on Matthew 5 :6
They which do hunger and thirst - As the body has its natural appetites of hunger and thirst for the food and drink suited to its nourishment, so has the soul. No being is indestructible or unfailing in its nature but God; no being is independent but him: as the body depends for its nourishment, health, and strength upon the earth, so does the soul upon heaven. Heavenly things cannot support the body; they are not suited to its nature: earthly things cannot support the soul, for the same reason. When the uneasy sensation termed hunger takes place in the stomach, we know we must get food or perish. When the soul is awakened to a tense of its wants, and begins to hunger and thirst after righteousness or holiness, which is its proper food, we know that it must be purified by the Holy Spirit, and be made a partaker of that living bread, John 8:48, or perish everlastingly. Now, as God never inspires a prayer but with a design to answer it, he who hungers and thirsts after the full salvation of God, may depend on being speedily and effectually blessed or satisfied, well-fed, as the word χορτασθησονται implies. Strong and intense desire after any object has been, both by poets and orators, represented metaphorically by hunger and thirst. See the well-known words of Virgil, Aeneid iii.55.
- Quid non mortalia pectora cogis,
Auri sacra Fames!
"O cursed hunger after gold! what canst thou not influence the hearts of men to perpetrate?"
How frequently do we find, inexplebilis honorum Fames-Sitiens virtutis-famae Situs, the insatiable hunger after honor, a thirst for virtue, thirst after fame, and such like! Righteousness here is taken for all the blessings of the new covenant - all the graces of the Messiah's kingdom - a full restoration to the image of God!
on Matthew 5 :6
Blessed are they which do hunger ... - Hunger and thirst, here, are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we ought to feel to obtain righteousness than hunger and thirst. No needs are so keen, none so imperiously demand supply, as these. They occur daily, and when long continued, as in case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, Psalm 42:1-2; Psalm 63:1-2. A desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, Isaiah 55:1-2.
They shall be filled - They shall be satisfied as a hungry man is when supplied with food, or a thirsty man when supplied with drink. Those who are perishing for want of righteousness; those who feel that they are lost sinners and strongly desire to be holy, shall be thus satisfied. Never was there a desire to be holy which God was not willing to gratify, and the gospel of Christ has made provision to satisfy all who truly desire to be holy. See Isaiah 55:1-3; Isaiah 65:13; John 4:14; John 6:35; John 7:37-38; Psalm 17:15.
on Matthew 5 :6
5:6 They that hunger and thirst after righteousness - After the holiness here described. They shall be satisfied with it.