Lorenzo Dow.

The dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete online

. (page 3 of 126)
Online LibraryLorenzo DowThe dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete → online text (page 3 of 126)
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the door.

62. At the dawn of day, I arose and with-
drew to the wilderness to weep and mourn

before God : at length the light of his counte-
nance shined into my soul, and I felt humble
under his mighty hand ; willing to become
any thing as God should see fit.

63. Ab( ut this time, I made known to my
parents the exercise of my mind, which prev-
iously 1 had kept from them : they imme-
diately began to oppose me in this thing ; and
advised me to reject it by all means, concluding
it to be a temptation, as it appeared to them
an impossibility, that I should be called to
such a work as this; which apparently I could
not fulfil.

1 795, July 16th. Last night, the hand of the
Lord was heavy upon me — I was much afflict-
ed in body and mind — in body, by the want
of breath, so that I was scarcely able to exist,
(by reason of my asthmatical disorder) — in
mind, by much heaviness ; whilst the enemy
suggested, " you will never go forward in
public, because of the weakness of your body
and the violence of your disorder ; and you
are deluded by that impression which you
think is from God : besides, none will equip
you out, and you will one day perish by the
hand of Saul." Here my faith was greatly
tried, for I saw no way for my equipment,
unless the hand of the Almighty should inter-
pose ; for my parents had hinted already that
they would neither give their consent nor as-
sistance ; my discouragements therefore became
exceedingly great.

64. August 4th. I feel tried and tempted by
the world, the flesh, and the devil, and if I
think of pursuing any other course of life but
that of preaching, I sink into horror and find
no peace in any other way.

65. 22d. About this time, my mind was
much exercised concerning the doctrines of
unconditional election and final perseverance.
I dreamed that I saw Adam and Eve in the
garden of Eden, and God, after talking to them
as written in Genesis, said, I shall be faithful
on my part ; and it depends upon your being
faithful to the end, to receive a crown of glory :
but if you are not faithful you will be exposed
to the damnation of hell, and then said to me,
write these things, for they are true and faith-

66. October 28th, being greatly pressed in
spirit, for a number cf days, to know my
father's will ; whether (provided a door was
opened) he would give his consent for me to
go out to travel, or whether he would with-
hold me by his authority, when I think the
time is come that I should go. He said, I shall
not hinder you : only give you my old advice,
not to harbor the thought, and I shall not give
you any help. I told him I did not desire any
help, only liberty of conscience. I concluded
that my father thought that some persons and
not God had raised such thoughts in my mind,



which occasioned him to restrain me, so I told
him if this was the case, that he judged the
matter wrong.

67. November 9th, being again tried in my
mind with regard to preaching ; fearing lest I
should run too fast or too slow, and querying
from what quarter my impression came. I
dreamed that I was walking in the solitary
woods beside a brook, and saw a beautiful
stalk about eight feet high : from the middle
and upwards, it was covered with beautiful
seeds. I heard a voice over my heal, saying
to me, " shake the stalk that the seeds may
fall off, and cover them up : the seed will be
of great value to some, though not to thyself,
but thou shalt receive thy reward hereafter."

68. I shook the stalk and beautiful speck-
led red seed fell off, and I covered them up
with earth and rotten leaves, and went on my
way to serve the Lord.

69. Some time after. I thought I was there
again, and saw a large number of partridges
or pheasants that had been scratching up a
groat part of the seed. I discovered them and
was very sorry, and went and drove them
away: and watched it to keep them away,
that the remainder, with my nourishing, might
bring forth fruit to perfection.

70. Then I thought I began to preach, and
immediately awaked, when the parable of the
sower came strongly into my mind.'

71. 19th. My mind has been buffetted and
greatly agitated (not tempted in the common
sense of the Avord) so that my sleep departed
from me, and caused me to walk and wring
my hands for sorrow. Oh, the corruption of
wicked nature! I feel the plague of an hard
heart, and a mind prone to wander from God ;
something within which has need to be done
away, and causes a burthen, but no guilt, and
from which discouragements frequently arise
tending to slacken my hands.

