[14 March, 1659/60.]
Persons appointed to benefices and public lectures to be approved as fit.; Names of Commissioners for approbation; Their powers herein.
Forasmuch as it is the Duty and Interest of Magistrates to take
Care of the Church and of the Provision of godly and able Ministers
for it, Be it enacted that every Person who shall from and after the
fifteenth day of March, One thousand six hundred fifty and nine,
be presented, nominated, chosen or appointed to any Benefice
formerly called Benefice with Care of Souls, or to preach any
Publick settled Lecture in England or Wales, shall before he be
admitted into any such Benefice or Lecture, be judged and approved
by the Persons hereafter named, to be a Person of godly life and
sufficient abilities for the work of the Ministry, and a Person ordained
thereunto. And that no Person to be presented after the said
fifteenth day of March, but such as shall be so approved and admitted,
shall be a publick Preacher, or take or receive any such Benefice
as aforesaid or the Profits thereof. And be it further Enacted, That
Doctor Reynolds, Mr. Calamye, Mr. Manton, Mr. Ash, Mr. Haviland, Mr. Jacombe, Mr. Jenkin, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Case, Dr. Spurstow,
Mr. Bates, Mr. Poole, Mr. Woodcock, Dr. Drake, Mr. Nalton, Mr.
Whitaker, Mr. Guibon, Mr. Carryl, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Row, Mr.
Sangar, Mr. Sheffeild, Mr. Barker, Mr. Watson, Mr. Taylor, Mr.
Lye, Mr. Ralph Breddock, Mr. George Griffith, Mr. John Meriton.
Doctor Horton, Doctor Annesley, shall be and are hereby nominated,
constituted and appointed Commissioners for such approbation
and admission as is aforesaid; And the said Commissioners, or
any five or more of them met together in London, are hereby
authorized to Judge and take knowledge of the ability and fitness
of any Person so presented, nominated chosen or appointed, according to the Qualification above-mentioned; And upon their approbation of such his ability and fitness, to Grant unto such Person
admission to such Benefice or Lecture by an Instrument in
Writing under a Common Seal to be appointed by the said
Commissioners or any five of them, and under the hand of the
Register, for the time being to be also nominated by the said
Commissioners or the greater number of them; which Instrument the said Register shall cause to be entred in a Book for
that purpose, and kept upon Record.
Persons admitted entitled to all stipends etc., belonging to lecture.
And it is hereby Enacted. That the said Person so admitted
into any such Benefice, shall be Possessor and perfect Incumbent
to all intents and purposes of the same, and intituled thereby to
all the Profits, Perquisites, Rights and Dues incident and belonging thereunto as also the Person that shall be so admitted to any
Lecture as aforesaid, shall be thereby enabled (according to the
Establishment and Constitution of such Lecture) to preach
therein, and to have and receive the Stipend or Profits to such
Proviso concerning negative votes.; Patrons of benefices void now and hereafter within six months to present fit successor to said Commissioners.
Provided alwaies, That no person who shall be nominated or
presented for approbation as aforesaid shall be concluded by any
Vote of the said Commissioners which shall passe in the negative
as to his approbation, unless for reasonable cause, and that nine
or more of the said Commissioners be present at such Vote; And
that the names of the Refusers be registred in a Book to be kept
for that purpose, whereunto any Person may resort.
On default presentation to lapse to Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
And it is further Enacted, That all Patrons of any Benefices
that are now void, shall within six moneths next after the 15th
day of March aforesaid, and of any Benefice that shall hereafter
be void, within six moneths next after the avoydance of the same,
Present unto the said Commissioners or any five of them, some
fit Person to be admitted; and for default of such Presentation
within that time, the Presentation for that Turn shall devolve
by Lapse unto the Chancellor and Scholars of the Universities
of Oxford and Cambridge respectively, according to the Distribution of the Statute in the Case of Popish Recusants, in the third
year of the late King James, Chapter the fifth.
Provided that the Patrons, any time before the University have
presented, may have the same Liberty to present their Clarks
after the six moneths Lapse incurred, as according to Law they
might have done in former times.
Remedies of Patrons against the Commissioners.
And be it further Enacted, That the Patron or Patrons shall
have the same remedy against the Commissioners aforesaid, as in
like case he or they had against the Ordinary heretofore, and also
against Disturbers; And that in case of suit to be had against the
Commissioners, it shall be sufficient without naming any Person,
to bring such suit against them by the name of Commissioners
for approbation and admission of Ministers and Process against
them shewn to, and a Copy thereof delivered by the Sheriff or
his Ministers to the Register, shall be a sufficient serving of such
Process, and shall be a sufficient Warrant for the Sheriff to return
the Process served.
Provided also, and be it hereby Enacted, That the Courts in which
such suits shall be, are hereby respectively enabled to award any
Writ to the Sheriff of the County where such Benefice or Lecture
shall be, for the putting of any Clark into possession, as heretofore
they might have done to any Bishop or Metropolitan.
Commissioners may appoint proxies for examination of presentees.; During vacancy of benefices may employ; revenues for providing temporary preachers.; Requirements of persons admitted to such benefice or lecture.; Augmentations.; Proviso.
