« السابقةمتابعة »
informed the doctor.
The authority upon which this account also is given is not known to the author.
A dissipated person is related to have been converted by the impression of a dream, in which he imagined that he was rescued from a pit in which he was about to sink when sporting with some companions who were revelling with him, and whom he supposed to represent the guilty pleasures which endangered his safety:
“ For pleasare's but a kind of wanton stream
Some of the dreams which have been produced appear to come to us on authorities so respectable, and to have had a tendency so beneficial, that they present certainly soins excuse for credulity on this subject. The author would be unwilling to invalidate any impression that might tend to keep alive a sense of God's moral government; he is himself fully convinced of the care and particular providence of God watching over individuals, and does not mean to deny the agency
superintendency of angels appointed over every man, an opinion which seems to derive some countenance from our Saviour's words, when he speaks of the angels of children who beheld the face of God in Heaven *
He is aware also that it may possibly be contended that the promise of Joel with respect to dreams and visions, was not expressly restricted to any particular period of the Gospel; but, 'notwithstanding, he cannot but adhere to the conviction that revelations no longer continue to be imparted by dreams, subscribing to a remark of the great Bacon, that they ought all to be despised, and ought to serve but for winter's talk by the fire-side: “ though," continues this great writer, “ when I say despised, I mean it as for belief, for otherwise the spreading and publishing them is in no sort to be despised, for they liave done much mischief.”
* Matt. xviii. 1.
They may, as Mr. Dacier observes, be com. pared to the stories of an avowed liar which casually may be true; we have, however, no criterion by which to judge whether they may bear any affinity to remote events, and it is reasonable to presume that they do not by any concerted appointment, since God cannot be supposed to have designed to harass us with fruitless premonitions, and to distract our minds with fallacious ambiguities. They may still, however, be understood to be designed for great moral purposes as affording subject for reflection, in a point of view in which they will be considered in some succeeding chapter,
GENERAL REFLECTIONS ON SLEEP AND
DREAMING, WITH REFERENCE TO SOME
W Next how soft sleep o'er all spreads thoughtless rest," And frees from anxious care the troubled breast.”
Creech's Lucret. B. 4.
In what the author has advanced in the preceding chapters, he has not presumed peremptorily to determine that dreams for great and important purposes may not have been inspired without reference to the evidence of revealed religion.
He has designed, however, to intimate as his opinion, that dreanıs, in general, are not to be considered as having any necessary connection with futurity, and that certainly no general ground of confidence in them is established.
Considering then ordinary dreams as the uninspired productions of the human mind, he proceeds to enter into a slight discussion of their general nature, adverting to such causes as may reasonably be assigned for, and calculated to explain them.
In treating of such dreams, it is obvious that he speaks of those representations only which are addressed to the mind, in sleep, in a state of suspension of the corporeal powers; and he regards these as comprehending whatever is the object of our thoughts in sleep, and not merely in the restricted definition of Macrobius, who considers a dream as “ that which covers with figures, and veils in mysteries,” a signification that can be understood only by interpretation. The dreams of which he speaks result from the exertion of the mental faculties, and include as well those that are of obvious and direct import, as those which are enigma