72. I dreamed that I saw a man in a con-
vulsion fit, and his countenance was expres-
sive of hell. I asked a by-stander what made
his countenance look so horrible — said he,
" the man was sick and relating his past ex-
perience, his calls from time to time, and his
promises to serve God ; and how he had broke
them; and now. said he, 1 am sealed over to
eternal damnation, and instantly the convul-
sion seized him." This shocked me so much
that I instantly awake I, and seemingly the
man was before my eyes.

I dropp ■ I a leep again, and thought 1 saw
all mankind in the air suspended by a brittle
thread over hell, yet in a stale of carnal secu-
rity. T thought it to be my duty to tell them
of it, and again awaked : and these words
wen' applied to my mind with power: "there
is a dispensation of the gospel committed unto
you, and woe unto you if you preach not the

gospel.'' I strove to turn my mind on some-
thing else, but it so strongly followed me that
I took it as a warning from God ; and in the
morning to behold the beautiful sun 1
and shine into the window, whilst these words
followed — " and unto you that fear my nan:".
shall the Sun of Righteousness arise, with
healing in his wings." Oh ! how happy I felt :
the help of kings and priests is vain without
the help of God.

73. December 31st, the year is now at a
close, I see what I have passed through, and
what is to come the ensuing year, God only
knows; hut may the God of peace be with
me ; and grant me strength in proportion to
my clay, that I may endure to the end. and re-
ceive the crown of life. I felt my heart drawn
to travel the world at large, but to trust God
by faith (like the birds) for my daily bread,
was difficult, as my strength was small, and I
shrunk from it.

74. 1796. January 7th, I received a mes-
sage, with orders from C. Spry, the circuit
preacher, to go to Tolland to the brethren
there, for a few days, that he might get some
knowledge of my gifts : this visit caused some
opposition. Afterwards, I was directed to go
and meet L. Macombs, a preacher on New-
London circuit, who after two days constrain-
ed me to part with him, so I turned and went
to East-Hartford, (having my brother-in-law's
horse with me :) in this place I attended sev-
eral meetings— from thence to Ellington, where
I met C. Spry — who directed me to fulfil three
of his appointments, (Warehouse-point, East-
Windsor, and Wapping.) at one of which,
whilst speaking, I was taken suddenly ill,
even to the losing of my sight and strength,
so I was constrained to give over.

75. 15th. I rode near forty miles to Munson
and met JV. Snethen, with whom I travelled
through his appointments a few days, when
he likewise constrained me to part with him,
after giving me the following hints : — "You
are hut eighteen years of age ; you are too
important, and you must be more humble, and
hear and not be heard so much ; keep your own
station, for by the time that you arrive at the
age of twenty-one years, you will see where-
in you have missed it — you had better, as my
advice, to learn some easy trade, and be still
for two or three years yet : for your bodily
health will not admit of your becoming a trav-
elling preacher at present; although, consider-
ing your advantages, your gifts are better than
mine when I first set out to preach, nut it is
my opinion that you will not be received at
the next conference.''

76. 19th. 1 feel gloomy and dejected, hut
the worth of souls lies near my heart : OLord!
increase my faith, and prepare my way.

77. After travelling several days and hold-



ing a few meetings, I attended the quarterly
meeting at Wilbranam : C. Spry hinted that
there were many scruples in his mind with
regard to my travelling ; as many thought my
health and behavior were not adequate to it.

78. February 5th, I set out for home, and
in the town of Somers, I missed my road and
got lost in a great wilderness, and the snow
being about two feet deep, on which was a
sharp icy crust ; after some time, as the path
divided into branches, so that I could not dis-
tinguish one plainer than another, and those
extending over the woods in all directions for
the purpose of getting ship timber, I went
round and round about, till I was chilled with
cold, and saw nothing but death before me —
at a distance I could see a village, but could
discern no way to get to it, neither could I find
the passage out, by which I entered ; and
night drawing on, no person can tell my feel-
ings, except one who has been in a similar
situation. I at last heard a sound, and by fol-
lowing it perhaps about half a mile or more,
found a man driving a team, who gave me a
direction so that I could find a foot-path made
by some school-boys, by which I might hap-
pen to get through : towards this I proceeded,
and by means of leaping my horse over logs,
frequently stamping a path for the horse
through the snow banks, with much difficulty
made my way, and late at night got to my
brother-in-law's, in Tolland, and the next day
went home, and my soul was happy in God.
I am glad that I went, although there was
great opposition against me on every side ; I
am every where spoken evil of, &c. I feel
the worth of souls to lie near my heart, and
my duty still to be to preach the gospel ;
with a deteiinination to do so, God being my

