Addressed to her Congregation
February 24, 1828 — Lisle Street Chapel, London, England
. . . because I know that there is a judgment by which I must be judged, and to which I must be accountable, which far exceeds all human judgment! and because I also know, that though the praises of the world, should laud me to the very echo, yet will not all these praises render me acceptable in the sign of God, if I am in myself unworthy — neither will the censurers of the world, though raises in loud clamour and uproar against me, remove me from his favour, if I am worthy to obtain that favour. I feel thus as a child of God, and an inheritor o the kingdom of heaven: but as a daughter of earth — as a link of that great chain which binds society together — as a co-partner with my fellow beings in their earthly probation — loving them as my brethren, I desire in return to be loved by them, and upon this principle of Christian affection, the opinions of the world are of real importance to my happiness.
I believe no person ever yet took less pains to please the world than I have done. None ever yet was more fearless of the world’s censure — more careless of the world’s opinions, and yet few I believe in any public station have passed through life with more general esteem. What is my secret? it may be asked. — A very simple one — a mere exercise of christian benevolence, an observance of the general decorums of society. I have never bent to the caprices of the world, neither have I ever offered any offence to the world, by violating its laws or infringing upon its customs. It is not our principles which exposes us to censure, but our actions. There are many persons whose principles would bear the strictest investigation, who are nevertheless liable to much censure, because their actions are opposed to the general usages of society, and who thereby offer offence, and provoke calumny.
I have stated, that hitherto I have been fearless of the world’s opinion, because I have never violated its rules, customs and laws; but this defence can no longer be my shield, for I have now placed myself in a situation which is strikingly opposed to the customs of society, and though in so doing, I have not infringed upon any right, or violated any law, moral or divine, neither have I offered outrage, violence, or insult to any one, yet my situation still is singular, and however just, however exalted, the cause by which we are excited to any novel action may be, still singularity, until habit has rendered it familiar, will at all times be a provocative to censure. It is from this conviction that I am induced to enter upon an explanation of my motives; it is a respect to my hearers, and to the world in general; it is a duty which I owe to myself; and most of all, it is a duty which I owe to God! whose ministry should not be injured by doubt as to the genuine motives of those who presume to minister in his name.
Many persons, and some of them wise one too, are pleased to give it as their opinions that in attending places of public worship, we should listen to the words of the preacher, without venturing to reflect upon his private conduct. This appears a most fallacious argument. The conduct of a minister of the gospel, should be irreproachable, at least, if he is desirous of rendering his ministry really serviceable to his congregation; for, how can he expect his discourse to be productive of advantage to his hearers, if his words and his actions are at variance with each other? How can a man who is a glutton, preach with effect against the luxuries of appetite? or he who is a drunkard, against the use of wine? or he who is a miser, against avarice? Is not all this “changing the truth of God into a lie,” and rendering the language of instruction of none effect.
The situation of a teacher is an awfully responsible one. No man should enter into the ministry of the word of God, but who is led to it by a powerful, by an almost irresistible inclination, unless he feels the immediate inspiration of God within him, he is not properly qualified for the task which he has undertaken; and alas! it is greatly to be feared there are but few ministers of the word of God, who are thus qualified, and hence it is, that practical religion is so little called into action — hence it is, that we are so often hearers only, and not doers of the word of God.
If any doubt hangs on the mind of a hearer, as to the rectitude of principle in the speaker; a considerable portion of that speakers influence must inevitably be lost. However excellent the discourse may be — however just the sentiment with which it abounds – or however eloquent the manner of delivery, yet will it fail to touch the heart, and consequently the effect produced, will be imperfect; but, on the other hand, if we have respect for the persons to whose precepts we listen, every word comes fraught with intelligence and advantage — we hear with delight, for we believe we hear the words of truth — we listen with transport, for we believe those words of truth are uttered for our good. Where a confidence of this nature exists, on the part of a congregation towards a minister, his ministry must then be of service to his fellow creatures, and acceptable in the sight of God.
