Joseph Augustus Seiss.

A miracle in stone: online

. (page 1 of 19)
Online LibraryJoseph Augustus SeissA miracle in stone: → online text (page 1 of 19)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook



The Great Pyramid of Egypt.


Pastor of the Churcli of the Holy Communion, Philada., Pa.,


' In that day shall there be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land

of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord 5 and

it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of

Hosts in the land of Egypt." — Is. 19 : 19, 20.




Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1877,


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D, C.




This book is meant to give a succinct comprehen-
sive account of the oldest and greatest existing monu-
ment of intellectual man, particularly of the recent
discoveries and claims with regard to it.

If the half that learned and scientific investigators
allege respecting the Great Pyramid of Gizeh be true,
it is one of the most interesting objects on earth, and
ought to command universal attention. It has been
unhesitatingly pronounced, and perhaps it is, "the
most important discovery made in our day and gener-

Simply as an architectural achievement, this mys-
terious pillar, from the time of Alexander the Great,
has held its place at the head of the list of " The
Seven Wonders of the World." But, under the re-
searches and studies of mathematicians, astronomers,
Egyptologists, and divines, it has of late been made
to assume a character vastly more remarkable. Facts
and coincidences so numerous and extraordinary have
been evolved, that some of the most sober and phil-
osophic minds have been startled by them. It would
verily seem as if it were about to prove itself a sort
of key to the universe — a symbol of the profoundest
truths of science, of religion, and of all the past and
future history of man. So at least many competent



persons have been led to regard it, after the most
thorough sifting which the appliances of modern
science and intelligence have been able to give it.

Particularly in Scotland, England, and France has
the subject elicited much earnest interest. Quite a
number of works and treatises, most of them volumi-
nous, costly, and learned, have been devoted to it, and
not without a marked and serious impression. St.
John Vincent Day, Fellow of the Eoyal Scottish
Society of Arts, member of sundry institutions of
Engineers, and honorable librarian of the Philosophical
Society of Glasgow, says :

" A former published work on the subject, besides
one or two papers in the transactions of a scientific
Society, have of necessity brought me into contact with
every shade of opinion as to the various theories re-
specting the Pyramid, and the facts belonging to it. I
have thus been enabled, both by verbal and written
discussions and arguments, to ascertain the weight of
evidence on which theories, assertions, contradictions,
and alleged facts have been supported ; and I can
only state that in those cases where the Pyramid sub-
ject has been examined into with a diligent spirit of
inquiry, that is with the aim of not merely strength-
ening preconceived notions or prejudices, but to evolve'
absolute realities, I have not yet met any one but who
is more or less convinced by the modern theory.'^ —
Preface to Papers on the Great Pyramid, 1870.

In this country, the publications on the subject
have been very circumscribed. A few tracts, short
papers, review articles, or incidental discussions in


connection with other subjects^ is about all that has
thus far appeared from the American press. And as
the European books are mostly large, expensive, and
not readily accessible, comparatively few among us
have had the opportunity of learning what has de-
veloped in this interesting field. A just resume of
the matter, of moderate length and price, in plain and
easy form, would seem to be needed and specially in

In the absence of anything of the sort, and with a
view to what might in measure supply the want, the
preparation of the following Lectures was undertaken.
How far the effort has succeeded, the candid reader
will determine. It has at least been honest. Per-
suaded of the varied worth of the subject, the author
has endeavored to be accurate in his presentations,
and as thorough as the space would allow. For his
data concerning the Pyramid he has been obliged to
rely on the original works of explorers, to which due
reference is given. Though in Egypt in the latter
part of 1864, with a view to some personal examina-
tions, a severe sickness, contracted in Syria and Pales-
tine, prevented him from accomplishing the purpose
for which he visited the land of the Pharaohs. But
his interest did not therefore abate. In 1869 he gave
out a small publication on the Great Pyramid, and
having tried to master and digest what has thus far
been adduced by others, he now ventures a larger ex-
hibition of the case as it presents itself to him. The
intricacies of mathematics and astronomy, so deeply
involved in these pyramid investigations, he has in-


tentionally avoided, seeking rather to explain for the
many than to demonstrate for the few. He has con-
fined himself mostly to descriptions and statements of
results, which he has sought to give in a way which
all readers of average intelligence can readily follow
and understand.

