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36He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years.

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35. Stephen passeth over many things, because he maketh haste unto this stun, that the Jews may understand that the fathers were not delivered therefore, because they had deserved that with their godliness, but that this benefit was bestowed upon them, being altogether unworthy; and, secondly, that there is some more perfect thing to be hoped for of these beginnings. When Moses, being ordained of God to be their revenger and deliverer, was now in a readiness, they stopped the way before him; therefore God doth deliver them now, as it were against their will. That which is added touching miracles and wonders, serveth as well to the setting forth of the grace of God, as to make known the calling of Moses. It is surely a strange thing, that God doth vouchsafe to declare his power by divers wonders, for such an unthankful people’s sake. But in the mean season, he bringeth his servant in credit. Therefore, whereas the Jews set less by him afterward, whereas they essay sometimes to drive him away by railing, whereas they scold sometimes, sometimes murmur, sometimes set upon him outrageously, they bewray thereby both their wickedness, and also their contempt of the grace of God. Their unthankfulness and ungodliness was so increased always, that God must needs have striven with wonderful patience with such a froward and stubborn people.

A ruler and a deliverer. We must understand the contrarieties 437437     “Subaudiendae sunt antitheses,” we must supply the antitheses. which augment the fault. They would have obeyed Moses if a tyrant had appointed him to be a judge, but they contemn him proudly, and refuse him disdainfully, being appointed of God, and that to be a deliverer. Therefore, in despising him, they were wicked; and in rejecting grace, unthankful. And whereas Moses hath such an honorable title given him, God doth not so give and resign unto man that honor which is due to himself, that he loseth any whit of his authority thereby. For doubtless Moses was not called a redeemer or deliverer in any other respect save only because he was the minister of God. And by this means the glory of the whole work remaineth in the power of God wholly. Therefore let us learn that so often as men have the titles which belong to God given them, God himself is not despoiled of his honor; but because the work is done by their hands, they are by this means commended. To this end tendeth that which Stephen saith, that this charge was committed to Moses in the hand of the angel. For by this means Moses is made subject to Christ, that under his conduct and direction he may obey God. For hand is taken in this place not for ministry, but for principality. Wherefore, God did so use the service of Moses, that the power of Christ did surpass him, as he is even at this day the chief governor, in accomplishing the salvation of the Church; yea, he useth the ministry of men in that sort, that the force and effect dependeth upon him alone.