20. This is the living creature that I saw under the God of Israel by the river of Chebar; and I knew that they were the cherubims.
20. Ipsum est animal quod vide-ram subtus Deum Israel in fluvio Chebar: et cognovi quod cherubim esscut.
He repeats what we have seen before, namely, that one vision was offered twice, because God wished to mark distinctly what otherwise had been doubtful. The Prophet indeed was sufficiently persuaded that God had appeared to him, but the confirmation of it was not in vain, because he would have to sustain great conflicts. Meanwhile it must be observed, that the vision was confirmed a second time, not for the private advantage of a single person, but that this drawing attention to it might profit the whole people, or at any rate render those without excuse who so despised the favor of God, so manifest and so clearly laid open to them. He says, therefore, this was the living creature which he had seen under the God of Israel. In the first chapter he related that there was a throne in the open firmament of heaven, where he sat who was like a man in external form, and yet was not a man. There we saw that the true and only God was alluded to, and yet that this description could not apply to the Father, but necessarily belonged to the Son. These two things then are to be borne in mind: and the Prophet here takes away all doubt when he names the God of Israel like a man, which could not apply to the person of the Father. That likeness then ought, to be agreed upon among the pious. Controversy, therefore, on this point ought not be engaged in; for Sabellius, who took away the distinction of persons, was sufficiently refuted by his own extravagance. Since, therefore, the Father never put on the form or likeness of man, and it is nowhere read in the Scriptures that. he is compared to a man, we must explain this of Christ. And now Ezekiel bears witness that he is the God of Israel. We see, therefore, how foolishly the triflers of our day babble who desire to disturb the Churches by making Christ a sort of deity transfused from the substance of the Father. They confess, indeed, that he is God, but this confession is a mere pretense,1 since they say that the God of Israel means God the Father, and that the title cannot apply to either the Son or the Spirit. The Spirit, therefore, is mistaken when he says by the Prophet's mouth, the God of Israel appeared in human form. This place, therefore, is remarkable for refuting that delusion by which foolish men fatigue themselves and others: while they allow Christ to be God, yet they deprive him of his true deity, because they say that it is derived from the Father.
He says also, that he knew them to be cherubim. Now although he knew that God had appeared to him before, yet he had no certain knowledge concerning the living creatures, for with regard to them he remained in suspense; but now after God has familiarly explained to him the vision in the temple, he says, that he was taught that they were cherubim. So what we said yesterday is confirmed, that the face of the ox was changed into that of a cherub, so that the Prophet understood that angels were pointed out under the form of cherubim, even those which surrounded the ark of the covenant. Let us proceed --
1 The Latin is, "merus est fucus:" the French, "mats ce n'est que toute tromperie:" Anglice, "all trash." -- Tr.
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