AT the Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old Baily on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the 9th, 10th, and 11th, instant, John Whittingham was arraign'd, try'd, and found guilty of Felony and Burglary; and so receiv'd Sentence of Death accordingly.
While he lay under this Condemnation, I had him up to Prayer in the Chappel of Newgate twice every Day. And on the LORD'S DAY the 13th instant I Preach'd to him and others there present, in the Morning, upon part of the Epistle for the Day, 1 Pet. Ch. 3, the former Part of the 11th Verse. Let him eschew evil, and do ood.
Which Words, together with those they have an immediate relation to, having explain'd in general, and shew'd both from the Text and Context, as likewise from several other Places of Scripture, That the whole Duty of Man consists of these two Parts, viz. 1. To forbear doing evil: And 2. To be diligent in doing good: I then proceeded to discourse, in a particular and distinct manner, upon these three Heads.
I. That we ought not only to eschew evil in Thoughts, Words, and Deeds; but, according to the Apostle's Precept, 1 Thess. 5. 22, abstain from all appearance of evil.
II. That, as a necessary Consequence of this, we ought to do good through the whole Course of our Lives, and hereto apply all our Faculties, and make all our Thoughts, Words, and Actions to conspire
III. And lastly, That for a Reward of our faithful Discharge of both this Negative and Positive Duty of Abstaining from evil, and doing good, God will make our Life comfortable to us here in this World, and advance us to perfect Happiness here after in the World to come.
(In the Afternoon I Preach'd upon these Words taken out of the Second Lesson) 1 Thess. 5. 3. For hen they shall say, Peace and Safety; then sudden estruction comes upon them as Travail upon a Woman with Child; and they shall not escape.
From which Words, pointing us to the Seond Coming of Christ, I shew'd;
I. The Certainty and Design of that Coming; which is matter of Comfort to the Godly, Terror to the Wicked, and Instruction to all
II. The Suddenness, and uncertain time of it.
III. Ult. How greatly it concerns Men to be always prepar'd both for Death and Judgment, that they may be surpris'd by neither of them, to their Eternal Destruction.
Having enlearg'd upon these Heads, I concluded with a particular Exhortation and Application to the Person Condemned, who seem'd attentive to the Word, and (as it became him) devout in his Prayers.
In my private discourse with him, I found he had receiv'd from his Parents, but a very slender Education in matters of Religion, and had practised very little thereof: Which he was now sensible, had brought this evil upon him. He said, he was above Seventeen Years of Age; That he was born in Cheek-Lane London in the Parish of St. Andrew's Holbourn; That he had been in HER MAJESTY'S Service at Sea for above 4 years, off and on; and, That the Ship on Board which he served last, was the Namure, a 2d Rate, Capt, Mynns Commander: That he had also learned of his Father, the Plaisterer's Trade , and had work'd on it with him and others, for some time, and did clear 15 Shillings a Week by it. He confess'd he was justly condemned, as being a Party concerned in the Robbery attempted in the House of Mr. Davis on the 2d Day of June last past; and wish'd he had learn'd to be wiser, by the Correction he had lately receiv'd for robbing Mr. Carpenter's House, on the 2d Day of April last; for which he was burnt in the Hand, and sent to Bridewell to work, and become honest: But instead of that, being unwilling to labour and reform, he broke out of that House; and as soon as he was abroad again, fell upon this Robbery, for which he is now (and that by his own Confession) justly to suffer. He said, it was since Bartholomew last, that he enter'd upon this ill Practice of Thieving; and that the first Fact he had committed of this Nature, was about 10 Months ago, at an Alehouse in Sharp-Ally near Com-Cross, out of which, he, with another (the Man that first inticed him to this slippery way) took some Strong Drink, and nothing else. He affirm'd, that these 3 were the only Robberies he ever committed, or was concern'd in; and, That he knew nothing of Mr. Wyat's House being Robb'd; the Keys belonging to Mr. Wyat, which were found upon him, having been given him by One, whom he call'd Jack Calis. This he declar'd, and further told me of all his Accomplices; who will do well now to learn Wisdom, and take Warning by his Fall, so as to amend their wicked Lives without delay, lest the same evil may overtake them, and God may be so provoked by their long and obstinate Continuance in Sin, as to shew them no Mercy in this World, nor in the next.
This John Whittingham being ask'd what those Sins were he had been most addicted to, before he fell upon Robbing, he told me they were Sabbath-breaking, Idleness, Gaming, keeping bad Company, and having to do with Lewd Women, &c. Which dangerous Vices he desir'd, that all (especially Young Men) would carefully avoid: For had he done so himself, he should never have come to this his shameful and untimely Death. While he was under this Condemnation, I could not observe but that he behaved himself very
well. As he did so in my Presence, so I sound he did in the Condemned Hold, where he had the Charitable Assistance of that ingenious Gentleman (a Prisoner for Debt) who, as I mention'd in my last Paper, proved very useful to James Hacket, when under Condemnation; and did so to this, with whom he was willing to spend whole Nights in reading &c.
At the Place of Execution, to which he was this Day carry'd in a Cart, I attended him for the last time; and after some proper Exhortations, Prayers, Singing of Penitential Psalms, and rehearsing the Articles of our Christian Faith, and finally recommending him to the Mercy of God, I let him to his private devotions; for which he had some time allow'd him: Who before he was turned off, desired the Standers-by to take Warning by him, and pray for his departing Soul. His last Words were, Lord, have Mercy upon me! Lord, forgive me my Sins! Lord Jesus receive my Soul.
This is all the Account here to be given of this Dying Person, by
Friday, July 18th. 1707.
††† Whereas some Persons do frequently take the Liberty of putting out of Sham-Papers, pretending to give an Account of the Malefactors (called the Lives and Conversations of the Persons Executed) in which Papers they are so defective and unjust, as sometimes to mistake even their Names and Crimes, and often misrepresent the State they plainly appear to be in under their Condemnation, and at the time of their Death. To prevent which great Abuses, These are to give Notice, That the only true Account of the Dying Criminals, is that which comes out the Day after their Execution in a single half Sheet, about 9 in the Morning, the Title whereof constantly be gins with these Words, The ORDINARY of NEWGATE his Account of the Behaviour, &c. In which Paper (always Printed on both sides the better to distinguish it from Connterfeits) are set down the Heads of the several Sermons Preach'd before the Condemned: And after their Confessions and Prayers, and Atestation thereto under the Ordinary's Hand, that is, his Name at length; and at the bottom the Printer's Name, Dryden Leach; which if the Readers would but observe, they would avoid those scandalous Cheats heretofore constantly impos'd upon them.
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