When God hath opened a very large treasure before us, for the supply of our wants, and we thank him that he hath given us so much; if at the same time we be willing to remain destitute of the greatest part of it, because we are too lazy to gather it, this will not show the sincerity of our thankfulness.
Edwards has in mind here particularly the abundance of information which God has revealed about Himself for mankind’s benefit. The Bible, for example, lies waiting to be plumbed for the abundant and rejuvenating truth which it records. Edwards balked at the idea that the information was so readily available and yet so few people took advantage of it. (Easily imaginable is the kind of invective he would call down on contemporary society, with its obscenely ready access to Scripture and inversely proportional apathy to its message.) Yet, the idea carries beyond just knowledge. God has afforded to humanity abundant blessings that merely await human appropriation. Salvation must spring immediately to mind, offered freely to all and yet rejected by so many. More convicting still is the abundant time and resources of so many of the world’s Christians for which they give thanks but with which they never do anything productive for God’s ends.
Edwards insists that gratitude for some blessings best takes the form of seizing those blessings when they are offered. Are there gifts which God has offered that we refuse to accept for His purposes?