Paradise promised by a dyingSAVI­OURto the penitent Thief on the Cross. A SERMON Delivered at CAMBRIDGE, On Thursday the Eighteenth of No­vember, immediately preceeding the Execution of ALEXANDER WHITE, RI­CHARD BARRICK and JOHN SULLIVAN. WITH AN APPENDIX, Exhibiting some Account of their Con­versation and Behaviour in Prison, &c.

By TIMOTHY HILLIARD, A. M. Pastor of the First Church in CAMBRIDGE.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by E. RUSSELL, in Essex-Street, next Door to Liberty-Pole. M,DCC,LXXXV.

LUKE XXII. 42, 43.And he said unto JESUS, LORD remember me when thou comest into thy Kingdom.—And JESUS said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

THIS memorable request to the LORD JESUS CHRIST, was made by one of the malefactors which were cruci­fied with him. One of these per­sons joined with the surrounding multitude in insulting the suffering Saviour in his last moments. One of the ma­lefactors which were hanged, railed on him, saying, If thou be the CHRIST save thyself and us. Matthew and Mark mention both these persons as joining in this railing accusation.—It is common in the Scripture for a single thing to be expressed in the plural number, especially when it is not the design of the writer to be very particular.—That is said to be written in the Prophets, which is written only in one of them. It is observed of Jeptha, that he was buried in the cities of Gilead, meaning one of those cities.*

[Page 6] THESE two Evangelists, not designing particu­larly to relate the circumstances of those which were crucified with JESUS, express themselves in general terms: But St. Luke gives an exact detail of what passed respecting these persons, and represents the one as having acted a very dif­ferent part from his fellow-sufferer.—He an­swering, rebuked him, saying, dost not thou fear GOD, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly: For we receive the due re­ward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing amiss.—And he said unto JESUS, LORD re­member me when thou comest into thy kingdom. Some suppose that this request implied nothing more than that CHRIST would exert his mi­raculous power in delivering him from his pre­sent sufferings, and that he would give him a place in a temporal kingdom on earth. But if we consider, that our LORD's disciples had giv­en up all hopes of his being the temporal deli­verer of the Jewish nation, it will not appear very probable that this malefactor retained such a sentiment; especially if we observe that he seemed perfectly satisfied with the answer which our LORD gave him, To-day shalt thou be with me, &c.—He seems to have entertained just and exalted notions of the Messiah's kingdom, and to have believed that though CHRIST was suspended on the cross, he was possessed of spiritual dominion and regal dignity, and had power to save and to destroy.

LET us consider a little distinctly the request itself, and the gracious answer which our LORD [Page 7] returned. This person evidently believed in CHRIST as the promised Messiah, and the Sa­viour of the world. Notwithstanding the ig­nominy and disgrace of his situation on the cross, he viewed him as the LORD of life and glory, and was willing to trust his immortal interests in his hands. He was, in some way or other, brought to a sense of his absolute, pe­rishing need of a Saviour, and clearly saw that there was salvation in none other but CHRIST. If he had not firmly believed that CHRIST would be raised from the dead, and that he would take possession of the kingdom of glory, there would have been no propriety in such an address.—By what means soever, we may sup­pose that he became acquainted with the cha­racter of CHRIST, it certainly discovered a strong degree of faith to cast himself upon the mercy of one who was then nailed to the cross, and just ready to give up the ghost. He saw the di­vine glory of a suffering Saviour; and while one of his immediate disciples had betrayed him, while another had denied him, and the rest forsaken him and fled, he says, LORD re­member me when thou comest into thy kingdom. He acknowledges that the dying JESUS is LORD of universal nature, and is able to bestow blessings infinitely superior to any thing that earth can yield.—The case with many sinners is, that they do not see any beauty or comeli­ness in CHRIST that they should desire him. They fondly imagine that they are rich and in­creased in goods, and have need of nothing, when they are really wretched and miserable, poor, blind and naked.

