An Alarme FOR SINNERS: Containing The Confession, Prayers, Letters, and last Words of Robert Foulkes, Late Minister of Stanton-Lacy in the County of Salop; who was Tryed, Convicted, and Sentenced, at the Sessions in the Old Bayly, London, January 16th 1678/9 and Executed the 31st following.

With an Account of his LIFE.

Published from the Original, Written with his own hand, during his Reprieve, and sent by him at his Death to Doctor Lloyd, Dean of Bangor.

Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor. 10. 12.

Licensed,

LONDON, Printed for Langley Curtis, on Ludgate-Hill, 1679.

TO THE Right Reverend and Honourable MY LORD BISHOP of LONDON.

May it please your Lordship,

AS it was an Act of the Highest Charity and Conde­scention in your Lordship, (upon Dr. Lloyd's Motion) so speedily and effectually to Address your self to his Majesty for a Reprieve of my Bo­dy from Death, for some small time, in order to the Prepa­ration of my Soul for that Eternity I am ready to enter on; so that I think my self in Duty and Gratitude obliged, not only to give some Account to the World how that time is Em­ployed, but also to submit this Account to be Ordered and Disposed of as shall seem best to your Lordships great Wis­dom. If it be thought useful, (as I hope it may be a loud Caveat against bold and daring Impiety) I humbly desire it may not steal abroad, but take along with it the Honour as well as authority of your Lordship's Imprimatur. That Learned and Charitable Person which Presents it to your Lordship, has promised to Order and Dispose of the confusion of these loose Papers, so as shall be least troublesome to your Lordship in the Perusal; and to make my Apology for Pre­senting them to such an Honourable Hand, in such a Rude and Disorderly Form. The Circumstances of my present [Page] Condition will not suffer me to put them in any better: But what I have now Presented to your Honour is sincerely the Truth, and there is not a Tittle here but what is the Exact Transcript of those Impressions I find upon my Conscience. I hope they may in some measure contribute to the Advance­ment of His Glory, whom I have so beyond all Example dis­honoured; and convince all that are not willing to catch at irrational Inferences to support themselves in their Atheisme and Debauchery, That our Excellent Religion, and this Sa­cred and Honourable Profession, are not to be Judged and disparaged for the Miscarriages of such unsound Mem­bers as I have been. This gives me also some Ground to hope, that I shall obtain▪ your Lordships Pardon and Prayers, together with that of the numerous Clergy under your Lordship's Government, in this great and populous Ci­ty; which I most humbly and heartily begg. God continue your Honour to be what you are, as great an Ornament to the Protestant Profession, as I have been a Scandal to it. In a deep Sense of your abundant Charity, I shall not cease to improve that Breath you have borrowed for me, as for my Own, so for

Your Lordship's Eternal Happiness. Robert Foulkes.

An Alarme FOR SINNERS.

THAT they who have seen the former ill Example of my Life and do now look on this dismal Conclusion of it, might not be Spectators disappointed; as I had great Reason so I had a good Occasion to encourage me in this following Account.

That Great God that brings Good out of Evil, so ordered it, that that very Evening after my Condemnation, I recei­ved a very seasonable Visit from aDr. Lloyd. Reverend Person, Indeed the Visit was but short, and our Discourse also interrupted with Matter not so pertinent to that Lamentable Occasion, so that (being under great Disturbance) I could make little or no­thing of it; but as I lay on my Bed that Night, about one or two of the clock, it came into my thoughts again; and upon the search of my Memory, I recollected two things, which, in Answer to my earnest Request for his Assistance, that Worthy Person had directed me to. The first was, to Glorifie God: The other, as a means to promote that Chief End, to wipe off [Page 2] all I could of the Scandal and Reproach which my Vicious Life and Ignominious Death reflected upon my Function; and both these, He told me, could not be more Effectually performed, than by a full Confession of my manifold Enormities. I then resolved upon it, and as soon as I could procure Pen and Paper, set about it; being willing with all my Heart to Justifie the Holy and Righteous God, and all I can to Vindicate that Reverend Employment from unjust Aspersions, though it redounds never so much to my own Shame and Reproach: and cannot otherwise be imputed to my Profession, but as the Effect of great Ignorance of, or great Malignity against Canons and Constitutions so Regular and Orderly in every Circumstance, such as strictly oblige to great Circumspection and Exact Walking; from which Excellent Rules I wretchedly departed, as appears by the following Audit of my Life and Actions. I had made no considerable Progress in that Work, but I found my self interrupted by that Consideration, That God would not Approve or License David's Intention of Building him a Temple to Glorifie his Name in, because his hands had been too deeply concerned in Blood. 'Twas of no Difficult, but of very discouraging Application; but whether this were a Design of Satan, or a plot of my own Corruption, or a Concur­rence of both, I will not stand to Examine. The Advice of ano­ther Able Person so Encouraged me, and baffled the Objection, that it vanished of it self. That removed, I considered, that being now summoned to a speedy Appearance before the Impar­tial and most Dreadful Tribunal of the Just and Righteous Judge of all the Earth, there to Answer for those many and heinous Sins, visible in my Vicious and Ill-led Life; I hold my self obliged to enter into a narrow Search, and a very close Inspection of my Heart and all my Wayes. And though my Crimes be so Crying and Publick, the Aggravations of them such as make them s ex­ceeding sinful, that the shame of them doth cover me, my Hor­rour for them, and the just Reward due to them here on my Body, hereafter on my Soul, in the more dreadful and terrible Miseries of Eternal and unquenchable Burnings, that these Sins must needs draw upon me, if the hand of Infinite Mercy does not snatch me as a brand out of the Flame; though, I say, these General Con­siderations have almost distracted my Thoughts, yet I cannot find [Page 3] any rest till I have made a more diligent Scrutiny, a more distinct and particular discovery of all that Wickedness that was damm'd up in my Heart, as the Spring and Fountain; and burst out thence into such Rapid and impetuous Streams of Prophaneness in my Life.

Such were my Irregularities, that I have just Cause, and had long ago reason to smart under the severity ofDavid'sReproofor rather ofDavid's God: So the words run,Psal. 50. 16. But unto the wicked, saith God, What hast thou to do to declare my Sta­tutes, or that thou should'st take my Covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest Instruction, and castest my words behind thee, and hast been partaker with Adulterers:but then,Consuetudo peccandi tol­lebat sensum peccati.I was of proof against the stroaks of Divine Comminations.

But now that my Sins have found me out, and Gods Justice has overtaken and arrested me, so that I am to be a Spectacle to the World, I may be heard to publish my Sin, and leave this Warning behind me; that all that shall hear or see it, may fear, and do no more so Wickedly: And in particular, that they who by my ill Life have been led to ill thoughts of that Holy Profession and Calling so dis­honoured, or of that pure Church of which I was an unworthy Mem­ber, and a more unworthy Teacher; may no more blaspheme the Function of the Ministry, the Christian Faith, or the Church of England; but be rather struck with Horror at my base Apostacy and Impiety, and that by my Example He that stands may take heed lest he fall, and such as are fallen may be moved to Remember their first Love and doe their first Workes; lest the like Horrible Judg­ments pursue and overtake them.

Let the Circumstances of my Condition add weight to my Words; Dying men have no Temptation to warp them from Sincerity, they cannot then be suspected either to Lye or De­ceive: And though my former preaching was blasted by my Scandalous Living, and could not be of any Worth or Consi­deration; yet these my last Words, together with my sad Condi­tion, will (I hope,) so Affect all Persons, as to engage their Consi­deration of what I say.

I confess then, to Gods Glory and my own Shame, that the Hand of Heaven had been exceeding bountiful to me; that [Page 4] great God that filleth with his Blessing every living thing, had loaded me with Benefits; of his Fulness I received Grace for Grace, John 1. 16. that is Copia & Abundantia Gratiae, he had given me all things richly to enjoy; I had no Reason to Mur­mur, as if my Portion had been sparing and penurious, ei­ther in Temporals or Spirituals.

