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Calvin's Commentaries 
From the Harmony of the Gospels (Volume XVI)
Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10 

Matthew 15:32. I have compassion on the multitude. Here a miracle is related not unlike another which we have lately explained. The only difference is, that on the former occasion Christ satisfied five thousand men with five loaves and two fishes, while, on the present occasion, four thousand men are fed with seven loaves and a few small fishes; and that twelve baskets were then filled with fragments, while out of a greater abundance a smaller portion is left. Let us learn from this, that the power of God is not restricted to means or outward assistance, and that it is all one with Him whether there be much or little, as Jonathan said when speaking of his own moderate army and the vast multitude of enemies: 

there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few, 
(1 Samuel 14:6.) 

As the blessing of God can make one loaf suffice as well as twenty for satisfying a great multitude, so, if that be wanting, a hundred loaves will not be a sufficient meal for ten men; for when the staff of bread is broken, (Leviticus 26:26,) though the flour should come in full weight from the mill, and the bread from the oven, it will serve no purpose to stuff the belly. The three daysí fasting, of which Christ speaks, must not be understood to mean that they had eaten nothing for three days; but that in desert places they had few conveniences, and must have wanted their ordinary food. Besides, in those warm countries, hunger is less keen than in our thick and cold atmosphere; and, therefore, we need not wonder that they should abstain longer from food. 

33. Whence shall we obtain so many loaves in a solitary place? The disciples manifest excessive stupidity in not remembering, at least, that earlier proof of the power and grace of Christ, which they might have applied to the case in hand. As if they had never seen any thing of the same sort, they forget to apply to him for relief. There is not a day on which a similar indifference does not steal upon us; and we ought to be the more careful not to allow our minds to be drawn away from the contemplation of divine benefits, that the experience of the past may lead us to expect for the future the same assistance which God has already on one or more occasions bestowed upon us.