Biddle, John

Biddle, John one of the first preachers of Socinianism in England, and cruelly persecuted on that account. He was born at Wotton, Gloucestershire, in 1615. In 1641 he took the degree of M.A. at Oxford, and was appointed master of the grammar-school of Gloucester. He soon began to exhibit his Socinian bias, and was, in consequence, imprisoned and examined by commissioners appointed for the purpose. He published, in 1647, Twelve Arguments, etc., against the Deity of the Holy Spirit (Lond. 4to), which was burned by the hangman; and in 1648 he put forth a Confession of Faith concerning the Trinity, for which he was a second time imprisoned. In 1654 he issued a Brief Scripture Catechism (Lond. 8vo), which was answered by John Owen in his Vindicice Evangelice, Cromwell banished him, in 1665, to the Scilly Islands, but after three years he was recalled, and became minister of some congregation of Independents. In the reign of Charles II he was in trouble again, and was a third time put into prison, where he died in 1662. See Toulmin, Life and Character of Biddle (Lond. 1789, 12mo).

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