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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
Every candidate for admission to holy orders in the Church of England is required to present to the bishop a testimonial of good conduct from his college, or from three beneficed clergymen. The usual form of this document is as follows: "Whereas our well-beloved in Christ, A. B., hath declared to us his intention of offering himself a candidate for the sacred office of [a deacon], and for that end hath requested of us letters testimonial of his learning and good behavior, we, therefore, whose names are hereunto subscribed, do testify that the said A. B., having been previously known to us for the space of [three] years last past, hath, during that time, lived piously, soberly, and honestly, and diligently applied himself to his studies: nor hath he at any time, so far as we know and believe, held, written, or taught anything contrary to the doctrine or discipline of the united Church of England and Ireland; and, moreover, we believe him in our consciences to be a person worthy to be admitted to the sacred order of Deacons. In witness whereof," etc.
A similar testimonial is required from candidates by the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States. As this is one of the safeguards which ecclesiastical rule has established to preserve the purity of its ministers, it would be a fatal error to allow it to become a mere matter of form. No conscientious man can safely sign such a document unless fully assured of-the facts to which he bears such solemn testimony.
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Testimonial'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/t/testimonial.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.