If what he has thus produced is so far favored as
to promote a more general and deeper inquiry and
study into this surprising and most perfect monument
of primeval man, the chief object of the author will
have been attained. The interest awakened by the
Lectures at their oral delivery during the past winter,
and the numerous applications to procure them in
print, also encourage the belief that, with the notes
and amplifications since added, they may perchance be
acceptable and serve a good purpose. With the hope,
therefore, of thus contributing something towards the
furtherance of correct science, true philosophy, and a
proper Christianity, the author herewith commits
these sheets to the press, and to an appreciative and
indulgent public.

Philadelphia, June 25th, 1877.


Preface, Page 3

Diagram, ,.,.<' 10



Introduction, p. 13 ; The Chart, p. 15; The History, p. 21 ;
Modern Scientific Theory, p. 32 ; Pyramid Form and Pro-
portions, p. 41 ; Pyramid Numbers, p. 45; Size of Great
Pyramid, p. 50 ; Standard of Linear Measure, p. 57 ;
"Weight and Capacity Measure, p. 65 ; The Coffer and the
Ark of the Covenant, p. 68 ; Temperature, p. 70 ; A Metro-
logical Monument, p. 71 ; The Pyramid's Astronomy, p.
74 ; The Pyramid's Chronology, p. 79 ; Septenaries and
Sabbaths, p. 87 : The Centre of the Universe, p. 90 ;
Whence this Wisdom, p. 91.



Our Era, p. 102 ; Egypt's Past, p. 105 ; The Great Pyramid's
Disclosures, p. 107 ; The Pyramid and the Prophets, p. 108 ;
The Pyramid and the Book of Job, p. 114 ; The Pyramid



and Christ, p. 120 ; The Pyramid and the Christian Dis-
pensation, p. 128; The Pyramid and Theology, p. 137;
The Pyramid and the Day of Judgment, p. 150; The
Pyramid and the Jew, p. 153 ; The Pyramid and Heaven,
p. 159 ; The Pyramid and the Spiritual Universe, p. 163 ;
The Pyramid and Jerusalem, p. 166.



The Ancient Traditions, p. 172 ; More Modern Opinions, p.
178 ; The Tomb Theory, p. 180 ; Something more than a
Tomb, p. 185 ; Not a Temple of Idolatry, p. 192 ; Historic
Fragments, p. 194 ; Who was Melchisedec, p. 203 ; The
Primitive Civilizers, p. 210 ; Job and Philitis, p. 217 ;
Results, p. 221 ; Primeval Man, p. 227 ; Use of the Pyra-
mid respecting Faith, p. 231.



Rev. Joseph T. Goodsir, p. 233 ; J. Ralston Skinner, p. 238 ;
Charles Casey, p. 240 ; John Taylor, p. 241 ; Prof. Piazzi
Smyth, p. 243 ; J. G., in Edinburgh Courani, p. 248.

" Every student who enters upon a scientific pursuit, espe-
cially if at a somewhat advanced period of life, will find not
only that he has much to learn, but much also to unlearn. As
a first preparation, therefore, for the course he is about to com-
mence, he must loosen his hold on all crude and hastily adopted
notions, and must strengthen himself, by something of an effort
and a resolve, for the unprejudiced admission of any conclusion
which shall appear to be supported by careful observation and
logical argument, even should it prove of a nature adverse to
notions he may have previously formed for himself, or taken
up, without examination, on the credit of others. Such an
effort is, in fact, a commencement of that intellectual discipline
which forms one of the most important ends of all science." —
Sir John Herschel. .

"The fair question is, does the newly proposed view remove
more difiiculties, require fewer assumptions, and present more
consistencj'- with observed facts, than that which it seeks to
supersede? If so, the philosopher will adopt it, and the world
will follow the philosopher." — Grove's Address to the British
Association for the Advancement of Science.












- ■'.• c" 1

>^ 5^^



/ H


/ 1


/ H









A, A, A, A, Corner sockets of tlie Pyramid's base.

B, B, B, Pyramid cut in half, viewed from the east.

C, C, C, Entrance passage.

D, D, First ascending passage.

E, E, E, The well.

F, The subterranean chamber.

G, G, G, Native rock, left standing.

