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what did they discover in the room itself? “ The room, clean, garnished, complete, perfectly ready for its visitors, but nothing in it-nothing but an empty stone chest without a lid."
Can any Arabian Nights' legend or fairy tale surpass this in the charm of mystery? How came that rectangular box of polished porphyry there, and why is it there? For centuries, in silence and alone, that empty chest, with its open secret, has waited and still waits for the solution of these enigmas. Barbarian Saracens, looking for gold and finding none, have no answer to give. Hierologists and Egyptographers, with their endless doubts and disputes, can offer no satisfactory reply. Is the meaning ever to be read ? Has the true Edipus come at last ?
It seems that the chief thing the world, scientific and other, has been able to do has been to mutilate this pyramid. The Professor says, that " from 1000 to 1815 the exterior was systematically despoiled; all the squared and polished blocks of marble on the outside were, by successive caliphs, carried away to Cairo." The heathens! All except two, which happily were left. Until comparatively very lately, the “sarcophagus theory” was the only theory held in reference to the purpose served by this remarkable building in common with other pyramids; and with this theory, and with diverse and most careless measurements the world has been long content.
Professor Greaves, who occupied the astronomical chair at Oxford, visited the Pyramids in 1638–39, and was almost the first to make systematic measurements, and to question the correctness of the old belief. In 1799, some French Academicians began to suspect that the Great Pyramid was built for astronomical purposes. Sir I. Newton was also much impressed with this idea. But it was reserved for Colonel Howard Vyse, in 1837, to find those two outside corner casing stones left in situ by the Saracens and by means of which so much fresh data for calculation and argument has been furnished. These two stones Colonel Vyse disinterred from the sand in which they were buried, and carefully ineasured the angle the inclined sides make with the base, and from this important angle he was able to discover the original vertical height of the pyramid, a thing at which hitherto only rough guesses had been made. In 1859, Mr. John Taylor published his singular book-" The Great Pyramid, who built it, and why was it built!" in which he stated some startling propositions respecting its origin and purpose. In 1863, Professor Piazzi Smyth takes up his abode in the pyramid, at least in its neighbourhood, makes the most minute and systematic measurements and observations of every portion of the exterior and interior; takes numerous photographs of the inside by the aid of the brilliant magnesium light, and gives to the world at large the result of his labours in his book, entitled “ Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid,” in which he investigates, confirms, fully adopts, and further developes, Mr. Taylor's theory.
This theory is far too long for explanation in this short paper, and is too new and too little annealed by time and adverse criticism to have any word uttered either for or against it, except by very scientific men, to which class we do not belong. A brief but careful statement of it is all that can be here attempted..
Its main features are these.-That the vertical height of the Great Pyramid, and the area of its base, and the proportion of the height to the base, all bear a certain definite relation to the diameter and circumference of the earth.
That the vertical height of this pyramid is to twice the base, as the diameter is to the circumference; and that this height has a definite relation to the earth's diameter, taken at that latitude in which the plains of Jeezeh are situated.
That the unit of all linear measure employed throughout the Great Pyramid is at once the most practically useful and the most severely scientific that has ever been established. This unit is exactly 500 000 000 of the earth's axis of rotation; and is as nearly as possible identical with our British inch. Fifty of these pyramid inches formed the “primal metron," or "grand standard” measure, and twenty-five the “small standard."
This twenty-five inches pyramid standard exactly equals the sacred cubit of the Jews, and forms the ten millionth part of the earth’s semi axis of rotation. Professor Smyth considers the French unit of length, the 10.000.000 of a “ quadrant of the earth's surface,” exceedingly unscientific, and gives many reasons for his opinion, upon which we cannot touch.
Some of the interior features of this building are deseribed by the Professor with a loving minuteness. He thinks them so remarkable for their astronomical bearings. The two “air passages,” and “the entrance passage” are, he considers," the three things that stand completely alone,” and separate this pyramid from all others; and so singular and unique is their arrangement, that we must just glance at a few of the facts in connection with them,
The orientation of the square base is so strictly correct, it is so duly N. S. E. and W. as to claim the notice and admiration of men of modern science, and is such as to lead to the presumption that all the internal arrangements were governed by astronomical science of a high order. The direction of the “ entrance passage” is perfectly parallel-due N. and S., yet is placed several feet more to the east than to the west, and its altitude points in the direction of the lower culmination of the pole star 2,500 B.C. The angle it forms with the base is 26° 18'.
The northern air passage is above the entrance passage, parallel to it, but at a different angle of altitude, 33° 42', one that gives the higher culmination of pole star, 2500 B.C. The mean of these two angles gives exactly the latitude 29° 59' of the plains of Jeezeh.
The southern air channel is at an angle of 45°. These facts, and many others, for which we refer the reader to the book itself, are, to speak in coolest terms, singular and interesting.
Then as to the grand Coffer in the ventilated king's chamber. Professor Smyth believes that it was thus made, and there placed, that it might serve for all ages of time and for all nations of men as a definite and unvarying standard measure of capacity and weight.