[Page 8] BUT this penitent thief deeply sensible of the exceeding evil and malignity of sin, and the fearful consequences of it in a state of re­tribution, flies to JESUS the only city of re­fuge, and casts himself upon his mercy who is able to save to the uttermost.

To whom else can any sinners go, but to him who has the words of eternal life? Where can other condemned malefactors who are on the brink of eternity look, but to him who poured out his most precious life in groans and agonies on the cross, to save the chief of sinners? By whom can they wish to be re­membered, but by him who has the dignity and glory of a kingdom to bestow, to whom all power is committed in Heaven and earth? This petition seems plainly to imply that the thief on the cross was a real friend of CHRIST, and that he was willing to be saved on the terms of the gospel.—His conversion might not, perhaps, in all respects have been so sud­den as some have supposed: It is evident that he had some knowledge of the character of CHRIST from what he said to his fellow-sufferer, This man has done nothing amiss. It is not impossi­ble that he might have heard some of our LORD's discourses, and seen some of his mira­culous works.

DURING his confinement in prison he might have been convinced of the evil and danger of sin, and have had serious thoughts upon death and judgment.—Some have supposed that he might [Page 9] have been a good man before the commission of the crime for which he suffered, and that this single act of gross wickedness which brought him to an untimely end, was not totally in­consistent with the truth of grace. But there seems no foundation for such a conjecture.—The case of this person is rather recorded as a signal instance of the power and grace of the Redeemer; to shew that no crimes are so great, but that his blood can expiate the guilt of them; that no heart is so hard, but it may be brought, by his victorious grace, to the obedience of faith.

"I CANNOT but look upon this happy man," says Dr. Doddridge, ‘(for such, amidst all the ignominy and torture of the cross, he sure­ly was) as a glorious instance of the power, as well as the sovereignty of divine grace; which, perhaps, taking the first occasion from the preternatural darkness, wrought so pow­erfully as to produce by a sudden and asto­nishing growth in his last moments, all the virtues which could be crouded into so small a a space, and which were eminently manifested in his confessing his own guilt, in his admo­nishing his companion for a crime which he feared would prove fatal to him, in his vindi­cating the character of CHRIST, and repo­sing his confidence in him as the LORD of a kingdom beyond the grave, when his ene­mies were triumphing over him, and he himself, abandoned by most of his friends, was expiring on the cross.’

[Page 10] IT is probable, that the previous knowledge he had of the character of CHRIST was merely speculative, and that his heart was never effec­tually changed 'till this memorable day, in which he was to die on the cross with the LORD of glory.—It is quite rational to sup­pose, that the divine Saviour whose life was a series of wonders, who went about doing good to the souls and bodies of men, and who delighted above all things in acts of benevolence and mercy, should, in a dying hour give some striking instance of the power of his grace.

WE cannot pretend to determine the exact time or manner of his conversion. But it can­not be denied, that the power and grace of CHRIST are sufficient at any time to bring a sinner out of darkness into marvelous light, and to raise a soul, guilty, deprest and polluted to the joyful hope of immortality and glory. A Being of infinite wisdom and goodness, does not confine himself to any particular mode of operation. He is sometimes found of them that seek him not and prevents men with the blessings of his grace, while they are running on in a mad career of vice. In every age, there may be some signal monuments of the power of his grace, to shew that nothing is too hard for him to effect to whom Omnipotence belongs.

THIS instance of the penitent thief cannot however, afford sufficient matter of encourage­ment to others to persist in sin, hoping to ob­tain [Page 11] pardon and life in their last moments. He had not sinned against such clear light and strong convictions as persons in general do, who enjoy the Gospel: It would be presumpti­on for those to take comfort from this example who have long resisted the strivings of GOD's spirit; who have broken solemn vows and en­gagements, have slighted the promises, despi­sed the threatnings, been deaf to all the calls of GOD's word, and abused that grace and mercy which has been so freely offered them? This instance of late repentance, can never justify any who have been educated under the clear light of the Gospel, in neglecting that great salvation which it offers, 'till death approaches. A single instance of a late repentance produced and accepted in the article of death, and this under such peculiar circumstances as never can occur again,* is a most precarious basis for any to build their hopes upon.