Be it further Enacted, That the said Commissioners or any nine
of them, shall have power by writing under their Seal, to nominate
four or more persons of known Piety and Learning, for and in
every County of England and Wales, who, or any three of them so
nominated in their respective Counties, shall have power to examine
such Person as shall be presented or nominated to any Benefice,
or is to be admitted to any Lecture within the said respective Counties
touching his fitness and abilities for the same, and to Certifie in
writing with their names subscribed, their Opinion and Judgement
thereupon to the Commissioners herein named; And in case that
Certificate shall be made of the fitness and ability of such Person,
the Commissioners shal proceed thereupon to admit him, as fully
to all intents as if that he had been examined and approved by
themselves. And it is further Enacted, That during the vacancy
of such Benefices, in default of such Presentation, the said Commissioners or any five or more of them, have hereby Authority to
sequester the Fruits and Profits thereof, for providing an able and
godly Preacher to serve the Cure, and giving him a reasonable
allowance, rendring the Over-plus to the next Incumbent. And
be it further declared and Enacted, That no person shall be admitted
unto such Benefice or Lecture, unless he bring with him a Testimonial or Certificate from three Ministers of the Gospel, of known
piety and learning, and do also give satisfaction of his fitness to the
said Commissioners or any five of them. And whereas for the
better maintenance of Preaching Ministers, several Augmentations
have been heretofore granted, Be it further Enacted, That all
Person or persons to whom after the said 15th day of March, any
Augmentation shall be granted, before he or they receive the same,
shall obtain the approbation of the said Commissioners or five of
them, as a person qualified, as is before mentioned; And in case
of approbation, such approbation shall be entred by the said Register,
who under his hand shall also signifie the same to such person or
persons as are or shall be authorized to pay such Augmentation,
who are hereby required and authorized from time to time to pay
the person or persons so approved, such Augmentation as shall be
granted as aforesaid unto him or the place where he preacheth,
taking his or their Acquittances for the same. Provided, and it
is hereby declared, that this Act, or anything therein contained,
shall not be construed to extend unto any Benefices Ecclesiasticall,
that were not presentative before the Ordinance for the Abolition
of Bishops, nor to any Lectures preacht or read in any of the Universities or other Colledges.
Parochial ministers to perform their duties according to directory.
Provided also, and be it hereby Enacted, That all Ministers having
Parochial Charge, do read the Scriptures, Preach, Administer the
Sacrament of Baptisme and the Lords Supper, Catechize and perform all other Duties according to the Directory for the Publick
Worship of God, established by Ordinance of Parliament the third
of January, 1644.
Fees for approbation and admission.
Provided also, and be it hereby Enacted, That the Fees upon
every Approbation and Admission, be only Thirteen shillings and
Four pence; that is, To the Register, six shillings eight pence only;
and the other six shillings eight pence to be disposed of for the defraying of incident Charges, as the said Commissioners or any five
of them shall appoint.
Power to such Commissioners proxies as are ordained ministers to ordain preaching ministers according to Ord. of 29 Aug., 1648.; Heads of houses and others in the Universities, if ordained ministers, to have like power.
And be it further Enacted and Ordained, That such Persons or
any five or more of them that the Commissioners in this Act named,
from time to time according to the Instructions mentioned in this
Act, shall nominate and appoint in the respective Counties of England and Wales, for the approving of Preaching Ministers unto
Livings, with Cure and Lectures in their respective Counties, shall
from time to time have Power and Authority; And are hereby
authorized to ordain Preaching Ministers in their respective Counties
according to the Form and Directions of an Ordinance of the Lord
and Commons in Parliament assembled of the 29th of August,
1648. Intituled, The Form of Church-Government to be used in
England and Ireland, so as such Persons, nominated as aforesaid,
be Ordained Ministers. And be it further Enacted and Ordained,
that the publick Professors of Divinity, and the Divinity Lecturers,
and the Heads of the Houses respectively, in the respective Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or any five or more of them,
being Ministers Ordained, shall from time to time have power and
authority, and are hereby authorized to Ordain Preaching Ministers
in the said respective Universities, according to the Form and
Directions of the said Ordinance of the Lords and Commons of the
29 of August, 1648.
Said Ord. of 29 Aug., 1864, to be in force.; Clause therein concerning division of counties into Classical Presbyteries to be put in execution.; Division of University colleges and balls likewise.; Continuance of Act.
And be it further Enacted, That the said Ordinance of the 29. of
August, 1648. Intituled, The Form of Church-Government to be
used in England and Ireland, shall stand and be in force, and put
in Execution. And whereas in the said Ordinance of Lords and
Commons, bearing Date the 29. Day of August, 1648. there was
a Clause inserted for the Dividing of the several Counties of England
and Wales into distinct Classical Presbyteries, where they were not
already divided, which was not put in Execution accordingly, by
reason whereof that work remains yet undone. Be it therefore
Enacted, That the several Justices of the Peace in the respective
Counties, Cities, and places, within England and Wales, or any five
or more of them, of the several Counties of England and Wales,
with the assistance of such Ministers and others, as they shall think
fit, Do forthwith meet and consider how their several Counties
respectively may be most conveniently divided into distinct Classical
Presbyteries, where they are not already divided; and what Ministers and others are fit to be of each Classis: And they shall accordingly make such Division and Nomination of Persons, for each
Classical Presbytery: which Divisions and Persons so named for
every Division shall be certified by the said Commissioners to the
Lord Keeper, or Lords Commissioners for the Custody of the
Great Seal for the time being. And that the Chancellor, Vice
Chancellors, and Heads [of] the Universities, do likewise consider
how the Colledges and Halls may be put into Classical Presbyteries, and do certify the same up to the said Lord Keeper, or
Lords Commissioners for the Custody of the Great Seal. And
that the said Certificate be made before the 29. Day of September
next, which the Council of State is required to approve and confirm the same as they shall think fit, immediately upon receipt
of such Certificates, and cause the same to be Registred by the
Clark of the Commonwealth in Chancery. Provided, That this
Act and everything therein contained shall be and stand in force
onely untill the Parliament take further Order.