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nor is it the design of providence to des tach us altogether from the cares of the body, till this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality. Again, whatever advances we may have made in righteousness, yet in our present state of frailty we still are liable and prone to sin ; and whenever we do sin, we renew to ourselves the neceffity to mourn. In the future life, to all the truly faithful in Christ every source of mourning shall for ever cease. It is the essential character of the heavenly state, that the tears shall be wiped from all eyes, and there shall be no more sorrow nor wailing : for the former things are passed away". There will then be no room either for natural or for moral evil, the two great objects of mourning now. For death and fin shall be swallowed up in victory. Then they, who have improved their afflictions to a religious use, and they, who have cherished a godly forrow to repentance, shall close their mourning in eternal confolation.
• Rev. xxi, 4.
Matthew v. 6.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness:
for they shall be satisfied.
AMONG the different objects of human desire there is none perhaps more prevalent than that of gratification in meats and drinks. It is good and comely in the general opinion of men to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all their labour all the days of their lives : more especially, if God hath given them riches and substance and means of enjoyment, do they account it wise to take their portion, and to rejoice in their abundance a.
Among the Heathens in general, whose views were limited to the present life, it was the solicitous enquiry, as our Lord himself observes, “ What shall we eat, and what Thall we drink, and wherewithal Thall we bę
clothed ?” Attending entirely to the wants of the body, they totally overlooked the necefsities of the foul.
And this sentiment also predominated among the Jews. When therefore they hungered and thirsted in the wilderness, and cried unto the Lord for relief, it was agreeable to the divine wisdom to instruct them, " that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God b:" He requires, not only material bread for the sustenance of the body, but also fpiritual food for the nurture of the soul. And when they were replenished with the corn and wine, the milk and honey of the promised land, it was still moré néceffary to remind them again and again of those more important wants essential to the spiri. tual life, which required a superior diligence and care to satisfy.
Some few indeed among them, more feriously touched with a sense of what was necessary for their better part, expressed a desire for a more folid and permanent repaft. Thus David, when he sojourned in a dry and barren wilderness, wherein his tears had been his food day and night, declared his
b Deut. viii. 3. Mat, iv. 4.
hunger and thirst after spiritual things; and solicitoully bent his hopes to the time of his reappearing in the sanctuary of the Lord, when his foul should be fatisfied with plenty in performing the duties of devotion to his God.
It was one part of our Saviour's teaching to incite this desire after fpiritual food. He directed that folicitude, which is commonly employed in making provision for the body, to the sustenance which is necessary to the strengthening and refreshing of the foul. To this intent he said, Blessed are they that bunger and thirst after righteousness.
The righteousness, which is here proposed for the desires of men, has been accepted by fome in the more limited sense of equity in their dealings toward one another. From the station and order, which it holds in this place, I do not scruple to understand it in the most comprehensive signification of holy Scripture, namely, the whole of what we owe both to God and Man, the cultivation and exercise of all religion, the studies of its doctrines, and the observance of its laws. As in the foregoing sentence our Lord pronounces a blessing on them that mourn, that
c Psalms xlii. xliii.
mourn after a godly sort, and to a religious use and end; fo in this he pronounces a blessing on those, who, leaving the principles of Christian discipline, resolve to persevere, and to go on to perfection; who, having already laid the foundation of their religious life in repentance from dead works and faith towards God, are animated with a holy zeal to be fruitful in every good work, and to increase in the knowledge of God, to be filled with the fruits of righteousness, and, to adopt a still more forcible expression of holy writ, to be filled with all the fulness of God d.
Of this religious hunger and thirst our. Lord was an eminent example. When he took upon him a human form, he submitted to sustain the feelings and infirmities of human nature. Thus immediately before he entered upon his ministry, when he was tempted in the wilderness, he fasted forty days and forty nights, and was afterwards a-hungerede. And in his travels through the land in the exercise of his mission he was frequently exposed to the same bodily want. But while he occafionally hungered and thirsted after temporal sustenance, he continually hungered and
l Heb. vi. 1. Col. i. 10. Phil. i. 11. Eph. iii. 19. · Mat. iv, 2.