If this sort of confidence be requisite towards ministers who are appointed in the regular way, and who do not step out of the ordinary course of custom, how much more important must it be for one, who has stepped out of the course which custom prescribes, and is therefore liable in all respects to be misconceived, misunderstood, and misrepresented; I am perfectly aware of the various conjectures which have bene put upon my present proceedings, though they have not reached my ears in any very extensive degree, yet I know that they do, and must exist; it is natural that they should do so, and if I were not fully confident of the justice, the purity, the integrity, of my own motives, I should not seek to remove doubt from your minds; I should rather desire to throw a film before your eyes to delude your judgments, and bewilder your imaginations, and indeed so easily are we imposed upon through the medium of our imaginations, so instinctively fond are we of the chains of delusion, that we hug our fetters instead of resisting them How many religious infatuations have prevailed from time to time, even don to the present age; and if I were disposed to follow these examples, to act a part, and gain a myriad of followers and disciples, how easy would it be for me to do so? I possess sufficient power to bewilder your minds, to play upon your imaginations, to mislead your judgments, and mould you to whatever purpose I might think proper, but I have no desire of this nature, I could not descend to falsehood to win disciples and followers, neither could I place a value on disciples and followers, who by falshood could be won.
There is in religious feeling a powerful mixture of enthusiasm; mystery must always excite enthusiasm: and as there is much mystery in revelation, as we cannot clearly expound that mystery, neither can we penetrate the film which separates mortality from immortality, enthusiasm on religious subjects must ever remain in force.
Enthusiasts in christianity have generally identified themselves with some person, or prophecy in scripture, in order to prove that they have received an immediate mission from the Almighty to proceed in the work of grace! But this identity is not requisite — it requires a very small portion of reflection to know and feel that all persons of extraordinary mental powers, are undoubtedly designed by the Almighty for some extraordinary purposes. Where great gifts are bestowed, a mission is also given to use those gifts for some especial purpose. Great gifts are sometimes used as the scourge of mankind, and it is ordained by Providence that it should be so, for some wise end to us unknown. Great gifts, in other instances, are used as a blessing to the world; and blessed indeed are they whose missions are to improve and thereby to bless mankind. That I have received a mission from the Almighty to use the gifts which he has bestowed upon me, for purposes of service to my fellow creatures, I make no hesitation in asserting. That I am acting by the ordinance, and under the immediate inspiration of God, I feel as firmly convinced of, as that I stand in his presence now. The corporeal form which now addresses you is not more palpable to your eyes, than the truth of God’s ordination is palpable to my mental perception; and if enthusiasm is necessary to enforce my claim, my whole life, I can truly say, from my cradle up to the present moment, has been tinctured, strangely tinctured, with enthusiasm — or if trials and sufferings, both mental and bodily, can fit me for the office of a minister of God’s word, I am indeed most fit, for those trials have been long and heavy; those sufferings have been intense. Were the story of my eventful life to be recorded, it would scarcely be admitted as a record of truth — I have had to encounter almost every species of trial and affliction to which human nature is subject — even to a prison!
I may ask with the Apostle Paul, that “I have been in labour most abundant. In journeying often, in perils of waters — in perils by my own countrymen,; in perils by the heathen; in perils in the city; in perils in the wilderness; in perils in the sea; in perils among the false brethren in weariness and painfulness; in watchings often; in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ which is blessed for evermore, knowth that I lie not.”
We are, generally speaking, the creatures of circumstances; but there are now and then instances of beings, whose actions appear to be independent of circumstances, creatures of intuition, whose feelings are the impulses of nature, uninfluenced by habit, whose dispositions and propensities are born with them, live with them, and die with them.
When beings of this peculiar cast appear in the world, whose propensities instinctively blaze forth without the aid of human direction; it is no very great or presumptuous feeling of enthusiasm to suppose that they are under the immediate inspiration of God, and sent into the world for the performance of some especial duty. I think I can give indubitable testimony, that a propensity for the exercises of religion was born with me, and evinced itself by the immediate direction of God, without the influence of human aid.
At four years of age, I had acquired considerable reputation in my native town by my skill in reading the scriptures; long before I could speak plain, I was enabled to read with accuracy — could the power of human instruction have achieved this? assuredly not; it could only be by the power and will of Omnipotence. At seven years of age, numbers were attracted to hear my examination by a clergyman, who used to expound the scriptures to children on a Sunday evening. At this age I also began to compose hymns, and taught myself to write for the purpose of transcribing them; at this period, I was so powerfully tinctured by religious enthusiasm, that I voluntarily relinquished every species of amusement, believing myself born for purposes of religion only, in which belief I was confirmed, by the innumerable predictions to which my ears were accustomed, as to what the conduct of my future life would be.
