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only from the Chinese chronology, owing to the reasons above given. The missionaries seem aware of this circumstance. For, in giving the history of the reign of Chong-kong the fourth emperor of the first Chinese dynasty, they inform us,
“ that in the second year, or, according to others, the sixth year, of the cycle, there happened a remarkable eclipse of the Sun.” Missionaries admit the difference of four years.
The Chinese do not, in direct words, tell us the year of the cycle, in which the food happened. But they tell us, that the reign of Yau commenced after 3267000 years, which answers to the Cali year 757, which, we know, was the 48th
of the 14th cycle, which answers to A. M. 1657; adding, that the first years of his reign were employed in draining off the waters that remained stagnant in the vallies. The missionaries who never distinguish between Chou's reigns and rules, place this epoch seven years further back; which may be cited as a proof of the accuracy of the Chinese records ; since Lamech the father of Noah died A.M. 1651. The missionaries place the accession of the son at the death of his father ; forgetting that he succeeded his grandfather, who outlived his son. Couplet, therefore, places the commencement of the reign of Yau in the 41st, instead of the 48th year of a cycle; and the deluge, happening just one year before the reigni of Yau, is placed in the 40th, instead of the 47th year of a cycle. The missionary, reading that the great inundation happened in the Chou of Yau, concludes that it was during his reign. At a loss, therefore, to account for the incongruity of an event happening in the 40th year, when the reign did not commence until the 41st year of the cycle, he carries it forward 59 years, or to the 40th year of the succeeding cycle, which he names the 7th. Now every nation, that records the deluge, speaks of it as having happened in the time of the prince, who was saved in the ark; the Hindus place it in the Antara of Satyavrata ; the Chaldeans in the time of Sisuthrus; the Hebrews in the time of Noah; and the Chinese in the Chou of Yau. Thus each nation places the reign of the prince, however named, one year after the commencement of the flood. The account, as given by the missionary, refutes itself. He begins by informing us, that Yau ruled alone for 72 years; that it was the especial care of this prince, by draining the stagnant waters which remained on the low lands after the deluge, to render them fertile. For which purpose he appointed Quen an overseer ; who, having betrayed the confidence placed in him, either by neglect or design, was, after nine years, put to death ; that his son Yu, desirous to repair the fault of his father offered his services; which being accepted he, after thirteen years of hard labour, succeeded, by cutting dykes, levelling mountains, &c. &c. to convey the waters to the
After enumerating many acts of virtue and piety, such as the forming of laws &c., the missionary informs us that Yau joined a person of the name of Shun in the government, who reigned jointly with him for 28 years; when the government devolved solely to Shun. Now, supposing, according to Couplet, if the deluge happened in the 40th year of a cycle, and the reign of Yau in the 41st, that by the latter is intended the 40th year, of a subsequent cycle, then it must have been just 59 years after the commencement of the reign of Yau. The flood remained one year; and supposing Quen to have been appointed the year after, the lands could not have been drained until ten years after the reign of Yau had concluded; for we hear nothing of his colleague Shun having assisted in this business : and 59+ 2 +9+13=83; which is just 11 years after Yau entrusted the government to Shun. In like manner, we may correct every part of the chronology of this missionary, whose error appears to have arisen in a very general mistake, that of understanding the Chou, as the reign. But Couplet admits that the reign of Yau commenced A. M. 1651, which only differs in six years from the Hebrew Bible ; and admitting it to have been even somewhat more, it is surely inconsistent in those who mention the impossibility of fixing dates in the early periods of the postdiluvian world, “ without supplying the word about, or nearly, before every date, since accuracy cannot be attained and ought not to be required*,” to pronounce so trifling a difference as six years, fatal to the Chinese chronology: particularly when we consider these six years as a part of sixteen hundred, which elapsed more than four thousand years past. Such, however, is the fact : for the same author proceeds to inform us, that, after full inquiry and consideration he was convinced that “the Chinese, like the Hindus, believed this earth to have been wholly covered with water ; which, in works of undoubted authority, they describe as flowing abundantly, then subsiding, and separating the higher from the lower age of mankind.f" The knowledge of the Chinese relative to the deluge is thereby admitted. But, lest it should be understood according to its true and obvious meaning, he goes on to explain, that the deluge, which “caused the division of time, just preceded the appearance of Fo-hi on the mountains of Chin. For the great
* Sir William Jones, Vol. IV. p. 43. and the beginning of Letter II. of this work.
† Sir William Jones, Vol. III. p. 153.
inundation in the time of Yau was either confined to the low lands of his kingdom, if the whole account of it be not a fable, or if it contain any allusion to the flood of Noah, has been ignorantly misplaced by the Chinese annalists." If the Chinese annalists, who place the deluge of Yau in the same year that the Hebrews place the flood of Noah, are accounted ignorant, from an error of six years, in placing the reign of Yau in that year, when his rule is supposed to have began, qualifying the error by observing that his reign commenced the year after the great inundation ; what may we not account those, who place the commencement of the reign of Fo-hi at the year B.C. 2952 or A.M. 1054, who assign 115 years for his reign, and place his death just 487 years before the flood, or in the year B.C, 2837, and then insist that the deluge, which caused the division between the old and new world, just preceded the appearance of Fo-hi on the mountains of Chin? if the Chinese annalists err in six years, European annalists err in six hundred: the Chinese might fairly retort, and say, that if the account, so given of the flood of Noah, was not altogether a fable, or had any allusion to the flood of Yau, it had been ignorantly misplaced by European annalists. Among the various writers on Chinese Chronology, not one presumes even on a partial inundation, so far back