1. In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow man, and to do them good. In a theological sense, it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.
1 Corinthians 8:1. Colossians 3:14. 1 Timothy 1:5.
2. In a more particular sense, love, kindness, affection, tenderness, springing from natural relations; as the charities of father, son and brother.
3. Liberality to the poor, consisting in almsgiving or benefactions, or in gratuitous services to relieve them in distress.
4. Alms; whatever is bestowed gratuitously on the poor for their relief.
5. Liberality in gifts and services to promote public objects of utility, as to found and support bible societies, missionary societies, and others.
6. Candor; liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition which inclines men to think and judge favorably, and to put the best construction on words and actions which the case will admit. The highest exercise of charity is charity towards the uncharitable.
7. Any act of kindness, or benevolence; as the charities of life.
8. A charitable institution. Charity-school, is a school maintained by voluntary contributions for educating poor children.