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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Conventicle Act

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an act of the British Parliament, passed in 1664. It enacted that only five persons above sixteen years of age, besides the family, were to meet for any worship, domestic or social. The first offense on the part of him who officiated was three months' imprisonment, or five pounds' fine; the second, six months' imprisonment, or ten pounds; the third offense was transportation for life, or a fine of one hundred pounds. Those who permitted conventicles to be held in their barns, houses, or outhouses, were liable to the same forfeitures; and married women taken at such meetings were to be imprisoned for twelve months, unless their husbands paid forty shillings for their redemption. The power of enforcing the act was lodged in the hands of a single justice of the peace, who might proceed, without the verdict of a jury, on the bare oath of an informer. In consequence of this act, houses were broken open, goods and cattle distrained, persons arrested, and the jails in the different counties filled with those who had been guilty of no other misdemeanor, but that of assembling together to worship God, or listen to the exposition of his holy word. Buck:, Theol. Dictionary, s.v.; Neal, History of the Puritans, part 4, ch. 7; Orme, Life of Baxter, 1:221, 254.

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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Conventicle Act'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/c/conventicle-act.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Conventicle