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and told me, that he was using every effort—that three petitions had been sent to Mr. Secretary Peel, very respectably signed, in order to obtain a commutation of punishment to transportation for life; but they were all unavailable, because the judge who tried him refused to sign them, for the following reasons :- 1. Because he had been in prison before, for buying stolen poultry. 2. Because he manifested a degree of hardihood on his trial unbecoming his awful situation, which was particularly marked by the judge and the court; but I have since been credibly informed, that this arose more from his natural manner, than a design to behave unseemly. 3. He was connected with a gang of nightly depredators; and as sheep-stealing is now practised to an alarming extent, the judges are determined to punish the offenders with the utmost severity of the law, in order to deter others from the commission of the crime, and those of a similar nature. He had been to hear me preach in Bury Street Chapel, about three years ago, when his attention was more than usually arrested, and he appeared deeply to regret that circumstances obliged him to return into the country, lest he should be again entangled with his wicked companions, and brought to ruin. Alas! his fears were too well founded! Knowing that the poor young fellow was under sentence of death, and that there was no hope for him in this life, as he was appointed to die in a few days, I sent him a plain letter, in which I briefly pointed out his wretched condition as a sinner before God; earnestly and affectionately exhorted him, under a sense of his guilt and aggravating transgressions to flee from the wrath to come, fervently praying to Christ for mercy, and trusting in him alone for pardon, holiness, and eternal life, who died for the ungodly.
As it may not be deemed irrelevant by the generality of my readers, I present them with a copy of the letter, which is as follows:
March 27, 1829. MY DEAR FRIEND, I am indeed unspeakably grieved to hear of your truly calamitous and awful condition. It is my servent prayer, that the Lord Jesus Christ would be pleased to have mercy upon you, and work in your heart by his Holy Spirit true repentance unto eternal life. Amen. As there is not the least hope for you in this miserable world, I most earnesily and affectionately beseech you, not to lose a moment of time in praying to God, in the blessed name of the Lord Jesus, that he may open your eyes, and let you see and feel your sinful state by nature and practice. Ever recollect, we are all vile sinners against God, whether we know it or not; that all mankind are born in sin, so that we have gone astray from God ever since we had a being, and we are all both unable and unwilling to return unto the Shepherd and Bishop of our never-dying souls. This being the helpless state of all the children of Adam, we cannot possibly be saved because of any goodness in 11s, for we have all gone out of the way of truth, “ There is none righteous, no, not one.” See Romans, chap. 3. Never forget, then, that you are a poor, ruined, and lost sinner: that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, even the chief! Therefore, whatever your iniquities
may be, you can be but the chief of sinners ! You ought not to despair, as long as it is written, “ The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, cleanseth from all sin.” 1 St. John ii. 7. The greater sinner you see and feel yourself to be, the more welcome you are to come to the all-sufficient Saviour, who hath faithfully promised, “ Him THAT COMETH UNTO ME I WILL IN NO WISE CAST OUT." St. John vi. 37.
My fellow-sinner, fall down on your knees before God, and humbly confess your sins, and constantly beg of him in the name of Jesus Christ to have mercy upon you a miserable sinner. In your prayers plead the above-mentioned promise of the Saviour, made to all them who are enabled to come by faith to him. I hope you feel your sins great and numerous, but remember they are not as great as the Almighty Saviour. He is infinitely more able to save you from sin, hell, and everlasting destruction, than all your spiritual enemies are able to destroy. Should you groan under the weight and burden of sins, saying, They are too heavy a burden for me to bear; pray to the all-merciful Jesus, and all-sufficient Redeemer, that he would be pleased to give you grace to come unto him by faith, and help you to cast your
you will find rest for your weary soul. Read with humble and fervent prayer the encouraging promise which the Lord Jesus hath graciously made to you, and all other sinners, who are crying out, “What must we do to be saved ?” Matt. xi. 28, 29, 30. If you are tempted at any time to think that your sins are too great
to be forgiven, you should remember that the Son of God has pardoned as great sinners as ever you were.
I can assure you from holy writ, that if you by faith and prayer trust in the person, blood and righteousness of the Son of God, the Almighty Friend of sinners, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool,” Isaiah i. 18. What think you of the dying thief upon the cross, Mary Magdalene, wicked Manasseh, the publican, and the three thousand that crucified and murdered the Lord of glory? These are all saved ; and Christ is as able and as willing to save you, if you put your whole trust in him. I most earnestly beg of you never to deceive yourself by vainly imagining that God will show you mercy (or any other sinner) for any good thing you may think you can perform, for all that the best of men can do is mixed with sin, and deserves eternal death. Neither think for a moment that you can make your peace with God, no more than you can satisfy the violated laws of your country without suffering death. If you believe in Jesus Christ, he will show to your unspeakable joy and comfort, that he has for ever made your peace with God by shedding his precious blood, and thereby given complete satisfaction to his heavenly Father for all your sins. See Eph. 2nd chapter, particularly from the 8th verse to the end. Read also the 15th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel; also the 18th chapter, and the 7th chapter beginning at the 36th verse to the end, 23rd chapter from verse 39 to 50. See Isa. 55th chapter, read with humble prayer the whole chapter, particularly the 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, and 9th verses.
