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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Test Acts

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also called CORPORATION ACTS, the popular name given to two English statutes imposing certain oaths on the holders of public offices. Acts 13 Charles II, c. 2, directs that all magistrates shall take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy, as well as an oath renouncing the doctrine that it is lawful to take arms against the king; and provides that they must receive the communion according to the rites of the Church of England within a year before election. Acts 25 Charles II, c. 1., imposed the like conditions on the holders of all public offices, civil and military, and obliged them, in addition, to abjure all belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation. These acts which were practically evaded to a large extent by means of an act of indemnity passed every year, were repealed by 9 George IV, c. 17, in so far as regarded the administration of the sacrament, for which a declaration set forth in that act was substituted. A statute of William IV substituted a declaration for an oath in most government offices. A new form of oath has been substituted for the oaths of supremacy, allegiance, and abjuration by 21 and 22 Victoria, c. 48. Chambers's Encyclop. s.v.; see Skeats, Hist. of Free Churches of England (see Index).

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Test Acts'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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