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And, lo! it brake in pieces, and devour'd,
GENUINE LIBERTY; THE RESULT OF CHRISTIANITY ALONE.
TRUE liberty was Christian ; sanctified,
This, this is freedom, such as angels use,
Roche, Printer, 25, Hoxton-square, London.
(With an Engraving.) AN EXCURSION TO MADELEY AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. The mental law of association is a very powerful one, and adds largely to our pleasures. Thus places known to be connected with the renowned, become renowned themselves, even though, but for the connexion, utterly insignificant. Chateaubriand has noticed this in his Oriental Travels. You pass over a narrow river, little more than the sandy bed of a stream, and are pursuing your way without pausing to look at that which, to your view, has not a single attraction: one of your party says, “ That is the Granicus." You stop. The mind is roused to activity. The imagination is at work. Alexander, with his Macedonian phalaux; Darius, with his Persians, rise before you. The solitary plain teems with life. You become a spectator of the battle. You can scarcely tear yourself away. It is the triumph of mind over matter.
A dozen miles, or so, from Birmingham, the railway brings you to Wolverhampton. Proceeding still in a direction about northwest, though not by railway, at least, not at present, but by coach, not much more than the same distance, you come to Shiffnall. Here you leave the main road to Shrewsbury ; and after travelling six or seven miles farther, you find yourself in
Vol. XI. Second Series. E
a small village, which seems chiefly composed of a few very plain-looking cottages by the road-side, not at all picturesque, and without any compensating back-ground of scenery, (the village church itself, though very neat, yet only looking like a village church, and nothing more,) so that, if the coach went any farther with you, or you with the coach, one brief look from the window would content you, and you would sit back, awaiting what might turn up next; or, should you leave the coach, you see nothing to make you linger in proceeding to your resting-place. But is the memory of unearthly piety precious to you? Have you ever heard of “ John Fletcher, Vicar of Madeley, in Shropshire?” When you are told that you are at Madeley, all is changed, and there is not a spot which does not seem full-charged with interest.
I had once to visit Madeley in connexion with the appointed anniversary services of the Missionary Societies in several Circuits in the Shrewsbury District. In contemplating the excursion, no part of my work afforded more pleasing anticipations than that which had called me to Madeley for the first time. And, for once in my life, anticipation was surpassed by reality. I now only write to record the impressions made, and the feelings awakened, by what I may term the more public portion of the excursion. But I should be ungrateful were I to pass over in absolute silence the hospitable kindness, the Christian friendship, which almost made me forget that I was absent from home, and furnished a delightful foundation for the enjoyment and profit I derived from the religious engagements which I came to fulfil. If ever I had doubted whether piety allowed its professors even a larger amount of social happiness than the world, with its amusements and visits, could afford, that week would have perfectly dispersed them, and proved that the friendly and family circle have their full share in the blessed and cheering sunlight which falls on the divinely-traced path to the heavenly kingdom. The palaces of Egypt may have their glare of torches; but the deep shadows around show how thick is the darkness which, even where they shine, they only imperfectly remove, and which elsewhere settles on the earth. But the children of Israel have light in all their dwellings.