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THE LATE EMPEROR ALEXANDER, OF RUSSIA. About thirty years ago Monsieur Empeytaz, of Geneva, who passed many years in the household of Madame de Krudener, published a singular and most interesting work, with the view of illustrating the religious character of one whose name is written in some of the most esciting chapters of European history. The details throw much light on the Emperor's conduct. It would appear, that M. Empeytaz had at first no intention of publishing them; but, having communicated them in manuscript to an English clergyman who had repeatedly conversed with the Emperor, and to whom that monarch had given an account of his conversion coinciding in every essential particular with that which they contain, he was induced to commit them to the press.
In the earlier portion of his life Alexander was a man of the world. According to bis own confession, however, he found no real satisfaction in all the luxuries which it was so easy for him to procure. Conscience spoke more loudly than the world. He was well convinced that an hour would arrive when he should have to render an account of his life and actions. He trembled at the thought of appearing before-bis Judge, and resolved, therefore, to alter his life; but these resolutions usually subsided as quickly as they were formed. Alexander had heard of the piety of Heinrich Jung-Stilling, Aulic Councillor to the Grand Duke of Baden ; and he hoped that this venerable man would be able to put him in the right way to tranquillize bis conscience. For that purpose he saw him in 1812. Stilling, however, had not at that period very clear views of the Gospel himself ; 80 that the interview was in no way conducive to the end proposed by Alexander, who became only the more anxious. Meanwhile he strove with great assiduity to subdue his own passions, and daily read the Bible, wbich he always carried about with him. In 1813 he left St. Petersburg, to join the army. A lady of the court, to whom his sentiments were known, gave him, at his departure from Riga, a copy of Psalm xci., and begged of him to read it often. The Emperor took the paper hastily, put it into his pocket, pursued his journey, And, as he travelled three successive days without undressing, quite forgot the incident. On the frontier, however, he attended a sermon on Psalm xci. 13: “Thou shalt tread upou the lion and adder ; the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.” This sermon, which seemed to have in it something prophetic, excited his
VOL. IX.-FIFTH SERIES.
attention ; and, in looking over his papers that same evening, he found the lady's copy of Psalm xci. He read it with emotion, and considered the impressive coincidence as urging him to aspire more zealously after true religion. Some time afterwards he read a letter which the Baroness Krudeper had written to Mademoiselle Sturdza, and was very deeply affected. It treated of the Divine mercy revealed through the Gospel.
The campaign of 1815 commenced. On Sunday, the 4th of Jane, Alexander arrived at Heilbronn, on his way to the head-quarters at Heidelberg. As he approached the former place, the truths contained in the Baroness's letter recurred to his mind, and he felt desirous of an interview with the writer. He did not know that for the last three months she had been residing close to Heilbronn, and had gone thither for the purpose of meeting the Emperor, and opening her mind to him on the subject of his own soul. On bis arrival, she entered the antechamber, and delivered a letter to Prince Wolkonski, in which she solicited an audience. As soon as the Emperor heard ber name, he exclaimed, “Where is she? Let her come in immediately.” She dealt very faithfully with him. “Sire," said she, "you have not yet approached God as a criminal imploring mercy. You have not yet cried from the bottom of your heart, like the pablican, 'God be merciful to me a sinner!' You are still involved in sin; for you have not yet humbled yourself.” Alexander was much agitated. “Pardon me, Sire,” continued his visiter, "and believe what I have thus spoken to you in sincerity of heart. I have told you such truths as no one ever ventured to tell you, and iu doing 80 have only performed a sacred duty." “All that you have said," replied the Emperor, “is justified by my own feelings.”
On bis arrival at bead-quarters, be invited the Baroness to come to Heidelberg, as he desired to converse further with her on the subject of his soul's salvation. “I live,” he wrote, “in a small house outside the town. I have preferred it, because I found my bannera cross-in the garden." She complied with the invitation, and took up her abode, with her household, in a cottage on the left bank of the Neckar, about half a mile from Alexander's residence. To this humble dwelling (says M. Empeytaz) the Emperor repaired whenever he could withdraw from his multifarious occupations; and in reading the Scriptures, and conversing on the subject of salvation, passed several hours almost every evening. These meetings continued during the whole time of his stay at Heidelberg. He often proposed the passages of Scripture that formed the subjects of our conversation, and his own part in their discussion proved his knowledge and sincerity.
When I was first introduced to him, (the writer goes on to say,) he spoke with profound sorrow of his own early life : whereupon I took the liberty to ask, “Sire, have you now the peace of God ?” He paused for a moment, and seemed as if putting the question to himself. All at once, he raised a cheerful and serene look toward heaven, and in a firm tone replied, "I am happy. I know that the
word of God says, whosoever believes in the Son of God, the Saviour, passes from death to life, without judgment. I believe-yes, I firmly believe. John says, “He who believes in the Son hath eternal life.""
