Observe here, 1. St. Paul's just charge, which he brings in against the false apostles, for their pride and vanity, in commending themselves: and comparing themselves with such as were like themselves: The measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves amongst themselves, are not wise. The reason why many think themselves wiser than they are, is, because they compare themselves with these that are below themselves, and not above them in understanding and knowledge. It is an excellent mean to keep us from pride, to consider how many are above us in knowledge: and there are thousands so much excelling us in understanding, that our knowledge is but ignorance, our strength but weakness, our faith but unbelief, our fruitfulness but barrenness, compared with theirs.
Observe, 2. As the pride and vanity of the false apostles, so the great modesty and humility of St. Paul, the true apostle of Christ Jesus: but we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure which God hath distrubuted to us.
Where note, The apostle makes his apostleship or preaching of the gospel, to be, as it were, his spiritual exercise, or running a race, to which he here alludes: declaring that he kept his province, his stage, his compass of ground which God had marked out to him; beyond or out of which line, whoever pretends to run, doth over-extend himself, and boast without his measure.
Observe, 3. That the apostle's line, or measure reached as far as Corinth, where Christ never had been preached; thither he came, and there he first planted the Christian faith amongst them; and he takes occasion from thence, to advance himself above the false apostles.
1. That he could shew a commission to preach to the Corinthians; a measure by which God had distributed the Corinthians to him as his proper province, which none of them could pretend unto.
2. That whereas they went out of their line, leaping from one church to another, he went on orderly in the conversion of churches to the faith, from Judea, through all the interjacent provinces, till he came to Corinth.
3. That whereas they came to those churches where the gospel had been already preached, and so could only boast of things made ready to their hands, he preached the gospel where Christ was not named before.