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become in a measure obsolete when the next portion of the Vedic literature (the Brahmanas) were written. The meters also are archaic, and unknown in later versification, and in the later of the hymns reference is made to the earlier ones as already ancient. Now, since the period of the Brahmana must, on separate grounds, be made to begin at least as early as B. C. 1000, it seems necessary to date the collection and arrangement of the hymns two or three centuries earlier, and their composition at least as many more.
Again, there is appended to these collections of hymns a tract on astronomy — the Iyotisha, – the object of which is to prescribe rules for regulating the time of the sacrifices prescribed in the hymns. In this treatise there is a record of the places of the solstitial points at the time. These places are about twenty-four degrees east of those they occupied at the time when the modern Hindu sphere was fixed, viz., Mesha, in the 'ist of Aries, which was about A. D. 500. Calculating from the known rate of the precession of the equinoxes, we are carried back to the early part of the twelfth century before Christ as the time when the recorded observation was made. And we are safe in assuming that so much knowledge of astronomy as is disclosed in this observation and record, and in the complicated rules derived from them for regulating the times of the sacrifices, requires at least a period of several centuries for its growth. Such a system of rites, so regulated, with its corresponding literature, is not the product of one century, or of two or three. And this view is strengthened by the fact that there are, in connection with Hindu astronomical works, intimations that at the time the modern Hindu sphere was fixed at the ist degree of Aries, A. D. 500, the equinoxes had fallen back twenty-seven degrees from the places they occupied when first observed by their ancient astronomers. This brings the time of those first observations into the middle of the fifteenth century before the Christian era. It should, however, in fairness, be added, that some Sanskrit scholars do not attach so much importance to this Iyotisha record as is implied in the foregoing remarks, since it is assumed that in the absence of suitable astronomical instruments, it was not possible for the Hindus to make their observations with a sufficient degree of accuracy to warrant these definite results.
Our conclusion, then, from a careful survey of the Sanskrit language and literature, is the same as from that of the other ancient peoples of the East. The oldest Hindu writings, and the earliest astronomical observation on record, can not be proved to have had an earlier date than the fourteenth or fifteenth century before Christ, though a few hundred more may be conceded as probable. The oldest astronomical treatise, which has been regarded as an important witness against the Bible, is proved incontrovertibly to have been composed some four or five centuries after Christ. And as the work of bringing to light the ancient literature of the Brahmas proceeds, the tendency among European scholars is to bring it within more and more modern limits. This tendency to modernize is sometimes, doubtless, suffered to proceed too far. But however
this may be, this fact may be regarded as estab· lished, viz., that the ancient literature of India affords no materials for disproving the truthfulness of the Bible; on the contrary, it contains much that.corroborates the claims of the sacred volume to a divine : authenticity.
THE ARGUMENT FROM HISTORY (continued).
V. THE CHINESE.
First explorers of Chinese Literature. — Jesuit and Protestant
Missionaries. — View of the Chinese Chronology. — Pauthier's System. — The Ante-historic Period. — The Semi-historic. — The Historic. — How far is this Chronology reliable? – Views of Pauthier. – Of Amiot. – Of Williams. — Examination of the Elements of Computation. — Testimony of the Shu-king.
- The Cycle of Sixty Years. — Statements of Rev. J. Chambers. — Of Dr. Legge. - Elements of the Chinese Chronology borrowed. — Its present Form dates only to about the Christian Era. – Materials for the History of the earliest Dynasties unreliable. — The Shu-king, how compiled. — Its Destruc- : tion and Recovery. — Conclusion.
The first European explorers of the literature and antiquities of China were the Jesuit missionaries, who labored in that country in the early part of the eighteenth century, among the most prominent of whom were Fathers Amiot, Souciet, and Gaubil. The latter of these appears to have been distinguished for his investigations in the department of
science for which his mathematical education had specially prepared him. M. Gaubil went to China in 1723, at the age of thirty-four, and died there, after a laborious life, in 1759. His dissertations on various subjects — particularly on the astronomy of the Chinese, which he sent to his friends at home
- awakened an interest in Oriental studies, and, with the contributions of other missionaries, greatly aided the study of Chinese literature in France. At the close of the last century and the beginning of the present, Europe, especially France, could boast of many eminent Sinologues, as M. Stanislaus Julien, M. G. Pauthier, MM. Biot, father and son.
It is worthy of notice that the principal writers on Chinese astronomy, as Delambre and Biot, rely mostly on the works of Gaubil as authority. His writings and opinions are always mentioned with .
respect, though they have been subjected to severe . criticism. His translations have been revised, and : in some passages modified. This was to have been expected, while as a pioneer in Chinese studies his labors have been very valuable. The position of the Jesuit missionaries in .connection with, and at the head of, the Tribunal of Mathematics, afforded them rare opportunities for becoming acquainted with the science of that country; and the results of their labors furnished a good foundation for those who