AT the General Sessions held at Justice-Hall in the Old-Baily, on Wednesday the 8th, Thursday the 9th, and from thence adjourned to Saturday the 11th of April 1719; Five Malefactors, viz. Four Men and One Woman being try'd for, and found Guilty of, several Capital Crimes, did accordingly receive Sentence of Death. But Two of the Men having obtain'd HIS MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY'S Free Pardon, and the other, with the Woman, a Reprieve, in order to be Transported (Which Mercies I hope they will all take care, as it greatly behoves them duly to improve) only One of 'em is now order'd for Execution.
And again, at the Sessions holden at the same Place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday the 14th, 15th, and 16th of this instant May, there were also Ten other Malefactors then try'd for, and convicted of divers Capital Crimes; who likewise received Sentence of Death. But nothing (for ought I know) being yet determined concerning them, i. e. Whether they are to be Pardoned, Reprieved, or Executed, it is not the Business of these (but may be that of my next) Papers to give an Account of them.
All the while they lay under this Condemnation, I constantly visited them, and to that purpose had them twice every Day (saving in the Sessions time) brought up to the Chapel of Newgate, where I pray'd with them, and read and expounded the Word of God to them: And,
On the Lord's Day the 12th of April last, I preach'd to them and others present in the Chapel, viz
In the Morning upon Num. 23. the latter Clause of the 10th Verse, being part of the first Lesson, and the Words these - Let me die the Death of the Righteous, and let my last End be like his.
From which Words I shew'd, That if Men desire to die the Death of the Righteous, and have their Last End like his, they must live the Life of the Righteous: If they intend to depart out of this World in a State of Grace and Favour with God, they must lead an upright and godly Life here on Earth; taking care that their Thoughts, Words, and Actions might always be pure, edifying, and upright.
Upon these I enlarg'd; and,
In the Afternoon I preach'd on this Text, Prov. 9. the former part of the 10th Verse, The Fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom.
Having first open'd the Text in general, and shew'd, That true Wisdom consists in the Fear of God, and that it comprehends the Whole of Religion; I then observed in particular,
I. That by the Fear of the Lord is to be understood that Reverence and Obedience which Men owe to God.
II. That by this Phrase, The Beginning of Wisdom, is meant the Foundation of that true and solid Wisdom, which concerns, not so much the Temporal, as the Spiritual and Everlasting Interest of Men, and without which all their Worldly Wisdom and Industry are but Vain.
III. That both that Fear of the Lord, and this Beginning of Wisdom in the Text, being of the greatest Use and Benefit to Mankind for advancing them to Eternal Happiness, it follows therefore,
IV. and lastly, That it is the strangest Folly and Madness imaginable for Men to despise and reject (or at lest neglect) the Use of those wholsom Instructions and other Means by which true Wisdom, that Wisdom which comes from above (as the Apostle calls it, Jam. 3. 5.) may be attain'd.
Upon all those Points I discours'd at large: And,
On the Lord's Day the 19th of April last, I preach'd to them again, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon part of the Epistle for the Day, viz. 1 Pet. 2. 11. Dearly Beloved, I beseech you as Strangers and Pilgrims, all stain from Fleshly Lusts, which war against the Soul.
In discoursing upon this Text, I chiefly spoke to these Points, viz.
I. The Argument here used by the Apostle to dehort us from Fleshly Lusts.
II. What those Fleshly Lusts are, and the dismal Effects they produce.
III. The Obligation incumbent on us to abstain from them.
IV. ult. The Remedies most effectual for their Cure.
On the Lord's Day the 26th of April last, I preached to them again; and my Text was Rom. 6. 23. and the Words these, For the Wages of Sin is Death; ut the Gift of God is Eternal Life through JESUS CHRIST Our Lord.
From which I shew'd,
I. That the Reward due to Sin is not only Shame and Misery, but Death, both Temporal and Eternal.
II. That the End of Holiness is Eternal Life, which ALMIGHTY GOD, for the Sake, and through the Merits of CHRIST, freely bestows as a gratuitous. Gift on them that Believe and Repent.
