FAIR WARNING TO Murderers of Infants: BEING AN ACCOUNT OF THE Tryal, Codemnation and Execution OF Mary Goodenough AT THE Assizes held in Oxon, in February, 1691-92.

TOGETHER With the Advice sent by her to her Children, In a Letter Sign'd by her own Hand the Night before she was Executed; with some Reflections added upon the whole: Printed for the Publick Good.

LONDON: Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Sign of the Golden Lyon in St. Paul's Church-yard▪ 1692


IT would grieve a Man to think how many's Curiosity will tempt them to buy this Paper; how few's Consideration will lead them to make useful Application of it to themselves; how many more will, through a vainly censorious Wit, charge the Publishing this Letter, as a Trick to pick Pockets; how few's Wisdom will conduct them to fall in with the direct Ten­dency it hath to enrich and ennoble their Minds; whilst most, it's to be fear'd, read such things with no more concern, than Persons in Health, read Quack-Doctors Bills, and make no better use of them. Yet he that hath an Ear to hear let him hear; this Letter speaks by strong Consequence at least, to the highest concerns of Mankind in general, it lays open Mens greatest Mistakes about, and misconducts of them: Oh that they were wise, that there were in all that shall read, an heart to consider this. In this Letter is wrap'd up most suitable Per­suasions to the Youth of these Kingdoms, to consider thoroughly of, and engage themselves heartily in their Baptismal Covenant. It gives an awakening Alarm to negligent Parents, to instruct their Children in, and conduct them diligently into the Paths of Heavenly Wisdom, lest they deeply mourn at last, (as this poor Woman did) their fatal Cruelty to their Childrens Souls▪ This Letter suggests a Warning to Adulterers and Adulteresses, to repent of, and forsake their Crimes, lest God bring them to repent by open shame, as he did this poor Creature, or suffer them to go on in a covert way to Hell. It's a Cry after the Backsliders in heart, those who have had strong Convictions, taken up good Resolutions, and follow'd them for a while, with a course of Amend­ment, but are return'd with the Dog to his Vomit; that they return to God from whom they have fallen, lest he in Judgment give them up to commit enormous Sins, to fali under dismal Punishments, yea, the most dismal of all, final Impenitency. Here's a discharge to all their Hopes of the Favour of God and everlasting Life, who are but formal, hypocritical, heartless Pretenders to Religion, till their Hearts are renew'd, as well as the Face of their Con­versation reform'd. And who amongst the dissolute, profane and profligate part of Mankind, can say, but here's a most passionate Cry to them that break and shake off the fatal Chains wherein the Devil is leading them down to the Chambers of Eternal Death? In short, there's that in this Letter, which may lead all to the most intimately acquainting themselves with their own Mortality. There's that by which, all Persons may determine, whether they belong to the Kingdom of Light, or that of Darkness; the Letter of a Dy­ing [Page] Persons Tryal of the Truth and Life of her Repentance, Faith, Love and Obedience. Reader, will you not use what you have bought? do you know all this Letter tells you already? Oh be persuaded now to fall a doing it. Will you censure it as being above these Children? Oh cast it not away as if it were below you; it was calculated as a Guide to them thro' their Lives. Will you charge it as too wordy? Oh confute not your charge, by making it appear there are not Words enow to persuade you to become Pious. Well, when the Testament of our Dying Jesus, nay, his last charge in that Testament, Do this in Remembrance of me, prevails so little with Christians, what Effects shall we hope for, from the words of a Dying Malefactor, recommending him to the World she has so lately left? Yet canst not thou Oh God, that causest Gibbets to preach, make the most Refractory of Rebels hear? You that will not hearken to Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, will you not hear, tho' one is here rais'd from the Dead, a living Witness to the great Truth they taught? Was she not dead in Trespasses and Sins? Was she not made a­live to God, thro' Jesus Christ think you, before she dy'd to Nature? Hear her then, Christ Jesus by her, that your Souls may live. Open thou the Ears Oh God, that are deaf to the Voice of Charms. Is not Judgment thy strange Work! Oh then Reform Multitudes by the Chastisement of this one Crimi­nal; who will otherwise by their Rebellions, run themselves into great Mi­sery in this World, if not also into everlasting Misery in the next: Well, whether any Person that reads this Letter, will give a practical regard to it or no, this is certain, it will barden where it does not soften. They are a Degree nearer Hell by refusing, who don't advance towards Heaven by embracing its Instructions. And if ever they repent, their slight of this Counsel, will yield them a most bitter Reflection; or if they never repent, this reflex Advice will add to the Smart of their Eternal Vexations in the World they're posting to, of Horrour and Despair.

