All dreams that make you better are from God. How do I know it? Is not God the source of all good? It does not take a very logical mind to argue that out. Tertullian and Martin Luther believed in dreams. The dreams of John Huss are immortal. St. Augustine, the Christian father, gives us the fact that a Carthaginian physician was persuaded of the immortality of the soul by an argument which he heard in a dream. The night before his assassination, the wife of Julius Caesar dreamed that her husband fell dead across her lap. It is possible to prove that God does appear in dreams to warn, to convert, and to save men.
My friend, a retired sea-captain and a Christian, tells me that one night, while on the sea, he dreamed that a ship’s crew were in great suffering. Waking up from his dream, he put about the ship, tacked in different directions, surprised everybody on the vessel -- they thought he was going crazy -- sailed on in another direction hour after hour, and for many hours, until he came to the perishing crew, and rescued them, and brought them to New York. Who conducted that dream? The God of the sea.
In 1695, a vessel went out from Spithead for West India and ran against the ledge of rocks called the Caskets. The vessel went down, but the crew clambered up on the Caskets, to die of thirst or starvation, as they supposed. But there was a ship bound for Southampton that had the captain’s son on board. This lad twice in one night dreamed that there was a crew of sailors dying on the Caskets. He told his father of his dream. The vessel came down by the Caskets in time to find and to rescue those two dying men. Who conducted that dream? The God of the rocks, the God of the sea.
The Rev. Dr Bushnell, in his marvelous book, entitled “Nature and the Supernatural,” gives the following that he got from Captain Yount, in California, a fact confirmed by many families: Captain Yount dreamed twice one night that one hundred and fifty miles away there was a company of travelers fast in the snow. He also saw in the dream rocks of a peculiar formation, and telling his dream to an old hunter, the hunter said “ Why, I remember those rocks those rocks are in the Carson Valley Pass, one hundred and fifty miles away.” Captain Yount, impelled by this dream, although laughed at by his neighbors, gathered men together, took mules and blankets, and started out on the expedition, traveled one hundred and fifty miles, saw those very rocks which he had described in his dream, and finding the suffering ones at the foot of those rocks, brought them back; to confirm the story of Captain Yount. Who conducted that dream? The God of the snow, the God of the Sierra Nevadas.
God has often appeared in dreams to rescue and comfort. You have known people --perhaps it is something I state in your own experience -- you have seen people go to sleep with bereavements inconsolable, and they awakened in perfect resignation because of what they had seen in slumber.
Dr Crannage, one of the most remarkable men I ever met -- remarkable for benevolence and great philanthropics -- at Wellington, England, showed me a house where the Lord had appeared in a wonderful dream to a poor woman. The woman was rheumatic, sick, poor to the last point of destitution. She was waited on and cared for by another poor woman, her only attendant. Word came to her one day that this poor woman had died, and the invalid of whom I am speaking lay helpless upon the couch, wondering what would become of her.
In that mood she fell asleep. In her sleep she said the Angel of the Lord appeared, and took her into the open air, and pointed in one direction, and there were mountains of bread, and pointed in another direction, and there were mountains of butter, and in another direction, and there were mountains of all kinds of worldly supply. The Angel of the Lord said to her: “Woman, all these mountains belong to your Father, and do you think that he will let you, his child, hunger and die?” Dr. Crannage told me, by some Divine impulse he went into that destitute home, saw the suffering there, and administered unto it, caring for her all the way through. Do you tell me that that dream was woven out of earthly anodynes? Was that the phantasmagoria of a diseased brain? No; it was an all-sympathetic God at dressing a poor woman through a dream.
Furthermore, I have to say, that there are people in this house who were converted to God through a dream. The Rev. John Newton, the fame of whose piety fills all Christendom, while a profligate sailor on shipboard, in his dream, thought that a being approached him and gave him a very beautiful ring, and put it upon his finger, and said to him, "As long as you wear that ring, you will be prospered; if you lose that ring, you will be ruined.” In the same dream another personage appeared, and by a strange infatuation persuaded John Newton to throw that ring overboard, and sank into the sea. Then the mountains in sight were full of fire, and the air was lurid, with consuming wrath.
While John Newton was repenting of his folly in having thrown overboard the treasure, another personage came through the dream, and told John Newton he would plunge into the sea and bring the ring up if he desired it. He plunged into the sea and brought it up, and said to John Newton: “Here is that gem, but I think I will keep it for you, lest you lose it again;” and John Newton consented, and all the fire went out from the mountains, and all the signs of lurid wrath disappeared, from the air; and John Newton said that he saw in his dream that that valuable gem was his soul; and that the being who persuaded him to throw it overboard was Satan, and that the one who plunged in and restored that gem, keeping it for him, was Christ. And that dream makes one of the most wonderful chapters in the life of that most wonderful man.
A German was crossing the Atlantic Ocean, and in his dream he saw a man with a handful of white flowers, and he was told to follow the man who had that handful of white flowers.
The German, arriving in New York, wandered into the Fulton street prayer-meeting, and Mr. Lamphier -- whom many of you know-the great apostle of prayer-meetings, that day had given to him a bunch of tuberoses. They stood on his desk, and at the close of the religious services he took the tuberoses and started homeward, and the German followed him, and through an interpreter told Mr. Lamphier that on the sea he had dreamed of a man with a handful of white flowers and was told to follow him. Suffice it to say, through that interview and following interviews, he became a Christian, and is a city missionary preaching the gospel to his own countrymen. God in a dream!
John Hardock, while on shipboard, dreamed one night that the day of judgment had come, and that the roll of the ship’s crew was called except his own name, and that these people, this crew, were all banished; and in his dream he asked the reader why his own name was omitted, and he was told it was to give him more opportunity for repentance. He woke up a different man. He became illustrious for Christian attainment. If you do not believe these things, then you must discard all testimony, and refuse to accept any kind of authoritative witness. God in a dream!
- T. DeWitt Talmage
Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer - 1893