THE CHRONLOGY OF THE ANCIENTS.--A KEY TO ITS MYSTERIES.--THE ANTEDILUVIAN MONARCHS.--JOSEPHUS AND CHINESE CHRONOLOGY.--ABRAHAM ON PHARAOH'S THRONE.--HE MAKES A TREATY ENDING A ONE HUNDREAD YEARS WAR.--CHEOPS.
IN the seventh paragraph of the Book of Abraham we find the following: "Now the first government of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptus, the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of the government of Ham, which was patriarchal, Pharaoh being a righteous man, established his kingdom and judged his people wisely and justly all his days, seeking earnestly to imitate that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also of Noah, his father, who blessed him with the blessings of the earth, and with the
blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the priesthood." The next paragraph is as follows: "Now Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the priesthood, notwithstanding the Pharaohs would fain claim it from Noah, through Ham, therefore my father was led away by their idolatry; but I shall endeavor, hereafter, to delineate the chronology, running back from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands, which I hold unto this present time."
We desire to draw attention to several ideas advanced in the above quotations.
1st. That the early Egyptians were acquainted with events that occurred before the flood.
2d. That the antediluvian patriarchs reigned in the midst of their descendants as kings.
3d. That this form of government was the prevailing one, in the days immediately succeeding the deluge.
4th. That the Egyptians established in their midst an imitation or bogus priesthood, that rapidly carried the people into idolatry.
5th. That Abraham, and probably many others, possessed records running back to the beginning of time.
Modern research has amply vindicated the statements of Abraham's record with regard to the condition of society amongst the early dwellers on the banks of the Nile. Listen to what Mr. Osborn states on this subject, and, though in different wording, note how fully he bears out the patriarch's assertions. Mr. O. remarks in his "Religions of the "World," that "Egyptian remains prove clearly that, while to all appearance the first settlers in Egypt carried along with them some germinal forms of very malignant religious error, they carried with them, in addition to the mere ancestral or genealogical and historical knowledge, a most deep experimental knowledge and conviction of the reality of divine being and agency, and a knowledge also of that form in which, from the time of the Fall, the revelation of the most important elements of religion appears to have been imparted to mankind."
We shall not attempt to establish the ideas from the Book of Abraham, above noticed, in the order in which they are placed, but before leaving this branch of the subject, we believe that we shall be able to adduce sufficient evidence to convince all who are willing to learn the truth, that Abraham's statements as given by the Prophet Joseph are historically correct.
The fact of Abraham coming in possession of certain genealogical records may seem somewhat incredible to those who have not studied the subject. Many are too apt to consider the people of those early ages as but one step removed from barbarians, being, if we sense their idea correctly, very much on a par with the modern Tartar or Bedouin Arab; and the thought of such a people possessing a literature seems to be inconceivable to the minds of many otherwise intelligent people. But have such ever noticed that the Bible, in one of its very first chapters, actually speaks of "the book of generations of Adam," (Genesis v. 1,) and it is from that book apparently that Moses' genealogical record of the antediluvians was transcribed. In confirmation of the existence of such a book, Josephus states that those who lived before the flood "noted down, with great accuracy, both the births and deaths of illustrious men," (Josephus, book 1, chap. 3,) which record would undoubtedly be preserved among the royal archives, and as such, being deemed of the utmost value as giving the genealogy of the kings, be saved by Noah in the ark, he, according to Abraham and Josephus, also being the reigning sovereign at the time of the deluge. Josephus specifically states that "that calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government." (Josephus, book 1, chap. 3.) In fact Josephus gives a list of the antediluvian monarchs, or patriarchs, as they are termed in the Bible, but the fact that he recognized them as the sovereigns of the antediluvian world is very strong corroborative testimony of the statement of Abraham that Adam and Noah reigned as kings over their fellow men. The following is Josephus' statement with regard to this matter: (Josephus, book 1, chap. 3.)