IF persons retain their sins as long as they possibly can, against the clearest light and evi­dence, and call upon CHRIST to remember them when they have obstinately refused to remember him, can they with any propriety plead the case of this malefactor in their be­half? The probability is, that he had no fair opportunity of professing faith in CHRIST 'till he was on the confines of eternity, and there­fore [Page 12] was in a situation far different from those in general, who have been born and educated un­der the clear light of the Gospel. Their case seems to come the nearest to his, who have been educated in total ignorance of the princi­ples and duties of religion, and whose manner of life has been such, that they have had few opportunities to hear the word of GOD dispens­ed. Such a case as this has existed in our day; such an one is now presented to our view.* How fit and necessary is it for persons in this situation to look to the divine Saviour for mercy, and say LORD remember us! &c.

WE come now to consider the gracious and condescending answer which our LORD return­ed to this request of the thief on the cross, To-day shall thou be with me in Paradise. What an astonishing mixture of dignity and mercy was here, that the Son of GOD should speak from the cross as from a throne, and should in the agonies of death not merely dispense pardons, but dispose of seats in Paradise! What unspeak­able joy and satisfaction must this answer have yielded to the wretched malefactor! With what calmness and composure could he resign his departing spirit, after being assured from the mouth of JESUS that to be absent from the body would be to gain admission to the im­mortal joys of Heaven!

[Page 13] THE general opinion of the Jews respecting Paradise was, that it was a place into which pious souls were immediately received after death. This was the original of that oracle among the Chaldees, Seek Paradise the glorious country of the soul. This was their benevolent wish for a dying person, Let his soul be in Para­dise. This word is introduced only in two other passages in the sacred volume; the one is 2 Cor. xii. 4. where St. Paul is said to have been caught up into Paradise, and to have heard unspeakble words: The other is Rev. ii. 7. where CHRIST promiseth to him that over­cometh, that he shall eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of GOD. This expression plainly alludes to that de­lightful garden in which our first Parents dwelt while they retained their innocence; where the tree of life was fixed as a surety and pledge of immortality. As they would have enjoyed an immortal life, if they had not sinned, so all the true disciples of CHRIST will be admitted to a state of glory, honor and im­mortal blessedness in that Paradise which is above; an happiness vastly superior to that which the garden of Eden was capable of yielding; even such as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, and which it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive of.

LET us however consider for a moment, the account which the Scriptures give us of the heavenly happiness. It is declared to be [Page 14] a state of perfect freedom from all evil and misery. They who arrive at the mansions of bliss hunger no more, neither thirst any more, the sun does not light on them, nor any heat, and GOD wipes away all tears from their eyes. There will be no danger from without, no pains and distresses from within to disturb and perplex them. There the wicked cease from troubling and there the weary are at rest. No [...] evil or defilement will any more cleave to them, nor will they be tempted any more to depart from GOD. No seducer or adversary can have access to them. When they enter the Paradise of GOD, they take their leave of sin and misery forever, and are fixed in those calm and blissful regions, from whence sighs and tears are perpetually banished.

IT is not, however, to be supposed that such as die in the LORD, are, in their separate state, exalted to the highest dignity and glory of the heavenly world: But as we pass thro' the se­veral stages of infancy, childhood, youth, &c. in the present state, so it is probable that the happiness of the next, will be progressive. It is evident from the general tenor of Scripture, that the happiness of the saints will be greatly augmented at the resurrection; that they will be admitted to the compleat and everlasting en­joyment of GOD and the Redeemer. When CHRIST who is our life shall appear, says the Apostle, then shall ye also appear with him in glo­ry. When the chief Shepher a shall appear, ye shall [Page 15] receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. * It must have been matter of great joy to the penitent thief to hear that he should be with CHRIST, that glorious Redeemer who was then dying on the cross to save sinners. The pre­sence of this divine Personage is enough to con­stitute Heaven. Father, says he, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.

