the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
Spiritual Treasury For The Children of God
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.- Matthew 5:6.
To thirst after happiness is natural. To seek it from wrong objects is natural. To desire to escape a hell of misery, and enjoy a place of happiness, is equally natural. If this may be called salvation, all men wish to be saved. The most wicked may wish to "die the death of the righteous, and that their last end may be like his." This every man is capable of as a rational, intelligent being. And many are striving to make themselves righteous in order to be saved. But to desire salvation in God’s way, to hunger and thirst after Christ and his righteousness, is peculiar to the quickened only. The dead hunger not. Spiritual appetites spring from spiritual life. A natural man can as soon seek to fill his belly with the east wind, or allay his thirst with the sunbeams, as do this.
To know ourselves to be miserable sinners, destitute of righteousness, to believe Christ has obtained it for us, and to hunger and thirst after it, this lies at the foundation of true godliness; this enters into the very essence of our religion. Such self-emptied, hungry, and thirsty souls are blessed: for they shall be filled; filled with all the blessings of Jesus’ everlasting righteousness; acceptance with God, pardon of sins, and peace from God; filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ; with all the graces of God’s Spirit on earth, and with all the fulness of God in glory. "This is the heritage of my servants, and their righteousness is of me," saith precious Jesus.- Isaiah 54:17. "The skies pour down righteousness, the faithful open their hearts and receive it."- Isaiah 45:8. O, what delightful fellowship and intercourse subsist between heaven and earth; hungry souls and righteous Jesus! Says Bishop Hall, ’If Jesus had not said, "Blessed are those who hunger," I know not what could keep weak Christians from despair. Many times, all I can do is to find and complain I want Jesus; I wish to enjoy him. Now this is my stay, he in mercy esteems us, not by having, but desiring also. There never was a soul miscarried with longing after grace. O blessed hunger that always ends in fulness! I am sorry I can but hunger, yet would not be full; for the blessing is promised to the hungry.’ As verily as the righteous man, Jesus, wrought out righteousness for sinful man, all thirsty souls who come to him shall be filled with righteousness. For he "fills the hungry with good things," while "he sends the rich (the self-righteous) empty away."- Luke 1:53.
Our new-born souls do ever crave
For righteousness we’ve lost;
That we in Jesus may be found,
And by him be made just.
Lord, fill our hungry, thirsty souls,
With satisfying food;
Blest in thy merits may we be,
And pardon’d by thy blood.
And he said unto them, what manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk and are sad? Luke 24:17.
Time is the best medicine for most diseases, whether of body or mind. A present hour my cause sadness, the next may bring joy. This is a living comfort in saddest seasons, Christ knows both our sorrows and the cause of them. He is always near to us, though we see him not. His sympathising spirit manifests itself in this question. Observe, (1st.) Here were two disciples communing together, and reasoning with one another. This is right, it is pleasing to our Lord, to see his dear members converse with him, and strive to edify each other in the faith of him-and that they bear each other’s burdens. For, (2d.) Jesus joined company with them. Disciple, how often have you found it so? Christ delights in the fellowship of his saints. “How can one be warm alone?” Ecclesiastes 4:11. (3d.) Christ inquires what is the subject of their conversation, and the cause of their sadness. Disciples of Christ have their sad seasons. It is good that they should converse freely, with one another about them. But whence do they spring? Chiefly from unbelief. The souls of these disciples were sad. Why? They did not believe the Lord was risen. But ah! there was another reason for sadness. They had basely forsaken, and cowardly deserted him. This also arose from the same cause, unbelief. Well, notwithstanding all this, see the free grace of Christ! (4th.) He follows them, though they forsake him. He owns them, though they denied him. He cares for them, though they shewed no care for him. He comes to comfort them, though they had grieved him. Says the Prince of peace, “Why are ye sad?” Then they opened their minds to him. They told him of the ray of hope, and the gleam of confidence which they possessed. We trusted, etc. But delays produced doubt. This is the third day, etc. (ver. 21.) What was the consequence? (1st.) Christ chides them for their unbelief. (2d.) Expounds the Scripture to them. (3d.) Causes their hearts to burn within them. O Christians, though you are perplexed in your mind, walk and are sad, yet forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. Expect and pray for your Lord’s presence. This, like the rising sun, will scatter the clouds of doubt, fear and sadness, which hang over your mind. Remember with the confidence of faith, and the joy of hope, your Lord’s precious promise, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20.
O Jesu, in my saddest hours
Help me to look to thee:
And call up all my thinking pow’rs,
Of what thou art to me.
When lost to God and dead in sin,
Thy love sought after me:
Tho’ sav’d, I’ve flesh and sin within,
My joy is all in thee.