79. 20th. I dreamed, that in a strange house
as I sat by the fire, a messenger came in and
said, there are three ministers come from Eng-
land, and in a few minutes will pass by this
way. I followed him out, and he disappeared.
I ran over a wood-pile and jumped upon a log,
to have a fair view of them ; presently three
men came over a hill from the west towards
me ; the foremost dismounted : the other two,
one of whom was on a white horse, the other
on a reddish one ; both with the three horses
disappeared. I said to the first, who are you'?
He replied, John Wesley, and walked towards
the east \ he turned round and looking me in
the face, said, God has called you to preach
the gospel ; you have been a long time be-
tween hope and fear, but there is a dispensa-
tion of the gospel committed to you. AVoe
unto you, if you preach not the gospel,

80. I was struck with horror and amaze-
ment, to think how he should know the exer-
cise of my mind, when I knew he had never

heard of me before ! I still followed him to
the eastward, and expressed an observation
for which he with his countenance reproved
me, for the better improvement of my time.
At length we came to a log house where ne-
groes lived, the door being open, he attempted
twice to go in, but the smoke prevented him,
he said, you may go in, if you have a mind,
and if not, follow me. I followed him a few
rods, where was an old house two stories high,
in one corner of which, my parents looked
out at a window ; and said they to him, ' L Who
are you ?" He replied, John Wesley ; Well,
said they, what becomes of doubting Chris-
tians 1 He replied, there are many serious
Christians who are afraid of death. They
dare not believe they are converted, for fear of
being deceived ; and they are afraid to disbe-
lieve it, lest they should grieve the Spirit of
God, so they live and die and go into the other
world, and their souls to heaven with a guard
of angels. I then said, will the day of judg-
ment come as we read, and the sun and moon
fall from heaven, and the earth and works be
burnt? To which he answered: "It is not
for you to know the times and seasons, which
God hath put in his own power, but read the
word of God with attention, and let that be
your guide."

81. I said, Are you more than fifty-five?
He replied, do you not remember reading an
account of my death, in the history of my
life ? I turned partly round, in order to con-
sider, and after I had recollected it, I was
about to answer him, yes ; when I looked,
and behold he was gone, and I saw him no
more. It set me to shaking and quaking to
such a degree, that it waked me up.

82. N. B. The appearance of his person
w r as the very same as him who appeared to
me three times in the dream when I was about
thirteen years of age, and who said that he
would come to me again, &c.

83. March 14th, about this time, my uncle
made me the offer of a horse, to wait a year
for the payment, provided I would get bonds-
men : four of the society willingly offered. !
from what an unexpected quarter was this
door opened ! My parents seeing my way
thus beginning to open, and my resolution to
go forward ; with loving entreaties and strong
arguments strove to prevail against it. Bu.
as they promised sometime before not to re-
strain me by their authority, in case a door
should open from another quarter, (they not
expecting it would,) and seeing they could not
prevail upon me to tarry, they gave up the
point — and gave me some articles of clothing,
and some money for my journey.

84. Not having as yet attempted to preach
from a text, but only exercised my gifts in
the way of exhortation, I obtained a letter of



recommendation concerning my moral conduct :
this was all the credentials I had.

About the 10th of last month, I dreamed
that C. Spry received a letter from Jesse Lee.
that he wanted help in the province of Maine,
and that the said C. S. and L. Macombs con-
cluded to send me. N. B. These were the
two preachers who afterwards signed the
abovementioned letter of recommendation.

85. 1796, March 30th. This morning early
1 set out for Rhode Island, in quest of /. Lee,
who was to attend a quarterly meeting there —
as I was coming away we joined in prayer,
taking leave of each other, and as I got on my
road I looked about and espied my mother
looking after me until I got out of sight ; this
caused me some tender feelings afterwards.

86. Until this time, I have enjoyed the com-
forts of a kind father's house: and oh! must
I now become a wanderer and stranger upon
earth until I get to my long home !

87. During this day's journey, these words
of our Lord came into my mind : " the foxes
have holes, and the birds of the air have nests.
hut the Son of man hath not where to lay his

88. The language of my heart is ; what is
past T know; what is to come I know not.
Lord ! bless me in the business I am set out
upon. I feel more than ever that God has
called me to this work.

