OF PROPHETICAL DREAMS.
I CALL that a dream which proceeds either from the spirit of the phantasy and intellect united together, or by the illustration of the agent intellect above our souls, or by the true revelation of some divine power in a quiet and purified mind; for by this our soul receives true oracles, and abundantly yields prophecies to us; for in dreams we seem both to ask questions, and learn to find them out; also many doubtful things, many policies, many things unknown, unwished for, and never attempted by our minds, are manifested to us in dreams: also the representation of things unknown, and unknown places appear to us; and the images of men, both alive and dead, and of things to come, are foretold; and also things which at any time have happened are revealed, which we know not by any report. And these dreams need not any art of interpretation, as those of which we have before spoken, which belong to divination, not to foreknowledge; and it comes to pass that they who see dreams, for the most part, understand them not: for as to see
dreams is from the strength of imagination, so to understand them is from the strength of the understanding. They, therefore, whose intellect being overwhelmed by too much commerce of the flesh is in a dead sleep, or its imaginative or phantastic power or spirit is too dull and unpolished, that it cannot receive the species and representation which flow from the superior intellect; this man, I say, is altogether unfit for the receiving of dreams and prophesying by them.
Therefore it is necessary that he who would receive true dreams should keep a pure undisturbed, and an undisquieted imaginative spirit, and so compose it that it may be made worthy of the knowledge and government by the mind and understanding; for such a spirit is most fit for prophesying, and is a most clear glass of all the images which flow (every where) from all things. When therefore we are sound in body, not disturbed in mind, our intellect not dulled by meats and drinks, not sad through poverty, not provoked through lust, not incited by any vice, not stirred up by wrath or anger, not being irreligiously and prophanely inclined, not given to levity, not lost in drunkenness, but chastely going to bed, fall asleep; then our pure and divine soul, being free from all the evils above recited, and separated from all hurtful thoughts, and now freed by dreaming, is endowed with this divine spirit as an instrument, and doth receive those beams and representations which are darted down, as it were, and shine forth from the Divine Mind into itself; and, as it were in a deifying glass, it does more certain, more clear and efficaciously behold all things than by the vulgar inquiry of the intellect, and by the discourse of reason. The divine powers instructing the soul, being invited to their society by the opportunity of the nocturnal solitariness, neither will that genius be wanting to him when he is awake, which rules all his actions.
Whosoever therefore, by quiet and religious meditation, and by a diet temperate and moderate according to nature, preserves his spirit pure shall very much prepare himself, and by this means become (in a degree) divine and knowing all things, justly merits the same. But whosoever, on the contrary, languishes with a fantastic spirit, he receives not perspicuous and
distant visions; but even as the divine sight, by reason of its vision, being weakened and impaired, judges confusedly and indistinctly, so also when we are overcome with wine and drunkenness, then our spirit, being oppressed with noxious vapours (as a troubled water is apt to appear in various forms) is deceived, and waxes dull; therefore those who would receive oracles by dreams, and those oracles true and certain, I would advise him to abstain one whole day from meat, and three days from wine or any strong liquors, and drink nothing but pure water; for, to sober and religious minds, the pure spirits are adherent, but fly those who are drowned in drunkenness and surfeiting. Although impure spirits do very often administer notable secrets to those who are apparently besotted with wine or liquors; yet all such communications are to be contemned and avoided.
But there are four kinds of true dreams, viz. the first, matutine, i. e. between sleeping and waking; the second that which one sees concerning another, the third, that whose interpretation is shewn to the same dreamer in the nocturnal vision; and, lastly, the fourth, that which is repeated to the same dreamer in the nocturnal vision.
END OF PART FIRST.