The Lord or the Devil
by G.J. Stewart
The 4.05pm express to Adelaide was about to start from the Melbourne platform. Many of the passengers had taken their seats, and their friends were standing on the platform giving last messages and bidding adieus, when two well-dressed young men, each with a cigar in his hand, stepped into a second-class compartment, with a view of travelling some distance up the line.
“This is not a smoking compartment,” was remarked by one who was already in it.
“What?” said the first of the two.
“All right, old man, we’ll put it out,” was the rejoinder.
Then, turning suddenly on his heel, before taking his seat, and pushing his companion before him towards the door by which they had entered, he said again, “Here! the Lord’s in this carriage; let’s go somewhere where the devil is.”
“I hope you’ll not eventually find your place where he is,” said the first speaker. “The Lord is ready to save you and to deliver you from that place.”
“We’ll find some place where the devil is,” said the young man, and they walked off to another compartment.
“The old tale of Christ or Barabbas,” remarked one of the bystanders on the platform.
Reader, it is the old tale of Christ or Barabbas, but in more modern language, and with the final issue of the choice more boldly before the consciousness; and yet it shows man’s deliberate choice of Barabbas rather than Christ. Yea, of the devil rather than the Lord.
“Not this man, but Barabbas,” was the cry nineteen centuries ago.
“Not the Lord, but the devil,” is the deliberate choice of some of the men of this boasted nineteenth century.
Jesus was not then officially made Lord and Christ. He had not then accomplished redemption’s work. Now, He has most blessedly accomplished it, having died for sinners, His enemies, those who expressed their hatred of Him in the cry, “Away with Him.” He has died beneath the wrath of God against sin, and rising triumphantly from the grave, God has given Him an immediate answer to His work, and exalted Him to His own right hand, making Him, there, both Lord and Christ, a Prince and a Saviour.
And this truth is preached throughout Christendom today. But the more truth is made known, and blessed too to believers, the more boldly does the human heart blasphemously express itself against all truth, and against God and Christ as the source and sum of it.
What is your choice, my reader?
Do you choose the devil rather than the Lord?
Perhaps you would shrink from saying so, and yet the fact may exist as distinctly as in the case above. We do not always like to put our case into plain language, and are often shocked at hearing from another what, if calmly and rightly considered, does but after all describe our own condition.
The animosity of the heart of the young man cited above was brought out by a simple remark about an acknowledged evanescent pleasure, which at the same time inflicted pain and annoyance upon others; but rather than forego this for but a short time, he would go to the devil to enjoy it. And all the while the blessed Christ of God stands with outstretched arms, and voice of tender entreaty, inviting all who feel the heavy yoke of Satan’s bondage to come to Him and obtain the rest they need.
Reader, will you not come?
Come now; for now He invites you.
Do not choose Barabbas! Do not choose the Devil!! Do not choose Hell!!!
Do not put away the truth from you, and judge yourself unworthy of Eternal Life; lest He who now entreats you say, “Lo, we turn to others,” and you be left alone. There is no more awful word pronounced by the Lord than “Let him alone!”
One can but hope that even he who forms the subject of this paper may be led to come to Christ the Lord, for He has said, “I will in no wise cast out.”
The Gospel Messenger 1900, p. 26