THE glory and excellency of CHRIST, and the wonders of redeeming love and grace af­ford high delight in this world to all the follow­ers of the Lamb; but this will be infinitely in­creased in Heaven, where they will behold his lovely face, and be forever satisfied with his like­ness. In the city of the living GOD, there will also be the society of an innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the first­born, and the spirits of just men made perfect. The extensive knowledge and enlarged bene­volence of these blessed servants of GOD must render their conversation most pleasant and profitable. And if we consider that these di­vine entertainments and enjoyments are of per­petual duration, it must greatly extend and enlarge our ideas of the heavenly blessedness. It is said expressly that they are ever with the LORD; that these pleasures are forevermore, and that it is an exceeding and eternal weight [Page 16] of glory.* How immensely rich, how incon­ceivably great must that grace and love be which confers such a glorious reward on sinful, un­worthy creatures! Eternal life is the free, un­merited gift of GOD through our LORD JE­SUS CHRIST.

THE time which our LORD mentions for conferring the blessings of Paradise on the peni­tent thief is worthy of particular notice, To-day shalt thou be with me, &c. Some who deny con­scious existence in the intermediate state, put this construction upon the words, To-day I say unto thee, &c. But this is a very forced and un­natural sense; for there could be no question whether these gracious words were uttered on that particular day, or at any other time.—Others imagine that the phrase is used inde­finitely, and intends only the certainty of his future happiness without fixing any time for the commencement of it, just as it was said to our first Parents, in the day thou eatest thereof, &c. But this seems to be taking more freedom with Scripture than can be justified, in order to sup­port a favourite opinion. The plain and ob­vious sense is more likely to be the true one. Our LORD undoubtedly spake in such a sense on this important occasion, that the thief would be likely to apprehend his meaning. And as he was a Jew, he would naturally understand him according to their commonly received no­tions [Page 17] respecting Paradise, and the admission of persons into it upon their leaving this world.

THERE are sundry other passages of Scrip­ture which confirm the plain and obvious sense of this text, which the time will not permit me to enumerate.* I would only remark, what a happy and glorious change this penitent thief must have made, when he was removed from the pains and tortures of a cross to the un­speakable and immortal joys of Paradise!

CAN we suppose that the hand of this Al­mighty Redeemer is shortned that is cannot save? Does not he remain the same yesterday, to-day and forever? In his exalted state, he views the children of men with infinite tender­ness and compassion, and does in effect say to every true penitent in his last moments, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.

WELL may this language chear your souls, my unhappy Fellow-men, who are now to be carried to the place of execution to receive the just reward of your deeds. The crimes for which you are to suffer have been very great, and expose you not only to the vindictive justice of men, but also to the wrath of Almighty GOD. Temporal death, though a solemn and moment­ous change, is a small and inconsiderable evil, compared with the sad consequences of it to the impenitent, in a state of retribution. In such a [Page 18] situation where can you look for help and suc­cour? Whither can you fly but to JESUS the ci­ty of refuge for safety and protection? Can you heartily adopt this prayer of the penitent thief and say LORD remember us in thy kingdom? If you are deeply sensible as he was, of the ex­ceeding evil and malignity of sin, and have with all your hearts renounced it: If you have, like him, from a sense of your undone condition, cordially accepted of CHRIST in his whole cha­racter, and cast yourselves entirely upon the mercy of GOD through him, you may with safe­ty apply this precious promise in our text, To-day, &c. You see from what has been discour­sed, that mercy at a late hour was extended to one who died by the hand of justice. He had perhaps run to as great excesses in wickedness as any of you, and yet through the unspeakable riches of divine grace, he was at death admitted to the joys of Paradise. The mercy of GOD is great above the Heavens, and knows no bounds with respect to such as are the proper objects of it.* He has sent his dear Son to die for sinners, even the chief of them. In him there is a compleat fulness for pardon, peace and eter­nal salvation. The life of JESUS abounded with numberless instances of compassion and love. He meets, says one, the returning pro­digal: Looks with compassion on denying Peter: Rejects not disbelieving Thomas: Ad­mits sinful Magdalen: Pardons the taken Adul­tress: And associates to himself in Paradise [Page 19] (where Angels cast their crowns at his feet) a thief from the cross.* Multitudes of the most heinous offenders have experienced his supera­bounding mercy; and can you doubt that it will be extended to you, in case you are truly humble and penitent? The Gospel invitation is most free and generous; the Spirit and the Bride say come, and let him that is athirst come, and who­soever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely. Suffer not yourselves therefore to despair of the mercy of GOD through the glo­rious Saviour, but commit a fresh the keeping of your souls to him who is able to save to the ut­termost. You are to remember that GOD is al­so a just and holy Being who must render to all according to their real state and character.

