Buckingham wonder, or, The maiden's trance (1)
A strange Relation of one Mary Spence, born at Woburn in Buckinghamshire, who, at ten years of age, being in perfect health, fell into a Trance, and lay dead for three days and nights together, when just as they were going to close up the coffin in order to carry her to the church to be buried, she came to life again, to the great amazement of all that saw her — After some time she declared to all then present. what strange and wonderful things she had heard and seen in the other world, as the joys of heaven, and the dismal amazing torments of hell.
How an Angel, in a white garment, told her what should shortly happen to Great Britain, France, and Ireland, which would as surely come to pass, as that she should die in three days after, which happened accordingly.
To which is added,
Her last Prayer, Written by her own hand a little before she died; which she left as a Legacy to all young Persohs of both Sexes, to put them in mind of Mortality.
AT a little village, called Woburn, within three miles of High Wickham, lived one Mr. Spencer, an eminent rich farmer, who having but one only daughter, and she an only child, took care to have her brought up in a godly manner, contrary to the general custom of parents, who usually are so indulgent to an only child, that instead of making them good Christians, they pamper them in wantonness. till they not only slight them, but bring themselves to destruction. However this young woman was more happily educated. and so far answered her parents endeavours, that she was even a miracle of her sex for piety and virtue, but she was too heavenly an object to continue among the earthly generation; for one morning about two months ago, as she sat reading in her Bible, in which she was much delighted, and being in perfect health, all on a sudden she fell into a swoon, and tumbled down beside her chair, in the presence of her mother, who being much amazed took her up. and endeavoured to bring her to life again, by giving her comfortable cordials, but all proving ineffectual, her father was sent for, as were also several neighbours, who all gave her over for dead, there not being the least sign of breath left in her. So she continued all that day and night to the sorrowful lamentation of her parents, who loved her beyond measure, insomuch, that the Reverend Mr. Dalton, Minister of that parish was lent for to comfort them.
On the second day, her body began to be cold, so it was proposed among some of her friends to have her buried that evening; but by good fortune an uncle of her's living in Northamptonshire could not be at her funeral till the third night, upon which it was put off until that time.
Notice being given to the Reverend Mr. Dalton, the Minister, who came to preach her funeral sermon, on account of her sudden death which abundance of the neighbouring country people came to hear, so that it was difficult to get into the church, the crowd was so great and pressing. When about seven o’clock in the evening, all the things being made ready to carry her to the church, after the relations, friends and acquaintance, had viewed her as long as they pleased. the corps was ordered to be nailed up at which interim of time, to their great astonishment, the suppofed dead body raised herself up, and reached out her arm to her mother who stood just by, in order if possible, to be one of the last that saw her; who was so far amazed, that die immediately took hold of her hand, and said, Dear daughter, art though alive? and with that gave her a kiss, being so transported, as she hardly knew what she did or said: However, the young woman in a very little time came to herself, and made signs to be put to bed, which was performed with all expedition there she had not been above half an hour before she came to speech, and expressed to this effect.
I have been, said she, among the glorified saints of heaven, where nothing but comfort and delight appeared to my senses, Oh! how unwilling was I to return to this earthly tabernacle; but I am sent back again for three days, to declare to you what is to happen in these parts of the world betwixt this and midsummer, if they will not obey the voice of the almighty and repent of their abominable sins, otherwise what is threatened by our enemies, will certainly fall upon these nations. But first, I must tell you what I have seen. and then proceed to declare what I have heard, besides the glorious company of angels continually praising God, with other extraordinary appearances too great for me in this state of mortality to express, I saw on my left hand most dismal and terrible darkness, and heard the saddest and most lamentable cries that ever were uttered, with curses and other blasphemous expressions against the Creator of heaven and earth, with the ghastly appearance of terrible and frightful spirits, aggravating each other’s torment, accompanied with flashings of fire and brimstone, while the damned were repeating their endless torments, without the least hopes of deliverance.
