100 Years Ago… – A candid admission

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The Review of Religions (English), July 1920

Rev. Albert Barnes in his notes on the Gospels writes regarding dreams, “This was a common way of making known the will of God to the ancient prophets and people of God … In what way it was ascertained that these dreams were from God cannot now be told. It is sufficient for us to know that in this way many of the prophecies were communicated; and to remark that now there is no evidence that we are to put reliance on our dreams. Dreams are wild irregular movements of the mind, when it is unshackled by reason, and it is mere superstition to suppose that God now makes known His Will in this way.”

The above shows the utter helplessness of the exponent of Christianity to satisfy modern-day critics. The uniformity of God’s providence is a fact established by experience. To say that formerly God spoke to men in dreams but that now all such belief is mere superstition is strange logic.

Has there been such a strange change in the constitution of the human mentality? If so, we expect our Christian doctors to present us with the new comparative psychology. The fact is that ignorance in this case has led to a denial.

Dreams, prophetic dreams are in fact still matters within the range of human experience. It must be so in order to enable men to believe in what has been told of the ancient prophets. For belief can come only from understanding and we cannot possibly understand things which are altogether outside our experience.

If Christian doctors and other fair-minded inquirers will just for a little while free their minds from prejudice and consult the more eminent Islamic divines, they will be surprised to find how much they have to say regarding the different kinds and classes of dreams, and their distinguishing features.

Specially in the writings of the latest of Islamic reformers, the Promised Messiah[as], is to be found a whole philosophy on the subject of dreams, visions, prophecies and second-sights.

May we not hope that the prospect of opening up a new department of scientific knowledge will attract some of the Western minds to this study?

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