Pillars of salt. An history of some criminals executed in this land, for capital crimes. : With some of their dying speeches; collected and published, for the warning of such as live in destructive courses of ungodliness. : Whereto is added, for the better improvement of this history, a brief discourse about the dreadful justice of God, in punishing of sin, with sin. : [Two lines from Deuteronomy]
Mather, Cotton, 1663-1728.


ON November 17. 1698. There was executed in Boston, a miserable Young Woman, whose Extraordinary circumstances rung throughout all New England On this Day of her Execution, was Preached the Sermon, Page  106 which we have now placed, at the Beginning of this History, as an Inscription upon our, Pillars Of Salt. Because the last passage of that Sermon, gave a summary Narrative, of what it is fit the publick should know concerning that Criminal, I have Transferr'd them, into this place. The Sermon Concluded in these words.

BE astonished, O Congregation of God, Stand astonished, at the Horrible Specta|cle, that is now before You: This House, and perhaps this Land, never had in it a more A|stonishing Spectacle.

Behold, a Young Woman, but an Old Sinner, going this Day to Dy before her time, for being Wicked over much! Behold, One just Nineteen Years Old, and yet found Ripe for the Venge|ance of a Capital Execution. Ah, Miserable Soul, With wath a swift progress of Sin and Folly, hast thou made Hast unto the Congregation of the Dead! Behold a Person, whose Unchast Con|versation appear'd by one Base Born Child ma|ny months ago! God then gave her a Space to Repent, and she repented not: She Repeted her Whoredomes, and by an Infatuation from God upon her, She so managed the matter of her next Base Born, that she is found Guilty of its Murder: Thus the God, whose Eyes are like a Flame of Fire, is now casting her Page  107 into a Bed of Burning Tribulation: And, ah, Lord, Where wilt thou cast those that have com|mitted Adultery with her, Except they Repent! Since her Imprisonment, She hath Declared, That she believes, God hath. Left her unto this Undoing Wickedness, partly for her staying so profanely at Home sometimes on Lords-Dayes, when she should have been Hearing the Word of Chirst, and much more for her not minding that Word, when she heard it. And she has Confessed, That she was much given to Rash Wishes, in her Mad Passions, particularly using often that III Form of spea|king, He be Hang'd, if a thing be not thus or so, and, I'll be Hanged, if I do not this or that; which Evil now, to see it, coming up|on her, it amazes her! But the chief Sin, of which this Chief of Sinnrs, now cries out, is, Her Undutiful Carriage towards her Parents. Her Language and her Carriage towards her Parents, was indeed such that they hardly Durst speak to her; but when they Durst, they often told her, It would come to This. They indeed, with Bleeding Hearts, have now Forgiven thy Rebellions; Ah, Sarah, mayst thou Cry unto the God of Heaven to Forgive Thee! But under all the doleful circumstan|ces of her Imprisonment, and her Impiety, she has been given over, to be a prodigy of still more Impaenitent Impiety. A Little before her Page  108Condemnation, she Renewed the Crimes of her Unchastity: she gave her self up to the Filthy Debauches, of a Villain, that was her Fellow-Prisoner; and after her Condemnation, her Falshoods, and her Furies have been such, as to proclaim, That under Condemnation she has not Feared God. Was thee ever seen such an Heighth of Wickedness▪ God seems to have Hanged her up in Chains, for all the Young People in the Countrey, to see, what prodigies of Sin and Wrath it may render them, if once they Sell themselves thereunto. Behold, O Young People, what it is to Vex the Holy Spirit of God, by Rebelling against Him. This, This 'tis to be Given over of God! And yet after all this Hard-hearted Wickedness, is it not possible, for the Grace of Heaven to be Triumphantly Victorious, in Converting and Pardoning so Unparallel'd a Criminal? Be astonished, Mise|rable Sarah, and Let it now break that Stony heart of thine, to Hear it; It is possible! It is possible! But, O thou Almighty Spirit of Grace, do thou graciously Touch, and Melt this Obstinate Soul, and once at last, mould her Heart into the Form of thy Glorious Gospel. The Glorious Gos|pel of God, now utters unto thee, Undone Sa|rah, that Invitation, Tho' thou hast horribly gone a Whoring, yet Return unto me, saith the Lord, and I will not cause my Anger to fall upon thee. The Lessons of this Gospel have been both pri|vately Page  109 and publickly set before thee, with a vast variety of Inculcation. If all the Extra|ordinary pains that have been taken for the softening of thy Stony Heart, be Lost, God will dispense the more terrible Rebukes unto thee, when He anon breaks thee between the Milstones of His Wrath.

Oh, Give now a great Attention, to some of the Last Words, that can be spoken to thee, before thy passing into an astonishing Eterni|ty.

The Blessed Lord JESUS CHRIST hath been made a Curse for Us; there has been a most Acceptable Offering and Sacrifice, present|ed by the Lord Jesus Christ unto God, for all His Chosen: there is a Fountain set open for Sin and for Uncleanness: and thou, O Bloody Sin|ner, art Invited unto that Open Fountain. Such is the Infinite Grace of God, that thou mayst come as freely to the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the Forgiveness of thy Sins, as they that have never Sinn'd with a Thou|sandth part of so much Aggravation; Come, and Welcome, says the Lord, who Receiveth Sinners. If God Enable thee Now, to Lay Hold on the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, tho' thy Faults are Infinite, thou wilt yet before Sun-set Stand without Fault before the Throne of God. Thy Soul is just sinking down, into the Fiery Ocean of the Wrath of Page  110 God, but the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, is cast forth unto thee, once more, for thee, to Lay Hold upon. Oh! Lay Hold up|on i, and Live! If God help thee, to do so, Then, as it was said, The Mary whose Sins are many, has them Forgiven her, So it shall be said, The Sarah, whose Sins are many, has them Forgi|ven her! Then, as it was said, Rahab the Harlot perished not, so it shall be said, Sarah the Harlot, perished not! Tho' the Blood of thy murdered Infant, with all thy other Bloody Crimes, horribly Cry to God against thee, yet a louder and better Cy from the Blood of thy Saviour, shall drown that formidable Cry. Yea, then, There will be Joy in Heaven this Afternoon among the Angels of God; the Angels of Hea|ven will stand amazd, and say, O the Infinite Grace, that can bring such a Sinner unto Glory! But if ever the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, be applied unto thy Heart, it will immediately Dissolve that Heart of thine; it will cause thee to Mourn for every Sin, to Turn from every Sin, to give thy self entirely unto God. It will be impossible for thee, to Go on in any Known Sin, o to Dy with a Ly in thy mouth, 〈…〉Dy than commit any Known Sin in the World. If this Disposition, be 〈…〉 in thee, before Three or Four 〈…〉 Expired, thy Immortal Spirit, will anon pass into Eternal Torment: Page  111 thou wilt before To morrow morning be a Companion of the Devils and the Damned; the Everlasting Chains of Darkness will hold thee, for the Worm that nver d••s, & the Fire that never shall be Quenched: thou shalt fell ino the Hands of the Living God, and bcome as a glowing Iron, possessed by his Burning Ven|geance, throughout Etenal Ages; the God that made thee, will not have mercy on thee, and He that formed thee will show thee no Favour. But for his Mercy, and Favour, while there is yet hope, we will yet Cry unto Him.