IT is extremely unhappy that some of you were not early instructed in the first principles of the oracles of GOD. If this however was not owing to any negligence of your own, there will not be so much required of you as of others, who had better opportunities for improvement. You have heard much of late of the excellency of CHRIST, and his ability and readiness to save sinners. The terms on which pardon and life are to be obtained have been fairly proposed, and you have been most earnestly entreated to be­come reconciled to GOD.—Do you not heartily believe in, and love this almighty and most com­passionate Saviour? Do you not ardently desire to be with him in Paradise after you leave this world? If you will, like the thief on the cross, [Page 20] cordiallly accept of CHRIST, you will obtain mercy, though it should be on this very day of execution. He that believeth on the Son hath ever­lasting life, and though he should be called out of the world instantly, shall not fail of the pos­session of it. Those graces and virtues which are fruits of faith shall be accepted, though they existed only in their spring and source.

WHEREIN any one of you* enjoys a good hope of final acceptance and everlasting life, be thank­ful to GOD for it, and whatever may have been done for your soul give him all the glory. Do not depend upon particular feelings and the mo­tions of the animal spirits, but examine yourself with great care whether you be in the faith, and whether your hope and confidence are well grounded. Make it your earnest prayer, O LORD search me and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. If you are in reality what you profess to be, a true I send and disciple of the blessed JESUS, you will be as a brand plucked out of the burning, a signal monument of divine grace and mer­cy. If your hope is built upon the immutable promises of GOD which in CHRIST are all yea and amen, it will never make you ashamed, but will soon be changed into the everlasting, frui­ [...] of its glorious object. I doubt not that you have often adopted that prayer of the peni­tent, LORD remember me, &c. GOD grant that [Page 21] you, and each of you, may be found with CHRIST in Paradise. Be strong in faith, giving glory to GOD: The shield of faith will not only quench all the fiery darts of satan, but also re­pel the arrows of death. Never is the excel­lence of this grace so fully known as in the strength and peace which it communicates to a person in the near views of death. When he is passing the dark valley of the shadow of death, faith like a ray from Heaven enlightens the gloomy path, and helps him to behold the hills of salvation that lie beyond it. If your faith is genuine, and your hope established upon its pro­per basis, you may now meet death with tran­quility and composure, and break out in that triumphant language, O death where is thy sting, O grave where is thy victory? Thanks be to GOD who giveth me the victory through our LORD JE­SUS CHRIST.

YOU are now, Prisoners of Justice, in a short time to meet your fate. The season of your departure is at hand, and a boundless eternity lies open before you. Commend your depart­ing spirits into the hands of your Father in Hea­ven. May each of you have much of his pre­sence and grace to support you amidst the ago­nies of dissolving nature; and when you shut your eyes upon the light of this world, may the LORD JESUS receive your souls to the arms of his everlasting mercy. May you dwell forever with him in the regions of light and glory, and celebrate the wonders of redeeming love throughout immortal ages.