H, Horizontal passage to Qtieen's Chamber.

I, Sabbatic or Queen's Chamber.

J, Graud niche in Queen's Chamber.

K, K, Ventilating tubes to Queen's Chamber.

L, Grand Gallery.

M, M, M, Rampstones, incisions, and vertical' settings along the sides of
Grand Gallery's base.

N, Great step at south end of Grand Gallery.

O, Granite leaf in anteroom to King's Chamber.

P, P, Anteroom to King's Chamber.

Q, King's Chamber.

E. Grand Coffer in King's Chamber.

S, S, S, S, S, Chambers of construction.

T, T, Ventilating tubes to King's Chamber.

XJ, Supposed undiscovered Chamber.

V, V, Cartouches of the two Kings, Shufu and Nem-Shufu, otherwise called
Cheops or Suphis, and Sen-Suphis or Noh-Suphis, under whose co-regency
the Great Pyramid was built.

W, W, Sections of next two pyramids, showing their interior openings.

X, X, Al Mamoun's forced passage.

Y, Time-marks of the building of the pyramid.

Z, Z, Z, Z, Casing-stones, now gone.

4'^ The shading in crossed lines indicates what parts of the Pyramid are
red granite ; the other portions, as far as known, are of limestone, of a color
approaching yellowish-white.

' By the use of a magnifier the lettering and indications on the diagram
will be brought out in ample distinctness, where not sufficiently clear to the
naked eye. The print is reduced photographically fiom a drawing of
large size.


As wards, who long suppose
All that they spend to be
Their guardian's liberality,
Not what inheritance bestows^
Their thanks to others ignorantly pay
For that which they
At last perceive to be their own,
To their rich ancestors obliged alone ; —
So we vainly thought

Ourselves to Greece much bound
For arts which we have found
To be from higher ages brought,
By their as well as our forefathers taught.

Gale^s " Court of the Gep tiles. ^'




J »



NE of the ablest of En gland's Egypto-
logical writers has said that Egypt is
the anomaly of the earth's present sur-
face. The very adaptations and ad-
justments of the air and solar distances, by
which vegetable life is sustained in other coun-
tries, here give place to another code, framed
expressly for the Nile. The same may be said
of it with regard to its place in history. It
has always been somewhat aside from the
general current of affairs, having its own
unique constitution and life, and yet closely
related to all civilized humanity. Through
whatever path, sacred or profane, we propose
to^go back to the beginnings, Egypt ivS never
entirely out of view. Closely secluded from

2 ( 13 )


ail the rest of the world — the Japan of the
ages— it still lies at the gateway of the tradi-
tions of Judea, Greece and Rome; intermingles
with all the Divine administrations, and con-
nects, in one way or another, with some of the
most famous names and events in the annals
of time.

It is a land which has been reclaimed and
created by the Nile, that '-' High Priest of

"Wbose waves hare cast
More riches round them, as the current rolled
Through many climes its solitary flood,
Than if they surged with gold.

The shoreline, around the several mouths of
this mysterious river, describes a large semi-
circle, to which the emptying streams run out
like the ribs of a spread fan, or like so many
spokes of a wheel. The centre of this arc
is the first rocky elevation on the south, about
ten miles west of Cairo. And, strange to say,
that centre is artificially and indelibly marked
by a massive stone structure, of almost solid
Cyclopean masonry, of a form found in no
other country, and at once the largest and
oldest building now standing on the face of the
earth. This hoary monumental pile is TM
Great Pyramid of Gize\ of which it is n>y
purpose to present some account.


The Chart.

In order to aid the mind by means of the
eye, I have caused a diagram of the Great
Pyramid to be prepared, which, if first care-
fully examined, will materially contribute to a
clear understanding of what is to be said. A

few explanations may be necessary, and hence
are here given.

The large square, marked by heavy black
lines, indicates, the base of the edifice, which
covers about thirteen acres of ground, equal to
aboutfour ordinary blocks of our city, including
their streets. The darkened triangular mass
represents the body of the pyramid, showing
the slopes of the sides as they rise to a point
at the summit. The lines on the outside
mark the original size, as covered with polished
casing-stones, all of which have been quarried
off by the Moslems, to build and ornament
the mosques and houses of Cairo, or to be burnt
for lime. About thirty feet of the original edi-
fice has also disappeared from the top, leaving
perhaps twenty-four feet square of level space,
from which the strongest man cannot throw a
stone, or shoot an arrow, far enough to fall clear
of the base. Even with so much of the summit
gone, it is still more than double the height of


the highest steeple or tower in Philadelphia,
and higher than the highest known steeple or
tower in the world.

