A True Account of the Behaviour, Confessions, and last Dying Speeches of the Condemned Criminals, that were Executed at Tyburn on Wednesday the 9th. of this Instant March 1698.
On the Lords-Day, after the Condemnation of the Condemned Criminals, a Sermon was Preached on this Text,
Isa. 64. 7. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: tho thou hast hide thy face from us, and hast consum'd us, because of our Iniquities.
THese Words are a confession of a Sin of Omission, upon Conviction of their formal Addresses to the Lord, in a time of deep distress.
The first Observation.
There are Sins of Omission, as well as of Commission to be repented of. Omissions are the most in number, and in some Cases, the worst of Sins: These arise from secret practical Atheism, that any will dare to present the holy living God, as if he were an Idol, with dead hearted Services. They draw on Sins of Commission, 2 Chron. 12. 14. Rehoboam did much Evil, because he prepared not his Heart to seek the Lord. Omissions of Duty, or remissness in it, dispirit or dead the Heart toward God, and so causes us to grow weary of duty, yea, to cast it off as despairing of success. But truly pious Souls mourn for secret remissness, in the manner of performing Duties.
2d Observation, Formal Addresses to God, are counted as no Addresses; so they are interpreted in the Text.
Quest. When are Persons formal in their Services of God?
1st, When they are partial in their duty. The Hypocrite will sometimes balk a lesser Duty, when he will not stick at a difficult: And if this consist with his self-interest or popular applause, and do not strick at any beloved Lust, or that he still thinks to expiate the guilt of his Sins, by multiplying acts of Devotion. But we must judge of Sins in their malignity, and of Duties in their necessity or expediency, not according to a corrupt Fancy, but according to the rule of God's word, the Judge of Equity and Expediency. God lays great stress on lesser Commands, to silence carnal Reason, by the wisdom of his authority; nay, the least circumstance of a Duty being slighted, may expose to the Commission of a great Sin; yet superstitious Persons stick not at self imposed severities.
2ly, Then Persons are formal in their Duties, when they act by the constraint only of the natural Conscience, least this should check and upbraid them, especially if they seek not God in distress; yet it is only a short visit, not any constant delight in God for his excellencies, as studying to be conformed to him in the beauties of Holiness, but meerly for the exhibitions of his bounty.
3ly, When the service of God flows not from a renewed Heart, nor is directed to a sincere end.
4ly, When Men rest in, and trust to duties, grounding the acceptance of their Persons on the work done, and look not after the improvement of their Graces by them. But slightness in holy Duties is joined with seriousness in sinning. When Israel was formal in praying, they made God to serve under their Iniquities, Isa, 43.22.&24. Formulists can never close with God with an entire fixt Heart, nor cleave to him with delight; nay, in distress themselves are convinced, that their services prove unprofitable: Thus in the Text, notwithstanding their formal Addresses, they confess, That the Wind had bound them up in its Wings, and carried them into Captivity. They meant it not of the natural Wind, but the threats of God's Prophets, which they counted as a puff of Wind, which vanished and should never be fulfilled upon their presumptous Security; yet had speedily and irresistably carried them into captivity. Yet this is a wicked inference, that Persons will quite omit their Duty, because being formally done it is not accepted.
It is flat Rebellion in any Servant, to say, I will not stir a Hand nor Foot, because I cannot please; tho' this be from the unfaithfulness of the Servant, who prepares not his Heart to do service with vigour and alacrity. We ought rather to be humbled for our formal Addresses to God, and to strive for a Spiritual frame. Consider, that otherwise we give Satan occasion to upbraid Christ, as if he should say, my Slaves Sweat, drudge and bleed, whom I never fed but only with Flattery, false Promises of profit and Pleasure, which yet proved the wages of Death; and yet thy Servants O Christ are at the end of a Duty, before it be well entred upon, O how do they flag!
Nay, God himself who searches the Heart, if you act not in his service, from Spiritual principles to Spiritual Ends, will to punish your Hypocrisy, cause all his promises to prove as so many insignificant Cyphers or Blanks; nay, your formal Services will betray you the more securely to Hell. To prevent such a sad Doom for your slightness in seeking to be reconciled to God thorough Christ, ir up your selves with all your might to stay his Hand, that he may not consume you in, and for your Iniquities.
I shall here lay before you some signs of true trouble of Mind, for sins of Omission or remisness of the affections in Religious Duties.
A Sincere Heart is troubled that God hath lost his just tribute of honour, in not exercising his utmost dexterity in holy services. He considers, that the Lord searches the Heart, that he counts not of Duties to accept them by their number, but the sincerity of the Heart, and its vigorous alacrity in them. Therefore he mourns that he prays so much and believes so little, that he comes so often where God gives out the pledges of his Love yet, that himself is so poor and low in the expressions of his Duty. He will be more curious in observing, and more careful in doing his Duty for the future: Yet he will be very cautious, least his future constancy should be grounded on Custom, rather than Conscience, and lest it should degenerate into meer Formality. Meer customariness in Religious services, is thus known.
