A Quickened Imagination
Joel 2:28
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy…

Joel dips into the far future and sees the downcoming of the Holy Ghost. So clear is his vision that he minutely notes the effects of this marvellous effusion. But the signs we expect him to enumerate he misses. Not a word about a whiter heart and a nobler life, about miraculous power, or irresistible speech. All these he ignores; it is the unexpected and apparently the secondary and unimportant effects that fasten his attention. To him the outstanding feature of the days of the Holy Ghost is a quickened imagination — a power to dream dreams and see visions. If man be compared to a house, there is the cellar which is dark and self-contained, representing the appetites and impulses, there is the ground floor with the windows of taste and smell looking out upon the immediate neighbourhood, there is the upper storey whose windows of seeing and hearing command a wider prospect, and there is the highest storey with the window of the imagination opening out into the vast unseen. When this house becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost all the rooms are beautified and all the windows cleansed; but to the prophet the window that gleams the brightest is the roof window, the faculty that is stirred the deepest is the imagination. The old men had been dwelling in the lower rooms all the days of their lives, and during all the long years the upper stories had been all but forgotten. The windows of the imagination are darkened by dust and curtained by cobwebs. When the Spirit comes there is cleansing enough, but on account of the long neglect the window will never become translucent again. The objects seen through will be vague and shadowy. The old men only dream dreams. The dreaminess comes from the neglect. But the young men led by curiosity and romance have explored all the rooms from the roof to the basement. All the windows have been put to use, even if the use has not always been the noblest; and under the influence of the Spirit they become clear as crystal, through which are seen definite and luminous the realities of the unseen. The young men see visions. Their imagination is unspoiled by worldliness and neglect. But in old and young the action of the Spirit is the same, only in the one it revives the embers, and in the other it fans the flame. It is strange that the prophet should have singled out the imagination, for the coming of the Spirit is as the coming of the spring. Everything in its track is born again. The spring causes a tide of life to rush through all creation, and all but burst everything. The buds burst into blossom, the hard crust of the earth bursts into green, and the birds burst forth into song. All nature is roused into an extraordinary activity. When God comes into a man's soul it is the same; every faculty is stirred, every power is quickened, the heart is tenderer, the mind is clearer, the senses are keener, the body is healthier; a wondrous tide of life rushes through the whole man. The Spirit comes as a mighty wind, and as all the multitudinous leaves of a tree are swayed by the wind, so are all the faculties of a man swayed by the Spirit. But stirred as are all the soul's activities it is the extraordinary activity of the imagination that catches the eye of the prophet. But why this strange selection? The choice is strange because it is right, and daring because it is according to the mind of God. tic singles out the imagination because when God's Spirit descends on men His principal work is to make them realise the spiritual world; and the realisation of the spiritual world is the task of the imagination. All around us there is a world of matter and motion, with its hills and plains, minerals and forests, towns and streets and factories. We see it with our eyes, and are familiar with its features and movements. But vast as this world is, it pales into insignificance beside the great unseen world that is above and around and within us, a world that outleaps all measurement and outruns all duration, more real than the solid earth, more permanent than the everlasting hills; the home of God and Jesus, of angels innumerable and the spirits of just men made perfect, to be seen by no eyes of flesh, seen alone by the eye of the soul — the imagination.

(Thos. Phillips.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

WEB: "It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions.

The God of Israel
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