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The Last Trump Post by :billcarey Category :Essays Author :Heywood Broun Date :November 2011 Read :2044

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The Last Trump

"Ours is an easy-going and optimistic age," writes John Roach Straton in one of his "messages and wrath and judgment," which are combined in a volume called The Menace of Immorality. "We do not like to be disturbed with unpleasant thoughts," continues the genial doctor, "and yet, if we are wise men and women, we will give due consideration to these things, in the light of the tremendous times in which we live. There never has been such a day as this before in the world's history. This is a time already of judgment upon a wicked world. The whole world is now standing in the shadow of anarchy and starvation. Unless we repent and turn to God, we will have to pay the price of our folly and sins. And New York, let us understand, is no exception to these great truths of God. Though she exalt herself to the very heavens, she shall be laid low, unless she repents and turns from her wicked ways. We have become so vain to-day over scientific achievements and education and all that, that we have tended to condescend even to God. We tend to look down upon Him from our lordly human heights. But what folly it is! He who sitteth in the heavens shall laugh! May He not laugh at us! And let us well know that God's arm is not shortened and that He has the means, even of temporal judgment, in His almighty hands. Have you ever thought of what a good, husky tidal wave would do to 'Little Old New York,' as we call her? Have you ever imagined the Woolworth skyscraper butting headlong into the Equitable Building, through such an earthquake as that which laid San Francisco's proud beauty in the dust? Have you ever imagined the Metropolitan Tower crashing over on Madison Square Garden sometime, when there were tens of thousands of people in there at some worldly, godless celebration of the Lord's Day? Ah, yes, don't worry about God's not having the means for judgment, even in this world!"

As a matter of fact, that is a subject concerning which we never have worried. There isn't a doubt in our mind that the earthquake, or the tidal wave or any of the other dooms so gleefully mentioned by Dr. Straton are well within the power of the Creator. Yet it seems to us that it would hardly be to the Creator's credit if he should turn a tidal wave upon New York because Dr. Straton has revealed the fact, that in some dance halls in New York, young men and women dance cheek to cheek. It is, of course, a terrible thing that there are still restaurants in New York where one may procure Scotch highballs, but we do not think the condition justifies an earthquake. It may be, as Dr. Straton says, that God will do one of these things and then laugh at us, but if such is the case we must say that we will not have much respect for the cosmic sense of humor. We want a God who is a good deal more like God and somewhat less like Dr. John Roach Straton.

When a child grows cross and tired he will trample every card house you build for him and toss his toys about and knock over his blocks, but at such times H. 3rd has never seemed divine to us. We have rather laid such tantrums to the original Adam who is in us all. As a matter of fact, we don't believe that Dr. Straton himself would have as good a time at any of his predicted catastrophes as he imagines. To be sure, it is pleasant to imagine oneself sitting on top of a tidal wave and thumbing a nose at the struggling sinners who are being engulfed. But has Dr. Straton ever stopped to consider what a dreary and dull life he would lead if there were nothing for him to thunder against? He must know by now what a delightful inspiration there is in the daily shock. Though he may not believe it, he will do well to mark our words that he will miss the dancing and the immoral gowns and the furtive highballs when all these things are gone. He will find that there is a great deal more fun in preaching about hell than about heaven.

We are not even sure that, in a thoroughgoing civic catastrophe, Dr. Straton would escape. When Sodom and Gomorrah fell Lot was allowed to escape. And so it may be with Dr. Straton. That is not the danger. We have a very definite foreboding that when he is well out of the doomed city and the destruction has begun, Dr. Straton will not be able to resist the temptation to look back even though he turn to salt. If we understand the man, he will not be able to depart without ascertaining whether his name has been mentioned in the special five-star annihilation extras as having foretold the disaster.

(The end)
Heywood Broun's essay: Last Trump

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