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SIN - DESPAIRING SOUL,
IN THE TIME OF
Shewing the strange works of Providence, in pre
serving me from the many deaths which threata
The first of the many wonders which the adorable providence of God effected, in preserving me from death, was as follows: Being put out to nurse, to an Irish papist, in the times of trouble, before Ireland was reduced, my nurse, about the latter end of January, fearing, as she at least pretended, the rage of the Irish soldiers, lest they should inhumanly butcher me, or rather, kill herself and husband, for offering to nurse a heretic's child, as they called
ine, cast me out upon a dung-hill, in a great snow, where I had undoubtedly perished, had not Providence sent relief in the very nick of time, which was thus effected:
At the fame time, when I lay in that most deplorable condition in the snow, no eye pitying me, there was a servant of my father's down in the country, about concerns of my father's, who, as he was returning home, declining the road which was his proper way, takes another road which directly led him through the village where I was, he not in the least knowing any ground or reason why, or wherefore, he should leave the high and common road, to pass through that village ; but, finding in himself a strange impulse upon his spirit, he gave way : and, as he passed through the street, between the house from whence I had been cast and the dung-hill where I lay, hearing a most lamentable and piteous cry of a young infant, as he apprehended, out of doors, stops his horse to see where the infant lay, but the snow being deep, and it frowing apace, he could perceive nothing; but, following the voice of the cry, he was led to the place where I lay. He forthwith knocks at the door next to che dung-hill, to inquire after the cruel and unnatural mother of that poor dying infant on the dung-hill, or to entreat somebody to take pity' on fo despicable an object. On this, my nurfe inforins the man whose child I was, with the whole of my circumstances. No fooner had he understood whose
I was, but he runs to the place where I lay, takes me up, lapping me in his cloak, and brings me home to my parents, fifteen long miles, without the least nurture either of breast or spoon, for the fupport of decaying nature. All that fifteen miles, besides the space I lay on the dung-hill, which, as my nurse herself confessed to the man, was about five hours, I continued to make fad complaints, by abounding in heart-moving shrieks and piceous moans all the day, the man expecting every moment when I should expire. In this condition, he presents me a fad spectacle to my parents, acquainting them were and how he found me; and how that he was, he knew not how or wherefore, turned off from his road to go that way, where he met with me.
Forthwith an express was posted away, for three or four of the chief physicians who were then in Dublin, who immediately hastened to my father's, being about two miles and a half from Dublin; the utmost of their skill and judgment was improved for my present help and relief, but all in vain; the intricacy of my state and condition of body being such, as sufficiently nonplussed and baffled all their skill. Finding no probability, in a rational way, of recovering me, they gave me up,
Turing my relations that I was a gone child, as to 2 orld. The doctors forfaking me, other means ed by ancient men, and midwives, who good judgment and long experience Neither availed this any thing, B 3
rhis were app. seemed to have
in curing children,
God having blasted all that men could effect, as instruments, to make way for his blessing on that means which he himself had singled out for my effectual cure, that the same might be recorded to the eternal praise of his own wonder-working providence, as will afterwards appear. All means applied for my cure and recovery were, by the powerful providence of God, made effectual food to nourish and feed the distempers which threatened the life of my body, until I was at length taken by all for dead. No motion of life appearing in me, I was stretched out, put into the winding-sheet, and nailed up in my coffin; and, as friends and neighbours were just going out of the door, to accompany ine to my long home, the person who carried the coffin both perceived me to ftir and also heard me to cry in the coffin, at which all were not a little amazed, and sume so affrighted that they ran away.
About two months after this escape I was a second time taken for dead in the opinion of all the family, stretched out, and wrapped in a windingsheet; and, left they might be over hasty in burying me, it was judged expedient to watch with me, which is the manner and custom in Ireland, by people sitting up all night, with many lights in the room where the corpse lies. It pleased God, that, about midnight, they who watched me saw me lift up the sheet, to their great astonishment. Notwithstanding these strange and unexpected
revivals, I was no small grief and burthen to my parents, and other relations in the family, and that on the account of my continuing so long in pain and misery, no endeavours of creatures likely to do me good.
As I grew in age, so my distemper waxed and grew at such a rate, that my little body waxed very big and misshapen; my belly was as big as an ordinary tub or drum; my legs no way able to bear or carry my distempered body: thus was 1 a burthen not only to others, but also to myself, until it pleased God to check and control the humours and distempers of my body, which else had checked me into the dust,
The means of my recovery were as follow: viz. On a certain day, as I was in the arms of a maid-servant, whose only work it was to attend on and minister unto me, I beheld on the ground, be: fore the door, some speckled shell-snails, which dropped out of the load of furze that came to the door; these snails I cried to have. The maid, willing to gratify my desire, picked up as many as she could fee of them; with these I pleased my fancy, playing with them till weary. After which I motioned to put the snails into the fire; and after a little while, when I apprehended they were roasted, I cried to have them again. The maid, and all others that beheld me, wondered greatly what I designed to do with them. No sooner had I cleared them from the shells, but, to the great amazement of the spectators, I fell to
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