1. I had my Birth and Education not amongst them that are Aliens from the Common wealth of Israel and Strangers to the Covenant of Promise, &c. But in the Pale of the Church, and not in a Church stuffed with Error and Superstition, but in a Church so refined and reformed, that it is become the pu­rest upon Earth. A Church that teacheth no other Doctrine but what Christ and his Apostles delivered, derives none of its Principles from the puddled Fountain of vain and uncer­tain Tradition, but a sure Word of Prophecy is that Spring that sends forth all her Doctrines; a Church that gives no Encou­ragement to Sin, nor Countenance to such vicious Persons as (Alas!) I have been; all her Articles, all the Parts of her Wor­ship, all her Cannons and Constitutions are Pure and Holy; and such, as all they that sincerely observe them shall certainly be saved. In this Church I lived, though not according to its Rules; and in this by Gods Assistance I shall dye.

2. But this was not all, God by the outward Ministration of his Word and the inward Operation of his Spirit wrought so on my Heart, that for some time his Fear was before my Eyes, so that I walked tenderly, and endeavoured to keep my Conscience void of Offence, towards God and towards Man; I served him in Secret, and Studyed to glorifie him in my whole Conversa­tion. In this Path I walked when I was dedicated more im­mediately to his Service, and by Imposition of Episcopal hands was in Anti-Episcopal times, ordained a Minister of his Holy Gospel. This should have been my Crown, and my Joy, but is now my Shame and Reproach, that I knew God, and was an Instructor of the Foolish, and a Teacher of the Simple, to me therefore it may be said, Thou who teachest another, teachest thou not thy self? Thou that sayest a man should not commit Adultery, doest thou commit Adultery?

[Page 5] 3. God also blessed me with competent abilities for the discharge of that Function, so that had I prosecuted my studies with that industry and diligence as I did other vanities, I might have attained to greater improvements of my own and others understandings.

4. God provided plentifully for me; by the favour of a noble and an honourable Patron I was setled very comfortably as to all the concerns of humane life, My lot was fallen in a very fair ground, yea I had a goodly heritage; my portion was so far from being scanty, that I had enough and to spare, and (till of late) I was beloved of my Parishioners, and respected in my Neighbourhood.

5. The same bountiful Providence blessed me with as worthy Rela­tions, a very faithful affectionate Wife, tender of my person, careful and industrious about my affairs, one that had a very good right to Solomons Character, Prov. ult. One that blessed me with four sweet Children, and brought me within the reach of that promise, Like a fruitful vine.

Thus in all respects God dealt graciously with me, so that I was happy as any of my Neighbours; and now how much have I to an­swer for, who had receiv'd so many Talents, but instead of employing them in my Masters service, did not so much as lay them up in a nap­kin, but like a prodigal child wasted all this in riotous living!

And now I come to the last and worst of my condition; wherein without any favour or partiality to my self, I shall make a discovery of my shame, and expose my vicious practices to the eye of the Sun.

That tenderness that was on my Conscience was not long-liv'd; my own corruptions, with the Devils temptations, soon overcame it: then returned the Devil attended with seven more worse than him­self into my swept and garnished soul. An unclean, a filthy Devil he was. Then I violated my Baptismal Vows, and my Ordination En­gagements, and the Faith of Wedlock, and delivered my self to work all uncleanness with greediness; I had eyes full of adultery, that could not cease from sin. The Devil had prepared for me a sad companion [Page 6] and partner in my debaucheries; she was easily tempted by me, and proved afterward a constant temptation to me, and has been the great occasion of this dismal conclusion of our wretched course of life. This being so remarkably the sin of this present Age, I will enlarge a little, to conjure all Married persons to keep that Bed undefiled. When that Faith is once broken, the comforts of the married life quickly expire and come to an end: nor is there any stop; but such persons soon pass over all the stages of sin; they run from one wickedness to another, till at last they ruin both soul and body. Open your eyes therefore, and not only look, but contemplate upon these dreadful and tragick instances, oh Adulterers and Adulte­resses, and be not ensnared with a Whores charms; trust not to her kind­nesses, though confirmed with her Oaths, and Execrations, and Tears; they lead on to all manner of sin; they will waste your Estate, divide your Family, ruin your Health, destroy your Soul; and if ever you need her friendship, she will most perfidiously betray you.

But on no sort of men shall the judgments of God more certain­ly fall, than on the Hypocrites, who think either to hide, or perhaps to gild over their abominations, so as to make the most monstrous and deformed of their lusts and vices, peeping under the vizor and mask of Religion, look to deluded eyes with the beauty and comeli­ness of real virtues.

I thought my sin well secured under the protection of one of these; I vainly fancied it was done in secret, and that it should never be brought to light; but I was deceived: the scandal of it became so publick, that my Right Reverend Diocesan the present Lord Bishop of Hereford, came to the knowledg of it, reproved and admonish­ed me for it, and ordered his Court to take cognizance of it. It burst out with that violence, like water long dammed up, that all took notice of it; the love of my friends, the malice of my enemies alarm'd me with it; and what I thought to be an Arcanum be­tween my partner and my self, is now become Vox populi; the Neigh­bourhood rings and ecchoes again with it. To this I opposed my con­fident denials, and those confirmed with Oaths and Execrations, which [Page 7] I too frequently used for my own purgation. I stood also upon points and forms of Law, which I thought would have born me out.

But all this while, though a very slave to my lust, and in absolute vassalage to my flesh, yet I briskly receiv'd the assaults of all that op­posed my impious practices, and with that success, that I promised my self as complete a conquest over them, as I had obtained over my own Conscience, whose accusations I had almost perfectly stifled, so that it made but few and very feeble Attempts upon me.

Once indeed it charged me very furiously; and having the advan­tage of a great fit of sickness, it made such assaults upon me, that sin had like to have lost its hold, for I was driven into great fears, and deep apprehensions, (Oh that I had still continued such a Convert!) those fears extorted confessions, the confessions begat vows and pro­mises; but wo is me, they all proved abortive, for I soon returned to my vomit, and the health of my body renewed the disease of my soul; the tyrant Sin soon recovers its dominion, and ever since Con­science has been kept under hatches. And to palliate and hide my sin the more, I studied to be more elaborate and zealous in my Preaching, to the great satisfaction of my Hearers; only I seldom medled with, or but very tenderly touched my own beloved sin; I went about all the parts of my Ministerial duty so carefully, and discharged them with such approbation, that the judgments of many charitable and well-meaning persons not only acquitted me of the vices I stood char­ged with, but I deluded their good opinion into some thoughts of my innocency and virtue.

As in the case of Abraham, the fowls of the air fell on the carka­ses of the beasts that were offered in sacrifice; so unclean and vicious thoughts haunted all my duties and performances; only with this dif­ference, Abraham drove away those, but these I fed and entertained ge­nerally without the least disturbance to my Conscience. Indeed at the Sacrament some fears would arise, and the consideration of the Ex­emplary execution of Nadab and Abihu, whereby they became mo­numents of Divine vengeance in the very place where they commit­ted their sin, would sometimes arrest my confidence, and fill me with apprehensions lest some like judicial proceeding should be served up­on me also, for daring to present my false fires upon Gods Altar, [Page 8] which engaged me in some short liv'd restraints, that seldom exceed­ed two or three days; by these arts I built me a house without a foun­dation, I procured to my self some false quiet, and so deceived my self as well as others; for now that the storms and tempests, the winds and floods of affliction beat against it, I am very sensible how it shakes and is ready to fall on my head, now I have most need of shel­ter and protection. Not that I despair, that I shall yet through the Grace and mercy of God, and those excellent assistances he hath sent me, stick to the Rock of my Salvation. 'Tis of dreadful consideration (I know) what the Scripture says of the Hypocrites portion. But now God hath taken off the mask, I can't be considered under that notion, an open sinner, a very great and hainous one is my Character; and I am sure Christ came to call such to repentance.

