A True Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and last Dying Speeches of the Condemned Criminals, that were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 26th. of this Instant Jan. 1697.
On the Lords-Day, after the Condemnation of the Condemned Criminals, a Sermon as Preached on this Text,
Ps. 39. 13. O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more.
The first Observation.
WHen we are encompassed with Terrors of deadly dangers; then to obtain a little respite of Time, wherein to repent of the evil of our Ways, is to be counted a very great Mercy.
Yet strange it is, that the dying Man's want and wish, viz. (Lord afford me longer time to settle the eternal state my Soul,) is the living Man's Burthen. When Death is out of sight, we waste Time in the excesses of Sinning; but when Death stares us in the Face, and we are ready to shiver into Ashes, then time is more precious. So much Time which we have lost in the neglect of Piety and Virtue, so much have we lost of the encrease of our Happiness; yea, of our strength and Ability, to work out our Salvation at present.
2ly, Observe, That the desire of longer Life should not proceed out of our fond Love to it, nor from the Slavish fear of Death; but chiefly to recover Spiritual Strength in our Souls, for the more vigorous service of God, that we may publickly be more Beneficial to others, and to work out our own Salvation with a more zealous and cheerful activity. Before I go hence; Observe, That the consideration that we are Strangers and Pilgrims in this World, only for a Season, and must depart we know not how soon, should quicken us up to the vigorous exercise of all gracious Qualifications, whereby we may attain everlasting Life, and an Inheritance undefiled and indefeasible in Celestial blessedness. Before I go hence; Observe, that Saints who know that they are recovered from the state of spiritual Death in Sinning, and are Redeemed from the Curse of eternal Death; by the Renovation of their Hearts and Life can speak of Death natural, in soft and mollifying Expressions as the Translation of their Souls from Earth to Heaven. They willingly chuse and covet to dye, that so the Veil of their Flesh being rent from their Souls, they may have a clearer, perfect and fixt injoyment or Heavenly Felicities. There they shall delight themselves in those eternal streamings forth of glorious light, from the transforming beauty of God's holiness, imprest on the Souls of all his Saints united to him in Christ, by an immutable covenant of free Grace and Favour. But the wicked desire to take firm rooting in the Earth. Neither can they go cheerfully to meet Death, as not prepared for the Encounter. They are not reconciled to God in Christ, and therefore cannot entertain any good opinion of Death. They are driven hence in their wickedness, as an abhorrence to God and Men. They are scattred from the Face of the Earth like Chaff, being not only useless, but vile, as not worth the gathering up, by any Hand of Preservation. It is farther observable. That David doth not complain out of any discontents, that he must leave the World by Death, and thereby e seen no more, as to any delightful converse with his Godly Friends; nor that when he is Translated hence, shall not enjoy the solemn Ordinaries of God's Sanctuary. David well considered, That the loss of comfortable Communion with the Saints on Earth, is abundantly recompenced in the Seeing and enjoying of God himself, in a glorious state.
Here I shall prove, That the Souls of Godly Men at Death, ascend immediately to God, to be enstated in their essential blessedness, tho' they wait to be reunited to their Bodies, as their additional Felicity in their compleat Personalities. Yet this their waiting for the reunion of their Bodies, is without any allay or Diminution to their Souls essential blessedness, in the present sight and enjoyment of the God of Glory. A middle place and state (which Brentius feigned below the Imperial Heaven of God's immediate presence) would administer only scanty Refreshments, tho' Superlative to what they enjoyed in God's Sanctuary on Earth
Objection, Souls newly released out of their earthly Prisons, cannot bear the light of the glorious Communications of God's beauty and bounty to them.
I answer, That the Souls of the Righteous, after their expiration out of their Bodies, are perfectly purified by Christ's meritorious Intercession for their admission into Heaven, as being fitted for this State, by the immediate Consummating Act of the Spirit of Holiness, sealing them up to a glorious Felicity. The Apostle St. Paul, knew no middle state twixt these two, viz. To be absent from the Body, and immediately present with the Lord. We walk (saith he) during this Life by Faith: and after Death, by the clear open Beautifying sight of God: Therefore the most resplendent Regions, inferiour to the most perfect Communications of God's Love from his immediate presence, cannot satisfy the most earnest longings of the Soul, after the highest enjoyments of God.