I do not speak of these early religious propensities with pride, but with gratitude:: no person, possessing even the most ordinary portion of judgment, could, I think, feel pride or vanity in the remembrance of childish talent wince they must feel assured that it never could emanate from themselves. Precocious talent must either be the immediate inspiration of God, or the result of premature instruction, the possessor of that talent, cannot therefore claim any merit as due to themselves.
I do not speak of these things for the purpose of extorting your praise or exciting your wonder, I either desire one nor the other; I give all glory to God, in whose hands I was an agent, a mere machine acted upon, and actuated by his will ad power; I therefore speak only of these things to prove to you, my friends and brethren, that my religious feelings were a genuine impulse of nature, which evinced themselves before any bias resulting form human agency could have possessed any powerful influence over my mind to direct my feelings; and also to prove that my present undertaking is not the thought of a moment, not an action of impetuosity, resulting from disgust to the world, or from any morbid feelings of wounded sensibility, arising from the various injuries and and persecutions which have, for the last few years, been showered upon me, but that mine office was born with me, and that the work has only been retarded in order that I might study deeply in the school of adversity; in the school of intellectual refinement; and of worldly vanity and ambition; so that my mental powers might be ripened to some degree of perfection before I undertook to advocate the great cause of religion.
It has been a matter of surprise to many, and now it will doubtless become more so, how it could ever occur, that with such strong religious impressions, I could ever had become a candidate for theatrical fame! To speak of this, however, would be to enter upon the story of my life; to record a strange romantic tale; a series of most unaccountable incidents, which would occupy a considerable portion of time, either to write or peruse. All that I can in the present instance say o this subject is, that I believe I was placed there by the will of God; that it was my state of probation, for as the seed when thrown into the earth, must undergo a state of mutation, before it can produce fruit, so do I think, that, during the period of my theatrical career, the work of religion was secretly going on in my heart, though like the seed I the earth, it was hid from human eye.
Yet however concealed from outward observation, the inward impression remained firm and rooted, nor was I permitted to remain long in a state of indifference, for a singular circumstance occurred, in the very early period of my theatrical career, which served to keep my religious enthusiasm alive, by arousing me to a most painful sense of apprehension, as to the judgment of an offended God; I do not hesitate in mentioning this circumstance, because it is one of the most fundamental causes of my firmly fixed religious feeling, and though in the minds of many , it is a circumstance to which no importance is attached, there are many others, who, like myself, will see the hand of the Almighty, who works all things together for good, and without whose knowledge a sparrow does not fall to the earth.
In the instance which I am about to record, I may indeed without presumption, identify myself with a passage in Revelations — “and out of the throne proceeded lightening, and and voices!” It was on my second visit to Ireland, that I was accompanied by a dear and only sister, then in a perilous state of health; her disorder was one of those dreadful visitations of Providence, which occur only once in an age, and when they do occur, are directed for some great and wise end. Her disorder baffled the skill of her physicians, and so deceptive was it in its progress, that the symptoms of mortality were interpreted into symptoms of safety, and three days before her death, she was pronounced “out of danger!”
A short time previous to her death, after reading prayers to her one day, she suddenly asked me, If I had ever received the sacrament? the question startled me — I never had — she expressed very deep regret that I had not done so, and to set her mind at ease, I told her that as soon as she recovered, we would receive it together. When her illness had arrived at an alarming height, she desired to receive the sacrament, a clergyman was sent for, but her bodily agony was so intense, that the ceremony was postponed till the following day . . . . she never beheld the light of another day! And her admonition respecting the sacrament, seemed like a leaden weight upon my heart.
When Easter approached, I determined to ease the anxiety of my mind, by obeying the dying wish of my sister, but some casual circumstance occurred to prevent me, and I was but too ready to postpone a ceremony, of which I had, I knew not wherefore, an instinctive feeling of dread.
Whitsuntide also passed on, and still the task remained unperformed, though my health and spirits were absolutely sinking beneath the weight of self reproach, for this continued neglect of religious duty. Towards Christmas, my mind being in some degree relieved from the heavy pressure of pecuniary cares and anxieties, under which I had been labouring since the period of my poor sister’s death, left me rather more tranquil, and I resolved, that if m life and health was spared, nothing should prevent my attending the sacrament table at that season.
