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MORAL VALUE OF DREAMS.

Dreams are valuable as throwing light upon our spiritual constitution. They show us that the mind has a certain power of involuntary action, and that it works generally in the direction in which the waking occupation has given the impetus. They prove its power of vivid realization, of exact and subtle projection and impersonation, and the lightning rapidity of its processes. They show that mental action is not dependent on physical organisms; and thus they help to establish an important analogical argument for the immortality of the soul. They indicate that without physical organisms the mind can realize itself as holding a certain indefinable relation to the material world; and thus they offer their contribution to a settlement of the questions of the materiality of the mind, the ideality of matter, and the unity of substance of mind and matter.

Nor are they without their value in morals and religion. If "our prevalent state and disposition of mind, our habits of thought and habits of feeling, determine and shape the complexion of our dreams," it follows that those evil dreams are not innocent which are the result of a burlesque continuation of evil waking desire or speculation. The sordid and miserly cannot board even in sleep and be blameless; the cruel cannot be unmerciful without a crime; the impure cannot be unchaste and be spotless. There is a modified sense in which it may be understood that between the waking world and the world of sleep there is a kind of one-sided extradition treaty, under which the criminals of the latter are to be relegated to the tribunals of the former. It might not be altogether indefensible to say that there is nearly as much spontaneity, and therefore nearly as much responsibility attaching to our dreams as to our articles of faith. It follows that they may be made useful for self-correction. If dream-action be morally diseased, there is much reason to suspect that waking action is not morally sound. Our success in our efforts after selfgovernment may be estimated partly by our dream-correctness or divarication.

APPEAL FROM WAKING TO SLEEPING.

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Dreams, again, are of some service, as revealing the natural bent of a man intellectually and æsthetically as well as morally; for in them the natural action of the mind is not repressed by the will to a compulsory profession; and the mind naturally takes the opportunity of exercising itself about that kind of pursuit to which it has an irremovable affinityfor which it has an inherent inclination or adaptation.

Further, to flutter about the ethics of dreams, we would suggest or repeat their value as instruments of introspection or self-examination. Many good and wise men from the time of Zeno have professedly so used them. Every solution of goodness in sleep has been pressed for the work of giving continuity to waking excellence. In morals, or let us say in immorals, the value of the maxim principiis obsta can scarcely be over-rated. What shall we think, then, of the worth of the dream-watchman who is often the first to give the alarm ? The value of dreams for this purpose is to be discovered in the fact that in them seedtime and harvest occur together,tendency and consummation. The waking man, if he be not a fool, knows that the breeze which wafts a feather-index of direction would in time, if suffered to continue, impel a vessel round the world. In somnio veritas; in dreams each man's character is disintegrated, so that he may see the elements of which it is composed. It is for him to cure, to confirm, to modify, or to eradicate, in such a way that he may at length attain to symmetrical and blameless combinations.

CHAPTER V.

ONEIROCRITICA; OR MODES

OF DREAM-INTERPRETATION,

ANCIENT

AND MODERN.

We have already had occasion to remark upon the curiosity of mankind to ascertain the future, and to mention some of the methods and instruments of divination to which they resorted for that purpose.

Oneirocriticism, or dreaminterpretation, very early took high rank as an art, and was studied and professed as a science. If we could roll away the mists that enshroud its first origin, it is likely that we should find this to have taken place when man, first losing his rectitude and purity, lost with them the infancy and the perfection of his trust in a Father. If we could bridge the deluge of Noah, we should probably discover that the sins of the antediluvian world were not those alone of violence and bodily impiety. The spiritual defection of the race of the giants was, it is more than conjecturally held, correspondent to the magnitude of their stature. Very soon after the Flood there sprang up heretical speculations in philosophy and theologyas, for instance, in India—so vast and, in principle, so mature, as to make it almost impossible to avoid the belief that they had been transmitted through one or other of the people of the Ark, from the submerged ancestry who had devoted ages to their elaboration.

But this is not the place to prosecute a research into regions about which, though so little is known, so much is shadowed in dim and portentous outline.

It must suffice us ANTIQUITY OF ONEIROCRITICISM.

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here that we cannot fix the first dawnings of dream interpretation; we must be content to accept the fact that it has come down, even to our own time, as a relic of the wanton and prurient intellectual activity of immemorial ages.

In the youth of the world, it suited the purpose of God to show his power of appropriation and sanctification of all nature and of all human activity. Thus it pleased Him early in the history of the second mundane generation to illustrate and to dignify the dream by manifestations therein either of Himself or his angelic ministers. Whether He sought at the same time to illustrate and to dignify any previously existing mode of interpretation is a point which we should investigate only to arrive at indecision. But that He did so would almost seem a fair inference from a comparison of the crawling slavish induction of after human interpreters with the grandeur of the God-like deduction which characterized the method He suggested to his chosen hierophants. Our purpose, at any rate, is answered if our few words have given us any claim to the assumption—which might be otherwise fortified and insisted on-of the general identity of the method of dream-interpretation pursued by an inspired Hebrew, and his eontemporary illuminati of Chaldæa and Egypt. Thus, however these last came by them, there would be in the time of Joseph, and afterwards to the days of Daniel, the same oneirocritical canons amongst such of the chief nations of antiquity as had at once sufficient cultivation to attempt the analysis of a dream-symbol, and a sense of individual life, and poetic and æsthetic affinities strong enough to make them take an interest in its exposition. We thus guard our words, because we intend by them to exclude as well the barbarian of the north and the west, as the apathetic Pantheist or Nihilist of the further east.

The Biblical method, then, is the legitimate representative of the grand style of dream-interpretation. The classification of Scripture dreams will, for our present purpose be less complex than the one we adopted in another connection; for

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they simply resolve themselves into dreams which do, and into dreams which do not, require or admit of explanation. Abimelech (Gen. xx.), Jacob and Laban respectively (Gen. Xxx.), and Solomon (1 Kings üi.) did not require to take counsel of any professor or system of interpretation to make clearer the purport of their dreams. The question of validity was the only one they had to settle ; and the credentials were so plainly carried on the very front of the dreams themselves, that there was no room for hesitation as to their trustworthiness. It was when the dream came in the guise of a prophetic symbol or allegory, that recourse was to be had to the skill of interpreters,-skill which they either had within themselves, or which was divinely vouchsafed alternatively to the dreamer or to some other person for the occasion.

The principle of procedure was simple, however difficult might be its execution. Given or discovered the hero or chief personage, in whatever guise typified, the problem was, first to recognize the other figures,—who also had their respective forms of representation,—to remark the relations they stood in to each other, and then to transcribe their acts and words into the acted and spoken analogies of common life. Thus, if the fortunes of Joseph (Gen. xxxvii. 7) were identified with a sheaf of corn, and those of his brothers with other sheaves which paid it homage—the introduction of the human obeisance is out of keeping; but all analogies must halt somewhere, -it was bitterly accepted by all as a declaration that he arrogated to himself a future superiority over the members of his family (Gen. xxxvii. 9). In the case of his second dream, where he himself is not symbolized, but appears in his own person, the number and the character of the heavenly bodies sufficiently declared the individuals for whom they stood.

In the more complicated dreams of Pharaoh's chief butler and chief baker, and the still more difficult ones of Nebuchadnezzar, we observe the same fitness clashing with the same unfitness. The violation of symmetry and of keeping would seem to declare that the framework of these dreams was per

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