Now the ground trembles with the approaching chariot. The great folding-doors of the Hall swing open. “Stand back!” cry the celestial ushers. “Stand back, and let the Judge of quick and dead pass through!” He takes the throne, and, looking over the throng of nations, He says: “Come to judgment, the last judgment, the only judgment!” By one flash from the throne all the history of each one flames forth to the vision of himself and all others. “Divide!” says the Judge to the assembly. “Divide!” echo the walls. “Divide!” cry the guards angelic.
And now the immortals separate, rushing this way and that, and after awhile there is a great aisle between them, and a great vacuum widening and widening, and the Judge, turning to the throng on one side, says: “He that is righteous, let him be righteous still, and he that is holy, let him be holy still;” and then, turning toward the throng on the opposite side, He says: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still, and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still;” and then, lifting one hand toward each group, He declares: “If the tree fall toward the south or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.” And then I hear something jar with a great sound. It is the closing of the Book of Judgment. The Judge ascends the stairs behind the throne. The hall of the last assize is cleared and shut. The high court of eternity is adjourned forever.
“In the same day shall
the Lord shave with a razor that is
hired, namely, by them beyond the river, by the King of
Assyria.”—Isaiah vii: 20.
The Bible is the boldest book ever written. There are no similitudes in Ossian or the Iliad or the Odyssey so daring. Its imagery sometimes seems on the verge of the reckless, but only seems so. The fact is that God would startle and arouse and propel men and nations. A tame and limping similitude would fail to accomplish the object. While there are times when He employs in the Bible the gentle dew and the morning cloud and the dove and the daybreak in the presentation of truth, we often find the iron chariot, the lightning, the earthquake, the spray, the sword, and, in my text, the razor.
This keen-bladed instrument has advanced in usefulness with the ages. In Bible times and lands the beard remained uncut save in the seasons of mourning and humiliation, but the razor was always a suggestive symbol. David says of Doeg, his antagonist: “Thy tongue is a sharp razor working deceitfully;” that is, it pretends to clear the face, but is really used for deadly incision. In this morning’s text the weapon of the toilet appears under the following circumstances: Judea needed to have some of its prosperities cut off, and God sends against it three Assyrian kings—first Sennacherib, then Esrahaddon, and afterward Nebuchadnezzar. Those three sharp