5. Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.
5. Et e medio ejus similitudo quatuor animalium, et hic aspectus eorum, similitudo hominis ipsis.
I have already explained why God showed four angels to his Prophet under the form of four animals. It was necessary to turn a little aside from the sanctuary, since the whole legal worship was obnoxious to the profane. God therefore descends, as it were, from heaven, and appears familiarly on earth, as if he would say that he reigned not only above among his angels, but that he exercised his power here, because angels are engaged on earth, and are connected with all regions of the globe; and the conclusion is, that God's providence is everywhere diffused. He says, these animals have the likeness of a man, which does not seem in accordance with the rest of the context. He will immediately say that each animal had four heads, then that their feet were round or like those of a calf, as some interpret it: but here he says they have the form of a man, and the solution is, that the first feet are like those of a man, although in some respects different; nor is it doubtful that cherubim were beheld by the Prophet as angels of God. Wings also do not suit human nature, but he means, that they had the usual human stature: although they are not entirely like human beings, yet there is much likeness in their general appearance: and now we understand why it is said that the likeness was human.
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