A True Discourse Of the practises of Elizabeth Cald­well, Ma: Ieffrey Bownd, Isabell Hall widdow, and George Fernely, on the parson of Ma: Thomas Caldwell, in the County of Chester, to haue murdered and poysoned him, with diuers others.

Together with her manner of godly life during her imprisonment, her arrainement and execution, with Isabell Hall widdow; As also a briefe relation of Ma. Ieffrey Bownd, who was the Assise before prest to death.

Lastly, a most excellent exhortorie Letter, written by her own selfe out of the prison to her husband, to cause him to fall into considera­tion of his sinnes, &c. Seruing likewise for the vse of euery good Christian. Beeing executed the 18. of Iune. 1603.

VVritten by one then present as witnes, their owne Country-man, Gilbert Dugdale.

AT LONDON, Printed by Iames Roberts for Iohn Busbie, and are to be sold at his shop vnder Saint Peters Church in Cornewell. 1604.

To the right vertuous, the Ladie Marie Cholmsly, & the right worshipfull these Knights; Sir Tho: Houlcroft, Sir Iohn Sauadge of Egerton, Sir Iohn Egerton, Sir Peter VVarborton, Sir Rowland Stanly, Sir Vrian Leigh, Sir Tho: Aston, Sir Thomas Smith, Sir Tho: Sauadge, Sir George Leister, Sir VVilliam Damport, Sir Tho: Stanly, Sir George Booth, Sir Henry Bunberry, Sir Hukin Beeston, Sir Richard Wilbrome, Sir Richard Brooke, Sir Richard Egerton, Ma. Peter Warborton Esquire, Ma. Thomas Wilbrom Esquire, Ma. Thomas Brooke Esquire, Master Richard Granesnor Esquire, Ma. Hugh Calmelie Esquire, Ma. Robert Cholmsly, E­squire, Ma. Ralfe Egerton of Ridly, Esquire, Ma: Thomas Marburie E­squire, Ma. Richard Brerton of Wetten-hall, Esquire, and all the rest, as well Knights as Gentlemen then at the Assises present, the true witnesses of this following historie: your kind poore Countryman Gilbert Dug­dale, engaged to you all in debt and dutie, committeth this dicourse with true and due commends: with continuall prayers for your good healths, and succesfull fortunes.

MOst indered and right vertuous Ladie, and you the rest of the right VVorshipfull these kinde Cheshiere Knights; After my long beeing at Chester, in the time of this reported trouble. I in my mellancholie walkes be thought me of the strange inuasion of Sathan, lately on the persons of Elizabeth Caldwell, and her bloody louer Iefferie Bownd, together with that vntimely actor Isabell Hall widdow, howe that vglie fiende (euer mans fatall opposite) had made practise, but I hope not purchase, of theyr corruptible liues, & brought them to the last steppe of mortall miserie. And then revoluing with my selfe, the great goodnes of God, in calling sinners to repentance, and withall, admiring his gifts in the pe­nitent, I could no lesse then write my harts trouble, as well to pertake the world with my meditation, as to make them vvon­der at this Cheshiere chaunce; and thereby to plant or to engraft a kinde of feare by this way of example, howe murder should heereafter beare any braine in sensible creatures, considering how the very stones shal bewray the inward thoughts of massa­ker. All these considered, when I had coted this wonder, thin­king how incredulous our Nation is in things true, and how vn­certaine they are to beleeue fopperies fayned, I could no lesse for the certaintie heereof, but call you to witnesse of the proofe, because sith such an example was preferd vnto vs, that others, [Page] not eye witnes therevnto, might the rather assure themselues of the same. First, I knowing your generall griefes for the fall of so good a Gentlewoman, and when no remedy could be, to comfort such a godly soule, aswell in her time of imprisonment as at the houre of her death, my owne occasions also for that time considered, and beeing your true and naturall Country­man, I could doe no lesse but ostend my dutious loue to you all in this kinde, desiring you to accept my poore mite, onely considering this, the poore mans plenty is prayer to regrate your worthy loues, & as truly as I liue, that shall be no niggard; for that night wherein I lie me downe, and pray not for you all, let my rest be broad-waking slumbers, and my quiet, waking dreames; and that will be punishment more then I would en­ioy for so regardlesse a good as I so late and so happily recea­ued. True it is that diuers reports passed vp and downe the streets of Loudon as touching this act of murder, but how scan­delously, as fiue murdred, three murdred by the meanes of six persons, which your VVorships know is false, only three mur­dered one; marry the intent was to him that now liues. There­fore being an eare-witnes to this false alarum, it made me more diligent in the setting foorth the truth, whereby GOD in his power might be knowne, sathan in his meaning no doubt ouer­throwne, and the worlds idle fabling by a contrary meaning knowne. For as it was, it was, and no otherwise, and thus it was, as your presences both at the examination, arraignement, and execution can iustifie; and how odious it is to heare any truth rackt by slaundering tongues, iudge or imagine; onely this, pardon my boldnes, witnes the right, accept my good will in the publishing; and so I commit you to Gods protection.

Your poore Countryman, euer yours, Gilbert Dugdale.

The practise of Elizabeth Caldwell, against the life of her owne husband.

