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Title: An account of the Death of Philip Jolin

Author: Francis Cunningham

Release date: October 22, 2012 [eBook #41145]

Language: English


Transcribed from the 1830 Hatchard and Son edition by David Price, email

OCTOBER 3, 1829.








p. iiLONDON:


To determine the real state of mind in a criminal manifesting, for the first time, when under sentence of death, signs of repentance, is plainly a work of much difficulty.  If ever dissimulation may be expected, it must be in the case of a person probably long habituated, and, in his present circumstances, additionally excited to it by the fear of death: and the experience of every minister of religion conversant in such cases, must teach him that professions of religion, under such circumstances, are far oftener the language of alarm, than of real conversion.  Every one, therefore, would earnestly covet, with Mr. Newton, to know rather how the man lived, than how he had died.  But here the life and the death may offer the most conflicting evidence.  How difficult it is then so to decide as not, on the one hand, to make “the heart of the righteous sad, whom God has not made sad;” upon the other, to say “peace” to the soul, “when there is no peace.”

Most of the cases of religious communication with dying criminals, recorded in the public prints, are in the highest degree painful.  The chaplain goes through the forms of instruction, the sermon is preached, and then, without one proof being assigned of the fitness of the criminal for that solemn ordinance of religion, the sacrament is administered.  All the requisitions of our church, as to “those who come to the Lord’s supper,” are passed by.  The deep workings of repentance, and longing for amendment, the exercise of a lively faith in Christ, the thankful remembrance of his death, the feeling of universal charity so difficult p. ivin such circumstances; in short, every evidence of an awakened and converted heart is neglected, and the man forced upon a hypocritical avowal of truth, to which he is in reality utterly a stranger.  He dies, in fact, with “a lie in his right hand”—a lie, the guilt of which is surely divided between himself and the minister who urges him to the rash reception of the sacrament.

It is under the deepest conviction of the difficulty of such cases, that the present tract, recording the events of the last eleven days in the life of a criminal is presented to the public.  His crimes had been great, but hypocrisy was not amongst their number.  His faculties were not such as to give him any peculiar facility in adopting the truths presented to him.  He had received no previous religious instruction.  He had no uncommon power of utterance.  Let the reader judge whether the words and conduct, both before and after conviction, as recorded in these pages, do not supply an evidence of the power of God to reclaim the wanderer even in the eleventh hour; and are not calculated, in the highest degree, to encourage the often disconsolate visitor of the sick, the dying, and the criminal.  The facts here recorded have been collected partly by personal communication, partly from letters to the writer from the Rev. W. C. Hall, and partly from a printed account of the Rev. E. Durell.  The substance of the statement was first inserted in the Christian Observer, and it is now submitted, with some alteration, to the public, and with an earnest desire that its perusal may, through the Divine blessing, tend to the glory of that compassionate Saviour, to whose service it is dedicated.

p. 5THE

The particulars of the crime of this unfortunate young man may be stated in a few words.  He had long been known in the neighbourhood where he lived, as an object of disgrace, and the cause of perpetual disturbance.  Not indeed that he was more profligate in character than those with whom he was immediately connected.  His father, as well as his mother-in-law, lived in habits of drunkenness.  She died eight months before the son committed the crime for which he suffered.  Jolin was, with his father, by trade a blacksmith.  His business brought with it some temptation to drinking; and, in Jersey, where spirits are cheaper even than in England, this disposition was most easily gratified.  So that, with the example of his parents, and his own circumstances, it is not a matter of astonishment that he fell into the course of sin which led to his ruin.  The progress of vice was, it is to be presumed, in his case, like that of other drunkards.  The liquor, at first taken as a bodily relief, unguarded by any restraint, was soon resorted to as an indulgence; till at last he was enlisted in the number of those of whom the p. 6prophet speaks, “who rise up in the morning that they may follow their drink, and continue till night, till wine inflames them.”  But the abominable tendency of this particular sin is illustrated almost equally by the conduct of the father and son.

It appeared on the trial of Jolin, that he had been exposed to the greatest cruelties on the part of his father.  One person deposed, that he had often seen him beat his son with a hammer, or any thing else, which might happen to come under his hand, and almost always about the head; and the scars from these wounds were seen on his head when he was committed to prison.  Another, that she had once heard the prisoner’s mother cry out for help.  She went in, and saw the son down, and the father striking him with an iron bar, saying at the same time, that he was going to kill him.  Very often he would not give him any food.  Another witness testified, that, going into the house of the father, he saw him put down a flat iron bar, with which he had just been striking his son on the head, and his head was covered with blood.  He was laid on his bed, but his father refused to allow any assistance to be tendered to him.  This witness had seen the father kick his son about several parts of the body.  What a contrast is all this to that scene which the psalmist describes of a household where the Spirit of God dwells—“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity, for there the Lord commandeth his blessing.”  These facts are introduced, not only in explanation of the subject, but that some light may be thrown on the appeal which Jolin afterwards made to his judge on his own behalf.

On the morning on which the last crime was committed, as Jolin confessed to one who attended upon him in prison, he had drank to excess, and become completely intoxicated.  In this state he returned to his own home—a home of which, he added, “no one knew the wretchedness.”  It was dinner time, but he found no food prepared, and from his father he met with only that reception which he might expect from such a parent; more p. 7especially when he himself was overcome with drunkenness.  He went into the garden to gather a pear, and about this the fatal quarrel ensued.  The father had come behind, and caught him by the cape of the jacket, and kicked him about the back and legs.  He tore himself from his father, and was soon seen running out of the house crying, and the father in the act of pursuing, as if with the intention of striking him.  The father said that he would “settle him when he returned.”  The son replied, that he would “settle him (the father) also.”  The son then ran to a heap of bricks which lay in the street, and taking one which he appears to have broken in two pieces, he returned to be revenged on his father.  He was remonstrated with by a neighbour, but in vain.  In his rage he threw the brickbats at his father.  One of the pieces struck him on the head, and he immediately fell to the ground.  The wretched sufferer swooned from the violence of the blow and the loss of blood.  In this state he appears to have remained, with very little change, for about an hour, when he died.  It is not stated whether he was enabled to cry for mercy to that God, into whose presence he was thus awfully hurried; or whether he had time to reflect upon the state of his son, and his probable punishment.  How awful must have been the change to this wretched man, when he found himself in a moment lifting up his eyes before the Judge of quick and dead!

Meanwhile, the son, utterly unconscious of what he had done, or feeling only satisfaction at what he thought was the suitable punishment for his father, went out again, and finding his way into a neighbour’s shop, told the keeper of it that his father had beaten him, and that he had knocked him down.  Here he fell asleep, and slept probably till his fit of intoxication had passed away.  On rising he was about quietly and unsuspectingly to return to the scene of his crime, when he was arrested and brought to prison.  When, on the way to the prison, he was told that his conduct might possibly bring him to the gallows, he showed his first symptom of alarm.  He remained in prison till Thursday, September 24, when he p. 8was submitted to his first public examination.  The trial, according to the laws of that country, was repeated on Monday the 28th.  The judges, and two juries, in number together thirty-seven, after the fullest investigation of the facts, and after hearing the able defence of his advocate, Mr. Hammond, pronounced his crime to be murder, and condemned him to death.  The court refused even to make application for the mitigation of punishment, whereupon he was delivered to the execution of his sentence, which he underwent on Saturday, Oct. 3d.

There were many particulars in this case, in addition to the remarkable nature of the crime, and indeed the rareness of any crime of such magnitude in the small district in which it occurred, that made it a subject of very general notice.  One leading circumstance was the manifest alteration which took place in Jolin’s mind during the period of his imprisonment.  Upon this point there was an entire agreement of opinion amongst all persons who had any acquaintance with the real state of the case.  Not only ministers, both of the church and the Dissenters, but persons of other classes, bore testimony to the reality of a change; the nature of which, however, not so many persons could detect, as its very striking effects.  The newspaper spoke of an “alteration” which took place in him, of his “confession, in the most humble terms, of his own sinfulness;” of “his forcible admonitions to others to abstain from evil, and to practise the duties of religion and morality;” but of the change of heart which this case exhibited, the editor of the paper seems to have had no real understanding.  The case of Jolin, convinced of his sin, however, is that of a man, not merely convinced of his guilt in one instance, and anxious to warn others not converted by the Holy Ghost, acknowledging his total alienation of heart from God, and persuaded that all his repentance, all his good resolutions, could never expiate his past sins; but that, as he himself said, “Christ was his only hope; for He had paid his ransom, and He would receive him into glory.”

The greater part of persons who have had much experience p. 9in visiting the dying sick, or condemned criminals, have, in general, little confidence in a repentance which only springs up under the apprehension of immediate death, whatever flights of sentiment may be exhibited.  They have seen in the backsliding of men who promised every thing in the time of sickness, how vain, generally speaking, are the convictions of their sincerity.  In the greater part of these cases, there is a want of completeness in the work of repentance and faith, which the experienced pastoral visitor is often able to detect; too little of real contrition, or too much of profession and confidence.  But in the case in question, those who visited Jolin confess themselves to have been impressed, as they might conceive the spectators to be affected by the case of the thief on the cross.  One and all were led to say, “this is the finger of God.”  Under such circumstances, it cannot surely be wrong to gather together a few particulars of this history, which will be interesting to those, at least, who have experienced the power of divine grace in their own change of heart, and who rejoice in every display of it in the sinner that repenteth.

