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NATURE independent of custom has connected certain sounds with certain feelings of the mind.*
The ear may be transiently pleased with the air of a song, but that is the most trifling effect of music. Simplicity in mel ody is very necessary in all music intended to reach the heart, or even greatly to delight the ear. The effect must be produced instantaneously, or not at all. The subject must therefore be simple, and easily traced, and not a single note or grace should be admitted, but what has a view to the proposed end. The artifice of fugues in vocal music, scems in a peculiar manner ill-adapted to affect the passions.t
A Composer should make his music expressive of the sentiment, and never have reference to any particular word used in conveying that sentiment, which is a common practice, and really a miserable species of punning.‡
The influence of music over the mind is perhaps greater than any of the fine arts. It is capable of raising and soothing every passion and emotion of the soul. Yet the real effects produced by it are inconsiderable. This is entirely owing to its being in the hands of practical musicians, and not under the direction of taste and philosophy: For in order to give music any extensive influence over the mind, the composer and performer must understand well the human heart, the various associations of the passions, and the natural transitions from one to another, so as to enable him to command them in conse quence of his skill in musical expression.§
Gregory's Comparative View,
† Page 129, 150, 141;
§ Page 111.
We have another instance of the little regard paid to the ultimate end of music, the affecting the heart and the passions, in the universally allowed practice of making a long flourish at the close of a song, and sometimes at other periods of it. In this the performer is left at liberty to show the utmost compass of his throat and execution; and all that is required, is, that he should conclude in the proper key: the performer accordingly takes this opportunity of shewing the audience the extent of his abilities, by the most fantastical and unmeaning extravagance of execution. The disgust which this gives to some, and the surprise which it excites in all the audience, breaks the tide of passion in the soul, and destroys all the effect which the composer has been laboring to produce. The principles of aste in music, like those of the other fine arts, have their foundation in nature and common sense; these principles have been grossly violated by those unworthy hands to whose direction alone this delightful art has been entrusted; and men of sense and genius should not imagine that they want an ear or a musical taste, because they do not relish much of the modern music, as in many cases this is rather a proof of the goodness both of the one and the other.*
A certain gentleman published, in London, in the year 1786, a Tractate on CHURCH MUSIC; being an extract from the reverend and learned Mr. PEIRCE's Vindication of the Dissenters. The editor of this Tractate obtained and published the following recommendations of it.
Extract of a letter from the Reverend Dr. Price, dated April, 1786.
"I have read these extracts from the excellent Mr. PEIRCE'S Vindication of the Dissenters with much satisfaction. I cannot but strongly disapprove instrumental music in churches. It is a deviation from the simplicity of Christian worship, which has a dangerous tendency and may terminate in all the fopperies of popery."
Extract of a letter from the Reverend Dr. Kippis, dated May 5, 1786. "I have read with attention the Tractate on Church Music, taken from Mr. PEIRCE's Vindication of the Dissenters, and entirely agree in opinion with the ingenious and learned author. The use of instrumental music in Christian worship has no foundation in the New Testament, which is the standard of our faith and practice. If once we depart from this standard, there will be no end to innovations. An opening will be laid to the introduction of one superstition after another, till the simplicity and purity of the gospel service are wholly lost. Every thing, therefore, which tends to divert men from a rational inward devotion to external pomp and ceremony ought to be discouraged as much as possible."
Concerning the process of the General Judgment, in which the modern notic of Universal Salvation are particularly considered.
MATTHEW Xxv. 31-46.
When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations: And he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungered and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison and ye came Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered and fed thee? or thirsty and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger and took thee in? or naked and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick or in prison and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungered and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger and ye took me not
in: Naked and ye clothed me not: Sick and in prison and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or a thirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
IT is the intention of this discourse, to explain and confirm the sense of this passage of Scripture. And since Scripture is the best interpreter of itself, we shall compare the various representations in the text, with the general tenor of the sacred oracles.
I. Our Lord here gives us a particular and lively representation of the general judgment. "When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations," &c. This description of the great day resembles that of several other inspired writers. Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of it, saying, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all." Solomon says, "God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." The apostle Paul declares "that God hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men; in that he hath raised him from the dead." We are told the fallen angels are "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day." And