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written prior to that terrible event, and that some were preserved by the holy patriarch; then the existence of an antediluvian literature might be considered as proved. And to this conclusion the weight of evidence manifestly conducts us.
Science generally accompanies literature. Seldom does one branch of knowledge prosper and flourish alone; the cultivation which gives existence to one promotes the other. Our inquiries, therefore, shall now be directed to the science of the earliest ages.
It is a settled point, that before the deluge arts were practiced ; this implies some acquaintance with science. Not only were dwellings erected, cities also were built. Metallurgy was understood and practiced ; music was known, and musical instruments were manufactured; agricultural operations were carried on; and, what appears in itself to be decisive, the ark was built.
It is difficult to conceive of a state of society in which such arts could be cultivated, and yet science remain unknown. This is not the place to go into any description of the ark; it is evident, however, that its capacity was great, and that to build it would, even now, difficult task. It is also worthy of observation, that we have not the slightest intimation of any supernatural aid having been given in its construction. The size and form appear to have been specified ; and Noah was then left to carry out the plan by the use of natural means. If it had not been so, it is probable, as the Scripture account of the deluge is particular and circumstantial, that some notice would have been taken of divine interposition.
Our attention must now be directed to the earliest notices of science in the different primitive nations of the earth. This course, which is the only one calculated to impart solid information, will greatly confirm the opinions already advanced. On this branch of the subject it is intended to confine our observations principally to astronomy; first, because this science could not have been cultivated without a knowledge of arithmetic, geometry, and other kindred branches of knowledge; and, secondly, because it has left stronger evidence of its existence on the pages of history than any other.
China, one of the oldest existing empires of the world, an empire perfectly isolated from Europe, and entirely unconnėcted with Phenician or Egyptian learning, presents a very fair subject for inquiry.
Among the Chinese we find notices of astronomical science in their earliest history. The testimony of Bailly on this point is important.
says: “ The strong belief the Chinese entertain, that the monuments of Fohi contain an ancient astronomy, established by that emperor, is a proof, not only of its existence among them, but that it was introduced into China by Fohi. We find in the Chou-King, a sacred book among
the Chinese, and of great antiquity, that this astronomy contained doetrines of considerable refinement. Fohi, say they, constructed astronomical tables, assigned a figure to the heavenly bodies, and taught the science of their motion. The solstitial and equinoctial points were then discovered ; and, soon after, we find the invention of the sphere, the actual period of the year consisting of three hundred and sixty-five days, six hours, with the bissextile, as well as the lunar periods, reconciled to the motion of the sun. I have good reason to be of opinion, that all those branches of science belong to the time of Fohi.”-History of Asia, vol. i, p. 64.
This opinion is confirmed by repeated notices in the history of the following reigns. Hoanti, who governed about two hundred and fifty years after Fohi, is said to have established a board or tribunal for the promotion of astronomy; and Chienhu was called to the throne, B. C. 2514, on account of his proficiency in this science. Now, when it is considered that Fohi began to reign B. C. 2953, or two hundred and thirty-two years after the deluge, can it be supposed that all this progress in science could have taken place after that calamitous event ? Here, again, the opinion of the historian of ancient astronomy may be referred to. “I appeal,” says Bailly, “to the astronomer and the philosopher. How
many ages ought we not to give to the study of the heavens before the motion of the sun could be so much as suspected ? How many more ages must have elapsed before they could ascertain the four intervals of this period ? Thus we must make the conclusion that I have already made, that the invention of the sphere, those doctrines which are only to be discovered by study and reflection, and a long course of careful observation, belong to a science already established, and long since in a state of progressive improvement. This is not the work of one man, or of one age.”-Ibid. In confirmation of this view, “Father Ko, a missionary born in China, says positively, that, in the time of Yao, B. C. 2357, the empire was of small extent, and but thinly peopled ; but that knowledge of every sort, and particularly astronomy, in a state too far advanced for an infant nation, had been introduced
them." Ibid., p. 65, note.
The ancient Persians were acquainted, in the earliest ages of their history, with astronomy. Jemsheed, who reigned B. C. 2110, is said to have introduced the solar year, and to have caused the first day of it, when the sun enters Aries, to be celebrated by a splendid festival. (See Malcolm's Persia, vol. i, p. 17.) We further learn from the Persian books, that there were formerly four bright stars which pointed out the four cardinal points of the heavens; and it is a very remarkable circumstance, in which chance could have no share, that about three thousand years before the Christian era Aldebaran and Antares were situated
exactly in the two equinoctial points, while Regulus and the Southern Fish were placed in the two solstices. (See Edin. Ency., vol. ii, p. 584.) It appears, therefore, that this people also, even beyond the limits of authentic history, were acquainted with the principles of astronomy; and that they preserved among them the result of observations made about a century after the deluge.
That the ancient Egyptians were acquainted with astronomy, cannot be doubted, when it is considered that they were the instructors of Greece, and, indeed, of all Europe, in this and other sciences. They appear to have had traditions of the existence of this science extending back to the time of Vulcan, who, in all probability, is the same with Tubal-Cain ; and they believed that it was cultivated among them by Thoth, the grandson of Ham.
The Jews entertained similar views of the acquaintance of their ancestors with astronomy. Josephus assures us, that the children of Seth
were the inventors of that peculiar sort of wisdom which is concerned with the heavenly bodies and their order ;” and that they took care to record these discoveries, that they might not be lost to posterity. The small Genesis states that the pole-star was discovered by Enoch.
That astronomy was cultivated in Chaldea at a very early period, is well known. Alexander subdued Babylon B. C. 331; and we are informed that there then existed astronomical records, extending to upward of one thousand nine hundred and three years before that time. The Chaldeans were acquainted with the period of six hundred years, and the return of comets; and possessed a rich fund of astronomical knowledge, which could only be obtained at an era in which this sublime science had been previously cultivated, and improved by a long-continued series of effort and observation.