On the Lord's Day, the 3d of this instant May, I did again preach to the Prisoners; and this was my Text, 1 Thess. 5. 2. & 3. For yourselves know perfectly. that the Day of the Lord so cometh as a Thief in the Night: For when they shall say, Peace and Safety; then sudden Destruction cometh, as Travail upon a Woman with Child; and they shall not escape.
Having observed in general, that these Words point to the great Day of Judgment, I then shew'd in particular,
I. The Certainty of CHRIST's Coming to judge the World.
II. The Uncertainty and Suddenness of the Time of that His Coming.
III. The indispensable Necessity there is, that Men (therefore) should be always well prepar'd for it, and thereby avoid the great Danger and Loss which their presumptuous Neglect of such a weighty Matter, will (otherwise) bring upon them.
To those Points I spoke distinctly: And,
On the Lord's Day the 10th of this same Month of May, being the Sunday after Ascension, I preach'd both in the Morning and Afternoon upon this Text, Acts 1. 9. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up, and a Cloud receiv'd Him out of their sight.
After a general and succinct Explanation of the Text and Context, I treated in particular of these three things.
1. The Place 2. The Time 3. The Manner of CHRIST's Ascension into Heaven.
And from thence drew these several Inferences, viz.
1st, That if (as we outwardly profess to do) we inwardly believe the Ascension of Our Blessed Saviour, our Hearts cannot but long continually to be with Him, that where He now is, incircled in Glory, we might be also.
2dly, That to the end therefore that such a Blisful and Glorious State may one Day be our Portion for ever, we ought to have (while in this World) our Conversation in Heaven, fixing our Affections on Things above, not on the things of the Earth.
3dly, That if, notwithstanding our Profession of Christianity, we should (instead of denying all Ungodliness and Worldly Lusts) give up our selves to commit Iniquity, and work all Uncleanness with greediness, &c. then we must expect, that as sure as CHRIST has ascended into Heaven, so sure it is that we shall descend into Hell: And what a lamentable thing would that be, for us thus to make our selves wilfully Miserable, when by the Grace of GOD, and the Love of JESUS, we might be made Happy!
4thly, That this same JESUS, who went up into Heaven, shall doubtless come again at the last Day to judge both the Quick and the Dead, and shall pass Sentence of Absolution upon the Righteous, and of Condemnation upon the Wicked and Impenitent, as we read in the 25th Chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel.
5thly, That if none of these Considerations, if neither the Hope of Heaven, nor the Fear of Hell, can move us, so as to bring us into a Course of Religion and Virtue; then we must unavoidably perish for ever. But let us consider for our Comfort and Encouragement,
6thly, and lastly, That if we do earnestly and constantly strive to disengage our selves, and take off our Affections, from this wicked World, and place them upon GOD and Goodness: If we (with Heart and Mind) fervently pray. That our Blessed Saviour will please to draw us and all Men to Heaven after Him; Then our Prayers shall be heard, and we shall (as Holy David speaks) enter into the King's Palace; we shall be be admitted into the Eternal Mansions of Bliss and Peace; and there shall dwell with that King of Glory for evermore.
Upon each of those Particulars I discours'd more largely: And on Whitsunday the 17th of this instant May, (at which time there was a new Accession of Ten Condemn'd Prisoners, to the Five who receiv'd Sentence at the Sessions before, and yet nothing determin'd concerning them) I preach'd to them all, both in the Forenoon and Afternoon, upon part of the Epistle for that Day, viz. Acts 2. 4. And they were all fill'd with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other Tongues, as the Spirit gave them Uteerance.
From which Words, first explain'd in general, I consider'd these two things in particular, viz.
I. The Effusion of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles.
II. The Divine Effects thereof.
In speaking to the First of these Points, I shew'd (as we read in the first Verse of this Chapter) That the Apostles being all with one accord in one Place, such their Unity and Unanimity,
1st, Strengthen'd their Prayers.
2dly, Fill'd their Souls with great Tranquility.
3dly, Gave them some Foretastes of the Joys of Heaven.
4thly, Dispos'd them to a clearer Understanding of the Truths and Mysteries of Christ's Kingdom.
And in speaking to the Second Point, I more particularly treated of the blessed Effects produc'd and wrought by the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, which were chiefly these; viz.
