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With respect to Matthew's Gospel, Dr. Priestley observes, that Eufebius mentions it, and in such a manner, as that it appears, there was not then any dispute about it; so that there cannot be any reason to doubt, that the Gospel, which we now have, that bears his name, was the same that we now beve, and as it was originally published.'.
Dr. Priestley is aware, that some have even denied that Matthew ever wrote a Gospel. But, even admitting that he did, as the subscriptions of the ancient versions, and all the writers of antiquity, who mentiont his affair, Papias, Irenzus, Origen, and Eusebius, intimate, that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, it may, perhaps, not appear so certain, that we now have his Gospel as it was originally published. They will, probably, rather incline to think, that the controversy turns upon these questions; when was the Gospel according 10 Mate thew translated ? by whom was it translated ? and are the apparent difficulties in the Gospel of Matthew, now received as authentic, of such a nature, as to be consistent with a genuine translation ?
Dr. Priestley observes, 'that the superior evidence of the authenticity of the books of the New Testament may be illuso trated by that of books known to have been used in schools from the time of their first composition, and that of books, which only fall into the hands of men of leisure. Yet there are some difficulties that might, perhaps, be pointed out in the former case, which do not exist in the latter.' For ex ample, if the writings of those called apostolical fathers be genuine, their very brief quotations, and one scarcely quotes at all, differ from the readings of our copies much more eso sentially than do the readings of the books used in schools : and Justin Martyr, who is allowed to be the earliest writer of the Gentile Chriftians, never takes notice of either of the Gospels, in particular, but quotes from a book entitled, Aroumuovevuara TWY ACTOSCAWY ; yet this fame Justin never refers to the writings of the Old Testament, without mentioning the author. We barely state this circumstance; but draw no conclusion, exeept this, that the writings alluded to by Dr. Prieitley are not involved in such difficulties.
The greater part of these Letters are taken up in establishing the authenticity of the Four Gospels; the remarks on the genuineness of the Epistles are very concise. The Epistles were, probably, written before the Gospels; and it may, perhaps, be thought, that the objections to the Gospel are of a more serious nature, and have more the appearance of difficulties, than what can be alleged against the Epiltles. .
To those who admit the authority of revealed religion, and who are interested in thcological controversies, we earnestly
recommend the whole of this important controversy. There is much perspicuity, good fence, and calmness, contpicuous in theie Letters: to fome probably it may appear, that considering the importance of the subject, Dr. Priestley was too haity in his Reply.--Some observations are contained in the former part of these Letters, that have excellencies, independent of their immediate relation to this subject. In the Preface, Dr. Priestley observes,
I have, in these Letters, as on other occasions, endeavoured to point out the real foundation of our faith in the Gospel history, and to thew that it is independent of the authenticity of any books. It has not been by the fair examination of historical evidence, but in most cases by some mort metaphysical reasoning, that men have become unbelievers, and in general it has been their having conceived what they had been iaught to consider as Christianity to be unworthy their ideas cf God, or their discovering some seeming im. propriety in the books which they had been taught to regard as inspired, that has, without any farther reasoning, induced them to reject Christianity. It cannot, therefore, be too strongly held out to them, that the truth of Christianity is independent of every thing of this kind; that, let them think what they will of the doctrines of the Gospel, or of the books that contain them, a mi nust have a divine million who in proof of it, does what God alone could impower him to do; and that Christ-and the apostles enquestionably did such things, i.e. work ical mirades, if the evangelical hitory be only in the main true. For without this it küs naturally impofiible that Christianity should have been received, as all history, facred and profane, shews that it was, in the early ages.' .
The Antiquities of Ireland. By Francis Groje Eig. F. A.Ş.
Vol. I. On Super Road Cuario, 51. 145. Imperial Oilavo, 41. 25. Hooper. 1793. THERE is no study more interesting than that of antiqui
ties, when it is pursued upon a literal and comprehenfive plan, and descends not into those petty and trifling details and inquiries which disgrace the science. The contemptation of magnificent ruins produces the sublimest sensations, and suggests a train of moral reflections, which have a natural tendency to refine and purify the inielleet, and coniequently to improve and reform the heart. The pencil of the artist hould, however, always accompany the relcarches of the antiqua. rian; they mutually asist cach otlier-They give immortality to that which is in a state of decay; and enlighten future generations, by faithfully transmitting a picture of the past.
There are few of the amateurs of this science, who will not sympathise with us in regretting the loss which it sustained in the decease of the ingenious and indefatigable captain Grote. His Antiquities of England, Wales, and Scotland, have confecrated his name to all posterity in this department; abd we have only to regret, that he did not sooner direct bis attention to a courtry, which abounds more in fuperb and curious ruins, and in more interesting materials for the pen and pencil of the antiquarian, than perhaps any country in this northern quarter of Europe. The loss, however, we must observe, is most ably and satisfactorily supplied upon this occafion, by the work having fallen into the hands of that very distinguished Irish antiquary Mr. Lcdwich, and by the muni. ficence of the right honourable William Cunningham, who has bełtowed his most noble collection of drawings for the use of this publication.
The work is introduced by three very ingenious disquisitions by thic present editor, Mr. Ledwich. The first on the pagan, the second on the monaltic, and the third on the military antiquities of Ireland. The two former of these are chiefly abridged from his eílays; the latter never before appeared.
In these differtations, Mr. Ledwich adopts the opinion that the primaval poffeffors of Ireland were Celtes—That Druidism was profeiled by all the Celtic tribes, the leading feature of which was the celebration of their sacred rites in oaken groves. From the term Doire, Daire, or Dury, the oak, our editor derives several of the Irish names of places, such as Doir.magh, Dar-inis, Dar-ricah, &c. When divine honours came to be paid to mortals, they were intcrred in this grove - The Irish Cile or Kii, denotes bo:h a sepulchre and a church, whence Kilbride, Kil catain, Lil-abbans--that is St. Bridgets, St. Catains, St. Abbans, &c. Frequently the wood and church formed a compourd name Kil-Doir, now Kildare. The deity adored there was fire, or the sun.