Having seen and heard ten times more than is convenient to be uttered, I was conducted through a spacious palace which let down to a great pair of stairs, by a glorious Person in white raiment; who as soon as we had got to the bottom, told me, that I must return from whence I came, and declare to the world what I had seen : withal adding, that after that after three days, I should leave my earthly habitation, and return to him who made me, and live with him to all eternity.
He also bid me tell you, that the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Ireland, were to undergo many difficulties ere it be long. This the glorious Person told me, would as surely come to pass, as that of my own death three days hence; so that I have but three days more to live, according to the just decree of heavenly power, which I patiently submit to.
And as soon as this heavenly Person had done telling what should happen to these parts, relating to these kingdoms; as he was going away, he turned himself suddenly backwards to me, as if he had forgot something remarkable, Pray, says he, give your friends this caution, if they do not mend their lives, and repent their sins, which they too much abound in, what I have said of their enemies shall fall upon their heads, when they think themselves secure from danger: Pray, let this part of my charge be particularly remembered by all of them! Having finished what he intended, he immediately vanished and I awaked; and thus, dear friends have I faithfully declared to you what I have seen and heard, desiring you to communicate it to the world, that the people of this nation may see what wonderful favours Providence has ordained for them, if their repeated wickedness do not frustrate the inestimable blessings appointed for their preservation.
After having declared the above particulars with muchshe desired her loving parents who continually attended her, not to be troubled about her hidden departure from them by reason she had such an heavenly warning to prepare for it: She continued praising Almighty God, for his wonderful goodness to her, till the day of her departure, which happened the third day after she came out of her Trance, being all that time in as perfect health as ever she was in her life, and appeared with a fairer countenance than ever
The morning before she died, she wrote the following paper with her own-hand, which she left as a legacy to all young women to take a pattern thereby.
THE PRAYER BEFORE HER DEATH.
O Father of heaven, and God of all mercies, I humbly thank thy divine goodness for raising me to life, after I was so suddenly snatched away from my dear parents, who otherwise might have grieved without measure for my hasty departure left supposing, not without reason, that I was not prepared for so sudden a change. Comfort, O Lord, the sorrowful state of my parents, who are losing the only joy of their lives; give them heavenly patience under their earthly trial, that they may be made worthy inhabitants of those ever glorious mansions to which I am now going. Lastly, Bless this wicked nation and give them a true sense of their wickedness to repent of their sins, in order to receive those mercies thou hast ordained for them, and escape those dreadful judgements which they deserve. This I beg for the sake of Jesus Christ to whom with Thee and the Holy Ghost be all honour and praise, might, and dominion, from this time forth and for evermore. Amen.
Having finished her prayer, she delivered the paper to her mother, desiring that it might be printed after her death, which her mother promised to perform; and about an hour after she died, to the great grief of her dear parents; she was buried in the same grave that was made for her when she lay in her Trance. Thus, lived and died the wonder of a woman and the glory of her age. There was a funeral sermon preached on this occasion, by the Reverend Mr Dalton, which is now in the press and speedily will be published. There was found in her trunk, a large piece of parchment, whereon was written, with her own hand, the following pious verses:
GOOD people all both great and finall,
Pray mind what I do write,
God’s Providence doth recompence
His child both day and night.
Let me advise pray tell no lies.
And serve God in your youth,
As I have done, and you will soon
Obtain to heavenly truth.
Base lusts forbear and do not swear.
But lead a life most pure:
Each night and day, be sure you pray,
And make your soul secure.
Your parents love, then God above
Will bless you all for it;
But if you should grow rude and bold,
Your days will be but short.
For pomp and pride, lay those aside,
They are the devil’s tools.
His traps and snares, which he prepares,
To catch unwary fools.
Life’s but a span, no mortal can
Enlarge his earthly date;
Then pray be wise, strive for the prize
Of a future happy date.