Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
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What sort of righteousness? He means either the whole of virtue, or that particular virtue which is opposed to covetousness. For since He is about to give commandment concerning mercy, to show how we must show mercy, as, for instance, not of rapine or covetousness, He blesses them that lay hold of righteousness.
And see with what exceeding force He puts it. For He said not, Blessed are they which keep fast by righteousness, but, Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: that not merely anyhow, but with all desire we may pursue it. For since this is the most peculiar property of covetousness, and we are not so enamored of meat and drink, as of gaining, and compassing ourselves with more and more, He bade us to transfer this desire to a new object, freedom from covetousness.
Then He appoints the prize, again from things sensible; saying, for they shall be filled. Thus, because it is thought that the rich are commonly made such by covetousness, Nay, says He, it is just contrary: for it is righteousness that does this. Wherefore, so long as you do righteously, fear not poverty, nor tremble at hunger. For the extortioners, they are the very persons who lose all, even as he certainly who is in love with righteousness, possesses himself the goods of all men in safety.
But if they who covet not other men's goods enjoy so great abundance, much more they who give up their own.