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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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The visions of the night are called dreams. And before the more open revelations by the Lord Jesus Christ, certain it is, that the Lord not unfrequently made use of their ministry in the church. Hence, the patriarchs Abraham and Jacob were thus exercised. (Genesis 15:1-21; Genesis 28:1-22) And Joseph's dreams, when related to his father and brethren, were made instrumental to excite the envy of his brethren. Genesis 37:5-6, etc. Yea, the Lord declared concerning dreams, while the church was in the wilderness, that he would make himself known to his servants the prophets in this way. (Numbers 12:6) And even in the days of the New Testament dispensation, dreams were not in disuse for occasionally revealing the mind of the Lord. Concerning the safety of the child Jesus, by removing him into Egypt, this was directed by an angel appearing by night to Joseph in a dream. (Matthew 2:13) But while the Lord was thus pleased, by the means of dreams, to make known to his people, as occasion might require, the purposes of his will, he was no less pleased to direct his servants the prophets, by open revelation, to guard against all imposition from lying dreams, and false visions of men's own forming. The prophet Jeremiah was taught thus to declare the Lord's mind concerning these things, "I have heard what the prophets said, that prophecy lies in my name; saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets, that prophecy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their heart, which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams." (Jeremiah 23:25-27) In the open day-light of that full revelation the gospel hath brought, the greatest caution should be observed respecting attention to dreams. Upon every occasion of the sort, the faithful in Christ Jesus would do well to remember the Lord's direction upon another subject, in respect to them that sought after familiar spirits; "to the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isaiah 8:19-20) Far be it from any one to limit the Holy One of Israel; but by this reference upon all exercises of the mind concerning dreams the children of the Lord will be preserved from error. To say that dreams are wholly done away under the gospel dispensation, and that the Lord never doth speak by them to his people, would be opposing a well known Scripture concerning them, which wholly related to the latter-day ministry. The prophet Joel was commissioned to declare, and the apostle Peter explained what he said, in direct reference to the days of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost, that the Lord would in the last days, "pour out of his Spirit upon all flesh; and that in consequence of his mercy, their sons and their daughters should prophecy, and their old men dream dreams, and their young men see visions." (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17) So that to say their entire use is done away, would be presuming to be wise above what is written. At the same time to suppose, that the common and ordinary dreams of the night are intended to direct the mind of the Lord's people, would be to lessen the divine authority of God's holy word, which, in all cases; is able to make us "wise unto salvation through the faith that is in Christ Jesus." The exercise of the mind in dreams is certainly among the wonders we meet with in life, which are not the least surprising, though the least to be explained. We know that the whole body is perfectly conscious, and asleep; while there is a somewhat in us, or belonging to us, that is, at times, very busily engaged and employed. We talk apparently with others, and we hear them talk with us. We travel far and near; transact great concerns; not unfrequently converse with persons, whom in our waking hours we know to be dead; but yet in sleep sometimes forget this and sometimes not. We hear their voice and perfectly recollect it; their person, manner, and the like, are as familiar to us as when living. Yea, sometimes circumstances of a similar nature are brought before us in our sleep, both with the dead and living whom we never knew. These, with numberless other particularities, are among the dreams of the night, of which the body, asleep and torpid, is wholly unconscious; but of which the mind or thinking faculty, or the somewhat indescribable, be it what it may, is most earnestly engaged in, and highly interested about. Who shall say what this is? Who shall describe it? Who shall define its use? And there is another very striking particularity in dreams, that while it carries the fullest conviction to that thinking faculty, that somewhat indescribable being acted upon, in a way and manner no man can explain, serves to prove, that the whole is somewhat more than the effect of fancy, though not unfrequently the trifling nature of the thing itself is as trifling. I mean when persons far remote from each other, have one and the same dream, or are apparently engaged in one and the same concern in that dream, without any previous communication on the subject; yea, perhaps without any previous knowledge of each other. And let me add another particularity as striking as any, concerning the exercise of the mind, or thinking faculty, in dreams, beyond the power of any man to account for; namely, when we receive instructions or help on any point, during our dreaming hours, from a person or persons, then supposed to be with us, which, without whose aid we could not in ourselves have accomplished. I will beg to illustrate this, by the relation of a plain matter of fact, which I had from a friend of mine, with whom I lived many years in the habits of great intimacy: indeed, the same, more or less, may be found perhaps in every man's experience, on one point or other. My friend was a good classic, and conversant with the best Latin authors. In one of his dreams he fancied himself reading one of his favourite books, which he was in the habit of constant reading, when a passage occurred that he could not construe. He tried again and again to translate it, but all to no purpose. Mortified with himself, he was about to close the book and relinquish the attempt, when a person looking over his shoulder gently upbraided him on his dulness (Luke 24:35) and construed the passage to him. Now the question is, who was this looker-on, for he himself was asleep, and alone? The reader will sadly mistake my meaning, from all that I have here said upon dreams, if he thinks I am bringing forward a justification of that farrago of unconnected, trifling, and impertinent stuff, which some make of dreams. Too many there are, whose waking hours are little better than the merest unmeaning dreams of the night. But making all due allowance for such things, certain it is, that in the early ages of the world, the Lord was pleased to make use of the ministry of dreams. And though under the gospel we have a more sure guide to take heed unto, yet it were to limit the Holy One of Israel to say, that they now are never used, and their ministry hath totally ceased. No doubt, the greatest jealousy maybe proper to exercise concerning them; and certainly, we must be safe in rejecting them in all points, where they are not in perfect agreement with the glorious gospel of the ever-blessed God.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Dreams'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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