingsale, now is under Brigadeer Churchill; he came from Flanders as a Lieutenant to raise Recruits here, but a week before this unhappy accident; he said that he did heartily repent that he was prone to be in drink, and actually to, when he joyned with the two Breams condemned for the same Murther. That he will take care hereafter to serve God and the King faithfully, to avoid evil Company, and to be more strict and watchful in his course of Life, if he may obtain sparing mercy.
II. Arnold Breams, Condemned for the foresaid Murther, was born of Parents of good Quality and Reputation, who are now dead; yet it grieves him that he hath not ordered the course of his life according to that Religious Education which was be
stowed on him. I told him that I was informed that he had travelled into Flanders, out of curiosity of acquainting himself with the Customs of that Country, and to learn the Spanish Language; which he readily acknowledged, and added, that he did lament the not guarding himself by prayer and watchfulness over his Heart, against the Vices of that place; That he observed not the Sabbath, to worship God thereon; That he had been overtaken with intemperance in drinking; That sometimes he did prophane Gods Name in swearing, and had kept vain Company, which betrayed him to commit much evil, for which God being displeased, he was left to himself to be drunk when this Crime was committed: Yet that it was not done by his own hand. He often sighed, and said that now sin was as an heavy burthen on his Conscience, but be hoped if he may live that by Gods assistance he shall reform his life.
III. John Breams, The Younger Brother, was Condemned for the same Murther of Henry Hutton. He denied not that the dead person was run through by him; He was a Volunteer in the Sea-service very lately; He said that he did heartily repent, that he was drunk when he committed the sin of Murther; And that the Person dying suddenly might not be prepared for it: That he had been guilty before of prophaning the Sabbath, and the Name of God in swearing, and seldom prayed to be preserved from evil Company; but yet his own heart had most what inclined him to any sinful course. He exprest sorrow for all his sins, and expecting no reprieve from death, he desired me to visit him in his Chamber and to prepare him for dying; which I hope God fitted him for, because he desired not to live to fill up a measure of sin, but said that he was willing to dye, if his Peace might be made with God through Christ.
IV. Abraham Stacey, Condemned for Robbing on the Highway. He mourned that he took not warning, being pardoned formerly. And that he had sinned against much knowledge and the convictions of his Conscience, yea against vows of Reforming. I exhorted him to demonstrate his Repentance, by drawing up a Narrative of his evil life, to warn others by his untimely end; he said that he would consider of it: I told him that it was the only way to clear his Conscience, and to Glorifie God in taking shame to himself, and thereby to give publick satisfaction to others of his Repentance, for the scandals given to the Christian Religion. He did not at any time absent himself from publick Exhortation and Prayers with the other Condemned Criminals: I went several times to his Chamber, that I might the more affect his heart with his sinful deplorable Condition, as having been a former Offender, and therefore needing the more care and earnest endeavours to bring him to a through sense of his evil Courses: He did acknowledge that he had provoked God, by hardning his heart against Divine Longsuffering which should have led him to an earlier Repentance, yet not being prevailed upon hitherto, he now earnestly prays that God would not utterly reject, but give him his Holy Spirit to renew and change his heart, that he may be fitted for his death.
V. John Urwin, Condemned for Murther; he is a Cooper at present by Trade; He said that he always lived Chast before and after marriage; Yet that he kept not the Sabbath, nor prayed as he ought; That he had been sometimes drunk and did swear in Passion; He was very attentive to the Instructions given him, to prepare for his death, and seemed penitent.
VI. William Trapps, born of Creditable Parents, now dead. He was not brought up to any Employment, and that exposed him to extravagant Courses, and Poverty; so that he now laments his Robbing on the High-way, for which he is Condemned. I went to him before his Tryal to exhort and pray with him, to fit him for the Sentence of Death; Bur being very secure and not sensible of his evil Course of Life; He told me that when he had need of me he would send for me. After the Sentence of Death, he came not to the Chappel to joyn in the worship of God; He absented altogether, tho desired to come and receive Instructions for the benefit of his Soul: At last I went to him, and inquired the reason of his absenting himself: He told me that he was bred of good Parents who died in the Romish Perswasion, and he could not lay aside those Opinions: I replied that many of them were dangerous, as destructive to the Christian Profession; He said that he did not hold any gross parts of Popery, I asked him what he thought of praying to Saints and Angels, he said that they did interceed to God for us. I replied that this is derogatory to the allsufficiency of Christs merits, and that his intercession is grounded on the satisfaction made to Gods offended Justice by his Death, so that none in Heaven can be mediators of Intercession, who are not mediators by the purchase of Redemption. He did not utterly deny it, but desired me to pray, that God would sanctifie his distressed Condition to the saving of his Soul.