I purpose God willing to discribe in briefe, the life and death of Elizabeth Caldwell, late wife of Thomas Caldwell in the countie of Chester, and daughter to one Maister Duncalffe of the sayd countie; A gentleman of very good sort, who fatherly and carefully trained vp his daughter from her infancie, she being framed and adorned withall the gifts that nature could challenge, and wanting no good education, did in her tender infant yeares bestowe her in marriage; to the said Thomas Cald­well, giuing her a good dower to her better preferring in the sayd marriage; with a yearely newety of ten pounds, to extend to her said husband, and his heires for euer: and as the like matches doe not often proue well, so this Caldwell being young, and not experienced in the world, gaue his minde to trauell, and sée forraine countries, which tended rather to his losse then profit, as also to the great discontentment of his wife, and other his friends, leauing her often times verie bare, without prouision of such meanes as was fitting for her, yt by these courses hee did withdrawe her affection from him, so yt in the continu­ance of his absence; a young man, named Iefferey Bownd, a neighbour vnto the said Elizabeth Caldwell, and she as I sayd before, inioying all the excellent gifts of nature, set his affections abroch, and being a man of good wealth, spared nether cost nor industrie both by himselfe & others, [Page] to withdrawe her to his vnlawfull desire, and omittnig no opportunitie in this sute; though she along time with­stood their allurements, insomuch that hee feede an old woman named Isabell Hall, late wife of Iohn Hall, and preferred as an instrument to worke her to an vnlawfull reformation, so that in processe of time, with many ear­nest perswasions, they wone this silly soule, to their will; and hauing so done, the sayd Bownds insatiable desire could not bee so satisfied, but perswaded her of himselfe, and also by the sayd Isabell Hall, to yeelde her consent by some meanes to murder her sayd husband, the which she was though drawne to the other, yet very vnwilling to agrée vnto that. But by many and often assaults and in­couragements, their perswasions did worke with her, and tooke effect; the which being obtained, then were they as busie as before, deuising which way, to set their deuillish and most hellish practises aworke, preferring many deuises for the accomplishment thereof. And shee often times entring into consideration with her selfe, what a damnable part it was, first to abuse her husbands bed, and then in seeking to depriue him of his life, was greatly tor­mented in her conscience, and diuers times, earnestlie in­treated them to surcease in this practise, laying before them the great and heauie punishments, prouided for such offenders both in this world, and in the world to come: but their harts being so deeply possest by that filthy enimy to all goodnes, that there was nothing to them more odi­ous then such perswasions, still perseuered in there former wicked inuensions, and drew her to associate them in this villany, laying many plots for the performing of it, a­mongst which Isabell Hall as she was verie expert in such like actions, beeing an ancient motherly woman, and to all mens iudgements in her outward habite, was farre from harboring such a thought, yet as I was about to say, she aduised Bownd to giue to a brother of hers, namely, George Fernley, fiue pounds, & she would perswade him, that he should vse some meanes to murder Caldwell, the which Bownd agreed vnto, being that to him all her mo­tions [Page] were medicines, and for that her house was the place, that Bownd and Elizabeth Caldwell did resort for there meeting place, and he hauing an intent to further this matter, caused this Fernley to be sent for, and confer­red with him: and hee being a man slenderly furnished with meanes, agreed to this there motion, affirming, that he would delay no time till hee had effected their desire, though in my conscience hee pretended nothing lesse, but onely to sooth them with faire words, for lucre of the money, made a showe to Bownd as if he were verie dil­ligent about the execution thereof, but still was preuented, in so much that Bownd entered into a great rage with the poore fellow, and swore most terribly, if hee did not dis­patch his busines withall expedition, he would lay him by the heeles for his fiue pounds.

Notwithstanding, hee made delaies so many, that the old for, I meane Halls wife deuised with her selfe of ano­ther course, & willed Bownd to buy some Ratsbane, and she would minister it in Oaten-cakes for that she knewe Caldwell much affected them, and they being made, his wife should giue them vnto him, and so procure his speedy dispatch. Which deuise he verie willingly consented vnto, and vsed no delay in the matter, but presently repared to a towne in Cheshiere called Knutsforth, there bought the poyson, and brought it to Elizabeth Caldwell, and wished her to send it to Isabell Hall with all speede, wherevppon she receiued it, and instantly vppon the receite thereof, Halls wife sent her maide to Elizabeth, and willed her to send the spice she spoke to her for: so the maide innocently went as her dame commanded her, and receiued the poy­son, and brought it to the sayd Isabell Hall her dame, who presently did take it, and minister it, (as I sayd before) in oaten-cakes: the which being done, she sent them to Eliza­beth Caldwell, where she and her husband did soiourne; wherevppon, being in the euening, she layd them in her chamber windowe. In the morning next ensuing, Cald­well, as his accustomed manner was, rose verie earlie, [Page] and his wife still keeping her bed, he spied the cakes lie in the windowe, and demaunded of her if he might take any of them, she answered, yea, all if he would, and therevpon he tooke some three or foure of them, and went into the house, and called for some butter to eate them with, the which was brought him.

