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the difcourfes related in the gofpel-histories, are, in all probability, the very times, when the gofpels were written.
If we bring St. Matthew's to this teft, it will manifeftly appear, we are told, to have been penned at a time, when the church was labouring under a heavy perfecution. For it contains many obvious references to fuch a ftate; and many dextrous applications both to the injurious, and to the injured party. Now the greateft perfecution ever raifed againft the church, while it confifted 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 lafted in the whole about fix years, (viz. till the third of Caligula, A. D. 39 or 40, when the Jews were too much alarmed about their own affairs, to give any farther disturbance to the Chriftians) the members of the Chriftian church stood in need of all the fupport, comfort, and affiftance that could poffibly be adminiftred to them. But what comfort could they poffibly receive, in their diftreffed fituation, comparable to that which refulted from the example of their fuffering mafter, and the promife he had made to his faithful followers. This example, therefore, and thofe promises, St. Matthew feasonably laid before them, for their imitation and encouragement. For now-towards the clofe of this dangerous period-it is most likely, our author fays, that he wrote his gofpel; and delivered it to them, as the anchor of their hope, to keep them ftedfaft in this violent tempeft.
The Doctor now endeavours to fhew that St. Luke wrote his gofpel, for the ufe of the Gentile converts, about the year 53.
As the Gentiles were far remote from the scene of action, and confequently ignorant of Jewish affairs, it was incumbent upon St. Luke, in order to accomplish what he had in view, to trace the fubject quite up to its fource, and to proceed thro' the whole of our Saviour's miniftry in a circumftantial and methodical order. Hence it is, we are told, that he begins his hiftory with the birth of John the Baptift, as introductory to that of Chrift-that, in the courfe of it, he mentions feveral particulars omitted by St. Matthew-and that he is fo careful in fpecifying times and places, together with other circumftances of facts that were highly conducive to the information of ftrangers; though they needed not to be recited to the Jews, who could eafily fupply them from their own knowlege. Hence, alfo, it is that he fets before them the genealogy of Chrift, according to his natural defcent, and carries it up as high as Adam, in order to fhew that he was that feed of the woman, who was promifed for the redemption of the whole world.
By the like references to the ftate of the Gentiles, it eafy is to account for his other peculiarities.
St. Luke, it is farther faid, ftrongly recommended St. Matthew's gofpel to thofe 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 affertion, which, in the opinion of many, the Doctor fuppofes, will stand in need of proof, he produces feveral paffages, and refers to many others.
He goes on to obferve, that as the gospel met with fo much oppofition, it became the duty of the firft Evangelifts, in order to facilitate its way in the world, to accommodate their accounts to the temper of the times, and remove the impediments that obftructed its progrefs. In confequence 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 oppofed it. Hence their hiftories became, in the detail, more complex and various than we have reafon to think they would otherwife have been; containing references to cuftoms and tenets, which, but for the particular difpofition 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 fettled, it is in no wife unnatural to fuppofe, that fome of its most faithful and ferious profeffors might wish to fee the gofpel exhibited in a more fimple form: and, without any particular confideration to Jew or Gentile, delivered in a manner fuitable to the condition of the world at large.
Agreeably to this fuppofition, we are told, (Clem. Alex. apud Eufeb. Hift. Eccl. 1. 2. c. 15.) that the Chriftian converts at Rome requefted St. Mark, with great earneftnefs, to write fuch a history for their ufe and inftruction. Accordingly, the gofpel, which he wrote at their requeft, is evidently, our Author fays, a fimple and compendious narrative, divefted of al-" most all peculiarities, and accommodated to general ufe. In compiling this narrative, he had little more to do, than to abridge the gofpels which lay before him,-varying fome expreffions, and inferting fome additions, as occafion required. That St. Mark followed this plan, no one can doubt, our Author fays, who compares his gofpel with thofe of the two former evangelifts. He copies largely from both; and takes either the one or the other almoft perpetually for his guide. The order indeed is his own, and is very clofe 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 perufal of a learned and critical people. For he feems to proceed with great caution, and to be folicitous that his gofpel fhould ftand clear of all objections.
The Doctor goes on to confider it more particularly; produces many paffages to fhew, that Mark copied from Matthew 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 flood in need of every religious confolation, to fupport itself under the afflictive weight of a dreadfully cruel perfecution.
The gofpel of St. John, we are told, is to be confidered, not merely as an hiftorical narrative, but alfo 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 difpofition of it, we must examine the tenets of Cerinthus, in oppofition to which, it is fuppofed, to have been purposely written. This, our Author fays, will not only throw great light on particular paffages, but make the whole appear a compleat work,-regular, clear, and conclufive.