1st, That in a moment, and without any Humane Art, they were enabled to speak with other Tongues; (saith the Text) i. e. such Tongues and Languages as they understood not before.
2dly, That their Capacity was proportionable to their high and difficult Employment, and the Circumstances of the Church at that time.
3dly, That in a few Years they ran down the Idolatrous Rites and Sacrifices of all Nations, and set up and establish'd the Service and Worship of their Crucify'd Master, whom they prov'd to be the True and Living GOD.
4thly, ult. That they were endu'd with a Power of working such stupendious Miracles, as were (as great, yea, greater than those) wrought by Himself.
And Yesterday, being the 24th instant, and the 7th Lord's Day after the Condemnation of them that were try'd first, I preach'd to them again, both in the Morning and Afternoon, upon Psal. 86. 12, 13. I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my Heart; aad I will glorify thy Name for evermore, for great is thy Mercy towards me, and Thou hast deliver'd my Soul from the lowest Hell.
In speaking to which Words I shew'd how the Royal Prophet David made Profession, that he would praise GOD; and this not superficially and for a little time only, but unfeignedly and incessantly.
I. gnedly, express'd in these Words of his [With all my Heart].
II. Incessantly, which he shew'd by this other Expression [For evermore].
From these I observ'd the Ground of such a Profession here made by that pious Prince, the Man after GOD's own Heart, which was this, That GOD had deliver'd his Soul from the lowest Hell.
And from hence I took occasion (as my Text led me to it) to treat of these chief Points:
1st, Of Hell, under its various Acceptations.
2dly, Of our Deliverance from it, through GODs unspeakable Mercy,
3dly, & lastly, Of our Thanks and Praise due to GOD for such a great and happy Deliverance.
I inlarg'd upon all those Heads and Particulars, and then concluded the whole with an Exhortation to Repentance, shewing them the Nature, Practice, and blessed Effects of it; to which they were, in all appearance, very attentive. And He who is now appointed to die, gave me this Account of himself which follows.
John Wheeler, Try'd, Convicted, and Condemn'd upon two Indictments, viz. 1st, For breaking open the House of Mr. Samuel Mead, and stealing thence 10 Pewter Dishes and 36 Plates, a BrassPorridge-pot, two Stew-pans, and other Goods, on the 20th of January last. 2dly, For another Burglary by him also committed in the House of Mr. Joshua Winsmore, out of which he took 3 Silver-Spoons, a Silver-Cup, and a Silver Quartern-pot, on the 4th of March last. He said, he was 32 Years of age, born in the Parish of St. Bridget, London; serv'd an Apprenticeship of 7 Years with a Joyner in Bartholomew-Close, in the Parish of St. Bartholomew the Great; was an Inmate in that of St. Sepulchre for these 9 Years past, and all the while wrought Journey-work at his Trade, by which he might have maintain'd himself and his Family pretty well, had he not been induced by a near Relative of his to follow an idle and vicious Course of Life: That by this means he was brought at last to the commission not only of the two Facts he now stood condemn'd for, but of several others, in most of which his said Relation was an Accomplice with him. He further declar'd, That the greatest part of the Robberies he had ever been concern'd in, were committed in Houses where he had done some Joyners Work ; and,
That (according to my Advice to him) he had given an Information and Satisfaction to the Persons thus injur'd by him; particularly he nam'd a Gentlewoman, from whose House (at which he had been at work for some time) he stole Wearing-Apparel, &c. which he afterwards restor'd to her again.
He seem'd to be very sensible of his Sins, and penitent, and wish'd his Relation (before mention'd) and other Offenders, might become true Converts, as he hop'd himself was, who now perfectly abhorr'd Sin, and (by the Grace of GOD) would not be tempted to return to it again, were he to live never so long in this World.
While he lay under this Condemnation, he behav'd himself (all-along) very decently and devoutly, and (as I perceiv'd) frequently repeated in his private Retirement these following Prayers, which he had out of one of the pious Books charitably provided for Prisoners, &c. by the Honourable Society for the Reformation of Manners.