But let me tell you by the way, so soone as he was de­parted the chamber with the cakes, feare draue such a ter­ror to her hart as she lay in bed, as she euen trembled with remorse of conscience, yet wanted she power to call to him to refraine them, insomuch as he himselfe did not onely eate of them, but the most part of the folkes in the house, children and all, yet God bestowed his blessing so bounti­fully on them, as they were all preserued from daunger, sauing one little girle which could not so wel disgest them, which was a neighbours child of sixt or seauen yeares old, and comming in by chance for fier: to the which maister Caldwell gaue a peece of acake, and she eate it, and by rea­son she had beene long before visited with sicknes, shee went home and died presently, while the rest by way of vomit were saued. But that which maistar Caldwell did vomit vp againe, two doggs and a cat did eate, and they died presently also. Whether vppon the force of that poyson or no the childe died I cannot say, but well I knowe, they were all three brought within the com­passe of murder for the death of it, and were all executed at Chester for the same fact, as you shall heareafter vn­derstand.

Upon the death of this child, Elizabeth Caldwell was apprehended, and brought before three Iustices of the peace; namely, Sir Iohn Sauage, Sir Thomas Aston, and maister Brooke of Norton, where before them she truly confessed all their practises and proceedings from the be­ginning, euen till that day. Upon which confession, Bownd and Isabell Hall were apprehended, and brought before the same Iustices, and examined as touching the murder, and they very stoutly denied all, afferming that [Page] they were not guiltie to any such action, although her con­fession in her Examination did manifest against them, bee­ing layd to their charge: all which would not mooue them to acknowledge their fault, the deuill hauing so great a commaund ouer them. Notwithstanding, they were all committed to the Castell of Chester, there to remaine with out Baill or Maineprise, till they should be deliuered by due course of Lawe, according to the tenure of warrants directed in such a case.

So the Assise approching within few dayes after theyr commitment, their causes and tryall for that time was re­iourned, till the next great Assises holden there. And whe­ther it was by speciall meanes of Bownd made to the Iudge, or for that Elizabeth Caldwell was with childe, I cannot truly say, but there they continued from that time, beeing a senight after Easter, till Michelmas following: during which time they were not admitted one to speake to another. And for Elizabeth Caldwell, from her first en­trance into prison, till the time of her death, there was ne­uer heard by any, so much as an idle word to procéede out of her mouth, neither did shée omit any time, during her imprisonment, in seruing of GOD, and séeking pardon for her sinnes, with great zeale and industrie, continually meditating on the Bible, excluding her selfe from all com­panie, sauing such as might yéelde her spirituall comforts, as learned Diuines, and such, the faithfull seruaunts of God. There was many of all sorts resorted to sée her, as no fewer some daies then thrée hundred persons: and such as she thought were viciously giuen, shee gaue them good admonitions, wishing that her fall might be an example vnto them.

Thus the deceitfull deuill, who hath sometime permis­sion from GOD to attempt the very righteous, (as lob) was now an instrument to her sorrow, but her feeling faith the more increased, and no doubt [...]o her comfort, though in our eyes terrible: for indéede so it ought, béeing sent from God as an example to thousands. For where so [Page] many liue, one or two pickt out by the hand of God, must serue as an example to the rest, to kéepe thousands in feare of Gods wrath, and the worlds terror. But sée her con­stancie. All the time of her imprisonment, she vsed all pos­sible meanes, both of herselfe, and by those good members that did visit her, to conuert all the rest of the prisoners, which good worke begunne in her did take good effect, for she sent some dayes a dozen Letters to seuerall Preachers to be resolued as touching her fayth, and the want of a sound resolution that GOD had parsoned her offences. Where the Lady Mary Cholmsly of Cholmsly amongst others, together with the comfortable reliefe of one Mai­ster Iohn Battie, (no doubt both Gods Children) so relie­ued, as want neuer grieued her conscience, but that shee continued in zeale, without griefe of the worldes offences both in soule and body: nay, not onely her, but also to the rest of the prisoners. For note, that death neuer feared or daunted her, but onely fearing shée was not fully purged from her sinnes, till at the end, as by her words at her ex­ecution appeareth.

This foresaide Maister Battie well deserues a due re­membrance for his clemencie and charitie shewed to that distressed and deceased poore soule, by whose good meanes, which in méere compassion by him extended, did not onely receiue comforts for her bodily reléefe, but also great satis­faction for her soule, hee oft imployed such industry to the Learned, both to repare vnto her themselues, as likewise daily in sending vnto her good and learned instructions: Surely, he deserues to be registred in the harts of all well disposed persons, and his demerits (no doubt) will finde restitution at the handes of him, who is the Pay-Maister for all such charitable deserts.

It is also to be noted, that after these thrée aforenamed persons had remained in prison all the whole Summer, at Michelmas then ensuing the Assises were holden, and E­lizabeth Caldwell had her triall, where shee openly before the Iudges, and the rest of the Worshipfull Audience, ac­knowledged [Page] her offence: for the which shee first demaun­ded pardon at the hands of God, then of her husband, last­ly of all the world: and desiring, as it was euer her pray­er, that she might be as a Looking-glasse to all that eyther did sée or heare of her fall, that by her they might sée into theyr owne frailines, and the infirmities which are sub­iect to the flesh. And hauing, as I said, acknowledged her guiltines, was condemned. And by reason shee was not then deliuered of child, still repriued: and at ye same Assise Bownd was indited: and whether by euill counsell giuen him, or for his owne obstinacie, I cannot truly report, but he would not answer to the Articles obieced against him, nor refer his cause to GOD and the Country, but stoode mute, though the Iudges very earnestly mooued him to put his cause to triall: all which would not perswade him, and therefore, according to the Law, he was adiudged to be prest, receiuing his iudgement on the Saturday, to be executed on Munday following. And for Isabell Hall, her matter that Assise was not called in question, which yéel­ded her such incouragement, that shee was altogether re­gardlesse of the good of her soule.

