Napoleon and Christ on the Island of St. Helena

On the island of St. Helena, Napoleon began to reflect on his life and even began reading the Bible.

A few years before dying at the age of 52, Napoleon commented to General H.G. Bertrand, as recorded in "On St. Helena," 1816:

"The Gospel possesses a secret virtue, a mysterious efficacy, a warmth which penetrates and soothes the heart. One finds in meditating upon it that which one experiences in contemplating the heavens.

The Gospel is not a book; it is a living being, with an action, a power, which invades everything that opposes its extension. Behold it upon this table, this book surpassing all others (here the Emperor solemnly placed his hand upon it):

I never omit to read it, and every day with new pleasure. Nowhere is to be found such a series of beautiful ideas, and admirable moral maxims, which pass before us like the battalions of a celestial army…The soul can never go astray with this book for its guide…"

Napoleon continued:

"Everything in Christ astonishes me. His spirit overawes me, and His will confounds me. Between Him and whoever else in the world there is no possible term of comparison; He is truly a Being by Himself. His ideas and His sentiments, the truth which He announces, His manner of convincing, are not explained either by human organization or by the nature of things.

Truth should embrace the universe. Such is Christianity, the only religion which destroys sectional prejudices, the only one which proclaims the unity and the absolute brotherhood of the whole human family, the only one which is purely spiritual; in fine, the only one which assigns to all, without distinction, for a true country, the bosom of the Creator, God."

Napoleon concluded:

"Christ proved that He was the Son of the Eternal by His disregard of time. All His doctrines signify one only and the same thing-eternity. What a proof of the divinity of Christ! With an empire so absolute, he has but one single end – the spiritual melioration of individuals, the purity of the conscience, the union to that which is true, the holiness of the soul…

Not only is our mind absorbed, it is controlled; and the soul can never go astray with this book for its guide. Once master of our spirit, the faithful Gospel loves us. God even is our friend, our father, and truly our God. The mother has no greater care for the infant whom she nurses…"

Napoleon ended by telling General H.G. Bertrand:

"If you do not perceive that Jesus Christ is God, very well: then I did wrong to make you a general."

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