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Chapter II. Warnings Given in Dreams.
"'God be with us,' said he, turning to Donald, 'what was that?' He was horror struck to see a most hideous object for what he had taken to be Donald, glaring at him with eyes of fire. 'God have mercy on my soul,' said he, as he turned to run, but he had no sooner done so than he was seized by a grasp of iron and pressed down towards the boat, then began a struggle for life. He wrestled and struggled with all his strength and you know he was a very strong man, but he could do nothing in the iron grasp of his foe, and that foe a mere shadow, he was surely and steadily forced towards the boat, he was being forced over the side of the pier and into the boat through which he could see the waves rolling quite clearly, it was a mere shadow also.
"'Oh God help me,' he cried from the depth of his heart as he gave himself up for lost. Suddenly as though forced by some unseen power the grasp that held him ceased and Murdoch fell back upon the pier unconscious.
"How long he lay he could not say, but it was Donald throwing water in his face that brought him round, they went into the Hotel where the people were just getting up, and he got a glass of brandy to steady his nerves, and after a short time they started and Murdoch got back to his work sometime during the day, where he told me the whole affair.
"Poor Murdoch was much changed after that, for the few days that he lived you could easily see the thing was pressing upon his mind a good deal.
"I need not tell you of the boat accident, you all know that well enough already, how Murdoch's dream became true even to the very letter. Mr. Ross the Minister was preaching in the little church up here we went to put him across the Loch and it was while coming back that we were caught in the storm and the boat was swamped. Big David and Donald never were seen. Murdoch and I tried to swim to the shore but he only got a short way when he also sank and was drowned. I got near enough to catch a rope that they threw out to me and they pulled me in although I was just about dead too."
There are many cases of this unavailing warning. Mr. T. A. Hamilton, of Ryedale Terrace, Maxwelltown, Dumfries, writes:--
"Thirty years ago I had the misfortune to lose my right eye under peculiar circumstances, and the night previous to the day on which it happened my sister dreamt that it had happened under precisely the same circumstances to which it did, and related her dream to the household before it had occurred. The distance between the scene of the accident and the house in which she slept was eight miles."
_How a Betting Man was Converted._
One of the most interesting cases of premonitions occurring in a dream is that which I have received from the Rev. Mr. Champness, who is very well known in the Wesleyan denomination, and whose reputation for sterling philanthropy and fervent evangelical Christianity is much wider than his denomination. Here is the story, as Mr. Champness sends it me:--
"Some years ago, when working as an Evangelist, it was arranged that I should conduct a Mission in a town which I had never visited before, and where, so far as I remember, I did not know a single person, though I ought to say I was very much interested in what I had heard about the place, and had been led to think with some anxiety about the Mission. It would appear that on the Saturday night preceding the Mission a man in the town dreamed that he was standing opposite the chapel where the Mission was to be held, and that while he was standing there watching the people leave the chapel, a minister, whom he had never seen before, came up to him and spoke to him with great earnestness about religious matters. He was so much impressed by the dream that he awoke his wife, and told her how excited he was. On the Sunday morning he went to the chapel, and greatly to his astonishment, when I came into the pulpit he saw that I was the man whom he had seen in his dream. I need not say that he was very much impressed, and took notice of everything that the preacher said and did. When he got home he reminded his wife of the dream he had had, and said, 'The man I saw in my dream was the preacher this morning, and preaches again to-night.' This interested his wife so much that she went to chapel with him in the evening. He attended on Monday and Tuesday evenings. On the Tuesday evening after the service he waited outside the chapel. To his great surprise, when I came out of the chapel I walked straight up to him, and spoke to him energetically, just as he had seen on the Saturday night. The whole thing was gone over again in reality, just as it had been done in the vision. On the Wednesday evening he was there again, and I remonstrated with those who had not yielded to the claims of Jesus Christ. I pushed them very hard, and was led to say, without premeditation, 'What hinders you? Why do you not yield yourself to Christ? Have you something on a horse?' Strange to say, there was a race to be run next day, and he had backed the favourite, and stood to win 8 to 1. As he said afterwards, 'I could not lug a racehorse to the penitent form.' After the service, he went straight to the man with whom he had made the bet, and said, 'That bet's off,' at which the man was very glad, as he expected to lose the bet. Sure enough, when the race was run the one that had been backed did win, but he had given up any intention of winning money in that way, and that night decided to become a Christian. He has since then died, and I have good hope of seeing him in the country where we may perhaps understand these things better than we do now."