8. And there appeared in the cherubims the form of a man's hand under their wings.
8. Et visa est ipsis cherubim similitudo manus hominis sub alis
I will now pass rapidly over what I explained more copiously in the first chapter, lest I should burden you with vain repetition. I said that hands appeared under the wings, that the Prophet might understand the great vigor of angels for action: but in the meantime it marked the agreement of their agitation with the obedience which they offer to God. For doubtless wings in angels represent direction, by which God testifies that the angels have no proper or independent, motion, but are governed by his secret instinct: for wings signify something terrestrial and human. And it is clear that when wings were given to angels, by this symbol God's secret government was pointed out, (Colossians 1:16,) for they are not only called principalities, but powers. Since, therefore, God governs angels by his own will, he therefore wishes them to be represented in the sanctuary as winged. (Exodus 25:20, and Exodus 37:9.) Now, because there is no action without hands, the Prophet says that human hands appeared under the wings: as if he had said, that this alacrity was not without its effect, because it was joined with operation, for we know that all functions are designated by this word in Scripture. It is then as if he said, that the angels were winged, since they were animated by the secret virtue of God, and had no motion in themselves; then that they were apt and fit for exercising the functions committed to them, because they were endued with hands. But he says that those hands lay hid under their wings, because angels do not take up anything rashly, as men take up a matter vigorously, but without choice. He says, then, that their hands were covered by the wings, because angels undertake nothing rashly nor without consideration, but every operation of theirs depends on that secret government of God of which I have spoken. It follows --