Although I never grew to that proficiency in sinning, as to be of the Head-form, and to herd my self amongst them that say, There is no God, no Judgment to come; yet I must confess I had sup­pressed, if not utterly laid aside the thoughts of those things; and all my care and contrivance was how to hide my sin from the eyes of man. 'Tis my wonder now, though then I thought not of it, how I should so baffle and besot my Reason and Understanding, as well as Conscience, and run so counter to what I demonstrated to, and inculcated on my Neighbours in a Discourse on Eccles. 11. 9. where I considered and argued, and at last concluded in rea­son the necessity of Judgment; and in the close shewing the Quali­fications of the Judg, I insisted sufficiently for that occasion upon his Omnipresence and Omniscience; and that he does commonly make signal discoveries, even in this life bring to light our closest contrivances; and yet the impressions of that quickly wore out of my own memory. But I find, and (in my instance) you may read, That nothing is so secret but shall be revealed: and what is done in closets, shall be published upon the house-top. Be not deceived therefore, God is not mocked. He will not suffer sin to lye always concealed, but will bring to light the hidden things of dishonesty; and when once sin is detected, he will much less indemnifie it, and suffer it to go unpunished; what though the world commend you, if your own Conscience condemn you; and God who is grea­ter [Page 9] than your Conscience knoweth all things. Whither shall I fly from his presence? Who when I said the darkness shall cover me, made the darkness to be light about me, for the darkness and the light are both alike to him.

I am now arrived at the height, and by many lower steps mounted even to the top of impiety, to which by a long course of many Adulteries I have been fitting my self: so successfully have I fought the battels of this hellish Commander, that now he thinks me courageous enough to be led into a more bloody field. Having by many former repeated acts, arrived at last to a habit in sinning, my Conscience became so seared and past feeling, that I was not afraid to commit this horrid Murther, for which the Law has so justly judged me; a crime of a crimson complexion, of a scarlet tincture; a crime that not on­ly bids defyance to God and Religion, but the very Dictates and Principles of Nature and Humanity, would abhor and even startle at the suggestion to it; a crime indeed not to be thought on without horrour; so formidable and affrighting, that abstracted from its aggravating-circumstances, it required a conscience of full proof in Satans service to attempt it. To destroy an innocent Babe, had cruelty enough in it; but to offer violence to the fruit of ones own body, was such a monstrous piece of barbarity, as admits not of a parallel. I cannot remem­ber another instance. God grant the Repentance may bear some proportion to the vast dimensions of the sin.

When I first entred on this dissolute course of life, if any body could have suggested to me where it would have ended, I should certainly have answered with the Syrian, Am I a dog that I should do this! yet I am the Dog that did it. Sin in its minority is easily opposed; at first to resist it, requires not so much labour; but there is no withstanding when it has attained to maturity: the heights of wickedness appear so monstrous at a distance to one that is but newly entering upon it, that he flatters himself he shall never come thither; but after long continuance in it, and suppressing many Con­victions, [Page 10] violating our Vows and Resolutions, after many Eva­sions to shift off the imputation, apologies to excuse or les­sen it, Oaths and Execrations to deny it, a man becomes strangely altered; he is not what he was, but is insensibly brought more and more into the snare of the Devil, who leads him captive at his pleasure; and one sin draws on another, and each of a more deformed production than another. Like the Serpents of Africa, who by their promiscuous Copulati­ons have engendered such strange and ugly Monsters as Nature never intended: Whoso allows and licenses himself in the practice of any one sin, though he think it never so small, that man involves himself in a fatal kind of necessity to admit of a train to attend and support it. Try not thy self, but trust my words, who (with sorrow confess) I find the Experiment to be true. And if thou art under any temptation to drive a trade in sin, though never so small, and hast made some ventures already, and perhaps hast receiv'd some returns of profit or pleasure, Oh! consider and learn from me to con­clude what a horrible wrack and devastation it will bring upon thee at the last; Oh remember the precious Soul is aboard the Vessel; and if the tempestuous wrath of God, and the Hurricanes of his severe but righteous Judgments should overtake and sink thee, then would it appear to thee how great thy folly was, and how irreparable thy loss; consider the pleasures of sin are but for a season, and those in low degrees; hazzard not therefore for them a fulness of joy, and those pleasures that are for evermore; resist the first beginnings, crush the Cockatrice.—Every step thou makest in sin, brings thee in greater danger; repentance may be denied, or come too late. Nor ought any man to expect that when he hath yielded himself up to the power of his lusts, it may not end as infamously and miserably as mine has now done.

Thus far I have gone; and truly here I thought to have stopt; but my Prison-walls, how close soever, cannot keep out the Report, That I am represented in this City, where for many years I have been a stranger, under no better notion than that [Page 11] of a common Drunkard; a soul and scandalous charge, which (as all other imputations) admits of a deep dye from my person and profession; and as it makes way for all other sins to which the Devils temptations shall prompt our forward natures, is a vice of pernicious consequence. But how far I am concerned, is not time now to conceal.

I remember the time, and I believe 'tis not forgot in my late Neighbourhood, when I had a very competent share of temperance and sobriety; I can truly attest, that an Alehouse or a Tavern had none, or but a very little of my custome: If at any time my occasions invited me to them, or their ne­cessity urged me, I went not in without reluctancy, I thought not them places for me; therefore while I stay'd, I was un­easie, and I hastned my departure: and this was my practice for several years. He that considers my circumstances, can't in charity suspect I need Witnesses.

But alas! I too well remember the time, and I can give but too good an account of the occasion of my fall (in any degree) into a sin so contrary to my nature; I the rather reflect on it, and I wish I may do it with a proportionable sorrow, because it was the Child of what was too much the sin of my nature, Lust and Uncleanness; these involved me in quarrels and contentions; I had suits depending both in the Civil and Ecclesiastical Courts; and to support the credit and interest of the Causes, I spent I confess, too much of my time, too much of my Money in publick Houses, to treat the friends and favourers of the Suits, especially those whose in­terest it was to promote and continue them; there I staid long, and drank to intemperance; and this I came to do about two or three years since; but I have examined and humbled my self, and I thank God, do not find my self burdened with any extraordinary guilt upon that ac­count.

Let not therefore the people by their unjust detentions of [Page 12] dues, force their Ministers to legal severities upon any ac­count; what is due, part with willingly, and let it not be wrung out by Suits and Law-contentions; I can't certainly (in these circumstances) be suspected of any selfish design to promote my own interest in any pleadings of this nature; I have received my last, I expect no more; 'Twill be their advantage therefore, not mine, to admit of these perswasions; you can't tell what influences you lose, what inconveniences you incur by any such injustice, I will leave it to your own collection, Mal. 3. 8, 9, 10, 11. Besides a blast upon the Estate, it leaves a blot upon the Name; such people as strive with the Priest, being by the Prophet stiled the worst of men, Hos. 4. 4. But as to the people, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, I have done my duty in leaving this Writing behind me.

Let it not be thought presumption by the Clergy, in one who in his life-time had too many experiences of the ill effects and inauspicious consequences of such differences, now at his death to leave his advice against them; you know where they begin, but you can't tell either where or when they will end. They are fires which a small matter kindles, but commonly improve themselves into such a flame, as a whole Neighbour­hood affords not water enough to extinguish, and sometimes are not quenched till they consume to ashes the subjects that feed them: Not to reckon up all the mischiefs it does, there is too much in this one, the hindrance of the success of your Ministry. As you will be tempted to Preach to the advan­tage of your Cause, so the people will receive all your duties with prejudice; and while you quarrel about the Tythe, the Devil takes the advantage to ruin those souls of which you must give a severe account. The securing or regaining of the Churches Rights, was the answer wherewith I stopped the mouths of all objections: But now I find to my sorrow, that the gaining of souls, the rights of Christ, which he purchased with his own blood, is upon no account to be neglected or prejudiced.