Custom gives no strength for Duty, above the Sphere of natural or moral Ability. Custom can never keep the Heart Spiritually close to God, it cannot renounce Self-confidence in its own Resolutions; it relies not on the establishing Grace of God's free Spirit. Custom causes not any trouble of Mind, for the deficiency in serving God, neither inquires how the Spirit of God influences praying, to advance a closer Communion with the Lord, to raise the Heart into an higher conformity to him in the whole Conversation. Meer Formalists grow tiffical in praying, they soon tire and faint in any holy execrise. They are not Sollicitous about the success of their praying, whether they become more humble, holy, and heavenly Minded.
Means to prevent Sins of Omission.
Be conscienciously cautious of committing the least Sin, so shall you be more curious and exact in the discharge of the least Duty, and circumstance of thy obedience. 2ly, when thou hast been diverted from thy constant Hours of praying, by any unavoidable providence of God interferring, yet mourn for such diversion, as the Chastisement of thy former remissness in thy Duty, and return to thy set stationary Hours of praying, with greater reverence and vigor of zeal,
3. Clear up your interest in God, as your Father in Christ; if you dread him as an inexorable judge, this will breed servility of Spirit, which will determine in the Omisssion of the Duty, or deading the Heart in it.
4. Delight to draw nigh to God for his infinite excellencies, to be tranformed into the beauties of holiness, rather than to participate of the Lord's Bounty. A dutiful Son of God, will address to him to testify his Love, when he hath no wants to supply, which are oppressive. Do not delay to pray, pretending that the Spirit of God doth not excite you. Remember that it is an indispensable Duty of natural Religion: Pretend not present indisposition, and that you will wait for a more prepared frame. Rather pray, That you may be fit for praying. Thus when springs of Water lye low, and the Pump is dry, we pour down Water to make the Pump the better, to suck up Water from the Spring. Count every the most difficult Duty to be an ample reward unto it self then, tho' it be not enameled with Worldly advantages, nor produce present comfort, yet wait on God in his ways, and thou shalt verily be recompenced at last, with joy unspeakable, and full of glorying in God's Salvation.
proceed to give an Account of the Behaviour and Confessions of the Condemned Criminals.
I. WIlliam Marslin, alias, Peter, Condemned for robbing Mary Jolly on the High-way, taking from her one Lace Head-dress, value six Pounds. He is 23 years of Age; was born in Aldgate Parish. He was Aprentice and Journey Man to a Glass-maker , till a twelve Month since; during which time, (for want of Employment) he went about in Theiving. He affirmed, That he never wounded any Man in the High-way. He was very ignorant in the Fundamentals of the Christian Religion; therefore I instructed him, especially in the nature of true saving Faith and Repentance; upon which, he was more sensible of his sinful State, and said, That he now repents from his Heart, that he did not pray to God as he ought, but broke the Sabbath; that he too much Swore and Cursed others; that he was often Drunk, and that for four years pat, he used the Company of bad Women, of whom he knew some with coupling with them.
II Robert Mannin, of Stepny Parish, Condemned for breaking the House of Thomas Disse, taking thence ten pounds in Mony, two Guineas, five Gold rings, and Goods to a considerable value: He confest the Crime He was Apprentice to a Farrier , but left his Employment, which exposed him to want. Since Christmas last he run about the Streets, and used to steal Persons Goods. He said he neglected prayer to God, and joined himself to bad Company, among whom he was drunk sometimes on the Sabbath day; which Sin, he said, was joined with Swearing and Cursing, and lying with bad Women.
III. John Edmonds, Condemned for stealing from the right Honourable the Earl of Bridgwater two Geldings, value Fifty pounds. Tho' he was sick he came to the Chappel, and confest he had been a vile Sinner in many respects, and was Penitent.
V. Henry Harding, Condemned for the Murther of William Fisher a Bayliff . The manner how is to be seen at large in the Book of Trials. This Harding was not so sensible of this great Crime as he ought to have been. He came constantly to the Chappel, was very attentive to the Duties there performed. I inquired into the course of his Life, what Sins might justly provoke God to let him fall into so heinous a Crime as Murther. He freely acknowledged that he had been a very ill person, in committing Sins against the Convictions of his Conscience, viz. Sabbath breaking, Drunkenness, and coupling with ad women. He seemed very penitent.
VI. Anne Webster, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, she is aged 33 years, was born in the Bishoprick of Durham, she wrought to the Sale-Shops, in making of Breeches and Wastcoats; she did not deny the Crime, but affirmed that a Woman named Jane Grant tempted her unto it, and thought that she was easily prevailed upon, for the punishment of the many other Sins of her Life.
