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 4 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 4 of 126)
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trine of unconditional reprobation falling, and
infidility and the denial of future punishment
prevailing! Men thus going from one ex-
treme to the other, as they wish to lull con-
science to sleep, that they may go on in the
enjoyment of the world without disturbance :
but, oh ! would they wish to be deceived in a
dying hour?

] 17. I never felt the plague of a hard heart,
as I do of late, nor so much faith as I now
have that inbred corruptionwiW be done away,
and I filled with perfect peace, and enabled to
rejoice evermore.

118. I never felt the worth of souls so near
my heart as I do of late, and it seems as if I
could not give vent enough to it. Lord ! pros-
per my way, and keep me as under the hollow
of thy hand, for my trust is in thee.

119. October 20th. Satan pursues me from
place to place : oh ! how can people dispute
there being a devil ! If they underwent as
much as 1 do with his bufferings, they would
dispute it no more. He throwing in his fiery
darts, my mind is harrassed like punching the
body with forks and clubs. Oh ! that my
Savior would appear and sanctify my soul,
and deliver me from all within that is contrary
to parity.

120. 23d. I spoke in Hardwick to about four
hundred people, thence to Petersham and
Wenchendon, to Fitchburgh, and likewise to
Notown, where God gave me one spiritual
child. — Thence to Ashburnham, where we
had some powerful times.

121. November 1st. I preached in Ringe,
and a powerful work of God broke out shortly
after, though some opposition attended it ; but
it was very solemn.

122. Some here I trust will bless God in the
day of eternity, that ever they saw my face in
this vale of tears.

123. In my happiest moments I feel some-
thing that wants to be done away : oh ! the
buffetings of satan ! if I never had" any other
hell, it would be enough.

124. Thence to Marlborough, where our
meetings were not in vain.

125. Whilst I am preaching, T feel happy,
}" t as soon as I have done, I feel such horror.
I vithout guilt) by the buffetings of satan, that

am ready to sink like a drowning man, some-
imes to that decree, that I have to hold my
tongue between my teeth to keep from utter-
ins blasphemous expressions ; and can gel rid
of these horrible feelings only by retirement
in earnest prayer and exertion of faith in God.


126. From Marlborough, I went to Pack-
ersfield, and thence to Chesterfield, where I
had one seal of my ministry. Leaving New
Hampshire, I crossed into Vermont, and came
to Marlborough.

127. Thus I continued round my circuit
until I came to Belcher — a few evenings prev-
ious, I dreamed that a minister came and re-
proved me harshly, whilst I was preaching — in
this place it was fulfilled ; for a Baptist preach-
er accused me in the congregation of laying
down false doctrine : presently a Presbyterian
affirmed the same likewise ; because that I
said a Christian would not get angry.

128. Here also appeared some little fruit of
my labor, among which were some of my dis-
tant relations.

129. About this time I visited Mary Spald-
ing, who had been suddenly and miraculously
restored (as was said) from an illness which
had confined her to her bed about the space
of nine years. Her conversation was so pro-
fitable, that I did not grudge the journey
of several miles to obtain it. I found it to
strengthen my confidence in God : the account
was published in print, by a Presbyterian min-
ister, with her approbation.

130. On the 29th, I met P. Wagar, which
seemed to refresh my mind. I had to take up
a cross and preach before him : but, oh ! the
fear of man ! The next day I parted with
him and went on my way.

131. My discouragements were so great,
that I was ready to leave the circuit, and I
would think within myself, I will go to my
appointment to-day and then go off; but being
refreshed during the meeting, my drooping
spirits would be revived, and I would be en-
couraged to go to the next. Thus it would be,
day after day ; sometimes I was so happy,
and the times so powerful, I would hope •• the
winter was past and gone ;*' but soon it would
return again. Thus I went on, during the
three first months of the circuit ; at length, my
discouragements being so great, and inward
trials heavy, concluded to go farther into the
country and spend my time in the best manner
I could, about the neighborhood where my
sister lived.