89. April 1st. Upon my arrival at Cranston
in Rhode Island, I found that J. Lee was gone
to Boston : I accordingly set out after him and
found the preachers' boarding house in Boston,
and they told me that Lee had gone to the
east, and that I could not overtake him short
of two or three hundred miles, and their ad-
vice was to go to Warren in Rhode Island with
Thomas Coope, a native of Manchester, who
was goinoj to set out that afternoon — accord-
ingly I joined him in company thirty-six miles,
to East-Town.

90. Sunday 3d. This day, for the first time,
I gave out a text before a Methodist preacher,
ami 1 being voung both in years and ministry,
the expectations of many were raised, who did
not bear with my weakness and strong doc-
trine, but judged me very hard, and would not
consent that I should preach there any more
for some time.

91. Having travelled a few days with T. C.
we came to Reynham, where attempting to
preach I was seized with sudden illness, such
as affected me at Warehouse-point, with the

I loss of sight and strength, so that I was con-
strained to give over, and T. C. finished the
meeting — after which, lots were cast to see
whether I should pass the sabbath here, or go
to East-town — it turned up for me to tarry
here, which I accordingly did, and held three
meetings, which were solemn.

92. I met T. C. who said, if I was so mind-
ed I might return home ; which I declining, he
said, c: I do not believe God has called you to
preach." I asked him, why ? He replied, 1st,
your health — 2nd, your gifts — 3rd. your grace
— 4th, your learning — 5th. sobriety — in these
you are not equivalent to the task. I replied,
enough ! — Lord ! what am I but a poor worm
of the dust, struggling for life and happiness.*

93. The time now drawing near when I ex-
pected to leave these parts, the society where
I first attempted to give out a text, desired to
hear me again ; and contrary to my entreaties,
T. C. appointed and constrained me to go,
threatening me if I refused — According] v I
went and gave out these words. '-Am I there-
fore become your enemy, because I tell you
the truth." Gal. i v. 16.

94. June 30th. I rode twenty-four miles and
preached once, and saw J. Lee, the presiding
elder, who had just returned from the east — I
gave him my recommendation.

95. July 3rd. This evening, our quarterly
meeting being over, from the representation
that was given of me by T. C. I received a
dismission from the circuit, with orders to go
home, which was as follows :

96. "We have had brother Lorenzo Dow.
the bearer hereof, travelling on Warren cir-
cuit, these three months last past. In several
places he was liked by a great many people ;
at other places, he was not liked so well, and
at a few places they were not willing he
should preach at all : we have therefore thought
it necessary to advise him to return home for
a season, until a further recommendation can
be obtained from the society and preachers of
that circuit. John Yanimax,

Jesse Lee, Elder. Thomas Coope.

Rhode Island, July 3rd, 1797.

To C. Spry, and the Methodists in

96. The time has been when I could easier
have met death than this discharge — two or
three handkerchiefs were soon wet through
with tears: my heart was broke, I expostu-
lated with them, and besought him for farther
employment ;— but apparently in vain. The
next morning, as we were about parting;, he
said, if you are minded, you may come to
Greemcich quarterly meeting, next Sunday, on
your way home.

97. This- evening I preached in Greeinrtrh
court house, as, I once dreamed, and the as-
sembly and place looked natural to me.

98. After travelling through Sepatchet,
Smithfidd, (in which I formed a class for the
first time.) Providence, and Wickford, where
attending a prayer meeting among the Baptists,

* He since is expelled the connexion.



I asked liberty to speak, which seemed to give
them a surprise, and after some time, they said,
if I had a message from God, they had no
right to hinder me. I spoke a few minutes,
to their attention, and their leader seemed sa-
tisfied, and bid me God speed.

99. From thence to South Kingston, I set
oat for my native town ; to which I arrived,
and met my friends who were glad to see me.

100. My parents asked me whether I was
not convinced that I did wrong in going 1 I
told them no : but was glad : others began to
mock, and cry out, this man began to build,
and was not able to finish.