And may the Lord-by his Holy Spirit open your understanding, that you may know these scriptures which show you the way
of salvation, Read the tracts also, and lend them to your fellow-prisoners. I shall be glad to hear when your brother returns that you are looking only to the Lord Jesus for life and eternal salvation in the world to come. From your real friend and well-wisher,
HENRY HEAP. To Josiah Paine, Condemned Cell, Maidstone Gaol,
KENT. This letter the Rev. Mr. Winter, the chaplain of the prison, read to him twice, and helped him to find out the different portions of Scripture to which I referred as ap
plicable to his case, and every sensibly lost sinner; and with great kindness and fidelity expounded the passages, which were greatly blessed to him.
The earnest exhortations of the Rev. Mr. Winter were the means through the unction of the divine Spirit of bringing him to a deep sense of his lost condition as a sinner, after the awful sentence of death was pronounced, which terminated, we have solid grounds to believe, in true repentance. Of the kind and unremitting attention of the chaplain, and the anxious solicitude he manifested for the salvation of his immortal soul, poor Paine spoke to me in pleasing and very grateful terms. Well would it be if all the prisons in London and the country, yea, and all the churches and chapels too, were favoured with such an able, affectionate, and excellent minister of Jesus Christ. As their numbers are comparatively few, and the harvest is great, may the Lord of the harvest send forth more faithful labourers into the vineyard. Amen.
The day before he suffered death, his brother Samuel called upon me early in the morning, to say that Josiah had a particular desire to see me. I set off in the afternoon, and reached the prison about half-past nine o'clock. I first had an interview with Mr. Winter, with whom I was at home in a few minutes; and being very desirous to see the prisoner that night, he gave me a note to Mr. Agar, the governor, who kindly conducted me to the cell.
My hearers, I will not attempt to describe what I felt when entering this dreary abode, in beholding a fine handsome young man, who was to be cut off by the hand of the executioner in a few hours, before he had reached the full bloom of youth! I first asked him if he knew me? He answered with considerable emotion, "O yes! and remember both seeing and hearing you in Bury Street Chapel.' I then said, 'My poor dear fellow, I am truly distressed to find you in this awful situation.' He observed with a pleasant countenance, which was an indication of a thankful heart and great composure of mind, ‘I am glad you are come, for I desired very much to see you. And I am not without hope that I shall be in heaven by this time to-morrow night!' I replied, 'The Lord grant that your expectation may be a good hope through grace: then I am certain you will possess a different mansion to this.' He then eagerly took up my letter, with the Bible, and said, Mr. Winter has read it to me two or three times, and highly approves it; and has kindly helped me
to look out the passages and explained them to me, and they have been a great consolation to my troubled mind.' After further conversation with him in the presence of the governor, I said, 'Whatever time he would wish to see me in the morning (God willing) I would be with him,' and if I could have been of any service to him, I would cheerfully have remained with him all night; but as he was not to suffer till twelve o'clock the following day, I advised him in faith and earnest prayer to commit himself into the hands of his compassionate and Almighty Redeemer, and if possible to fall asleep for an hour or two; he would then be refreshed, and the better able to watch and pray. The time fixed was half-past five, and to the honour of the turnkeys I speak it, they would with pleasure have admitted me at two or three had I requested it. I entered the prison exactly at the time appointed, and when the cell door was opened I perceived that he was just finishing his last letter to his poor wife, whom he was leaving a destitute widow with two small children, and near her cont nent with a third, herself only twenty-three years of age! I asked him how he felt in his mind, and whether he had been to sleep? He replied, he thought he had slept half an hour; that he felt great anxiety in his mind with regard to the safety of his eternal state.' I said, 'if you rest solely upon the glorious person of the God-man Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, and trust in his blood and righteousness for the remission of your sins and the acceptance of your person in the sight of a just and holy God, there was no cause of fear; Christ came into this world on purpose to save such sinners as he was, and the more sinful, helpless, and wretched he saw and felt himself, he had the greater need of the Almighty Physician; that the divine Saviour was unspeakably more honoured and glorified in saving great sinners like him, than those who thought themselves better than other people, because they had not been permitted to break out into open and scandalous sins. And I could assure him, that Christ had saved some of the greatest sinners that ever lived upon earth, and that he never said an unkind word to any of them that humbly and earnestly applied to him for mercy; but on the contrary, according to his sovereign, free, rich, and abounding grace, he satisfied their most expanded desires, and gave more than they were able to ask or think. That these were left on record for our encouragement to trust in Christ, for he still possesses the same