132. December 15th, I rode fifteen miles to
Brattleborough. About this time on my way
I took a severe cold on my lungs, and almost
lost my voice. The next day my friends ad-
vised me not to go to any other appointments,
as they thought it presumption; but I feeling
impressed on my mind, could not feel con-
tent to disappoinl the people. Accordingly, in
the name of God, I set out in the hard snow
storm, and over the mountains, about ten miles,
and a solemn time we had. The storm still
continuing to increase, the snow had now
fallen about knee high, so that the mountains



were almost impassable by reason of snow,
steepness, miul and logs ; the people here
thought niy life would be endangered by the
falling of trees, or the extreme cold in the woods,
as there was no house for several miles, and
the wind blew exceeding hard : however, out
I set, relying upon the strong for strength.
The snow being driven in banks more than
belly deep, I frequently was obliged to alight
and stamp a path for my horse : and though
I was much wearied and chilled, yet by the
goodness of God, I arrived uX my appoinment,
fourteen miles. We had a good time, and I
did not begrudge my labor. I believe these
trials will be for my good, to qualify me for
future usefulness to others : and a secret con-
viction I feel, that if I prove faithful, God will
carry me through, and support me to see the
cause that should ensue.

133. After my arrival at my sister's I had
thoughts of spending my time principally in
study ; but feeling it my duty to call sinners
to repentance, I could not enjoy my mind con-
tented without travelling in the neighboring
towns, there being no Methodists in this part
of the world.

134. I went to Enfield several times duiing
my stay, (being first invited by a universalian)
by which there seemed to be some good done.
Here I received an invitation to fix my resi-
dence among them, as their stated preacher.
This was somewhat pleasing to nature, as by
which I could have ease and acquire wealth ;
an elegant new meeting house being also rea-
dy ; but something would not suffer me to
comply. — I still feeling it my duty to travel, I
went into Canaan, Lyme, Dorchester, Orford,
Hebron, New-Lebanon, Strafford, Tunbridge,
Chelsea, Hartford, with many other adjacent
towns : and the feather edge of prejudice re-
moved, and some few were awakened and
hopefully converted to God.

135. 1797, June 4th. Vershire in Vermont,
I met with N. Sncthen, who informed me that
he had seen /. Lee, and that I must come
down to the quarterly meeting ; and, said he,
" /. Lee disapproves of your travelling into so
many new places, and what will you do pro-
vided that he forbids your preaching ?" I told
him it did not belong to J. L. or any other man
to say whether I should preach or not, for
that was to be determined between God and
my own soul ; only it belonged to the Method-
ists to say whether I should preach in their
connexion ; but as long as I feel so impressed,
I shall travel and preach, God being my help-
er ; and as soon as I feel my mind released, I
intend to stop, let people say what they will.
But, said he, " What will you call yourself 1
the Methodists will not own you ; and if you
take that name, you'll be advertised in the
public papers as an impostor."' Said I, "I

shall call myself a friend to mankind." Oh !
said he, for the Lord's sake don't ; for you are
not capable of it — and not one of a thousand
is ; and if you do you'll repent it. I sunk in-
to a degree of gloominess and dejection — [ told
him I was in the hands of God. and felt sub-
missive ; so I bade him farewell and rode ten
miles on my way. The next day I rode fifty
miles to Charlestown, where I overtook /. Lee,
to my sorrow and joy * * * * * * * * * *
He mentioned some things, that if ever I trav-
elled I must get a new recommendation from
my native circuit, or else not offer myself to
conference again.

136. We then role to Orange quarterly
meeting ; but J. Lee forbade P. W. to employ
me any more, and then set off'.* I ran after
him and said, if you can get no text to preach
upon between now and conference, I give you
Genesis xl. 14, and then turned and ran, and •
saw him no more for some years, when we
met at Petersburg in Virginia.

137. 1 then returned home to my parents,
after an absence of eight months ; having
travelled more than four thousand miles,
through heat in the vallies, the scorching sun
beating down, and through cold upon the
mountains, and frequently whilst sleeping
with a blanket on the floor, where I could look
up and see the stars through the bark roof,
the frost nipping me so that I lost the skin
from my nose, hands and feet ; and from my
ears it peeled three times — travelling through
storms of rain and snow ; this frequently drift-
ed into banks, so that I had no path for miles
together, and was obliged at times to alight
and stamp a way for my horse for some rods ;
at other times being engaged for the welfare
of souls, after preaching in the dark evening,
would travel the chief part or the whole of the
night, journies from twenty to forty miles, to
get on to my next day's appointment ; preach-
ing from ten to fifteen times a week, and of-
ten-times no stranger to hunger and thirst in
these new countries; and though my trials
were great, the Lord was still precious to my
soul, and supported me through.

