John Durance was a zealous and popular preacher of the independent denomination. Edwards says, " he was formerly an apprentice to a washball-maker in Lombard-street, London, and afterwards became a preacher without being ordained; yea, after preaching some years, he presumed, without ordination, t6 baptize and administer the Lord's supper." This was certainly a dreadful crime in the opinion of this bigotted writer. He often preached at Sandwich in Kent, but lived at Canterbury, where he gathered a separate church, and dispensed the word and ordinances of the gospel. The author mentioned above, with a view to reproach his memory, gives the following curious account of him: "There is one Master Durance, a preacher at Sandwich in Kent, a bold conceited man, and an independent, who, since the beginning of this parliament, was a washing-ball maker, or seller of washing-balls, here in London, but now turned preacher; and being never ordained minister, hath consecrated himself to be one of the priests of the high places. Among many high affected strains of new light, and strange expressions, which die man uses in his sermons and prayers, to get himself die name of such a rare man, these are some: he prayed to the Trinity to take care of these three kingdoms; God the Father to take care of one, God the Son of the second, and God the Holy Ghost of the third kingdom." This author charges Mr. Durance with having prayed publicly in the church at Sandwich, " that the king might be brought up in chains to the parliament." He also observes, that, after his preaching at Canterbury, he hath the use of a great room near the cathedral, where many resort to him, and "he takes occasion to build them up in independency." Although he preached regularly every week at Canterbury and Sandwich, he would have done the same also at Dover; but he was opposed by the godly ministers of the town, who wrote up to London against him, and, by this means, prevented him from going diither. This shews his great zeal and diligence, and their extreme bigotry and intolerance. Mr. Edwards, one of the most bitter enemies to toleration, further charges him with saying, after the surrender of Oxford to the parliament, "that, notwithstanding this, there would be no peace till there was a general liberty of conscience in England." A dreadful crime was this in the eyes of this bigotted writer! Mr. Durance lived in one of the prebendaries houses in Canterbury; and, after preaching on the Lord's day in one of die churches, he preached and administered the ordinance* of the gospel to his own church, in his own house, in the evening. How long he continued in this situation, or when he died, we are not able to learn; but he was living in the year 1646
* Edwards's Gangrana, part ii. p. 86. iii. 80.