VII. Mary Huggens, Condemned for Felony and Burglary, aged 16 years, born in St. Giles's Parish: She confest the Crime, and said, That her covetous desires to get Money, led her to it, she said, That she did sometimes Curse and Swear, and kept bad Company: She seemed penitent.
VIII. Anne Stowel, Condemned for breaking the House of John Bramly, aged 26 years. She was born in Bedfordshire, she said, that she had sinned in marrying a bad Husband against her Parents consent, and tho' she could make works fit for Sale, yet she grew idle, and followed foolish Fashions and vain Companions, yea, had been a great Sinner. She seemed penitent in weeping.
George Graham, Condemned for robbing on the High-way. He was very sick, yet came when somewhat better to the Chappel, where he was attentive to Exhortations, and Prayers, and confest with much Sorrow, that he had offended God, in not praying to him, that he kept not the Sabbath; and had been guilty of grosse Sins. I think that he was truly Penitent.
On the 9th of March, John Edmonds, John Chambers, George Grahams, David Roberts, Robert Mannin, William Marslin, Anne Webster, Mary Huggins and Anne Stowel, were carried in three Carts from Newgate to Tyburn; and being all placed in one, were ty'd to the Tree. John Edmonds Confessed he was guilty of the Crime for which he was to dye, but said, he was led into it by one, Horn who is dead, and another Person, with whom he had committed several Robberies; he also said, he had been a great Sinner, was guilty of Sabbath-breaking, excessive drinking, keeping Company with lewd Women, &c. He seemed penitent. John Chambers Confest the Murder for which he was to dye; said, he was guilty of many other gross Sins, such as excessive Drinking, keeping Company with lewd Women, neglected God's Worship; for all which, he declared he was heartily sorrow: Desired the Prayers of all good people, and seemed penitent. George Graham Confessed that he was guilty of taking the Goods from the Girl in the Strand; that another was Confederate with him; he also said, he had been guilty of many other Crimes; for which he was heartily sorry, as he was for the other Sins of his wicked Life, desired the Spectators to take warning by him: Seemed very penitent. David Roberts Confest the Burglary, for which he was to dye, as he did another, committed by him and a Woman, on one Carter in Hockle of the Hole; he farther said, That he had been guilty of all Sins, Murder excepted: Desired the Spectators to take warning by him, and to put up their Prayers for him, who had been so vile a Sinner. He seemed penitent. Robert Mannin Confest the Crime for which he was to dye, said, he had no Confederate with him, but broke open the house by himself; that he had been much addicted to pilfering; that he had been a great Sinner, was guilty of breaking the Sabbath, excessive drinking, keeping bad Company; gave warning to the Spectators to beware of falling into his Snare; seemed very penitent. William Marslin did not deny the Crime for which he was to dye, but refused to make any particular Confession; which he said, he had done to God Almighty; however he seemed penitent. Anne Webster did not deny her Crime, said, she had been a great Sinner, but would make no particular Confession: She seemed penitent. Mary Huggens Confessed the Crime for which she was to to dye, but said, she had no Confederates, and that she had been very eager in bringing destruction upon her self; she said, she had been a very lewd liver: Seemed very penitent. Anne Stowel Confessed the Crime for which she was to dye, but said, she was drawn in by a young Man to commit that and other Crimes; she also said, she had been a lewd liver, seemed very penitent. All the Nine unanimously joined with the Ordinary in prayer, for a considerable time, which being over, the Cart drew away; they were turned off.
Harding who killed Fisher the Baily in the Strand, was Reprived this morning.
This is all the Account that I can give of this Sessions, tho' I visited the Condemned every Day for some Hours.
Dated March 9.
AT the House next this side the Blue-Ball in Salisbury-street, near the New-Exchange in the Strand, Persons may have all manner of Business depending before the Council, Lords Commissioners of his Majesty's Treasury, Admiralty, and Navy-Office, &c. or in the Law, Causes depending in the High Court of Chancery, Courts of King's Bench, Common-Pleas, Exchequer, &c. speedily and faithfully Sollicited, and on much cheaper Terms than are usually insisted on upon those Occasions. Persons may here be furnished with what Summs they please on good Mortgages. Any who have Estates, Houses, Ground Rents, &c. to sell, if the Titles are indisputable, and they will deal on reasonable Terms, may here be recommended to able Purchasers. I likewise make an Interest to invest Gentlemen and others in Employments, sutable to their several Qualities and Capacities. I have now Places, both in City and Country to dispose of, from 1200 to 50 l. a year. Many for Life; Qualifications for most required, only to write a legible Hand: Most of the great ones but small Attendance, and may be manag'd by Deputies: For the particulars, I refer to my Bills published in most Coffee-Houses; or any Gentleman may be furnish'd with them at my House, gratis.
LONDON, Printed for E. Mallet, in Nevil's-Court in Fetter-lane, 1698.