than demanding, and in some German states examination by the consistory was a mere formality once a patron had appointed the candidate to a church living, though this did not necessarily mean that he was unfit to do the job. In Presbyterian churches, presbyteries and ministerial conferences known as privy censures were better suited to ensure standards were maintained and to foster a sense of group identity. The imposition of bishops in Scotland by the Stuart monarchs between 1660 and 1690 did not entirely dismantle the Presbyterian system. After Presbyterianism was fully re-established in 1690, the examination by presbytery of students for the ministry (known as 'trials') was established by an act of the Scottish General Assembly in 1698. The Scottish model was predictably adopted in Ulster where, despite harassment by the Anglican authorities between 1660 and 1690, Presbyterians maintained a careful system of oversight by the presbytery, though in order to escape the notice of the state, the time and place of ordinations were kept from the congregation. In 1672, the general committee drafted an extensive list of regulations for trials and ordinations. The trials could extend over a period of seven months and encompassed the following elements: popular sermons; set exercises, known as 'common heads', on various themes such as Protestant tenets, Presbyterian principles, polemics and pastoral issues; disputations; an explanation of contradictions in Scripture; and examinations in foreign languages, history, and theology. With some modifications, the system would remain substantially the same in the following century. In 1770, a series of five regulations concerning the licensing and training of ministers was passed by the Synod of Ulster to ensure that candidates remained in university for at least four years. The regulations stipulated that candidates should attend natural and moral philosophy classes and were to be examined by the presbytery in science, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, logic, metaphysics, natural and moral philosophy, theology and church history. These examinations were spread over three meetings of presbytery, though if the candidate had attended university for four years only one meeting was necessary.
The subjects chosen for study demonstrate the extent to which Protestant clergies across Europe were shaped by the values and priorities of the times. The desired education for ministers reflected both the concerns of the Enlightenment and the desirability of a classical education. These regulations also hint at the disparity, sometimes great, between the theory and practice of ministerial education and preparation. For whatever reason, by the early eighteenth century in Scotland there was little insistence by church authorities upon attendance at divinity classes. An act of the General Assembly in 1711 further complicated matters by stipulating that ministers ought to study
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