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that was not to be expected. He often blessed God for bringing him to a prison, and that he had not made his escape to have led a wicked life any longer. After he had been under great horror for almost a week, he found great quiet come instead of it, chiefly after he had disburdened his conscience by a sincere confession; at last it grew upon him to a joy in God, and at the approaches of death.
The night before he suffered, he told me, he was languishing through desire to die; he was now so settled in his assurance of God's goodness to him, that he was longing to be with him; he considered that night as the eve of his wedding, and therefore it would seem tedious to him. A little while after he said, To-morrow is the last battle I shall fight; my enemy shall gain the camp, the tent I dwell in, but I shall, by the grace of God, win the day. And, when he spoke of that at another time, he looked up to God, and said: I go to fight with thy weapons, and thy armour, and when I have overcome, I will come and offer them up to thee. He had that day received the sacrament with great devotion, and said: Now I have got my passport, and I long to be gone. He was much rejoiced to hear, that night, that the Captain was in a better temper, than he had been in formerly; for the minister of the Augsbourg Confession in London told him, in my hearing, that the Captain had confessed, That he had drawn them into this snare, and had engaged them in this murder. The Captain also sent a kind message to him, and gave orders for every thing that concerned his burial; upon which he sent a return to him full of great affection. This made him change a resolution he once had, of speaking somewhat concerning the murder at his execution. He said there was nothing material in his last confession, that was not in his first taken by the justices of the peace, so there was no need of making any other public declaration; and he thought, if he said any thing that might reflect on the Captain, it would, perhaps, put him in some disorder, and he would not venture the being discomposed in the last moment of his life; therefore he resolved to seal up all, and give it to me at the place of execution. He had shewed it four days before to one Mr. Essart, a German, in Covent. Garden, and had ordered me to let him copy it; he had likewise shewed it to Dr. Horneck, and it was almost all copied out, before he died.
In this temper I left him at night, but found him much better on the morning of his execution. He had slept three hours, and was then well in his heart and health; for the night before he was very faint. He told me, Now he was full of joy, he was going to exchange a prison for a palace: A prison (said he) that has been, to me, better than any palace; for here God has touched me, he has drawn me, he has quickened me; and now, O God, I come to thee, to live with thee for ever. He broke often out in great transports of joy; he said this that follows so often, both in French and Dutch, that I could not but remember it well:—O my God, my good God, my infinitely good God, How do I love thee! I bless thee,
I will bless thorns long as I live; yea, Lord, I will sing of thy praises for ever, for thou hast blessed me wonderfully. Thou hast put many good inclinations in me; thou hast often touched my heart with the notions of thy Holy Spirit; but, above all thy blessings, for this I will bless thee, That, when I had forsaken thee, and was at the gate* of bell, thou hast brought me from thence, and hast now brought me even to the gates of Heaven; open them, O Lord, and I will enter in, and praise thy name for ever. I bless thee, that thou hast chastised me with thy rod, but thy rod is a rod of mercy; and, now thou hast done so much for me, O grant mo a greater sense of thy love, that I may praise thee with my whole soul, and from the very bottom of my heart.
This he repeated often, in such a manner that he seemed as one ravished for joy. He wept, but ho told me those were not tears of sorrow, but flowed from the abundance of his joy. He and the Polonian sung the fifty-first psalm in High Dutch, three several time*; and I saw him particularly touched, when ho sung those words. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, thou God of ay salvation.' He spent the rest of the time in prayers and ejaculations. A gentleman came in, and asked how he did? He answered him, he thanked God, well; his friend had sent to call him to come to din* with him, and he was ready to go. And when it was told him, he was now to fight his last battle, ho answered, That battle was already fought, there was but one shock behind, and he was sure he should overcome. His heart was so full of the sense of the goodness of God, that he could now complain of nothing, or desire nothing but that he might be able to rejoice More perfectly in God, and to praise him more. He longed much for the officers that should carry him away, and looked with great cheerfulness at me, when he saw them come to lead him out. When bis irons were taken off, ho told mo, Some of his fetters were taken from him, but he had others yet about him that should be likewise taken off very speedily; but I have chains upon my soul which shall draw rae up to heaven. He told me, 'That he 'intended to make a short exhortation on the cart, chiefly to have 'warned the people not to cast off the sense of God; and par. 1 tirularly, that as they did their own business all the week, that
* they would do God's work on the Lord's.Day; and learn from 4 him what the ill effects of profaning that day were. He was 'likewise to have exhorted them not to think there was any \\ irked. 'ness so great, but if they did cast off God, and wore forsaken of
* him, they might fall into it. He had been once in a good way, 'but had left it, and they saw the effects of that; yet God had 'mercifully brought him bark to it, and therefore ho intended to 4 pray them to fear God, and keep his commandments, and it 4 woalil be well with them.'