[Page 13] Thus far have I gone, and in all probability much farther had I proceeded, if my merciful God, by a strong and irresi­stible providence, had not stood in the way and resisted me; for nothing less would conquer my stubborn and masterless Nature. As I desire to submit to it with silence and contented­ness, so through the aid of his grace, I hope to improve it to his Glory, and to such spiritual advantages for my self, as will administer great cause of eternal gratitude and thank­fulness.

Now what more can I say? I am become the reproach of men; all that see or hear of me, either shoot out the lip, or shake the head at me: they either insult upon my fall, or are much troubled at it; for no body can be indifferent upon this occasion.

You workers of iniquity, be afraid of the judgments of God, and take no advantages or encouragements from my fearful backsliding, but rather tremble at it. Let this my Confession reach your Consciences; believe it, Religion is true, the ter­rors of sin are the most insupportable things even in this world; but how much more shall they be so in that blackness of darkness for evermore. If you felt those agonies I have been under, that Raok I have been on, you would certainly loath the pleasures of sin, and abhor the thoughts of it. Pray credit my experience. To be brought to the Bar of an Earthly Tribunal, there to be Arraigned for the precious life, before a Judge that will not spare thee; to hear thy Jury find thee Guilty, and thereupon the Judge proceed to Sentence against thee: These are affrighting and amazing Considerations. But I am able to give you assurance, that these are (by vast de­grees) inferiour to that consternation that seizes the guilty Soul, in consideration of its sudden summons to appear before the Judgment-seat of Christ.

[Page 14] Think not the worse of Religion, or of this Church, or of the Ministry, for what I have done. Christ close twelve, and one of them was a Devil. Be not hardned in sin by what you have heard of me, but be terrified rather by what is now be­fallen me.

And for such as have not known these depths of Satan, yet are under temptations, and make light of some sins, especially the too too fashionable sin of Uncleanness, stay in time, as you love your Souls; delude not your selves with these vain thoughts and argumentations, I will onely go so far in sin, to such a stage in wickedness, and no farther; by these stairs am I come up to this dreadful height, that it amazes my thoughts to look down the fearful precipice I stood upon. When once men have forsaken God, and cast his fear behind their backs, there is no force can keep such from running into excesses of riot. Trust not therefore to your selves, but by me learn, that you who do forsake God, may be forsaken of him, and delivered up to the snares of a whorish woman, out of which, all your strength shall not disintangle you; and there is no wickedness of so black and swarthy a complexion, but such a man is capable of committing it. Had you but a prospect of the slavery, or would be but persuaded of the thraldom of that condition, and convinced, with what labour, and care, and diligence they run on the Devils errand, and do his drudgery, filling every corner of their life with trouble and anxieties, and that attended on with extreme hazard and danger, which (as in my case) most commonly ends too in utter and irrepa­rable ruine; and then bursts out the filth and shame that was hitherto concealed, with that strength, as is noisom and offensive to all men. Certainly these Considerations but seri­ously adverted to, especially when proved by such dreadful and lamentable instances, would leave some impressions, and contribute towards a reformation.

And as for you that tremble at the judgments of God, while you stand, take heed lest you fall. Give diligence to [Page 15] make your Calling and Election sure: Work out your salva­tion with fear and trembling; take heed and beware of fal­ling from God, and of slacking in, much more of an utter slighting and rejection of Religious duties; for such an Apo­stacy is often attended with some strange desertion. God had done so well for me, that it might have been justly said, What more could have been done for him? and you have heard how in all circumstances. I lay in the Sunshine of his favour, being replenished with Divine blessings. I could have said with the Prophet,Psal. 23. 2. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, he prepared a table for me in the presence of mine enemies, my cup ran over. Indeed my pasture was one­ly too rank and surfeiting. Ver. 5. Jesuron-like, I waxed fat, and kicked, for want of applying to my own practise, what I oft inculcated upon others,Deut. 6. 11, 12. & 8. 10, 11, 12. Moses his caution to the Israelites, I degenerated into Israels sin; instead of acknowledging, I for­gat God my Saviour, and my mind becoming earthly and sen­sual, I lightly esteemed the Rock of my salvation: Therefore he in his most just judgment delivered me up to the lusts of my own heart. And you see what a course I have run, and where it ended. You therefore that know his name, dread his judgments, walk humbly before him, and Prov. 3. 6. in all your ways ac­knowledge him, not trusting your own understanding, or your own hearts, with the government and direction of your ways.

There is another sort of persons I shall humbly presume to leave a warning for: Not that I think my self able to teach, or instruct their understandings; but the sad circum­stances of my present condition encourage my hope, I may have a perswading influence upon them, that what they know may be reduced to practise. I have indeed been such a reproach unto them, that I may be afraid and ashamed to name them; yet I know their charity is such, that they will bear with me in this liberty I take, to speak and to be free in my speech unto them.

[Page 16] You therefore that are the Pastors of the flock of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood, Feed that flock, let your light shine, and by most Exemplary lives, wipe off the blemish that I have brought on your most holy Function. You throw mighty and insuperable difficulties in your own way, and too effectually obstruct the success of your own endea­vours, if you do otherwise. I have found the experiment too true, that loose living is fatal and destructive to the ends of strict preaching. The Ministerial employment being to demolish the strong holds of Satan, who so take liberty to sin, countermines himself: and in stead of shaking, fortifies the kingdom of the Devil. What effects can that Ambassador expect when his actions shall contradict his instructions. Hier. in Epist ad Tit. Quomodo potest praeses Ececlesiae auferre malum de medio, qui in delictum simile corruit? with what reason shall I diswade another from that dish I so heartily feed upon my self, which yet I often did, as if I would make a monopoly of Sin, and ingross it all to my self. There is this inconvenience in it,Qua liber­tate peccantem corripere potest, cum tacitus ille sibi respon­det, eadem sé admisisse quae corripit. Hier. ubi sup. That it greatly confines and straightens a mans zeal and affection, so that in the management of the sword of the Spirit he cannot so heartily, and with that vigour fetch his blow against sin, and hew it all to pieces. Though I acted my part but too too artificially, yet I found my self under this con­finement: Tis not to kindle but to snuff the light in your understandings, that I refer you to St. Pauls instructions, to Timothy and Titus: the one he commands to be an example to believers in his Conversation, the other in all things to shew himself a pattern of good works;1 Tim. 4. 12. and St. Peter exhorts the elders to be examples to the flock:Tit. 2. 7. 'tis the same word in all the three places,1 Pet. 5. 3. [...], a metaphor from a seal or stamp to which the people are like wax, and accordingly receive the im­pression.

The Minister is the peoples Looking-glass,Ambr. de Dig Sacerd. by which they commonly dress themselves: now if the glass be false and [Page 17] counterfait, how squallid and deformed must their attire be? Pardon me, I pray, that I thus presume to instruct you; the in­tention of my desire for the preservation of others from those destructive paths wherein I walked, has transported me thus far. I will make but one step more, and then we will part for good and all; I go before to Judgment and you must follow after. In the Levitical Law I find that the weights and measures of the Sanctuary double the common; certainly the sins of the Officers of the Sanctuary double and treble the like of common people. This is an easie inferrence and collection, from what we read of their expiatory offering (God preach this Doctrine to my heart, and make it visible in my practice) If the Priest anointed sinned,Levit. 4. 3, 13, 23, 28. his offering and expiation did not only exceed that of the Vulgar but even that of the Magist­rate; nay was to be equal to that of the whole Congregation. A deep measure of Repentance, a greater proportion of Sor­row is certainly required of Consecrated persons, supposing their sins to be the same in all other circumstances; the dignity of their employment gives their impieties the deep die, and will certainly aggravate their punishment: Grandis dignitas sacerdotum, sed et grandis ruina si peccant, a man of your pro­fession is saved with greater difficulty than another; the reason of it affrights me, let it awaken you: Aquinas. Quia debet rationem reddere de proprüs et alienis. Labour therefore so to practice your own preaching, as that you may both save your selves and those that hear you.

