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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Excerpts from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 6

Dreams. "In the Bible," says the Christian Standard, "we have repeated illustration of where God led His children 'by impulses. impressions, calls, messages or dreams,' as well as 'by the Holy Ghost operating on all the faculties of the mind, strengthening each to perform its function along the lines of common sense, sound reason, and a sanctified judgment.'
"Because we are often misled by impressions, dreams, etc.; because Satan often uses these ways of deceiving souls; yet it is not necessary, nor does it relieve the difficulty, to deny to the Holy Ghost the right and the fact of so leading God's people.
"Dreams may be from the devil. They may come from gluttony at the supper table. They may be generated in an overtaxed brain. They may result from many combined 'second causes. Nevertheless, if we please, or whether we please or not, God did and can and does send dreams that we may disregard to our own damage and destruction."

Few folks are so foolish as to be influenced by ordinary dreams. Yet that God has spoken to His children through special dreams no well informed person will deny. Dreamology is a science but little understood. Because fanatics have taken dreams born of indigestion or inspired by Satan, for divine revelation, others have gone to the opposite extreme, and, like Herod with the innocents, slaughtered them by the wholesale.

For this reason few people believe in such manifestations, and according to their faith so it is to them. The antidote for fanaticism from reliance on them will be noticed in another chapter. In the dimmer light of the old dispensation God more frequently spoke to His people in this way. He specifically declared that He would make Himself known in a vision and speak in a dream. Num. 12: 2.

In this way He spoke to Jacob in the dream of the ladder and ascending and descending angels; to Joseph in the dream that foretold his bondage and his final prosperity; to Pharoah's butler and baker in the dream that told of the exaltation of one and the execution of the other; to Solomon in the dream that promised him wisdom and all needful accessories; to Joseph in the dream which quieted his fears concerning Mary, the mother of our Lord, and also again in warning him to take the "young child" and flee for safety from Herod's murderous plot; to the wise men from the east warning them of the same danger; to Pilate's wife warning her of the peril of persecuting Jesus, and to many others in just as marked a manner.

While there is no warrant in the words of Jesus for people to depend on dreams for guidance, it is evident that the Holy Spirit has, and sometimes does, speak to men through this agency. The abuse of dreams will be noticed further on.

From Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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