“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Matt. 5:6.
See here at what a low price God sets heavenly things. It is but hungering and thirsting. ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, buy without money’ (Isaiah 55:1). We are not bid to bring any merits as the Papists would do, nor to bring a sum of money to purchase righteousness. Rich men would be loath to do that. All that is required is to bring an appetite. Christ ‘has fulfilled all righteousness’. We are only to ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’. This is equal and reasonable. God does not require rivers of oil, but sighs and tears. The invitation of the gospel is free. If a friend invites guests to his table, he does not expect they should bring money to pay for their dinner, only come with an appetite. So, says God, It is not penance, pilgrimage, self-righteousness I require. Only bring a stomach: ‘hunger and thirst after righteousness’. God might have set Christ and salvation at an higher price, but he has much beaten down the price. Now as this shows the sweetness of God’s nature he is not a hard master so it shows us the inexcusableness of those who perish under the gospel. What apology can any man make at the day of judgement, when God shall ask that question, Friend, why did you not embrace Christ? I set Christ and grace at a low rate. If you had but hungered after righteousness, you might have had it, but you slighted Christ. You had such low thoughts of righteousness that you would not hunger after it. How do you think to escape who have neglected ’so great salvation’? The easier the terms of the gospel are, the sorer punishment shall they be thought worthy of who unworthy refuse such an offer.
It shows us a true character of a godly man. He hungers and thirsts after spiritual things (Isaiah 26:9; Psalm 73:25). A true saint is carried upon the wing of desire. It is the very temper and constitution of a gracious soul to thirst after God (Psalm 42:2). In the word preached, how he is big with desire! These are some of the partings of his soul: Lord, thou hast led me into thy courts. O that I may have thy sweet presence, that thy glory may fill the temple! This is thy limping house; wilt thou draw some sacred lineaments of grace upon my soul that I may be more assimilated and changed into the likeness of my dear Saviour. In prayer, how is the soul filled with passionate longings after Christ! Prayer is expressed by ‘groans unutterable’ (Romans 8:26). The heart sends up whole volleys of sighs to heaven; Lord, one beam of thy love! one drop of thy blood! Thomas Watson