It may properly be divided, he tells us, into three parts. The first comprehends the doctrines to be maintained; which are contrary to thofe of Cerinthus: the fecond contains the proofs of these doctrines, delivered in an hiftorical manner; the third is a Conclufion or Appendix, giving some account of the perfon of the writer, and of the view he had in penning this gofpel.-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 conclufion of his work, the Doctor obferves, that the gofpels are by no means to be looked upon as so many detached pieces, compofed by perfons totally ignorant of each other's intention; but rather as one complete, entire fyftem of divinity, fupported by the strongest proofs that the fubject is capable of, and defended against all the objections, which either Jews or Gentiles, or even its more dangerous heretical profeffors, could make to the truth and certainty of it. If we read them in their proper order, we fhall find them improving one upon another, and yet all confpiring to the fame end-to a perfect representation of the revealed religion. Each of the Authors confulted the writings of his predeceffors, and either by addition of facts, explanation of terms, or confirmation of doctrine, contributed fomething to the common ftock, and the general inftruction of Chriftians. They likewife quoted each others words, and thereby recommended each others hiftoA circumftance of great advantage, whatever fome may think of it, to the fervice of the Chriftian caufe. For by
this means they became not only mutual vouchers for the truth of these genuine golpels, but at the fame time joint-oppofers of all thefe fpurious ones, that were impiously obtruded on the world.
The Hiftory of the Discovery and Conquest of the Canary Islands : Tranflated from a Spanish Manufcript, lately found in the Island of Palma. With an Enquiry into the Origin of the ancient Inbabitants. To which is added, a Defcription of the Canary Islands, including the modern Hiftory of the Inhabitants, and an Account of their Customs, Manners, Trade, &c. By George Glas, Quarto. 15s. Boards. Dodley.
HIS work is divided into two parts; the first contains an
of the conqueft difcovery of the Canary
Iflands; and the fecond a description of them, with an account of the manners and cuftoms of the prefent inhabitants. The former, in a tranflation from a Spanish manufcript, written in the ifland of Palma, about the year 1632, by Juan Abreau de Galieneo, a Francifcan friar, a native of the province. of Andalufia in Spain. This manufcript, Mr. Glas tells us, lay a long time in obfcurity, in a convent in the island of Palma. About three years ago it was fent from thence to the island of Canaria, as a prefent to the bifhop of the iflands. I heard of this manufcript, fays he, when I was at Tenerife, and immediately wrote to a gentleman in Canaria to procure me a copy, which he did, and fent to it me. Upon reading the manufcript I had the fatisfaction to find that it contained a genuine account of the conqueft of the islands and the antient inhabitants, and perfectly agreed with those I had often received,'
From this manufcript the Author has given us a much better and more circumftantial hiftory of the conqueft and difcovery of thefe iflands, than has hitherto appeared.
The antients were no ftrangers to the Canaries, which they called the Fortunate Islands, and confidered them as the feat of the bleffed, and the Ely fian fields fo highly celebrated by HoBut after the decline of the Roman empire, they seem to have been wholly unknown to the inhabitants of Europe till fome time between the years 1326 and 1334, when chance difcovered them by means of a French fhip, which was driven among them by a storm.
This difcovery making a great noife in Europe the Count de Claramonte, a Spanish nobleman, obtained from Pope Clement VI.
a grant of those islands, together with the title of King, on condition of his caufing the gofpel to be preached among the natives; but the Count dying foon after, nothing was done towards perfecting the difcovery, till fome Biscayners and the inhabitants of Seville fitted out a fleet of fhips, under the command of Ferdinando Peraza, to plunder the Canary islands, and the adjacent coaft of Africa. On their landing in Lancerota, one of the Canaries, the innocent inhabitants came in crouds to the port to view these stangers, who, instead of endeavouring to cultivate an acquaintance with thofe poor defenceless pagans, inhumanly let fly a fhower of arrows among them, by which fome were killed and others wounded. After this execrable action they plundered the town of a large quantity of goat fkins, tallow, and fheep. They alfo took an hundred and feventy prifoners, among whom were Guanarame, king of the ifland, 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 Norman- dy, procured, in 1403, a grant of the Fortunate Islands, with the title of King, from Henry III. King of Caftille; who also fupplied him with money to defray the expences of fitting out a fleet for conquering them. Accordingly he landed on the fland of Lancerota, and by a kind and engaging behaviour diffipated the fears of the inhabitants, who readily accommodated him in the best manner their circumstances would afford, and chearfully affifted him in bringing stones, lime, &c. necessary for building a fort.
Having thus made himself mafter of Lancerota, he foon after fubdued 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 affiftance; but death interrupted his defign, and his reprefentatives fold the conquered iflands, firft to the Spaniards, and afterwards to the Portuguese.
The Author tells us, that when John de Betancour came in queft of these islands, Guadarfia, was King of Lancerota; he was defcended from an European, who had been driven by a tempeft on this ifland, and his hiftory is related after this
When John I. reigned in Caftille, he was engaged in a war against the King of Portugal, and the Duke of Lancaster, about the fucceffion of the crown of Caftille; the Duke, pretending that it was his right, on account of his marriage with Donna . Conftanza, eldest daughter of King Peter.