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The prosody of the antients, at the origin of languages, being extremely various and uncertain, every inflexion of the voice was natural to it: consequently they could not avoid falling now and then upon some tones, with which the ear was pleased: and such was the first idea they entertained of harmony or mufic.
The Diatonic order, in which founds succeed each other by tones and semi-tones, appears at present so natural, that one would imagine it to have been discovered before the rest but if there are sounds whose relations are more perceptible, it is reasonable to conclude, that these were first obferved.
The progression by a Tierce, a Fifth, or an Octave, immediately depends on the principle whence harmony is derived, that is, on the Resonance of fonorous bodies; and the Diatonic order arises from this progression. It necessarily follows, therefore, that, in the harmonic fucceffion, the relations of founds must be far more perceptible, than in the Diatonic order. The harmonic intervals were, therefore, the firft taken notice of; and the Diatonic order was discovered only by degrees, and not till after many fruitless attempts.
As the progress of music was fo very slow, it must be a long time before the antients had any thoughts of separating it from the words ; for, viewed in such circumstance, it would appear to them void of expression. Besides, as their prosody had regulated the several tones of the human voice, and alone had furnished the occasion of observing their harmony, it was natural for them to look upon music only as an art capable of adding more energy or ornament to speech; and hence the prejudice of the antients against separating the music from the words.
Meanwhile this art improved ; and having by degrees equalled words in expression, at last strove to furpass them. Then was it perceived to be of itself susceptible of infinite expression; and consequently it could no longer appear ridiculous to divorce it from the words.
As the prosody of the primitive languages fell very little short of melody, so the style of those languages, affecting to imitate the sensible images of the mode of speaking by action, adopted all sorts of figures and metaphors, and became extremely picturesque.
Thus the style of all languages was originally poetical, depicting the most sensible images, and strictly conforming to measure. But as languages became more copious, the mode of speaking by action was abolished by degrees, the voice re
laxed its tones, the relish for figures and metaphors inferilibly diminished, and style began to resemble prose.
As the prosody and style of languages became more simple, profe began to differ more and more from verse : and, on the other hand, the human mind improving, poetry decked itself with fresher images, deviated farther from common language, and became less proper for the instruction of the vulgar.
The diffimilarity arising between poetic style and common language, opened a middle way, from which eloquence derived its origin.
When mankind had once acquired the art of communicating their conceptions by founds, they began to feel the necesty of inventing new signs, for perpetuating them, and for making them known at a distance. To express, therefore, the idea of a man, or horse, they delineated the form of each of these animals: so that the first effay towards writing was a mere picture.
It is, in all probability, to the necessity of thus delineating our thoughts, that the art of painting owes its original.
But the inconveniency ariling from the enormous bulk of pictured volumes, induced them afterwards to use one single figure to denote various things or significations. Thus it was that writing, which before that time was a fimple picture, became both picture and character, which is what properly conftitutes the nature of hieroglyphics.
Yet this exact manner of delineation proved still too tedious and voluminous, they therefore by degrees perfected another character, formed from the outlines of each figure, and resembling the Chinese writing; which we may call the Running-hand of hieroglyphics.
Thus have we brought down the general history of writing, by a gradual and easy defcent, from a picture to a letter: fot Chinese marks, which participate of the nature of Egyptian hieroglyphics on the one hand, and of letters on the other, just as these hieroglyphics equally partook of that of Mexican pictures, and of the Chinese characters, are on the very borders of letters ; an alphabet being only a compendious abridgment of that troublesome multiplicity.
The immediately preceding paragraph, with which we shall conclude our summary of the second part of this Essay, is a quotation from Mr. Warburton's Divine Legation of Moses; to which the Abbé Condillac pays his acknowlegements for almost every thing he has advanced concerning the invention and improvement of picturesque, emblematic, and literal signs.
Our philosophic and discerning Abbè, who in his researches áfter Truth, reverės authority, without implicitly submitting to it, will allow us the same privilege.
We entirely agree with our Author, that an inaccurate use of words is the occasion of much error, and vain debate ainong mankind; and that it is of very great importance with respect to the discovery, as well as communication of Truth, to speak with precision. We also agree with the Abbé in this, that the mind may, upon fome occasions, recollect a word when it cannot recollect the idea, or ideas, of which that word is the fign; and reversely, may recollect an idea, or ideas, without recollecting the word, or words, which denominate them: and the Abbé may, if he pleases, call the recollection of words, Memory; and the recollection of ideas, Imagination. Yet as recollection, whatever be the object of it, is still but one and the same operation of mind, just as light is but one and the fame power of sensation, whether the object of it be red or blue; and as we call the organ of fight, notwithstanding the diversity of its objects, and upon which soever of them it be employed, the eye; so ought we, one would think, to call the retentive faculty, which ministers to recollection, as the eye does to seeing, however various its objects, and upon whatever exerted, by one, and not by many names; and if one name will do, Memory seems to be a word as proper as any other to denote such a power. Thus much in defence of our countryman Locke, whom the’Abbé reprehends upon this occafion.
