The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Father Lapide’s Commentary on Matthew 8:28-34

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 26, 2016

Mat 8:28 And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way.

And when he was come on the other side, &c. This miracle of healing the demoniac is given with greater fulness by S. Luke. The commentary, therefore, upon it will be given in S. Luk_8:27-40.

Mat 8:29 And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? Mat 8:30 And there was, not far from them, a herd of many swine feeding.
Mat 8:31 And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine.
Mat 8:32 And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters.
Mat 8:33 And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.
Mat 8:34 And behold the whole city went out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart from their coast.


Art thou come hither to torment us before the time? From these words some have thought that the devils have not yet received the extreme punishment of their offences, and that they will not be condemned to be tormented in hell before the Day of Judgment. S. Hilary has been thought to be of this opinion, by saying (Can. 8), “It cried out, why should He grudge them their position? (in the demoniac) why should He attack them before the time of judgment?” The same opinion is by some ascribed to S. Irenæus, Justin, Lactantius, Eusebius, Nicephorus; but I have found nothing of the kind in their writings. And the words of S. Hilary do not bear that meaning, but only say what S. Matthew relates.

For it is certain from Scripture and the Fathers that the devils, from the beginning of the world were condemned as soon as they sinned, and were tormented in the fire of hell. For by that fire they are tormented, even when they are away from it, having gone forth from hell, and taken up their abode in the air. This is brought about by the omnipotence of God. The fire of hell is a supernatural instrument of the omnipotent God, hence by the will of God, it can operate in the most distant places.

When therefore they said to Christ, Art thou come, &c., they did not speak of the ancient, perpetual, irrevocable torment of hell fire, but they deprecated any new torment being inflicted upon them by Christ. This new torment was their expulsion from the bodies of those whom they were in the habit of possessing, as S. Chrysostom says, and their banishment to the prison-house of hell.



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