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Verse 8. I speak not by commandment. This does not mean that he had no express command of God in the case, but that he did not mean to command them; he did not speak authoritatively; he did not intend to prescribe what they should give. He used only moral motives, and urged the considerations which he had done to persuade rather than to command them to give. 2 Co 8:10. He was endeavoring to induce them to give liberally, not by abstract command and law, but by showing them what others had given who had much less ability and much fewer advantages than they had. Men cannot be induced to give to objects of charity by command, or by a spirit of dictation and authority. The only successful, as well as the only lawful appeal, is to their hearts, and consciences, and sober judgments. And if an apostle did not take upon himself the language of authority and command in matters of Christian benevolence, assuredly ministers and ecclesiastical bodies now have no right to use any such language.

But by occasion of the forwardness of others. I make use of the example of the churches of Macedonia as an argument to induce you to give liberally to the cause.

And to prove the sincerity of your love. The apostle does not specify here what "love" he refers to, whether love to God, to Christ, to himself, or to the church at large. It may be that he designedly used the word in a general sense to denote love to any good object; and that he meant to say that liberality in assisting the poor and afflicted people of God would be the best evidence of the sincerity of their love to God, to the Redeemer, to him, and to the church. Religion is love; and that love is to be manifested by doing good to all men as we have opportunity. The most substantial evidence of that love is when we are willing to part with our property, or with whatever is valuable to us, to confer happiness and salvation on others.

{b} "by commandment" 1 Co 7:6 {&} "commandment" "by way of commandment" {|} "frowardness" "diligence"

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