Archaeology of Biblical Astronomy
There is perhaps no better test of a sound, practical astronomy, than to be able to determine truly the four cardinal points. A very simple and easy thing most persons would think it, but not so easy when brought to the test. The compass alone never can be depended on, except in a general way. The attempts of men to orient truly, even with the aid of science, have shown constant inaccuracy. It used to be thought a great matter to have churches and cathedrals built exactly east and west; but of all so intended scarcely one has been found that does not incline either to the north or the south of the line meant to be followed. It is the same even with buildings erected specially for astronomical purpose. Tycho Brahe's celebrated Uranibourg observatory is faulty in orientation to five minutes of a degree. The Greeks in the height of their glory could not find the cardinal points astronomically within eight degrees. But the builders of the Great Pyramid, out in the Lybian desert, with no guide or landmark but the naked stars, were able to orient their structure so exactly that the science of the wisest Athenian sages, eighteen hundred years afterwards, was seventy times, and the observatory of Uranibourg nearly four times, further out of the way than it is.One of the most curious and important problems of astronomy is the sun distance, atwhich men have labored so long and so earnestly without being able to solve it closer than within a limit of error embracing a million and a half of miles. That distance, however, is emphatically and definitely pronounced in the Great Pyramid, by its 10 and 9 of practical erection, as the even 10 times its own height, which is about the mean between the highest and lowest figures which the most recent observations have set down as the best results science has reached on this point.
THE CENTRE OF THE UNIVERSE
Science has at last discovered that the sun is not a dead centre, with planets and comets wheeling about it but itself stationary. It is now ascertained that the sun also is in motion, carrying with it its splendid retinue of comets, planets, its satellites and theirs, around some other and vastly mightier centre. Astronomers are not yet fully agreed as to what or where that centre is. Some, however, believe that they have found the direction of it to be the Pleiades, and particularly Alcyone, the central one of the renowned Pleiades stars. To the distinguished German astronomer, Prof. J. H. Maedler, belongs the honor of having made this discovery. Alcyone, then, as far as science has been able to perceive, would seem to be "the midnight throne" in which the whole system of gravitation has its central seat, and from which the Almighty governs His universe. And here is the wonderful corresponding fact, that at the date of the Great Pyramid's completion, at midnight of the autumnal equinox, and hence the true beginning of the year as still preserved in the traditions of many nations, the Pleiades were distributed over the meridian of this pyramid, with Alcyone (η Tauri) precisely on the line.
Here, then, is a pointing of the highest and sublimest character that mere human science has ever been able so much as to hint, and which would seem to breathe an unsuspected and mighty meaning into that speech of God to Job when He demanded, "Cant thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades?"