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DR. DODD's ADDRESS,
On receiving SENTENCE of DEATH, May 26, 1777.
man infirmity. I entered upon public life with the expectations common to young men, whose education has been liberal, and whose abilities have been flattered and, when I became a clergyman, considered myself as not impairing the dignity of the order. I was not an idle, nor, I hope, an useless minister. I taught the truths of Chriftianity, with the zeal of conviction, and the authority of innocence.—My labours were approved'; my pulpit became popular; and I have reason to believe, that, of those who heard me, some have been preserved from fin, and some have been reclaimed. --Condescend, my lord, to think, if these considerations aggravate my crime, how much they must embitter my punishment !
Being distinguished and elevated by the confidence of mankind, I had too much confidence in myself: and, thinking my integrity, what others thought it, established in fincerity, and fortified by religion, I did not consider the danger of vanity, nor suspect the deceitfulness of my own heart. The day of conflict came, in which temptation surprised and overwhelmed me. I committed the crime, which I entreat your lordship to believe that my conscience hourly represents to me in its
full bulk of mischief and malignity. Many have been overpowered by temptation, who are now among the penitent in heaven.
To an act, now waiting the decision of vindi&tive justice, I will not presume to oppose the counterbalance of almost thirty yearst-a great part of the life of manpassed in exciting and exercising charity; in relieving such distresses as I now feel; in administering those confolations which I now want. I will not otherwise extenuate my offence, than by declaring, what I hope will appear to many, and which many circumstances make probable, that I did not intend to be finally fraudulent; nor will it become me to apportion my own punishment, by alledging that my sufferings have been not much less than my guilt.
I have fallen from reputation, which ought to have made me cautious; and from a fortune, which ought to have given me content. I am sunk at once into poverty and scorn:, my name and my crime fill the ballads in the streets ; the sport of the thoughtless, and the triumph of the wicked.
It may seem strange, my lord, that, remembering what I have lately been, I should still wish to continue what I am. But contempt of death, how speciously soever it might mingle with heathen virtues, has nothing in it suitable to Christian penitence. Many motives impel me to beg earnestly for life. I feel the natural horror of a violent death, and the universal dread of untimely diffolution. I am desirous to recompense the injury I have done to the clergy, to the world, and to religion ; and to efface the scandal of my crime, by the
example of my repentance. But, above all, I wish to die with thoughts more composed, and calmer preparation. The gloom and confusion of a prison, the anxiety of a trial, the horror 'of suspense, and the inevitable vicissitudes of passion, leave not the mind in a due disposition for the holy exercises of prayer and selfexamination. Let not a little life be denied me, in which I may, by meditation and contrition, prepare myselfsto
to stand at the tribunal of Omnipotence, and support the presence of that Judge, who shall distribute to all according to their works; who will receive and pardon the repenting sinner; and from whom the merciful shall obtain mercy
For these reasons, my lord, amidst shame and misery, I yet wish to live; and most humbly implore that I may be recommended by your lordihip to the clemency of his Majesty!
Delivered in the CHAPEL of NEWGATE, on
FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 1777.
By WILLIAM DODD, LL.D.
I acknowledge my Faults: and my Sin is ever before me.
Psalm li. 3.
To the Reverend Mr. VILLETTE,
ORDINARY of NEWGATE.
THE following Address owes its present public appearance to you. I read it to you after it was composed, and you thought it proper to be delivered, as was intended. You heard it delivered, and are pleased to think that its publication will be useful.—To a poor and abject worm, like myself, this is a fufficient inducement to that publication ; and I heartily pray God, that in your hands it may frequently and effectually administer to the instruction and comfort of the miferable.
I am, dear Sir,
With my sincerest thanks for your humane and
Your truly sorrowful,
and much amicted Brother in Christ,
Friday, June 6,