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generous souls set no bounds to their love, or to their hatred, and whether a Whig or Tory, a lap-dog or a gaitant, an opera or a puppet-show, be the object of it, the passion, while it reigns, engrosses the whole
When the wife of Hector, in Homer's Iliad, dis courses with her husband about the battle in which he was going to engage, the hero, desiring her to leave the matter to his care, bids her to go to her maids, and mind ber spinning: by which the poet intimates, that men and women ought to busy themselves in their proper spheres, and on such matters only as are suit. able to their respective sex.
I HAVE often wondered to hear men of good sense and good-nature profess a dislike to inusic, when at the same time they do not scruple to own, that it has the most agreeable and improving influences over their minds; it seems to me an unhappy contradiction, that these persons should have an indifference for an art, which raises in them such a variety of sublime plea
However, though some few, by their own or the unreasonable prejudices of others, may be led into a dis taste for those musical societies, which are erected merely for entertainment; yet sure I may venture to May, that no one can have the least reason for disaffec tion to that solemn kind of melody which consists of the praises of our Creator.
You have, I presume, already prevented me in a argument upon this occasion, which some divines have successfully advanced upon a much greater, that musical
sacrifice and adoration has claimed a place in the laws and customs of the most different nations; as the Grecians and Romans of the profane, the Jews and Christians of the sacred world, did as unanimously agree in this, as they disagreed in all other parts of their economy.
I know there are not wanting some who are of opinion that the pompous kind of music which is in E use in foreign churches is the most excellent, as it most affects our senses. But I am swayed by my judgment to the modesty which is observed in the musical part of our devotions. Methinks there is something very landable in the custom of a voluntary before the first lesson; by this we are supposed to be prepared for the admission of those divine truths, which we are shortly to receive. We are then to cast all worldly regards from off our hearts, all tumults within are then becalmed, and there should be nothing near the soul but peace and tranquillity. So that in this short office of praise, the man is raised above himself, and is almost lost already amidst the joys of futurity.
I have heard some nice observers frequently commend the policy of our church in this particular, that it leads us on by such easy and regular methods, that We are perfectly deceived into piety. When the spirits begin to languish (as they too often do with a constant series of petitions) she takes care to allow them a pious respite, and relieves them with the raptures of an anthem. Nor can we doubt that the sublimest poetry, softened in the most moving strains of music, can never fail of humbling or exalting the soul to any pitch of devotion. Who can hear the terrors of the Lord of Hosts, described in the most expressive melody, without being awed into a veneration? Or who can hear the kind and endearing attributes of a mer. ciful Father, and not be softened into love towards
revented Some dire reater, das
As the rising and sinking of the passions, the casting VOL. I.
soft or noble hints into the soul, is the natural privilege of music in general, so more particularly of that kind which is employed at the altar. Those impressions which it leaves upon the spirits are more deep and lasting, as the grounds from which it receives its authority are founded more upon reason. It diffuses a calmness all around us, it makes us drop all those vain or immodest thoughts which would be an hindrance to us in the performance of that great duty of thanksgiv ing, which, as we are informed by our Almighty Bene. factor, is the most acceptable return which can be made for those infinite stóres of blessings which he daily condescends to pour down upon his creatures. When we make use of this pathetical method of addressing ourselves to him, we can scarce contain from raptures! The heart is warmed with a sublimity of goodness! We are all piety and all love!
How do the blessed spirits rejoice and wonder to behold unthinking man prostrating his soul to his dread Sovereign in such a warmth of piety as they themselves might not be ashamed of!
I shall close these reflections with a passage taken out of the third book of Milton's Paradise Lost, where those harmonious beings are thus nobly de scribed:
Then crown'd again, their golden harps they took,
I HAD occasion to go a few miles out of town, some days since, in a stage-coach, where I had for my fellow travellers a dirty beau, and a pretty young quaker woman. Having no inclination to talk much at that time, I placed myself backward, with a design to survey them, and pick a speculation out of my two companions. Their different figures were sufficient of themselves to draw my attention. The gentleman was dressed in a suit, the ground whereof had been black, as I perceived from some few spaces that had escaped the powder, which was incorporated with the greatest part of his coat: his periwig, which cost no small sum, was after so slovenly a manner cast over his shoulders, that it seemed not to have been combed since the year 1712; his linen, which was not much concealed, was daubed with plain Spanish from the chin to the lowest button, and the diamond upon his finger (which naturally dreaded the water) put me in mind how it sparkled amidst the rubbish of the mine, where it was first discovered. On the other hand, the pretty quaker appeared in all the elegance of cleanli ness. Not a speck was to be found upon her. A clear, clean oval face, just edged about with little thin plaits of the purest cambric, received great advantages from the shade of her black hood; as did the whiteness of her arms from that sober-coloured stuff, in which she had clothed herself. The plainness of her dress was very well suited to the simplicity of ber phrases; all which put together, though they could not give me a great opinion of her religion, they did of her innocence.
This adventure occasioned my throwing together a few hints upon cleanliness, which I shall consider as one of the half virtues, as Aristotle calls them, and shall recommend it under the three following heads; as it is a mark of politeness; as it produces love; and as it bears analogy to purity of mind.
First, It is a mark of politeness. It is universally agreed upon, that no one, unadorned with this virtue, can go into company, without giving a manifest offence. The easier or higher any one's fortune is, this duty rises proportionably. The different nations of the world are as much distinguished by their cleanli. ness, as by their arts and sciences. The more any country is civilized, the more they consult this part of politeness. We need but compare our ideas of a female Hottentot and an English beauty, to be satisfied of the truth of what hath been advanced.
In the next place, cleanliness may be said to be the foster-mother of love. Beauty indeed most commonly produces that passion in the mind, but cleanliness preserves it. An indifferent face and person, kept in per. petual neatness, hath won many a heart from a pretty slattern. Age itself is not unamiable, while it is preserved clean and unsullied; like a piece of metal constantly kept smooth and bright, we look on it with more pleasure than on a new vessel that is cankered with rust.
I might observe further, that as cleanliness renders us agreeable to others, so it makes us easy to ourselves; that it is an excellent preservative of health; and that several vices, destructive both to mind and body, are inconsistent with the habit of it. But these reflections I shall leave to the leisure of my readers, and shall observe in the third place, that it bears a great analogy with purity of mind, and naturally inspires refined sentiments and passions.
We find from experience, that through the preva lence of custom, the most vicious actions lose their horror, by being made familiar to us. On the com