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Title: An account of the Death of Philip Jolin - who was executed for the murder of his father, in the Island of Jersey, October 3, 1829
Author: Cunningham, Francis A. (Francis Aloysius), 1862-1935
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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

                                AN ACCOUNT
                                THE DEATH
                              PHILIP JOLIN,
                             WHO WAS EXECUTED
                                 FOR THE
                             OCTOBER 3, 1829.

                                * * * * *

                        FRANCIS CUNNINGHAM, A. M.
                           RECTOR OF PAKEFIELD.

                                * * * * *

                             BERNERS STREET.

                                * * * * *


                                * * * * *



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
in 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.


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 prophet
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
especially 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

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 was 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 in 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

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 so 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 fallen 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 spoke 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 premeditated, 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 more 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 pardon.”  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 himself 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 is, 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
attempted 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

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 cross 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, which 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; a 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 death.  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 of 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
submission 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 of 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 a 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 as 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
salvation 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.)

    “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,) by 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 point 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 me 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 He 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, the 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 to 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

On the night previous to his execution, the kind relation who had first
visited him in the prison, and brought him the 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 Saviour.  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!
    And 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 he 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

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 how 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
tolerably 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 faith: 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 with
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 turn 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 pardon 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 hope 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 which 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
evening 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, and 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

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

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, look 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.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "An account of the Death of Philip Jolin - who was executed for the murder of his father, in the Island of Jersey, October 3, 1829" ***

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