This was the substance of that which he had purposed to say; bat when he came to the place, the noise was so great there, that at said be would speak nothing, but loft it to roc to publish what I KDkw he bed intended to say; and so he continued in his dero. tions, reading some prayers and hymns out of Dilheren's book; and, in several passages as he read them, I perceived great joy in his looks. He told me, his mind continued firm and settled in his joy in God; and so he went on a while reading, at last he threw his book to me, and wished me to give it to some good soul. He said a few words to the Captain in High-Dutch, which I did not quite understand: but by his manner I judged it was a declaring that he forgave him, and died in charity with him; to which the Captain made a short answer, that seemed to me a return of his kindness. But the crowd was such, that the German minister could not possibly come to the place, so this was lost.
And this is all the account I can give of Lieutenant Stern; it is the substance of many and long conversations I had with him; French was the language in which we discoursed, and he expressed himself very well in it.
I cannot give so long an account of Borosky, the Polander, for all my discourse with him was by an interpreter, and the Lieutenant did for the most part interpret between us. I found that the course of his life had been very honest and innocent; and that, before he committed this barbarous act, he had not been guilty of any enormous crime in his whole life; and that, particularly the last year of it, he had a greater sense of the fear of God than formerly, so that he had reformed his life to such a degree, that he had not been guilty of one act either of drunkenness or uncleanness, of swearing or lying; and that he had constantly prayed to God. He said, That, when Count Conningsmark made that proposition to him, which he told me much more largely than I find it is in his confession, he was troubled at it, and went into another room, and kneeled down and said the Lord's prayer; but concluded, since his mind was not fortified against it, that God had appointed that he should do it. He said, in his country they were bred up in such an opinion of their duty to their masters, and of their obligation to maintain their honour, that he, believing the relation the Count made of the English gentleman (for Mr. Thynn was not named to hm) having intended to murder him, and having set six assassins on him, thought himself in some sort absolved, if he should revenge such an attempt. He was also deluded by what the Captain told him, that, if they happened to be taken, he only, and not the Polander, would suffer for it; so that he was easily wrought on to do it. He was not spoke to by the Count till one o'clock on Sun. day, but whether in the morning or afternoon, I do not know, and it was acted that same evening; so that he was never alone, nor had he any opportunity of recollecting himself, but was hurried upon it blindly.
He told me one passage that befel him after his imprisonment, which he firmly believed was real, and not the effect of a disturbed fancy. He said, being shut up in his chamber a day or two after his imprisonment, he thought in the night being fully awake, that one opened the door, which he fancied was his keeper coming to him; but when he looked at it, it was a woman who had appeared sometimes to him before in Germany, upon some extraordinary occasions. She looked on him, but spoke nothing to him; and vanished. He verily believed this was sent from God to him, to touch his heart; and, whether it was real or only imagined, it had certainly a very good effect on him. For from that time he was wonderfully changed.
He said, he continued about four days as in hell, by the rack that he felt in his conscience; but, after that, he came to have great quiet, and assurance of God's mercy. He had no fear of death, but every time I asked him concerning it, he said he was ready for it, and longed for it more than ever he did for any thing in his life. He assured me he had from his heart forgiven both the Count and the Captain, and that he prayed earnestly for them.
