15. Now I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth, by the living creatures, with his four faces.
15. Et aspexi animalia,1 ecce rota una in terra prope animalia ad quatuor ad faciem cujusque.
Now the Prophet descends to the wheels which were joined to the living creatures. Each had a double wheel, as we shall see afterwards -- that is, one wheel rolling upon another. The Prophet did not notice at one glance that the wheels stood near the living creatures, and this is occasioned by the magnitude of the vision. For although he was attentive, and God doubtless gave him understanding by his Spirit, and although he was taken up, as it were, into heaven, yet inasmuch as he could not at once embrace so great a vision he was convicted of infirmity. Then this wonderful secret was set before him, that he might attend to the whole spectacle with greater reverence. He says, therefore, when he had fixed his eyes upon the living creatures, immediately the wheels appeared. He uses indeed the singular number, but afterwards declares, there were four wheels. And now he removes all doubt: behold, says he, one wheel -- how one wheel? thus, near each living creature, at right angles, at the face of each.2 We see, then, that there was a wheel to each animal: this is easily gathered from the Prophet's words. I explained yesterday what God meant to represent to his servant and to us by these wheels: namely, the changes which constantly occur in the world. For if we consider what the condition of the world is, we may correctly compare it to a sea, and even a tempestuous one. For as the sea is subject to opposite winds, and hence storms are excited, so also since there is nothing firm or calm in the world, its condition is a perpetual change like the turning of a wheel. The wheels stood near the Angels, because the world is governed by the secret inspiration of God. When all things seem to roll round by a blind and rash chance, yet God has his servants who regulate all their motions, so that nothing is confused, nothing discomposed. This, then, is the reason why the wheels went forward and stood near the Angels, as he immediately repeats again. Now follows --
1 That is, while I was beholding the living creatures. -- Calvin.
2 Latin, ad quatuor adfaciem cujusque, by which Calvin seems to mean that each wheel intersected another at right angles, the four spherical parts thus becoming four faces or sides. The French translation has in the text aux quatre, and in the comments a quatre a la face d' un chacun.
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