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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

XXV THE HUNGER FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

Matthew v.6.

Whom does Jesus call the blessed people? |Blessed,| he goes on, |are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.| The New Testament repeatedly states this doctrine, which sounds so strangely in our ears. It is the doctrine that a man gets what he asks for -- that his real hunger will be filled. We should say that just the opposite of this was true -- that life was a continued striving to get things which one fails to get -- a hunger which is doomed to stay unsatisfied. But Jesus turns to his followers and says: |Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find,| and in the same spirit turns even to the hypocrites and says again: |They also receive their reward.| Conduct, that is to say, fulfils its destiny. What you sow, you reap. The blessing which is sufficiently desired is attained. What you really ask for, you get. The only reason why this does not {65} seem to be true is that we do not realize what the things are which we are asking for and what must be the inevitable answer to our demand. We ask, for instance, for money; and we expect an answer of happiness. But we do not get happiness, we only get money, which is a wholly different thing. We ask for popularity and reputation, and we expect these gifts, when received, to last; but we have asked for something whose very nature is that it does not last. It is like asking for a soap-bubble and expecting to get a billiard-ball. We cannot work for the temporary and get the permanent. If, then, it is true that we are to get what we want, then the secret of happiness is to want the best things and to want them very much. If we hunger and thirst for base things we shall get them. Oh yes, we shall get them; and get the unhappiness which comes of this awful discovery, that as we have hungered so we are filled. And if we are really hungry for righteousness, if we want to be good, as a thirsty man wants water, if, as Jesus says of himself, our meat is to do the will of Him who sends us, then that demand also will be supplied. |He satisfieth the longing soul,| {66} says the Psalmist, |and filleth the hungry soul| -- not with success, or money, or fame, but with that which the soul was hungry for -- |with goodness.| The longing soul has sought the best blessing, and it has received the best blessedness.

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