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UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTL4.N KNOWLEDGE.
THE PYRAMIDS OF EGYPT.
There are few subjects which have occupied so much of antiquarian research as the Pyramids of Egypt, and few which have better deserved the zealous inquiry they have awakened. Whether the gigantic character of their outward form be considered, the singularity of their internal design, or the length of their duration, the mind derives a pleasing awe from the great associations with which they are connected. In surveying them, the genius of the past seems to be present, to commune with us, and to mingle us with the earliest offspring of mankind. Thair unchanging and apparently indestructible forms have outlived successive generations, and endured amidst the ruins of Babylon and Rome, the ravages of Cambyses, and the Conquests of Alexander.
These mysterious buildings are called the Pv Ram ins Of Gizeh, from a village of that name on the banks of the river Nile, from which they are distant about eleven miles, forming almost a line to the westward of the city of Cairo. The platform or high rocky ground on which they stand, rises out of a strip of sandy plain about thirty miles long, extending by the side of the Nile, and sloping upwards to about eighty feet above the level of the river. The two largest Pyramids are named after two kings, Cheops and Cephrenes, whose tombs they are supposed to be. The largest of the two—that of Cheops—may well have been considered as one of the Wonders of the World, the north side being C93 feet in length, and the whole building covering something more than eleven English acres—a size sufficiently monstrous to stagger belief, if the fact were not established beyond dispute. Pliny and Diodorus Siculus, two ancient historians, who wrote of these buildings since the Christian jEra, agree in stating that not less than ',i 60 .000 men were employed in erecting the Great Pyramid; and it is added that twenty years were expended In the work. It may be proper to remark, with regard to the size of the Pyramids, that engravings of them have rather tended to mislead; for as it is impossible to represent their real bulk on paper, drawings made to give an idea of their form, naturally tend to diminish the idea of their size, in the imagination of the observer.
The four sides of all pyramids, large and small, exactly face the cardinal points.
These Pyramids, with several smaller ones In a greater or less state of preservation,' occupy the Plain of Gizeh. More to the south, within a limit of twenty or thirty miles, on the same Western bank of the Nile, and at about the same distance from the bed of the river, there art other groupes, as at Saccara, Dashour, and Ramliei Of these the first place is connected with Gizeh by a chain of sepulchres and ruined buildings; but there are numerous others, not so connected, in different places, even so far southward as Nubia.
The Third Pyramid of Gizeh is that of Mycerinus j it has three smaller pyramids ranged along its south face. The Great Pyramid has six, and three of a larger size, but much decayed on its eastern face.
Besides these, an extensive region of tombs, arranged in streets crossing each other, and occupying the same shape and extent of ground as the base of the Pyramid of Cheops, are found along its western side.
The Second Pyramid has a line of chambers cuj in the rock, and on its eastern side are the ruins of a temple. The third has a similar temple and avenue; and, indeed, the eastern face of the Great Pyramid bears traces, though more indistinct, of a
similar structure; but the second temple, that of Cephrenes, is distinguished by having the Sphynx ranged in front of the centre of its eastern face, bearing all the marks of having been connected with it by communications cut through the rock under ground. Between the paws of the Sphynx a perfect temple was discovered, a few years ago, by the intrepid traveller Belzoni, on clearing away the sand by which it had been choked up for ages.
The magnificent prospect from the top of this pyramid, has been described by the French traveller Savary, who visited Egypt in 1770, in glowing terms. After occupying seven hours in ascending to its summit, "the morning light," says he, " discovered to us every moment new beauties: the tops of gilded minarets, and of date tree and citron groves, planted round the villages and hills; anon the herds left the hamlets; the boats spread their light sails, and our eyes followed them along the vast windings of the Nile. On the north appeared sterile hills and barren sands; on the south the river and waving fields, vast as the ocean: to the west the plain of Fayum, famous for its roses: to the east the picturesque town ot Gizeh, and the towers of Fostat, the minarets of Cairo, and the castle of Saladdin, terminated the prospect. Seated on the most wonderful of the works of man, as upon a throne, our eyes beheld by turns a dreadful desert; rich plains in which the Elysian fields had been imagined; villages; a majestic river; and edifices which seemed the work of giants. The universe contains no landscape more variegated, more magnificent, or more awful."