[Page 22] THIS solemn occasion affords matter of use­ful instruction to this whole assembly. We see here the sad and awful effects of sin. How has this defaced the beauty and glory of the works of GOD! What amazing havoc and de­struction has it made in this revolted world! How ruinous is the influence of unbridled lusts and passions! How do they prompt men to measures which impair the understanding and sear the conscience; which are dishonorary to GOD and injurious to men; which blast repu­tation and character, and end in misery and death! How is that awful maxim of wisdom verified, He that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death! What astonishing progress do men make in vice when they have once cast off the fear of GOD, and freed themselves from the restraints of consci­ence! With what quick succession does one crime follow another, 'till at length a capital offence brings them to an untimely end.

THE scene before us is truly affecting: Three persons,* young, healthful and vigorous, who, had they chosen the paths of wisdom and vir­tue, might have been blessings to mankind, cut off in an instant and ushered into eternity!

WHO that has the least spark of benevolence or even humanity can be unmoved at this dismal tragedy. Let others be warned and admonished to fly from sin as their most dangerous and fa­tal enemy, and excited to walk in virtues pure and peaceful path. Keep under your bodies [Page 23] and bring them into subjection to your rational and intellectual powers. Never suffer any co­vetous, envious or malicious sentiments to rest in your bosoms. An inordinate thirst after this world's goods leads men into snares and tempta­tions, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown them in destruction and perdition. Let such as are in the prime and vigour of their days be persuaded to flee youthful lusts and crimi­nal pursuits. Sin can never consist with your interest as men. Its inseparable companions, if persisted in, are infamy and ruin. "To hate sin is to honour yourselves, and to abstain from it is your truest glory." Religion or early piety, will ever promote your best interests in time and eternity. It yields joy and satisfaction upon re­flection, and affords the most reviving and bles­sed prospects. It is your best security in life and death.

WE see from what has been discoursed that it is posible to obtain true repentance in the near approaches of death: But let none be encou­raged from hence to continue in sin that grace may abound, * It would be the heighth of fol­ly and presumption to delay our repentance with such a fond expectation. We are to expect the grace of GOD in the ordinary established method. If we seek him with our whole heart, he will be found of us, but if we forsake him, and re­fuse to follow the method he has prescribed, he will cast us off forever.

[Page 24] THE present occasion suggests a powerful motive to engage persons to maintain family order and government, and to instill the prin­ciples of religion and virtue into the minds of children and others committed to their trust. Families are the first seminaries of religion; and if due restraint, instruction and government be neglected, what are we to expect but a general profligacy of manners and a rapid increase of Publick Executions? ‘Religion and virtue are the life and soul of society, and the welfare of kingdoms and nations can never flourish but under the sacred influence of them.’ May the GOD of all grace pour out his spirit up­on this whole people, and his blessings upon their off-spring, that we may have that righteous­ness which exalteth a nation, and those iniqui­ties which are the reproach and ruin of a peo­ple may be taken from us. May the things which belong to our everlasting peace never be hidden from our eyes: May we all remember that we are hastening with amazing velocity in­to eternity, and may we be engaged so to act our part on the stage of this world, that when we are summoned hence, we may be remembered by the glorious Saviour, and share to all eternity the ineffable delights of the Paradise of GOD, which may He of his infinite mercy grant for CHRIST's sake, to whom be glory forever and ever.



AN APPENDIX, EXHIBITING Some Account of the Conversation and Behaviour of WHITE, BAR­RICK and SULLIVAN, in Prison, &c.

ALEXANDER WHITE, when brought upon his Trial before the Honourable Supreme Judicial Court, for Murder and Piracy on the High Seas, pleaded GUILTY. The Court seemed much affected with his plea, and the rehearsal of his story. They did not direct his plea to be recorded, but re­manded him to prison, informing him that they would consider further of his case the next morning. Upon his appearing at the Bar the second time he pleaded as before. The Court were so tender of his case, that they proceed­ed to examine sundry witnesses; and after they had gone through their evidence, White declared that they had related the circumstances of the affair as nearly as could possibly be expected.

