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Church in America, on this occasion. We think it sufficient, therefore, that they declare they know no impediment, but believe the person to be consecrated, is of a virtuous life and sound faith. We have sent you such a form as appears to us proper to be used for that purpose. More specific declarations must be made, by the members of the convention in each state from which the persons offered for consecration are respectively recommended. Their personal knowledge of them there can be no doubt of. We trust, therefore, they will have no objection to the adoption of the form of a testimonial which is annexed, and drawn up on the same principles, and containing the same attestations of personal knowledge with that above mentioned, as required previously to our ordinations. We trust we shall receive these testimonials signed by such a majority in each convention that recommend, as to leave no doubt of the fitness of the candidates upon the minds of those whose consciences are concerned in the consecration of them.
Thus much we have thought it right to communicate to you without reserve at present, intending to give you further information as soon as we are able. In the mean time, we pray God to direct your counsels in this very weighty matter, and are, Mr. President, and Gentlemen, your affectionate brethren,
Form of a Testimonial for Priest's Orders in England.
To the Right Rev. Father in God — by Divine Per
-, mission Lord Bishop of We, whose names are here underwritten, testify from our personal knowledge of the life and behaviour of A. B., for the space of three years last past, that he hath, during that time, lived piously, soberly, and honestly: Nor hath he at any time, as far as we know or believe, written, taught, or held, any thing contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the Church of England. And, moreover, we think him a person worthy to be admitted to the sacred order of priest. In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands. Dated the
in the year of our Lord
Testimony from the General Convention.
We, whose names are underwritten, fully sensible how important it is that the sacred office of a bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear our testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality or affection, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify, that A. B. is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report, either for error in religion or for viciousness of life, and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment or notable crime, on account of which he ought not to be consecrated to that holy office, but that he hath led his life, for the three years last past, piously, soberly, and honestly.
Testimony from the Members of the Convention in the State from whence the Person is recommended for Consecration.
We, whose names are underwritten, fully sensible how important it is that the sacred office of a bishop should not be unworthily conferred, and firmly persuaded that it is our duty to bear testimony on this solemn occasion without partiality or affection, do, in the presence of Almighty God, testify, that A. B. is not, so far as we are informed, justly liable to evil report either for error in religion or for viciousness of life; and that we do not know or believe there is any impediment or notable crime for which he ought not to be consecrated to that holy office. We do, moreover, jointly and severally declare, that having personally known him for three years last past, we do in our consciences believe him to be of such sufficiency in good learning, such soundness in the faith, and of such virtuous and pure manners and godly conversation, that he is apt and meet to exercise the office of a bishop, to the honour of God and the edifying of his Church, and to be an wholesome example to the flock of Christ.
No. 10. Page 120.
Communication from the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Canterbury, July 4, 1786. To the Committee of the General Convention, $c. &c. GENTLEMEN,
The enclosed act being now passed, I have the satisfaction of communicating it to you. It is accompanied by a copy of a letter, and some forms of testimonials, which I sent you by the packet of last month. It is the opinion here, that no more than three bishops should be consecrated for the United States of America ; who may consecrate others at their return, if more be found necessary.
But whether we can consecrate any, or not, must yet depend on the answers we may receive, to what we have written.
I am, your humble servant,
An Act to empower the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the
Archbishop of York, for the Time being, to Consecrate to the Office of a Bishop, Persons being Subjects or Citizens of Countries out of his Majesty's Dominions.
Whereas, by the laws of this realm no person can be consecrated to the office of a bishop, without the king's license for his election to that office, and the royal mandate under the great seal for his confirmation and consecration: And, whereas every person who shall be consecrated to the said office, is required to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and also the oath of due obedience to the archbishop: And, whereas there are divers persons subjects or citizens of countries out of his majesty's dominions, inhabiting and residing within the said countries, who profess the public worship of Almighty God according to the principles of the Church of England, and who, in order to provide a regular succession of ministers for the service of their Church, are desirous of having certain of the subjects or citizens of those countries consecrated bishops, according to the form of consecration in the Church of England: Be it enacted by the king's most excellent majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons in this present parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, that from and after the passing of this act, it shall and may be lawful to and for the archbishop of Canterbury, or the archbishop of York, for the time being, together with such other bishops as they shall call to their assistance, to consecrate persons being subjects or citizens of countries out of his majesty's dominions, bishops for the purposes aforesaid, without the king's license for their election, or the royal mandate under the great seal for their confirmation and consecration, and without requiring them to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, and the oath of due obedience to the archbishop for the time being. Provided always, that no persons shall be consecrated bishops in the manner herein provided, until the archbishop of Canterbury, or the archbishop of York, for the time being, shall have first applied for, and obtained his majesty's license, by warrant under his royal signet and sign manual, authorizing and empowering him to perform such consecration, and expressing the name or names of the persons so to be consecrated; nor until the said archbishop has been fully ascertained of their sufficiency in good learning, of the soundness of their faith, and of the purity of their manners. Provided also, and be it hereby declared, that no person or persons consecrated to the office of a bishop in the manner aforesaid, nor any person or persons deriving their consecration from or under any bishops so consecrated, nor any person or persons admitted to the order of deacon or priest by any bishop or bishops so consecrated, or by the successor or successors of any bishop or bishops so consecrated, shall be thereby enabled to exercise his or their respective office or offices within his majesty's dominions. Provided always, and be it further enacted, that a certificate of such consecration shall be given under the hand and seal of the archbishop who consecrates, containing the name of the person so consecrated, with the addition as well of the country whereof he is a subject or citizen, as of the Church in which he is appointed bishop, and the further description of his not having taken the said oaths, being exempted from the obligation of so doing by virtue of this act.
No. 11. Page 122.
Address to the Archbishops of Canterbury and York.
MOST WORTHY AND VENERABLE PRELATES,
In pursuance of your graces' communications to the standing committee of our Church, received by the June packet, and the letter of his grace the archbishop of Canterbury, of July the 4th, enclosing the act of parliament, “ to empower the archbishop of Canterbury, or the archbishop of York, for the time being, to consecrate to the office of a bishop, persons being subjects or citizens of countries out of his majesty's dominions," a General Convention, now sitting, have the honour of offering their unanimous and hearty thanks for the continuance of your Christian attention to this Church; and particularly for your having so speedily acquired a legal capacity, of complying with the prayer of our former addresses.
We have taken into our most serious and deliberate consideration, the several matters so affectionately recommended to us in those communications, and whatever could be done towards a compliance with your fatherly wishes and advice, consistently with our local circumstances, and the peace and unity of our Church, hath been agreed to; as, we trust, will appear from the enclosed act of our convention, which we have the honour to transmit to you, together with the journal of our proceedings.
We are, with great and sincere respect,
Your obedient and very humble servants,
SAMUEL PROVOOST, Pres't. In General Convention, At Wilmington, in the State of Delaware,
October 11th, 1786.