But Bownd, euer before he perceiued how hee should spéede, pleaded to euery one whom he had any communi­on with, of his innocencie, till he saw no hope of life: then hée, before two or thrée Preachers, and others, did mani­fest the whole truth, and affirmed that flesh and blood was not able to endure the often assaults that Elizabeth Cald­well had of him, and Isabell Hall: and vppon the Munday about nine of the clocke, was prest: where to euery mans iudgement there present, hee made a very penitent end, béeing hartily sorrowfull for his offences, and very de­uoutly craued pardon of GOD and all the world, and so died (I trust) the true seruaunt of Iesus Christ.

Then that night next after his death, Elizabeth Cald­well was deliuered of a boy, which child is yet as I take it, still liuing with another boy she had before her impre­sonment, the which are at the keeping of Caldwell their [Page] father, and as it was generally reported, hee made sute to the Iudge to procure a warrant to haue his wife executed, within a certaine time after her deliuerie; but how true it was that he made such meanes, I cannot truly affirme, but sure I am, a warrant was granted and sent the keeper for to haue her executed, within 13 daies or there­abouts after she was deliuered, the which was conuented by reason the Cunstable of the castle, did mistake the deli­uerie of the warrant to the Sheriffe till the date was out. Though she a senight before the time, had prepared her selfe, only to receiue the mercy of God, and terror of death, yet it pleased God otherwise a while to prolong her daies, which time giuen her, she did not vainely spend, but im­ploy her vttermost indeuors to obtaine mercie, and for­giuenes in such rare sort, as if I should discribe the per­ticulers thereof, it would not only be endlesse, and tedi­ous, but I doubt, to the hearers and readers, it would be though incredable, for in her might be seene the true image of a penitent sinner, as the like hath not often in these daies beene seene, God showing his glory so aboundantlie, working her penitency, as to me, and many more, was most admirable. For if she espied in any one, of what cal­ling or degree soeuer, that they wilfully or carelesly abused Gods holy ordinaunces, shee would reproue them for it, and curtiously intreate them to amend such and such a­buses; though some disdained she should seeme so to doe, in regard of her owne former offence, though indeede none might better doe it then shee, hauing smarted euen at her soule for her sinnes. This is the frailnes of our flesh, we only disdaine not our afflicted bretheren, but also there good admonitions: God of his mercy I beseech him giue vs grace, that we may sée into our fickle estates, and receiue willingly any reprofe that may tend to the good of our poore soules.

So by this meanes, as I showed you before, this Eli­zabeth Caldwell was still detained in prison till the next Assise following, at what time Isabell Hall was indited, as [Page] an actor in this murder, and found guilty by the Iurie, condemned and executed. And Elizabeth Caldwell also re­ceiued the death of execution at the same instant, though my Lady Cholmsley very worshipfull and louingly made earnest sute, vnto the Iudge for her depriue till the Assise following: y which by no meanes would be granted. And she seeing her sute would not take effert, being very sor­rowfull, like a kind Ladie, went vnto Elizabeth Caldwell her selfe, and showed her she could not therein preuaile for her.

Indeede my Lady and others had an intent, if they could haue got her repriue, to haue vsed meanes to the King for a petition, but seeing it would not be, Elizabeth dutifully yéelded thanks vnto her Ladiship; and said shée was very well content to receiue the death ordained for her. My Lady departed, and she practising her former ex­ercises, I meane prayer, vntill such time as the Keeper came and told her the Shrieffe was come to the Glouers­stone, to receiue her and the rest of the prisoners appointed for death: and she very chéerefully aunswered, I trust in my God I am ready, and farewell to the Lawe, too long haue I béene in thy subiection: & so departing the castell, taking leaue with euery one, and from hence to the place of execution, she some times sung Psalmes, and vsed other godly meditations, as was thought fitting for her, by those Diuines and godly Preachers, which accompanied her euen to her death.

A Letter written by Elizabeth Caldwell to her Husband, during the time of her imprisonment.