"Seth was born when Adam was in his 230th year, who lived 930 years. Seth begat Enoch in his 205th year, who, when he lived 912 years, delivered the government to Canaan, his son, whom he had at his 119th year. He lived 905 years. Canaan, when he had lived 910 years, had his son Mahalaleel, who was born in his 170th year. This Mahalaleel, having lived 895 years, died, leaving his son Jared, whom he begat when he was at his 165th year. He lived 962 years and then his son Enoch succeeded him, who was born when his father was 162 years old. Now he, when he had lived 365 years, departed and went to God, whence it is that they have not written down his death. Now Methuselah, the son of Enoch, who was born to him when he was 165 years old, had Lamech for his son, when he was 187 years of age, to whom he delivered the government when he had retained it 969 years. Now Lamech, when he had governed 777 years, appointed Noah, his son, to be the ruler of the people, who was born to Lamech when he was 182 years old, and retained the government 950 years."
We here draw attention to a somewhat remarkable coincidence. It is that the length of the reigns of these patriarchs, as given by Josephus, agrees, with one exception, we believe, with the length of their lives according to Bible chronology, but what makes this feature more remarkable is that Josephus does exactly the same thing as the Chinese do in their antediluvian chronology. "The Chinese account speaks of ten dynasties of superior beings, who ruled in their country 1,000 years each before the sky fell on the earth (i.e. the flood). It is not hard to see that this is only a different and a singular manner of relating the same facts. * * * Moses informs us that each of these ten generations did extend near a thousand years, but he let us know that a son and his father walked much of their earthly race together. The journey of each was long, but it was a simultaneous travel." 
Now, we think that the statement of Abraham turns a key by which a flood of light is thrown on the early history of the first nations that came into being after the flood, for instance, the Egyptian, the Chaldean, and the Chinese. Scientists and religionists have been wrangling for scores of years with regard to the chronology of these nations, both parties, as a rule, seeming to take it for granted that these chronological records should stop at the flood, presumedly for the reason that all mankind but one family of eight were then destroyed. As there is incontrovertible evidence that the ancients were acquainted with facts and events relating to the earth and the heavens long anterior to the generally accepted date of the deluge, skeptics have loudly expressed their doubts as to the flood having occurred at all. But when we take into consideration the fact that those who were saved were the royal family--the king and queen, with their three sons and the princesses, their wives--and that this king (Noah) ruled after as well as before the flood, it remains no longer a wonder how these nations traced their existence to years long anterior to that dire calamity. To them it was a terrible disaster in the history of their nation, nothing more; there was no break in the royal descent, the same king reigned before and after it took place, the same dynasty remained in power, his son succeeded to the throne; the royal records were preserved, and the Egyptians, the Chaldeans, and the Chinese alike with natural national pride all claimed the sovereigns who ruled from Adam to Noah as the kings of their peculiar nation. Their records were like three converging lines, centering at Noah, and from him continuing backward in one and the same straight line to Adam. To illustrate: let us suppose a case. We will imagine that a vast desolation sweeps over the empire of Germany. The king and the three princes, with their families, alone are saved from its fatal horrors. By and by, these three princes establish thrones of their own, say, one in Prussia, one in Pomerania, and one in Hanover. Would the national historians of future ages, when these three kingdoms had become great and populous, stop in their respective national histories at the date that this overwhelming catastrophe occurred? Would it not be much more reasonable to conclude that they would accumulate the histories of this and former epochs and continue their accounts through this calamity to the earliest days their records would reach. We think so, and in this way we discover an easy and reasonable solution to the difficulties that beset Chinese and Egyptian chronology, and are able to account for the interminable lists of kings that grace their annals. In fact, so far as Egypt is concerned, it had no consecutive chronology. This truth is now admitted by the most learned in that branch of science. But they undoubtedly carried their records, in a jumbled up way, back beyond the flood, (probably obtaining some information thereon from the records in the possession of Abraham,) and in postdiluvian days they, in vanity, inserted the names of scores of princes who reigned contemporaneously in various parts of the Valley of the Nile. Admit these two facts, and the solution is found to the mysteries of Egyptian chronology, what they had of it. Again, why should we permit the descendants of Shem, as in the case of the Hebrews, to monopolize their antediluvian progenitors. These men were the fathers of all mankind, and all had equal right to claim them as their own.
