The Execution of James Blomfield Rush

"THAT MAN!", was the reply given by one of the witnesses against Rush, when she was asked who committed the murders in Stanfield Hall? Lying on her couch, wounded by the murderer, she lifted up he hand, pointed to the prisoner, and said "THAT MAN!" Silence still and solemn as death itself, pervaded the court when the answer was given, and every one seemed to feel as if he had heard some unearthly voice pronounce his guilt and his doom. "That man" was found guilty of the crime with which he had been charged, and he is now to undergo the dreadful sentence, "to be hanged by the neck till he is dead!" You are come to see that sentence executed! And while you are looking on, his living and immortal spirit will depart from his struggling and dying body, and enter into that court where God himself is the Judge; where the secrets of all hearts are revealed ; and when you yourself will soon appear, to receive the sentence which shall welcome you to heaven , or sink you down to hell.

"That man" will therefore live for ever — for ever! The death of his body will be no interruption to the life of his spirit; and when his body has been dead millions of years , and millions more, his spirit will still live; it will have to live then as long as it has now, and as long as you have to live; for although your existence has only lately begun, it shall continue as long as the life of God.

"That man" commence in youth a course of sin. When he began, his conscience trembled and hesitated; but as he went on yielding to one temptation after another, his conscience became seared; it "excused" rather than "accused" him; and it suffered him to become a fornicator, a liar, and a murderer. What he was once, before this course was travelled, you may be now; or you may be guilty of some of his crimes already. Of what sins are you guilty? Remember then, that human nature is capable of becoming, even in your case, what it actually became in him. Sin is a seed which is ever growing; the sinner is a traveller making progress in the downward road; and the depravity with which we are all affected, blinds the mind, deceives the conscience, hardens the heart, and damns the soul of every man who yields to its temptations, and neglects the great salvation which the God of mercy has provided. "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man. Bu every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." But "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin, shall find mercy." "Whosoever believeth on him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life." "But he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

"That man" was at last found out. The very means which he had employed to enable him to sin secretly, became the means of his detection. But before he was found out by man, his most secret sins were fully known to his own conscience, and to God. So are yours. No impertinent sinner can ultimately escape. "Be sure thy sin will find thee out." There are some sins which go beforehand to the judgement seat, and wait there till the sinner himself arrives, when they bear swift witness against him, and secure his condemnation. How awful will then be the public execution of an immortal soul! How deep and terrible will be its sepulchre of despair! How keen will be the torment of the undying worm, and the unquenchable fire! And how will the last lamentation of Christ, the chief mourner at his funeral, echo in his conscience for ever — "OH! THAT THOU HADST KNOWN, IN THAT THY DAY, THE THINGS WHICH MADE FOR THY PEACE; BUT NOW THEY ARE HID FROM THINE EYES!"


From: Broadsheet Collection, Norfolk Local History Library, Millennium Library, Norwich