ALthough the greatnes of my of­fence deserues neither pittie nor re­garde, yet giue leaue vnto your poore sorrowfull wife to speake vnto you, what out of her owne wofull experience, with a­boundance of griefe and teares, she hath learned in the Schoole of affliction, it is the last fauour that I shall euer beg at your hands, and the last office that euer I shall performe vnto you. And therfore deere Husband, if you haue, any hope or desire, to bee partaker of the ioyes of heauen, let my speeches finde acceptance, and doe not slightly esteeme what I write vnto you, but reade these lines againe, and againe, and lay them vp in your hart, where I be­seech Almightie God they may take deepe roote, and impression. For my witnesse is in heauen, that my harts desire and earnest prayer to GOD is, that your soule may be saued. And if the losse of my blood, or life, or to endure any torments that the world can inflict vpon me, might procure your true conuersion, I should esteeme it purchased at an ea­sie rate: but sith none can haue saluation without true Reformation, both inward, and outward, a­mendement, in changing the affection, words, and [Page] works, from euill to good, which till you feele in your soule & conscience to be effectually wrought, you haue not repented, defer not time, but call to God for grace of true Repentance, which may be sound euen in this accepted time, when the doores of Gods mercy are open, that so he may haue mer­cie on you, least he giue you ouer to hardnesse of hart, that you cannot repent: and so you knocke with the foolish virgins, when the date of Gods mercies are out, and then nothing but woe, woe, and vengeance: therefore the longer you deferre, the harder it will be for you to repent: and delayes are most dangerous, for what know you how sud­denlie, death may strike you, and then, as the tree falls, so it lies, that is, as you die, so shall you haue, if in true repentance, ioy, if in your sinnes, sorrow. Therefore saith Salomon, All that thy hand shall finde to doe, doe it withall thy power, for there is neither worke, nor knowledge, inuention, nor wisedome in the graue whether thou goest.

O husband, be not deceiued with the world, & thinke that it is in your power to repent when you will, or that to say a fewe prayers from the mouth outward a little before death, or to cry God mercie for fashion sake, is true repentance. No, no, not e­uerie one that saith Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdome of heauen, but he that doth the will of my Father which is in heauen, saith our Sauiour, Late repentance is sildome true, & true repentance is not so easie a matter to come by, as the word doth iudge. Doe not presume on it, and so runne on in your sinfull course of life, & thinke to repent when [Page] you list, you can not doe it, for repentance is the rare gift of GOD, which is giuen but to a verie fewe, euen to those that seeke it, with many teares, and verie earnestlie with feruent prayers. None can better speake of it, for none better knowes it then my selfe, my sorrowfull hart hath smarted for it, and my soule hath beene sick to the gates of hell, and of death to finde it: and to haue it, is more precious then all the world, therefore cease not to pray day and night with the prophet, Turne thou vs vnto thee, ô Lord, and we shall be turned, and with E­phraim, conuert thou mee, ô Lord, and I shall bee conuerted: for except you be conuerted, you shall not enter into the kingdome of heauen.

And because none can be conuerted, nor come vnto Christ except the Father drawe him, neuer leaue to solicite the Father of mercy to create a new hart, and renewe a right spirit within you, and call to remembrance the desolutenesse of your life, I speake it not to lay any thing to your charge, for I doe loue you more deerely, then I doe my selfe, but remember in what a case you haue liued, howe poore you haue many times left me, how long you haue beene absent from mee, all which aduantage the deuill tooke to subuert mee. And to further his purpose, he set his hellish instruments a work, euen the practise of wicked people, who continuallie wrought vpon my weaknes, my pouertie, and your absence, vntill they made me yeeld to conspire with them the destruction of your bodie, by a violent & suddaine death; which God in his great mercy pre­uented, and on the knees of my hart, in the abun­dance [Page] of his compassion, I beseech him to forgiue vs all, & wash our soules in the blood of his Christ, and to open the eyes of your vnderstanding, that you may see by my example, which the prouidence of God, for some secrete cause best knowne to him selfe, hath appointed to come to passe. How weake and wretched wee are, and how vnable to stand of our selues, when it shall please him to take his grace from vs, and to leaue vs to our selues. Therefore good husband, as you tender the welfare of your soule, goe no further on in your sinfull race, but turne vnto the Lord, & so shall you saue your soule aliue. If you continue in your abhominations, and shut your eares against the worde of Exhortation, you cannot haue any hope of saluation, for the booke of God is full of iudgements against wilfull sinners, and mercie is to them that repent & turne.

Therefore I beseech you vse no delay, deferre no time, but presently bee acquainted with the Scriptures, for they will leade you to eternall life: make hast, euen before your hands part with this paper to search therein, that so you may truly vn­derstand the wretched estate, & condition of those, who following the lusts of there eyes, wallow in all sensualitie, and so heape vp vengance against the day of wrath: euen heauie Iudgments, no lesse then condemnation both of soule and body. As Salomon saith, Reioyce O young man in thy youth, & let thy hart cheare thee, in the daies of thy youth, and walke in the waies of thy hart, and in the sight of thine eyes, but knowe that for all things God will bring thee to Iudge­ment. Remember he spared not the Angells when [Page] they sinned; but cast them downe into hell, nor of the old world but eight onely escaped, the rest were drowned in their sinnes because they would not be warned. Baltasar, sayth Daniell, expounding the fearefull vision of the hands writing, when hee was banqueting with his Concubines, thou art wayed in the Ballance, and are found light.

