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9 “The patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him,


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9. Now followeth the greatest wickedness of the nation of Israel, that they conspired 385385     “Impia et nefaria conspiratione,” by a nefarious and impious conspiracy. together to oppress their innocent brother, which cruelty is contrary 386386     “Abhorret,” is abhorrent from. to nature. Neither could the Jews object that it was a private fault of a few; for the infamy reacheth unto all the people. Forasmuch as all the patriarchs, Benjamin excepted, had polluted themselves with that treachery; therefore in that Stephen vouchsafeth to give them an honorable name that redoundeth to the greater reproach of the nation. They boasted proudly of their fathers; he showeth what manner [of] persons the chief of them were; to wit, murderers of their brother, 387387     “Fratricidae,” fratricides. so much as in them laid. For, besides that slavery was a kind of death, we know what they went about at the first and, secondly, what cruel punishments Joseph suffered, of all which his brethren were guilty. Hereby it appeareth that God was bountiful and merciful to those which were, as it were unwilling, and which did resist him. For him (who was about to be the author of health and help 388388     “Salutis minister,” the minister or instrument of their safety. ) would they have destroyed. Wherefore they did what they could to renounce all the benefits of God. So he will declare afterward that Moses was rejected when he was offered of God to be a redeemer. Therefore, the Jews have small cause to brag of the excellency of their kindred; but this alone remaineth for them, that, being ashamed, 389389     “Pudore confusi,” confounded with shame. they confess that whosoever they are, they have the same through the mere mercy of God, and that they consider that the law was given to set forth the same.

God was with him. God was not so with him that he did always show forth his power in helping him. For that is no small thing which is said in the Psalm, (105:18,) “That the iron went through his soul.” Surely, it must needs be that he was in great heaviness, 390390     “Ingenti moerore confundi,” overwhelmed with deepest sorrow. when, being destitute of all help, he suffered reproach also together with bonds and the punishment of an ungodly and wicked man; but God useth oftentimes to be present with his in such sort, that he lieth hid for a time. And the end was an evident 391391     “Illustre,” illustrious. token of his presence, which Joseph saw not at the first. Furthermore, we ought to remember this every now and then, that Joseph was not delivered because he had called upon God in the [a] temple but afar off in Egypt.




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