Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
Napoleon I.
  All systems of morality are fine. The Gospel alone has exhibited a complete assemblage of the principles of morality, divested of all absurdity. It is not composed, like your creed, of a few commonplace sentences put into bad verse. Do you wish to see that which is really sublime? Repeat the Lord’s Prayer.
Napoleon I.    
  Mankind are in the end always governed by superiority of intellectual qualities, and none are more sensible of this than the military profession. When, on my return from Italy, I assumed the dress of the Institute, and associated with men of science, I knew what I was doing; I was sure of not being misunderstood by the lowest drummer in the army.
Napoleon I.    
  Are you a predestinarian? asked O’Meara of Napoleon I. “As much so as the Turks are. I have been always so. When destiny wills, it must be obeyed.”
Napoleon I.    
  Of all the liberal arts, music has the greatest influence over the passions, and is that to which the legislator ought to give the greatest encouragement. A well-composed song strikes and softens the mind, and produces a greater effect than a moral work, which convinces our reason, but does not warm our feelings, nor effect the slightest alteration in our habits.
Napoleon I., at St. Helena.    
  Do you know what is more hard to bear than the reverses of fortune? It is the baseness, the hideous ingratitude, of man. I turn my head in disgust from their cowardice and selfishness. I hold life in horror: death is repose,—repose at last. What I have suffered for the last twenty days cannot be comprehended.
Napoleon I., in 1814: Recollections of Caulaincourt.    
  As to moral courage, I have very rarely met with the two o’clock in the morning courage. I mean, unprepared courage, that which is necessary on an unexpected occasion, and which, in spite of the most unforeseen events, leaves full freedom of judgment and decision.
Napoleon I.: Las Cases, vol. i. part ii.    
  The fate of a battle is the result of a moment,—of a thought: the hostile forces advance with various combinations, they attack each other and fight for a certain time; the critical moment arrives, a mental flash decides, and the least reserve accomplishes the object.
Napoleon I.: Las Cases, vol. i. Pt. II.    
  Tragedy fires the soul, elevates the heart, and is calculated to generate heroes. Considered under this point of view, perhaps France owes to Corneille a part of her great actions; and, gentlemen, had he lived in my time I would have made him a prince.
Napoleon I.: Las Cases, vol. i., Part II.    
  Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy: He asks that for 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 towards Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative power. 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 it is which strikes me most. I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.
Napoleon I.: Liddon’s Bampton Lectures, 1866.    
  Alexander, Cæsar, Charlemagne, and I myself, have founded great empires: but upon what do these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus, alone, founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions would 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 I Jesus Christ was more than man.
Napoleon I.: Liddon’s Bampton Lectures, 1866.    
  Can a man of sound sense listen for one moment to such a doctrine? Either predestination admits the existence of free will, or it rejects it. If it admits it, what kind of predetermined result can that be which a simple determination, a stop, a word, may alter or modify, ad infinitum? If predestination, on the contrary, rejects the existence of free will, it is quite another question: in that case a child need only be thrown into its cradle as soon as it is born; there is no necessity for bestowing the least care upon it: for if it be irrevocably determined that it is to live, it will grow though no food should be given to it. You see that such a doctrine cannot be maintained; predestination is a word without meaning. The Turks themselves, the patrons of predestination, are not convinced of the doctrine, or medicine would not exist in Turkey; and a man residing in a third floor would not take the trouble to go down by the longer way of the stairs; he would immediately throw himself out of the window: you see to what a string of absurdities that will lead.
Napoleon I.: Life, etc., by Las Cases, vol. iii. pt. ii. 260.    
  Religion is, in fact, the dominion of the soul—it is the hope, the anchor of safety, the deliverance from evil. What a service has Christianity rendered to humanity! what a power would it still have, did its ministers comprehend their mission!
Napoleon I.: Montholon’s Captivity of Napoleon, vol. i. ch. x.    
  The only true conquests—those which awaken no regret—are those obtained over ignorance. The most honourable, as the most useful, pursuit of nations is that which contributes to the extension of human intellect. The real greatness of the French Republic ought henceforth to consist in the acquisition of the whole sum of human knowledge, and in not allowing a single new idea to exist which does not owe its birth to their exertions.
Napoleon I.: To the French Institute.    

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