Again : One evening he told us, that he had long been inspired with a love for reading the Bible; and that, no matter what his occupations might be, he made a point of reading three chapters each day,—one in the Prophets, one in the Gospels, and one in the Epistles; that even in the field, when the cannon thundered round his tent, he was able to enjoy his private devotions; and that in every situation of life he was favoured with peace and tranquillity. Speaking of the efficacy of prayer, he said, “I can assure you that I have often been in critical situations,” (situations scabreuses were his very words,) " but have always got out of them with the aid of prayer. And when I have my cabinet ministers with me, I do not dispute with them in order to bring them over to my views of what is right, but pray in silence."
On another occasion he said, “Pray to God that He will grant me strength to sacrifice everything, to be a follower of the Gospel, and to confess this before the whole world.” At his request we all prayed that God would bestow this grace upon the Emperor. He rose from his knees, with tears in his eyes, his countenance beaming with joy ; and, taking me by the hand, said, “How strongly do I feel the brotherly love in which the disciples of Christ are bound together!Yes, your prayer is heard: it will be given to me from above publicly to confess my Saviour.”
In the month of June, while he was at Heidelberg, he handed me the Bible, and asked me to read Psalm xxxv. When I came to the passage, “ They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth : I humbled my soul with fasting ....... I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother,” &c.,-he said, “I pray day and night for my enemies; and I feel that I can love them, as the Gospel enjoins us to do.” At the words, “Awake to my judgment, even anto my cause, my God and my Lord,” he added, « God will do this; of that I am firmly convinced. The cause for wbich we are fighting is His calise : for we have no other object than the happiness of nations. May God but grant me the grace to be able to procure peace for Europe, and gladly will I give up my life for it!”
Two days afterwards, news arrived of the advantages gained by the French over the allied armies. All those about the Emperor were filled with alarm, almost with despondency; but he himself relied with unshaken confidence on the Divine protection, and made his supplication for strength and counsel. After a fervent prayer, he took up the Bible, opened it at Psalm xxxvii., and read ; and then, hastening to his allies, exhorted them to be of good cheer, and march against the enemy.
When I entered the room on the day that intelligence of the victory of the allied armies was received, he came to meet me, took my hand, and said, "My good friend, to-day we must thank God for His
mercies and His protection.” And lie fell upon his knees, and shed tears of gratitude to his Protector and Deliverer. Then, rising from prayer, he said, “If all nations were but disposed to comprehend the ways of Providence, and obey the Gospel, how happy they might be!" Soon afterwards he said, “How happy it would make me, if my brother Constantine were converted! I bear him in my heart, and will never cease to pray that his eyes may be opened.”
When Alexander departed for France, he requested us to follow him, and gave us passports for the purpose. He left Heidelberg on the 25th of June, having taken leave of us on the preceding day. We remained some time longer in the Grand Duchy of Baden, waiting till the roads should be clear; and could not set out before the 8th of July. We pursued an opposite direction to the road travelled by the couriers, in order to avoid the places that were still occupied by Napoleon. Our journey was painful and fatiguing, through desolated provinces and burnt villages. At length, on the 14th of July, we arrived in Paris. Next morning the Barouess hasteņed to pay her respects to the Emperor. He begged her to take lodgings near him : “ because," said he, “ I wish to continue here, in the midst of the world, the meetings and conversations which we held at Heidelberg." Alexander occupied a house in the Elysée Bourbon, the gardens of which join the Champs Elysées. Agreeably to the Emperor's desire, the Baroness took lodgings at the Hôtel Montchenue, the gardens of which are also contiguous to that promenade. And while the Emperor was in Paris, he went every day through the Champs Elysées to visit the Baroness. His situation was extremely delicate, for all eyes were fixed upon him, and all his steps were watched. As he had so long associated with the unbelievers, who always boasted of having him as their own, be was well aware that he should incur their censure and ridicule the moment he forsook their society; but this could not shake his resolution. The Gospel had penetrated his heart. He felt that it behoved him openly to confess his principles, and that this could not be done in a more solemn manner than by acknowledging his accession to Christianity in the midst of an irreligious capital. He was, nevertheless, not over-confident of his own strength ; for he knew his frailty. Thus he said to us, “ Pray for me, not that the evil which man can do to me may be averted ;—that I am not afraid of, for I am in the hands of God ;-but rather pray to the Almighty to strengthen me against the pernicious influence of my residence in Paris. I feel how needful it is for me to shun the world, and there. fore I desired to have a sequestered residence. Quiet prevails in my house: I bear and see nothing that can divert me from my daties. I read the word of God; I converse with Him iu prayer ; and I see His gracious and merciful protection in all that befalls me, and in all that I avoid through His means."
At his second entry into Paris, he was more particularly sensible of this protection, because little blood was shed on that occasion. He declined the guard which other monarchs had at their residences. “Humanly speaking,” said he to the Baroness, " I might have hoped