India now claims attention. The Brahmins, in the infancy of Greece, were considered the depositaries of learning To them Pythagoras journeyed for instruction, and to them many have considered the western world indebted for the light of science and civilization. • In turning our attention to the Indian astronomy,” says an eminent author, enter upon a more interesting field of research. Here we are not left to the guidance of facts contradictory or ill-authenticated, or of deceitful observations founded merely on conjecture. The astronomical tables of the Indians are in our own hands; and with evidence almost as irresistible as that which attends the principles of the science, we can trace the remoteness of their origin, and survey the advancement of the human mind in the earliest ages.
“These precious remains of antiquity have been diligently examined and compared by the celebrated M. Bailly, in his Traité de l’Astronomie Indienne et Orientale, with that sagacity and eloquence which charac
terize all the writings of that illustrious but unfortunate astronomer. He has found that the epoch of the Tirvalore tables coincides with the year 3102 before the Christian era ; and has shown, by a train of sound and convincing argument, that this epoch is not fictitious, but founded on real observations which must have been made even before the commencement of the Caly-Yug. These high pretensions to antiquity, which M. Bailly has claimed for the Indian astronomy, have been admitted by many distinguished philosophers, and have been recently defended by Professor Playfair, with an acuteness of reasoning, and a clearness of illustration, peculiar to that eloquent writer.”—Edinburgh Encycl., vol. ii, p. 585.
Some eminent philosophers, it is admitted, contend that those tables are not founded on observations made in the remote times alluded to, but that the modern Brahmins have arrived at this epoch (B. C. 3102) by carrying their calculations backward. This notion, however, can scarcely be entertained, when it is considered, “ that all the elements, as assumed at the epoch B. C. 3102, are nearly the same as if they had been determined by observation;" and that the tables containing them were brought to Europe in A.D. 1687. If, therefore, the Brahmins of that day had compiled them, tracing their way upward to B. C. 3102, it is scarcely possible they could have been acquainted with the theory of gravitation, and the refinements of modern analysis, at that time but just discovered in Europe. Yet we have only one of the two alternatives—either to believe that the Brahmins were in possession of this knowledge, or that the epoch of B. C. 3102 is real, and founded on observations previously made.
Sir David Brewster, from whose history of astronomy the preceding quotations have been made, in confirmation of this opinion, observes: " From the delineation of the zodiac, for example, which La Gentil brought from India, it appears that the star Aldebaran was 40' before the vernal equinox in 3102. Now, if we take the precession of the equinoxes at 501", and employ the inequality in the precession discovered by La Grange, we shall find, by calculating from the place of Aldebaran in 1750, that in the year 3102 this star was 13' beyond the vernal equinox ; a result differing only 53' from the Indian zodiac. But the force of this argument does not terminate here: even if the Brahmins had been acquainted with the inequality of precession, and had applied it to the modern epoch of 1491, the 3" of excess which they gave to the precession itself would have produced an error of 3" X 3102 + 1491 3° 49' 39" at the epoch of 3102.
"The mean longitude of the sun, according to the Brahmins, at the epoch of the tables of Tirvalore, is 10' 3° 38' 13"; and, according to the modern tables corrected by the inequality of precession discovered
by La Grange, and amounting in the present case to 1° 45' 22", the longitude of that luminary is 10° 2° 51' 19", differing only about 47' from the determination of the Indians. The longitude of the moon, at the same epoch, by the Tirvalore tables, is 10° 6° 0'; and the same, corrected by the tables of Mayer, and corrected by the moon's acceleration, is 10° 6° 37': a coincidence so remarkable, that it could only arise from actual observation. Now, if we compute the places of the sun and moon at the commencement of the Caly-Yug, from the tables of the Greek and Arabian astronomers, or from those of Uleigh-Beigh, which were constructed at Samarcand in 1437, we shall find that the . tables of Ptolemy give an error of 11° in the place of the sun and moon, while the tables of the Tartar prince produce an error of 1° 30' in the place of the sun, and of 6° in that of the moon. These results give additional strength to the former argument, and completely prove that the Indian astronomy is not the offspring of Greece or Arabia, and that the Tirvalore tables were not deduced from modern observations, Arguments of a similar nature, and equally strong with the preceding, might be deduced from the obliquity of the ecliptic, the length of the solar year, the aphelion and mean motion of Jupiter, and the mean motion of Saturn, and the equation of his centre as contained in the Indian tables ; but from the limits of this article, we must refer our readers for further information to the writings of Bailly and Professor Playfair.”—Edin. Encycl., vol. ii, p. 586.
This is an outline of the facts and arguments which eminent astronomers furnish in proof of the great antiquity of Indian astronomy.
We are, then, in respect of this science also, conducted back to the period of the first separation of families after the deluge, or even beyond that, to the time when the postdiluvian race made but one people. The proofs of this are not found in one nation, merely, but furnished by the Chinese, Persians, Egyptians, Jews, Chaldeans, and Indians; and all these concurring streams of evidence unite to establish the fact, that astronomy must have been cultivated previously to the deluge, or it could not have exhibited such marks of its existence and power so soon after that calamitous event.
It is not, however, the mere existence of science at this early period which furnishes this evidence, but also, and especially, the very peculiar circumstances in which it is found. It might have been reasonably supposed, that a science like astronomy would, in the earliest stages of its cultivation, have left some traces, on the pages of history, of its immaturity; that we should have seen the human mind putting forth all its energy to grasp the first principles of this sublime science. Yet what is the true state of the case, as presented to us by one every way competent to give an opinion? Sir David Brewster says: “From the