The ancients knew little of the interior structure of these giant piles. Herodotus, who lived 445 years before Christ, merely speaks of an entrance leading to the interior, by hearsay from the priests, who informed him that there were secret vaults beneath, hewn out of the natural rock. Strabo, who lived after the Christian »ra, only describes a single slanting passage which led to a chamber in which was a stone tomb. Diodorus Siculus, who lived forty-four years before Christ, agrees with this; and Pliny, who lived A.D. 66, adds that there was a well in the Great Pyramid, eighty cubits deep. This is all the ancients have said about the interior.
The Egyptian priests, indeed, assured Arlstides, a Greek traveller about two centuries before Christ, that "the excavations beneath were as great as the height above." And Ebn Abd Alhokim, an Arabic writer of the ninth century says, that the builders "constructed numerous excavated chambers, with gates to them, forty cubits under ground." Other Arabian writers say that these chambers contain chests of black stone, in which were deposited the sacred archives of King Saurid, who built the pyramid. Many discoveries (perhaps a burial place under ground) obviously remain to be made.
The same Arab historian, Alkokim, gives an account of the opening of this building under the Caliphate, from which time it has remained in the condition seen and described by all modern travellers, to the time of the Italian traveller, Caviglia, who made a discovery of a new chamber and passages, abouften years ago. "After that Almamon the Caliph (A. D. 820,) entered Egypt, and saw the Pyramids, he desired to know what was within, and therefore would have them opened. He was told it could not possibly be done. He replied, I will have it certainly done. And that hole was opened for him, which stands open to this day, with fire and vinegar. Two smiths prepared and sharpened the iron and engines, which they forced in: and there was a great expence in the opening it; and the thick
of the wall was found to be twenty cubits. Within they found a square well, and in the square of it, there were doors: every door of it opened into a house (or vault), in which there were dead bodies wrapped up in linen. Towards the upper part of the Pyramid, they found a chamber, in which was a hollow stone; in it was a statue of stone, like a man, and within it a man, upon whom was a breast-plate of gold, set with jewels, and on him were written characters with a pen, which no man can explain."
Greaves, an Englishman, who visited the Great Pyramid in 1648, described the passages thus opened, and then open, very accurately, and suspected that at the bottom of a well in the Pyramid, was the passage to those secret vaults mentioned by Herodotus; but he made no new discovery. Davison, who visited it in the middle of the eighteenth century, discovered some secret chambers and passages connecting the largest gallery with the central room, and an apartment four feet high over it. He descended the well 155 feet, but found further progress blocked up. CavigHa was the first to discover the above suspected passage. After much trouble in clearing the narrow opening at the end of the first or entrance gallery of the pyramid, he found that it did not terminate at that point, as hitherto supposed, but proceeded downwards to the distance of 200 feet. It ended in a door-way on the right, which was found to communicate with the bottom of the well. But the new passage did not terminate here: it went beyond the door-way twenty-three feet, and then took a horizontal direction for twenty-eight more, where it opened into a spacious chamber immediately under the central room.
This new chamber is twenty-seven feet broad, and sixty-six feet long. The floor is irregular; nearly one half of the length from the eastern, or entrance end, being level, and about fifteen feet from the ceiling; while, in the middle, it descends five feet lower, in which part there is a hollow space bearing all the appearance of the commencement of a well, or shaft. From thence it rises to the western end, so that there is scarcely room between the floor and the ceiling to stand upright."
On the south of this chamber is a passage hollowed out, just high and wide enough for a man to creep along upon his hands and knees, which continues in the rock for fifty-five feet, and then suddenly ends. Another at the east end commences with a kind of arch, and runs about forty feet into the solid body of the Pyramid.
Mr. Salt, the late intelligent British Consul to Egypt, was so struck by this discovery, as to express his belief that the under-ground rooms were used for "the performance of solemn and secret mysteries."