To that end, be not earthly-minded, nor lifted up with a prosperous condition; let not your plenty become your snare, or puff you with pride; make no provision for your flesh; but by fre­quent fasting and prayer, duties by me much neglected, keep in subjection the insolent Rebel, at least disarm and disable him as much as you can; otherwise he will employ you in the service of sin, and cause you to fall under the condemnation of the Devil. Remember me, who though now so deplorable a spectacle, yet was once, as little likely to fall into this condition as any about me.

[Page 18] Thus far have I discharged my conscience, which also bears me witness herein, that my only end is to glorifie God, and to place the shame at the right dore, my Person not my Pro­fession. I do again and again request and conjure all persons who shall read these papers, to heed them seriously, because they Contain the last Warning of a dying man, a man whom God has justly exposed to publick reproach for his high Crimes: in which I do not only acknowledge the righteousness of his pro­ceedings, but submit to it and bless him for it; for I do confess my conscience was so dead asleep in sin, that nothing less than this could have awakened it out of its Lethargy and deep secu­rity. Blessed be his Name that has not suffered me to sleep the sleep of death, and though the awakening may seem terrible, yet is it infinitely more gentle than to have the first awakening in the midst of everlasting burnings, from which I hope to be saved by the Blood that speaks better things than that Inno­cents which I have shed.

For Satisfaction to those who were at my Tryal, and may have their belief warpt to uncharitableness, by the Confidence of my fellow Criminals Accusations, and the Moderation of My Answers.

I Was indeed at a great Contest with my Self, whether I should by my Silence submit, and so Consent to some un­true Reflections that were cast upon me in a Place so Publick, in a Concern so Great, and to my Prejudice so Fatal; about this I had great tossings in my thoughts for three or four days since my Sentence. Loth I was to lye under a greater Load of Ignominy than belonged to me; my Burden was big Enough of it Self without any such Additions. Whilst I was thus Irresolute I received the Credit as well as the Com­fort of a Visit from a Reverend Person: to him I Communi­cated my doubts, and from him receiv'd this Resolution, that I may Lawfully Acquit my self of any unjust Aspersions; my Expressions being under the Government of charity, and that Moderation which becomes a Person under my Cir­cumstances.

It is my purpose to walk by that Rule, and to keep close to the Truth, as I am deeply Concern'd, who am very shortly to Appear before the Judgment Seat of the God of Truth. God forbid that I should dare to be so Audacious as to Scatter my lyes within a Step of his Tribunal.

[Page 20] It would ill become my Condition, and bring under suspi­cion, if not contradict the Sincerity of my Confession, to Reflect upon the Justice of so Honorable a Court, where were Pre­sent the two Lords Chief Justices assisted with four of the Judges, the Lord Mayor and Recorder of London; No I Acknowledge them to be Gods Ministers, and that they bear not the Sword of God in Vain, but Execute Wrath upon them that do Evil: if there were any sharpness of Expression I at­tribute it to their Zeal against my Crimes, and not to any prejudice against my person.

The day after my Sentence there came to visit the Prisoners one Mr. Smith the Ordinary of Newgate. He was pleased to tell me (but in Private) that he observed me at my Tryal Gazing about the Court and the Galleries, where Sate several Gentlewomen. I confess I was formerly too apt to delight in such sights, and let in abundance of Sin at those windows of my Soul; but at that time I had other thoughts and Apprehen­sions: the cause of that diversion was to spy out some Witnesses I thought Material, which though they were in Court I could not find, and so lost their Evidence; This ('tis very probable) may have been the observation of others as well as Mr. Smith, therefore I insert this just Apology.

My Partner in the Guilt and Tryal, though not in the Condemnation, was pleased to load me with several Calumnies. I will only Note those that the Court insisted on, and I hear are yet discoursed to my prejudice in the City.

First it was Alledged that she was committed to my Charge and Government by her Father in her Minority and Childhood. This Report is so generally spread, and indeed sounds so ill, that several since my Tryal have discoursed it as a great Aggravation; to commit so foul a thing against so Great a Trust, and some have repaired to me for Satisfaction; to whom I then gave as I do now the World this Account, That Her Father was a Gentleman whom I never saw, or had the least Intercourse with

[Page 21] There are two more Accusations, which I would not so much as name, but that I found them the only Ingredients that Imbittered my Cup both at my Trial, and at my Sentence; The one was, That I should attempt and endeavour to vitiate her at Nine years old. The other, That I had for that purpose corrup­ted her Judgment, and misinformed her Conscience to believe Polygamy lawful: Impeachments highly Criminal against the Law of God, and (as I am told) Capital against the Laws of Man; I confess I have Sins that exceed them, yet I never was guilty of ei­ther of these; and in the midst of abundance of Guilt, I find a little Comfort in this, That I never prostituted the Word, or any Ordinance of God to serve the turn of Lusts.

There is some offence taken, as I hear, at my Charging her with what she denied at our Trial, she did indeed say, That she knew Nothing of the Fact, for which we were Questioned, which she de­monstrated by Arguments that could not modestly be spoken in that place, without such unsavoury and noisom demonstrations: I affirm, Upon the word of a dying Man, That both her Eyes did see, and her Hands did Act in all that was done: I am dead in Law, and I know my sayings are no Evidence against her; but the next time we meet at the Bar, which we shall infallibly do, and two thousand Witnesses shall be produced against us, that is, Her Conscience and Mine, these things will be found to be true; and as such I assert them, as I shall suddenly answer it before the All-seeing and Heart-searching God. Thus I have satisfied the desires of some of my Friends, done my self Right, without doing her or any person in the world wrong.

As to the World, after excusing my self of things with which I am unjustly charged, I shall charge my self with one thing which every one does not consider. It is indeed, a great Aggravation of my Sin against that poor Infant; That I, whose concern it was to provide for its safety in all Respects, should in all deprive it, as far as in me lay; For by that barbarous Act upon its Body, I have done what in me lay to Murther its Soul, by depriving it of the ordinary means which God had ordained for its Salvation, The Sa­crament of Baptism. Though I am not of his Opinion, who for his severity in this Case, was called Durus Pater Infantum; yet by the judgment of my own Conscience I find my self to be Durus [Page 22] Pater, that I never once so much as considered this; so that the poor innocent and harmless Babe, is only beholding to the Mercy of its Heavenly, and not at all to that of its Earthly Parent for the Happiness I hope it now enjoys.

I have done with the World, of which I have no more part; and I praise God that he has chosen this way to take me out of it. I ought not to let so great a Mercy pass, without a due acknowledg­ment. If God had not by this severe Course opened my Eyes and alarum'd me to Repent, and given me time considerable, and great Assistances to perform it, I might have been surprised with some sudden Death, and infallibly sunk headlong into Hell; from which I have good hopes to be preserved through the Mercy of God, and the Merits of my blessed Saviour and Redeemer,Non ex Gradu a [...]t Mersura fidei et poeni­tentiae depen­det Justifica­tio, sed ex veritati. Jesus Christ, who, I hope, does graciously accept of the Truth and Reality (though weak degrees) of Faith and Repentance, which his Holy Spirit hath wrought in my Soul.

Though this Mercy was handed to me in a very sharp and bitter Providence, yet I read a great deal of the Wisdom and Goodness of God in it; His Wisdom foresaw, that more gentle Applications would not work upon a Disease grown so headstrong and invete­rate; his Goodness, (which makes Correction a foreign work to him; for he goes out of his place to punish his People) has pre­vailed with him to apply this Corrosive rather than suffer his Crea­ture eternally to perish; Therefore his glorious Name be eternally praised. And now to him I turn in Prayer.

A PRAYER relating to the foregoing Confession.