The Conclusion was thus directed to the Criminals
Little have you considered Davids affirmation, that when Men go hence, they shall not any more be seen on earth, to rectify any mistakes in the eternal concernments of their Souls. Yet what Folly and Madness hath possest your hearts, who are surprized by Death, before you can prosecute fully, your intended preparations for eternal Life, Will you securely persist in trusting your deceitful Hearts, that you have thorowly and sincerely Repented, when as such self flattery may ruin you beyond any remedy of working out your Salvation? You had a fit time wherein to repent and reform your Lives; but I fear you have made your repenting Season an encouragement to provoke God, with a more confirmed Rebellion, till the present terrors of Death surprize you: Wo to such who delay their beginning to get Grace into their Hearts, till they are ready to finish their course in Nature. To suffer patiently, and to exercise a resigning Will, to be disposed by the Lord for Life or Death, is work enough for any Man, when under the Convulsive pangs of Death. A dying Pvrson is very unfit for any Worldly concernments, much more for Heavenly, that he may judge aright of his meet requisite dispositions, and due Qualifications for a blessed eternity. When we are dying, all spiritual Considerations are interrupted, perplext and scattred, for then strong teptations will assault us, to doubt of our Interest in God. Let us therefore clear up our evidences for eternal Felicity, before we are rendred unfit for so necessary and serious a work: Therefore, let us while Nature is vigorous, exercise all such gracious Habits which may set us in a ready posture to encounter Death that the slavish fear of it may be subdued, and that we may take a delightful prospect of triumphing over all the powers of hellish darkness, which then chiefly design to assault us with the dismal suspicions of an Interest in God's Love and Favour.
Yet strange it is, to observe that the Mercy of deliverance from the terrors of Death, renders Men secure, sensual and licentiously perverse in Sinning. How sad an account is this, that the renewal of Life, strikes many with the dead Palsie of security, a stroke worse than Death, because not felt.
When the Souls of such sit trembling on their Lips, as ready to take their flight into the other World? they will then cry too late, Spare me O God, a little longer, that I may settle the state of my Soul, in order so as to get a prospect of eternal Life.
Yet if such obtain rescuing Mercy from present Death, their promises of future Obedience to God's sacred Laws vanish when the fears of Death are scattered.
Many being indulged a longer time of living, they strive not to get a new Heart, nor any Heavenly Conversation, as well as a strange preservatson. But a person sincerely thankful for restoring mercy, will walk humbly and strictly as under the Eye of God's Omniscient observation. He will not dare to indulge the least willful turning aside from his Vows of vigorous obedience, but will beg a strong Consti
tution in Grace, as well as in nature, he will perform all the parts of his Duty with sincerity and a cheerful constancy. He will ambitiously strive how he may most resemble God in holiness, while he sojournies in an earthly Tabernacle. While he lives he will live to the Lords Approbation in a delightful conformity to his sacred Laws. So when he is summoned to God's Tribunal, such a one may chearfully resign his Soul into the hand of his Creator, as a mercifull Redeemer from the sting of Death, and may be confident to obtain an enterance with Triumphant joy into Gods Celestial kingdom, never to be separated from the enjoyment of his gracious and glorious presence to eternity.
I proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
I. John Johnson, alias Denny, He was condemned the last Sessions, but reprived: He's now in the Dead Warrant, and came to the Chappel sometimes with the other Condemned Criminals; but professing himself to be of the Romish persuasion would not acknowledge the Crime for which he is to suffer Death, nor make any Confession of his evil Life: He was absent on the Day before his Execution. The Ordinary prayed to God to convince him of his false Opinions in Religion; and used arguments thereunto, but he persisted in them, saying, That every Tub must stand upon its own bottom.
II. William Bailam, Condemned for Robbing on the High-way. He came to the Prayers and Exhortations made in the Chappel, to persuade him to Repentance, but was not affected with them; and could not be prevailed upon to confess the Crime, for which he was Condemned, nor to make any acknowledgement of his evil Life; yet, said, that he had hopes of his future Salvation: Being ak'd the Reasons of such hopes, (Mens Hearts being deceitful) he reply'd, That they were known to God, and he would not reveal them to any Man. He was exhorted to warn others at the place of Execution, to take heed of such Sins which bring Men to an untimely Death: He would not promise it; but persisted in an insensibility of his sinful State.
III Francis Keckwood, Condemned for Robbing in the High-way. He refused to make any acknowledgement of his Crime, or of any Sins of his Life; was obstinate, and shewed no sensibleness of any sorrow for his Sins, tho' he was warned of the dangers of it.
IV Henry Simkins, Condemned for a Rape upon a Girl of ten years of Age. He is aged thirty years: Was a Joiner in London. He was a married Person; and therefore the Ordinary told him, that his Crime was the more heinous and abominable, because he had an obligation to have been more Chaste, as having a remedy against such a gross Sin. He confest that sometimes he did drink to excess, and did prophanly Swear; but endeavoured to lessen the Crime for which he suffered; and in a manner denied it: But being afterwards more sensible, and relenting for his Sins, by attentiveness to Exhortations and Prayers. He did the Day before Execution confess, That he did offer violence to the Girl, and knew her in a carnal unlawful way. I hope that he was Penitent. These four were in the Dead-Warrant.
