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The Penalty of Hate

The Penalty of Hate

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Published by glennpease
BY HUGH BLACK


Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew
sitting at the king s gate. ESTHER v. 13.
BY HUGH BLACK


Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew
sitting at the king s gate. ESTHER v. 13.

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Published by: glennpease on May 10, 2014
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THE PEALTY OF HATE BY HUGH BLACK Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Mordecai the Jew sitting at the king s gate. ESTHER v. 13. THERE are spots in the sun ; and if you think you see the spots, you will come to see nothing but the spots when you look. There is some drawback in the fairest prospect, and when the eye once catches it there is no getting rid of it we come back to it again and again to be irritated afresh. There is some discord in the harmony, and we harp on it till the whole music is spoiled to us. A blot on the page expands till there seems no inch that is free of it. There is something to haggle about in the best bargain, something that would just make it perfect if only that could have been thrown in. How hard it is to make a man permanently happy ! He can often be made happy easily enough, if only he would remain happy. Can you make a man happy by giving him things, the things he wants and loves ? I suppose you can, at least up to a point. The grati- 101 102 EDIBURGH SERMOS fication of desire, of taste, of ambition would bring sense of satisfaction which we would call happiness. But so contrary is human nature, there is always something else needed for the perfect state, some thing that would make the cup run over, a further step in the ladder of promotion, one other dignity, an
 
extra possession or pleasure. There is a black spot in the sunshine. The story of Hainan was one of immense and rapid success. He had climbed high, till he was the greatest man in the Persian Empire next to the king. Every day brought him some new token of his power ; every day gave him a new evidence of royal favour. It was the breath of his nostrils. He lived on it, and he had plenty to live on. He could boast of how he had been advanced above all the princes and servants of the king. But his pride had been wounded by the neglect of a certain Jew named Mordecai to bow before him and do him reverence. He could easily have crushed the insolent Jew with one word, but the insult had so mortified his pride that he could not be content with merely punishing the culprit. The royal favourite aimed at a royal revenge. He would make the whole race, to which this impudent dog Mordecai belonged, suffer for it. Through his court influence he laid the train for this THE PEALTY OF HATE 103 revenge. He had only to wait a few more days for it, and meanwhile he was having new favours showered upon him, but everything was poisoned to him by the sight of Mordecai unhanged. He could only appease his fretful irritation and revenge ful pride by superintending the erection of a high gallows. Mordecai was the black spot in his sun shine. He had had one other signal token of his great ness. He, and he alone of all men, had been in vited with the king to Queen Esther s banquet ; and how his courtier s eyes gleamed. He came home with singing heart and dancing feet from
 
the palace to tell the great news to his friends ; but there at the gate of the palace was Mordecai and the black bile again clouded his sight. It was not only when he came out of the palace and saw the patient Jew sitting at the gate that Ham an choked with anger and bitter feeling. It went home with him and stayed with him. It was a death s head at the very feast when pride was most gratified. Mordecai sat on him like the old man of the sea, and wriggle as he might he could not free him self. The vision of the hated Jew was not only at the palace gate, but in his very heart. It was like a mote in the eye; and look where he would 104 EDIBURGH SERMOS the mote was there. Mordecai blotted out the sun from the heavens to Haman. He gathered his wife and his friends together to rejoice with him in his joy, and told them of the glory of his riches, of his children, and all the things wherein the king had promoted him and how he had advanced him above the princes. And the best was yet to come, Yea Esther the queen did let no man come in with the king unto the banquet that she had prepared but myself; and to-morrow am I invited unto her also with the king. Could not such a man be happy with such a fortune ? There is a dead fly in the sweet oint ment. All the splendour of court "favour, the sunshine of the king s smile which does so much for courtiers, could not take away the sting of the tacit insult that Mordecai had not bowed to the great man and done him reverence. It took all the sap out of his pleasure, a gnat s bite that chased away all his comfort. He had more than enough to make him happy according to his own

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