Outward Prosperity and an Evil Heart
Esther 5:13
Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.

Haman's misery sprung from his most prominent vice. The avenger did not so much track his path, like an independent retributive messenger, as that it was secreted in his very sin. It is often so in providence. God does not need to stretch forth His hand against the sinner. It is enough that He allows the working of his sin to overtake him. Had there been no pride in Haman's heart he could never have been subjected to this soul-torture because of a harmless affront by an inferior in rank; but forasmuch as he had nursed and cherished his pride to an ungovernable extent, the pain and anguish which he had to endure when it was thwarted and injured was crucifying to all his prosperity and joy. He became his own tormentor. The law is universal, giving to all sin its entail of evil. The sinner may suppose that his sin is not known, and, because not known, that it will escape punishment; but the sin will itself find out the man, and the punishment will grow out of it as a poisonous plant from a hidden seed. Sceptics may theoretically deny the Divine govern. ment, but practically it is beyond dispute. By an inexorable law "evil pursueth sinners, but to the righteous good shall be repaid." Intimately connected with this thought there is another of equal importance — that we are not in a position to judge of the relative amount of happiness or unhappiness in the lot of man upon the earth. Surveyed from without there might not appear to be a more enviable man than Haman. If earthly good could make happiness there was no element awanting in his case. There was ostensibly no comparison between his lot and that of some contented poor man, who, besides meanness and obscurity, has to bear the burden of bodily suffering. Nevertheless you might never get from the poor sufferer under the influence of religion the same confession of wasted happiness and blighted peace that we have from this lordly great man in the high day of his abounding prosperity. Let the outward condition be what it may, his spirit — the real man — rises superior so it, and is not touched by it. But in the other case it was the spirit which was diseased, and which, like the scorpion when surrounded by fire, turned its sting in upon itself. So that, before we could estimate relative individual happiness or unhappiness, we would require to go below the surface of things and look upon the heart. Moreover, we cannot fail to notice that outward prosperity in an unsanctified heart renders the man more susceptible to trifling annoyances. He becomes so accustomed to what is highly pleasing that a very small thing occasions great uneasiness. While he looks at his good things through the large end of the telescope, he beholds what is troublesome and vexatious through the small. The world's broad way is crowded with eager seekers after happiness. "It is here," cries one, and there is a rush in that direction, only to be followed by disappointed looks and longing hearts. "It is there," cries another, and there is anxious toiling and plodding for its attainment; but the cisterns are found at last to he broken and empty. In the midst of this thirsting, moiling, weary world, Jesus has caused His voice to be heard, pleading and saying: "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink."

(T. McEwan.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate.

WEB: Yet all this avails me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king's gate."

On the Disorders of the Passions
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