Considerable ridicule has been needlessly expended on the statement that the sitting figure in Plate III, of the Book of Abraham, represents that patriarch "sitting upon Pharaoh's throne by the politeness of the king." It has been scoffed at as an idea entirely too silly to be met with calm argument. To imagine that the great and mighty ruler of Egypt would invite an "Arab Sheik," at best a shepherd prince, to sit upon his throne, was altogether too absurd for a moment's serious consideration; such extraordinary condescension would shame a Chesterfield. But we all know that it is often as easy to ridicule as it is difficult to disprove; so we will let the scoffer jest, whilst we bring forward our "strong reasons" for believing this, as well as all other portions of Abraham's divinely inspired record. Josephus writes (Antiquities, book 1, chap, viii,) that when Pharaoh discovered that the woman, Sarah, whom he desired to take into his household, was the wife of Abraham, he made, as an excuse for his action, that believing her to be the patriarch's sister he wished to marry her, from his desire to be related to so distinguished a personage as Abraham. This could not be irony; Pharaoh was not in a condition to be ironical with his guest. It must have been an excuse that bore upon its face the probability of truth, and one that would be accepted as genuine by the powerful visitor from Canaan. Had it been otherwise, it would have been adding insult to injury, and instead of Abraham remaining in Egypt to become a teacher to its people, we should probably learn that in anger he returned to his own land. Then, accepting Pharaoh's own statement to be true, is it difficult to believe that he who wished to be so nearly allied to Abraham, would, in the fulness of Eastern politeness, think it any too great a condescension to ask him to sit upon his throne, whilst he explained to him and to his court the wonders of the numberless creations of God?
Nor is this all; we have yet other testimony of how powerful a man was Abraham amongst the children of the Nile. Our readers will probably recollect that we have already drawn attention to a statement of Josephus, that at the time the patriarch visited Egypt, the people of that country despised each other's sacred rites, and were very angry one with another on that account; further, that Abraham proved to them that their various reasonings were vain and void of truth. Modern research has shown that Abraham did more than this. It appears that somewhat more than one hundred years before Abraham's advent into Egypt, one of its monarchs--Mencheres--attempted to establish the worship of Osiris over all Egypt. As a result, a great religious war ensued, which continued for a century. The history of the country at this time becomes involved and obscure in the highest degree, but one fact is absolutely certain, and that is, that this civil war was fierce, long continued and with varying success. A late British historical text book states that in the year 1984 B. C. (according to the best chronology, which is, however, far from satisfactory) Abraham visited and aided Achthoes [Pharaoh] in forming a treaty with his rival to terminate the religious war. Then, if it be true that Abraham was so great a power in his day that by his aid a civil war of one hundred years' duration was brought to an amicable close, is there anything incongruous in the idea that he, by politeness, sat upon the throne of the ruler to whom he had been of so great service?
About this time, as near as can be told, a great change was effected in the religion of the Egyptians, which we ascribe to the preaching, in their midst, of the Gospel, by the Father of the Faithful. It appears from Herodotus, that according to the story of the idolatrous Egyptian priests of his day, that when Cheops ascended the throne he "closed the temples of the false gods, and prohibited their sacrifices" Cheops is said to have reigned fifty years, and was succeeded by his brother Chepren, who also kept the temples closed. In the succeeding reign the temples were again opened, and the people returned to their old modes of worship. So hated were these two sovereigns by the heathen dwellers by the Nile, of later years, that Herodotus states that they would not even mention their names, Mr. John Taylor, author of "The Great Pyramid; why was it built and who built it?" from various evidences brought to his notice, infers that these kings "might have been pre-eminently good, or were at all events of different religious faith" from those who told the story to Herodotus. Putting the various facts before stated together, that Abraham taught holy principles to the Egyptians, that his teachings so wrought upon them that they brought to a close a civil war of one hundred years' duration, and that near this time the idolatrous temples were closed, all forming parts of one harmonious whole, we are irresistibly drawn to the conclusion that these changes were brought about by the proclamation of the Gospel; more especially are we led thereto by the hatred shown to the kings who accepted this message and carried out these reforms, by the worshipers of Osiris in succeeding generations. It so much resembles the course pursued by others in like circumstances in other lands and at other times. Cheops is usually credited with being the builder of the great pyramid, and to that mighty structure we shall by and by appeal for testimony to prove that whoever its builders were, they were acqainted with the sublime system of astronomy revealed by Jehovah to Abraham, with instructions to teach it to the Egyptians.
 Nelson's "Infidelity, its Cause and Cure."
 Facts and Dates by Rev. A. Mackay, Edinburgh, 1870.
Hartcourt's Doctrines of the Deluge.
Next: Chapter 7