Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Durant, John

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1179535Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 16 — Durant, John1888Edwin Cannan

DURANT or DURANCE, JOHN (fl. 1660), puritan divine, was, according to Edwards's ‘Gangræna,’ apprenticed to a washing-ball maker of Lombard Street in 1641, but this seems scarcely consistent with Edwards's own story of Durant having before 1646 expressed his regret that he had spent much time in reading the Fathers. He was an independent preacher at Sandwich in 1644. A year or two later he removed to Canterbury, where he preached at first in a church and in a private room, and afterwards in the cathedral. The royalist Edwards denounces him with characteristic violence. His published works bear out Calamy's description of him as ‘an excellent practical preacher.’ They also show him to have been a man of some learning, acquainted with both Greek and Hebrew as well as Latin. After the Restoration he was ejected from Canterbury Cathedral, but of his further history nothing is known. His works are: 1. ‘Comfort and Counsell for Dejected Soules. Being the heads and sum of divers Sermons preached to a particular congregation,’ 1651, 4th ed. 1658, where the author is described as pastor of ‘a church of Christ’ in Canterbury, i.e. the cathedral. 2. ‘Sips of Sweetnesse, or Consolation for weak Beleevers,’ 1651. 3. ‘The Salvation of Saints by the appearances of Christ (1) Now in Heaven (2) Hereafter from Heaven,’ 1653. 4. ‘A Discovery of Glorious Love, or the Love of Christ to Beleevers; being the sum of VI Sermons on Ephes. iii. 19,’ preached at Sandwich eleven years before (1655). 5. ‘The Spiritual Seaman, or a Manual for Mariners, being a short tract comprehending the principal heads of Christian religion, handled in allusion to the Seaman's Compass and Observations,’ 1655; reissued, with alterations, as ‘The Christian's Compass,’ 1658. 6. ‘Altum Silentium, or Silence the Duty of Saints under every sad Providence; a Sermon preached after the death of a Daughter by her Father,’ 1659 (September). 7. ‘A Cluster of Grapes taken out of the Basket of the Woman of Canaan; being the Summe of certain Sermons,’ 1660. All these works were published as by John Durant, and the name is thus spelt in Calamy; but Edwards writes of Durance, and the ‘Canterbury Cathedral Register’ (Harleian Soc.) contains the birth of Elizabeth Durance, 1656, and of Renovata Durance, 14 Nov. 1659, both daughters of John and Mary.

[Edwards's Gangræna, 1646, pt. ii. pp. 150, 151, 175, 176, pt. iii. pp. 96, 97; Calamy's Abridgement of Baxter, ii. 374; Palmer's Nonconf. Mem.; Brit. Mus. and Bodleian Library Catalogues of Printed Books.]

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