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the discourses related in the gospel-histories, are, in all probability, the very times, when the gospels were written.
If we bring St. Matthew's to this test, it will manifestly appear, we are told, to have been penned at a time, when the church was labouring under a heavy persecution. For it contains many obvious references to such a state ; and many dextrous applications both to the injurious, and to the injured party: Now the greatest persecution ever raised against the church, while it consisted only of Jewish converts; was that which was first begun by the Sanhedrim, and afterwards continued and conducted by Saul, with implacable rage and fury. During these severities, which lasted in the whole about six years, (viz. till the third of Caligula, A. D. 39 or 46, when the Jews were too much alarmed about their own affairs, to give any farther disturbance to the Christians) the members of the Christian church stood in need of all the support, comfort, and allistance that could possibly be administred to them. But what comfort could they possibly receive, in their distressed situation, comparable to that which resulted from the example of their suffering master, and the promise he had made to his faithful followers. This example, therefore, and those promises, St. Matthew seasonably laid before them, for their imitation and encouragement. For newe-towards the close of this dangerous period - it is most likely, our author fays, that he wrote his gospel; and delivered it to them, as the anchor of their hope, to keep them fted fast in this violent tempeft.
The Doctor now endeavours to shew that St. Luke wrote his gospel, for the use of the Gentile converts, about the year 53. -As the Gentiles were far remote from the scene of action, and consequently ignorant of Jewish affairs, it was incumbent upon St. Luke, in order to accomplish what he had in view, to trace the subject quite up to its fource, and to proceed thro’ the whole of our Saviour's ministry in a circumftantial and methodical order.--Hence it is, we are told, that he begins his history with the birth of John the Baptist, as introductory to that of Christ-that, in the course of it, he mentions several particulars omitted by St. Matthew-and that he is so careful in fpecifying times and places, together with other circumstances of facts that were highly conducive to the information of strangers; though they needed not to be recited to the Jews, who could easily supply them from their own knowlege. Hence, also, it is that he sets before them the genealogy of Chrift, according to his natural descent,—and carries it up as high as Adam, in order to shew that he was that seed of the woman, who was promised for the redemption of the whole world.E 2
By the like references to the state of the Gentiles, it easy is to account for his other peculiarities.
St. Luke, it is farther said, strongly recommended St. Matthew's gospel to those for whom he wrote, not by name indeed, but by a better and more common method, viz. that of quoting and copying his words. In order to confirm this aliese tion, which, in the opinion of many, the Doctor fupposes, will stand in need of proof, he produces several passages, and refers to many others.
He goes on to obferve, that as the gospel met with so much opposition, it became the duty of the first Evangelists, in order to facilitate its way in the world, to accommodate their accounts to the temper of the times, and remove the impediments that obstructed its progress. In consequence of this, they were unavoidably led, in the course of their narration, not only to confirm the truth of the doctrine they meant to establish, but also to confute the cavils, correct the opinions, and reform the practices, of those who opposed it. Hence their histories became, in the detail, more complex and various than we have reason to think they would otherwise have been; containing references to customs and tenets, which, but for the particu lar disposition of the times, would, in all probability, have had no place in them.
But when the Christian religion had gained ground, and the controverfies that disturbed it were tolerably settled, it is in no wise unnatural to fuppofe, that fome of its most faithful and serious profeffors might wish to see the gospel exhibited in a more fimple form: and, without any particular confideration, to Jew or Gentile, delivered in a manner suitable to the condition of the world at large.
Agreeably to this supposition, we are told, (Clem. Alex. apud Euseb. Hift. Eccl. 1. 2. C. 15.) that the Christian converts at Ronie requested St. Mark, with great carneftness, to write such a history for their use and instruction. Accordingly, the gospel, which he wrote at their request, is evidently, our Author fays, a fimple and compendious narrative, divested of almost all peculiarities, and accommodated to general use. In compiling this narrative, he had little more to do, than to abridge the gospels which lay before him, ---varying some expressions, and inserting fome additions, as occation required. That St. Mark followed this plan, no one can doubt, our Author says, who compares his gospel with those of the two former evangcliffs. He copies largely from both; and takes either the one or the other alınost perpetually for his guide. The order indeed is his own, and is very close and well connected. In his account
of facts he is also clear, exact, and critical; and the more fo, perhaps, as he wrote it for the perusal of a learned and critical people. For he seems to proceed with great caution, and to be iolicitous that his gospel fhould stand clear of all objections.
The Doctor goes on to consider it more particularly ; produces many passages to shew, that Mark copied from Matihew and Luke, and fixes the publication of his gospel about the end of the year 62, or the beginning of 63, the ninth of the Emperor, when the church stood in need of every religious confolation, to support itself under the afflictive weight of a dreadfully cruel perfecution.
The gospel of St. John, we are told, is to be considered, not merely as an historical narrative, but also as a polemic tract, defigned to confute the errors of Cerinthus, and other heretics of the same stamp. In order to understand the scheme and difposition of it, we must examine the tenets of Cerinthus, in opposition to which, it is supposed, to have been purposely written. This, our Author says, will not only throw great light on particular passages, but make the whole appear a compleat work, -regular, clear, and conclusive.
