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Matthew 5:6

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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!

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Our Saviour here gives eight characters of blessed people, which represent to us the principal graces of a Christian. 1. The poor in spirit are happy. These bring their minds to their condition, when it is a low condition. They are humble and lowly in their own eyes. They see their want, bewail their guilt, and thirst after a Redeemer. The kingdom of grace is of such; the kingdom of glory is for them. 2. Those that mourn are happy. That godly sorrow which worketh true repentance, watchfulness, a humble mind, and continual dependence for acceptance on the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, with constant seeking the Holy Spirit, to cleanse away the remaining evil, seems here to be intended. Heaven is the joy of our Lord; a mountain of joy, to which our way is through a vale of tears. Such mourners shall be comforted by their God. 3. The meek are happy. The meek are those who quietly submit to God; who can bear insult; are silent, or return a soft answer; who, in their patience, keep possession of their own souls, when they can scarcely keep possession of anything else. These meek ones are happy, even in this world. Meekness promotes wealth, comfort, and safety, even in this world. 4. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are happy. Righteousness is here put for all spiritual blessings. These are purchased for us by the righteousness of Christ, confirmed by the faithfulness of God. Our desires of spiritual blessings must be earnest. Though all desires for grace are not grace, yet such a desire as this, is a desire of God's own raising, and he will not forsake the work of his own hands. 5. The merciful are happy. We must not only bear our own afflictions patiently, but we must do all we can to help those who are in misery. We must have compassion on the souls of others, and help them; pity those who are in sin, and seek to snatch them as brands out of the burning. 6. The pure in heart are happy; for they shall see God. Here holiness and happiness are fully described and put together. The heart must be purified by faith, and kept for God. Create in me such a clean heart, O God. None but the pure are capable of seeing God, nor would heaven be happiness to the impure. As God cannot endure to look upon their iniquity, so they cannot look upon his purity. 7. The peace-makers are happy. They love, and desire, and delight in peace; and study to be quiet. They keep the peace that it be not broken, and recover it when it is broken. If the peace-makers are blessed, woe to the peace-breakers! 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake are happy. This saying is peculiar to Christianity; and it is more largely insisted upon than any of the rest. Yet there is nothing in our sufferings that can merit of God; but God will provide that those who lose for him, though life itself, shall not lose by him in the end. Blessed Jesus! how different are thy maxims from those of men of this world! They call the proud happy, and admire the gay, the rich, the powerful, and the victorious. May we find mercy from the Lord; may we be owned as his children, and inherit his kingdom. With these enjoyments and hopes, we may cheerfully welcome low or painful circumstances.
Ellen G. White
Gospel Workers 1915, 17

Ministers of the gospel, God's messengers to their fellow-men, should never lose sight of their mission and their responsibilities. If they lose their connection with heaven, they are in greater danger than others, and can exert a stronger influence for wrong. Satan watches them continually, waiting for some weakness to develop, through which he may make a successful attack upon them. And how he triumphs when he succeeds! for an ambassador for Christ, off his guard, allows the great adversary to secure many souls to himself. GW 17.1

The true minister will do nothing that would belittle his sacred office. He will be circumspect in deportment, and wise in his course of action. He will work as Christ worked; he will do as Christ did. He will use all his powers in carrying the tidings of salvation to those who know it not. A deep hunger for the righteousness of Christ will fill his heart. Feeling his need, he will seek earnestly for the power that must come to him before he can present in simplicity, truthfulness, and humility the truth as it is in Jesus. GW 17.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 213

Let the brethren in responsible positions talk faith and courage to the workers. Cast your net on the right side of the ship, the side of faith. As long as probation continues, show what can be done by a consecrated, living church. 7T 213.1

*****

We do not understand as we should the great conflict going on between invisible agencies, the controversy between loyal and disloyal angels. Over every man, good and evil angels strive. This is no make-believe conflict. It is not mimic battles in which we are engaged. We have to meet most powerful adversaries, and it rests with us to determine which shall win. We are to find our strength where the early disciples found theirs. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.” “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts 1:14; 2:2, 4. 7T 213.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 460

With many who are laboring in our offices there is an almost entire absence of the love and fear of God. Self rules, self controls, and God and heaven scarcely enter into the mind. If these persons could see that they are upon the very borders of the eternal world and that their future interests will be determined by their present action, there would be a marked change in every hand employed in these offices. 4T 460.1

But many who are engaged in the sacred work of God are paralyzed by Satan's deceptions. They are asleep on the enchanted ground. Days and months are passing, while they remain careless and unconcerned, as though there were no God, no future, no heaven, no punishment for neglect of duty or for shunning responsibilities. But the day is fast approaching when the case of every one will be decided according to his works. Many have a fearfully spotted record in the Ledger of Heaven. 4T 460.2

When these workers shall arouse to their own accountability, when they shall lay their polluted souls before God just as they are, and their earnest cry shall take hold on His strength, they will then know for themselves that God does hear and answer prayer. And when they do awake, they will see what they have lost by their indifference and unfaithfulness. They will then find that they have reached only a low standard, when, had the mind and capabilities been cultivated and improved for God, they might have had a rich experience and might have been instrumental in saving their fellow men. And even should they be saved at last, they will realize through all eternity the loss of opportunities wasted in probationary time. 4T 460.3

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Ellen G. White
Steps to Christ, 95

There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers. One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him. He has promised, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” Isaiah 44:3. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who long after God, may be sure that they will be filled. The heart must be open to the Spirit's influence, or God's blessing cannot be received. SC 95.1

Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf. But the Lord is to be sought unto to do these things for us. He says, “Ask, and it shall be given you.” And “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32. SC 95.2

If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions. Our own merit will never commend us to the favor of God; it is the worthiness of Jesus that will save us, His blood that will cleanse us; yet we have a work to do in complying with the conditions of acceptance. SC 95.3

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