Napoleon May Have Been A Better Evangelist Than Emperor

The following is a response from Napoleon Bonaparte to Count Montholon on the question, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?”.

Source:  Quoted in Henry Parry Liddon, Liddon’s Bamptom Lectures 1866 (London: Rivingtons, 1869), 148.

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 on 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 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 it 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 lighted 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 Hid 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 the 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 is it which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Christ.


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