Jolin appears in early life to have been sent to school, although he said, that such had been the irregularity of his father’s house, and such the hindrances thrown in his way, that he had been more impeded than encouraged by his parents, in any attempt to attend upon the public means of religious instruction.  How tremendous is the responsibility of such a father and mother; culpable in their neglect, but awfully so in their example!  And what a case is here presented of the retributive justice of God!  The father trained his child in habits of intoxication, and treated him with cruel violence; and the son, in a fit of intoxication, by an act of violence, hurried his father headlong to the bar of God’s judgment.  We are not able, often, so clearly to trace the workings of Almighty wrath; nor is it to be expected, that, placed as we are in a state in which we must look for our rewards or punishments beyond the grave, we should here see any proportionate recompense of crime.  Still we know, that “as a man sows p. 10so he shall also reap,” if not in this world, to bring him to repentance, yet certainly, and how much more awfully! in that world where a place for repentance is no where found.

This young man, on some occasions previous to his committal to prison, had read the Bible; for he remarked to one of his attendants, that when at sea, during his watch, he had done so; but he added, “I then read it as a sealed book.  I had neither eyes given me to see, nor ears to hear, and this was a just judgment upon me for my sins.”  His mode of life had, indeed, been one of complete dissoluteness.  He went to sea, because he was too bad to remain on land; and he returned to shore, probably because he was wearied of the restraints at sea.  The relations of the family, disgusted at the scenes of vice in his father’s house, abandoned them.  So that it is not easy to conceive a state of lower degradation than this young man had reached.  No one, as he himself said, could describe the misery of this state as he had experienced it.  What situation could indeed more completely tend to brutalize the mind, to deaden every feeling of conscience, to leave the man long habituated to it “without hope,” and indeed “without God in the world?”  The nature of the crime for which Jolin was committed to prison, was such as to increase the general horror against him.  This was exhibited by the crowd, in the streets, on the occasion of his trial; so that his various crimes had made him an outcast from the pity and compassion of his fellow-creatures.  It is true, there were particular circumstances in his case, which, if generally known, would have lessened the public indignation, and which might have been a source of secret satisfaction to himself.  These were the exceeding badness of his education, the brutality of his father, the continual discord of his family, the state of intoxication in which he was when he unintentionally committed the crime; but these points, although once alluded to in his appeal to his judges, were scarcely mentioned by him in his private conversations, so completely was the conviction established in his mind, that he had p. 11fallen into sin by the wilfulness of his own heart, that he had destroyed himself; and that to a greater depth of transgression he could scarcely have reached.

After Jolin had been lodged in gaol, he was visited by a very respectable relative, Mr. Pinel, a member of the Methodist church.  He made this visit, as he himself testified, without the hope of any spiritual benefit.  He, however, desired to relieve his temporal necessities, and to afford him all the comfort in his power.  He found the poor culprit in a most pitiable state.  Overwhelmed and stunned by his situation, he was lying on a heap of straw, and appeared like one who had no hope to look to in this world, or the next.  Mr. Pinel said to him, “Young man, I think both your body and your soul are in great danger.”  Jolin did not answer, but sobbed excessively.  He then procured for him a bed, and some comfortable clothing, and put into his hands a French Testament.  Soon after, as there was at that time no chaplain regularly appointed to the gaol, Jolin was visited by the curate of the parish, M. Falle.  After some days, M. Falle’s great occupation in his ministry led him to transfer this important and interesting charge to the Rev. W. C. Hall, a young clergyman residing in the island, who took the more immediate care of him, watched over, instructed, and finally attended him through the dark valley of the shadow of death, till he reached, as I doubt not, the portal of the heavenly abode.  Meanwhile the Testament was not neglected by Jolin.  He read it nearly through; but, in the first instance, it would seem, without understanding the nature of the message which it was designed to convey.  His mind, however, was no doubt gradually preparing by the Holy Spirit to receive the instruction about to be more fully imparted.  On the 22d of September, about ten days before his execution, Jolin was visited by Mr. Hall and another clergyman.  He was then sitting in his bed, and looking as wretched as might be expected under the circumstances in which he was placed; as Mr. Pinel had stated, “without hope for this world, or the next.”  They immediately entered upon the object of their visit, and p. 12spoke to him of the nature of his offence; of the sin of murder, as condemned by the law of God, and aggravated in his case, because committed against a parent; of its sentence in the judgment of men, and its heinousness in the sight of God.  They pointed out to him, that, awful as is man’s sentence against this crime, little consideration was due to this in comparison with the condemnation which the law of God pronounced; and that this condemnation had passed upon him, and that the execution of its sentence of eternal death would be inflicted if he did not repent, and seek help and pardon through Jesus Christ.  All this was manifest, for it was written in the word of God, that murderers should have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone (Rev. xxi. 8;) that drunkards should not inherit the kingdom of God, (1 Cor. vi. 10:) and this condemnation, it was also pointed out, extended not only to these crimes, but to that of the general sin of the heart, and was the necessary consequence of its separation and alienation from God.  That this condemnation would come upon all sinners was evident, for it is written, “The wages of sin is death,” (Rom. vi. 23.)  One point appeared particularly to produce the deepest sensation of pain in this young man’s mind; this was the representation of the conduct of God towards him in reference to his father; that whilst that unhappy man had been cut off, and sent almost without warning, with all his sins upon him, before the Judge who will deal with every man according to his works, he, the murderer, had been spared, and brought into a prison, where he had opportunity given him to reflect upon his state, to seek for pardon, and where salvation was offered to him, if he would turn and seek it.  The cry of, “Oh my father, my poor father!” mingled with his sobs on that occasion.

Although Jolin’s crime was so palpable, and was confessed by him in the fullest, yet as it was committed unconsciously, and he had seen no traces of it, except in what others told him, the whole seemed like a dream; and the deed itself, with its appalling circumstances, were not likely to fasten themselves on his mind as if it had been p. 13premeditated, or as if he had been in full possession of his understanding, or as if he, which he himself wished, had seen his father’s murdered corpse.  However, this circumstance afterwards appeared to turn out to his advantage.  It prevented him from fixing his thoughts exclusively on a particular sin; and he was thus less hindered in discovering the sinfulness of his nature and of his general habits, and learning the lesson it is often so difficult to comprehend, that we are not less condemned by the law of God for our general alienation from him, than for any one or more scandalous offences which we may have committed.  Not that this state of mind in Jolin prevented him from coming to the deepest sense of his own particular offence; for as he learned more thoroughly to understand the nature of sin in general, his feeling for his peculiar crime more deeply penetrated his soul.  One other subject seemed to produce in him the same intense state of feeling which the mention of his father had done; this was the sin of intemperance, which had, as I have before remarked, been the immediate cause of his crime.  Mr. Hall, thinking that he might be suffering from the cold, confined as he was in a large stone-chamber, of which the window was usually open, guarded him against seeking a refuge from his sufferings from drinking.  At the mention of this, he went off again into expressions of horror at the supposed possibility of such an offence in his tremendous circumstances, and declared that nothing should again tempt him thus to transgress.  Yet, as Mr. Hall observes, were his resolutions expressed rather as if smarting under the penalty of his crime, than as if conscious of his own inability to keep the engagement which he was entering into.  He spoke as a man strong in his own strength, and as yet unacquainted with the perfect weakness of resolution not formed in dependence upon the power of God.

On the point of again falling into the sins of which he seemed to have repented, three distinct states were noticed in Jolin’s case before his execution.  At first, as at this visit, he was fully confident that, if he were once p. 14more to be set at liberty, he should never again become intoxicated.  Afterwards, when he came to discover the exceeding weakness of his nature, he even dreaded the possibility of his life being accorded to him, lest he should again fall into temptation.  And, lastly, he learned to believe, that having cast himself entirely upon Divine grace, and, therefore, using those means of watchfulness and prayer which the word of God prescribes, he needed not fear, if he were called again to life, the temptation even to those vices to which he had been most habituated.  On the occasion of this visit, the fifty-first Psalm was pointed out to him.  It was in the Prayer-book version, as there was no Bible at hand.  This Psalm, so remarkably calculated to meet the experience of a man feeling deeply his sins, and more particularly of one implicated as he was in such a variety of vice, struck his attention very deeply; and the more so when, the next day, it was read to him in the Bible translation, and its chief points expounded to him.  He learned a great part of this Psalm by heart; it was nearly the last portion of Scripture that he repeated; and it became one of the subjects of his meditation during the long nights in which he was shut up alone.

The next day, the 23d, two or three passages of Scripture were introduced to his notice; besides which a fuller view was presented to him of the nature and consequences of sin.  On this occasion he was taught in what manner sin is the defilement of the whole heart; that even the sins of his youth brought him just as much into condemnation before a holy God as his one great crime; that eternal death was the wages of every transgression of the Divine law; and that repentance unto life required not only a feeling of sorrow for one sin, but for every sin, yea, for sin itself, as an offence against the Almighty.  The promises of God to the chief of sinners were then pointed out him from Isa. i. 18, that “though his sins were as scarlet, they might be made white as snow;” and from Isa. lv. 6, 7, that “if the wicked forsook his way, and returned unto the Lord, he would have mercy, and abundantly p. 15pardon.”  The former of these passages remained fixed in his memory, and was a continual source of consolation to his mind.  He now began to feel that his sins were as scarlet, and to desire earnestly to be pardoned.  Two other passages were also at that time referred to, and enlarged upon.  The first of these was John iii. 14, 15.  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  This type presenting so remarkable an image of the Lord Jesus Christ lifted up to bear the sins of his people, and affording a remedy to those who really believe in Him, was peculiarly calculated to meet his case: and he was further taught from it, that as this people, if they had rather chosen to trust to other remedies, or had refused to look at the brazen serpent, or had spent their time in mourning over their maladies, instead of doing as they were commanded, would never have been healed; so if the sinner does not look to Christ, there is no hope for him.  One other important lesson was also gathered from this subject; namely, that “if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived;” and in like manner, “Whosoever believeth on Jesus Christ shall not perish, but have eternal life.”  Jolin was thus instructed in the mode of pardon before God, through the merits of Jesus Christ; and in the efficacy of this remedy, the universality of it to all that believe, and the nature of faith, the means by which it can alone be appropriated.