O Lord Almighty, the Soul in Anguish, the troubled Spirit crieth unto Thee; hear, O Lord, and have Mercy, for Thou art merciful. Thou endurest for ever, and I perish eternally, unless Thou hast Pity upon me. I heartily acknowledge, O Lord, that all that I do, all I can suffer, is but the due Reward of my Deeds, and therefore must lay my Hand upon my Mouth, and say, that Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and upright are thy Judgments. But, O Lord, I beseech Thee, in Judgment remember Mercy; and though my Sins have justly provok'd Thee to bring this Evil upon me, yet O consider my Weakness, and do not abhor my Soul, nor cast thy Servant utterly away in Displeasure. Let the Fierceness of thy Anger expire in this temporal Judgment, and never let me fall under that more dreadful one which is eternal. Let the Merits of thy dearly beloved Son interpose between my wretched sinful Soul and thy Indignation: hear the Cry of his precious Blood, that speaketh better things that of Abel: Behold him bleeding, suffering, and dying upon the Cross, and let me not suffer and die eternally. Hear his Intercession now in Heaven for Sinners, and by his Death and Passion, save and deliver me, the greatest of Sinners, from thy Wrath, and from everlasting Damnation.
O holy and merciful Jesus, who, when thy self didst hang upon the Cross, didst shew thy Compassion and great Salvation upon the poor repenting Malefactor there suffering, and didst promise to remember him when Thou camest into thy Kingdom; remember, I most humbly beseech Thee, thy Servant, who is undone without thy Mercy. I confess indeed, that I have crucified Thee afresh, and most ungratefully renew'd the Shame of thy Cross and bitter Passion, by my manifold and grievous Transgressions, my horrid Vileness and Impieties; but, Lord, I repent, I am infinitely griev'd, and asham'd, and confounded at it, and therefore I hope thy Bowels will yearn towards me, and that Thou wilt graciously intercede with thy Father for me, that I may not perish for ever.
O Almighty God, I humbly submit to thy Will in the Destruction of this corruptible Being, and am content that it return to the Dust out of which it was taken. Since Death is the Punishment Thou hast ordain'd for Sin, and since my Sins have deserv'd this particular Death; with an humble Heart, adoring thy Justice, and submitting to thy Wisdom, I accept it at thy Hands, with all the Pain and Shame that accompanies it. And altho' my Death can
make no Satisfaction for my Sins; yet, receiving it with an entire Resignation to thy good Pleasure, accept this, O gracious God, as a Sacrifice of my Will to thine; and let it give some glimpse of Hopes, that being punish'd here, I may not be condemn'd hereafter. My Sins have deserv'd eternal Death; Oh, let me escape that, and I shall patiently bear this. Let this Earth return to the Earth; but let my Spirit, O merciful Creator, return to Thee who gavest it. Grant this for the sake of thy dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen, Amen, Amen.
At the Place of Execution, to which he was carry'd this Day in a Cart, I attended him for the last time, and after Exhortations, Prayers, singing of some Penitential Psalms, and rehearsing the Apostles Creed, as usually. I wish'd him that Forgiveness of Sins, and that Resurrection and Life Everlasting which he had now profess'd to believe. He desir'd the Spectators to take Warning by him, and pray for him: Then I recommended him to GOD's boundless Mercy, and withdrew from him, leaving him to his private Devotion, for which he had some time allotted him. After this the Cart drew away, and he was turn'd off.
This is all the Account here to be given of this Malefactor. And, Whereas a Scandalous Lying Paper was publish'd on Thursday last, setting forth, That Paul Lorrain, Ordinary of Newgate , having the day before taken too large a Dose of Jenevre at a Brandy-shop in Newgate-street, went thence to the Condemn'd Prisoners in the Chapel, where he shamefully spued upon his Cushion, and presently dy'd: And Whereas also it is asserted in that Paper, That the said Ordinary was a French Dancing-Master before he took Holy Orders, and, That he was try'd at the Old-bailey, &c. These are to certify, That all and every of those Passages being utterly false and groundless, the said Ordinary does hereby promise a due Reward and Thanks to any Person, who shall discover and secure the Author and Printer of that base murdering Paper, so as they may be brought to Justice, and punish'd accordingly.
Monday May 25. 1719
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