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MUSICAL HISTORY.

CHAPTER I.

THE MUSIC OF THE ANCIENTS.-MUSIC OF THE HEBREWSTHE EGYPTIANS-THE GREEKS THE ROMANS.

MUSIC, though now a very complex and difficult art, is, in truth, a gift of the Author of Nature to the whole human race. Its existence and influence are to be traced in the records of every people from the earliest ages, and are perceptible, at the present time, in every quarter of the globe. It is a part of the benevolent order of Providence, that we are capable of receiving from the objects around us, pleasures independent of the immediate purposes for which they have been created. Our eyes do not merely enable us to see external things, so as to avail ourselves of their useful properties; they enable us also to enjoy the delight produced by the perception of beauty, a perception which (upon whatever principle it may be explained,) is something distinct from any consideration of the mere utility of an object. We could have had the most accurate perceptions of the form and position of everything that constitutes the most beautiful landscape, without receiving any idea of its beauty. We could have beheld the sun setting amid the glowing tints of a summer evening, without thinking of anything beyond the advantage of serene weather; we might have contemplated the glassy expanse of the ocean reflecting the tranquil beams of the moon, with

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out any other feeling than the comfort of a safe and easy navigation; and the varieties of hill and dale, of shady woods and luxuriant verdure, might have been pleasant only in the eyes of farmers or graziers. We could, too, have listened to sounds with equal indifference to everything beyond the mere information they conveyed to us; and the sighing of the breeze, or the murmuring of the brook, while we learned from them nothing of which we could avail ourselves, might have been heard without pleasure. It is evident that the perception of external things, for the mere purpose of making use of them, has no connexion with the feeling of their beauty; and that our Creator, therefore, has bestowed on us this additional feeling, for the purpose of augmenting our happiness. Had he not had this design, he might have left us without the sense of beauty or deformity. "If God," says Paley, "had wished our misery, he might have made sure of his purpose by forming our senses to be as many sores and pains to us as they are now instruments of our gratification and enjoyment; or by placing us among objects so ill suited to our perceptions, as to have continually offended us, instead of ministering to our refreshment and delight. He might have made, for instance, everything we saw loathsome, everything we touched a sting, and every sound a discord."

In place of every sound being a discord, the greatest part of the sounds which we hear are more or less agreeable to us. The infinite variety of sounds produced by the winds and waters, the cries of animals, the notes of birds,-and, above all, the tones of the human voice, all affect us with various kinds and degrees of pleasure; and, in general, it may be said, that it is such sounds as indicate something to be feared and avoided, such as the howling of wild beasts, or the

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