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12I know what it is to have little, and I know what it is to have plenty. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need.

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12 I know both how to be abased There follows here a distinction, with the view of intimating that he has a mind adapted to bear any kind of condition. 248248     “Il fait yci vne diuision, disant qu’il est tellement dispose en son coeur qu’il scait se cornporter et en prosperite et en adversite;” — “He makes a distinction here, saying that he is prepared in his mind in such a manner, that he knows how to conduct himself both in prosperity and in adversity.” Prosperity is wont to puff up the mind beyond measure, and adversity, on the other hand, to depress. From both faults he declares himself to be free. I know, says he, to be abased — that is, to endure abasement with patience. Περισσεύειν is made use of twice, but in the former instance it is employed as meaning, to excel; in the second instance as meaning, to abound, so as to correspond with the things to which they are exposed. If a man knows to make use of present abundance in a sober and temperate manner, with thanksgiving, prepared to part with everything whenever it may be the good pleasure of the Lord, giving also a share to his brother, according to the measure of his ability, and is also not puffed up, that man has learned to excel, and to abound. This is a peculiarly excellent and rare virtue, and much superior to the endurance of poverty. Let all who wish to be Christ’s disciples exercise themselves in acquiring this knowledge which was possessed by Paul, but in the mean time let them accustom themselves to the endurance of poverty in such a manner that it will not be grievous and burdensome to them when they come to be deprived of their riches.