How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
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Although the Macedonians were short of material resources, their souls were rich, because they ministered to the saints with a pure conscience, trying to please God rather than men. Commentary on Paul’s Epistles.
How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy. When greatly tried by sundry tribulations, they were very joyful.
And their deep poverty abounded. Having sounded the depths of poverty, the Macedonians, as it were, broke out into plentiful and abundant kindness and almsgiving
Liberality is given in the Latin version simplicity, and denotes a pure, liberal, and ready will to give. Liberality is measured not by the greatness of the gift, but by the promptitude of the mind, as Chrysostom and Theophylact say. "Simplicity" says Ambrose ( Ephesians 10), "weighs not pros and cons, has no mean suspicions or dishonest thoughts, but overflows with pure affection." Cf. Romans 12:8.
The affliction of the Macedonians did not lead only to sorrow but also to great rejoicing and generosity. Paul said this in order to prepare the Corinthians to be noble and firm in their sufferings. For they were not merely to be afflicted, they were to use their afflictions as a means of growing in joy.