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[32] of Bedford jail, that God would overrule their poor spite and envy to His own glory and the worldwide renown of their victim. In the solitude of his prison, the ideal forms of beauty and sublimity, which had long flitted before him vaguely, like the vision of the Temanite, took shape and coloring; and he was endowed with power to reduce them to order, and arrange them in harmonious groupings. His powerful imagination, no longer self-tormenting, but under the direction of reason and grace, expanded his narrow cell into a vast theatre, lighted up for the display of its wonders. To this creative faculty of his mind might have been aptly applied the language which George Wither, a contemporary prisoner, addressed to his Muse:β€”

The dull loneness, the black shade
Which these hanging vaults have made,
The rude portals that give light
More to terror than delight;
This my chamber of neglect,
Walled about with disrespect,β€”
From all these, and this dull air,
A fit object for despair,
She hath taught me by her might,
To draw comfort and delight.

That stony cell of his was to him like the rock of Padan-aram to the wandering Patriarch. He saw angels ascending and descending. The House Beautiful rose up before him, and its holy sisterhood welcomed him. He looked, with his Pilgrim, from the Chamber of Peace. The Valley of Humiliation lay stretched out beneath his eye, and he heard β€˜the curious, melodious note of the country birds, who sing all the day long in the spring time. ’

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