As to the Second Pyramid of Gizeh, the ancients knew less about it than they did of the first. Herodotus says it has no under-ground chambers, and the other ancient authorities are silent. But the enterprising Belzoni found its entrance, in the north front, in 1818, and discovered at the same time, that it had been previously forced open by the Arabian Caliph, Ali Mehemet, A. D. 782, more than a thou sand years before. After forcing an entrance, and advancing along a narrow passage, one hundred feet long, he found a central chamber, forty-six feet long by sixteen wide, and twenty-three high, cut out of the solid rock. It contained a granite sarcophagus, (a tomb) half sunk in the floor, with some bones in it, which, on inspection by Sir Everard Home, proved to be those of a cow. An Arabic inscription on the walls implies, that it had been opened in the presence of the Sultan Ali Mehemet.
There have been many opinions expressed by learned men as to the object of these structures. One is, that they were the granaries of Joseph. This may be confuted by the smallness of the rooms, and the time required in building. Another, that they were observatories, which is accusing the builders of great absurdity, since the neighbouring rocks were better calculated for the purpose. The Arabians generally think that they were built by King Saurid, before the deluge, as a refuge for himself, and the public records, from the Flood; but this opinion requires no answer. Josephus, the Jewish historian, who wrote A. D. 71, ascribes them to his countrymen, during the captivity in Egypt. As sun-dials, they would have failed. Shaw and Bryant, who wrote in the middle of the last century, believed them to be temples, and the stone chest, a tank for holding water used for purification. Pauw, who lived at the same time with Shaw and Bryant, considers the Great Pyramid as the tomb of Osiris; and that Osiris having fourteen tombs for various parts of his dismembered body,- fourteen pyramids must have been devoted to them, and the annual funeral mysteries connected with his death and resurrection. But the greater number of writers, ancient and modern, believe it to be the tomb of Cheops, the alleged builder. Improving on this notion, Maillet (1760) supposed that the chambers were built for the purpose of shutting up the friends of the deceased king with the dead body; and that the holes on each side of the central chamber of the Great Pyramid, were the means by which they were to be supplied with food, &C. ; an opinion which would have appeared sufficiently ludicrous, if it had not been exceeded by that expressed by an old Moulah to Buonaparte, when in Egypt (17!tD), that the object was to keep the buried body undecayed, by closely sealing up all access to the outward air. Another ingenious theory ascribes them to the shepherd kings, a foreign pastoral nation which oppressed Egypt in the early times of the Pharaohs. However, this is, after all, but conjecture. The utmost uncertainty exists in all that concerns these gigantic, unwieldy, and mysterious buildings. Their builders, origin, date, and purposes, are entirely lost in the night of ages. As the sides of all the pyramids face the cardinal points, and of course give the true meridian of the places where they are situated, it would seem that their builders had made some progress in scientific knowledge; and the buildings themselves, under all circumstances, notwithstanding their plain exterior, clearly show the advanced state of art in those very early times.
A single book has saved me ; but that book is not of human origin. Long had I despised it; long had I deemed it a class book for the credulous and ignorant; until, having investigated the Gospel of Christ, with an ardent desire to ascertain its truth or falsity, its pages proffered to my inquiries the sublimest knowledge of man and nature, and the simplest, and at the same time, the most exalted system of moral ethics. Faith, hope, and charity were enkindled in my bosom; and every advancing step strengthened me in the conviction, that the morals of this book are as superior to human morals, as its oracles are superior to human opinions.—M. L. Bautain, Professor of Philosophy, Strasburgh.
St Mary-le-bow Church.
St. Mary-le-Bow suffered, in common with other buildings, in the great fire of London (1666), and was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren, under the act of Charles II. for building fifty-two churches. The expense of the whole was provided for by a duty of two shillings per chaldron on all coal borne to London, sea-wise, for seventeen years and five months. The present church stands Over and upon the arches of the old Bow Church, erected in 1512, on the ruins of one built by William the Conqueror on the site of a Roman temple. Its form was taken from the Temple of Peace at Rome: it was finished in 1673, and cost 8071/. 18s. Id.
The steeple was an original building of Sir Christopher Wren's, for the site of which two houses between the church and Cheapside were purchased. On digging considerably below the old church, a Roman pavement was discovered, which Sir Christopher Wren took for his foundation. The celebrated figure of a dragon, a supporter of the arms of the city of London, which surmounts the steeple, was placed there in 1679. The whole expense of erecting and beautifying the steeple was 7388/. 8s. 7Jrf.; towards which, one Dame Dyonis Wilkinson gave 2000/.