O Lord, The Great and Dreadful God, the Impartial Judge of all Men, I blush to lift up my Face to thee my God, Righteousness belongeth to thee; for thou art Just and Holy in all thy Wayes: But I am a Vile and Miserable Sinner, the Reproach of men, and therefore no­thing belongs to me but Shame and Confusion of face. Thou, O Lord, hast dealt Mercifully and exceeding Bountifully with me; I was Early taught to seek and serve thee; I felt the motions of thy Grace, and the Powers of the World to come, to awaken my Conscience. Thou didst call me to thy Service to stand and minister at thy Altar, and thou didst give me such a measure of the good things of this life as was not only beyond my Deserts, but Expectations; But I have forsaken thee and rebelled against thee: I waxed wanton in my plenty, and kicked against that light and Easie Yoke which I should have taught Others to bear. I drew near to thee with my lips, but my heart was far from thee, and with my polluted hands I have presumed to compass thine Altar, and to touch the holy things thereof; therefore it was just with thee to give me up to my own Hearts Lusts, and to deliver me over to Judicial hardness, that seeing I might see and not perceive, and hearing I might hear and not understand. I have served divers Lusts and Pleasures; My Eyes and Heart were full of Adultery, so that I could not cease from Sin. Nor have I sinned alone, O Lord; for I have drawn many with me into the snare of the Devil; so that my Sins are Innumerable, and Aggrava­ted by many Circumstances; but most of all that I was called by thy Name, so that thy Enemies do blaspheme it upon my account. I have to all this added that Execrable Sin of shedding Innocent Blood, and done what I could to stifle the motions of thy Good Spirit: But now my Sins and thy Righteous Judgments have found me out, I acknowledge this is in great Mercy to my Soul, that I might not lye and perish in my Sins. I am Confounded and Ashamed, I Abhor my self in dust and ashes: I Confess I do not only deserve to die this Infamous death, but to be cast out of thy sight into Outer-darkness; for thou art of purer Eyes then to be­hold Iniquity, and the Deceitful and Blood-Thirsty man thy Soul abhor­reth; so that I may justly fear my Prayers are Abomination to thee; yet whither shall I flye from thy Presence? thy Hand hath overtaken me, and [Page 24] I am now to appear at thy Judgment Seat: My Soul is full of Terrour, and I am afraid of thy Judgments. The Remembrance of my Sins is Grievous to me, the Burden of them is Intolerable: Yet my only Hope is, that thou art Gracious and Merciful, Slow to Anger, Ready to Forgive, and thy Son gave Himself to die, and bore our Sins on his own Body. He ever lives and maketh Intercession for Sinners, and is able to save to the uttermost all that come to thee, O God, by Him. I confess I come at the last Moment, when I have nothing else left me, and so thou mayst just­ly reject me. Yet, O most Merciful God, take pity on the Work of thine own Hands: Beget in me, for Christ his sake, a deeper Sense of my Sin and Guilt, that I may Tremble for fear of thy Judgments, and Cry to thee Night and Day. Let none of this little time that is given me to Repent, be lost: For thy Name sake pardon mine Iniquity, for it is great; And deliver me from Blood-guiltiness, O God, thou that art the God of my Salvation: Open my Heart and Lips, that my Mouth may shew forth thy praise: That Sinners seeing thy Judgments and my Repentance, may be Converted unto thee; That I, who by my vitious Life have so much Dishonoured Thee, may by my Death Glorifie Thee. O hear and have Mercy on me; Pity and Pardon, O most Merciful Redeemer, wash my defiled Soul with thy most Pretious Blood, and for the Glory of thy Mercy, send down upon me thy free Spirit to Convince me of Sin, and of Righ­teousness, and of Judgment: And Grant me, a Wretched, and Forlorn Sinner, some of those Comforts, that may Support me under those Agonies that are so terrible. O Visit me with thy Salvation, Speak Comfortably to me; say to my Soul, Thy Sins are forgiven thee. Lord deliver me from the fears of Death, and be with me in my last passage; Give me some Glimpse of Hope, that I may die with Assurance of thy Favour and Pardon. I humbly submit to thy Justice in my Death; but I most Fa [...]nestly pray that I may be delivered from Eternal Death and Everlasting Burnings; and when my Soul is departed from this vile Body, Let it be brought into thy Presence, that I may Bless and Glorifie thy Name Eter­nally; for the Riches of thy Grace and Mercy which has so Abounded to­wards me. And for thy Names sake role away the Reproach from thine Heritage, and thine own Tribe, which I have brought upon it. Pre­serve thy Church; Let her Priests be Clothed with Righteousness, and let her Saints sing with Joyfulness. Be Gracious to the Nursing Father of it; our Dread Soveraign Lord the King's Most Excellent Majesty, Pro­tect his Person, Prosper his Affairs; As for his Enemies, Cloth them with [Page 25] shame; but upon Himself let his Crown flourish: Grant that he knowing whose Minister he is, may above all things seek thy Honour and Glory; And that all his Subjects duly Considering whose Authority he hath, may faithfully serve, honour, and humbly obey him in Thee and for Thee, ac­cording to thy Blessed Word and Ordinance. Be Merciful, O Lord, be Merciful, to my Afflicted Family, Comfort my Desolate Wife according to the Evil that I have caused her to see. Teach my Poor Children by my Example not to sin against thee. Give true Repentance to all whom I have tempted to Sin, in particular, to that miserable person who was my Partner in so much wickedness; thou hast given her time to repent, Lord give her grace to do it, lest a worse thing befall her. Provide a faithful Pastor for that Flock I have scandalized, that may build up what I have pulled down. And now into thy hands I commit my Soul, and Conclude in his words, who taught me, when I pray, to say, Our Father, &c.

Having thus shaken hands with the World, I am too deeply Con­cerned to take a particular leave of my Friends, especially my Dear (tho distressed,) Relations; I have done them little Good in my Life; They may Live to Reap Benefit and Advantage from these my Dying Directions.

To my Good Wife.

Dear Wife,

IT is too late to make wishes that I had admitted of thy Counsels; But 'tis not too late, nor unprofi­table, to Observe, That thy Comminations have proved too Prophetical: The God of Heaven is a Just and Righteous God, and has clearly discovered which was in the right, and which in the wrong, Thee or I: Dear Heart, I am not now to Confess my Sins against thee, Nor am I now to receive thy pardon and forgive­ness; I Rejoyce in the Entireness of thy Affection, which all the cold Water I threw upon it could not quench. [Page 26] The Constancy of it, especially in this Extremity, has given me the Comfort, and thee the Character of being one of the best of Wives. In order of Nature I might have longer enjoyed the happiness of thy Af­fections, and I was resolved to have made it my on­ly Happiness in that sense; but my Sins, and God's righteous Judgments hurry me hence; yet before we part, I will leave with thee a few Directions, which is all the Legacy my vicious Courses have left me power to bequeath; they proceed from entire (though too late) love to thee, Therefore lay them up and peruse them now and then.

First, For thy self, thy constant course of private Devotion, Reading the Scriptures according to the direction of the Church, Fasting and Meditation be­fore the blessed Sacrament; save me the labour of any further, or other Advice, save that of the Apostle, Be not weary of well-doing, &c. Only now thou must be sure to add to thy private Devotion, what I too much neg­lected, Prayer, in thy little Family: I have not time, nor is it necessary to say much to the advantage of this Du­ty. It procures, it secures that that is Good, it will be comfortable in thy solitary Condition, to have a good and a bountiful God to converse with; Therefore, Pray without ceasing.