Christmas day at length arrived, and accompanied by three female friends I went to church. The weather was intensely cold, ye ta strange idea floated on my mind of thunder! — It appeared a singular association, at a time when every person was shivering with cold, and I felt myself suffering with the very chillness of death — yet no effort of resolution could drive the idea from my mind — I could not read — I could not attend to the words of the minister — I felt in a sort of horrible trance — voices seemed to reverberate from every corner of the church — thunder — thunder — thunder! till my ears were stunned with the imaginary sounds, and my feelings were worked up to a pitch of agony almost beyond endurance!
When the sacramental ceremony commenced, I presented myself at the table; my parched mouth could scarcely swallow the bread and the cup nearly fell from my trembling hand. Almost in a state of unconsciousness, I returned to my seat, when, singular to relate, just as I entered the pew, a vivid glare of lightening flashed in my eyes, and almost deprived me of sight! and as I sunk on my knees, the most terrific crash of thunder which I had ever heard, burst over the very roof of the church, till the building seemed to shake to its foundation!
An awful silence prevailed for a few moments, and I remember nothing more, till I found myself standing at the church door, and heard the consultation of my friends, as to the best means of reaching home through the pouring rain. They were too much occupied with themselves to notice me, until we arrived at home, when every eye was suddenly turned upon me, and exclamations of surprise and horror burst from every lip. They addressed me with affectionate solicitude, but I was utterly speechless! I remained nearly three hours in a state of stupefaction, I was at length enabled to articulate a little, but it was not till the following day that the full power of speech returned.
It would be utterly impossible to describe the dreadful effect which this circumstance produced on my mind; I believed that I had offended the Almighty beyond all hope of forgiveness, and that I was forbidden, imperatively forbidden, ever again to approach the sacrament table.
Under this torturing impression I passed five years; five years of accumulated sorrow, sickness, misfortune, afflictions, and trials in every shape, till I really considered myself marked out as an object of divine vengeance. At length through the kind and unceasing intercession of an affectionate maternal friend, I was once again induced to approach the table: it was not without strong feelings of apprehension, that I ventured so to do, but my apprehensive feelings were speedily removed, and a degree of comfort was spread over my mind, by a trifling common place circumstance — a circumstance so very trifling, that I only speak of it as a confirmation of the argument which I have previously advanced, viz. that if the imagination is excited, it is easy to spread delusion over the senses, and that minds operated upon by highly wrought religious enthusiasm, will derive consolation the most exquisite, from circumstances, that to minds which are not thus wrought upon appear as perfectly insignificant, even thus insignificant is the present circumstance.
The day was cold and gloomy, a dense fog prevailed, yet one faint ray of sunshine gleamed through the widow for a few moments, and shone full upon me, and to my fanciful imagination, it fell on none other face but mine; be this as it may, it was a gleam of comfort to my heart; I approached the table with cheerful confidence and ever afterwards attended it with delight.
But a still greater comfort awaited me. About fifteen months after this period, Providence so directed, that the leaden weight of apprehension which still at intervals hung upon my mind, should be removed. I happened to mention to a lady, whose daughters were my pupils, the circumstance of my first visit to the sacrament table. She was one of the last persons upon earth, from whom I should have expected consolation on any point of religious feeling, yet she nevertheless proved to me an agent of comfort. As I recorded the circumstance, with all the gloomy horror, which I eve felt in referring to the subject, I saw to my great surprise, her countenance animated to an excess which I had never beheld before, while she asked me, with breathless eagerness, whether I did not think myself the happiest creature upon earth? it was a question which greatly surprised me, and I enquired her interpretation; she replied, that had she been in my place, she should have considered the thunder as the spirit of my sister, permitted by the Almighty to speak to me, and say I had done well!
How easily do we admit the belief, nay even grasp at an opinion which is calculated to set our minds at ease. I was suddenly and unexpectedly removed from a weight of anxiety which has pressed upon me for more than six years. The buoyant feelings of my childhood returned, I seemed to tread in air, I again felt that I was sent into the world to advocate the cause of religion, and I almost languished for the period to arrive, when I might be permitted to enter upon my appointed task.
