Saturday, 2 July 2011

Napoleon Bonaparte's Empire vs. Christ's:


At the end of his life, while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena, Napoleon Bonaparte may very well have had some conversion experience. The following quote is quite profound from a man who has left his mark on history:

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"Napoleon expressed the following thoughts while he was exiled on the rock of St. Helena. There, the conqueror of civilized Europe had time to reflect on the measure of his accomplishments. He called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, "Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?" The count declined to respond. Napoleon countered:

Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. . . . I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man; none else is like Him: Jesus Christ was more than a man. . . . I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me . . . but to do this is was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lightened up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. . . . Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man's creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Whatever else one may say in response, it is difficult to explain this away as mere eloquence. In fact, it was to counter mere eloquence and such artificial power that Napoleon said what he did. With unbelievable insight, he saw how Jesus Christ conquered. It was not by force, but by winning the heart."

---From Jesus Among Other Gods by Ravi Zacharias, 2000, W. Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee...quoting from Henry Parry Liddon, Liddon's Bampton Lectures 1866 (London: Rivingtons, 1869), 149-150.


God Bless, 

11 comments:

Joy said...

Hi Sarah!
That's an amazing post... thanks for posting it!
Love,
Joy.

Maddy said...

This is an amazing post, I agree! Napoleon certainly seemed to have some knowledge of Christ. He talks of the believer's "remarkable, supernatural love toward Him" as though he has personally experienced it! Surprising but encouraging. Thanks for sharing this, Sarah!
Love maddy

Sarah said...

Hi Maddy and Joy,
thanks for your comments. It was also surprising when I first read it. Mainline history does not always tell the whole story. I think it is because they either don't understand it or don't want to face or deal with it. But, as you say, it is encouraging. Nothing is impossible with God!

God Bless

Maddy said...

Yes, I think mainline history rarely tells the whole story! In fact, the history that schools do now can hardly be called 'history' :). They study random, unrelated events, and call that 'History' - when real history is His story! xo

Sarah said...

I agree with you on that, Maddy! I pray this would change for the better one day:)!

Maddy said...

Me too; and I'm so thankful to the Lord that we have access to Christian history. Even though we'll never cover all the history of the ages, at least we have the chance to glimpse the 'big picture' :)!

Sarah said...

Amen to that!

April said...

Napoleon has always been a favorite historical figure of mine. I was blessed by the quote you put here...and I had never thought of Jesus' Empire quite like that ever before!
Thank you, Sarah!

Sarah said...

Dear April,
Yes, Napoleon was a very amazing historical figure. I haven't done any deep studying into his life and history, yet...I will hopefully do so someday. However, he was never quite like Oliver Cromwell. Oliver Cromwell was a born again Christian from the beginning of his public career. His faith, in fact, was what inspired and drove him. However, it appears that Napoleon came to faith much later on at the end of his life. That no doubt creates a major difference. I hope to post something on this sometime:-D!

Yes, it is amazing the insight he had about what God's Kingdom is like.

Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts, April. I appreciate it.

Love in Him,
Sarah

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Hi Sarah, Mmm, think I may have had the idea the link was wrong when I said it other post and I was wrong about the link possibly! as I was in haste too- thanks for reply. :D
Re this post - I am not sure that this passage shows that Napoleon trusted in the LORD Jesus Christ a his saviour from his sins and had a personal relationship with Him as His own saviour.
The words and terms he uses are not altogether Biblically based - and as James 2:9 says: "the devils also believe and tremble"..so these devils know Who Christ is and fear His power - but is is not the faith bound fear of God we know as believers. I suspect it is the same with Napoleon.
To have some knowledge of Who Jesus was and His mark and power in History does not eternally prove where he stood, even the Jewish historian ,Josephus showed he knew and believed in this in his historical accounts at the time.

In the end the only One Who knows truly knows the human heart, is our God - but for my part I am not convinced by these words. If they showed more evidence that he had studied and understood the Word which tells of this glorious Lord and Saviour then I would consider it more likely. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God".

However I loved and greatly enjoyed reading it - very thought provoking and so good to think on these things, I really enjoyed it! thank you dear sister,
Love Shaz.xx

Sarah said...

Dear Shaz,
That's a good point. I fully agree with you that it is difficult to deduce from these words any certainty about whether he was really converted or not. Same as with Emperor Constantine, for example. They are profound words to be sure, but as you say, they don't tell anything about having saving faith in the blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. Some may acknowledge some of the truths of the Gospel and perhaps be really interested in it, but never reach out in saving faith for it.

Only God knows for sure. It is interesting, though, how his thoughts were going at that time.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Shaz. I'm certainly blessed with them.

Love in Him,
Sarah

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