License the name given to the liberty and warrant to preach.
(1.) In the Presbyterian Church it is regularly conferred by the Presbytery on those who have passed satisfactorily through the prescribed curriculum of study. When a student has fully completed his course of study at the theological hall, he is taken on trials for license by the Presbytery to which he belongs. These trials consist of an examination on the different subjects taught in the theological hall, his personal religion, and his motives for seeking to enter the ministerial office. He also delivers a lecture on a passage of Scripture, a homily, an exercise and additions, a popular sermon, and an exegesis; and, lastly, he is examined on Church History, Hebrew and Greek, and on divinity generally. It is the duty of the presbytery to criticize each of these by itself, and sustain or reject it separately, as a part of the series of trials, and then, when the trials are completed, to pass a judgment on the whole by a regular vote. If the trials are sustained, the candidate is required to answer the questions in the formula, and, after prayer, is licensed and authorized to preach the Gospel of Christ, and exercise his gifts as a probationer for the holy ministry, of which license a regular certificate is given if required. He is simply a layman or lay candidate for the clerical office, preaching, but not dispensing the sacraments. SEE ORDINATION.
(2.) In the Methodist churches it is. conferred on laymen who are believed to be competent for this office, and it is from persons thus brought into the ministry, SEE LAY PREACHING, that the Church is supplied with ministers. SEE LOCAL PREACHERS; SEE LICENTIATE.
(3.) In the Church of England and the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States the word license is used to designate the grant given by the bishop to a candidate for orders, authorizing him to read services and sermons in a church in the absence of a minister; also the liberty to preach, which the bishop may give to those who have been ordained deacons if he judge them to be qualified. See the Ordering of Deacons in the Prayer- book, where the bishop says to those lie is ordaininmg, "Take thou the authority to read the Gospel in the Church of God, and to preach the same, if thou be thereto licensed by the bishop himself." See Staunton's Ecclesiastical Dlictioniarg, s.v.; Eadie, Ecclesialstical Dictionary, s.v. SEE PREACHING.