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enjoyment of God ; the vanities of the creature for the fulness of the Creator: and thus he obeys the precept of his Saviour,-“ Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life.”* But let me ask,

Thirdly. From whence, brethren, does this strong and unquenchable desire spring? It is not natural to man; no, not to any of the human family. Man is born with a conscience that may admonish him to his duty, and smite him for its neglect; but his heart does not love purity, holiness, and all the heavenly blessings and services associated with the possession of the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ. If there be any good desire, any hatred of sin, any love to God, or "longing” for him, as the sacred writings sometimes express it, it is put within us by the Holy Ghost, from whom all spiritual thoughts and aspirations do proceed. Without the influence of that Divine Being we are blind, carnal, and at enmity with God. It is by Him that we are called from darkness to light, and brought to “hunger” after the satisfying provisions of the covenant of grace. And, therefore, whenever the labours of the apostles, and primitive followers of Christ, were instrumental in turning men from “dumb idols,” and bringing them to “know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he had sent,” they always attributed their success to “his mighty power, that worketh effectually in them that believe.”—“I have planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase," was their acknowledgment. The same agent must have the honour and glory of all the good fruits produced by the ministry of the word among men in the present day, and for evermore.

This appetite for religious and holy blessings is not a capricious and transitory impulse-an emotion of the mind, awakened by some powerful excitement of the affections, it is a process of mental healing, of moral return to vigour and strength, commenced and directed by God himself, in order to bring the soul to its true felicity. It is, in a word, a principle of his own implantation ; it will, therefore, withstand the shock of external tempest; survive the violence of the storm; and, finally, blossom in the paradise of God with unwithering and unrivalled beauty. It is the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

* John vi. 27.

There is another thing which we should carefully notice, in reference to this desire of the mind :-it is not the mere bias of the passions, it is equally the decision of the judgment. The man who possesses this state of mind has made a deliberate choice of God, as the only solid and satisfying good. His understanding approves of that which is excellent: he has seen the emptiness of the toys and trifles which the world calls realities; and he has discovered the surpassing excellence of “righteousness” to every other object. He has compared the present tabernacle with the future house; the decaying world with the undecaying city of God; the fleeting friendships of time with the imperishable love of him who is “the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever;" the condition of a sinner leaning on his own arm, and trusting to his own heart, with the state of the man who has “fled for refuge to the hope set before him in the gospel ;” and he is convinced of the decided superiority of the favour, smile, and salvation of God, to every earthly thing. His eyes are now opened ; his judgment disabused; he “lays hold on eternal life," and he exclaims, “ The Lord is my portion, therefore will I hope in him.”

“ This God is my God for ever and ever; he will be my guide even unto death.” His affections and his convictions now agree that religion is the one thing needful.” The heart desires what the understanding approves. The experience which an Apostle describes now becomes his:-“Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet, believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' And the conduct of St. Paul is likewise his model and his aim :-"None of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; but whether we live, we live to the Lord, and whether we die, we die to the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's; for to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”+

And, finally, I remark, that the keen desire denoted by the metaphors of the text, is founded on a deep and settled conviction of the absolute necessity of spiritual relief. A man of such a spirit is thoroughly persuaded, that instead of having performed a faultless obedience to the law of God, he has transgressed it in a thousand instances, and that, if he could even do better for the future, it would not avail for his justification, since he has already incurred a debt too heavy for him to discharge. Despairing, therefore, of saving himself by any obedience or satisfaction which he may be able to render, he gladly flies for refuge to the “righteousness” provided for sinners in the gospel. He knocks at the door of mercy as the hungry beggar at the door of charity; he cries for deliverance as a slave to be liberated from his chains, or a criminal to be pardoned by his sovereign ; and now he cheerfully commits the whole of his salvation to Jesus Christ. Before, he was prone to rest, in part at least, on the integrity of his own repentance, the sincerity of his prayers, and his acts of piety; but all these are now relinquished, and he looks alone “ for the mercy of God unto eternal life,” through the redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. Like the wounded Israelite, he casts his eye to the remedy on the tree, and is saved from his fatal disease. Or like the

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perishing mariner, struggling with the waves of death, he clings to the arm of mercy stretched forth for his relief; nor is he disappointed :—“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Let us, therefore, proceed to notice,

II. THE SATISFACTORY AND ADEQUATE SUPPLY WHICH OUR LORD PROMISES TO THESE PERSONS.

They are blessed, “for they shall be filled.The perfection and the certainty of this promise, are the two particulars which I have here to consider.

First. Observe the perfection of the supply :-“They shall be filled;” that is, they shall have the blessings of their strong desire wholly given them. “ They hunger and thirst” for the smile and the favour of God—they shall not be disappointed. “The desire of the righteous shall be granted him.” They pant for “the water of life,” and with joy shall they “ draw it out of the wells of salvation.” The portion which the Lord gives, is a soulsatisfying portion; an increasingly precious treasure, an eternal and unfading good ; in some respects enjoyed here, but fully to be realized hereafter. The strong and fervent wish for these divine comforts, he himself has excited in the soul, and he will not leave it unsupplied. “The hungry shall be filled with good things, while the rich are sent empty away."* He will enrich such a soul with “all joy and peace in believing, and make it to abound in hope more and more.” And whatever defect or infirmity remains at the hour of death, shall be buried in the grave for ever, with all that is perishing. But when the trumpet sounds, he shall awake from the sleep of the tomb, and be raised to a reunion with the pure and happy spirit; “ the vile body changed and fashioned like unto

* Luke i. 53.

never

his glorious body.” Though “it is sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorruption; though it is sown in dishonour, it shall be raised in glory.” Then he will

more lament over the imperfection of his attainments, or the conflicts of his soul; his tongue will never more complain of deadness in prayer, of wandering in devotion, of coldness in love, or of weariness and weakness in the service of his Lord. “In thy presence is fulness of joy." All the ingredients of happiness are there complete. There is no pollution in the source,-no obstruction in the medium,-no deficiency in the fountain, whence the streams of celestial satisfaction ever flow. All the springs of sorrow are dried

up,
and

every avenue of affliction is closed. Sin is utterly abolished; the warfare, with “ the world, the flesh, and the devil,” is over; the battle is fought; the victory is won; peace, triumph, and joy for ever succeed. In the fulness of their felicity neither disappointment, satiety, or solicitude, find a place. The most capacious desire is gratified, and the most vigorous affections are fully at rest. Not an eye weeps, or a bosom heaves, or a countenance saddens with grief. Safely lodged in the bosom of their God, “they shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more: neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes."

."* “There shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain : for the former things are passed away.”+ Salvation is there perfect in all its degrees. Unmeasured and unstinted satisfaction is the privilege of heaven; unmingled and unmitigated sorrow the punishment of hell. “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness.”

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