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The Function and Potency of the Dream

The Function and Potency of the Dream

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Published by glennpease
BY LANGDON CHEVES STEWARDSON, L.H.D., LL.D.



"And they said one to another 'behold this dreamer cometh,*"

GENESIS xxxvn: 19.
BY LANGDON CHEVES STEWARDSON, L.H.D., LL.D.



"And they said one to another 'behold this dreamer cometh,*"

GENESIS xxxvn: 19.

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Published by: glennpease on Sep 16, 2013
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01/28/2014

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THE FUCTIO AD POTECY OF THE DREAMBY LAGDO CHEVES STEWARDSO, L.H.D., LL.D."And they said one to another 'behold this dreamer cometh,*"GEESIS xxxvn: 19.WE stand, students of Hobart and William SmithColleges, upon the threshold of anotheracademic year. For some of you this seasonis the first beginning of your college life, but even for theothers it is a fresh beginning or a new start: while allalike, whether beginners for the first or the fourth time,are here with the hope of doing reputable work or withthe resolution of making that work more reputable thanever before. I wish therefore to utilize this spring timeof the college year, when the buds of promise are openingin your minds, by making an attempt to assist you, if I can, in bringing these buds to flower. All the Facultyindeed are here for the self same purpose and each onein his sphere will give you every assistance in his power.It is my special privilege, however, to speak to you, asoccasion permits, from this college pulpit; and I recog-nize the importance of the opportunity and the gravityof the obligation which are mine. I know that althoughthe preacher has the advantage of having the conversa-tion all to himself and is without fear of inconvenient4 COLLEGE SERMOSinterruption, he is also seriously handicapped by theattitude which the pews now generally assume towardpulpit discourse. "As dull as a sermon *' is a proverbialphrase whose justification by fact and in experience is alltoo ample, and even people who are ready to pay close
 
attention to a lecture of an hour's length begrudge thebestowal of half that time on the lucubrations of theparson. evertheless, and notwithstanding such animinvigorating atmosphere, there are matters of gravityand moment upon which I shall feel myself moved toaddress you from time to time. They are matters of too much scope and width of application to be dismissedin ten or fifteen minutes, and they are also of too funda-mental and serious a character to be treated imadvisedlyor lightly or in the fear of man. At the risk of beingtedious to a few of you I shall therefore insist upongiving my subjects a measure of the development theyundoubtedly deserve and on treating you with the realrespect involved in a sustained appeal to your intelli-gences. I want to present and describe the great issuesof life and enlist your interest in their pursuit. I wish toso move your hearts that they will attach themselves tothe noblest objects of endeavor, and I desire with God'shelp to do it all with that tolerant understanding of con-flicting opinions and diverse points of view and with thatheartfelt longing to be of genuine service which shallbring forth ripe and wholesome fruit in time to come.My subject to-night is the fimction and the potencyof dreams — day dreams, of course; for it is the dreamsconstructed in our waking moments which shadow forththe inmost wishes of our hearts and show, as in a pictureseen in crystal, the destiny toward which we move.There are those indeed who think of dreams as sorrystuff and others who regard them as even pestilentialand pestiferous — the factional foes of fact and the ene-FUCTIO OF THE DREAM 5mies of hard work and practical activity. "Behold thisdreamer cometh" is the contemptuous exclamation of the commonplace sons of Jacob when they see the figureof their brother Joseph wandering toward them throughthe fields. Charles Kingsley also sings,
 
''Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;Do noble deeds, not dream them, all day long: "Good advice beyond question, but given apparentlywith the naive assumption that if one falls to dreamingone will never get up for action, and that if one busiesoneself with deeds one will have no further need for thedream. It ought however to be imnecessary for me tosay that I hold no brief for the idle dream life of thevisionary or for the maudlin pastime of building castlesin the air instead of on the solid earth.. What I haveactually in mind is to point out the useful purpose thatdreams fulfil in our mental economy as well as the powerthey exercise in bringing events to pass. The shepherdsons of Jacob, busy with the details of sheep raising andthe bickerings of personal jealousy, accomplished nothingworthy of record, whereas the dreamer Joseph becamethe governor of a great country and held the destinyof thousands in his hands.ow dreams it may be said are in many respects likeprayers. ot every dream attains fulfilment, and eventhose which finally embody themselves in concrete formsdo not correspond in every detail to the actual eventswhich come to pass. Like prayers again they constituteonly one link in the chain of forces which eventuates inresults. To expect dreams to accomplish everything isas foolish as to think that all a man has to do is to prayfor something in order to get it. And yet it is just asirrational to pooh-pooh dreams and prayers as worthlessand negligible as it is to think they can be realized with-6 COLLEGE SERMOSout effort and apart from the assistance of other psychicaland social forces. eedful however as these otherpsychical and social forces are in bringing about the

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