From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter....
Nothing intimidated Lorenzo Dow; he continued to preach Methodist doctrine even though the Methodist Church would have nothing to do with him. Because the churches were closed to him, Lorenzo Dow started preaching in town halls, farmers' barns, and even in open fields. He would preach any place where he could assemble a crowd. He preached to Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, Catholics, and atheists alike. He liked to appear unexpectedly at public events, announcing in a loud voice that exactly one year from today, Lorenzo Dow would preach on this spot. He never disappointed his audiences; he always appeared exactly 365 days later at the appointed place, usually met by huge crowds.
Dow's public speaking mannerisms were like nothing ever seen before among the typically conservative church goers of the time. He shouted, he screamed, he cried, he begged, he flattered, he insulted, he challenged people and their beliefs. He told stories and made jokes. You can see an engraving made by Lossing-Barrett at one of Dow's outdoor sermons at the Library of Congress' Web site at:http://lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/religion/vc006757.jpg
It is recorded that Lorenzo Dow often preached before open-air assemblies of 10,000 people or more and held the audiences spellbound. That must have been some feat before the invention of public address systems! He preached regardless of the weather: oppressive heat, violent thunderstorms, and blizzards never stopped him.
HOW HE RAISED THE DEVIL.... Once Lorenzo Dow was traveling 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 who apparently was 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, demanding to be let in. Before admitting her husband (for it was he, returned unexpectedly), the wife motioned her lover to hide beside the fireplace in the barrel of tow, a coarse flax ready for spinning. 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 Reverend 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 wife 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 naked 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!
ONE LAST STORY...Lorenzo Dow once met a man as he was riding along a solitary road to fulfill an appointment, and said to him -- Friend, have you ever prayed? No. How much will you take to never to pray hereafter? One dollar. Dow paid it over, and rode on. The man put the money in his pocket, and passed on, thinking. The more he thought, the worse he felt. There, said he, I have sold my soul for one dollar! It must be that I have met the devil! Nobody else would tempt me so. With all my soul I must repent, or be damned forever!