As to thy Children, As thou hast begun; Teach them to Pray, and see that they perform it; make them constantly read, at least every Night, in thy presence the Psalms and Chapters for the Day, and let them learn by heart some select Scriptures that do contain Injunctions to Duty, or Prohibitions against Sin, and when they miscarry either on the one hand or the other, reprove them with the repetition of those pla­ces. [Page 27] Keep them under severe Discipline, and in case they should grow Headstrong and Rebel against thee, complain to their Uncle, and if that should not re­form them, Address thy self to the Minister of the place, and if that will not do, then to the Magistrate, and let him be desired to restrain them. If we should not suffer Sin upon our Neighbour, but in any wise Reprove him, then certainly much less upon our Children. Keep them all from that House at Stanton, there is nothing to be learnt there but Lying and Hy­pocrisie; and not only-Opportunities, but Encourage­ments to Lust: I pray God preserve them from, and Mortifie in them the vicious Dispositions of my Na­ture; If thou findest them sally that way, delay not restraining Discipline: Keep them from Idleness, the Nurse of Sin.

As to thy Servant; if thou keep any, Let her be of good Report; for her Modest and Religious beha­viour; and let thy own Grave and Sober behaviour be both Motive and Encouragement to them all in well-doing, and Reproof too in case they should mis­carry.

As to me, fortifie and arm thy self to undergo the Shame and Ignominy of my fall: I charge thee from thy Heart to forgive our Enemies, and if thou desi­rest to see Good days, follow Peace and ensue it. I desire thee for my sake to dry up thy tears, and not by Excessive Sorrow to throw thy self into Di­stempers. Remember thou art now both Father and Mother, and what a desolate Family there will be [Page 28] if thou shouldst not do well; I am but going before, thou shalt follow after; and though now we part in abundance of Tears and Sorrow, yet I hope God's Infinite Mercy will grant we shall again meet in Joy and Happiness, never more to part; which God of his Infinite Mercy Grant for Christ his sake. In the mean time cast all thy care on God; He careth for thee:Psal. 146. 9. And now (my Dear Wife) I must bid thee, and all the World farewel; and it grieves me more to part with thee and thine, than all the World besides: But God's Will be done. I remember thy good Bro­ther; to whom, next God, I bequeath thee for Ad­vice and Direction: Be governed by him. Once again Adieu, forget my many faults, and remember only those days, when we were at a distance from that fatal Family. God of his Mercy be thy Husband, and a Father to thy Fatherless Children, is the Prayer of

Thy Affectionate but Distressed Husband, R. Foulkes.

To My Children.

My sweet and distressed Infants,

ALthough (at present) poor Innocents, your ten­der Age and slender understandings may make you uncapable of benefit from what I shall here say, yet your riper years may give you better Apprehensions; and poor wretches, I will come as near your present Capacites as I can. I have no token to send you by your dear Mother but my blessing, and it will be the last that ever you will receive from me, for by that time this reaches you, your poor Father will be in his Grave: Therefore in the Name of God the fountain of Blessings, I bless you with all the powers of my Soul, and I charge you upon it to be dutiful to your Mother and Ʋncle, they will (you may be sure) com­mand you nothing but what is for your Temporal and Eternal good; you must remember now your Mother hath a double power over you, mine and her own; therefore be careful you do nothing of moment with­out her consent; grieve but as little as you can at my shameful end, bear patiently the Scandal and Reproach that will reflect upon you for it, and let it I charge you be a loud and a constant warning to you to live in the fear of God, and to avoid those wicked and ungodly courses that will expose you to his Righte­ous Judgments: Forgive those you may think to be the occasions of my Death, seek not Revenge but leave all to God, in whose fear I charge you to live, and love one another. I know you can already say what your Duty is towards God and your Neighbour, labour to understand those plain Answers, and what you un­derstand [Page 30] be sure to practise. My dear little ones, re­member who it is that speaks to you, even your dying Father, who sums up all his Advice in these two short Directions: Do not venture upon a known Sin though never so little, that will harden and encourage you to more and greater: Do not neglect a known Duty, especially your Prayers Night and Morning; Prayer will keep you under Gods protection. Forgive me (good Children) that I have made my self so much worse than an Infidel by making no better provision for you. Betty, remember Modesty and Chastity are great Ornaments of a Woman, I charge thee on my blessing to preserve them; Thou art old enough to observe what ruine and destruction Whoredom makes in the world: be not harsh to poor Billy and Robin, yet if you observe them in any fault advise them to forbear; if they refuse, complain, but do not make unnecessary complaints: Now my dear Orphans, I am ready to part with the World, but very loth to leave you, but we must part, God send us a joyful meeting in Heaven, is the earnest Prayer of

Your disconsolate but tender Father, R. F.

To my Successour in the Parish of Stan­ton-Lacy.

SIR,

I Hope the Honourable Patron will settle there a Man of worth and understanding, which may seem to make my well-meant Advice unnecessary: but a Residence of seventeen or eighteen years amongst them may perhaps enable me to speak something that is seasonable, yet but a few words. If You look over, once mine, now your, Study Door, you will find these words affixed.

Deus & Dies.
Dic mihi cur Dei memor sis atque Diei?
Oro, Laboro.

Whether the ignorance or indocibleness of some of the People he considered, you will find great need of both prayers and di­ligence; they are such as require the Apostles sharp Reproof, and you may use it in the Pulpit, but take heed of it out, they will be led, but not driven. But to prepare your way, I have one request to propound to you, endeavour it, if not for mine, yet for your own sake. Labour to compose and draw up a wide Rent or Schism between the Parishioners; It may seem to commence, and bear no longer date but in my time, but I know 'tis much more Ancient, almost Hereditary to some of them; Cut off the Entail if you can, and so having cleared the passage by removing their prejudices, then apply your self to your work: I will not presume to direct you, but I de­sire you to make a work and not a play or jest of it; you will find employment for both your hands, for your utmost di­ligence: There is no man so stirring and active, but may ad­mit of the Gentle Spur, I am sure if you well consult it, you will find that the very necessities of your People may serve to whet your endeavours: I am so acquainted with their State, that though it be contrary to my Resolution, yet [Page 32] I can't forbear to offer my opinion, take it, I pray, with the same Candor as it comes; I suppose that either fre­quent (I had almost said constant) Catechizing, or Catechi­stical Preaching is the most proper for them, I am certain they are such as have more need of Milk,Heb. 5. 13. than of strong Meat, for though such points have been often inculcated upon them, yet they have been such slow Proficients in the School of Christ, that they have need to be taught again which are the very first Principles of the Oracles of God: In the de­livery whereof,1 Cor. 14. 9. you are to be industriously plain. St. Pauls aim was to speak words easie to be understood, apta non alta, which if you observe not, after many years you will find you have frustrated your own design, and besides beat­ing the Air have done nothing at all, and will be no other­wise than as a 1 Cor. 13. 1. sounding Brass or a tinkling Cymbal; 'Twere easie to enlarge, even to a Surfeit, but I hope you have lit­tle need; I am sure I have less time. I have no more to add, but my Prayers, That you may be in that Place the Spiritual Father of a numerous Offspring, by begetting ma­ny Sons and Daughters unto God, and enjoy more Com­fort and Tranquillity there than did

Your Predecessour, R. Foulkes.

To the Parishioners of Stanton-Lacy.

Dear Friends, and late good Neighbours,

I Am now in view of Death, and have my Grave in pro­spect, I cannot therefore (charitably) be suspected, in the few following and my last directions, to be acted by any other motive but my Charity, or to aim at any other end but your Good; I have been of late amongst you the occasion of some Contention, I hope to obtain my pardon of God, and I believe you will not deny me yours, as I do freely and heartily grant you mine. I beseech you contribute vigorously to the sudden ending of that, and all other differences, and close with the first offer of your Minister in that happy and most ne­cessary Work. 'Tis high time to lay aside Wrath, and Clamour, and Anger and evil speaking, with all Malice, and to be kindly Affectioned one to another, tender Hearted, Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ his sake hath also Forgiven you. My time grows shorter and shorter, else I could easi­ly enlarge, and great need there is of some strong perswasi­on to this Duty, Read and Meditate 1 Cor. 13. all over. I will insert only one qualification, you will find it Rom. 12. 9. Dear Friends, there is abundance of that love that is from the Teeth outwards, I pray let yours be Cordial and Hearty. I must be abrupt and take my leave in two words.

