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Lorenzo Dow

Discussion in 'Baptists' started by SumTinWong, Oct 12, 2004.

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  1. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    If you have never heard of the Lorenzo Dow stories, get ready for a treat. This near mythical preacher who was around the country in the 19th century has got some pretty fantastic tales associated with him.

    So I am going to open this up to see if you all have heard of any fantastic stories as well. Feel free to chat on any of them as they sure are fun to think about and discuss :)

    The First Story is called: "How Lorenzo Dow Raised the Devil"

    Once there was this crazy preacher named Lorenzo Dow who was travelling in the northern part of Vermont, when he got caught in a terrible snowstorm. He managed to make his way to the only light he could see. After repeated knocking at the door of the humble log house, a woman opened it. He asked if he could stay the night. She told Dow her husband was not home and she could not take in a stranger. But he pleaded with her and she reluctantly let him in. He immediately went to bed, without removing his clothing, in a corner of the room separated from the main living quarters only by a rude partition with many cracks in it.

    After he had slept for just a short time, the preacher was awakened by the sounds of giggling and whispering from the main room. Peering through a crack in the partition, he saw that his hostess was entertaining a man not her husband! No sooner had he taken this in, when Dow heard a man's drunken voice shouting and cursing outside the front door, and demanding to be let in. Before admitting her husband (for it was he, returned unexpectedly), the wife motioned her lover to hide in the barrel of tow, a coarse flax ready for spinning, beside the fireplace. Once inside, the suspicious husband quickly sensed that his wife had not been alone, and demanded to know who else was in the house. When the quick-witted wife told him about the Rev. Dow, sleeping in the corner, he was not satisfied. After all, he was not so drunk that he would take his wife's word for the identity of the houseguest.

    "Well, now," roared the husband, "I hear tell that parson Dow can raise the devil. I think I'd like to see him do it -- right here and now." Before the devil could shut up her boisterous husband, he had pulled the famous preacher from his bed, where he had pretended to be sound asleep. "Rev'rend," he bellowed, "I want you to raise the devil. I won't take 'no' for an answer." Seeing that he would have to perform, Lorenzo finally said, "Well, if you insist, I will do it, but when he comes, it will be in a flaming fire. You must open the door wide so he will have plenty of room." The husband opened the door. Then, taking a burning coal from the fire with the tongs, Dow dropped it into the tow cask. Instantly the oily contents burst into flame. Howling in pain from the fire which engulfed him, the flaming figure of the man hidden in the barrel leaped out onto the floor and, just as quickly, darted out the open door, trailing ashes and smoke. He ran down the snowy road as if pursued by demons. It is said that the sight of all this not only sobered the drunken husband immediately, but permanently cured his taste for booze. And that was certainly one of the Rev. Dow's major miracles!
     
  2. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    While passing through some dense woods one day, on his way to a scheduled revival meeting, Lorenzo Dow came on two men cutting wood. Mounting a large stump, he announced, "Crazy Dow will preach from this stump six months from today, at two o'clock P. M." Six months later, as a huge crowd awaited him at the appointed spot, Dow encountered a man in great distress on the way to the scene of his sermon. After inquiring what the matter was, the preacher learned that the unhappy man was a poor woodsman whose axe, his only means of making a living, had been stolen. Dow promised the wretched fellow that if he would attend the services scheduled to start shortly, he would locate the axe for him. Before Lorenzo continued on, he leaned down, picked up a stone and put it in his pocket.

    In the midst of his powerful sermon, the fiery minister suddenly interrupted his flow of words, reached in his pocket and pulled out the rock. "Brothers and sisters," he rasped, "There is a man in this audience who has had his precious axe stolen. There is also one among you who stole it. I am going to rear back and throw this rock, here, right at the thief's head." So saying, he pretended to throw the stone with all his might. When only one man in the crowd ducked his head down, Dow went over to the fellow and said, "You have the man's axe." And so he had. The thief returned the axe to its owner and never again robbed anyone.
     
  3. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    Around 1820, an evangelist named Lorenzo Dow (1777-1834) came to Jacksonborough, and his overnight visit there has grown into one of Georgia's most enduring legends. Born in Coventry, Connecticut, he felt the call to preach at the age of 18. Dow was an eccentric character in look and chosen method of evangalism. The tall, slightly humpbacked, preacher had long hair and a beard. Early in his ministry, he walked from town to town passing out handbills in the day and preaching that night, usually staying no more than a night or two in a single town. He referred to himself as "Crazy Dow," and records in his own writings that he was often an object of scorn and abuse in the towns he traveled to. By the early 1800's however, Dow gained a reputation as one of the country's leading evangelists. He preached to the Georgia General Assembly in the then capital of Louisville and to a gathering of five thousand elsewhere in Georgia. In Jacksonborough, the town's reception was not so inviting.

    At that time, Jacksonborough was a rough place known for the hard drinking and fighting of many of its residents. The oft repeated saying from George White's 1849 book Statistics of the State of Georgia was, "The place had formerly a very bad character. It was reported, that in the mornings after drunken frolics and fights, you could see children picking up eyeballs in tea saucers."

    Dow's fire and brimstone sermon at the Methodist Church that night was interrupted by a group that had gathered to harass the evangelist. The service was broken up by the group of "rowdies." Undaunted, Dow followed the group that harassed him as they went into a whiskey store. He was covered with the stink of rotten eggs, but unbowed. Tradition has it that the fiery preacher snatched up an iron tool and broke open a barrel of whiskey, dumping its contents across the floor. The crowd would have seriously injured or killed Dow if fellow Methodist and Mason Seaborn Goodall had not rescued him, taking Dow home for the night.

    The crowd was not appeased and a mob gathered at the Goodall home the following day with a supply of eggs and tomatoes. Dow walked out of town under a barrage of fruit and eggs, stopping at the Beaver Dam Creek Bridge. Dow quite literally shook the dust of Jacksonborough off his feet as the disciples of Jesus were instructed to do in the New Testament. As he did so he cursed all of Jacksonborough save the Goodall home.

    Thirty years later, all that was left of the town was the Goodall's home and the story of the curse. The Goodall home had fallen into disrepair by the mid-1960s when the Brier Creek Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution took possession of the house. The group raised $40,000 and renovated the house. Today the old Goodall home still stands in good repair along an otherwise abandoned dirt road while all other signs of the once bustling town are long gone.

    A note to the reader : Jacksonborough is indeed gone without a trace save the Goodall home today. It is just off U.S. 301 several miles north of Sylvania, Georgia.
     
  4. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    Lorenzo Dow, preaching in the New London Methodist Church, was distracted by the whispering and laughing of a group of flashily dressed young women who sat in the gallery. At length, thoroughly indignant, he stopped preaching; and, pointing to one of them, said in solemn tones, as though telling her fortune: "You shall be married soon. You shall have a farm of your own. You shall have a white gown:' The young woman smiled and hurled back at him the exclamation, "I shall be delighted!" The people laughed at the impudence of her retort. But Dow made a gesture to quiet them and then continued solemnly, Your bride room will be death. Your farm will be your grave. Your white gown will be your shroud: ' He was no longer disturbed that night by feminine giggles.

    The famous General Jesse Root was stopping at the inn of a man named Bush in Delhi, New York, when Dow arrived there as a guest. The General and his host conspired to engage Dow in conversation and, if possible, to make him ridiculous. Accordingly, they asked Dow to come into the parlor, along with a company of stragglers from the barroom. Putting on a very serious air, they asked him if he could give them a description of heaven. Quite as serious in manner, Dow replied: "Heaven, my friends, is a vast extent of smooth, rich territory. It is as fertile as the hardwood lands and as smooth as the prairies:' Smiles went around the company, but the interrogators kept earnest expressions and nodded their heads. Then Dow added: "There is not a ROOT or a BUSH in it, and there never will be;" and with this he left the room.
     
  5. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    You will be damned if you do - And you will be damned if you don't.

    - from Reflections on the Love of God

     
  6. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

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    What is Christian about these stories?

    He covers up a woman's adultery by setting her lover on fire? Cursing an entire town because they egged him? He does fortune telling?

    Is Lorenzo Dow Christ-like in any way? :scratch:
     
  7. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    They are just stories Lambslove...
     
  8. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

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    But what is the point of them? Why tell stories where the lead character is supposed to be a Christian but acts in extremely unChrist-like ways? :scratch:
     
  9. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    Is there any one but Christ that we could post about then? The stories are myths, or urban legends of sorts. They are like folk lore. I thought others here might have an interest in some of these half-humorous looks at one of the earliest travelling evangelists in the U.S.

    I am sorry if you were offended by them, if you are I can have them deleted.

    The first story deals with his solution to a horrible situatin to be in. Should Dow have opened the crate in front of the woman's husband? Probably not.

    The second story deals with God telling Dow to do something. Every evangelist is called (as we are) to go out and give the good news. While giving this good news Dow was interupted by a ruly gang of drunks. He might have been injured or killed had not the kindness of one stranger who took him in. The longer version of the story says that Dow went twice and was twice beaten for preaching the Gospel. Finally he made his pronouncement which was very biblical (shaking the dust).

    The last story are just funny bits, and Dow says "as if" he were a fortune teller, no "as" a fortune teller that these women woukld receive some pretty bad things as a result of their actions int he service, to shut them up.

    I honestly find nothing offensive by these stories. They are just legends of a truly remarkable evangelist who went to every state in the union to preach teh gospel. Anyway just my opinion...
     
  10. Ave Maria

    Ave Maria Ave Maria Gratia Plena

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  11. ZiSunka

    ZiSunka It means 'yellow dog'

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    The first one deals with setting a man on fire and causing what was probably a serious injury or even death. The man was on fire and running out the door. It was a death sentence back then, there were no burn treatment centers where someone could hope to recover from burns over most of their body. Dow acted as prosecutor, judge and executioner, all because he forgot that Jesus was confronted with the woman taken in adultery and pardoned her, even though he had every right to throw the first stone. There's nothing Christian about that. Everything he did was wrong.

    In the second one, he curses, yes curses! an entire town because they got his clothes dirty by egging and tomatoing him. What the heck! :scratch: When did Christ ever say we should take revenge on people who don't like us by cursing them?

    In the third one, he condemn some men he didn't like. Never mind that he could have used his influence to talk to them about their sin and bring them to saving faith in Christ. That doesn't seem to make a good enough story. Instead he has to be like the evil Christians portrayed on TV these days, condemning from a stormy pulpit.

    These are the kind of stories that make Christians look bad, they are not the least bit funny, and they send the message that all of Christ's teachings can be ignored and you can still become a famous evangelist.

    Dow could have dealt with the first situation by finding a way to interupt the lovers then talking to them about why it's wrong. This happened to me with my first college roommate. She had a boyfriend, but she was sleeping around, too. I didn't set them on fire, I told Lori that she had a phone call, and when she came out of her room, I told her that this couldn't go on anymore or I was going to tell John, her boyfriend. She sent the guy home and as far as I know, she was faithful to John after that. Several years later, I saw John and we got to talking, and he told me that he had broken his engagement to Lori because he had found out that she was sleeping around during that year she and I roomed together. Truth has a way of coming out and being dealt with without setting anyone on fire. They both moved on and had happy lives without anyone having to go to the trauma center.

    If Dow had really wanted to be Christ-like, he could have stood there while they egged him, not fighting back and not defending himself. Cursing is forbidden for all Christians. Have you read ALL of Jesus's teachings? Can you tell me where it says we are to curse the people who don't like us? He might have converted some of them if he had been Christ-like, because unsaved people don't care a whit about firey preaching, but they are pining to see someone live like Christ. More people have been converted by love than by brimstone.

    The story about the woman who was going to be wearing her wedding dress in her coffin shows what a horribly mean man Dow was. From this story, I suspect he had none of the love of Christ anywhere in him. He looks to be just one more empty-hearted evangelist so in love with his own fame that he can't care about the people he was sent to serve.
     
  12. SumTinWong

    SumTinWong Living with BPD

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    I am sorry I missed this.

    Luke 10:1-12 "After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. 3 Go your way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves. 4 Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. 5 Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!' 6 And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. 7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. 8 Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. 9 Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you.' 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.' 12 I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town."

    I would ask you what happend to Sodom? Is what Dow did any different than what Jesus told the 72 to do? If the legend is true, did not God's judgement come to that town?
     
  13. Glorianna

    Glorianna I'm a proud Canadian who married an American!

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    They're good stories but I do see lambslove's point. I am not offended though.
     
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