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41At that time they made a calf, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands.

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41. And they made a calf. We may easily gather by that which goeth before, why they were more delighted in that figure than in any other. For although Egypt did swarm with innumerable idols, yet it is well known that they made the greatest account of an ox. And whence is it that they are so desirous to have an idol, save only because they were turned back into Egypt, as Stephen hath already said? We must note the speech when he saith that they offered sacrifice to the idol. Aaron commandeth the people to assemble themselves together to worship God; they come all together. Therefore they testify that they mean nothing less [any thing rather] than to defraud God of his worship, howsoever they translate the same unto the calf; yea, rather, they are determined to worship God in the image of the calf. But because they forsook the true God, by making an idol, whatsoever followeth afterward it is judged to be given to the idol, because God refuseth all wicked worshipping. For it is not meet to account that as bestowed upon him which he hath not commanded; and because he forbids them expressly to erect any visible image unto him, that is mere sacrilege whatsoever is done afterward in honor thereof.

They rejoiced over the works. This speech is taken out of Isaiah, yet, out of the prophets, who, in like sort, upbraid unto the Jews that they were delighted in their own inventions. And surely it is wonderful madness, when men arrogate unto themselves anything in God’s matters. I take this rejoicing to be that solemn dancing whereof Moses speaketh, in the thirty-second chapter of Exodus. Yet Stephen toucheth a common vice, wherewith idolaters are infected. For although it be altogether unlawful for men to attempt anything in religion which God hath not appointed, yet do they invent everything unadvisedly, and setting light by the Word of God, they make choice of the works of their own hands; but Stephen showeth that while they take such pleasure in this liberty, they displease God so much the more. But if we will have God to allow our worship, we must abstain from the works of our hands, that is, from our own inventions; for all that which men invent of themselves is nothing else but sacrilegious profanation. The idol is properly so called reproachfully, as it were a thing nothing worth, because no reason doth suffer man to make God. 450450     “Deum... fabricari,” to fabricate a god.




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