138. The preacher of Tolland circuit, (Evan
Rogers, who since hath turned churchman)
after some close and solemn conversation, ad-
vised me to preach in my native town, and
providing 1 could obtain a letter of recommenda-
tion concerning my preaching gifts as well as
my conduct, he saw no hindrance why I should
not be received at conference. The thought
was trying, the cross was great, to think of
preaching before my old acquaintances and
relations ; besides, my parents were opposed
to it, fearing how I should make out : how-
ever, there being no other way, and necessi-

* This was the fourth time I had been sent home.

I 22


tated thereto, the people flocked out from everv
quarter, and after my feeble manner I attempt-
ed to perform, and I obtained a credential by
the voice of the whole society ; which was ap-
proved of by the preachers at the quarterly
meeting; after which it was thought proper
to send me to Granville circuit.

139. During my stay at and about home,
though I went into several other places, not in
vain to some souls, yet my trials were very great,
so that many almost whole night's sleep depart-
ed from me ; I walked the floor and woods weep-
ing, until I could weep no more, and wringing
my hands until they felt sore. When I was
in the north country, being under strong tern p-
lations to end my life, I went down to a river
to do it, but a thought of futurity darted into
my mind ; the value of my soul ! oh ! Eternitv.
I promised and resolved that if God would
grant me strength to resist the temptation, and
see my native land in peace, that I would dis-
charge my duty to my friends ; which he did,
and now my promise began to stare me in the

140. I felt it my duty to visit from house to
house ; but the cross was so heavy, I strove
to run round it ; but the thorns beside the way
scratched me : and to take up one end of the
cross it dragged hard ; here the old temptation
returned so powerful, that I durst not go from
one appointment to another alone, nor with-
out one to go with me, and sometimes to sleep
in the same room, lest I should end myself at
night; and for the ease and enjoyment of my
mind, I was necessitated and did visit about
sixty different families, and then set offto Gran-
ville circuit, under the care of Sylvester Hutch-
inson, with Smith Weeks and Joseph, Mitchell.
Weeks was at first unwilling I should come
on the circuit, fearing how I would make out,
but seeing I was under trials, consented : ac-
cordingly I went round until I came to Suffield.
Upon my entering the neighborhood, falling
into conversation with an old man, he invited
me to hold a meeting at his house : accordingly
I appointed to preach to the youth in the
evening; and went to my other appointment
not far off. The man of this house shut his
door and would entertain no more meetings.
This was a trial to me, not knowing what the
society would do for a place to meet in.

141. When I began to meditate what I
should say to the youth, I could think of no
subject, and felt distressed, and was sorry I
b;nl made I lie appointment.

1 42. I withdrew to a field to srek help from
the Lord; but 1 felt as if all the powers of
darkness were combined and compassed me

143. When 1 saWthe people began to col-
lect, I thought I would have given the whole
world if I possessed it, that the meeting had

not been appointed, but as it was now given
out, and circumstances being as they were, I
durst do no other than go to the house ; I
went with this burthen to the house, and
by an impression spoke ironically from the
words of Solomon, which mightily pleased
the youth at first. My burthen was soon gone ;
the power of God seemed to overshadow the
people, as I turned the discourse upon the
judgment which the youth must be brought
into : and one of the ringleaders was cut to
the heart, and brought to seek God. Here a
good work broke out, and where about thirty
or forty used to attend, now the congregation
was increased to hundreds, and this wilderness
seemed to bud and blossom as the rose.

144. In Northampton a society was collect-
ed likewise, though Methodists had not preach-
ed there before.

145. August 6th, after preaching in Con-
way, I went to Buckland : and when the
people saw my youth, and were disappointed
of the preacher they expected, they despised
me in their hearts. However, God made bare
his arm, and I have reason to believe that
about thirty persons were stirred up to seek
God from this day.