The last passage referred to was the history of the Scape goat, contained in Lev. xvi.  In this history we find that Aaron, whilst the people afflicted their souls, (ver. 29,) laid both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confessed on him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, putting them upon the head of the goat, and that the goat bore away with him all their iniquities into a land not inhabited.  The illustration of this subject, and its application to Jolin’s own case, were very obvious.  The people “afflicting their soul,” denoted the state in which every sinner must present p. 16himself before God—for it is the broken and the contrite heart which God will not despise; the “confession of sin” on the head of the goat pointed out the first and necessary duty of the returning penitent—for “if we say that we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us; but if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins:” the laying the sins upon the head of the goat exhibited the act of faith, by which the condemnation of the sinner is transferred to his atoning sacrifice; and the leading away the goat into the wilderness, the full, perfect, and eternal pardon promised in the Gospel, of every sin to every repenting sinner.

Although Jolin was not a person of uncommon capacity, and although these passages of Scripture seemed to be new to him, yet he apprehended them in a manner which gave just indication that his heart was under the Divine teaching.  It is said, Isa. liv. 13, “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord.”  This state of teachableness now seemed to have been produced in this poor young man.  The power of God had made his heart willing, Ps. cx. 3; and he came very soon to understand the truths by which he might be saved.  When the will of man is not disposed to submit to God, every doctrine of the Gospel presents difficulties; one point is unreasonable, another impossible, a third useless; but when the mind is taught of God, it is astonishing how soon all these difficulties vanish.  The doctrines of the Gospel, which seem the most hard to understand and to receive, are at once comprehended.  It is like a change from darkness to light.  The passages of Scripture which teach the sinfulness of our own nature, the worth of a Saviour, the nature of faith, the pleasantness of religion, the delight attendant upon dwelling with God, are at once received and adopted; and the whole system of Christianity is discovered to be one exactly suited to the sinner’s own state.  But the willingness of heart which is necessary to a right reception of religion, we are every where in Scripture taught, is the gift of the Holy Spirit.  It cometh “not of blood,” that is, from our parents; “nor of the will of the flesh,” that p. 17is, by our own natural inclination; “nor of the will of man,” that is, by the teaching of others; “but of God.”  “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”  We see then how necessary it is that, if any man “lack wisdom,” he should “ask it of God;” and so much the more, as our Lord himself declares, Luke xi. 13, his desire to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him.

The 24th was the day of Jolin’s first trial, at the close of which he was found guilty.  Some of his friends, whom he had asked to go to him, went after the trial.  They expected to find him, on this occasion, in some degree disturbed and agitated in mind; but it was altogether otherwise.  The irons to which he was sentenced were put on him in their presence.  To this, as the natural consequence of his condemnation, he submitted almost without notice.  Indeed, the trial and the condemnation itself seem to have made little or no impression upon him; for it was only by minute and repeated inquiry as to the proceedings of the day, that visitors could obtain from him any account of them.  His mind seemed absorbed in something else; and what this was, afterwards appeared.  His conduct, during his trial, had been remarked by many of his judges, as entirely suitable to his awful situation.  Indeed, his whole frame of mind was now beginning to discover the influence of a new principle, and to show that the great work of regeneration was taking place.  In the early part of his confinement, and indeed very recently, he had wished, as he might naturally, for his escape; and his cry to his advocate had been, “Save me from the gallows;” but at this period, the desire that his life might be spared, seemed to be taken away from him in a most astonishing degree.  It was not so with the very zealous and able advocate to whom his cause had been committed, and who very properly continued to the end, to urge every plea, and to encourage his client to every effort, by which his punishment might be remitted, or even delayed.  His friends too were most kindly anxious on this point; and they even p. 18attempted to prove him insane, that they might effect their purpose.  For a time he was influenced by the same desire.  But to those who visited him about this period, he never once alluded to a desire to escape; but on the contrary, seemed almost always to refer to his sentence without apparent emotion; and towards the end, he appeared to long for, and to be earnest for its completion.  This state of mind was no doubt to be attributed to two causes; in part, to a complete acquaintance with the state of his own case, and to its final settlement by his judges; but probably much more to his new state of religious feeling; a sense of his own spiritual condition had begun to swallow up every other consideration.

A friend had given him the second chapter of the Ephesians for his consideration, that he might gain still further views of his state of guilt and defilement, and that he might more clearly trace both the power of Divine grace, by which the sinner is quickened, and the bright prospect placed before those who seek for pardon by the blood of Christ.  The conversation of this day led to the subjects contained in this chapter; and more particularly to the impossibility of man’s pardon, but by the grace of God, through Christ Jesus.  In the midst of a statement of the hindrances in the way of salvation, from the evil of our heart, the weakness of our best endeavours, and the defilement of our services, Jolin remarked, “I must put off my sins.”  It was asked, what he meant by putting off his sins.  His answer manifested at once the simple, but clear, manner in which he had received the Scripture illustration pointed out to him the day before, and it was truly gladdening to the feelings of his visitors: “Did you not tell me yesterday about the live goat on whose head the sins were laid?”  The application of the type of the scape goat had thus been made by him to his own state; and he had arrived at the conviction, that, whatever might have been his sins, and whatever were his hindrances, he was permitted to “put them all off,” upon that all-sufficient atonement, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.  He had thus been enabled to feel his burden, to bring it to the p. 19cross of Christ; and at once it seemed to have fallen from him at the feet of his Redeemer.

The nature of faith is illustrated in a very interesting manner, by the case of Jolin.  The sinfulness of his own state he knew, and felt deeply.  He did not, however, seek to excuse himself, or to palliate his offences: he did not think that past services would be any compensation to God; that any circumstance of his life or character would skreen him from Almighty wrath; or that by repentance he might be pardoned through the mere mercy of his Heavenly Father.  In himself, therefore, he had no ground of hope whatsoever: he was as a debtor who had nothing to pay; as a sick man whose case was desperate: but he felt an assurance that Christ was able to pay his debt, and to cure his disease, and that in his own particular case, he would do it; and he himself did in heart, what the high priest did with his hands, transfer all his sins to the atonement.  Thus he came to feel, not indeed presumptuously, but with confidence, that all his sins were laid upon the sacrifice; and he was able to contemplate the Saviour’s mercies instead of his own merited doom as a sinner.  The ground of this assurance in his mind was an acceptance of the simple testimony of God, that he would blot out his transgressions.  He believed in this word of promise, and joy in believing was at once imparted to him.  The simplicity with which Jolin received the testimony of God in this instance characterized his religious experience during the whole of his remaining course.  The Scriptures were as a message of God to his soul.  He received them as feeling there could be no doubt but every word of them was true.  I often, said Mr. Hall, in the after part of his history, tried to persuade him that it was, naturally speaking, an incredible thing that God should have come in the flesh and atone for sin.  But he always said that he believed it, because it was so written in the book which is the truth.

I have before noticed the indifference which Jolin appeared to feel to outward circumstances.  I have yet to observe another point connected with it, in this day’s visit, p. 20which was the brightness and almost cheerfulness of aspect that his manner and countenance gradually assumed.  In the period before his condemnation, his downcast look and general air of wretchedness were not unsuited to a state of despair; but now he lifted up his head, and even his voice seemed to have changed its tone.  This surprising change was observed by others.  Mr. Hammond, Jolin’s advocate, told M. Durell, as he himself has recorded it, that when he saw the prisoner on the twenty-third of September, he found him “in really a distracted state, torn by every conflicting passion, and all his faculties hurried by the unutterable anguish of remorse.  The dread of death was uppermost in his thoughts; and there was nothing to which he would not have submitted to avoid capital punishment: but when he saw him again on the evening of the twenty-sixth, he was astonished at the sudden change which had taken place in him: he was calm, placid, and resigned, and he had not one wish to live.  I then,” continues Mr. Durell, “mentioned to Mr. Hammond, that I had found him exactly in that state on my first visit, the twenty-sixth, which had preceded his own only by a few hours.”  He adds, “the opinion of an impartial and enlightened man, like Mr. Hammond, was certainly very important: but M. de Quetteville, the mayor of the town, and other laymen of the highest respectability, who had formerly known the prisoner, had been equally struck with that great and salutary change.  From a comparison of dates,” adds Mr. Durell, “I am inclined to believe, that his change must not only have been rapid, but that his heart must have been almost as instantaneously touched as that of the penitent malefactor in the gospel.”  Now how was this wonderful change to be accounted for?  We read in Acts xvi. 34, that when the keeper of the prison in Philippi had received St. Paul’s message, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved;” that he “took” the apostles “the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes;” and was “baptized,” and rejoiced believing in God.  It was perhaps this very feeling of joy which Jolin now experienced; p. 21a joy which arose from a clear, full, well-grounded belief in the doctrine of justification by faith.  This doctrine, which gives peace with God, is, when rightly apprehended, attended with an experience of the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost, Rev. i. v., and this necessarily brings joy with it.  Thus, the man who has been taught to look to him that justifieth the ungodly, is able to walk in the light of God’s countenance, and is “filled with all joy and peace in believing.”