VII. Thomas Hoyle, Condemned for Robbing on the Highway. He was born of Parents of Quality and good Reputation, but after their decease he left the Discipline of a Boarding-School, grew Idle, and followed vain Company; At last he entred himself into the service of our present King, and was by Commission a Chieftain over a Military Company , till June last; I asked him why he left the Kings Service, he replyed that his Commission was taken away for fighting in a Duel, whereby he received a wound, which disabled him to continue in the Service. He seemed much affected on the Lord's Day, with the Exhortations and Prayers. He with others said that they were under some perplexity of Spirit, as doubting of their Salvation; I replyed that true faith may be mixed with doubting, and usually is, tho this be not of the Essence and Nature of Faith: But if they adhered to God in Christ, fulfilling by the assistance of his holy spirit the requisite qualifications of Salvation, which I explained unto them, that they might comfortably rely on Gods Promise to state them in future blessedness; and that they ought strenuously to lay hold on the Kingdom of Heaven, as they had offered Violence to the Authority of Gods Sacred Laws. Upon this Thomas Hoyle acknowledged the particulars of his sinful Course, namely, that he had not been serious in the worship of God, that he had sometimes been intemperate and prophaned the Name of God in common discourse. There were others very ignorant who gave little or no account.
Abraham Stacy behaved himself as became a dying man, with much humility, he warned the people four several times, the substance of which was this. I had religious Edncation but followed not the counsel given me. I little thought, I should come to this untimely end, but I sinned against much knowledge more than thousands have done; therefore my guilt is the greater. I have been accustomed to robbing on the High Way, and counted my self and Associates brave couragious Persons not to be overmatcht; but Gods wise power hath disappointed all our confidences, and justly brought us to be spectacles to warn others. I became guilty of all kinds of iniquity, but only the sin against the Holy Ghost. I lived in uncleanness which caused quarrels with my Wife, but I have begg'd her pardon this day. I have robbed many more than those who know me, several I saw in the way to my Execution, I begg'd their pardon not being able to make any satisfaction. I never actually murthered any man, yet I declare that I might have committed it lately in Newgate, had nor God restrained me; for my self with others attempted to make an escape in an evening in disguise. I and others intended to thrust briskly to escape, tho discovered, yet not to kill any one man, as a dying man I speak it? God knows that this is truth, and I beg pardon for that attempt. He often warned the Spectators and said, That it grieved him to see the Youth did not restrain themselves from vicious courses by frequent examples of Justice in Criminals. He begg'd pardon for the breach of the Laws of the Nation, and wisht it much peace and prosperity. He desired the prayers of all present, that God might be glorified in the improvement of his death to the amendment of others Lives.
Hoyle wept much in Prison, and was very penitent at his Execution, desiring all whom he had wronged to pardon him. He confest he had been a great sinner, in neglecting to worship God, and in being too familiar with women; that he took not to the road to rob any for the Money, only he joyn'd with High waymen for the pleasure of their Company in Candelmas last. He prayed and exhorted the people against all sin, and moved tears in several eyes. He gave me a Prayer to print, which is as follows.
MOst Just and Holy Lord God, who bringest to light the hidden things of darkness, and by thy just and wise Providence dost bring sin to shame and Punishment, frustrating the hopes of wicked men, visiting their sins upon them in this present Life, that thou mayest deter others from the guilt of such ways. O Lord in thy mercy, look down upon me a wicked and miserable sinner, who is now before thee to confess thy justice in making me a sad example to others; (it is just O Lord, thus to deal with me for my sins) O Lord I must with sorrow and shame confess, it would be just with thee, should Death eternal be the wages of my sins. O Lord, I have slighted thy mercy, and what can I expect, but to be an everlasting sacrifice to thy Justice: I have stopt my Ears when thou hast called me to repentance; how just would it be with thee to mock now, at this calamity which is come upon me. Wash me that I may be clean, purge away all my filthiness and corruption, and sanctifie me throughout.
The two Breams behaved themselves penitently; the elder being very weak speak little, the other said not much, but prayed for himself, as did the rest, after the Ordinary, and were all turn'd off
Decem. 21. 1693.
Licensed Decem. 21st.
AT the Pattern-drawers upon Ludgate-hill, next Door to the Kings Arms Tavern near Fleet Bridge; any Person may be furnished with Water for the Freckles, Pimples, Worms, and Morphew in the Face; Elixir Salutis, Balsamick viti, Tinctured viti: Water and Oyntment for the Eyes, Oyntments for the Rickets, Burns, Scalds, Wounds, Aches, Sprains, &c. Powders, Dentrifices, Elixers, Essences, Oyls, Spirits for the easing and curing of most Distempers incident to Humane Bodies. Prepared and Sold by B. L.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, at Sir Edmundbury Godfrey's Head, near Flet-Bridge, 1693.