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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Oaths of Allegiance And Supremacy

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The appointment of these oaths was a measure, of defense against the pretensions and practices of Romanism.

1. The Oath of Allegiance (1606), or of submission to the king as temporal sovereign, independently of any earthly power, took its rise from the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot. The Oath of Allegiance is as follows:

"I, A B, do sincerely promise and swear that I will be faithful, and bear true allegiance to her majesty queen Victoria. So help me God."

2. The Oath of Supremacy (1559) was connected with the Act of Supremacy, which was entitled "An Act for restoring to the crown the ancient jurisdiction over the state ecclesiastical, and abolishing all foreign power repugnant to the same." It was the same in effect with an act passed in the reign of Henry VIII, but fell short of that in point of severity. The oath was enjoined to be taken by all ecclesiastics, on penalty of forfeiting their promotions, and of being incapable of holding any public office. The taking of this oath was enforced by a stringent act of Parliament in 1563. The Oath of Supremacy is "I, A B, do swear that I do from my heart abhor, detest, and abjure, as impious and heretical, that damnable doctrine and position that princes excommunicated or deprived by the pope, or any authority of the see of Rome, may be deposed or murdered by their subjects or any other whatsoever. And I do declare that no .foreign prince, person, prelate, state, or potentate, hath or ought to have any jurisdiction, power, pre-eminence, or authority, ecclesiastical or spiritual, within this realm. So help me God" (1 Will. and Mary, cap. 8).

Dispensations for violating oaths form one of the most frightful features of popery. Many theologians and canonists in that Church have inculcated this doctrine. Quotations might be given to this effect from Bailly, Dens, Cajetan, Aquinas, Bernard, and the Jesuits. One specimen may be taken from Dens, whose work is a standard of popery in Ireland. He says a confessor "should assert his ignorance of the truths which he knows only by sacramental confession, and confirm his assertion, if necessary, by oath. Such facts he is to conceal, though the life or safety of a man, or the destruction of the state, depended on the disclosure." The reason assigned is as extraordinary as the doctrine itself: "The confessor is questioned and answers as a man. This truth, however, he knows not as man, but-as God." See Willett, Synop. Pap. (Index in vol. vii).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Oaths of Allegiance And Supremacy'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/o/oaths-of-allegiance-and-supremacy.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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