1. My Prayer for you is the conclusion of Moses his Bles­sing to the Twelve Tribes, Deut. 33. 27. Let the Eternal God be your Refuge, and underneath you be his everlasting Arms.

2. My advice to you I borrow of St.Paul, 2 Cor. 13. 11. Finally, my Brethren, farewel; be perfect, be of good Comfort, be of one Mind, live in Peace, and the God of Love and Peace shall be with you.

The Conclusion.

FRom both Minister and People and all that knew me, or may hear of me, and whose hands these papers shall reach, especially the Clergy, unto whom I have given too just and too great an occasion of offence and scandal, I beg, heartily beg their pardon and forgiveness, and while I live I shall pray that you may be all delivered from the infectious in­fluence of my vile and filthy practices and example; and I charge you all, as you love your Souls, guard and defend your selves against them, and take not the least encouragement from them▪ let the instance of my shameful end effectually convince you, that Vicious and Ungodly Courses, however concealed or guilded over with Hypocrisie, God will detect, nay your very sins will find you out, and expose you to certain vengeance. Oh that it had Recoiled on my self what I often urged upon others, Tarditatem supplium gravitate compensat, The slowness of the blow God will make up by the heaviness of it when it comes. You see I am crushed all to pieces with it, take warning by me, it will else prove the Aggravation both of your Sins and Punishments: Mine you see are great, exceeding great, scarcely to be parallel'd; but yours will surmount even mine, should you venture on them after such loud warning. What were it but a Challenge to Divine Justice, and a Defiance of his Omnipotency? Beware there­fore of such dangerous paths▪ for if after such signal instances of Gods Wrath and Displeasure, you should dash against the same Rocks, they will certainly grind you to Powder. Let your own Meditatition make up the Conclusion. St. Paul will furnish you with a subject very proper for your thoughts to well and enlarge upon, 1 Cor. 10. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. there I leave you, the Lord direct and assist you, Amen.

A Prayer frequently used by me during my Reprieve.

O Most Holy and Righteous Judge of the whole World, give a sinful and miserable Wretch leave to prostrate himself before the Throne of thy Grace, and implore that Mercy which I have formerly despised and abused. I am not worthy, I confess, to lift up my eyes towards Heaven, and it becomes me in the greatest dejection of Spirit to sigh and groan under the load of my sins, which have been so great and many, so bold, so presumptuous, and shameless, that when with an awakened Mind I reflect upon them, I am ready to sink into Hell, and despair of any Mercy. O God, how have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof, and have not obeyed the voice of my Teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that admonished me! How swift have my feet been to run into evil, and how backward and averse have I been to any thing that is good! O the injuries which I have done my Neighbours, the abuse of my Wife and Children, my self, and thy good Creatures, the prophane neglect, nay contempt of thee and the Duties of thy Worship and Service—The remembrance of all this is dreadful, the burden is intolerable: How shall I appear before Thee, at whose rebuke the mountains quake, since I could not think of appearing before an earthly Judge without shame and affrightment of spirit? O Lord, work in me a greater dread of thee, with a greater shame and con­fusion of face now that I am in thy presence; for which end be pleased to represent unto me effectually the wickedness and baseness and vileness of all my evil doings, as well as the guilt and just desert of them, O that I could hate and abhor them more than that death which I expect very shortly to suffer for them. Bestow on me, O Lord, that ingenuous and godly sorrow which worketh repentance and unfeigned purposes of Amendment of life. They come too late indeed, I may justly think, to find Acceptance with thee; and there­fore not without fear and trembling, and a great sense of my unde­servings I look up unto thee, acknowledging thy infinite goodness, if thou wilt vouchsafe me but the smallest hope of mercy.

Mercy, mercy, good Lord, cast me not quite out of thy sight for [Page 36] Jesus Christ his sake, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity. It is the beginning of some mercy and an Earnest I hope of more, that thou hast made me sensible of mine offences, and that thou hast wrought in me a resolution to forsake them, and some love to a godly, sober, and righteous life. Help me, O Lord, to manifest the sincerity and uprightness of my Soul in these resolutions as much as I am able, by giving thee hearty thanks, that the hand of Justice has overtaken and laid hold upon me, and put a stop to the further mischief which I might have committed, and by making a free and open Confession of my Crimes, and taking the shame which belongs to me before others, and by acknowledging that I am unworthy to live, and by earnest Admonishments to all to be warned by my Example, and to cease betimes to do evil, and learn to do well. O God, that I could glorifie thee a little in my latter end after this manner, and till I come to receive my deserved punishment, help me to spend my time in bewailing my sins, in humbling my self before thee for them, in setting my heart against them, in studying and admiring, with the greatest affection, the Holy life of the Lord Jesus, in calling other Offenders to Repentance, and exhorting them thereby to give thee Glory. Deny me not Grace, I beseech thee, to enable me thus to employ my self, that I may have some taste of thy Mercy, and the fear of death may be abated by some hope, that when my Soul shall be parted from the body, thou O blessed Jesus, wilt re­ceive it, though so unworthy, into some of the Heavenly Mansions. Amen, Amen, Amen.

FINIS.

His LAST WORDS, spoken at the place of Execution.

Good Christian People:

I Intend not, and I hope you will not expect any long Discourse at this time; but I have taken care that my Confession, where­in (as I shall by and by answer to the God of Truth) you will finde nothing but the truth, shall be published more fully, and to your better advantage, than I could possibly make it here. It a few words therefore.

You may in me see what sin is, and what it will end in: you may in me see the lamentable and irreparable mischiefs of Ʋncleanness and Hypocrisie in particular; and what it is for one who was the Member of Christ, to make himself the Member of a Harlot. It is a sin that sel­dome goes single and alone: it is the Mother-sin to abundance more, and they more ugly and de­formed than it self: I have found it by sad and woful experience. It led me to Lying, to Oaths and Execrations, to conceal and defend it: Nay, I went further, to advise, contrive, and assist in [Page 38] what might procure Abortions; which certainly, in the sight of God, was Murther in intention. Nor stopt it there, but went forward to murther in Act and Execution: for which crying sin I am come hither to satisfie the Law of man, and do acknowledge the Justice of that Sentence.

And Oh that all you may fear and tremble at God's holy and righteous Judgments, which have overtaken me; and that they may make you take warning to avoid the Snares of a whorish woman, and especially to keep the Married bed undefiled.

Beware of hypocritical pretences to Religion, of coming to the Holy Sacrament while you live in those filthy practices. Do not grieve or quench the Holy Spirit of God, nor stifle the Con­victions of your own Consciences, lest God leave you (as he did me) to work all Ʋncleanness with greediness; and lest at last you be brought to this most miserable condition to which he has most justly brought me, to whose most righteous Judg­ment I do submit. I forgive all the world, as I desire to finde mercy at God's hands through Je­sus Christ. I do earnestly desire you, by me to take warning not to continue in sin, for in the end it will finde you out.

[Page 39] As to my sin, I have but two things to say: one I have cause exceedingly to lament, and that is, the great Scandal I have thereby brought up­on Religion, and the holy Function of the Mini­stery. The great disparagement which reflects on these, I look upon as the most hainous Aggrava­tion of my loose and licentious life: Therefore I pray you take up no prejudices against them up­on my Account: they are holy and good, and grant no Licenses at all to such wicked and un­godly practices as I have been guilty of.

The other I have some reason to rejoyce in: 'Tis true, my sin has exposed the whole Nation to Judgment, for through Blood the Land is defi­led; but this is my comfort, that God by this pu­nishment makes me expiate that Guilt, for the Judgment falls upon my own pate; but I hope, through the mercy of God, and merit of Christ, will proceed no further than my body. I desire all that hear me, to take warning, not to continue in sin, but betimes to cease to do evil, and learn to do well.

Now the Lord be with you all, and have mercy upon my poor Soul; for which I desire you to pray with me and for me to the last mo­ment of my life,

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