It may properly be divided, he tells us, into three parts. The first comprehends the doctrines to be maintained; which are contrary to those of Cerinthus : the second contains the proofs of these doctrines, delivered in an historical manner; the third is a Conclusion or Appendix, giving some account of the person of the writer, and of the view he had io penning this gospel.-In regard to the date of it, which he endeavours to deduce from internal marks, he fixes it to the year of our Lord 69.
Towards the conclusion of his work, the Doctor observes, that the gospels are by no means to be looked upon as so many detached pieces, composed by persons totally ignorant of each other's intention ; but rather as one complete, entire system of divinity, supported by the strongest proofs that the subject is capable of, and defended against all the objections, which either Jews or Gentiles, or even its more dangerous heretical pro. fefiors, could make to the truth and certainty of it. If we read them in their proper order, we shall find them improving one upon another, and yet all conspiring to the fame end-to a perfect representation of the revealed religion. Each of the Authors consulted the writings of his predeceffors, and either by addition of facts, explanation of terms, or confirmation of doctrine, contributed fomething to the common stock, and the general instruction of Christians. They likewise quoted each others words, and thereby recommended each others histories. A circumstance of great advantage, whatever fome may think of it, to the service of the Christian cause. For by E 3
this means they became not only mutual vouchers for the truth of these genuine gospels, but at the same time joint-opposers of all these spurious ones, that were impiously obtruded on the world.
The History of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands :
Translated from a Spanish Manuscript, lately found in the island of Palma. With an Enquiry into the Origin of the ancient Inhabitants. To which is added, a Defiription of the Canary Islands, including the modern History of the Inhabitants, and an Account of their Customs, Manners, Trade, &c. By George Glas. Quarto. 155. Boards. Dodsley,
HIS work is divided into two parts; the first contains an
Hands; and the second a description of them, with an account of the manners and customs of the present inhabitants. The former, in a translation from a Spanish manuscript, written in the ifland of Palma, about the year 1632, by Juan Abreau de Galieneo, a Franciscan friar, a native of the province of Andalusia in Spain. This manuscript, Mr. Glas tells us, lay a long time in obscurity, in a convent in the island of Palma. About three years ago it was sent from thence to the island of Canaria, as a present to the bishop of the iflands. I heard of this manuscript, says he, when I was at Tenerife, and immediately wrote to a gentleman in Canaria to procure me a copy, which he did, and lent to it me. Upon reading the manuscript I had the fatisfaction to find that it contained a genuine account of the conquest of the islands and the antient inhabitants, and perfectly agreed with those I had often received.'
From this manuscript the Author has given us a much better and more circumftantial history of the conquest and discovery of these islands, than has hitherto appeared.
The antients were no strangers to the Canaries, which they called the Fortunate Tands, and considered them as the seat of the blessed, and the Llyfian fields so highly celebrated by Homer. But after the decline of the Roman empire, they seem to have been wholly unknown to the inhabitants of Europe till some time between the years 1326 and 1334, when chance discovered them by means of a French fhip, which was driven among them by a storm.
This discovery making a great noise in Europe the Count de Claramonte, a Spanilh nobleman, obtained from Pope Clement VI.
a grant of those islands, together with the title of King, on condition of his causing the gospel to be preached among the natives; but the Count dying soon after, nothing was done towards perfecting the discovery, till some Biscayners and the inhabitants of Seville fitted out a fleet of ships, under the command of Ferdinando Peraza, to plunder the Canary islands, and the adjacent coast of Africa. On their landing in Lancerota, one of the Canaries, the innocent inhabitants came in crouds to the port to view these fangers, who, instead of endeavouring to cultivate an acquaintance with those poor defenceless pagans, inhumanly let fly a shower of arrows among them, by which some were killed and others wounded. After this execrable action they plundered the town of a large quantity of goat skins, tallow, and sheep. They also took an hundred and seventy prisoners, among whom were Guanarame, king of the illand, and his wife Tinguafaya; and with this booty they returned to Spain.
Several expeditions of the fame kind were made afterwards by the Spaniards, till John de Betancour, a native of Normandy, procured, in 1403, a grant of the Fortunate Inands, with the title of King, from Henry III, King of Castille ; who also supplied him with money to defray the expences of fitting out a feet for 'conquering them. Accordingly he landed on the island of Lancerota, and by a kind and engaging behaviour disfipated the fears of the inhabitants, who readily accommodated him in the best manner their circumstances would afford, and chearfully afsifted him in bringing stones, lime, &c. necessary for building a fort.
Having thus made himself master of Lancerota, he soon after subdued the islands of Fuertaventura, Gomera, and Ferro; yet was always defeated in his attempts on Canaria. He, therefore, returned to Spain, in order to follicit afiistance; but death interrupted his design, and his representatives fold the conquered islands, first to the Spaniards, and afterwards to the Portuguese.
The Author tells us, that when John de Betancour came in quest of these islands, Guadarfia, was King of Lancerota; he was descended from an European, who had been driven by a tempest on this inand, and his history is related after this manner :
"When John I. reigned in Castille, he was engaged in a war against the King of Portugal, and the Duke of Lancaster, about the succession of the crown of Castille ; the Duke, pretending that it was his right, on account of his marriage with Donna Constanza, eldest daughter of King Peter.