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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jan 27, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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DREAMS, PRESENTIMENTS AND VISIONS.BY C. S. HENRY, D.D.About dreams there are many things we all knowfrom our own experience, many which we knowfrom incontestible evidence, and a great manymore which none of us can perfectly explain.Dreams are activities of the mind in sleep; butis it total sleep, or a state of the mind betweensleeping and waking? Is a total inaction of thebrain and mind possible without death ensuing?When therefore we speak of a dreamless sleep,does it mean only that we do not remember hav-ing any dreams at all ? I can not undertake toanswer these questions; but it is certain that wesometimes have a recollection of dreams which wecan not retain try we ever so hard. Like fugi-tives they flee away upon the return of the mindto full consciousness. David uses this as a com-parison in application to the sudden disappearanceof evil doers: they vanish "as a dream when oneawaketh."DREAMS, PRESENTIMENTS AND VISIONS. 23The French have two words for dreams: songesand reves (or as we say dreams and reveries) bothof which they use to signify the creations of theimagination in sleep — ^the former they always souse, the latter sometimes. But in our usage reve-ries always mean workings of the mind when weare not asleep c we call them day di-eams or wakingdreams. Dreams and reveries are both opposedto reality; both are products of the imagination,but waking dreams — the reveries of ambition,love, hope, etc., are mostly more extravagantthan sleeping dreams.In dreaming I suppose the whole activity of themind is absorbed into that of one single faculty,the Imagination. It apes the action of all theothers — sensation, perception, judgment, memory,thought, and will We are not self-conscious — ^fbrif we were we should be awake — but we imaginewe are. We do not really feel, see, hear, read,
think, talk and converse, determine and act; weimagine we do all this. Our waking life furnishesthe materials out of which the imagination weavesthe texture of our dreams.If, as Prospero in the Tempest says — "We aresuch stuflF as dreams are made of," our dreams arein turn such stuff as we are made of: they taketheir quality from what we are. They often be-24 DREAMS, PRESENTIMENTS AND VISIONS.tray our inward disposition and moral character,and tell us what is in us to do. It was for this rea*son that a Greek emperor— as we read — had a manput to death who dreamed of liaving killed him.In dreams there is sometimes a seeming exal-tation of the intellectual faculties — a wonderfulclearness and vigor of thought and expression — sothat one may make speeches, compose poems andresolve problems better than in his waking state.Dr. Gregory had trains of dreaming thought so just in reasoning and so well expressed, that heafterward used them in his college lectures andother compositions. — Condorcet, going to bed leav-ing profound calculations unfinished, found the re-maining steps and the conclusion completed in hisdreams. — ^Dr. Franklin's dreams often unfolded tohim things that had puzzled his waking thoughts.The mathematician Maignan in his dreams workedout problems which when he awoke he found cor-rectly solved.— -Innumerable cases of this sort arerecorded. I give only one more, which is veryremarkable and peculiar as connecting itself withwhat we call somnambulism. It is related by Dr.Abercrombie. A very eminent Scottish lawyer,after studying for several days with intense anxi-ety and attention a case of great importance aboutwhich he had been consulted, was observed by hisDREAMS, PRESENTIMENTS AND VISIONS. 25wife to leave his bed in the night and go to a writ-ing desk in the bedroom where he seated himself 
and wrote for some time, and then put the paperin the desk and returned to bed. The next morn-ing he told his wife that he had dreamed of deliv-ering a clear and satisfactory opinion on the case,and would give any thing to be able to recall thevanished train of thought he had gone throughin his dream. She bade him look in his writingdesk, where he found the opinion clearly and fullywritten out; and it was afterwards decided to bea sound and coiTCct opinion.The belief in the prophetic significance of dreamsis as old as history, and has prevailed throughoutall ages. The ancients made the interpretation of dreams a science. Artemidorus of Ephesus, wholived in the reign of Antoninus Pius, is the writeramong ancient authors who has written mostlargely on the subject, and given us a long list of different authors who treated of it before his day.— ^The Younger Pliny tells us in one of his Epistleshow common it was for men in his time to keepan exact account not only of their own dreams,but also of those of their friends and even of theirservants. The interpretation of dreams was a pro-fession which those who followed it gained their26 DREAMS, PRESENTIMENTS AND VISIONS.livelihood by. The common people resorted tothis sort of diviners, and kings and great menkept them in their service.The books of philosophers and medical menare full of records of prophetic dreams. Someinstances will help us to judge of what sort theymostly are.Alcibiades the night before his death dreamedthat he was wrapped in his mistress' mantle. Thenext day he was killed by Pharnabazus and thencovered with that veiy mantle.The wife of Julius Cesar had a dream foretoken-ing her husband's violent death and begged himnot to go to the Senate. Her warning was disre-garded and he was slain at the base of Pompey sstatue.

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