Page images
PDF
EPUB

upon it for so many centuries, entered into the enjoyment of that liberty wherewith Christ makes his people free. God grant that our country may never be entangled with a second yoke of bondage !

Whilst these results, which Charlemagne did not contemplate, and which he was the unconscious instrument in the hands of God of effecting, have remained to exercise a permanent influence upon Europe, that universal empire which he was ambitious to establish, perished with him. His history, in this respect, is that of all conquerors who have cherished the same design. It is not granted to mortal man to establish an universal monarchy. After an interval of a thousand years, on the same scene, Napoleon, in his towering ambition, aspired to this height. He aimed to become the Charlemagne of the nineteenth century, and to reconstruct the empire which had crumbled to pieces ten centuries before. How miserably he failed is fresh in the memories of all. From all his victories, which threatened to subdue the whole earth, he has only “Left a name, at which the world

grew pale, To point a moral or adorn a tale. There can be but one universal monarchy. To the establishment of it all the vicissitudes of the world's history, the rise and fall of nations, the ambition of conquerors, the schemes of statesmen, are proving subservient. Already are the foundations of this empire laid—not in might but in weakness—by the shame, humiliation

192

LIFE AND TIMES OF CHARLEMAGNE.

and death of its King—this humiliation shall prove the glory of all his subjects—his poverty, their riches-his death, their life. He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet — till every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord. His empire is to be as lasting as it is universal ; “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom ;" they shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations." It is a " kingdom which cannot be moved," though heaven and earth be shaken.” He shall rule his enemies “ with a rod of iron;" and “ dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel,” yet "in his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth."

“ Come forth out of thy royal chambers, O Prince of all the kings of the earth! put on the visible robes of thy imperial Majesty, take up that unlimited sceptre which thy Alinighty Father hath bequeathed thee; for now the voice of thy bride calls thee, and all creation sighs to be renewed.”

BLACKBURN AND BURT, PRINTERS, 90), HOLBORN HILL.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic]
« PreviousContinue »