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A question here arises with respect to instrumental music. The human voice certainly af fords the sweetest and most comprehensive range of musical tone and expression. But, in aid of it, man's ingenuity has invented a great variety of instruments, by which his musical perception is still more amply gratified, and this enchanting and humanizing art has received the highest degrees of improvement. If music, as is acknowledged to be the case, be a proper ac companiment to divine worship, I cannot see on what principle any mode of musical expression by which its effect is improved and increased, ought to be excluded from it. For, if devotional feelings, even those of the purest and most rational kind, are by the union of poetry and music greatly heightened and sublimed, the more perfect these supports and excitements are in relation to the great object in view, the more powerful will be the effect produced. Nor can I discover why rational pleasure should not be united with chaste and elevated devotion. Although I readily grant that duty and pleasure suggest very different ideas to the mind, and rest on different foundations, yet, if by the word pleasure, we understand the gratification of our perceptive powers within their due limits, it cannot be supposed that the Deity requires the exclusion of this from his own worship. When duty, as it will always be as soon as it becomes

habitual, is the source of delight, we have the surest pledge of its ready and faithful performance. Indeed it may be asserted, that the principal temptations to violate and to depart from it arise from the difficulties by which it is attended, and the external evils to which it is so often exposed. No wise and good man is so far intimidated or disgusted by these as to shrink from important obligation, and to sacrifice the more refined and lasting joys which are the rewards of integrity. But this is the case with the generality of mankind, deluded and ensnared by some present though transitory advantage, or frightened and overpowered by some present pain, equally transient. In every case, therefore, where direct and legitimate delight can be connected with duty, the cause of virtue must be advanced by this connexion. Piety, which is so important a branch of human obligation, nay, which may be justly considered as the great spring of every other virtue, must, in the same manner, be more strongly recommended and more firmly established. For these reasons I can see no solid ground for excluding instrumental music from the worship of God. Something more cogent than I have hitherto heard advanced on this subject must be produced, in order to induce me to alter this opinion.

There is, however, in this, as in most other points, a due temperament to be observed. If

the instrumental music introduced into public worship be of that refined and complicated nature which is merely calculated to gratify taste, however delicate and commendable as a source of innocent and elegant pleasure, such music has a tendency to divert the soul from those grave and most interesting objects which the service of God should always present to the mind of the worshipper. Such music is therefore highly improper and even pernicious. It would be much better that instrumental music were altogether excluded, than that it should ever assume this complexion. On the other hand, an insipid and drawling combination of tones, employed to resound the praises of God, superinduces languor and tediousness, and even excites ludicrous ideas in the hearer's mind. Hence occasion is afforded, to those who cherish no serious and pious feelings, for rendering the most sacred of all exercises, those of public devotion, an object of indecent, immoral, and profane ridicule. A due medium and a just selection are absolutely necessary.

As I am on this subject, I cannot help mentioning a very singular phenomenon in the history of the human mind: I mean the aversion from instrumental music in the service of the church so generally entertained by the people of Scotland. This I call a singular phenomenon, because in Scotland it could not be naturally

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supposed to exist. The Scots are a musical nation, are endued with strong musical sensibilities, and possess national airs of the most exquisite and affecting melody. These airs derive their origin from remote periods, when their country was in a comparative state of barbarism, and, what is very remarkable, while the people, naturally brave and warlike, were frequently engaged in bloody contests with each other or with the English, were inured to rapine, and on many occasions employed in deeds of savage ferocity, their national music, even in those times, was, as it still is, characterized by peculiar tenderness and plaintive sensibility. I may observe in passing, that no satisfactory account of the origin and parentage, if I may be allowed the expression, of the Scotish airs has hitherto been given, at least none with which I am acquainted. This I should deem to be a subject of curious, interesting, and, in my opinion, even of useful investigation, as far as relates to a singular point of history.

But to return from this short digression; no people can be conceived more likely to have delighted in instrumental music employed in divine worship than the Scots. How then can we account for their strong aversion from it? This, it appears to me, can be done only in two ways.

In the first place, the reformation of religion in Scotland was chiefly effected by the great

body of the people, and was therefore conducted in many instances with that intemperate and undiscerning zeal which characterises procedure merely popular. Hence, the destruction of the magnificent religious edifices which adorned Scotland, as well as every other Christian country subject to the control of the popish hierarchy. When the other appendages of popish superstition and craft, such as images, pictures, shrines, altars, splendid vestments, and every other species of useless and pernicious decoration, were swept away, it is probable that the organ was classed with these, and regarded as an instrument belonging to the corrupt religion which was to be abolished. It was even at a posterior period denominated the chest full of whistles. It is supposed by many that some of the finest Scotish melodies owed their origin to the music of the church. Those melodies became afterwards the vehicles of amatory and other light subjects, with which they were gradually associated in the minds of the people. Instrumental music in Scotland was chiefly connected with dancing and scenes of merriment and festivity, and thus another association was established, which seemed to render it totally

a It has been sufficiently proved by Dr. M'Crie, in his Life of John Knox, that that intrepid and enlightened reformer wished to preserve the ecclesiastical edifices; and their demolition is to be ascribed rather to the instigation of those who desired to be freed from the expense of supporting them.


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