A Miracle in Stone, Or, the Great Pyramid of Egypt
Joseph A. Seiss
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Pages (PDF): 131
Publication Date: 1877
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Still one of the largest pieces of architecture ever constructed, the Great Pyramid has long been the subject of wonder as to when it was built, by whom, and most importantly, why. The conventional explanation is that it was built during the reign of the Pharaoh Khufu by skilled Egyptian laborers as a funerary monument. In addition to pyramidology, Joseph Seiss was a Christian dispensationalist, a 19th century millennialist school of thought.
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THIS book is meant to give a succinct comprehensive account of the oldest and greatest existing monument 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 generation."
Simply as an architectural achievement, this mysterious 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 researches 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 philosophic 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 voluminous, costly, and learned, have been devoted to it, and not without a marked and serious impression. St. John Vincent Day, Fellow of the Royal 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 respecting 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 subject has been examined into with a diligent spirit of inquiry, that is with the aim of not merely strengthening 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 developed in this interesting field. A just résumé of the matter, of moderate length and price, in plain and easy form, would seem to be needed and specially in place.
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. Persuaded 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 examinations, a severe sickness, contracted in Syria and Palestine, 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 exhibition of the case as it presents itself to him. The intricacies of mathematics and astronomy, so deeply involved in these pyramid investigations, he has intentionally avoided, seeking rather to explain for the many than to demonstrate for the few. He has confined 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.
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