The elevation shows the pyramid cut in
half, from north to south, in order to give a
view of the interior. As here seen, the spec-
tator is looking from east to west. There are
no known openings but those which appear
in these open and unshaded spaces. The dark
square toward the top (U) indicates an imag-
inary room which is believed to exist, but not
yet discovered.

The only entrance into the edifice, as left by
the builders, is that low and narrow square
tube, which begins high up on the north side,
and runs obliquely down to an unfinished
room in the solid rock, about one hundred feet
below the levelled surface on which the pyramid
stands. The size of this entrance passage is
not quite four feet high, and a little over three
feet ^ve inches wide. A man needs to stoop
considerably to pass through it, and to take
heed to his steps on account of the steep incline,
originally finished as smooth as a slate, from
top to bottom.

The first upward passage is directly over
the entrance-tube, and is of the same general
size and character. It follows the same direc-


tion from north to south, and conducts to a
high, long and beautifully finished opening,
who^e floor-line is continuous with the passage
of ascent to it. This is the Grand Gallery,
twenty-eight feet high, each of whose sides is
built of seven courses of overlapping stones.
It is covered by thirty-six large stones stretch-
ing across the top. It is a little over eighteen
hundred and eighty-two inches long, and sud-
denly terminates against an end wall, which
leans inward. The further opening is low and
small again, leading into a sort of narrow
anteroom, in which a double and heavy granite
block hangs from grooves in the side walls.

Then follows another low entrance leading
into w^iat is called the King's Chamber, the
highest and largest known room in the edifice.
In this chamber stands the only article of fur-
niture in the pyramid, the celebrated granite
Coffer. Above this room are shown what are
called the chambers of construction, indicating
how the builders arranged to keep the weight
of the superincumbent mass from crushing in
the ceiling of the King's Chamber, which ceil-
ing consists of nine powerful blocks of granite,
stretching from one side to the other. The
dark or crossed shadings about this chamber
indicate the stones to be granite, all the rest
of the building not so marked is. of light


limestone. This room is an oblong square,
four hundred and twelve inches long, two hun-
dred and six broad and two hundred and thirty
high. It is ventilated by two tubes, running
from it to the outer surface.

Directly under the Grand Gallery, and run-
ning in the same direction from north to south,
is a horizontal passage, which starts on a level
with the entrance into the Grand Gallery, and
leads to what is called the Queen's Chamber.
The floor of this room, if floor it may be
called, measures two hundred and ^ve by two
hundred and twenty-six inches, and stands on
the twenty-fifth course of masonry, as the
King's Chamber stands on the fiftieth course.
It has a pointed arch ceiling. Though excel-
lently finished, this room has neither ornament
nor furniture. There is a line marked evenly
around its sides at the height of the passage
of entrance, and a remarkable niche in its
east wall, the top of which is twenty-five inches
across and twenty-five inches south from the
vertical centre of the wall into which it is
cut. This room also has two tubes leading
from it, only recently discovered, which the
builders left concealed by a thin scale over
each. They are cut regularly, and approach
inward through the walls to within one inch
pf the inner surface, which was left as though


no such openings existed back of it. Whether
these tubes extend to the outer surface has
not been ascertained.

Nearly three feet from the beginning of the
Grand Gallery, on the west side, is a torn and
ragged opening, in which is the gaping mouth
of a strange well, running irregularly and
somewhat tortuously down through the ma-
sonry and original rock, till it strikes the main
entrance a short way above the subterranean'
chamber. Nearly half the way down it ex-
pands into a rough grotto or wide bulge in the
opening, making a large irregular subterranean

Below the entrance passage, and a little to
the west of it, the dark and rugged opening
shown represents the hole made by one of the
Mohammedan caliphs, about A.D. 825, who
thus cut into the pyramid in search of treas-
ures, not knowing that there was an open
passage not far above.