As to that man who had the first and principal hand in this Womans and her Infants Tragedy, I would desire some Neighbours (supposing he'll scarce take pains to read this) to ask him seriously some such Questions as these. Whether he did not act the Devils part, when he tempted this Woman as Sa­tan our Saviour, to purchase a Supply for the cravings of her Nature, by a Crime tending to the Ruin of her Soul? Whether he that serves the Devil in his Life, and repents not, is not like to fall into his Condemnation and merci­less hands at Death? Whether he believes God has commanded Thou shalt not commit Adutery? If he does not, whether he believes, or can prove the Christian World Fools, or Madmen, who also thus believe it? Whether God has not own'd this Command, as often in History, so now by avenging the Breach of it, in this his fellow Criminals Death? This were easily argued, tho' she was Condemn'd at mans Barr for another Crime. But if he believes God has forbidden Adultery, whether he thinks God will always bear with him, in the violating the plain Letter of his Laws? Whether he that being often reprov'd hardens his heart, shall not suddenly be destroy'd, and that [Page] without Remedy? Whether he does not flatter himself with a secret Thought of future Repentance? Whether it be not his best, and may not happen to be his only time to repent now? or if he has no thought of Repentance, how he can think to dwell with devouring Flames, or everlasting Burnings?

And as to the Neighbourhood of this poor Woman, if the Judgments of God abroad in the World should teach the Inhabitants of the Earth Righteousness, surely then this Judgment of God, fallen upon one amongst you, whom you knew, with whom you convers'd, is now clearly design'd by God to teach you Righteousness. Think it not a Warning to you against the particular Crimes for which she dy'd only: Tho I dare affirm it positively, you are not secure of your selves, that you shall not commit the Crimes, or worse than those for which she dy'd; till you get your Hearts renew'd and chang'd, as she has shew'd you in the Tryal of her self. No, nor are you then secure of avoiding the commission of such enormous Crimes, but in your close walking with God, and thro' Faith on Jesus, receiving continual Supplies of Grace and Strength from him to resist Temptations. Did not David commit Adultery and Murder? Was not this Woman as Religious as most of you? Did not she seem­inly out go many of you? Will you not be warn'd by her Fall then, not to con­tent your selves with a Form of Religion, without the Power of Godliness? But I would chiefly apply my self to you on the behalf of her poor destitute Children. The Law of the Nation exacts from you the care of their Bodies, does not the Law of God under several Penalties, require you to take care of their Souls? Are not their Souls more valuable than their Bodies? Are not you become as Parents to these poor Orphans? The case of Orphans and Bast­ards is deplorable. Parishes indeed, take care to place them out where they may learn a slavish way of living at the cheapest rates, but seldom consider whether they'll be carefully instructed in the Fear, and p [...]ously conducted in the ways of God where they have plac'd them; a Cruelty indeed (Oh monstrous) many religious Persons are guilty of towards their Children. The best Trade and most knowing worldly Master is all their enquiry. Will you be so cruel to these Childrens Souls? know if you be, their Blood will God require at your hands. But whilst I speak to all, I'm afraid lest none will think themselves concern'd. Are there none amongst you that have devoted your selves to Christ Jesus in an everlasting Covenant, and Love him in Sincerity? I apply my self to you in Christs words, Feed these his Lambs. Of such little children as those of this Womans, with you are the Kingdom of Heaven; are they not Christs Members whilst they are yet devoted to him in Vertue of their Mothers Faith? Will not God reward your labour of Love towards them? Will they not be Blessings to the Families, to the Town they shall live in, and an Honour too, if you endeavour to bring them up to the Practice of their Mothers Precepts? Take care her Children learn to read, learn the Catechism; read to them, and press upon them this their Mothers Last Will concerning them. Don't stick at a little charge or trouble to do them good. Will any thing please you but the good you have done with what you had, when you come to dye? Will [Page] any thing displease you then but that you have done so little! And I beg leave to mind you of an Obligation, which, however to you it may seem small or none at all, yet by God perhaps, is accounted no small one upon you, to be kind to those poor Children. Who knows how far your Uncharitableness hiding your selves from your own Flesh, from this poor Womans Wants, contributed to the strength of that Temptation which brought her to that Sin and Punish­ment which have left these Children Motherless. It was for want of Bread she said: If her Modesty did make her asham'd to beg, did not her meagre Look, her starved Children, her meanly furnish'd House and Table beg from you, shou'd you not have answered this silent Prayer by Charity? Tho you did not do it then, shew your Repentance now in shewing a more bountiful and con­stant Kindness to her Children. This way God has left open for you. I wish all Parishes might by these Considerations, be brought more narrowly to inspect the State of their poor Neighbours, and consequently to administer to them. Some noisie poor are maintain'd in their Idleness, whilst other modest poor are starv'd in the midst of their Labours.

In short, from this Womans Crime and Punishment, may we be brought firmly to believe, Except we repent we shall all likewise perish: May they that think they stand, take heed lest they fall: May all hear and fear, and do no more wickedly.

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