The Lieutenant often told me, That he had an excellent soul, and that, though he had not much knowledge, yet he himself learned much from him; for he had the simplicity of a little child, and a love to God, and to his Saviour, that passed all knowledge. So that he spent almost his whole time in praying, and praising God. He went out of the chamber, when he was called on by the officers to his execution, with great chearfulness; and, by his looks, and carriage in the cart, expressed a great sense of his condition: he seemed to have no sort of fear in him, nor did he in the least change colour, or was he at all terrified.
In the last place, I must say something of Captain Vrats, which I do unwillingly, because some passages are not such as I can reflect on with any great satisfaction. It is certain, that never man died with more resolution and less signs of fear, or the least disorder. His carriage in the cart, both as he was led along, and at the place of execution, was astonishing: he was not only undaunted, but looked chearful, and smiled often. When the rope was put about his neck, he did not change colour nor tremble; his legs were firm under him: he looked often about on those that stood in balconies and windows, and seemed to fix his eyes on some persons: three or four times he smiled; he would not cover his face as the rest did, but continued in that state, often looking up to heaven, with a chearfulness in his countenance, and a little motion of his hands. I saw him several times in the prison: he still stood to the confession he made to the council till the last day of his life: he often said to me, he would never say any thing but what he had said at first.
When I was with him on Sunday before his death, he still denied all that the Lieutenant and the Polonian had said, and spoke severely of them, chiefly of the Lieutenant, as if he had confessed those things which he then called lies, in hopes of saving his own life by it, or in spite to him, that he might not be pardoned: and all I could say, could not change his mind in that. I told him it was in vain for him to dream of a pardon, for I assured him, if any kept him up with the hopes of it, they deceived him. He had two opinions, that were, as I thought, hurtful to him; the one was, that it was enough if he confessed his sin to God, and that he.was Vol. ix. C
not bound to make any other confession; and he thought that it was a piece of popery to press him to confess. He had another odd opinion also of the next state: He thought the damned were only excluded from the presence of God, and endured no other misery, but that of seeing others happier than themselves: and was unwilling to let me enter into much discourse with him for undeceiving him: He said it was his own affair, and he desired to be left to himself; but he spoke with great assurance of God's mercy to him.
I left him, when I saw that nothing I could say had any good effect on him, and resolved to have gone no more to him; but when I understood by the German minister, and by the message which I heard delivered in his name to the Lieutenant and Polander, the night before his execution, that he was in another temper than when I saw him last, I went to him; he received me more kindly than formerly; most of his discourse was concerning his going to the place of execution, desiring that it might be in a coach, and not in a cart: and when I prayed him to think of that which concerned him more, he spoke with great assurance, that it was already done, that he knew God had forgiven him; and when I wished him to sec that he might not deceive himself, and that his hope might not be ill.grouuded, he said it was not hope, but certainty, for he was sure God was reconciled to him, through Christ. When I spoke to him of confessing his sin, he said he had written it, and it would be published to all Europe, but he did not say a word concerning it to me; so I left him, and saw him no more, till I met him at the place of execution: when he saw me, he smiled on me, and whereas I had sometimes warned him of the danger of affecting to be a counterfeit bravo (faux brave) he said to me, before I spoke to him, that I should see it was not a false bravery, but that he was fearless to the last. I wished him to consider well upon what he grounded his confidence: he said, he was sure he was now to be received into heaven; and that his sins were forgiven him. I asked him if he had any thing to say to the people; he said no. After he had whispered a short word to a gentleman, he was willing the rope should be tied to the gibbet: he called for the German minister, but the croud was such, that it was not possible for him to come near. So he desired me to pray with him in French; but I told him I could not venture to pray in that language, but, since he understood English, I would pray in English. I observed he had some touches in his mind, when I offered up that petition, that, for the sake of the blood of Christ, the innocent blood, shed in that place, might be forgiven; and that the cry of the one for mercy might prevail over the cry of the other for justice. At these words he looked up to heaven with the greatest sense that I had at any time observed in him. After I prayed, he said nothing, but that he was now going to be happy with God, so I left him. He continued in his undaunted manner, looking up often to heaven, and sometimes round about him to the spectators. After they had stood Stout a quarter of an hour under the gibbet, they were asked when