Modern Commentary Related to Chapter XIII
Mysterious power, whence hope ethereal springs!
Sweet heavenly relic of eternal things!
Inspiring oft deep thoughts of things divine:
The past, the present, and the future thine.
Thy reminiscences transport the soul
To memory’s Paradise—its future goal.
“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed: then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction.” Job xxxiii. 14, 15, 16.
In all ages and dispensations God has revealed many important instructions and warnings to men by means of dreams.
When the outward organs of thought and perception are released from their activity, the nerves unstrung, and the whole of mortal humanity lies hushed in quiet slumbers, in order to renew its strength and vigour, it is then that the spiritual organs are at liberty, in a certain degree, to assume their wonted functions, to recall some faint outlines, some confused and half defined recollections, of that heavenly world, and those endearing scenes of their former estate, from which they have descended in order to obtain and mature a tabernacle of flesh. Their kindred spirits, their guardian angels then hover about them with the fondest affection, the most anxious solicitude. Spirit communes with spirit, thought meets thought, soul blends with soul, in all the raptures of mutual, pure, and eternal love.
In this situation, the spiritual organs are susceptible of converse with Deity, or of communion with angels, and the spirits of just men made perfect.
In this situation, we frequently hold communication with our departed father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter; or with the former husband or wife of our bosom, whose affection for us, being rooted and grounded in the eternal elements, or issuing from under the sanctuary of Love’s eternal fountain, can never be lessened or diminished by death, distance of space, or length of years.
We may, perhaps, have had a friend of the other sex, whose pulse beat in unison with our own; whose every thought was big with the aspirations, the hopes of a bright future in union with our own; whose happiness in time or in eternity, would never be fully consummated without that union. Such a one, snatched from time in the very bloom of youth, lives in the other sphere, with the same bright hope, watching our every footstep, in our meanderings through the rugged path of life, with longing desires for our eternal happiness, and eager for our safe arrival in the same sphere.
With what tenderness of love, with what solicitude of affection will they watch over our slumbers, hang about our pillow, and seek, by means of the spiritual fluid, to communicate with our spirits, to warn us of dangers or temptation, to comfort and soothe our sorrow, or to ward off the ills which might befall us, or perchance to give us some kind token of remembrance or undying love!
It is the pure in heart, the lovers of truth and virtue, that will appreciate these remarks, for they know, by at least a small degree of experience, that these things are so.
Those who are habitually given to vice, immorality and abomination; those who walk in the daily indulgence of unlawful lust; those who neither believe in Jesus Christ, nor seek to pray to him, and keep his commandments; those who do not cultivate the pure, refined and holy joys of innocent and heavenly affection, but who would sacrifice every finer feeling at the shrine of lawless pleasure and brutal desires—those persons will not understand and appreciate these views, because their good angels, their kindred spirits have long since departed, and ceased to attend them, being grieved and disgusted with their conduct.
The Spirit of the Lord has also been grieved, and has left them to themselves, to struggle alone amid the dangers and sorrows of life; or to be the associates of demons and impure spirits. Such persons dream of adultery, gluttony, debauchery, and crimes of every kind. Such persons have the foreshadowings of a doleful death, and of darkness, and the buffetings of fiends and malicious spirits.
But, blessed are they who forfeit not their claims to the watchful care and protection of, and communion with, the heavenly powers, and pure and lovely spirits.
We can only advise the other classes of mankind, and entreat them, by the joys of love, by all the desires of life, by all the dread of death, darkness, and a dreary hereafter, yea, by the blood of Him who died, by the victory of him who rose in triumph from the grave, by their regard for those kindred spirits which would gladly love them in worlds without end, to turn from their sinful course of life, to obey the ordinances and commandments of Jesus Christ, that the Spirit of God may return to them, and their good angels and spirits again return to their sacred charge.
O what a comfort it is, in this dreary world, to be loved and cared for by all-powerful, warm-hearted, and lovely friends!
What have not dreams accomplished?
Dreams and their interpretation brought the beloved son of Jacob from his dungeon, made him prime minister of Egypt, and the saviour of a nation, and of his father’s house.
Dreams, and the interpretation of dreams, raised a Daniel from slavery or degrading captivity in Babylon, to wear a royal chain of gold, and to teach royalty how to rule, whilst himself presided over the governors and presidents of more than a hundred provinces.
Dreams, and the interpretation of dreams, have opened the future, pointed out the course of empire through all the troublous times of successive ages, till Saints alone shall rule, and immortality alone endure.
Oh, what a doleful situation was Saul the king of Israel placed in, when the army of the Philistines stood in battle array against him, and the Lord answered him not, either by dream, by Prophet, by vision, or by Urim and Thummim!
He sought the unlawful gift of familiar spirits, or “Magnetism.” He there learned his doom, and rushed to battle with the desperation of hopeless despair.
Himself, his sons, and the hosts of Israel, fell in battle in that awful day; while David, to whom these gifts had been transferred by the ordination and holy anointing of Samuel, arose by their use to the throne of Israel.
A dream announced to Joseph that his virgin wife should have a son. A dream forewarned him to flee into Egypt with the young child and his mother. A dream announced to him in Egypt the death of Herod, and warned him to return to his native land.
A dream warned the wise men from the east to return home another way, and not return to Herod to betray the young child.
Dreams and visions warned Paul, and the Apostles, and the Saints of his day, of various dangers, shipwrecks, persecutions and deaths, and pointed out the means of escape.
Dreams and visions attended and guided them, more or less, in their whole ministry and sojourn on the earth.