146. The year past was remarkable for very
many persons complaining of uncommon trials
of mind from the enemy of souls, and scarcely
any revival to be heard of either in Connecti-
cut, Massachusetts, or the upper part of New

147. The flame kindled and ran into several
neiudihoring towns, and some hundreds of
souls professed to experience the forgiveness
of their sins.

148. A great deal of opposition, both from
preachers and people, Baptists and Presbyter-
ians, were in this quarter; professing to be
friends to God and truth, whilst to us they
were secret enemies; seeking to get people
converted to their way of thinking, and prose-
lyted to their denomination.

149. I dreamed one night, that I saw a field
without end, and a man and boy striving to
gather in the corn, whilst thousands of birds
were destroying it. I thought there was such
a necessity for the corn to be gathered, that
let the laborers work ever so hard, the labor
would not wear out their strength until the
han esl was past.

150. This dream encouraged me to go on
in this work, and in the space of twenty-two
days, I travelled three hundred and fifty miles,
ami preached seventy-six times: besides visit-
ing some from house to house, and speaking
to hundreds in class-meetings. In several
other places, there was a good revival like-
wise. At the quarterly meeting, I obtained a
certificate, concerning my usefulness and
conduct here, and as S. Hutchinson thought



not proper to take all the preachers to confer-
ence, concluded to leave me to help the rivi-
vals, and that he would there transact my busi-
ness for me, so I gave him my dismission from
Rhode Island, and my two last recommenda-
tions to carry into conference.

151. September 19th. Conference began in
Wilbraham : my case was brought forward,
to determine whether I should be admitted on
trial to preach, or sent home, or expelled.

152. /. Lee, and several others, of whom
some were strangers to my person, took up
hard against me, from say and hearsay ; and
only one at first espoused my cause, (this was
Joseph Mitchell, with whom I had travelled
these la~>t few weeks.) after some time a se-
cond joined him. The debate was sharp and
lasted for about three hours : when Mitchell
and Bortwick could say no more, but sat down
and wept ; which seemed to touch the hearts
of some : at length, it being put to the vote
whether I should travel or not ; about two-
thirds of the conference were in my favor.
All that saved me, in this conference, from an
expulsion, was the blessing which had attend-
ed my labors ; but still those who were against
me would not suffer me to be admitted on trial,
nor my name printed in the minutes. One
said, if they acknowledged me fit to travel, why
nnt my name be put on the minutes'? if he be
fit for one, why not for the other, &c. So I
was given into the hands of S. Hutchinson, to
employ me or send me home, as he should think
fit. He sent me a message to meet him on
Long Island, which I never received in time to
go : and the first preacher, (Daniel Bromley,)
who came to me after conference, I asked
what had the conference done with me. He
replied, they have done by you, as they have
done by me ; what's that'? said I. He replied,
they have stationed me on this circuit — and
that was all that I could get out of him con-
cerning the matter ; only he ordered me to
take his appointments round the circuit, whilst
he should go to see his friends, until he should
meet me again. Accordingly I set out to go
round the circuit. — I had been on my way but
a day or two, before I came to places where
the preachers, on their way from conference,
had been, and told the accusations against me,
and my rejection. Thus it was, day after day :
people telling me the same story.

153. From this circumstance, as the confer-
ence had given me no station, and Hutchinson 's
message not reaching me, I concluded I should
be sent home again ; as I had no license ac-
cording to discipline, which one must have, if
his name is not printed in the minutes.

154. My trials were great; I was afraid I
should become insane ; and seeing no chance
for my life, I publicly gave up the name of
Methodist, and assigned the reason why, viz.

because the preachers would not receive me,
as a brother to travel with them, &c, and was
resolved to set out for some distant part of
America, out of sight and hearing of the Me-
thodists, and get societies formed, and the next
year come and offer myself and them to the
connexion, and take this method to get my
character established ; for J. Lee had said, if
I attempted to travel in the name of a Method-
ist, without their consent, he would advertise
me in every paper on the continent, &c, for an

155. But now arose a difficulty from another
quarter ; I had lost my great coat on the road
whilst travelling, and my coat was so worn
out that I was forced to borrrow one ; my
shoes were unfit for further service, and I had
not a farthing of money to help myself with,
and no particular friends to look to for assist-
ance. Thus one day whilst riding along, fac-
ing a hard, cold, northeast storm, very much
chilled, I came to a wood ; and alighting from
my horse and falling upon my knees on the
wet grass ; I lifted up my voice and wept, and
besought God either to release me from travel-
ing and preaching, or else to raise me up friends.
My soul was refreshed ; my confidence was
strengthened, and I did believe that God would
do one or the other : and true it was : people
a few days after this, of their own accord,
supplied all my necessities, and gave me a few
shillings to bear my expenses.

