3.And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger. Inasmuch as they were sometimes made to suffer hunger in the wilderness, he proves the advantage of this discipline, because they thus learnt that the human race does not live by bread and wine alone, but by the secret power of God. For though all confess that it is through God’s goodness that the earth is fruitful, still their senses are so tied to the meat and drink, that they rise no higher, and do not acknowledge God as their Father and nourisher, but rather bind Him down to the outward means to which they are attached, as if His hand, of itself, and without instruments, could not effect or supply anything. Their perception, therefore, that the fruits of the earth are produced by God, is but a cold notion, which speedily vanishes, and does not cling to their memory. The power of God, as well as His goodness, is indeed abundantly manifested in the use of His creatures, which we naturally enjoy; but the depravity of the human mind causes that the testimonies of it act like a veil to obscure that bright light. Besides, the majority of mankind think of God as if banished afar off, and dwelling in inactivity as if He had resigned His office in heaven and earth; and hence it arises, that trusting in their present abundance, they implore not His favor, nay, that they pass it by as needless; and, when deprived of their accustomed supplies, they altogether despair, as if God’s hand alone were insufficient for their succor. Since, then, men do not sufficiently profit by the guidance and instruction of nature, but rather are blinded in their view of God’s works, it was desirable that in this miracle (of the manna) a standing and manifest proof should be given, that men do not only live upon God’s bounty, when they eat bread and drink wine, but even when all supplies fail them. Although there be some harshness in the words, yet the sense is clear, that men’s life consists not in their food, but that God’s inspiration suffices for their nourishment. And we must remember, that the eternal life of the soul is not here referred to, but that we are simply and solely taught that although bread and wine fail, our bodies may be sustained and invigorated by God’s will alone. Let it then be regarded as settled, that this is improperly, however acutely, referred to the spiritual life, and a relation imagined in its doctrine to faith; as if the grace, which is offered in the promises, and received by faith, gave life to our souls; since it is simply stated, that the animating principle (vigor), which is diffused by the spirit of God for sustenance, proceeds out of His mouth. In Psalms 104:30, there is an exact repetition of what was before said here by Moses, “Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.” The word translated “not only,” seems to have been expressly added, lest, if Moses had altogether excluded the bread which is destined for our food, he should not do justice to God. Thus, then, does he guard his words, as much as to say, that although bread sustains man’s life, still this support would be too weak, unless the hidden power of God occupied the first place; and that this intrinsic virtue, as it is called, which He of Himself inspires, would suffice, even although all other aids should fail. And this doctrine, first of all, arouses us to gratitude, referring to God Himself whatever by His creatures He supplies to us for the nourishment and preservation of our lives, whilst it teaches us that although all the instruments of this world should fail, still we may hope for life from Himself alone. There is no ordinary wisdom in recollecting both these points. Christ admirably applied this passage to its true and genuine practical use; for when the devil would persuade him to command the stones to be made bread for the satisfaction of His hunger, He answered, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” etc., (Matthew 4:4,) as if he had said, There is in God’s hands another remedy, for even although He supply not food, He is still able to keep men in life by His will alone. But I touch upon this the more briefly, because I have more fully treated it in my Commentaries on “the Harmony of the Gospels.” (257) With the same object he adds, that their raiment was not worn out in so long a time, and that their shoes remained whole; viz., that they might be fully convinced, that whatever concerns the preservation of human life and man’s daily wants is so entirely in God’s hands, that not only its enjoyment, but even its continuance and being, depend upon His blessing.