But we cannot conclude without doing this learned foreigner the justice of acknowleging to our Readers, that we have, in our summary of the first part of his work, entirely passed over his Introduction, his first chapter relating to the Difference between Soul and Body, a chapter concerning the Origin of Principles, another of the Defects and Advantages of the Imagination, another concerning the operation by which we give Signs to our Ideas, and a chapter of Facts confirming the preceding, together with a chapter on Abstraction, &c. And in the second part we have wholly omitted his Comparison between musical and plain Declamation, his Inquiry concerning the most perfect Prosody, two chapters concerning Words, another concerning their Signification; one concerning their Transposition; and several others; as of the Origin of Fable, &c. of the Character of Languages, of the Cause of Error, of the Manner of Determining Ideas or their Names, of the Order we ought to follow in the Investigation Rev. Aug. 1756.
of Truth, and of that we ought to pursue in the Exposition of it. These we passed over as subordinate parts, but recom mend the whole to the perusal of the Rational Enquirer,
A free and candid Examination of the Principles advanced in the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of London's very elegant Sermons, lately gaiblished; and in his very ingenious Discourses on Prophecy. I Werein the commonly received System, concerning the Natures of the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, is particularly considered : With occasional Observations on some late Explanations of the Doctrines therein contained. By the Author of the Critical Enquiry into the Opinions and Practice of the antient Philosophers, &c. 8vo. 5s. Davis.
HE ingenious Author's design in this piece, is to shew,
that the common system, which makes Redemption and a Future State, a popular doétrine amongst the ancient Jews, abounds with absurdities and inconsistencies.
He warmly espouses Dr. Warburton's scheme upon the subject; seems to be well acquainted with what has been urged on both sides of the question; and has made several just observations on what has been advanced upon it by the Bilhop of London, and the Doctors Leland, Stebbing, Sykes, Law, &c. His principal view, indeed, seems to be, to get the question thoroughly examined, and the Jewith law.freed from the many perplexities in which those who plead in defence of the common system, have involved it.
The preface to his performance is written with great spirit, and very much in the style and manner of the Author of the Divine Legation: on whom, in the course of the work, the highest praises are bestowed. It is levelled at a Sermon, called the Christian Apology, &c. by Dr. Patten. (See Review for January, 1756; for May, p. 392, seq. and for July, p: 79.) The Author introduces it with observing, that Reason, in religious matters, stands but an ill chance of being heard, when one part of the public attention is engaged in the gratifications of sense; another busied in the visionary pursuits of an over-heated fancy; and the rest securely reposing in the cool and venerable shade of AUTHORITY.
In the tumultuous scenes of life, it is said, the voice of Reason is too weak to be heard, or too difficult to be underftood: in the indulgent anarchy of fancy, her language is too simple, or too fevere, to persuade; but where AUTHORITY
bears sway, she is enjoined compliance, or reduced to filence. Thus we see in one quarter she is ftared at as a stranger; in another, the alarms as an enemy; and in the third, she is treated as a flave. Here, indeed, her case is at the worst. She may familiarize herself to the sensual man; she may be reconciled to the visionary; but, with AUTHORITY, she can come to no composition; tho' she be unable to withstand its power And yet it is against this last Foe To Reason that the following theets are chiefly directed.
“But, to vindicate the rights of Reason in Religion, continues the Author, appears now so desperate an adventure to “the learned of Oxford, that in a sudden fit of despair, as it
thould feem, they are for giving up the cause at once, and
ridding us of alt labour at a blow. The scheme is to expel • Reason out of the province of Faith: and to believe on
no other account but because it is thus written that the DATA for the truths of Revelation are so flender, that the
apSplication of human Reason to it, only makes it totter the
more; for that all which human Reason can do, is to fur
nish out TOPICAL arguments; which as they have two " handles, two faces, and two edges, are laid hold on equally • by the two parties; who, with the same ease and facility', “ turn them against one another, till the conflict ends in an « universal scepticism.'
But our Prefacer asks, why such resentment against Reason, at this juncture! There is not, says he, so much of it as to be troublesome to any body: and what there is, is not so well received as to excite envy. But this thews ihe disinterestedness of Dr. Patten. And if he may appear ungenerous to take advantage of her present low defenceless condition, to exclude her from her pretended rights, it is all for the public good. • Be this as it may,' adds the Author, for my
part, I cannot but with his project good success. Reason • has so little befriended me, and I suppose it is the case of
many others, that I am ready to cry out (as a certain perfon
did against something he thought her enemy) would we were < well rid of it. But this shews us we ought to do nothing • rafhly. In my mind, these two projects ihould go
hand in hand"; that when we have driven Reason out of Religion,
take care to leave none of those absurdities behind, « which'afford her so plausible a pretence for staying where she
is, to prevent matters from growing worse, when she can « make them no better.
. This appears to me, a defect in the learned Doctor's scheme; but not the only one. He would have us lay aside