I apologize for it having been so long before examining the next resolution, but a mixture of unsurity with it’s content as well as becoming extremely busy has withheld me. I pray that I will be faithful to Jonathan Edwards’ intentions with this resolution and provide some bit of insight upon it.
Resolved, To be endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity.
Two important things I wish to examine from the start are the words liberality and charity. I got hung up on these for quite some time as I was thinking about the meaning of these words, and I found it necessary to go back and examine the definition of these words in years past, where it would be more applicable to context and intention, rather than leaning on today’s uses of the words [which, in all honesty, can be extremely lacking].
–[Definitions to follow are taken from Websters dictionary; 1828; I highly recommend examining how things were previously defined before the dictionary has been so adapted, altered, and softened]–
Liberality – Edwards can be coming at this in one of two ways; 1) A particular act of generosity; a donation; a gratuity. In this sense, it has the plural number. A prudent man is not impoverished by his liberalities. (or) 2) that comprehensiveness of mind which includes other interests beside its own, and duly estimates in its decisions the value or importance of each [namely, impartiality or being open to alternative perspectives]
For the sake of this post I’ll discuss it from perspective 1.
Charity – In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men [1 Cor. 8. Col. 3. 1 Tim 1].
So with these definitions in mind, I think the intention that Edwards is trying to portray in this resolution is that of a humble heart; a servant’s heart. It seems to me to paint the picture of seeking ways in which we can love one another, both in physical need and in spiritual need.
If one is “endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity” he would be naturally seeking out ways to productively serve his brother both financially where necessary [to help in tough times, to fund projects or services that are faithfully pursuing advancing the Gospel, to show love by meeting need with a contrite heart], and spiritually to build up the body.
If you have this sort of perspective you will be less and less focused on your personal growth as a means to an end, and more aware of the kingdom implications all around you. Every opportunity to serve and to love one another is a fit opportunity to magnify the Gospel and glorify God.
Again, I may be off in some things, and some aspects may be under-developed, but I pray that this paints a more precise picture for us to examine this resolution through a lens of love, perspective, and intentional, sacrificial living for the sake of the Gospel.