AT the first Pastoral Visit, which was made him in Cambridge, it was particularly enquired, Why he accused himself before the Court in a tri­al for his life? He answered, that his conscience [Page 26] formed him that he was guilty, and that as [...] life was forfeited, he wished not to retain—It was then observed that pleading not [...] before a Court amounts to nothing more in putting one's self upon trial.—He said he [...] sensible of that; but knowing that he had murdered an innocent man, it appeared to him [...] duty to confess it before GOD and men: he added, that he believed the evidence was [...] sufficient to convict him, but he chose to [...] the punishment due to his crime.

IT was then observed to him, that Death was solemn and important event, and that the [...] of it was a passion deeply implanted in hu­man nature; and particular enquiry was made [...] what grounds he was so reconciled to it? [...] said, that he had soon after the commission his crime, framed a story, in which he en­deavoured to throw the guilt upon the Passen­ [...]; but that after he was committed to pri­son at Plymouth, he was brought under deep [...]viction of the evil of sin, and was for [...]ral weeks in the utmost anguish and [...] that he read the Word of GOD and other [...] of devotion with the utmost attention and [...], and frequently received visits from Mr. Rob­ [...] and other Ministers and Friends, who gave [...] the best counsel and advice in their power; [...] also that he heard sundry Sermons which [...] well adapted to his case. He further [...] that as he was mourning on account of [...] with penitential sorrow, he had a very [Page 27] lively and affecting view of the mercy of GOD through JESUS CHRIST, and that he found [...] himself a strong and ardent desire to submit CHRIST in the character of a Saviour. The appeared to him to be a great change in [...] sentiments and views. He thought that [...] found in his heart a real love to GOD and JE­SUS CHRIST, and true benevolence to mankind.

WHEN it was observed to him, that he must be destitute of the most satisfactory evidence [...] a real change, viz. the fruits of righteousness and true holiness in the life; he said, he [...] aware of that, but that he felt in himself [...] a divine temper and disposition, and such [...] hearty approbation of the ways of GOD [...] religion, that he had strong hope of final accep­tance and everlasting life.

EVERY time the author of the foregoing Ser­mon visited him, he appeared very humble, seri­ous and prayerful. He spake of death with great calmness and composure, and declare himself perfectly reconciled to it, from a strong persuasion of his interest in the favour of GOD and a confident hope of a better life. Who he was asked whether he wished for a Re­prieve? He replied that he did not on his own account; but as his Fellow-sufferers were [...] desirous of it he would acquiesce in it. He [...] that if the prison-doors were opened to him, [...] he might have his liberty and life, he should [...]ther wish to die.

[Page 28] SEVERAL other Ministers who saw and con­versed with him, were at first very apprehensive that he was a mere Enthusiast, and that as death approached, he would change his stile: But upon further conversation, when the time of ex­ecution was at hand, they seemed much more satisfied of his sincerity. It is worthy of parti­cular notice, that he took great pains to en­lighten his Fellow-sufferers, by reading to them the Scriptures and other good books; by coun­sels and exhortations, and that he often prayed with and for them.

As he was going to the place of execution, he was asked, Whether he now heartily approved of the method of salvation through JESUS CHRIST, and could trust in his merits and mediation for pardon and eternal life? He said that it appeared to him most wise and excellent, and that he had not the least wish for any other way of life than that through JESUS CHRIST, and that he did en­tirely depend on the rich grace and mercy of GOD, through him, for pardon and salvation. When enquiry was made, Whether his faith and hope continued as strong and vigorous as ever? He said they really did, and that he viewed death with the utmost complacency and satisfaction; and further said, that if these graces should fail him in his last moments he would openly de­clare it: He added, that he ardently wished the prosperity and success of the kingdom of the Re­deemer among men. He prayed very earnestly with his last breath, and died commending his soul into the hands of GOD.

[Page 29] IN this recital the stile of the Prisoner could not be exactly recollected; but his ideas are re­presented as nearly as possible. Many other ques­tions were proposed to him, the recording of which, might too far protract this Appendix. These facts are submitted, leaving every one to form his own judgment upon so singular a case.