These and many more are written for our ad­monition, vppon whom the ends of the world are come, search for them, and I pray God you may be warned by them, and that you may seeke the Lord now while hee may bee found, and call vppon him while he is neere. Behold now the day of saluation, euen now, when he in mercy offereth himselfe vn­to vs, by preaching of his word, receiue not these graces in vaine, but redeeme your time, and runne vnto the house of God, and there in the great con­gregation, power foorth your plaint, with obedi­ence heare the word of God, and indeuour to prac­tise what you heare in your conuersation, for the doores onely shall bee iustified at the last day, the word must iudge vs, in this life it worketh effect, for which it was sent: it either conuerts or hardens, it is the sauour of life, vnto life, or of death, vnto death, it is offered to all: to those that imbrace it, it brings life, to those that will not be reformed by it, it brings death, to those that loue and desire it, it is the quicking spirit, to those that refuse it, it is the killing Letter, it is no speciall argument of God his fauour vnto any, vnlesse they feele the power thereof working reformation in them, then it is the power of his spirit, the pledge of his blessing. Igno­raunce [Page] must not excuse you, for the Prophet saith, my people languish for want of knowledge, and knowledge without practise, leaues al men without excuse, for hee that knoweth his maisters will, and doth it not, shall be beaten with many strips: there­fore make more conscience of the word of God, then you haue done, and loue his Messengers, the Preachers that brings that glad tidings, for to loue them is to loue Christ, and to hate them, is to hate Christ, as our Sauiour saith, he that dispiseth you, dis­piseth me, and it is hard to kick against the prick. And loue the children of God that professe Christ Iesus, for hereby shall men knowne, that you are my Disciples, if you loue one another saith our Sauiour. And for the Saboth day, bee yee assured, that the Lord of heauen, hath not in vaine chosen it to him­selfe, commaunding vs to Sanctifie it vnto his ho­ly name, no, no, if euer we desire to be pe [...]takers of the spirituall Saboth in heauen, whereof ours on earth is but a tipe, and a figure, then must we striue to keepe the same Saboth on earth as much as in vs lyes, which the Saints keepe in heauen: they are at rest from those labours that mortality is subiect vnto, and vncessantly sing prayses vnto the Lamb, so should we rest that day from the labours of our calling, and spend the whole day in hearing of the word preached, praysing the Lord publickly in the great congregation, priuatly at home with our fa­milies, preferring such other holy exercises, as may tend to the glory of God, the comfort of our soules, & the good of others, which we are bound to per­forme so straightly, as that we may not that day, be [Page] alowed to speake such words, as concerne of voca­tions. And how soeuer it please the world, to thinke of the great God of heauen, and of the sanctifying of the Saboths, yet be you assured he is a iealious God, and will visite sinners, and one seede of his word, shall not be lost, but he will be glorified by it either in the saluation of those, who in a good con­science willingly indeuour to sanctifie them, or in the condemnation of those who wilfully oppose themselues against his blessed ordinaunce, to pro­phane them: which is one of the crying sinnes of this land, wherewith the whole Kingdome is in­fected: and if there were not some fewe to stand in the gap, for whose sake the Lord doth speare the rest, it had not beene possible, we should so long haue escaped his heauy iudgements.

O deere husband, the Lord hath long since taken his sword in his hand, to execute his vengance a­gainst all disobedient wretched, who turne the Sa­both of the Lord, into a day of wantonnes, liberty, and licentiousnes, and although in his great mercy he doth yet forbeare to proceede to iudgement, as it were in great mercy, waiting our repentance, yet there wil suddainely come a day of reckoning, all to­gether: and the wicked make the patience of our God an occasion to commit sinne, and prophanes, yet let them knowe, the Lord will take vengance of his aduersaries, and reserue wrath for his enemies, and though hee be slowe to anger, yet is he great in power, and will not surely cleare the wicked: though he deferre the Sessions, yet they will come, and though he haue Leaden feete, yet hath he Iron [Page] hands, though the fier light not vppon Sodome all the euening, yet it came. Doe not therefore pro­uoke the Lord any longer by your prophanes, for he is strong, readie to punnish, and hath promised, that the person that dispiseth his word, shall be cut of. Did hee not commaunde a man to be stoned to death, for gathering a fewe sticks▪ on the Saboth day, and is hee not still the same God? yes certaine, his arme is not shortned if we wilfully persist in our disobedience.

Sixe market dayes hee hath giuen vs, to prouide vs necessaries for our bodies, and but one hath hee chosen for himselfe to be a day of holines, which is the market day for the soule, wherein wee should prouide vs of comforts for the whole weeke. The excellencie and woorth of this day is vnspeakable to those that sanctifie it. It is the badge and liuerie whereby they are knowne to bee the seruaunts of God: to those that prophane it, in spending the day in worldly pleasures, drunkennes & filthinesse, it is the certaine badge and liuerie, whereby they are knowne to be the seruants of the deuill, accor­ding to the sayings of the Apostle, knowe you not vn­to whomsoeuer ye giue your selues as seruants to obey, his seruants yee are, to whom yea obey, whether it be of sinne vnto death, or of obedience vnto righteousnes.

