Hunger and thirst after Righteousness

March 8, 2010

From John Oman’s beautiful book, Grace and Personality (3rd ed., Cambridge U. P., 1925):

A conscience merely morally determined only lays down rules, and is too easily satisfied if they are not obviously broken. But the supreme test is not to be conscientious up to the measure of rules of universal application. It is to be continually in search of a more penetrating discernment. As we for ever hunger and thirst after righteousness, and not as we obey a code of accepted moral imperatives, are we truly conscientious.

A quiet sense of possession, with an ever increasing endeavour after an ever enlarging purpose, which gives freedom from every standard of anxious merit, every right moral judgment of life demands, but no rules of a merely moral judgment of life can supply. A measured moral imperative must be changed into the measurelessness of an infinite religious aspiration and assurance, into a hungering and thirsting after righteousness which has its only measure in the infinite love of God, before we can have both ceaseless aspiration and lasting peace.

The practical effect is mercifulness in our judgment of others, whereby our eyes are purified for seeing God.

(pp. 102-104)

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