Conder, John (DNB00)

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CONDER, JOHN, D.D. (1714–1781), congregationalist minister and tutor, was born 3 June 1714, at Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, and came of an old nonconformist stock in that county. On leaving school he was taken up by the ‘King's Head Society,’ instituted in aid of the education of dissenting ministers, and studied first in the London academy of which he afterwards became the head, and which ultimately was settled at Homerton; afterwards in another London academy, for the benefit of the instructions of John Eames, F.R.S., described by Isaac Watts as ‘the most learned man I ever knew.’

Conder inaugurated his ministerial career at Cambridge, being invited to the congregational church, Hog Hill, on 23 Nov. 1738, and ordained there on 27 Sept. 1739. He restored harmony in a congregation which had been unhappy in its pastors, and remained at Cambridge till 13 Oct. 1754, when he removed to London to fill the place of Zephaniah Marryat, D.D. (d. September 1754), as theological tutor in the academy which had previously been conducted at Plasterers' Hall. It was moved to Mile End in 1755, and in 1772 to Homerton. Conder continued at the head of the academy until his death. He was elected one of the preachers at the Merchants' lecture in Pinners' Hall on 3 Oct. 1759. On 21 May 1760 he became assistant to the venerable Thomas Hall, minister at Little Moorfields, afterwards the Pavement, whose funeral sermon he preached in 1762. Succeeding Hall as pastor, Conder enjoyed marked repute in the pulpit as well as in the theological chair. William Bennet was his assistant at the Pavement from 1778. Conder was disabled by a paralytic stroke, which he survived but a few weeks, dying at Homerton on 30 May 1781. He was buried at Bunhill Fields; his epitaph, composed by himself, concludes thus: ‘Peccavi. Resipui. Confidi. Amavi. Requiesco. Resurgam. Et ex gratia Christi, ut ut indignus, regnabo.’

Conder married in 1744 a daughter of John Flindel of Ipswich, by whom he had James [q. v.] and six elder sons. He published ‘A Serious Address … on the important subject of a Gospel Ministry,’ 1753, 8vo (anon.); and eight single sermons, including ‘Exhortation’ at ordination of R. Winter (1759, 8vo), funeral sermons for John Guyse, D.D. (1761, 8vo), and T. Hall (1762, 8vo), and sermon at ordination of T. Saunders at Cambridge (1768, 8vo). He prefixed a preface to ‘Living Christianity delineated in the Diaries of … Hugh Bryan and Mary Hutson,’ &c., 1760, 8vo; and a recommendation to W. Cooper's ‘Predestination explained,’ 1765, 12mo. He edited S. Harrison's ‘Songs in the Night,’ 1781, 8vo.

Some catalogue-makers have confounded him with John Conder of Hare Court, who at the Salters' Hall conference in 1719 ‘sign'd on both sides.’

[Funeral Sermon by James Webb, 1781; Middleton's Biographia Evangelica, 1786, iv. 488 (gives list of Conder's works, and biographical particulars from a manuscript by his son, T. Conder); Monthly Repos. 1810, p. 626 (account of Cambridgeshire dissent by Robert Robinson and Josiah Thompson); Bogue and Bennett's Hist. of Dissenters, 2nd ed. 1833, ii. 222, 517.]

A. G.