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Barebone, Praise-God

Praise-God Barebone (both: bâr´bōn), 1596?–1679, English lay preacher and leather merchant. Soon after 1630 he became leader of half of a Baptist congregation that had split over the issue of infant baptism. Barebone favored this practice and wrote a treatise arguing its legitimate scriptural basis. An effective preacher, he attracted large congregations to his house in Fleet Street and acquired a reputation for rabble rousing. He was referred to by his many detractors variously as a Brownist, Anabaptist, and Fifth Monarchy man, but his actual religious beliefs are unclear. In Apr., 1653, the army dissolved the Rump Parliament, and in July Oliver Cromwell and his provisional council assembled 140 "godly men" from amongst the nominees of the independent congregations. Barebone was London member in this Nominated Parliament, which was called in derision Barebone's Parliament. Actually his part in the proceedings was insignificant. The body was composed largely of religious reformers who initiated a series of measures regarded as radical by most of their compatriots. The Parliament met from July until December, when the moderate members willingly and the radical members under compulsion resigned their powers into Cromwell's hands. They had accomplished little. Barebone actively opposed the Restoration in 1660 and remained a staunch republican.

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