Concurrently with the publication of this journal the world's foremost king will be crowned. King Edward VII., the last of a long monarchical line, will ascend the throne of his fathers, and will receive upon his head the supreme diadem of the earth.
The ceremony will be attended with a splendor and magnificence such as the historic world has never witnessed. Before it will pale the regal splendor of the Pharaohs and the imperial grandeur of the Caesars. The concentrated wealth of the world will be lavished upon it, and one-fourth of mankind will do homage to the king of many nations.
Very ancient is the institution of kingship, and the scepter is not swayed in vain when the king rules his people with wisdom, or, knowing his own frailty, he gathers around him (as was the custom of the monarchs of old) wise and good men, and allows himself to be influenced by their counsel.
Reflecting upon the present time, and upon the greatness and importance of the historic event which is now taking place, we are carried back in spirit to the many dynasties and monarchical lines which have successively flourished and faded upon the earth, and to the unnumbered kings and imperators and rulers who have lived out their little fleeting day of earthly glory. China, ancient and mysterious, whose civilization was great, and whose learning was profound long before the dawn of living history; whose ancient kings are traditionally said to have been gods, and to have descended from Heaven (a tradition suggestively significant of a once golden age, the traces of which are now scarcely recognizable upon the earth), she alone of all the nations of antiquity still retains unbroken her imperial descent. India, vast and sublime in thought as in her physical features, whose ancient monarchs witnessed the making of the immortal Vedas by mighty men and prophets whose names have long since disappeared, has forfeited, along with her ancient spiritual glory, the earthly glory of her regal seat. Conquered, subdued, her religion insulted and her temples desecrated, she lives to witness the fall and the passing away one after another of her successive conquerors; for in spite of all her degradation and defilement, she is still strong in her meekness, and has not altogether deserted the humility of her ancient Rishis. Her earthly glory has passed away. The dynasties of Egypt, where are they? Her Sphinx is voiceless, and her pyramids, half buried in the desert sand, tell but a fitful and broken story of all her buried greatness! Her mighty kings, lusting for bodily immortality, to what have their carefully embalmed bodies come?—dried carcasses exposed to the vulgar gaze! Once the "Land of Plenty," where now is all her opulence? The light of Heliopolis (the City of the Sun) has gone out in darkness, faded are all the splendors of Alexandria, and Thebes the magnificent is magnificent no more! The luxury of the Persian monarchs ate out the heart of their land. Where is thy pomp, O Nineveh? and Babylon, where is thy pride? Thy glory hath long since mingled with the dust! Jerusalem, city of blood and tears, of shattered hopes and prophet warnings, today thy kings are not, and thy grass-grown courts and palaces feel no more the holy tread of the sandaled feet of thy prophets! And Rome, once mistress of the world, the triumphs and the feasts of thy ambitious Caesars have passed away like the delirium of a fevered brain!
So fadeth every earthly glory; only its lesson lives. All earthly things are symbols. The crowning of an earthly monarch is symbolical of the crowning of the Heavenly King of Truth. Worldly kingship and glory speak to the meditative soul of the kingship and glory of the spiritual state. The diadem of the King of Truth is a righteous life, his scepter is the scepter of peace, and his throne is in the hearts of mankind. His glory is the glory of purity and meekness, which does not fade, and his power resides in blamelessness of heart, which never wanes, and cannot pass away. Blessed indeed and immortal shall be the king who (not called upon to bow to any earthly being) shall find in the inward and heavenly places the King of Righteousness, and shall bow his crowned head to Him. And the subject shall be equally blest who, whilst rejoicing in the crowning of his earthly monarch shall take part in doing homage (by thoughts and works of love) to the Heavenly King. In every heart there are two kings, but one is a usurper and tyrant; he is named self, and his thoughts and deeds are those of lust, hatred, passion, and strife; the other, the rightful monarch, is named Truth, and his thoughts and deeds are those of purity and love, meekness and peace. Brother, sister, to what secret monarch dost thou bow? What king hast thou crowned in thy heart? Well is it with thy soul if thou canst say: "bow down to the Monarch of Truth; in my inmost heart I have crowned the King of Peace."
whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
—St. Paul (Philippians 4:8)
More from James Allen
James Allen was a little-known philosophical writer and poet. He is best recognized for his book, As a Man Thinketh. Allen wrote about complex subjects such as faith, destiny, love, patience, and religion but had the unique ability of explaining these subjects clearly and in a way that is easy to understand. He often wrote about cause and effect, sowing and reaping, as well as overcoming sadness, sorrow, and grief. For more information on the life of James Allen, click here.