And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. (Revelation 20:12)
“The dead, small and great,” Saint John says that he saw standing before God. In that great judgment day, another truth is that the difference of sizes among human lives, of which we make so much, passes away, and all human beings, in simple virtue of their human quality, are called to face the everlasting righteousness. The child and the greybeard, the scholar and the boor, however their lives may have been separated here, they come together there. It is upon the moral ground that the most separated souls must always meet. Upon the child and the philosopher alike rests the common obligation not to lie, but to tell the truth. The scholar and the plowboy both are bound to be pure and to be merciful. Differently as they may have to fulfill their duties, the duties are the same for both. Intellectual sympathies are limited. The more we study, the more we separate ourselves into groups with special interests. But moral sympathies are universal. The more we try to do right, the more we come into communion with all the others who are engaged in the same struggle all through the universe. Therefore it is that before the moral judgment seat of God all souls, the small and great, are met together.
All may be good – all may be bad; therefore, before the One whose nature is the decisive touchstone of goodness and badness in every nature which is laid upon it, all souls of all the generations of mankind may be assembled. Think what a truth that is. We try to find some meeting ground for all humanity, and what we find is always proving itself too narrow or too weak. The one only place where all can meet, and every soul claim its relationship with every other soul, is before the throne of God. The Father’s presence alone furnishes the meeting place for all the children, regardless of differences of age or wisdom. The grave and learned of this Earth shall come up there before God, and find, standing in God’s presence, that all which they have truly learned has not taken them out of the sympathy of the youngest and simplest of their Father’s children. On the other hand, the simple child, who has timidly gazed afar off upon the great minds of his race, and who comes to stand with them before God, will not be shut out from them. Even that child has a key which will unlock their doors and allow an entrance into their lives. Because they are all obeying the same God, that child also has some part in the eternal life of Abraham, and Moses, and Paul. Not directly, but through the God before whom both of them stand, the small and great come together. The humility of the highest and the self-respect of the lowest are both perfectly attained. The children, who have not been able to understand or hold communion with each other directly, meet perfectly together in the Father’s house, and the dead, small and great, stand in complete sympathy and oneness before God.