It would be impossible to trespass upon your time, by relating, how, step by step, I have been imperceptibly led onward to this important era of my existence. How persecution has stripped me of the fair harvest of my toil, and steeped me in the very bitterest poverty; — how many afflictions have pursued me; — how loss has still followed upon loss, and misfortune pressed upon misfortune. How unceasingly I have laboured, yet how reward at every turn has been withheld from me; — though basking in the sunshine of fame, honour, and distinction! — the favored associate of rank, wealth, and power! — my ambition fed! my pride pampered! my vanity flattered! — yet what privations have I suffered: how constantly have I wanted, not merely the comforts, but even the common necessaries of life, till sometimes despair has pressed upon my heart, and I have believed that Heaven and man, and even the very elements, were combined against me.
I now speak of these things not merely with tranquility, but with exultation; it is now made manifest to me, why I have suffered thus; I have been tried to the very uttermost extent which human strength, either mental or bodily, was capable of enduring, for the purpose of compelling me to undertake that sacred task, which I ought long ago to have undertaken without compulsion. Yet such was the timidity of my nature, in entering upon a task like this, so powerful my dread of the world’s ridicule, so much did I shrink at the idea of placing myself in a prominent and singular situation, as if to court notoriety, that though I have been convinced for a term of years, that I must ultimately undertake this task — though I have long felt, that if even the hand of death was upon me, that hand would be arrested, and I should be forced back upon the earth again to execute my mission, yet had I not been driven by absolute hopelessness, and a train of oppressions the most extraordinary, I should never, I fear, have had courage to appear at this tribunal.
When after many months of consultation and deliberation, I at length resolved upon the attempt; I sought for pecuniary assistance, but in vain, though every heart was kind, — though every voice was cheering, yet every hand seemed closed against me; and at last despairing of every hope from human aid, in an hour of faith, as firm as ever Abraham felt, unknown to any one, I took this chapel, relying on the mercies of God alone to aid, assist, and sustain me, and I have been sustained, as it should almost seem by miracle. Without friends, without aid, without assistance, without means! I have still been enabled to proceed, have been enabled to obtain all that was absolutely requisite to the furtherance of my plans, nor would I exchange my present situation and feelings, or forego my present toils, heavy as they are, to be made empress of the wide extended universe; yet I have still much to encounter, and much pecuniary difficulty to surmount, which I have incurred in this chapel, as the general receipts have been very inferior to the expences; nor do I think that the number of subscription seats which I have reserved to meet the contingent expences, will ever be sufficient, unless the morning congregation should bear some proportion to the evening one. But whether my expences are defrayed or not, I shall still proceed, and if I cannot obtain any aid, I must depend upon an increase of my own person exertions, to enable me to sustain whatever losses may attend my Sunday Service and Lectures. It is for this reason I have undertaken the Sacred, Moral, and instructive Readings, interspersed with vocal and instrumental music, every alternate Thursday, during Lent In addition to this exertion, I propose receiving pupils in Elocution.
But an immediate supply is most requisite, to preserve me from the pressure of extreme difficulty, and I venture, my friends, to make a proposition to you, for I think I may without presumption, or improper freedom, lay some little claims to your kindly services. I propose therefore publishing, by subscription, some of my Lectures; the first of which, as a prelude to the rest, will be the present Address. The second, my Introductory Essay, as delivered in this chapel, on the 2nd, 9th, and 16th of November last.
In furtherance of this plan, I solicit the favour of your influence and assistance among the various circle of your friends, but though I ask, I do not urge your assistance, and I will tell you wherefore — if it is the will of Providence that you are to be agents of service to aid me, you will be so, without ay urgent solicitation of mine, nay you will not even have the power to withhold that requisite assistance, if otherwise, no entreaties on my part will have any influence upon you, and I must still suffer inconvenience, and trust to my own incessant industry for means to enable me to proceed in the task of religious duty — a duty from which I shall never shrink while my faculties and the power of exertion remain.
I have long intruded upon your time, longer than perhaps I ought, but my mind is now relieved from a weight of anxiety and care, in the explanation which I have entered into, though only a partial and limited one — limited indeed yet I trust sufficiently extensive to remove all doubt as to the sincerity of my motives from the minds of my present hearers, and their opinions will influence others, so that doubts and misapprehensions may fade away like chaff before the wind. That such may be the case, I humbly pray, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to whom be attributed all honour, glory, and power, might, majesty and dominion, now and for ever more. Amen.
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of truth, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you now, and for ever more. Amen.
