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Verse 34. For ye had compassion of me in my bonds. You sympathized with me when a prisoner, and sent to my relief. It is not known to what particular instance of imprisonment the apostle here refers. It is probable, however, that it was on some occasion when he was a prisoner in Judea, for the persons to whom this epistle was sent most probably resided there. Paul was at one time a prisoner more than two years at Cesarea, (Ac 24:27,) and during this time he was kept-in the charge of a centurion, and his friends had free access to him, Ac 24:23. It would seem not improbable that this was the occasion to which he here refers.

And took joyfully the spoiling of your goods. The plunder of your property. It was not an uncommon thing for the early Christians to be plundered. This was doubtless a part of the "afflictions" to which the apostle refers in this case. The meaning is, that they yielded their property not only without resistance, but with joy. They, in common with all the early Christians, counted it a privilege and honour to suffer in the cause of their Master. See Barnes "Php 3:10, See Barnes "Php 4:13".

Men may be brought to such a state of mind as to part with their property with joy. It is not usually the case; but religion will enable a man to do it.

Knowing in yourselves. Marg., "or, that ye have in yourselves; or, for yourselves." The true rendering is, "knowing that ye have for yourselves." It does not refer to any internal knowledge which they had of this, but to the fact that they were assured that they had laid up for themselves a better inheritance in heaven.

That ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. Better than any earthly possession, and more permanent. It is

(1.) better—it is worth more —it gives more comfort—it makes a man really richer. The treasure laid up in heaven is worth more to a man than all the wealth of Croesus. It will give him more solid peace and comfort; will better serve his turn in the various situations in which he may be placed in life, and will do more on the whole to make him happy, is not said here that property is worth nothing to a man—which is not true, if he uses it well—but that the treasures of heaven are worth more.

(2.) It is more enduring. Property here soon vanishes. Riches take to themselves wings and fly away, or at any rate all that we possess must soon be left. But in heaven all is permanent and secure. No calamity of war, pestilence or famine; no change of times; no commercial embarrassment; no failure of a crop, or a bank; no fraud of sharpers and swindlers, and no act of a pick-pocket or highwayman can take it away; nor does death ever come there to remove the inhabitants of heaven from their "mansions." With this hope, therefore, Christians may cheerfully see their earthly wealth vanish, for they can look forward to their enduring and their better inheritance.

{1} "knowing" "that ye have in yourselves; or, for yourselves" {b} "heaven" Lu 12:33

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