The next poileflors of Ireland, according to our ingenious editor, were the Scythians, Goths, or Firbolgs, who, about 300 years antecedent to the Christian æra, pourcd into the Britilh isles. They inhabited caves a great part of the year, and in these they interred their patriarchs and beloved chiefs. The northern superftition attributed divine qualities to monstrous upright ftones. The Cromlear, or crooked bending fone, was also an obje&t of superitition with this barbarous people. The forms of these are very different; the greater part of them consist of three large stones as supporters, on the top of which one broader and more flat is placed, but sometimes the tail of the impost rests upon the ground, while its head is supported by two uprights. The Cromlcac at Tobinfo town, in the county of Carlow, has a covering itone twentythree feet long and eighteen broad, and makes, with its sup
porters, a large room. That at Brownstown, in the same county, has an import containing 1283 feet of solid contents. All these works have been discovered to be fepulchral. They might have served as pedestals for the huge images of the northern deities. They were certainly used for sacrifices, and it appears probable that cven human victims were offered up upon them. Cairns, he observes, are also sepulchral. Tliey are common in Ireland, and are composed of immense conical heaps of stones. This practice, Mr. Ledwich adds, was Gothic, as every flone monument undoubtedly was.
Our editor remarks, that Christianity was early planted in Ireland, and that St. Jerom incontestibly proves that there was a Christian church there in the fourth, and the beginning of the fifth century. Monkery greatly flourished there in the lixth century, in the persons of Columba, Congel, and Carthag. The last fixed his residence at Rutheny in Westmeath, where there arose 867 monks. Congel built the monastery of Bangor on Carricfergus Bay-St. Bernard says it was a noble foundation, and one of its fons, Launus, himself, was the founder of 100 monasteries. In the seventh century, the regular and secular clergy were as numerous as the men of every other denomination put together. Towards the conclusion of the cighth century, the invasion of the Oftmen commenced, and in the ninth, they embraced the gospel. No foreign religious order was established in Ireland till this period. The Irish monk, who instituted rules, followed the oriental. The Au. gustinians did not appear till 1192, when Strongbow brought four from Bodmyn in Cornwall to his abbey of St. Kell's in the county of Kilkenny. About the year 1144, Mellifont, in the county of Lowth, was founded for Cistercians, and in the years inimediately following, about thirty-six more of the same order. These were followed by forty houses for Dominicans, fixty for Franciscans, and as many more for the other orders. The researches of Mr. Archdall have discovered 1188 monastic foundations in Ireland; and one of the smallest abbeys, Monainca, had above 500 acres of arable and pasture land, with the right of tithes and many advowsons; the whole worth only about 401. in 1568. At the Reformation, the great abbots surrendered upon pensions, and the monkish lands were given to different persons for various considerations. This part of the work is illustrated by beautiful engravings of the Cromlechs at Tobinstown and Brownshill; an apparently accurate view and plan of the extraordinary stone gallery at New Grange in the county of Meath, and a very fine plate · representing the several religious orders. . In treating of the military antiquities, Mr. Ledwich remarks, that the Celtes, the original inhabitants of Ireland,
This fortid with a encam
Aljme and'huills, inlulhape.
were a timid and unwarlike race. Their fortifications were only a spot surrounded by felled trees or a ditch. The Firbolgs, on the contrary, were a military nation, and had regular armies constituted on feudal principles, and composed of infantry, cavalry, and war chariots. Their encampments were on conical rising grounds, encircled with a single, double, or triple entrenchment. This fortified conical hill was called Dui, from its shape. The Danish fortifications were high conical hills, insulated rocks, and particularly round forts of lime and stone, which have been called Norwegian castles.
About the conclusion of the twelfth century, the Irish had bridles, but no stirrups, boots, or spurs; and even in 1584, they were still without stirrups. About that period the Gal lowglass, or foot foldier, was dressed in a long shirt of mail down to the calf of his leg, with a broad axe in his hand; these shirts were stained with saffron or human urine. The Kerns were light armed infantry, with swords and javelins, The Hobbilers, or horsemen, wore a short coat of mail, and had lances, bows, arrows, and a sword. The Skene (from the Anglo-Saxon segone) was a short sword, and was a Fir bolgian instrument. . . The first established force in Ireland, was in 14th Edw. IV. when 120 archers on horseback, 40 horsemen, and 40 pages, were allowed by parliament.—The pay of the Irish army under the duke of Clarence in 1361, was thus: the earl of Ormond for himself, 41. a day, 2 knights, 21. 17 esquires, il. 20 hobbilers armed, 64.
The building of forts and castles was commenced in Ireland only after the conquest by Henry II. and they were all constructed for many centuries by English architects and masons. In the course of time they multiplicd to an incredible degree, so that in 1606, by the inquisitions taken of some Irish nobleman's estates, it appears that some of them had above fixty castles. By instructions from the council in 1615, we find places of defence distinguished into forts, castles, piles, or houses. By the first are meant the old Danish forts; by piles, a collection of buildings encompassed with a rampart, impaled, and which was afterwards styled a bawn; and by houses, those intended for defence with battlements and flankers. A plate of military antiquities accompanies this division of the work.
From so picturesque a country as Ireland, the public will naturally expect a variety of striking and beautiful views, and in this the present volume will not disappoint them. The plates are in number 140, and belides those already noticed, are as follows: