Danson, Thomas (DNB00)

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DANSON, THOMAS (d. 1694), nonconformist divine, was born in the parish of St. Mary-le-Bow, London, and educated first in a private school in the parish of St. Thomas the Apostle under Thomas Wise, who instructed him in Latin and Greek, and afterwards under the care of Dr. Ravis, a German professor of the oriental tongues, near St. Paul's Cathedral, who initiated him in the Hebrew, Chaldæan, Syriac, and Arabic languages. Being sent to Oxford, after the surrender of the garrison to the parliamentary army, he was entered as a student of New Inn, was made chaplain of Corpus Christi College by the visitors appointed by parliament in 1648, graduated B.A. in 1649, obtained a fellowship at Magdalen College, and subsequently commenced M.A. He became celebrated for his pulpit oratory, and preached for a time at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Afterwards he was made minister of one of the churches at Sandwich, Kent, where he continued till 1660, when he was ejected because he had been presented to that living by the Protector Cromwell, who was alleged to be an illegal patron (Palmer, Nonconformists' Memorial, ed. 1803, iii. 287). He then settled at Sibton, Suffolk, but in 1662 he was ejected from that living for nonconformity (Add. MS. 19165, f. 300). Subsequently he preached in London, and in or about 1679 removed to Abingdon, Berkshire, where he exercised his ministry in private houses and sometimes in the town-hall, though ‘not without disturbance,’ until December 1692, when he was dismissed by the brethren. Thereupon he came to London, where he died in 1694 (Calamy, Ejected Ministers, ii. 648; Contin. p. 798).

He married the daughter of Dr. Tobias Garbrand, a dissenting minister of Abingdon. William Jenkyns, in the introduction to his ‘Celeusma,’ styles him ‘vir doctissimus, totus rei domus zelo ardens;’ and Wood says that ‘if his juvenile education had been among orthodox persons, and his principles consequent to it, he might have done more service for the church of England than for the nonconformists’ (Athenæ Oxon. ed. Bliss, iv. 591).

His works are: 1. ‘The Quakers Folly made Manifest to all Men,’ London, 1659, 1660, 1664, 8vo. This contains an account of three disputations at Sandwich between Danson and three quakers (Smith, Bibl. Anti-Quakeriana, p. 140). 2. ‘The Quakers Wisdom descendeth not from above,’ London, 1659, 8vo. A defence of the previous work, in reply to George Whitehead. 3. ‘A Synopsis of Quakerism; or a Collection of the Fundamental Errours of the Quakers,’ London, 1668, 8vo. 4. ‘Vindiciæ Veritatis; or an Impartial Account of two late Disputations between Mr. Danson and Mr. [Jeremiah] Ives, upon this question, viz. Whether the Doctrine of some true Believers, final Apostacy, be true or not?’ London, 1672, 4to. In the same year there was published, under the title of ‘A Contention for Truth,’ an account of two disputations between Danson and Ives on the question ‘Whether the Doctrine of some true Believers, falling away totally from Grace, be true or no?’ 5. ‘Kλητοὶ τετηρημένοι, or the Saints Perseverance asserted and vindicated; occasioned by two Conferences upon that point, published by Mr. Ives,’ London, 1672, 8vo. 6. ‘A friendly Debate between Satan and Sherlock, containing a Discovery of the Unsoundness of Mr. William Sherlock's Principles in a late book entitled A Discourse concerning the Knowledge of Jesus Christ’ [London], 1676, 16mo. 7. ‘De Causâ Dei; a Vindication of the common Doctrine of Protestant Divines concerning Predestination … from the inviduous consequences with which it is burden'd by Mr. John Howe in a late Letter and Postscript of God's Prescience,’ London, 1678, 8vo. 8. ‘A friendly Conference between a Paulist and a Galatian, in defence of the Apostolical Doctrine of Justification of Faith without works,’ London, 1694, 8vo.

[Authorities cited above.]

T. C.