Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled (Matthew 5:6).
The end which all healthy religious striving proposes to itself, is to attain this righteousness in fellowship with God; and it can be perfectly realized only when the will is entirely united with God. This condition of perfect oneness of will with God is essential to full self-contentment, that is, blessedness. Therefore, when this righteousness is attained, then, and not till then, will perfect blessedness enter.
Because man had perfect righteousness before the fall, he enjoyed perfect blessedness. If you and I shall, by divine grace, attain to blessedness hereafter, it will be because God has restored us to righteousness. As it was in the first paradise, so must it be in the second—righteousness is essential to the blessedness of man. We cannot be truly happy and live in sin. Holiness is the natural element of blessedness; and it can no more live out of that element than a fish could live in the fire. The happiness of man must come through his righteousness: his being right with God, with man, with himself—indeed, his being right all round.
Hunger and thirst are appetites that return frequently, and call for fresh satisfactions; so these holy desires rest not in anything attained, but are carried out toward renewed pardons, and daily fresh supplies of grace. The quickened soul calls for constant meals of righteousness, grace to do the work of every day in its day, as duly as the living body calls for food.
Hunger and thirst are the strongest of all our bodily appetites. In like manner this hunger in the soul, this thirst after the image of God, is the strongest of all our spiritual appetites, ...1
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