on Matthew 8 :34
The whole city came out - Probably with the intention to destroy Jesus for having destroyed their swine; but, having seen him, they were awed by his presence; and only besought him to depart from their borders. Many rather chose to lose Jesus Christ than those temporal goods by which they gratify their passions at the expense of their souls. They love even their swine better than their salvation.
Certain doctors in both sciences, divinity and physic, gravely tell us that these demoniacs were only common madmen, and that the disease was supposed, by the superstitious Jews, to be occasioned by demons. But, with due deference to great characters, may not a plain man be permitted to ask, by what figure of speech can it be said that "two diseases besought - went out - filled a herd of swine - rushed down a precipice?" etc. What silly trifling is this! Some people's creeds will neither permit God nor the devil to work; and, in several respects, hardly to exist. For he who denies Divine inspiration, will scarcely acknowledge diabolic influence. See the note on Matthew 8:16, and see on Luke 7:21 (note).
It is said, The whole city came out to meet Jesus. This means no more than all the inhabitants of that place, which, most probably, was no more than a small country village; or perhaps but a few houses. I have observed that the inhabitants of the Zetland Isles, in the North Seas, denominate any collection of houses a town, even where there are but three or four: and thus I think that the Jews denominated their villages, often calling them cities.
on Matthew 8 :34
The whole city came out - The people of the city probably came with a view of arresting him for the injury done to the property; but, seeing him, and being awed by his presence, they only besought him to leave them.
Out of their coasts - Out of their country.
1. That the design of Satan is to prejudice people against the Saviour, and even to make what Christ does an occasion why they should desire him t leave them.
2. The power of avarice. These people preferred their property to the Saviour. They loved it so much that they were blind to the evidence of the miracle, and to the good he had done to the miserable people whom he had healed.
It is no uncommon thing for people to love the world so much; to love property - even like that owned by the people of Gadara so much as to see no beauty in religion and no excellence in the Saviour; and, rather than part with it, to beseech Jesus to withdraw from them. The most grovelling employment, the most abandoned sins, the most loathsome vices, are often loved more than the presence of Jesus, and more than all the blessings of his salvation.
Remarks On Matthew 8
1. The leprosy, the disease mentioned in this chapter, is a suitable representation of the nature of sin. Like that, sin is loathsome; it is deep fixed in the frame; penetrating every part of the system; working its way to the surface imperceptibly, but surely; loosing the joints, and consuming the sinews of moral action; and adhering to the system until it terminates in eternal death. It goes down from age to age. It shuts out men from the society of the pure in heaven; nor can man be admitted there until God has cleansed the soul by his Spirit, and man is made pure and whole.
2. The case of the centurion is a strong instance of the nature and value of humility, Matthew 8:5-10. He sustained a fair character, and had done much for the Jews. Yet he had no exalted conception of himself. Compared with the Saviour, he felt that he was unworthy that he should come to his dwelling. So feels every humble soul. "Humility is an estimate of ourselves as we are." It is a willingness to be known, and talked of, and treated just according to truth. It is a view of ourselves as lost, poor, and wandering creatures. Compared with other people with angels, with Jesus, and with God - it is a feeling by which we regard ourselves as unworthy of notice. It is a readiness to occupy our appropriate station in the universe, and to put on humbleness of mind as our proper array, 1 Peter 5:5.
3. We have in the case of the centurion an equally beautiful exhibition of "faith." He had unwavering confidence in the power of Jesus. He did not doubt at all that he was able to do for him just what he "needed, and what he wished him to do." This is faith; and every man who has this "trust" or confidence in Christ for salvation, has "saving faith."
4. Humility and faith are always connected. The one prepares the mind for the other. Having a deep sense of our weakness and unworthiness, we are prepared to look to Him who has strength. Faith also produces humility. Jesus was humble; and believing on him, we catch his spirit and learn of him, Matthew 11:28-30. Compared with him, we see our unworthiness. Seeing his "strength," we see our "feebleness;" seeing "his" strength exerted to save creatures impure and ungrateful as we are, we sink away into an increased sense of our unfitness for his favor.
5. We see the compassion and kindness of Jesus, Matthew 8:16-17. He has borne "our" heavy griefs. He provides comfort for us in sickness and sustains us in dying. But for his merciful arm, we should sink; and dying, we should die without hope. But:
"Jesus can make a dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are;
on Matthew 8 :34
8:34 They besought him to depart out of their coasts - They loved their swine so much better than their souls! How many are of the same mind!