1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Barbon, Praise-God

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BARBON (Barebone or Barebones), PRAISE-GOD (c. 1596-1679), English leather-seller and Fifth Monarchy man, was admitted freeman of the Leathersellers Company on the 20th of January 1623 and liveryman on the 13th of October 1634. About the same time he became minister to a congregation which assembled at his own house, "The Lock and Key," in Fleet Street, where his preaching attracted large audiences. The exact nature of his religious opinions is not perfectly clear. He is styled by his enemies a Brownist and Anabaptist, i.e. probably Baptist, but he wrote two books in support of paedobaptism, and his congregation had separated from a larger one of Baptists on that point of controversy. Later he belonged to the sect of Fifth Monarchy men. He was the object of the abuse and ridicule of the opposite party, and his meetings were frequently disturbed by riots. On the 20th of December 1641 his house was stormed by a mob and he narrowly escaped with his life. Barbon, who was a man of substantial property, was summoned by Cromwell on the 6th of June 1653 as a member for London to the assembly of nominees called after him in derision Barebone's Parliament. His name is occasionally mentioned, but he appears to have taken no part in the debates. In 1660 he showed great activity in endeavouring to prevent the Restoration. He published Needham's book, News from Brussels in a Letter from a Near Attendant on His Majesty's Person ..., which retailed unfavourable anecdotes relating to Charles's morals, and on the 9th of February he presented the petition to the Parliament, which proposed that all officials should abjure the Stuarts, and all publicly proposing the Restoration should be deemed guilty of high treason. His conduct drew upon him several royalist attacks. On the 31st of March he was obliged to sign an engagement to the council not to disturb the peace, and on the 26th of November 1661 he was arrested, together with John Wildman and James Harrington, and was imprisoned in the Tower till the 27th of July 1662, when he was released on bail. Barbon, who was married, was buried on the 5th of January 1680. He was the author of A Discourse tending to prove ... Baptism ... to be the ordinance of Jesus Christ. As also that the Baptism of Infants is warentable (1642), the preface of which shows a spirit of wide religious tolerance; and A Reply to the Frivolous and Impertinent answer of R. B. and E. B. to the Discourse of P. B. (1643).