Les correspondances de M. Et ces hommes voudraient recommencer? Bonaparte ne pensa point p. Quoi qu'il en soit, M. Son importance p. Elle honore la fin de sa vie publique.
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The most famous men created arms, laws and empires only. They founded, if anything at all, no more than material powers, which often crumbled away before their eyes. This man moved not only armies, legislations, empires, peoples and dynasties, but millions of men in one-third of the then-inhabited world; and more than that he moved the altars, the gods, the religions, the ideas, the beliefs and souls His forbearance in victory, his ambition which was entirely devoted to one idea and in no manner striving for an empire, his endless prayers, his mystic conversations with God, his death and his triumph after death-all these attest not to an imposture, but to a firm conviction, which gave him the power to restore a dogma.
This dogma was two fold: the unity of God and the immateriality of God; the former telling what God is, the latter telling what God is not; the one overthrowing false gods with the sword, the other starting an idea with the words. Philosopher, orator, apostle, legislator, warrior, conqueror of ideas, restorer of rational beliefs, of a cult without images; the founder of twenty terrestrial empires and of one spiritual empire, that is Muhammad.
As regards all standards by which human greatness may be measured, we may well ask, is there any man greater than he?
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Vie Mahomet by Alphonse Lamartine
Gibbon presents him as a charismatic leader, wise ruler, loved and respected by his followers. The prophet of Mecca rejected the worship of idols and men, of stars and planets, on the rational principle that whatever rises must set, that whatever is born must die, that whatever is corruptible must decay and perish. In the Author of the universe, his rational enthusiasm confessed and adored an infinite and eternal being, without form or place, without issue or similitude, present to our most secret thoughts, existing by the necessity of his own nature, and deriving from himself all moral and intellectual perfection. These sublime truths, thus announced in the language of the prophet, are firmly held by his disciples, and defined with metaphysical precision by the interpreters of the Koran. But clearly this praise of Muhammad and of Islam also has a polemical edge: it is a barely-veiled critique of 18th-century Christianity in Europe, and particular in England.
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