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Ezekiel 1:21

21. When those went, these went; and when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature was in the wheels.

21. Ambulando ambulebant: 4545     i.e. When the living creatures went, the wheels went, and when the one stood the other stood. — Calvin. et cum starent stabant: et cum elevarentur, 4646     This word, נשא, nesa, is correctly used for being lifted up from the earth, for he had said “raised” before without any addition. — Calvin. attollebantur rotae simul cum ipsis; quia spiritus animalis in rotis.


He continues the same sentence, that the wheels were fixed, not that they fell but stood without motion, which we know to be unnatural, for a wheel cannot stand on any part of its rim, but will either fall on one side or the other, or will roll on: for the Prophet says that the wheels were immovable. Whence it follows that their moving force was external to themselves. Afterwards he confirms the same by additional words. For as the living creatures and the wheels stood together, so they moved and were elevated together. Here the Prophet enlarges upon what he had just touched upon. For although the matter is obscure, yet this copiousness excites attention, and leads us to understand that the motion of the wheels is not uselessly transferred to the living creatures, and that the cause resides there: because if this had been said briefly, it might have been transmitted carelessly, but since the Prophet so often asserts the motion of the wheels to be derived from the living creatures, hence it follows that all changes of things which are seen in the world have their origin from some external source, as I have formerly said. The reason, too, is repeated — that the spirit of the living creatures or animals was in the wheels: for here as before there is an alteration in the number. Though the Prophet understood the spirit of the living creatures to be in the wheels, yet the wheels do not comprehend anything, but receive vigor, as the moon obtains its brightness from the sun. So we perceive that the wheels are impelled, not that the intelligence of the living creatures had been transfused through the wheels. For God does not give mind and judgment to either winter or summer, to either peace or war, to either the calm or the storm, the pestilence or anything else. What then? Neither air, nor earth, nor sea, have any rigor by themselves, unless so far as God by his angels directs the earth to this use, or while he bends the minds of men in one direction or the other, to either war or peace. Now, therefore, we clearly see the meaning of the spirit of the living creatures being in the wheels, viz., that God transfuses his influence through angels, so that not even a sparrow falls to the earth without his foresight, as Christ says, (Matthew 10:29; Luke 12:6.) Therefore, whenever the confusion of our affairs urges us to despair, let us try to remember this sentiment, that the spirit of the living creatures is in the wheels. And truly when we tremble in doubtful circumstances, what can we do but acquiesce in this doctrine — viz., that the end of everything will be according to God’s decree, because nothing is carried on without his permission, and that there, is no motion, no agitation under the heavens, unless he has inspired it by his angels. Now it follows —

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