On the 25th, Jolin narrated to his visitor the whole history of his melancholy life; his difficulties and discomforts, arising, not so much from others, as from his own sinful, wilful heart.  Like many other young persons, he had chosen the way of dissipation and folly, instead of that which many circumstances had led him to think was a happier and a safer course.  It is indeed true, that his parents were not in a state to check him in his proceedings; but he seems to have had at many intervals those convictions of conscience which were sufficient to have guarded him from the transgressions into which he fell, and even to have guided him to seek the paths of religion.  His wretched education, however, came in aid of his natural self-will, and soon confirmed him in those vices which led to his ruin.

His state had been, as he himself described it, at times truly miserable; but drinking had quickly expelled every conviction of his own guilt, and he soon returned again to his mad career.  He observed to Mr. Durell, that since 1823, he had not seen one happy week.—There are two things to observe on these transient convictions of guilt in a state of unconversion.  Until the Spirit of God has enlightened the heart, sin does not by any means, in all cases, appear as it had appeared to Jolin, and as it invariably does to the renewed heart, a grievous burden.  The life of many wretched sinners is one unbroken course of self-satisfaction.  They are described in the seventy-third Psalm, as often passing from their cradles to their graves without a feeling of sorrow, or an apprehension of p. 22death.  The Bible, however, teaches, that such a state of unmixed prosperity is the most dangerous in which a man can be placed; that the sinner, when thus left alone of God, is lifted to that very slippery pinnacle from which he will fall to his eternal ruin.  Ministers cannot, therefore, press upon their ungodly hearers the universal conviction of the misery attending upon sin as an evidence of their unconverted state, because sin does not in this life uniformly bring along with it any such conviction.  Their state of self-complacency is, indeed, a state which comes as short of the real spiritual happiness of the true Christian, as darkness does of light; but it often affords a false peace, which perhaps does not leave the sinner till his punishment begins, and the door of hope is shut against him for ever.  Another observation arising from Jolin’s feeling of wretchedness in his former state, is, that the pain sometimes connected either with the practice of sin, or a view of its consequences, will not, unassisted by the Spirit of God, produce the real repentance which the Gospel requires.  It is true, the compunctions of conscience, like the afflictions of life, are means often used to prepare the sinner for the doctrines of the Gospel.  Yet, in how many cases do we find men wounded, but not contrite; stunned, but not really affected by the deepest distresses of life.  Thus we learn, that it is not any mere dispensation of Providence which necessarily brings men to that knowledge and faith which are needful for salvation.  It is true, that God does bless the endeavours of the willing mind whenever he sees them; but the mind is not necessarily made willing because it suffers, any more than a child is necessarily made more compliant by the punishment which is inflicted.  Some substances harden whilst others melt under the fire.  Thus some souls are only confirmed in sin by the events which are instrumental in recovering others from it.  For this he must be quickened by the power of God, he must have an entirely different sense imparted to him from the mere feeling of the misery of an evil course, or the afflictions of life; he must be convinced of his own desperate state in the sight of God, and p. 23of the need of that sacrifice which the Saviour has wrought out, before that good work is really begun, which, it is promised, shall be carried on till the day of Jesus Christ.  So far, then, from the common notion, that the sufferings of our life will atone for its offences, those sufferings have no connexion whatever with our state hereafter, except as they may have been a means of bringing us to seek that sacrifice by whom alone any of our sins can be pardoned.

But to return to Jolin’s history.  In the visit of the 25th, he was again led to a consideration of the only sacrifice for man’s transgression, particularly as it is exhibited in the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah.  In this portion of Scripture he learnt more exactly the cause for which Jesus Christ came on the earth, and became a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:—“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.”  “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray: we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Other passages of Scripture, connected with this subject, and pointing out the love of God as the first cause of man’s salvation, were also explained to him, as, Rom. v. 8, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  And in connexion with this, Ephes. ii. 4, 5, “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us even when we were dead in sin, hath quickened us together with Christ.”  And, Rom. viii. 1, “There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”  The being in Christ Jesus, and the nature of faith, by which alone he could apply the merits and sufferings of the Saviour, were now, as they were continually, dwelt upon.

The faith of the Gospel, he was more particularly taught, was such a reception of the truths of Scripture, and more especially of the engagement of God to pardon every sinner who came to him in Christ Jesus, as led not only to an entire dependence upon Christ, but to a complete p. 24submission to his will, and a consequent change in our own nature.  It was not merely a reception of the doctrine of faith, which was to be regarded as faith in the soul, but the creation in the heart of a new and animated feeling of trust in the Redeemer.  The influence of faith in the soul was like that of food to the body; it imparts a new feeling and character; gives new nourishment and vigour, and works by love, not only to the Saviour himself, but to all around us.  Faith, therefore, to be a living principle, must be felt by ourselves, and must be seen by others: and of both these points the faith of this young man gave ample proof.  It gave confidence to his own mind, and even gladdened his heart; it made the Bible a new book to him; it cheered the solitude of his prison; it directed him to be mindful of every practical duty; it gave a new direction to all his hopes and fears, and enabled him to go onwards in a spirit of filial dependence to meet the last conflict.  It was at this time, I think, that he made a confession, which served to explain his previous state of mind, and to show how remarkably his attention was fixed on one point.  “How extraordinary, sir,” said he, “it is, that for these last two days I have been able to give my mind only to one subject; the thought of my crime and of my death have been taken from me, and I have scarcely been able to give my attention to either.”  The one subject which occupied all his attention, and shut out every other, was the love p. 25of his Saviour, who had given himself for his sins.  This, as he said, “filled his heart.”  His state of mind served to show the absorbing nature of this Divine principle when it is fully implanted in the soul.  When the mind has suddenly gained a view of its former state of alienation, and has been brought nigh again to God, it is impossible that the sense of this vast change should not swallow up every other feeling.  It is difficult at all times to think much of God, and to think of any thing else; but how much more, when the first conviction of the Divine presence overwhelms the soul.  And, as David, in the fifty-first Psalm, appears to have comparatively lost sight of his sin against his country, the family of Uriah, and of all the consequences of it, in the depth of the feeling which he had of his sin against God; so the love of Christ took possession of Jolin’s mind; and in its length, and breadth, and depth, and height, so filled his thoughts, and so absorbed his soul, that every other subject sank into nothing.

It will be manifest, that, in the explanation of all these subjects, there was a constant repetition of points before explained, and reference to many texts which are not noticed.  Jolin did not talk much; and indeed it was chiefly in answer to a question, that he made any observation at all.  When a passage of Scripture was read to him, he would often take the Bible and read it over slowly to himself, then observe carefully whether a paper to mark it was so placed, that he might find the place again, and return the book with some slight expression of his feelings.  In this way did he seem to lay up portions of the Divine word, upon which he might reflect in his solitary hours.  His manner was always calm and self-possessed; and his answers to questions were such as showed that he clearly understood the grounds upon which the answer was to be made.  He was never beside the mark in a reply.  But it was quite evident that all the lessons which were taught him, and which had the warrant of scriptural authority, sank into his heart, and that he found in them that which corresponded with his own experience.

The next day, the 26th, he was visited by Mr. Dallas, one of the chaplains of the Bishop of Winchester, and by Mr. Durell, the rector of St. Saviour’s parish.  These two clergymen have each given public and repeated testimony to the state of mind in which they found Jolin.  The visit of Mr. Dallas was chiefly occupied in an endeavour to search out the reality of the foundation upon which the hope of the penitent rested, and he viewed it as most satisfactory.  Mr. Durell visited Jolin at the request of the Dean of Jersey, in whose parish the prison is situated.  Mr. Durell says in his little work, “I came to perform p. 26a difficult and unpleasant duty, which, indeed, I could not refuse.  I mention this indifference,” he adds, “to show, that when I first repaired to this poor man’s dungeon, there must have been something very powerful to have affected me to such a degree.”  He at first brought Dodd’s Prison Thoughts with him to read to Jolin; but, on the suggestion of a friend, he changed this book for the Bible.  Mr. Durell visited Jolin many times: and he has published an account of each visit.  His remarks are candid, kind, and very clear as to his belief of the real change of Jolin’s character.  The facts which he narrates are some of them in the highest degree interesting.  “I have sympathised,” he says, “in Jolin’s cell, in all the horrors of his situation.  I have shuddered at his nefarious parricide; I have rejoiced in his unfeigned repentance; and I have been soothed by his delightful anticipations of a blessed immortality.”  He adds, on one occasion, “I never saw a man more free from enthusiasm.  All his religion centred in the atonement of Christ.”  On another, “I never heard him complain of the evidence against him, nor of his sentence; never did an expression of murmur or of invective escape from him.”  He says again, “This visit lasted three hours; than which none ever made a deeper impression on me, or will perhaps be more conducive to my own spiritual improvement.”  He adds again, “It may, perhaps, be supposed, that it was the dread of death which had excited his religious fervour; on the contrary, those apprehensions ceased from the moment that holy principle originated in his heart: neither was it that instinctive fear of dying that drove him into religious inquiries and self-examination.  That fear may, indeed, have caused a wicked man to be sorry for his sin; but the growth in knowledge, in grace, and in so many gifts of the Spirit, was so extraordinary and so unprecedented, that I cannot account for it as having been the result of natural causes operating on an ardent and distracted mind.  I am not only impartial, but am conscious that I am as free from superstition and enthusiasm p. 27as any man; yet I feel inwardly convinced, that Jolin’s conversation had something in it more than human; and that Providence assisted him with an imperceptible, though equally miraculous, working of the Holy Spirit; to the end that his edifying repentance might operate like a distinguished example to open the bosom of many an infidel to an examination of the sacred truths of Christianity, and to persuade the thoughtless and profligate, that, unless they abandon their dangerous course, they will be doomed to certain destruction.”