If my people will sanctifie my Saboth, saith the Lord, it shall be a signe betweene me and them, that they may knowe that I ame the Lord there God; and blessed are they who haue the Lord for their God. So that to those that prophane the Saboth, the Lord is not their God, but the deuill: and cur­sed [Page] are the people that are in such a case, therefore deere husband, deferre no time, put not of from day, to day, to turne vnto the Lord, nether be you deceiued, for God is not mocked, the longer you runne on, the more you set on the score, and such as you sowe, such shall you reape: for the Lord hath sayd, He that heareth my words, and doth blesse himselfe in hart, saying, I shall haue peace, al­though. I walke according to the stubbernes of my hart, thus adding drunkennes to thirst, the Lord will not bee mercifull vnto him, but the wrath of the Lord, & his iealosie, shall smooke against that man, and euery curse that is written in this booke shall light vppon him, and the Lord shall put out his name from vnder heauen: but vnto them that re­pent, the Lord hath sayd, when the wicked turneth away from his wickednes, that he hath committed, and doth that which is lawfull and right, hee shall saue his soule aliue. You see the iudgements of God are begunne alreadie in your house, happie shall you be if you make a holy vse of them, other­wise heauior may be expected, especially, if you persist. In his mercy he hath spared you, and doth yet waite for your repentance, doe not you abuse his patience any longer, lest thereby you prouoke him to proceede to execution against you, but im­brace his mercy which is yet a offered vnto you: for which, that you may so do, I shall not cease, to pray whilst I liue, to him who onely is able to effect it, euen the Lord of heauen, who send vs ioy­full meetting at the day of our Resurrection.

Your poore wife Elizabeth Caldwell.

The words of Eli­zabeth Caldwell at the time of her death.

FIrst she desired, that the Lord would giue a blessing vn­to the speeches that she deliue­red, yt they might tend to the con­uerting of many of the hearers, and also she sayd, that the word of God did not giue her any pri­uiledge, and authority to sinne, but that it was her owne filthy flesh, the illutions of the deuill, and those hellish instru­ments which he set on worke: yet notwithstanding, she euer had a detestation to those sinnes that she liued in, but she affirmed that she wanted grace to auoyd them, there­fore as she had giuen a great scandall to the word of God, by professing, and not practising the same, euen so she de­sired the great mercy of God, to forgiue her that sinne, acknowledging that she stoode to presumptiously vpon her owne conceite, and grew too proud, vowing and swearing, that she would neuer doe such and such things, but suddainly fell into the like againe.

Therfore she gaue Saint Paules admonition vnto eue­ry one, Let him that thinketh he stands, take heede of a pre­sent fall: likewise she exhorted all to the dilligent obserua­tion of the Saboth day, saying, that one of her chiefe and [Page] capitall sinnes was, the neglect thereof, and although the world did recon and esteeme it a small matter, yet she knewe it to be one of her greatest sinnes, wishing all people in the feare of God, to make a reuerent account of the Lords glorious Saboth, she complained much of adul­tery, and said it was that filthy sinne which was the cause of her death, and was perswaded in her conscience, that her afflictions was rather for that, then any murder shee euer committed: notwithstanding, shee yeelded her selfe culpable in concealing of it, manifesting that in re­gard of her sinnes, and iniquities, she deserued a thousand deaths, praying most earnestly vnto God, that her selfe might be a warning and example vnto all there present, wishing them most earnestly to serue the Lord, of what degree soeuer they were, if they were neuer so poore, but were forst to craue there liuing from doore to doore, which done, then were they happy creatures.

Then againe, she admonished all to keepe the Saboth, to goe to the church, and heare the word of God preached, for that was the only truth, and able to saue their soules. But as touching Papistrie, she euer hated it, knowing it contrary and flatly opposite against the truth of the great God of heauen, and his holy word, praying for the con­fution and desolution of the great whore of Babilon, but most deuoutly and sencerely, praying for the currant passage of the Gospell of Christ Iesus throughout the whole world, to the conuerting of thousands, desiring that the very stones of the streete might set foorth the glo­ry of God: and withall, most religiously she prayed for the Kings most excellent Maiestie, and sayd she might call him her King while shee liued, that his sacred & royall Person, might be a bright shining lampe of Gods glory in the aduancement of the Gospell of Christ, and the ouer­throwe of poperie & superstition, in these his Kingdomes and dominions. Then made knowne that she could teach as the Preachers, for they taught as they found it in the word, and she was able to speake from a feeling hart, ve­ry [Page] confidently affirming, that her sinnes were the greatest reason of the dulnes and hardnes of her hart, and the sepe­ration of Gods mercies from her: and therefore she care­fully aduised all to beware of sinne, because it was hate­ful and odious in the sight of God, and all reasonable crea­tures.

Concerning repentance, shee spake thus, that it was not in the power of man to repent when hee list, but the only gift of God, protesting before the Lord of heauen and earth, that during the time of her imprisonment, being a full yeare and a quarter, she had sought the Lord with many bitter teares, with broken and contrite hart, to see if his Maiestie would be intreated, and yet she found not such assurance as she desired: but auouched what she did, was done in simplicity of hart, whatsoeuer the world did other was censure. Moreouer, saying that in the mercies and merites of Christ Iesus, shee hoped her sinnes were pardoned, and sayd I belieue Lord, helpe my vnbeliefe. Also she sayd, that in the time of her imprisonment, the Lord had beene very gracious and mercifull vnto her, for many the faithfull ministers, and deere seruants of Iesus Christ, had recourse vnto her, by whose meanes she had recouered great comfoorth, praysing the Lord for the same: yet notwithstanding, the world most iniuriously did deride, scofe, and mock them, which was most wicked and abhominable: saying, that if there were fortie and two children deuoured for mocking the Prophet Eliza, what then shall befall of them that doe blaspheme the name of the great God of heauen, prophane his holy Sa­both, speake euill of his word, and abuse his faithfull Mi­nisters. Therefore she desired all to turne from their sinnes, and to turne to the Lord by true and vnfained re­pentance, praysing very earnestly for her husbands con­uersion, and that her two children might haue the feare of God before their eyes, and that the glory of God might appeare in the conuersion of prisoners, though it were with the losse of her owne life, so infinite was her zeale.