The small black squares represented at the
corners of the base indicate the peculiar sock-
ets, cut eight inches into the living rock, into
which the foundation corner-stones were set.
These are characteristics of the Great Pyramid,
in which it differs from all others, and are of
special value, in the present ruinous condition


of the edifice, in ascertaining the exact original
corners and the precise lengths of the sides.

The encompassing circle, drawn to the radius
of the pyramid's height, indicates the mathe-
matical idea to which the whole building is
constructed ; the lengtli of the four sides of
the square base being the same as the circum-
ference described bv a snhere, of which the
vertical height is the radius. It shows the
edifice in that remarkable feature, to wit, a
practical squaring of the circle.

The smaller pyramids below represent the
next in size and age to the Great Pyramid.
They are introduced for no other purpose than
to show the difference of interior between them
and it ; on which difference an argument is
founded to prove them mere ignorant imitations
of the Great PjTamid, and not at all to be
classed with it in intellectuality and design.

The hieroglyphics are reproductions of the
cartouches of the two kings, Shufu and Nem-
Shufu, who occupied the throne at the time the
Great Pyramid w\as built. They were dis-
covered by Colonel Howard Vyse, in 1837,
roughl}^ painted on the undressed sides of the
stones in the upper chambers of construction,
which were never opened until he forced a
way up to them.


The History.

There is no kDOwn time within our historic
periods when this pyramid was not famous.
Herodotus, the so-called Father of History, as
early as 445 B.C., made a personal examina-
tion of it, and devoted some most interesting
paragraphs to it. It was then already consid-
ered very ancient. Traditional accounts of its
erection he gathered through an interpreter
from an Egyptian priest, and these he has
recorded with much particularity. His own
appreciation of the structure, and of the cause-
way over which the materials were conveyed,
was that of wonder arid admiration.*

Homer does not seem to make any allusion
to it, perhaps for the reason that it had no
connection with mythology, or with any of his

Eratosthenes (236 B.C.), Diodorus Siculus
(60 B.C.), and Strabo and Pliny (about the
beginning of our era), all wrote of it. The
latter, in referring to the Pyramids, also says,
'^ The authors who have written upon them
are Herodotus, Euhemerus, Durius Samius,
Aristagoras, Dionysius, Artemedorus, Alex-

* See Eawlinson's Herodotus, Book II, chap. 124, vol. 2, pp.


ander, Polyliistor, Butorides, Autisthenes,
Demetrius, Demoteles, and Apion."*

But though the Great Pyramid has been
standing in its place for 4000 years, it is only
within a very recent period that there has been
any rational appreciation of it. For 3000
years of its existence, up to the time of the
mediseval Caliph Al Mamoun, no mortal man,
perhaps, ever penetrated into its upper pas-
sages and main openings. Certainly, for many
centuries before him, it was completely closed
up, no entrance to it being known any more
to any human being.

This son of Haroun Al Raschid of the "Ara-
bian Nights," flattered and almost worshipped
as a god, was so wrought upon by the romanc-
ers and fabulists of his court that he was led
to believe the Great Pyramid crowded full of
precious treasures. All the dazzling riches,
jewels, medicines, charms, and sciences of
Sheddad Ben Ad, the Mussulman's great ante-
diluvian king of the earth, were made to
glitter before the avaricious fancy of Al Ma-
moun. He therefore set his hosts at work to
quarry out an opening into the wonderful
treasure-house, full of astonishing riches in-

* Nat. Hist., torn. 36, sec. 16.


deed, but not of the sort of which he was

With the crude instruments and poor knowl-
<=>dge which his hordes possessed, it proved no
easy task to cut through that grand masonry.
Again and again the thing was pronounced
impossible. But Mohammedan fanaticism and
tyranny proved equal to the undertaking ; not,
however, without straining everything to the
very utmost, and Al Mamoun's own power to
the point of revolution. The excavation was
driven in full one hundred feet, with every-
thing solid up to that point. Having expended
all this labor to no effect, all further effort was
about to be abandoned, when a singular, per-
haps providential, occurrence served to reani-
mate exertion. The sound of a falling stone
in some open space not far beyond them was
heard, which incited them to dig and bore on,

1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

Online LibraryJoseph Augustus SeissA miracle in stone: → online text (page 1 of 19)