This ballad begins: 'The line to Heaven by Christ was made, / With heavenly truth the rails are laid'. It was published by James Lindsay of 9 King Street, Glasgow, and features a woodcut illustration of a man preaching to a small crowd.
Many broadside producers felt it was their public duty to provide their readership with various forms of moral and religious guidance. This included publishing everything from highly repentant last speeches uttered from the gallows to the journey of the spiritual railway. In this interesting analogy, repentence is the station where people hop on board the heavenly-bound train, God's word and truth drive the engine, and 'Repentance, Faith and Holiness' can all be found in first, second and third class respectively.
Early ballads were dramatic or humorous narrative songs derived from folk culture that predated printing. Originally perpetuated by word of mouth, many ballads survive because they were recorded on broadsides. Musical notation was rarely printed, as tunes were usually established favourites. The term 'ballad' eventually applied more broadly to any kind of topical or popular verse.
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