There are ten fine-toned bells in the steeple. By an order of Common Council in 1469, the bells were to be rung regularly at nine in the evening, and by another order of the same body, lights were to be exhibited at night, in the centre one of five lanthorns, which stood on the tower in those days, to direct travellers towards the metropolis. A worthy citizen, John Donne, left two tenements in Hosier Lane, now Bow Lane, for the maintenance of the large bell.
This steeple has undergone many repairs, rendered necessary by the expansion and rusting of the iron too freely used in its construction, and by the great weight of the bells.
In 1818, it was decided to take down so much of it as was seriously injured, and to rebuild it precisely on its original plan. About this period, the appearance of sinking, in one of the vaults, led to an examination of the foundation; and after removing a great number of coffins, (among which two perfectly dried bodies, or mummies, were found, and which are still preserved,) an arch was observed, closed with brick-work; on cutting through which, a portion of the old church was discovered, choked up with bricks and rubbish, apparently the ruins of the part destroyed by the fire of London, and not removed at the rebuilding. This was taken out, and the earth cleared to its original base, thirteen feet and a half below the present level of the street. In digging where the Roman altar was supposed to have stood, two rams' horns were taken up.
After this repair, the dragon, which had been splendidly regilt, and some coins of the period put into his mouth, was* restored to his station with great ceremony. One of the masons was hauled up with it, bearing a flag, presenting, as it were, the appearance of the dragon flying through the air, with his rider on his back. The figure is of copper, nearly nine feet long; it works upon an Egyptian pebble; the spindle is of polished steel, and the whole is in good taste, and of superior workmanship. There are but few monuments in the church particu larly worthy of notice; but among them is that of Bishop Newton, the author of the work on the Prophecies, who was nearly thirty years rector of the parish.
In this church are preached the eight lectures instituted by Mr. Boyle in defence of the Christian religion; they are delivered on the first Monday in each month, from January to May, and from September to November. N. G.
The shopkeeper turns his capital once in a week, or a month. The farmer turns his money once in a year; but the forest planter must discard the commercial maxim, "a small profit and a quick return," for he can scarcely turn his capital once in his lifetime. Still, however, nothing can pay better than the planting of waste lands with forest trees. Oaks, pines, ash, sycamore, elms, and poplars, will give more profit than ferns, heaths, and rushes; and a practical man, with four labourers under him, could superintend five hundred acres. A man cannot amass a large property for his children by a small outlay, so surely as by planting.
Plantations are experimentally found, by the annual casting of their leaves, to lend material aid to the encouragement of the fine and more nourishing grasses; while, at the same time, they cause the destruction of the heath and other coarser productions of vegetation. By the influence of this annual top-dressing, hundreds, nay thousands of acres, have been rendered worth from five to ten shillings an acre, instead of from sixpence to, at the utmost, two shillings. Whoever knows any thing of the comparative value of heath and greensward pasture, will allow that the advantages of converting the one into the other are very moderately stated at the above rates; and this wonderful transformation is made without the slightest assistance from human art, save that of putting suitable plants. The annual pruning of trees by the knife, makes them grow with great vigour. By experiment it appeared that plants which were pruned, advanced at the rate of four years in six before those which were not pruned. This treatment should be attended to every year, either winter or summer, or after they have been planted out. Lawn trees, groupes, or outlines of plantations, should setdom be touched, or, at least, without a knowledge of picturesque effect. Were the proprietors of plantations sensible of the injury they do their posterity, they would not longer ignorantly, and, it may be said of many, obstinately, neglect this necessary improvement.
In the common course of gardening, it is found that pruning invigorates the tree, and that training-off judiciously the large side branches, makes the upright ones shoot the stronger. This doctrine will apply to all trees, particularly to the whole tribe of firs; it will undoubtedly substitute clear wood for knots; and, of all this management, from their particular uses, the latter, of all other trees, stand in most need, and will be most improved by it. This operation will advance the quality nearer to that of foreign timber; for it may be traced, that where trees are tall and clear of boughs or knots, (by cutting the branches close to the stem) the whole substance of the wood is better, and of finer grain; and it appears likely that such will always be the case.
