29. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill; because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.
29. Et a me positum est, hoc est, onitur, edictum, 1 ut omnis populus, natio, 2 et lingua quae protulerit aliquid transversum, 3 contra Deum ipsorum, nempe Sadrach, Mesach, et Abednego, in frusta fiet, et domus ejus in latrinam, vel, in sterquilinium, redigetur: quia non est Deus alius qui possit servare hoc modo.
Here Nebuchadnezzar is urged further forward -- for we must use this phrase -- since he does not take up the worship of one God from his heart, and bid his errors finally farewell. Hence it is as if God was thrusting him violently forward, while he promulgates this edict. The edict is by itself pious and praiseworthy; but, as we have already said, Nebuchadnezzar is borne along by a blind and turbulent impulse, because piety had no root in his heart. Though he is always intent on this miracle, his faith is only momentary, and his fear of God but partial. Why then is Nebuchadnezzar now seen as the patron of God's glory? Because he was frightened by the miracle, and thus being acted on by impulse alone, he could not; be soundly restrained by the fear of God alone. And finally, this desire which he expresses is nothing but an evanescent movement. It is useful to remark this, since we see many born along by impetuous zeal and rage to vindicate God's glory; but they lack tact and judgment, so that they deserve no praise. And many wander still further -- as we see in the Papacy -- when many edicts of kings and princes fly about; and if any one should ask them why they are so eager as not to spare even human blood, they put forth indeed a zeal for God , but it is mere madness without a spark of true knowledge. We must hold, therefore, that no law can be passed nor any edict promulgated concerning religion and the worship of God, unless a real knowledge of God shines forth. Nebuchadnezzar indeed had a reason for this edict, but, as I have already said, there was a special motive for his conduct. Some, indeed, now wish to be thought Christian princes, and yet are only inflamed by a hypocritical zeal, and so they pour forth innocent blood like cruel beasts. And why so? Because they make no distinction between the true God and idols. But I shall discuss this point at greater length to-morrow, and so pass over casually what I shall treat at length, when the fit opportunity arrives.
1 Or, decree, -- we have already explained this word. -- Calvin.
2 Some translate, family. -- Calvin.