156. Jeremiah Ballard, whom I had esteem-
ed as a pious man, was expelled at the Wil-
braham conference, and as he represented it
to me, it was unjustly ; he went with me to
the north, and a number of places he saw,
with me, the out-pouring of God's spirit : he
was minded to form societies, and call our-
selves by the name of Separate Methodists. I
told him, no ; for God did own the Methodists,
and of course I durst not do any thing to their
injury. This caused a separation between him
and me : he formed societies on his own plan,
and afterwards I saw him no more ; but by
what I could learn, he and his people differed,
and then he and some of them removed off to
the western country. It appears that the con-
ference was under the necessity of excluding
him for a foolish thing ; as he would show no
humility, but stubborn impenitence. ! how
blessed is the spirit of meekness.

157. I accordingly left the circuit and set
off for the north : I had not gone far till I came
to Deerfield river : in riding through which,
the cakes of ice going down the stream, had
like to have cost me my life ; but this did not
discourage me ; I still went on my way, up-
wards of an hundred miles, till I came to the
town of Windsor, in Vermont; where God
poured out his Spirit, and several were turned
to him. I thought it not my duty to leave the



young converts to the devouring wolves, bul
to tarry and strengthen them for a season ;
and whilst here wrote back to some of my old
friends, who told the preachers where I was
and what I was about: who wrote requesting
me to come back to a quarterly meeting. At
first I concluded not to go ; thinking what
should they want but to scold me ; but feeling
it impressed upon my mind in a powerful man-
ner, one evening, after holding two meetings,
I called for my horse, and set out from Clare-
mont, and continued travelling twenty-five
hours, excepting the times of baiting my horse,
during which space, I rode about an hundred
and seventeen miles, and got back to Conway
on my old circuit ; from hence, I proceeded to
Buckland, where was held the quarterly meet-
! ing — and met the preachers, wishing to know
what they wanted with me.

158. Hutchinson began to be very crabby
and cross, seemingly at first, in his questioning
me why I went away 1 I assigned him as the
reason, because that I had no chance for my
life. Why, said he, did you not receive the
message I sent you, to come to me ? I replied,
no ; (not until it was too late, &c.) which I
could hardly persuade him to believe at the
iirst .

159. L. Macombs asked, what I came back
for 1 I told him, I was sent for, and I came
to see what they wanted of me. — Said he,
what do you intend to do 1 I replied, I ex-
pected to go back to the north ; then he and
Hutchinson went and talked together. I was
sorry I had gone away, after I had found out
the mistake, and Hutchinson's friendship for
me : accordingly in answer to a query which
was proposed, viz. what satisfaction can you
make ? I replied, that I was willing to ac-
knowledge that I was sorry, but not guilty, as
I did it in sincerity, not hearing soon enough
of his message : which acknowledgment I
made, first, in quarterly conference, before
about thirty preachers, leaders, and stewards,
with exhorters, and then he required it in a
public assembly of about eight hundred people.

160. After which, I travelled several days,
in company with S. Hutchinson, who was go-
ing to take me to Cambridge circuit ; and on
the way, sai I lie. -the conference have had. a
great deal of talk and trouble concerning you,
and now you arc under my care, and you shall
live or ilic at the end of three months : if you
an' faithful and your labors blest, so that von
can obtain a recommendation from the circuit,
all shall be well ; but if not. you shall die.

161. After reaching the circuit, a saying 1
remembered, viz. you had as good be hanged
for stealing an old sheep as a lamb, and lull-
ing the peojile in a very low state of religion,
I was convinced that nothing but a revival
could save my life; I was therefore resolved

to Jo my endeavors to get a revival or else to
get the circuit broke up. So I went a visiting
the people, from house to house, all denomi-
nations, that were in the neighborhood, and
where there was freedom, to exhort them col-
lectively or individually, as I felt in my mind,

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 4 of 126)