The practice should decidedly be condemned of cutting off large limbs to improve the timber; we may daily see the deplorable effects of it. By judicious pruning and thinning every year, it will be found that poor land is converted by these means to a good purpose, and at a trifling expence.
Frederick The Great one day rang his bell several times, and nobody came. He opened the door, and found his page asleep in an arm-chair. Advancing to awake him, he perceived the corner of a note peeping out of his pocket. Curious to know what it was, he took it, and read it. It was a letter from the mother of the youth, thanking him for sending her part of his wages, to relieve her poverty. She concluded by telling him, that God would bless him for his good conduct The King, after having read it, went softly into his room, took a purse of ducats, and slipped it, with the letter, into the pocket of the page. He returned, and rang his bell so loud, that the page awoke, and went in. "Thou hast slept well!" said the King. The page wished to excuse himself, and in his confusion put his hand by chance into his pocket, and felt the purse with astonishment. He drew it out, turned pale, and looking at the King, burst into tears, without being able to utter a word. "What is the matter?" said the King: "what hast thou?" "Ah! Sire," replied the youth, falling on his knees,—" they wish to ruin me; I do not know how this money came into my pocket." * My friend," said Frederick, "God often sends us blessings while we are asleep.—Send that to thy mother, salute her from me, and say that I will take care of her and thee."
Practical Christianity.—During the siege of Barcelona by the Spaniards and English, in the war of the succession, in 1705, an affecting incident occurred, which is thus related by Captain Carleton, in his memoirs. "I remember I saw an old officer, having his only son with him, (a fine man about twenty years of age) going into the tent to dine. Whilst they were at dinner, a shot from the Bastion of St. Antonio took off the head of the son. The father immediately rose up, first looking down upon his headless child, and then lifting up his eyes to heaven, whilst the tears ran down his cheeks, only said; Thy will be done. It was a sad spectacle, and truly it affects me even now whilst I am writing."
Pain itself is not without its alleviations. It may be violent and frequent, but it is seldom both violent and long continued; and its pauses and intermissions become positive pleasures. It has the power of shedding dis satisfaction over interTales of ease, which. I believe, few enjoyments exceed.—Paley.
The ancients were only acquainted with this animal through the accounts which they received from Scythians and Germans. They asserted that its colour changed with the objects it fixed eyes on;' that it equalled the ox in size, and had only one horn branched in many directions: but though these tales were partial misrepresentations or altogether fabulous, there is no doubt that the name Tarandus was of German or Scythian origin.
A full-grown male of this species in a wild state is the size of a stag, or even superior, but the female is less than the hind, and the tame races, particularly of Lapland, are not much higher at the shoulder than Fallowdeer. In large males the horns are sometimes above four feet long, in the females they are constantly smaller, and the branching parts narrower. There is, however, no species of deer whose horns vary to such an extent; it is difficult to meet two alike.
Compared with others, the Rein-Deer is heavy and low, resembling a calf; the neck is short; the head carried straight forward in a line with the back; the legs short and stout, and the hoofs very broad, in large individuals not less than those of an Alderney cow, and the tail short; the hair is of two kinds, one close, the other woolly; under the throat it is long, and in winter, long hairs, more or less whitish, spread over the body. The horns are just visible at its birth, and in fifteen days they are an inch high. In the Russian Rein-deer these horns grow more rapidly, and become larger than in the Swedish. The males drop theirs in November, but the females, generally keep them till May; the new ones are eight months growing, not being complete till August. Two fawns are usually produced at a birth, and their life extends to about sixteen years.
Rein-deer swim with great facility, and are so buoyant as to keep half their backs above water; their broad feet, struck with great force, impel them so fast in the strongest currents and across the broadest rivers, that a boat well manned can scarcely keep pace with them. When defending themselves, they strike downwards with the horns, but do not gore; they kick with violence, and repel the wolf with success; but their most dangerous enemy is the glutton, who is reported to drop down upon them from the branch of some tree while they are off their guard. The feet of the Reindeer produce a cracking noise; they are furnished with a membrance which is very moveable, and used chiefly in storms of sleet and snow; this habit, together with their scent, guides them with wonderful precision through the most dangerous passes, and in the darkest stormy nights of an arctic winter.