V Thomas Pain, Condemned for breaking an House. He was born in Thistleworth, was Prentice to a Taylor : He left that Employment and went to Sea ; about a year and half afterward, he went to his old employment with one Mr. Penn a Taylor for a eleven Weeks time. He was apprehended on Christmas Day for this Burglary; which he confest with Tears, and affirmed that Philip Cary joined with him in it. He was undutiful to his Parents, and some times drank too much.
VI William Stone, a Boy of twelve years, Condemned for Robbing William Goring in the Street. He said, that he was in Newgate before, for stealing of Linnen. He was born in Wapping; was undutiful to his Parents. He confest also, that he went not to Church on the Lord's Day, but spent it in ileness and bad actions; that he was guilty of Swearing, and wish'd the Curse of God's Damnation on himself and others, and was guilty of most Sins.
VIII, VIII. Mary Price, Condemned for picking a Pocket and Jane Brome, Condemned for breaking an house, pretended that they were quick with Children, and the Jury of Women affirming that it was so, they are Respited from suffring for their Crimes, till they are delivered in Child-birth; which hath made them so secure, that they came only once to Chappel since their Condemnation, and I wish, that their being free from the fear of Death at present, do not make them further presumptuouss in sinning, as usually many are in their Case and Condition.
On the 26th of Jan. Thomas Bailam, Francis Keckwood Humphery Symkins, and John Johnson, Condemned last Sessions were carried in two Carts to Tyburn, and being all placed in one, were ty'd to the Tree. Bailam read to himself out of a Book, which he had in his hand, but did not extend his voice, nor give warning to the Spectators as the Ordinary desired him, but refused it; he did not deny the Crime for which he died; but made no particular Confession; he joined in prayer with the Ordinary, but did not appear so penitent as could have been wished Francis Keckwood prayed heartily by himself, with his voice extended; he also joined in prayer with the Ordinary, and afterwards prayed by himself, for his Souls Salvation; he prayed for the King and Government: But refused to give the People warning, as the Ordinary desired him. He made no particular Confession: he did not deny the Crime for which he was to dye, and seemed very penitent. Symkins prayed heartily by himself, and joyn'd with the Ordinary in Prayer, desiring the Spectators to take warning by him, end to take care against Lust, which might overpower them as it had done him. He desired a Friend of his who was by, to give his Love to all his Neighbours, without mentioning his Wife. He did not deny the Crime for which de died; owned he had been a great Sinner, and seemed very Penitent, but made no other particular Confession.
Johnson declared himself to be a Roman Catholick , Prayed heartily by himself: He call'd for Pen and Ink; which being deliver'd to him, he writ about four Lines on his Knee as sitting in the Cart, and delivered them to a Friend of his who stood by, and tore another Paper to pieces with his Teeth. He desired leave of the Ordinary, to kneel upon his Knees in the Cart, without being tied up, to pray by himself, whilst the Ordinary prayed for, and with the rest, which he did; and being afterwards ty'd up, desired forgivness of all Men, especially those whom he had wronged; he said, he was never Guilty of Murther, but that he had been guilty of all other villanies. He said that he would not consent to alter his Principles, if he should be instantly offered a Pardon. He did not deny the Crime for which he died; and desired all good People to take warning by him: He forgave all Persons, and seemed very penitent.
It was observed that Baam and Keckwood kissed one another before the Cart drew away. The Ordinary prayed with the three former for a considerable Time, and sung a Penitential Psalm; and afterwards they were turned off.
This is all the Account that I can give of this Sessions.
Dated Jan. 26.
Physick truly Practiced.
BY Dr. Kirleus, Sworn Physician in ordinary to K. Charles the II. many Years, until his Death, but first a Collegiate Physician of London: Who, with a Drink and Pill, hindring no business, undertakes to Cure all Ulcers, Sores, Scabs, Itch, Scurff, Leporsies, and Ueneral Diseases at all times of the Year, in all Bodies, expecting nothing if he Cures not; of the lest he hath Cured many hundreds in this City, many of 'em after Fluxing, which raiseth the Evil from the lower Parts, and fixing it in the Head, and so destroys many. The Drink is 3s, the Quart, the Pills 1s. a Box, with Directions; a better Purger than which was never given, for they cleanse the Body of all Impurities, which are the cause of Dropsies, Gouts, Scurvies, Stone or Gravel, pains in the Head and other Parts. Take heed whom you trust in Physick, for it's be come a Common Cheat to profess it. He gives his Opinion to all that Write or come for Nothing; and if they truly write their Distemper and Age, he sits hem with a Medicine as well as if present. He lives in Grays-Inn-Lane in Plough-Yard. at the Glass Lanthorn.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, in Nevil's-Court in Fetter-lane, 1697.