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EXTRACT FROM THE REGISTRY OF TRINITY COLLEGE,
“ Whereas a Legacy of One thousand two hundred and fortythree Pounds, has been bequeathed to the College of Dublin, by Mrs ANNE DONNELLAN, for the encouragement of Religion, Learning, and good Manners ; the particular mode of application being intrusted to the Provost and Senior Fellows :
“ RESOLVED, “1. That a Divinity Lecture, to which shall be annexed a Salary arising from the interest of One thousand two hundred Pounds, shall be established for ever, to be called Donnellan's Lecture.
• II. That the Lecturer shall be forthwith elected from
among the Fellows of said College, and hereafter annually on the 20th of November.
“ III. That the subject or subjects of the Lectures shall be determined at the time of election by the Board, to be treated of in six Sermons, which shall be delivered in the College Chapel, after morning service, on certain Sundays, to be appointed on the 20th of November next, after the election of the Lecturer, and within a year from said appointment.
“ IV. That one moiety of the interest of the said £1,200 shall be paid to the Lecturer, as soon as he shall have delivered the whole number of Lectures ; and the other moiety as soon as he shall have published four of the said Lectures—one copy to be deposited in the Library of the College, one in the Library, of Armagh, one in the Library of St Sepulchre, one to be given to the Chancellor of the University, and one to the Provost of the College."
When the Friends of srreligion and Anarchy in this country, some years ago, disseminated with a malignant industry the First Part of Mr Paine's “ Age of Reason,” containing a bold and virulent attack on the Scriptures of the Old Testament, the Heads of the University of Dublin judged that it might be expedient to direct the attention of the Students to the clear and convincing evidence by which this part of Revelation is sustained. On that occasion, the Subject of the following LECTURES was selected for the ensuing year, when it was my duty to deliver them. But before that period arrived, so many able and satisfactory answers* appeared to Mr Paine's pamphlet ; and the extreme ignorance of its author, the futility of his reasonings, and the grossness of his misrepresentations, were so clearly exposed; that I judged it unnecessary to conduct my researches or form my arguments with any particular reference to the objections urged in that tract; and determined on taking a wider range, and entering into a more radical discussion of the divine original of the Jewish Scheme, than I had at first designed. For that purpose I resolved to examine the four last books of the Pentateuch with all the attention in my power, and discover how far they carried internal evidence of their genuineness and truth, in the detail both of the common and the miraculous events. The following Work is the effect of that determination.
* Amongst these, the excellent Apology of Bishop Watson undoubtedly ranks the first. In this country, the Rev. Mr Hincks, of Cork, produced a very useful compilation on the same subject; and Dr Stokes, of Trinity College, Dublin, published a brief but able answer to Mr Paine, which was circulated with excellent effect amongst the Students.
The Friends of Religion will, I trust, receive this attempt to explain and defend a part of Revelation most frequently assailed by infidels,* with candour and indulgence. I am deeply sensible of the importance of the subject, and would not have presumed to enter upon it, had I found it already pre-occupied by any writer of established reputation. But it appeared to me, that all, or very nearly all the distinguished authors, whose labours have been employed in illustrating the Old Testament in particular, or stating the proofs of Revelation in general, have been in some degree led away from bestowing on this subject that continued attention which its importance deserved, and combining the various characters of truth incidentally dispersed through the writings of the great Jewish Legislator, in one distinct view, in which each would communicate new lustre to the rest. Such authors as have illustrated the Scriptures with continued commentaries, were, by the very nature of their undertaking, prevented from uniting in one view the many important observations and proofs which the separate parts of the sacred text suggested. Those who were employed in refuting the objections of any one particular antagonist, were almost inevitably led to magnify these objections beyond their relative importance in any general consideration of the subject. The same writers also were
* That infidels or sceptics still direct their chief attacks against the Old Testament, is daily experienced. The reader will see some very recent instances, in the publications of the late Rev. Dr Geddes, and of Mr De Werte, noticed in the APPENDIX.