But it may be interesting to lay before your readers the last communication of this kind friend, when Jolin was about to be executed.  It was in a letter to one of the ministers then with him in the prison.

St. Saviour’s, Oct. 3, 1829, 9 o’clock in the morning.

“Sir,—The deep, the Christian interest, which I feel for our departing brother, induces me to write you a short note.  Tell him that I pray that the strength which is imparted from on high may not fail him in his last hour, and that the sufferings of the Saviour may inspire him with religious courage to bear his sufferings.  Tell him also, that since we are not to meet again on earth, he departs with my blessing and my prayers; and that, I trust, we shall meet again where every tear shall be dried from every eye.  The sixteenth chapter of St. John is most particularly adapted to his awful situation.  The thirty-third verse is a glorious precept and example for him: ‘These things have I spoken to you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but, be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.’

“I am, sir, yours truly,
E. Durell.”

On the last Sunday of his life, Jolin had many visitors.  His mind seemed gradually to ripen for eternity.  He gained every day clearer views of his sinful nature, of the power of Divine grace, of the nature of faith, of the immensity of the love of Christ, and of the offer of a free p. 28salvation made to himself.  He could now trace very distinctly, in the various events of his life, the manifestations of the great mercy of God in his favour.  The returning prodigal (Luke xv.) he felt more and more to represent himself and his own case.  He saw his heavenly Father waiting to be gracious to him.  He had scarcely time to offer up his supplications, when he found, that before he called, God had answered, and while he was yet speaking, He had heard.  There was one circumstance connected with the visit of this day which is, in itself, striking.  The last trial was to take place on the morrow.  He had, under the direction of his legal adviser, prepared a paper, which was to be read to the jury.  There was still, therefore, a possibility of his escape from the punishment of death.  This latter circumstance became a subject of conversation, and an earnest hope was expressed on the part of his visitor, that, if he was set at liberty, he would be supported by Divine grace, and that he would be enabled to live to the glory of God.  His answer to this observation clearly showed how well he understood the power of the grace of God, and how entirely his heart was stayed upon that as his only support in every emergency of his life, whether he were to escape from prison, or be led to the scaffold.  He observed, “Sir, the man that is fit to die, is fit to live.  I have known what it is to have a heart as hard as a diamond; but I now feel I have a heart of flesh.”  His persuasion was thus very clearly expressed, that the same power which had changed his heart from stone to flesh, could and would keep him on his way; and that, depending upon Divine grace, he need not fear whether life or death were presented to him.  In this calm and confiding posture of mind, he seemed continually to rest.  All his hope and trust were grounded on his Saviour.  He had come to the full experience of the psalmist—“It is good for me to draw near to God.”

A hymn of Cowper’s, which had been given to him, seemed very much to have arrested his attention this day.  It is on the subject of the fountain opened for sin, and for uncleanness. (Zech. xiii. 1.)

p. 29“There is a fountain filled with blood,
   Drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
   Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
   That fountain in his day;
And there have I, though vile as he,
   Wash’d all my sins away.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream
   Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
   And shall be till I die.

Then, in a nobler, sweeter song,
   I’ll sing thy power to save,
When this poor lisping, stammering tongue
   Lies silent in the grave.

Lord, I believe thou hast prepared
   (Unworthy though I be)
For me a blood-bought free reward,
   A golden harp for me.

’Tis strung and tuned for endless years,
   And formed by power divine,
To sound in God the Father’s ears,
   No other name but thine.”

This hymn he was very fond of, and he repeated it on his way to the scaffold.  It had been an object to store the mind of Jolin with subjects which might, by the Divine blessing, be sources of encouragement and of comfort to him when left alone with his Bible, or in the silent hours of the night.  The following points, in addition to those already enumerated, had been dwelt upon; and now, as the opportunities for visiting his prison by the individual who proposed them, had drawn to a close, some of them were at this time again earnestly pressed upon his attention.  These were, the “tender mercy” of God, (Luke i. 78,) p. 30by which alone the Day-spring from on high visits the soul, and by which it is brought out of its state of natural darkness; the view of Christ touched with the feeling of our infirmities, (Heb. iv. 15, 16,) and encouraging us to go with boldness to the Throne of grace; the invitation to ask with importunity for the Holy Spirit (Luke xi. 1–11); the intercession of Jesus for his people (Rom. viii. 34); the promise, that God who had not spared his own Son would with him freely give us all things (Rom. viii. 32); the remedy against all trouble to be found in faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John xiv. 1); the parting address and prayer of Christ (John xiv. xv. xvi. xvii.); and the engagement that nothing shall separate the believer from the love of Christ (Rom. viii. 35–39).  To this was added, as much examination as to the working of these doctrines on his heart, the degree in which they were felt, and their practical bearing, as the time and circumstances would admit.  All these subjects Jolin appeared to understand and to receive; and if he could not enumerate them as distinct articles of his religious creed, yet he seemed fully to comprehend and to receive them as the testimony of God.

Monday, the 28th, was the day fixed for his second trial; and here he exhibited the character of a real Christian.  His defence he had written before, and it was as follows:—“Gentlemen, whatever may be my fate, I shall not die without having to reproach myself for not having quitted my father’s house.  By so doing, I should have avoided being the victim in different unhappy affairs that often took place between my father and mother, in which I was generally the object upon which the weight of their discontent fell.  I was often obliged to submit to being beaten most severely, and to hear language unworthy of being uttered by either father or mother.  Now, left to myself in the solitude of a dungeon, I reflect on times gone by, remembering that I was the only child, abandoned to the most deplorable fate.  Yet I ought to have been wiser, and not followed the example of my nearer relations, the source of my misfortune.  But now that respectable ministers of the Gospel have taken the trouble to visit me, and p. 31point out my duty towards God and towards man, I rest contented.  I pray to God to pardon the horrible, but never premeditated crime of which I am guilty.  If I ever had an intention of killing my poor father, I had a very favourable opportunity of doing so, when he was stretched upon a bed of sickness, unable to help himself.  I was then the only person who took care of him, and administered to his wants, as there was no other person besides myself in the house.  I beg pardon of all those whom I may have willingly or unwillingly offended.  Gentlemen, after this declaration, I submit myself entirely to your wisdom.  It is you who are going to decide my fate.  I am ready to meet it, and I will submit to your judgment without a murmur.—Ph. G. Jolin.”

This paper is a translation from the French, in which language it was originally written.  Whether it is accurately translated, or whether it was written by Jolin himself, or by his advocate, it is impossible to judge.  The passage in it which relates to his parents, if his own, is liable to objection.  The faults of a parent, especially faults so awfully punished, ought not to have made a part of his defence.  If the language is that of his advocate, it is only the language of legal justification, and the facts are both true and of much weight for the extenuation of his crime.

It is said, that during his trial, his calmness was remarkable.  His lips apparently were employed in prayer, and this he afterwards confessed was the case.  He prayed for himself, that he might be strengthened to go through his trial, and also for his judges and his jury.  There was no effrontery in his look; but, on the contrary, the appearance of deep humiliation.  For four hours, during which time his trial lasted, he never lifted his eyes from the ground.  On his return from the trial, he had to encounter the indignation of the populace against his crime.  On the former occasion, a woman had cried, “Ah, le scelerat!” which had a good deal affected him.  This time he addressed the people from the prison gates, and when they observed that he was half dead from fatigue, he said, amongst other things, “I have a strength within p. 32me ye know not.  This supports me.  Weep not for me, weep for yourselves.”

During the following days of his life, he received continual visits from a variety of persons.  On the 28th, the Rev. P. Filluel; on the 29th, from both the chaplains of the Bishop of Winchester; Mr. Dallas was indeed as assiduous in his attendance at the gaol, as his many other duties at that time would permit; and all these gentlemen expressed the strongest conviction of the reality of Jolin’s conversion.  Many ministers, and others beside, very kindly came, desiring to impart to him some spiritual gift.  He received all gladly; but more especially those whose conversation led him to believe that they came to him in the fulness of Christian love.  His discernment on this point was a striking evidence of the clear views of doctrine which he had attained.  He perceived and felt the inadequacy of those religious systems which were not connected with deep and experimental views of personal corruption; and with exclusive dependence for salvation upon the atonement of Jesus Christ.  With a sense of gratitude for the instruments made use of in awakening his mind, Jolin appeared remarkably independent of any outward help.  He was by no means like a man who hung upon another’s teaching, but upon that of God.  It was on this account that he was, perhaps, able to bear without injury the multifarious instruction which he received.  His own language was most satisfactory; he always spoke of the salvation procured for him as a free and unmerited gift of God; and dwelt upon the peculiar manifestation of God’s grace to himself, inasmuch as he had twice saved him from shipwreck when he was in an entirely unprepared state to meet death, and now he had been brought to that prison that he might learn the way of salvation.  His expressions of the sense of his own unworthiness were clear and strong.  He told one of his friends that he had nothing to offer to God, but his heart; that all his repentance, all his resolutions, all his short conflict with the carnal heart, could never expiate his sin.  On another occasion he said, that he was not worthy to pick up the crumbs under his Master’s table; and on another, that Christ was his only hope; that p. 33He had paid his ransom, and that He would receive him into glory.  With another class of visitors, those of his family and friends, he was equally decided in declaring what great things God had done for his soul, and what necessity there was that they should turn and repent if they would be saved.  Indeed, a discourse of this kind had made some of them think him insane.  He had told his relations who had come to him, that he was formerly unclean and unholy; that they were so at that moment.  He therefore entreated them to apply to Him who had cast out the unclean devils into the swine, to cleanse their souls.  On all occasions, when he could, he manifested the same desire to instruct others, and lead them to that refuge which he had found so precious to his own soul.

On Thursday, October 1, Mr. Durell records a very interesting visit which he paid the prisoner: interesting, as it showed the state of mind in which he found him.  “As we approached the passage,” says Mr. Durell, “we could hear the loud ejaculations of the prisoner’s prayers.”  The gaoler observed, that he always found him thus employed when he was left alone in the cell.  Mr. Durell read to him the account of our Saviour’s death, from Matthew xxvii., and concluded with a prayer, at the end of which Jolin was much affected.  He exhibited, on this occasion, the deepest sense of gratitude to all about him; and Mr. Hammond, his advocate, who was also present, bore witness to the calmness and the change of Jolin’s state of mind.  To the latter gentleman, he, on that occasion, expressed his sense of the great services rendered to him on his trial.  He sat up on his bed, and clasping both his hands together, said most earnestly, “Mr. Hammond, I thank you over and over again for the pains you have taken for me.  I regret that I have nothing to give to reward you as you deserve.”  This same sense of gratitude led him constantly to express his thanks to his gaoler, whose kindness and attention, those who were so often going out and in the prison can fully testify.  But it was not on this occasion alone, for the evidence afforded to his state of mind was very remarkable.  The acting lieutenant-governor, p. 34the dean, the mayor, a leading medical man who came to inquire into his insanity, clergymen, dissenting ministers, his advocate, his relations, his attendants, all appear to have come away from the prison with a common conviction, that the power of God had been at work in producing the wonderful change which they witnessed.

On the day previous to his execution, the event to which I have referred with regard to his relations occurred.  They, not understanding the nature of the change which had taken place in him, and, judging from reports of blows which he had received, and other circumstances, endeavoured to establish the plea of insanity; and they brought a very eminent medical practitioner to examine into his state.  But this interference was followed by the best consequences; for, whilst on the one hand it was clearly ascertained that Jolin was in no state of derangement, or delusion, or enthusiastic fervour; on the other, the clearest and most satisfactory evidence was given of his real state of mind.  After this, the Dean of Jersey kindly attended to administer the sacrament to him.  Before he received the holy communion, he underwent an examination; and to the dean, and three other clergymen, he gave, in answer to their questions, a reason of the hope that was in him.  He explained with such clearness the object and the nature of his faith, testified so deep a sense of his own unworthiness, and showed so good a feeling towards all his fellow-creatures, that they had not, any of them, a doubt of his fitness to partake of the feast prepared for the penitent sinner.  This examination, which was peculiarly solemn and affecting to Jolin, looking, as most of the people of that island do, with deep veneration on the high and sacred office of the dean, was remarkably calculated to detect any thing which might be suspicious in his views, or in his real state.  Throughout this day, Mr. Hall reports, that Jolin was longing to depart, and to be with Christ, saying, “The hours pass slowly.”  It was remarked that he must wait God’s time, who had yet work for him to do in his vineyard.  And most faithfully was every hour devoted p. 35to the duties of his immediate calling.  He warned, rebuked, exhorted, with all long-suffering and patience.  He said he thought it would be better for him to die on the scaffold, than quietly in his cell, as he might thereby glorify God by his patience, and be an example to all of the fatal consequences of indulgence in sin.

Mr. Durell has given an account of his last visit to Jolin on the evening of this day.  He chose the same subject to read to him as on the day before, but from another Evangelist.  It was Luke xxiii., the account of our Saviour’s crucifixion.  During the reading, Jolin’s sensibility was greatly excited, and his half-broken sobs were heard.  Mr. Durell, thinking it proper to check this state of mind, pointed out the sufferings of Christ as a matter of holy joy, and threatened to lay down the book, and read no more, if Jolin continued to feel so much.  Mr. Durell, wishing to avoid any thing which might discompose Jolin, carefully omitted making any comment on the most affecting part of our Saviour’s sufferings.  He, on the other hand, sought to comfort him by an application of the promise, that “they who sow in tears, shall reap in joy;” and by the prospect of paradise held out to the penitent thief.  He adds, in conclusion, “In the course of my profession, I have seen many individuals on the brink of the grave; but never before did I witness such coolness and such self-command—a scene so holy, so edifying, so sublime.  Had he been in the full bloom of human prosperity, and with the prospect of adding half a century longer to his existence, he could not have been more collected.  I was myself almost falling into a delusion contrary to the evidence of my own senses.  I could not believe that one so near his end could retain so much courage, or such contempt of ignominy and death.  I could not believe that one so gentle, and now so well instructed in religious duties, could have been ever capable of committing a crime for which he deserved to die—that he could have been a murderer.”

On the night previous to his execution, the kind relation who had first visited him in the prison, and brought him p. 36the first message of salvation, in bringing him the New Testament, and Mr. Gallachin, an excellent minister of the church, sat up with him.  They endeavoured to sing a hymn, and, feeling the imperfection of the service, he said, “To-morrow I shall join in very different singing from this.”  At half-past one in the morning, he fell into a kind of dozing stupor for an hour, but did not sleep.  During that time he was heard repeating the fifty-first Psalm, and also repeatedly exclaiming, “Glory to the Lamb! glory to our Lord Jesus Christ!” and when he awoke, he said that he had seen glorious things in a dream.  He also said, between sleeping and waking, as it appeared, “There is now, therefore, no condemnation for them that are in Christ Jesus.”  At waking he requested that a hymn might be sung.  The next morning Mr. Hall went to him at half-past six o’clock.  When he entered his cell, Jolin said, “Oh, Mr. Hall, I am so glad to see you; I am so happy.  I have slept four hours, and the rest of the night we have spent in such delightful conversation.  I feel so strong, but I will wait patiently the Lord’s time.”  The day before, I have observed, he thought the hours passed slowly, he was so anxious to depart and to be with Christ.  Mr. Hall took occasion to warn him, that he had still a work to do.  He must not only glorify his Saviour by his conduct, and by his patient resignation, but he must again speak a word of warning to those about him.  And he assured him that he might be able to do more for the praise and honour of his Master in his death upon the scaffold, by bearing testimony to his own exceeding wickedness, and to the unsearchable mercy and love of Christ, than if he had died in a more private manner.  To this he assented, and took the resolution of doing all in his power.  “Great, indeed,” says Mr. Hall, “were the grace and support which he enjoyed.  He felt sick at breakfast time, and could not eat; but, to oblige me, he said he would try.  About nine o’clock his irons were taken off; and I could not help thinking of this as symbolical of that liberty which soon, when passed beyond this life, he would enjoy for ever in the presence of his p. 37Saviour.  Jolin immediately proposed to me to kneel down and thank God for what he had done for him; saying, ‘I have always before prayed in bed; now I can go on my knees in the proper posture for a sinner.’  Oh, at this time, how deep were his confessions of sin, committed both in thought, word, and deed; his acknowledgment of mercy through Jesus Christ; his expressions of dependence upon Him for grace, to keep him in his fiery trial, and to open for him the kingdom of heaven!  When he drank his milk, he said, ‘Oh! God, I thank thee that thou hast been so merciful and good to me, who have been so great a sinner!’  His hand was never cold, and his pulse was always regular to the end.  I never witnessed one to whom the Lord was pleased to give a stronger faith, which was proved by his conduct to the last.  He sat calmly speaking and listening till about half-past twelve; when he left the prison, leaning on me and Mr. Gallachin.  An immense concourse of people presented itself at the prison gates, and their rush and noise were greater than we expected.  The newspaper account says—‘He was calm and collected, walked with steadiness, and evinced throughout the most decorous firmness.  We could not perceive that he trembled.  His mind seemed quite absorbed in religious exercises; and, from all we can learn, there was good and satisfactory evidence that he was a true penitent, and relied on the Divine mercy.’”

As he was leaving the gaol he was heard to repeat the fourth verse of the twenty-third Psalm, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  Mr. Hall continues: “The noise of the people prevented my being heard by Jolin, who walked as firmly as myself: I therefore opened my hymn-book, and pointed out to him the sufficiency of the Redeemer, in one of those hymns which I had previously chosen for his perusal.  The hymn chosen was one beginning—

‘He lives, the great Redeemer lives!
What joy the blest assurance gives!
p. 38And now, before his Father, God,
Pleads the full merit of his blood.

In every dark, distressful hour,
When sin and Satan join their power,
Let this dear hope repel the dart,
That Jesus bears us on his heart.’

“He told me, that he did not mind the people, that they were poor worms; that he would endeavour to warn them from the scaffold, for they were standing on the brink of the pit.  We mounted the steepest part of the gallows hill.  He said, his Saviour had toiled up Calvary with a cross, which he ought to be thankful that he had not to bear; and that Jesus Christ had done this for his sake, whereas, he was receiving the due reward of his transgression.  This reflection seemed to give new wings to his exertions in pressing up the rock.  I think that a worse place of ascent could not have been chosen.  When we arrived at the summit, the Greffier read his sentence aloud, and Mr. Gallachin prayed most fervently with him in French.  After the prayer, he ascended the platform with Mr. Gallachin and myself, and addressed the people in French, as you will see by the account in the newspaper.  But the account is deficient in one most essential point.  He urged the people by the love of Christ, whom he had crucified, and whom they were crucifying by their sins.”  The substance of his warning was on the subject of intemperance, Sabbath-breaking, the neglect of God and of religion; and it was addressed principally to parents and to the young.  These warnings he twice delivered; once before, and once after the rope was fastened round his neck.  “Although I do not accurately remember,” Mr. Hall continues, “the words of any of his speeches, I can safely say, that he expressed his conviction that the work which had taken place in his heart had been effected by no power or will of his own, but by a sovereign act of Divine grace.  Jolin then read aloud some verses from the Testament, which sufficiently indicate the view which p. 39he took both of the nature of his change, and of the source from whence it sprang.  They are taken from 1 Pet. i. 3–5: ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.’  To these verses he was particularly partial.  He then spoke to me, and told me that he had full confidence in the sufficiency of the blood of Christ to blot out all his sins; and that He who had loved him so much as to shed his blood for him, and had kept him to that hour stedfast and immoveable, would receive him into glory.  When the cap was drawn over his face, I told him not to dread the momentary pain, for soon he would be in the presence of his Saviour.  He pressed my hand, and said he was not afraid; for he knew that He would take him unto himself.  I told him that I would pray that his sufferings might be short, and went down.”  Mr. Gallachin then read a part of the Burial Service, until the fatal moment.  His sufferings appeared not to be great, and were of brief duration.  “Whilst I was in prayer,” Mr. Hall adds, “the drop fell, and our poor brother I knew had entered into the presence of his Redeemer.  The women around me screamed out, ‘The Lord have mercy upon his poor soul!’  I could not but pray that their souls might find the same mercy.  He died without a struggle.  I never saw him after I pressed his hand when alive, as I ascended the hill through the crowd, and was spared seeing his mortal remains.”

Thus ended the course of a young man, whose history is a solemn memorial, not only of the awful effects of a bad education, and of the wretchedness of sin, but also of the wonderful compassion of God.  Much of what has been narrated may appear almost incredible to some readers; and many of those, especially, who are justly suspicions of death-bed repentances, may be led to doubt p. 40how far the work of this young man’s conversion was complete, and whether, if he had been permitted to live, he would have lived as he has died.  If, however, he was really converted in heart to God, the observation which he himself made must be applied to his own case: “The man that is fit to die is fit to live.”  The same grace which brought him into the fold of Christ would have kept him in all his way; so that the enemy of his soul should not have overpowered him.  And there is, as before mentioned, the most remarkable concurrence of testimony as to Jolin’s state at the time of his death.  Not only Mr. Hall, Mr. Gallachin, and many others, bear witness to the facts; but the public voice has acknowledged the wonderful change which took place in him.  One person, not a believer in revelation, but who stood by Jolin on the gallows hill, and witnessed his conduct, came to a minister, and acknowledged, that “there must be something in religion to support a man in such a manner; and that he had therefore determined to attend a place of worship, and to bring up his children in the fear of God.”  Mr. Hall says, “I have never had a doubt on my mind as to the reality of the change.  His conduct in the court; his complete deadness to the things of time and sense, and this even when his friends seemed so anxious to save him from an ignominious death, were so many pleasing testimonies that he was really risen with Christ, and that his affections were set upon things above.  God did indeed work mightily in him: though last, he was one of the first.  He seemed so convinced of sin, and to have such simple dependence upon the truth and firm foundation of Christ’s promises, and he showed so abundantly that these feelings were not merely talked into his head, that I always returned delighted with my visit to him.  I used to pray instantly with him that he might not be deceiving himself, nor be deceived by Satan, or any of us; and I can say, as far as I was capable of judging, that his was a real work of Divine grace.”  The testimony of the editor of the Jersey newspaper, also, while it is beyond all suspicion of enthusiasm, and does not even exhibit the proof of a p. 41tolerably distinct view of the real foundation on which Jolin stood, is a most satisfactory testimony of the reality of this change.  He says, “We are not amongst those who would hastily give credence to the genuineness of conversion in the cases of great criminals, or who approve of religious ecstasies in the short interval between the commission of dreadful enormities, and the violent death awarded by law; we do not think it desirable that, while so many good men, after a long life of exemplary piety, approach their last hour with solemn apprehensions, such as have lived in a course of profligate vice should boast of triumphant feelings and peculiar joy on their way to the scaffold, where they are to be suddenly compelled into the presence of their Creator and Divine Judge;—but, in the instance before us, we have much satisfaction in believing that a real change of heart had taken place, before a change of worlds was experienced.  In his last days, Jolin evinced much solidity of mind on the subject most important to him: his conduct was marked by the most becoming propriety; and if he expressed a confident hope of acceptance before God, it was accompanied with humility, and, as far as man can judge, with sincere sorrow for his offences.”  The rapid attainment of Divine knowledge, the simple belief of the truths of the Bible, the consistent walk in that which he believed to be the will of God, are fruits which can be ascribed only to the grace and Spirit of God.  Where the Lord of all power and might is pleased to exercise his sovereignty, who shall say that the work of many years may not be produced in a few weeks; or, as in the case of the thief upon the cross, in a much shorter time?  The case of the thief on the cross is one in which the probabilities, before-hand, of repentance, were not so great; and the evidences of his real conversion are scarcely more complete, except the incidental circumstance of the testimony of our Lord.  Both of these criminals felt sorrow for their sins, confessed them to men, acknowledged them to God, and owned the justice of their condemnation; both testified the sincerity of their p. 42faith: but, if the thief did this under circumstances more trying to his sincerity than those of Jolin, it is also to be remembered, that he saw the Lord of life; and that to Jolin alone, therefore, the language applied, “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”  I know of no mark of true conversion which was absent from the case of Jolin.  His faith was clear and strong.  It lifted him above the world, and, wrought by love, it gave him courage, and zeal, and love.  He went forward in implicit dependence upon Divine grace, and pursued, as was permitted him after his change, a holy, humble, consistent course; and, with the cap upon his head, and the rope round his neck, he could say with calmness, that “he was not afraid, for he knew that his Saviour would take him to himself.”

But it may still be said, How do we know that Jolin was sincere in all that he said, or that he was not under delusion in what he felt?  To this question the reply has been, I think, already offered in these pages—by pointing to the workings of his mind, and the consistency of his conduct.  And here we must leave the case till the last great day.

In the meanwhile, let us learn from this history, some of the lessons which it is calculated to teach.

The first of these is, the misery and danger of a state of sin.  St. Paul, in describing the consequences of a state of sin, says, in an appeal to the Roman converts, (vi. 21,) “What part had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed; for the end of those things is death.”  That is, sin yields no real fruit; it produces shame; and the end of it will be death.  Every Christian feels the truth of this statement, as respects himself; and it is the case with all other men, although they know it not.  What, for instance, is the usual fruit of drunkenness? disease, quarrelling, and loss of one kind or another.  The drunkard is usually a blasphemer, hard-hearted, and cruel, as he proves himself to his wife and children, starving or ill-treating them to gratify his own lust.  His habits of drunkenness make him a bad child, a bad neighbour, a disgrace in himself, and a plague to others.  So it is more or less p. 43with the followers of every sin.  Sin, then, brings no real fruit, and the end of it will be eternal death; for it is written, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the people that forget God.”  “As surely, therefore, as a man sows, so shall he also reap; he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption.”  How awful is the history of Jolin’s father!  His life how disgraceful, his death how dreadful!  Would the sinner who reads this be content to come to such an end?  But to this, in his present state, he is every moment liable.  Let the sinner remember, that he who called this poor wretch to judgment at a moment’s warning, may say to himself, “This night thy soul is required of thee.”  The probability of thus dying is commonly passed over; and it is the hope of a sinner that he shall still live to repent, as Jolin did.  Yet how great are the chances against this!  Many a man has been deluded by such a hope, and perished in his transgression.  He has looked to some case like this, or like that of the thief on the cross, and delayed his repentance, till, in an hour when he has not looked for it, he has been “driven away in his wickedness.”  But in this, as it is said by an old writer, “The perverseness of our nature may be seen, in that this one case, that of the penitent thief, serveth us to looseness of life, in hope of the like: whereas, we might better reason, that is but one, and that extraordinary; and besides this one, there is not one more in all the Bible; and that for this one that sped, a thousand thousands have missed.  And what folly it is to put ourselves in a way in which so many have miscarried; to put ourselves in the hands of a physician, that hath murdered so many, going clean against our own sense and reason!  Whereas, in other cases we always lean to that which is most ordinary, and conclude not the spring from one swallow.  It is as if a man should spur his ass till he speak, because Balaam’s ass did once speak; so grossly hath the devil bewitched us!”  Let sinners, then, meditate upon their own state, and remember, at the same time, the appeal of the Almighty to them to p. 44turn again and repent.  “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways and live?  Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, and make you a new heart and a new spirit; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.” (Ezek. xviii.)  That text which first appeared to move Jolin to repentance, may speak to every other sinner—“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.  Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isa. i. 18.)  The same words of encouragement may also speak to us, in the language of a merciful Saviour, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  (Matt. ix. 13.)  The same promises, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, should not perish, but have everlasting life:” and again, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth,” (Luke xv. 10.)  I would say then, again, in the language of Peter, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”