As a standard of capacity,“ this coffer measures precisely the contents of the one laver, or four chomers of the Hebrew, and also the one chalder, or four quarters of the Anglo-Saxon system, to such a nicety that the present quarters wherein the British farmer measures his wheat, and which have nothing in British metrology to which they refer, are yet accurately fourth parts or veritable quarters of this stone coffer.” It contains 71,311 cubic inches of space. For a standard of weight it could easily be filled with purest water from the Nile, and the water kept at an equable temperature of 68o. Fahr. The reason why this special size was selected is, according to his most firm belief, in order that the Pyramid standard of weight and capacity might have a definite connection with the figure of the earth, and bear a direct reference to the earth's size and density. So that all the world's measures for its common daily use have, according to this view, been derived from certain grand immutable measures of the very globe itself.
The subject of weights and measures is more intimately connected with the high social and moral, as well as commercial well-being of a nation than many people are inclined to believe. And it concerns the poor man quite as much as the rich man, that the best of science and of legislative skill should be brought to bear on its discussion. But it is not a subject so easy of adjustment as might be supposed. “It cannot be difficult," some will say, "to assume any arbitrary standard measures of length, capacity, and weight, and then to declare by law that such and such only shall be considered just and upright.” But how to keep the standards the same, invariably the same, for even a moderate period of time, is the question. So many things concur to alter or in peril them. · Our own standards have been more than once lost or damaged by the destruction of the building in which they were kept, or some other casualty; and even if they could be ever and always safely preserved, yet, owing to variations in temperature, the oxidation of the material, the inevitable secular contraction of metals, as well as to other causes, the standards are so continually liable to change that endless indeed has to be the re-adjustment and legislation.
Now all these dangers, in the Professor's opinion, have been foreseen and provided against in the arrangements of the Great Pyramid. The material of which the coffer is made is porphyry, “ an igneous rock more like cast than forged metal; hard and inflexible to a degree, even beyond gun metal, and less liable to oxidation, and to be affected by variations of temperature than any known metal; and as it was cast long before Noah's time its secular contraction must be well overcome.” And this coffer is placed in the very centre of the huge pile of masonry, so that the temperature of all others desirable-viz., 68'deg. Fahr.—is obtained ; and the invariability of this temperature secured by means of the narrowness of the bores of the two air channels and the amount of masonry through which they pass. Then the building in which the coffer is deposited is most admirably adapted for its preservation ; for, owing to the conservatism of the climate, the nature of the material used, and the method of its construction; it is fire-proof and indestructible to a degree that cannot be affirmed of any other building.
All these reasons, and others which we cannot now mention, point, as the author thinks, inevitably to one conclusion, viz., that the Great Pyramid is admirably fitted, and was intended to be “the centre of metrology to the whole civilized world."
Our inheritance in it consists in this: that we continue to hold, though unwittingly, the God-given unit of measure, the British inch; and that preserved among us are some forms of speech and modes of measurement which can be traced back in their origin to this primæval source, and that they are the lingering tokens of that revelation of the divine goodness and science which has been enshrined in this most wonderful Shekinah.
This word, though our own, is not too strong to express the mingled love and reverence with which Professor Smyth regards this monument and its teachings. Looking at the wonderful “Earth problems ” which are therein lithographed, problems the solution of which modern science has but just discovered and made known; and also at the remarkable fact, that throughout the entire structure there is not to be found a single hieroglyphic, not a line of the social, national, or religious history of the land in which it was built, not the faintest trace of the
adolatry by which it was surrounded; he concludes, that the architects of the Great Pyramid must have been under special divine direction. These architects, he believes, belonged to that race of “Shepherd Kings,” so reviled by ancient Egyptian writers, and who in the mystery of their origin, progress, and decay, are the Melchisedecs of Egyptian history, but who were, he thinks, a race of God-knowing, God-fearing men. The Professor also further considers that the facts of the erection of this building, and the creation of these standards as the means by which practical truth and justice were to be secured among men, were well known to many of the inspired writers. To this knowledge he traces many of the allusions and “figures of speech," so called, which are to be found in the sacred pages. We all know that all figures that have any real power and strength in them must have their roots in some fact; and the root of some of these biblical figures he finds in this great prehistoric fact. One only can we stop to mention, but its exceeding beauty fascinates—"the Corner Stone"-a simile often quoted, though not always with a clear sense of its fitness; but which, when employed with a reference in the mind to the “topmost stone” of the Great Pyramid, is as just as it is beautiful. That stone, with its five angles, was awkward, incomprehensible, terrible, while it lay upon the ground, but acknowledged to be perfect with the perfectness of mathematical truth, and beautiful with the charm of exact adaptation to an intended purpose, when raised amid triumphant shouts to the top of the Great Pyramid, its four angles fitting in to the four triangular sides, and its fifth angle forming the apex and crowning glory of the whole gigantic pile.
Much as we admire and sympathise with the enthusiasm and religious zeal of the Professor, we cannot but fear that they will, to some extent, militate against the reception of his theory; because they appear to destroy somewhat of the calmness of mind and judgment which is so essential to the right investigation of truth. More especially is this felt, when, as in some instances, they have led him into strictures upon the aims and motives of opponents utterly unwarrantable and foreign to the argument; and of course, so far, weakening its force. Surely a man may retain his belief in the old “sarcophagus theory," or may even hold the modern French unit of measure, without being considered, ever so indirectly, either an enemy to the working classes, or a disbeliever in the Bible. A scientific man should, strictly speaking, have no strong emotions; or, having them, should be able to leave them with his shoes of haste and his garment of prejudice in some outer court, whenever he goes up to the temple to worship. A scien