By Erik Raymond https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/erik-raymond/providence-and-charity/
Read: Psalm 72:1-4; 12-14
I was recently visiting with a friend and he remarked as to how convicted he was in reading Charity and Its Fruits by Jonathan Edwards. My friend specifically articulated how precisely Edwards used the Scriptures to expose his own heart attitude of selfishness. As I sat and listened I myself was convicted. And furthermore, I was convicted because, for whatever reason, I never finished reading the classic work by Edwards.
As a result I picked up the book again. Now I am wondering why I ever put it down in the first place! The book is just pride assaulting.
Then it hit me. I am in the process of studying to teach through 1 Corinthians on Sunday nights. Edwards’ exposition and dissection of 1 Cor 13 and what it says about love (charity) is what I need. He connects everything back to a genuine love to God for Christ that spills over into everything else.
Here are some examples…
- The work of redemption which the gospel makes known, above all things affords motives to love; for that work was the most glorious and wonderful exhibition of love that ever was seen or heard of.
- A Christian should at all times keep a strong guard against everything that tends to overthrow, corrupt, or undermine a spirit of love.
- If you heart is full of love it will vent; you will find or make ways enough to express your love in deeds. When a fountain abounds in water it will send forth streams. Consider that as a principle of love is the main principle in the heart of a real Christian, so the labor of love is the main business of the Christian life.
I should also make the point that I need this book not only because I am studying to preach but because I am a self-focused, clanging symbol that does not frequently enough hit the charity note. So I smile upon God’s providence in working various needs together, driving hearts back to the well of grace for refreshment and rebuke, and the usage of a saint long since passed from this earth.