A second point of consideration in this history is the conversion of Jolin’s mind to a sense of religion, and the nature of his conversion.  Jolin’s early education, as far as reading and writing, had not been altogether neglected; and the daily misery his sins brought with them was not without its effect on his mind.  But it is evident the work of regeneration, the first step in his after conversion, had not taken place before he came into prison.  But when the Holy Spirit brought home the word of God to his heart, the change was rapidly effected.  A conviction of the sinfulness of his nature and habits was at once deeply impressed upon his conscience; he waited to see the way of p. 45pardon by a crucified Redeemer, and the influence of the Holy Ghost immediately produced that change in his will and affections which always attends real conversion.  His whole state of mind seemed almost miraculously changed: so that between the twenty-third and the twenty-sixth of the same month, in the judgment of his legal adviser and others, a complete renovation had taken place.  In the former state he is described as in a distracted condition of mind, suffering unutterable anguish; the dread of death being uppermost in his thoughts: in the latter, he was calm, placid, resigned, and he had not one wish to live. [45]

Although it would be contrary to the facts and spirit of Scripture to say, that no conversions of this kind were real and complete, every one must acknowledge, that as conversion is ordinarily a gradual work, too much caution cannot be exercised as to a change accomplished as rapidly as this may appear to have been.  It may, however, be truly said, that there was a remarkable absence of any thing like enthusiasm in his state.  A dream which occurred in the commencement of his religious course will not be conceived to indicate a disordered imagination.  For some nights he had been dreadfully agitated, and could not rest.  “I dreamed,” he said, “that I was dragged over frightful precipices, till at last I was brought, as it were, into the presence of our Saviour, and there obtained mercy.”  This dream so harmonized with the spirit of many passages of Scripture pointed out to him, that it was not unlikely to occur.  In his case, as in every other, the first touch of religion on the soul was immediate; but the after stages of conversion were gradual—far more so than many others recorded in Scripture; and there was time to perceive the regular progress of growth in grace.  This case, therefore, should not be confounded with what are commonly called instantaneous conversions, because although compressed into a short period every step of scriptural conversion may be traced in it.  From first to last, Jolin was able to give a reason for the p. 46hope which was in him, and these reasons corresponded with the feelings and convictions described in the word of God.  He felt those convictions of sin on which Scripture insists.  He found, agreeably also to Scripture, nothing in his own state upon which he could depend for salvation; and, relying entirely on the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, he found peace and joy in believing.  In this manner, if his conversion proceeded rapidly, it was not wanting in any of those evidences which are the unquestioned fruits of the teaching of God.  His conduct is the best, and indeed the only satisfactory commentary on the whole work.

A third point worthy of consideration in the history of Jolin, is, the means by which it pleased God to open this young man’s mind; and this, I may venture to affirm, was the Holy Scriptures.  It was the simple exhibition of the fifty-first Psalm, which at first seemed to expose his real state to him.  It was the promises of the New Testament, and the types of the Old, which gave him his first clear notion of faith, and which conveyed to his mind a hope of pardon.  The Scripture then became the subject of his meditation day and night.  It was as a “lamp unto his feet, and a light unto his path; a treasure more to be desired than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey, and the honeycomb.”  The value of Scripture arising from its clearness, authority, and its peculiar power, under God, to fasten truth on the soul, are remarkably conspicuous in the case of this guilty person.  He heard, marked, learned, and inwardly digested its all-important truths, and they made him wise unto salvation.  But in connexion with this, and every other means employed, is to be noticed the influence of Divine grace.  The Almighty power and sovereignty with which this was exercised, was frequently acknowledged, and continually felt by Jolin.  He perceived it in all the remarkable circumstances of his life—in his various escapes from death—in his final allotment—in the events which occurred in the prison.  And whilst all this distinguishing mercy was shown towards him, he could discover nothing in himself p. 47which deserved any such remembrance at God’s hand.  Why was he called, and not his father, was one of the points which first struck his attention on the visit of his friends.  But to those around him some other circumstances, illustrating this influence, were perhaps more obvious than even to himself.  The manner in which he was enabled to receive the truths of the gospel; the gift of spiritual understanding; the willing heart; the subdued spirit, and sanctified heart, were all circumstances to be referred only to the sovereign grace of Him who worketh in his people to will and to do of his good pleasure.  “O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

A fifth lesson to be learned from this history, is the benefit of education.  Here was a young man most unlikely to profit from the early instruction he had received; and to what account did it turn?  In his worst times he was enabled to read the word of God, and this he was led to do in the tediousness of his sea watches.  In his imprisonment, the blessings of his previous learning was incalculable.  In his last exhortations on the scaffold, he pressed upon his youthful auditors the advantages of attendance upon a Sunday school, and the public means of instruction.  It is impossible to say how much, or if any of the preparatory work of religion, had, by means of education, been going on in Jolin’s mind.  But information had been given—a desire for instruction had been implanted—the wretchedness of a sinful course had been taught—the Scriptures had been read—the scaffolding, in fact, had been put together, by which the future edifice might be erected.  How striking is the lesson of encouragement derived from this history, to those who are labouring in the school or in the prison.  Who could have thought that in either case, as it concerned Jolin, the event would have been what it was?  But who knows what the most untractable child may yet become, or how far the seed which is sown, may, even a long time hence, produce the desired fruit.  “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the p. 48evening withhold not thine hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they shall both be alike good.”  We may, in our efforts to instruct, meet with many disappointments, but it is plainly our duty to proceed, with becoming care indeed, but in the remembrance both of God’s almighty power to teach the heart, and of instances, such as this, in which that power has been so remarkably exerted.  The state of prisoners is one which invites, as it has in general received the peculiar commiseration of our countrymen: men are often to be found there in Jolin’s state of mind.  The prison is, perhaps, their first resting-place in a career of ignorance, and sin, and misery.  The visitor may too often, in his researches, discover the man, as Mr. Pinel did Jolin, “without hope for this world or the next,” and may lead him to discoveries of what, perhaps, never entered his imagination.  At all events, the circumstances of trial and affliction are those most favourable to seriousness of reflection; and this is the course by which the sinner is most often led, by the grace of God, to turn from the error of his ways, and to seek the hope offered in the Gospel.  The event is always in the hand of Him who directs the heart.  But, under all circumstances, we work with the blessing of the Almighty, and with his promise, that our labour shall not be in vain.

A sixth lesson to be learned from this history, is the happy effects produced by the possession of true religion.  In the case of Jolin, how speedily did it tranquillize and cheer his mind.  It was like the word of its holy author, when he said, “Peace, be still, and there was a great calm.”  Those who visited the chamber of death, where he dwelt, could not but feel a degree of surprise at their own feelings, when they remembered that they were with one who had been a drunkard and a murderer.  But religion had softened his character, and created in him those genuine fruits which, as we are taught, spring from the work of the Holy Spirit.  “The wilderness had become like Eden, and the desert like the garden of the Lord.  Instead of the thorn had come up the fir-tree, p. 49and instead of the briar had come up the myrtle-tree; to be for a name, and for an everlasting sign that should not be cut off.”

Lastly, there is a lesson of application to our own souls.  It may be asked, What is the intimate acquaintance which we have had with the experience which this poor dying criminal passed through?  He, being dead, may speak to many of his own age, who have, perhaps, had far greater advantages of education and example; or he may speak to those who have seen more years, and yet have not attained to that ripeness of faith, and that full assurance of hope, which made Jolin climb with such eagerness the gallows hill, and long for the time when he should be with Christ.

This history applies most emphatically to the case of young men; teaching them to avoid sin, even when it may have the sanction of parental example.  The Bible, they must remember, and not men, especially ungodly men, should be their direction.  By this law we shall all be judged, and must stand or fall.  In Jolin’s last address, he said, “Avoid bad company, drinking spirits, vicious habits.”  “I exhort young people not to violate the Sabbath, but to frequent church, and attend to their religious duties.  Would that this tremendous example of punishment might lead every young person who hears it to inquire into his own state, and to remember how soon one act of sin may bring judgment upon him; and how tremendous will be his judgment, if, after this warning, he is found unprepared.”

This history also speaks most loudly and awfully to parents.  “You see in me,” Jolin said from the scaffold, “the effect of bad education and example.  From early youth I have been addicted to intemperance.  My duty to God was never pointed out to me.  Those who have children committed to their care, I beseech to send them regularly to church, and to the Sunday-school, and teach them their duty to God and man.”  Let those, then, who are teaching Sabbath-breaking, swearing, passion, habits of drinking and vice, to their children, by their own example, p. 50look at the horrible instance of sin and its consequences, which this case presents—a parent, murdered, and a son hanged! from the effects of a father’s example!  The case speaks for itself: and may the Holy Spirit enable us to learn the lesson which it teaches.

May we all who read or hear this account, apply its lessons to ourselves.  Let us adore the astonishing love of God in the case of this poor outcast sinner; His sovereign power, His boundless mercy, His all-sufficient grace.  May we seek to lay all the burden of our transgressions upon that Sacrifice in whom Jolin trusted.  May we, with him, find the Holy Spirit making us as fit to live, as, we trust, he was fit to die: so that when we have fought the good fight, we shall receive the crown of glory, which, we may trust, this believing penitent has been called to wear in the presence of Him who gave him the victory, through his own blood.




[45] Durell’s account.