Lamps (their use in the Christian Church). Among the Jews lamps were freely used in the synagogue for freely used in the synagogue for various purposes. In fact, all the ancient nations had them in their temples; but how soon they were made use of by Christians, and what significance they had in symbolism, remians a matter of dispute between the Romish and Protestant churches. The Protestants generally hold that there is no evidence that lamps were used in the early Church for any other purpose than to light up the dark places where they were obliged to congregate for worship, whicle Romanists claim that they were used as sumbols. (Compare, on the Roman Catholic view, Martigny, Dict. Des Antiquites Chretiennes, page 151, s.v. Cierges; see also the art. LIGHTS SEE LIGHTS .) Several of the fathers, among them Chrysostom, condemn in strong terms the custom of setting up lamps on days of festival as the relic of some pagan rite. In the days of Jerome, it its true, lights were freely used in churches, but Romish theologians forget to tell that the propriety of the custom was much questioned even then. In graves of the Catacombs "lambs were often placed," says Walcott (Sacred Archaeology, s.v.), "as a symbol of the eternal light which the departed, it is hoped, enjoy as memorials of their shining lights before men, and their future glory" (Mt 13:43). But it is evident that even this custom was early diapproved of, for the Council of Eilbaris forbade the faithful, on pain of excommunication, lighting wax candles in the daytime in cemeteries or other burial-places of the martyrs (compare Eadie, Eccles. Dict. page 367). In our day it is the custom in the Roman Catholic churches to keep a lamp (eternal light) constantly burning before or by the side of the tabernacle. (J.H.W.)

"Lamps." topical outline.

Bible concordance for LAMP.

Definition of lamp

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