It may perhaps to some persons appear, that my assertion of a failure in the requisite expences of the chapel, is not strictly true, and indeed appearances, in some respects, authorise such a suspicion, for when we call to mind the crowds which used to throng to this chapel on a Sunday evening, and the hundreds that went from the door unable to obtain admittance, previous to the seats being enclosed, and when v voluntary contributions were received at the doors, it is not at all surprising that those contributions should be calculated infinitely above their amount; they have indeed been frequently guessed at double, tree, and even four times the sum. Perfectly well acquainted with the general operations of human nature, I was fully aware that this would be the case, and therefore took the precaution of having the contributions of each night counted in the presence of two, three, or more witnesses, so that the amount might be authenticated at any future day, without depending upon my single assertion.
When I reflect, how much imposition is practised in the world, I can neither be surprised, nor offended, that some degree of suspicion should fall upon me, but over the innocent head the shaft flies harmless, for it is easy to repel suspicion by candour. My accounts are open for investigation; the whole of the expenditure and receipts of the chapel shall be drawn out, for the inspection of any and all persons who may be desirous of proving my veracity to the uttermost, nor shall I feel offended at any questions, nor shrink from any security, however strict or severe; nay, I even court that scrutiny.
I have, however, many things to explain, many things which out to be explained, respecting the sort of licence for which I first solicited; — the opposition which was made to my obtaining that licence — the causes whence that opposition originated, and the nature of the licence by which I am not tolerated; — a toleration, which many assert, is founded upon a frail and uncertain tenure, and its durability limited: this is a mistake which I can easily rectify.
Some explanations are also requisite as to the general laws and regulations of churches and chapels, for many who visit the Lisle Street Chapel, murmur and consider themselves aggrieved, because the entire building is not at their command, whereas the present regulations of the chapel, in point of liberality, infinitely exceed the limit which the law prescribe; but the plan new, they know not what to think of its propriety, and are therefore in many instances unjust.
Every situation of novelty exposes the person, who is thus placed, to every species of wild and improbable conjecture.
Conjecture is for the most part erroneous; it is the foundation of much evil feeling, of much injustice and falsehood, and ought, therefore, at all times an din all places, to be removed if it is possible. Where there is a necessity for concealment ton the part of the person, who is the occasion of conjecture, then indeed, it is not easily removed;; but persons, who, like myself, are fearless and undaunted, in the full consciousness of their own integrity, have the power of removing conjecture, if they think proper to take the trouble of so doing. I do think proper to take that trouble, for I cannot conceive any toil or labour too great, which answers the double purpose of removing suspicion from our own conduct, and preventing our fellow creatures from committing error, in allowing them, by unwarrantable silence, a latitude for the indulgence of unworthy feeling.
But these requisite explanations cannot be made on a Sabbath day, for thought they belong to, and for m a part of my present duty, yet are they of a nature too worldly, too common place, to occupy any part of the Sabbath, or to be identified with the outward ceremonials of religion I therefore invite as may of my congregation and their friends as many think proper to attend, to a meeting in this chapel on Thursday, March 27th, either at twelve in the morning, or five in the afternoon, whichever may be most convenient. The doors will e opened at both those hours, to all visitors, whose curiosity may lade them thither. No ticket of admission, or contribution in any way will be requisite. At this meeting I shall be glad to hear any opinions, or listen to any suggestions of alterations or improvements, in my future regulations. Thought advice sometimes perplexes us, yet at other times it is of real service. The wise Solomon tell us that, “where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
New plans, like young plants, require training; a skilful gardener prune the wild branches as they spread, in order that his tree may attain perfection and beauty: so do all new plans require revision, alteration and improvement, to bring them to that standard of perfect propriety which is essentially requisite to fix them on a firm and immoveable basis.
Time brings all things to perfection, — a simple acorn, however insignificant in its appearance, is the foundation of the lofty oak, whose sturdy branches scarcely deign to bend before the northern blast. The most extensive cities occupy a space that was before vacant, perhaps barren and useless; the most splendid building, has one stone for its foundation, but by industry and perseverance, the pile is raised to magnificence and beauty.
Source: A Lecture Addressed to Her Congregation, and Delivered in Lisle Street Chapel, Sunday, February the 24th, 1828, by Miss Macauley, Stating the Motives of Her Present Undertaking; and Printed for the Express Purpose of Aiding to Recover the Arrears of Expences Which Have Been Incurred by Opening This Chapel for the Public Accommodation, (London: W. Glindon) 1828, pp. xxx-30.