One of many books I am reading at present is a Book of London Stories which includes a piece by
one James Lackington. It begins with an interestiing reference to a book by Philip Doddridge.
A Friend of mine, of whose veracity I entertain the highest opini|on, has favoured me with an account of a lady, who has to the full as much, indeed more of the spirit, but without the good|nature of Nancy Lackington. The fact is as follows: "'Tis true 'tis pity: and pity 'tis it's true." Mr. R—t, a genteel tradesman with whom I am acquainted, having lost his second wife early in 1790, courted and married one of the holy sisters a few months after|wards. They had lived together about six months, when Mr. R—t, one Sunday, be|ing a sober religious man, took down Dod|dridge's Lectures, and began to read them to his wife and family. But this holy sis|ter found fault with her husband for reading such learned rational discourses, which fa|voured too much of human reason and vain Page 156 philosophy, and wished he would read something more spiritual and edifying. He attempted to convince her that Dr. Dod|dridge was not only a good rational divine, but to the full as spiritual as any divine ought to be; and that to be more spiritual he must be less rational, and of course be|come fanatical and visionary. But these observations of the husband so displeased his spiritual wife, that she retired to bed, and left her husband to read Doddridge's Lec|tures as long as he chose to his children by a former wife. The next morning while Mr. R—t was out on business, this holy sister, without saying one syllable to any person, packed up all her clothes, crammed them into a• hackney coach, and away she went. Mr. R—t, poor soul! on coming home disco|vered his immense loss, and in an almost frantic state, spent the first fortnight in fruit less attempts to discover her retreat.
Lackington was a bookseller. Here his target is an unrealistic and overdone spirituality. He is not happy either with the other exteme. which also existed among the late 18th century Methodists.