Ezekiel 1:9

9. Their wings were joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward.

9. Societae erant quaeque ad aliam alarum:1 ipsorum animalium non revertebantur in gradiendo:2 vir,3 versus faciem suam ex opposite4 incedebant.


He says the wings were conjoined, which he soon more clearly explains: for he will say that the wings were joined together, and that two were so extended that they clothed or ruled the whole body: but here he touches shortly upon what he will soon treat more at length. Their wings then were so joined together that one touched the other: and afterwards he adds, they so went forward that they did not return; and he seems to contradict himself when he afterwards says the animals ran like lightning and then returned: but these two things are not inconsistent, for he will soon add the explanation: namely, that the animals so go forward that they proceed in a perpetual course towards their own end or goal, but it does not follow that they afterwards rest there. Therefore when the animals proceed, they do not turn aside in either one direction or another, nor do they turn back, but go straight on in their destined course afterwards, like lightning, yet they have different meetings: and what this means we have no time to explain now, but must defer it till tomorrow.


Almighty God, since by our dullness we are so fixed down to earth that, when thou stretchest forth thine hand to us, we cannot reach forth to thee, grant, that being roused up by thy Spirit, we may learn to raise our affections to thee, and to strive against our sluggishness, until by a nearer approach thou mayest become so familiarly known to us, that at length we may arrive at the fruition of full and perfect glory laid up for us in heaven, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Lecture Third

We must now see why the Prophet says, each animal walked onwards, or in the direction of his face. I simply interpret it in a straight course, so that they neither wandered nor declined to either the right hand or the left. For those who turn the face on one side or the other, often stumble, and thus decline from the right way: there was therefore such attention in the animals, that they always kept their object in view, and never bent from their fixed purpose. Hence we see that a fixed, and, as we say, inflexible rule in divine actions is here commended. Men often change their places, and fluctuate, and when they have any purpose, if a different thought strike them, they are carried back again, as if they had forgotten themselves. But God wishes to show that his actions are so arranged, that they have nothing in them either crooked or erroneous. For we have said that angels are represented by these living creatures; and under the image of angels the government of the whole world is signified, because it must be held, that they are, as it were, the hands of God, since he used them in obedience to his will.

1 That is, each wing was connected with the next wing. -- Calvin.

2 That is, when they moved, they did not turn back. -- Calvin

3 Or each, sya -- that is, each animal. -- Calvin.

4 Literally, in the direction of its face. -- Calvin.


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