[Page] Then shee prayed the Lord, that hee would pardon all her grieuous and heynous sinnes in the bloodshed of Christ Iesus, beséeching him to clense her from her secret sinnes: praying that she might be a Doore-keeper in the house of God, and receiue the meanest place of glory. Then said shee, that if the great and tall Ceaders of the Church of God haue fallen, as Dauid, Salomon, and Manasses, how then coulde shee stand, béeing but a bramble, and weake wretched woman. Therefore shee exhorted euery one to depend onely vpon the Lord, and not to stand vpon theyr owne strength as shee had doone. And greatly then desi­ring all the people to pray vnto GOD for her, shee cal­led for her Prayer booke, reading and praying zealouslie and deuotly to Almighty GOD, with her eyes lift vp towards heauen; which doone, shee requested that they would sing a Psalme, reading it her selfe, & singing with a good spirit, that afterwards she vttered that shee felt the mercies of GOD, and her soule was much comforted: and hoped, that in the blood of Christ Iesus her sinnes were pardoned: and saide shee coulde not amend that which was past: but was most hartily sorrowfull for her former sinnes: saying, that if shee shoulde liue yet many yeeres, her desire would be in seruing the Lord: therefore she desired him vpon the knees of her hart, that hee would respect the will for the déede, and accept her poore desires: saying, O suffer me yet once to recouer my strength, be­fore I goe hence and be séene no more. Praying likewise for all those that ministred comforts vnto her in her misery and distresses, that the Lord would blesse them, and con­tinue them faithfull vnto the end.

Then forgiuing, and asking forgiuenes of all, making her selfe ready, saying her bodily death did not dismay her, concluding with these her last words, Lord Iesus re­ceiue my spirit: and so she left this miserable world, and dyed the true seruaunt of Iesus Christ, the xviij. day of Iune, 1603.

[Page] ¶ Nowe yet againe remember our old beldame afore­named, that vncharitable creature Isabell Hall, widdow, béeing the onely instrument of this timelesse action: who standing on the Ladder, and ready to suffer for her fact, did notwithstanding very stoutly denie euery thing that had beene doone in theyr late procéedings, nay and abiurd it, had not Elizabeth Caldwell with affirmation of all in­serted her confession in that behalfe: Who with an easie repentance to the worlds eye, ended her life. Whereby may be séene how strong the deuill in some actions is, that shée by whose instigation all was doone, both in the adulterie and murder, would so impudently deny euery particuler, notwithstanding the triall of the cause both manifested by Iudge and Iurie. But thus we sée the boldnes of sinne, and the coldnesse of the truth, till God in mercie makes plaine the truth of the one, and the wonder of the other. All which tending to the example of others, may moue vs to liuely repentance, which not doone, sal­uation cannot come, but truly effected, bréedes both the comfort of the soule and body. To which comfort, God in mercy bring vs for his sonne Iesus Christ his sake.

FINIS.

To the right honourable, and his singuler good Lady, the Lady Mary Chandois, R. A. wisheth health and euerlasting happinesse.

MY honourable and very good Lady, considering my dutie to your kind Ladiship, & remembring the vertues of your prepared minde, I could doe no lesse but dedi­cate this strange worke to your view, being both mat­ter of moment and truth. And to the whole world it may seeme strange, that a Gentlewoman so vvell brought vp in Gods feare, so well married, so ver­tuous euer, so suddainly wrought to this act of murder; that when your Ladiship doth read aswell the Letter as the Booke, of her owne indighting, you will the more wonder that her vertues coulde so aptly tast the follies of vice and villanie. But so it was, and for the better proofe that it was so, I haue placed my kinsmans name to it, who was present at all her troubles, at her comming to prison, her bee­ing in prison, and her going out of prison to execu­tion. That those Gentlemen to whom he dedicates his worke witnessed, may also be pertakers in that kind, for the proofe thereof, that your Ladiship & [Page 2] the world so satisfied, may admire the deede, and hold it as strange as it is true.

We haue many giddie pated Poets, that coulde haue published this Report with more eloquence, but truth in plaine attire is the easier knowne: let fixion maske in Kendall greene. It is my qualitie, to adde to the truth, truth, and not leasings to lyes. Your good Honor knowes Pincks poore hart, who in all my seruices to your Late deceased kind Lord, neuer sauoured of flatterie, or fixion: and therefore am now the bolder to present to your vertues, the view of this late truth, desiring you to so thinke of it, that you may be an honourable mourner at these obsequies, and you shall no more doe, then manie more haue doone. So with my tendered dutie, my true ensuing storie, and my euer wishing well, I do humbly commit your Ladiship to the prison of hea­uen, wherein is perfect freedome.

Your Ladiships euer in duty and seruice, Robert Armin.

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