Napoleon Sermon Illustrations

Napoleon Sermon Illustrations

On the banks of the Seine, in the very heart of Paris, beneath a gilded dome rest the ashes of the restless Napoleon. Old banners, yellow with age, grimy with the smoke of battle, and rent with shot and shell, stand like sentinels about the tomb of him whose conquests they proclaimed. The names of his battles are cut in the marble walls which surround the sarcophagus—Marengo, Austerlitz, the Pyramids, Lodi, Jena. Men from all nations come and go and look with awe upon the box of stone which contains the dust of him whose armies overran the world. Through heavy windows of yellow glass the sunlight streams in upon the silent chamber as if to represent the effulgence of immortal fame.

But there is a light that never shines there, a light that never shone in the face of him whose dust reposes there. You look down upon him and think of the only woman who loved him and sacrificed to his ambitions; you think of the company of his admirers and flatterers and satelites, but not of his friends.

You think of him standing on his lone rock in the waters of the south Atlantic and wondering if anyone in die world loves him. You think of the trail of blood and bones which marked his advance and retreat over Europe, Africa, and Asia. The light of power, the light of military genius, the light of adulation; but not a ray of that only light which, when all other lights have gone out, abides to cheer and bless. No light of the Lamb, no light of self-sacrificing love, shines over that marvelous tomb.


Napoleon was himself a prophet of the passing away of his own empire and of the perpetual reign of Christ. Standing on his rock prison in the Atlantic, and contemplating his approaching end, Napoleon thus soliloquized:

"I die before my time. My body will be given back to the earth to be done with as men please and to become the food of worms. Such will be the fate of him who has been called the Great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep misery and the external Kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved and adored, and is extending over the whole earth!"

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