Here again does our apostle excuse his boasting, and tells the Corinthians that they had compelled him to it, and ought to have saved him the labour of it, by defending him themselves. For he had done and suffered as much as any of the most eminent apostles, though he looked upon all as nothing: and consequently his services and sufferings, his miracles, signs, and wonders, were sufficient arguments, and undeniable demonstrations, that he was indeed an apostle of Jesus Christ.
He farther adds, That the church at Corinth had as great and excellent gifts of the Spirit bestowed upon them, by his ministry, as any church whatsoever; all the difference was, that whatever was done for them was done freely: he spared their purses, and put them to no charge. Now, says he, if that be a wrong, I hope you can easily forgive it. Corinth was a very rich and wealthy city, but they loved a cheap gospel; the apostle spared their purses, not because they were unable, but unwilling to draw them.
Here observe, That the people ought to give testimony to their minister's integrity, and do all that in them lies to support and maintain the honour of his ministry: I ought, says the apostle, to be commended of you.
Observe farther, That when the people omit and neglect this necessary part of their duty towards their ministers, it is lawful, and not discommendable, for the ministers of Christ themselves, in a modest humble manner, to declare both what they have been, and what they have done. In nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
As if the apostle had said, "Verily, I am as much an apostle saw they who think themselves more than apostles; though you and they through envy count me nothing, and though I in humility account myself nothing."
Thus the ministers of Christ may stand upon terms of credit with any who lay their persons low, that they may disparge their work, and lay that service low to which God hath called them. Though the ministers and members of Christ ought in lowliness to submit to one another, yet must they not submit to the pride or lusts of any, how high soever in their own or other's account.