Why people believe in dreams

The great books of historical and revealed religion, shows traces of a general and substantial belief in dreams. Plato, Goethe, Shakespeare and Napoleon assigned to certain dreams prophetic value. Joseph saw eleven stars of the Zodiac bow to himself, the twelfth star. The famine of Egypt was revealed by a vision of fat and lean cattle.

The parents of Christ were warned of the cruel edict of Herod, and fled with the Divine Child into Egypt. Pilate's wife, through the influence of a dream, advised her husband to have nothing to do with the conviction of Christ. But the gross materialism of the day laughed at dreams, as it echoed the voice and verdict of the multitude, ``Crucify the Spirit, but let the flesh live.'' Barabbas, the robber, was set at liberty. The ultimatum of all human decrees and wisdom is to gratify the passions of the flesh at the expense of the spirit. The prophets and those who have stood nearest the fountain of universal  knowledge used dreams with more frequency than any other mode of divination.

Profane, as well as sacred,history is threaded with incidents of dream prophecy. Ancient history relates that Gennadius was convinced of the immortality of his soul by conversing with an apparition in his dream. Through the dream of Cecilia Metella, the wife of a Consul, the Roman Senate was induced to order the temple of Juno Sospita rebuilt. The Emperor Marcian dreamed he saw the bow of the Hunnish conqueror break on the same night that Attila died. Plutarch relates how Augustus, while ill, through the dream of a friend, was persuaded to leave his tent, which a few hours after was captured by the enemy, and the bed whereon he had lain was pierced with the enemies' swords.

If Julius Caesar had been less incredulous about dreams he would have listened to the warning which Calpurnia, his wife, received in a dream.

Plato concurred in the general idea prevailing in his day,that there were divine manifestations to the soul in sleep.Condorcet thought and wrote with greater fluency in his dreams than in waking life. Tartini, a distinguished violinist, composed his ``Devil's Sonata'' under the inspiration of a dream. Coleridge, through dream influence,composed his ``Kubla Khan.''

Aristotle wrote: ``There is a divination concerning some things in dreams not incredible.'' Camille Flammarion, in his great book on ``Premonitory Dreams and Divination of the Future,'' says: ``I do not hesitate to affirm at the outset that occurrence of dreams foretelling future events with accuracy must be accepted as certain.''

``Dreams are rudiments of the great state to come.
We dream what is about to happen.''--BAILEY

People dream now, the same as they did in medieval and ancient times.


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