101. After a few days, I set out for Gran-
ville, to meet C. Spry, who gave me a written
license., and orders to come to the ensuing
quarterly meeting at Enfield, where he would
give me a credential for the conference ; and
if I was so minded, and brother' Cankey will-
ing, I might travel Tolland circuit until that

102. But as the circuit extended through
my native town, I thought proper to forbear,
and set off for Hanover, in the State of New
Hampshire, to see my sister, whom I had not
seen for about five years. But /. Lee coming
to town next day, lodged at a house where I
had inquired the road, and they informed him
of me : he sent for me, and querying me whe-
ther I still preached, and by what authority,
and what I came there for — showed his dis-
approbation at my coming hither, and then
we parted.

103. I tarried a few days and held several
meetings, and for the time met with no small
trials of mind and opposition from without,
and then returned to Connecticut, fulfilling
several appointments by the way.

104. I went twenty-eight miles to Enfield
quarterly meeting for my credential, and C.
Spry sent me to Z. Cankey, who could not
give it to me according to discipline ; he sent
me back to S. and he again to Z. C. several
times ; but at length Z. C. said, have you not
a written license ?- —J told him yes, to preach :
said he, that is as good as a recommendation
to the conference, which I believed, though
C. Spry knew that according to the letter of
the discipline I could not be received with
this, yet he told me to attend the conference.

105. September 20th. Conference came on
in the town of Thompson, and I passed the
examination by the bishop before them : and
after some conversation in the conference, T.
Coope, J. Lee, and N. Snethen, bore hard
upon me after I had been sent out of the room :
and those who were friendly to me durst say
but little in my favor ; so I was rejected and sent
home, they assigning as the reason, the want of
a written credential, though the greatest part
of them were personally acquainted with me.

106. This so affected me that I could take
no food for thirty-six hours.

107. After my return home, still feeling it
my duty to travel, I accordingly resolved to set
off the next Monday ; but Philip Wagar, who
was appointed for Orange circuit, being in
Tolland, sent for me, and I went twelve miles
to see him.

108. After that he had criticised and exam-
ined my credentials, he concluded to take me
on his circuit. I accordingly got prepared,
and bidding my friends farewell for a season,
met him in West-Windsor.

109. Some weeks ago, whilst I was in
Rhode Island, being troubled with the asthma-
tical disorder, I was necessitated to sit up some
nights for the want of breath ; but at length
lying down on the carpet, I found that I could
sleep and breathe easy.

110. Accordingly, I was resolved to try the
experiment until the fall of the year, which I
did without much trouble. But September
27th, being on my way with P. Wagar, he
said the people would despise me for my lodg-
ing, and it would hurt my usefulness: and
accordingly he insisted upon my lying in bed
with him, he thinking it was a boyish notion
that made me lie on the floor.

111. To convince him to the reverse, I went
to bed, but was soon much distressed for want
of breath, and constrained to arise and sit up
all night. After which, I would be persuaded
to try the bed no more. After travelling with
him a few days into the state of New York,
he gave me a direction when and where to
take the circuit. I travelled to New Lebanon,
where I saw one who experienced religion
about the time that I did, and our meeting in
this strange land was refreshing to our souls.

112. Monday, October 10th. I rode twenty
miles to Adams, and thence to Stanford : at
these places we had refreshing seasons.

113. Wednesday 12th. I rode thirty miles
across the Green Mountains, in fifteen of which
there was not a sign of a house, and the road
being new, it frequently was almost impassa-
ble : however I reached my appointment, and
though weary in body, my soul was happy in

114. From Halifax I went to Guilford, and
in entering a chamber where the people were
assembled, it appeared natural to me, as
though I had seen it before, and brought a
dream to my remembrance, and so overcome
me that I trembled and was obliged to retire for
some minutes. In this meeting, three persons
were stirred up to seek God.

115. Leaving the state of Vermont, I cross-
ed Connecticut river, and through Northfield
to Warwick, Massachusetts, where we had a
refreshing season.

116. Thence I went to Orange, and t reach-

el in the Presbyterian meeting house, the
clergyman having left the town. Being this
day nineteen years old, I addressed myself to
the youth. I spent a few days here, and
though meeting with some opposition, we had
refreshing seasons. Oh ! how fast is the doc-

Online LibraryLorenzo DowThe dealings of God, man, and the devil : as exemplified in the life, experience, and travels of Lorenzo Dow, in a period of over half a century: together with his polemic and miscellaneous writings, complete → online text (page 3 of 126)