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phecy. This twofold division runs through the whole ecclesiastical system, and is the foundation of that between the epistle and gospel sides of the church, of which so much is said by all writers on buildings and ceremonies, and who are evidently in total darkness as to the reason for it. Some of the Roman Catholics say that two lights signify the divine and human natures of our Lord; but two lights is a false emblem of this, because the two natures are not equal, nor the same in kind, whereas the two lights are
so: others say that there should be three, signifying each person of the Ever-Blessed Trinity; others that there should be four, signifying the three persons of the Godhead and the humanity of our Lord ; others that there should be seven ; and sometimes the whole end of the choir is covered with lights. These reasons are all incorrect; lights do not reveal or make manifest the Godhead; the Lord Jesus Christ alone reveals the Father, the unknown and unknowable Godhead. The Church is the revealer of Christ, and every thing in the Church must represent something which He does for accomplishing the great work of the redemption of the world. Sometimes lights are used by the Greeks and Romanists merely as an ornament, in the same way that men illuminate their houses to testify their joy at some national subject of rejoicing, such as victory by their armies or fleets, return of peace after war, &c.; and when the relation of a rich person dies, one of their churches is entirely lined with lighted candles, musicians and singers from the theatre are hired to play and sing, and priests are paid to perform some service under the pretext of benefiting the soul of the departed.
From the first moment when there was a house builded for God, He ordered it to be lighted with a lamp, and not to let light in by a window. In the first beginning of Christian church-worship lamps were employed. But, say the Protestant Rationalists, “ this was owing to necessity, because the Christians could only worship in subterraneous places, and therefore they must have had lights; but now that we have got churches with large windows, lamps are useless, and the necessity having ceased, the lamps should cease also, and they were only used to give light, and not as instruments of worship.” If a thing which originated from necessity must cease because the necessity ceased, the same argument is fatal to the use of ecclesiastical vestments ; at all events in Africa, and in all places under the torrid zone : the absurdity of such an argument is sufficiently obvious not to need further refutation. But let us now examine the fact, and see the historical knowledge and honesty of these would-be instructors in ecclesiastical ceremonies. It is not true that lamps were used for the sole purpose of giving light; for lamps have been found in the catacombs with crosses, and with the monogram of the sacred name and other Christian symbols upon them; and such lamps have never been discovered in any private dwelling or tomb. Moreover, St. Jerome says that the Greeks always lighted lamps when the Gospel was read, and expressly denies that it was for the purpose of giving light, but says that it was in order to express joy. The heathen poet Persius speaks of the lighting of lamps as a custom amongst the Jews in honour of Herod's birthday, and on this account the early Christians kept lamps lighted before the tombs of martyrs, for which the heretic Vigilantius attacked them. Now, it is very true that these many reasons given for burning lights, at many places and times, some of worship and some of reverence at which they were used, and that the arguments of the early Christians, even of St. Jerome himself, are most absurd ; for he says it is done in conformity with the passage of St. Paul to the Romans, that we should not sleep like blind men in darkness; yet all these reasons, attacks, and defences, equally disprove the false assertion of the Rationalists, that lights were only used at worship from necessity, which is all the matter now in hand. If it had been the custom of the early Christians to put sacred marks on lamps used for domestic purposes, they must have been more commonly discovered than those in catacombs, and yet not one was ever so found. The earliest Liturgy extant, called that of St. James, is in its present form of the fourth century, though existing long before. The mode of conducting worship as therein directed for the Syrian Churches remains to this day. In that age the Church abounded with controversies ; each disputant was ready to charge upon his opponent the sin of departure from apostolic doctrine and rites; but no such charge with respect to the matter in hand was ever made by either party : this silence is a proof of the universality of the custom amongst all equally, and hence of its having been the invariable custom from the beginning. “ The priest lays aside his ordinary habit, laves his hands, invests himself with the dress to be worn at the altar, prays for remission of sins, &c. &c.—The deacon, uncovering his head, lights a candle on the right of the altar, saying, “In Thy light shall we see light;? and on kindling the other, offers brief exhortations to lift up the mind for celestial illumination. While the priest puts incense into the censer, the congregation prays that it may be acceptable to the Holy Trinity. The priest then uncovers the gifts, and the deacon, taking the bread, presents it to the priest,” &c. &c. The Greek, Roman Catholic, and Lutheran Churches, have in them a true emblem, and one that is necessary to declare one part of the work of Christ to men, but having lost the true meaning of it, they have endeavoured to find out meanings, and have misapplied the emblem. It is not merely in religious doctrine that the Lord Jesus is the light, but on every subject which it is possible for the mind of man to embrace ; He is the true Solomon who is the very wisdom of God; who was with Him before the world was, and by whom all things were created. Light in the Church services is the witness that religion cannot be separated from science; that kings and statesmen cannot bless the nations under them, save as they learn wisdom from the Church; that all worldly knowledge which is not based upon religious knowledge is bastard knowledge, —and on this point Protestants are grown infidel, and, perhaps, their having cast out the burning of lights from the services of God's house may have gone to encourage, if not to produce, this proud exaltation of man's natural powers. The Lord Jesus, then, the enlightener through the twofold stream of apostleship and prophecy, is that which the above-named Churches do well, albeit unwittingly, to testify to, and to manifest, by a lamp burning on either side of the altar, the enlightener through the Church.