Richard Barrick and John Sullivan appeared exceedingly ignorant, and owned that they had never been taught to read. Barrick said that he never knew his parents, but was sent very young to the foundling-hospital. It was observ­ed to him that proper provision was made there for the instruction of children. He said that this was the case in some parts of it; but not so in others. Sullivan said that his parents were so­licitous for the education of their children, and that of eleven he was the only one which was not taught, and that this was owing to his re­fractory temper and his disobedience to his pa­rents. When enquiry was made whether they believed the Being and perfections of GOD, and that men would be happy or miserable after death, according to their conduct in the present state? they answered in the affirmative. They were asked whether they were sensible of the ex­ceeding evil of sin as it is opposite to a holy GOD, and their need of pardon and mercy through JE­SUS CHRIST? They seemed at a loss for an an­swer, and said they did not understand it. No small pains was taken by sundry Ministers to lead them to a proper sense of their state, and to [Page 30] open to them the way of salvation through CHRIST.

AT the first visit they pretended to deny that they were guilty of the Robbery at Winter-Hill, for which they had been convicted; but after sentence of death was pronounced by the Court, they both owned the fact.

HAVING formed an inveterate habit of vice in early life, and been destitute of instruction and discipline, it was extremely difficult to make any impression upon them. They said they were afraid to die, sensible that they were unprepared, and wished for more time.

As the day of execution approached, they seem­ed considerably affected, and said they were hear­tily sorry for all their sins, and wished for mer­cy through JESUS CHRIST. As they advanced to the Gallows, they seemed much distressed, and continued crying to GOD through CHRIST, 'till the moment arrived which ushered them in­to eternity.—Thus much is mentioned with respect to these two unhappy Men, to shew the extreme danger of neglecting the proper edu­cation and government of children, and the necessity of restraining them while young from sinful excesses.


☞ The following Letters being in the possession of the Printer, he has inserted it to fill up a va­cant page.

Extract of a Letter written by ALEXANDER WHITE, to a Person who had greatly befriend­ed his spiritual interest while in Plymouth goal.

Dear Friend,

YOU request me, in your last Letter, to send you a particular account of the workings of my heart since I have condemned myself, by making an open confession of the abominable sin which I have committed against GOD and my own soul. I do not reflect on my conduct (in confessing the crime) blessed be GOD that my hope is grounded on the sure foundation that is laid in Zion. My anchor is within the veil, and 'tis utterly impossible for it to be removed by the hands of man, or the ingenuity of de­vils—Nothing can remove my hope. Altho' the time draws near and death approaches me, GOD also draws near, and stifles the pangs of death and gives me an over-coming triumph over the grave. Blessed be GOD, I have the privilege of going to meeting, and have the advice of sundry faithful Ministers of the Gospel. And blessed be GOD that I am very well supplied with the necessaries of life.—I have not time nor op­portunity to write to all my Friends with you now—the time draws near that I am to be no more—yet what remains of my heart that is not [Page 32] engaged with GOD, I leave with them, and I hope they have but a small share.

My dear Friend,

THERE are two Malefactors along with me, who are under sentence of death—and when this comes to hand I, with their consent, would solicit for your prayers in their behalf.—My feeble hand, bound with cold iron will not, allow me to write so long a Letter as I would wish. So I conclude, and remain your dying friend,


Copy of another Letter from ALEXANDER WHITE to a Rev. Gentleman at Plymouth.

Rev. Sir,

MY trembling hand I set to paper, to set forth the sentiments of my heart, and to point out where the ground of my hope lies. My hope is fixed on that rock that is in Zion, the sure foundation that GOD has laid for the redemption of sinners.—Blessed be GOD my mountain stands strong, and the thoughts of death cannot remove it, nor can any thing be a [...] to me.—But—O the thoughts of my dear Redeemer!—Dear Sir, excuse the shortness of my observations to you.—I am under great obligation to you for the favour of your Letter. It is now growing dark, and op­portunity will not permit me to say any more, so I remain your dying friend.


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