Dury, John

, in Latin Duroeus, was a divine of Scotland, in the seventeenth century, who laboured with great zeal to unite the Lutherans and Calvinists. He was bora educated for the ministry in Scotland. In 1624 he | came to Oxford for the sake of the public library. Hovr long he remained there is uncertain; for his strong inclination for his great work, and his sanguine hopes of success in it, induced him to let his superiors know, that he could employ his talents better by travelling through the world, than if he was confined to the care of one flock. They agreed to his proposals, and permitted him to go from place to place, to negociate an accommodation between the protestant churches. He obtained likewise the approbation and recommendation of Laud archbishop of Canterbury; and was assisted by Bedell bishop of Kilmore, and also by Dr. Joseph Hall, bishop of Exeter, as he acknowledges in the preface to his “Prodromus.” He began by publishing his plan of union in 1634; and the same year appeared at a famous assembly of the evangelical churches in Germany at Francfort. The same year also the churches of Transylvania sent him their advice and counsel. Afterwards he negociated with the divines of Sweden and Denmark: he turned himself every way: he consulted the universities; he communicated their answers, and was not deterred by the ill success of his pains, even in 1661 *. He appeared at that time as much possessed as ever with hopes of succeeding in this wild and impracticable scheme; and, going for Germany, desired of the divines of Utrecht an authentic testimony of their good intentions, after having informed them of the state in which he had left the affair with the king of Great Britain and the elector of Brandenburgh; and of what had passed at the court of Hesse, and the measures which were actually taken at Geneva, Heidelberg, and Metz. He desired to have this testimonial of the divines of Utrecht, in order to shew it to the Germans; and having obtained it, he annexed it to the end of a Latin work, which he published this year at Amsterdam, under the following title: “Johannis Dursei irenicorum tractatuum prodromus, &c.” The preface of this book is dated at Amsterdam, October 1, 1661.

Being at Francfort in April 1662, he declared to some gentlemen of Metz, that he longed extremely to see M. Ferri, an enthusiast, like himself, for uniting discordancies.


Dury’s Life is not very accurately given by any of his biographers. He was not all this while abroad on his great design. In 1641 we find him in London, as one of the mwmbers of the Assembly of Divines, and he was also one of the preachers before the Long Parliament. He afterwards quitted the presbyterion party, and joined that of the independents.

| He resolved at length to go to Metz, but met with two difficulties: the first was, that he must consent to dress after the French fashion, like a countryman: the second, to have his great white and square beard shaved. He got over these difficulties: and, upon his arrival, monsieur Ferri was so surprised, so overjoyed, and so very eager to salute this good doctor and fellow-labourer immediately, that he went out to meet him in a complete undress. They conferred much; and their subject was an universal coalition of religions. In 1674, however, Dury began to be much discouraged; nor had he any longer hopes of serving the church by the methods he had hitherto taken. He had therefore recourse to another expedient, as a sure means of uniting not only Lutherans and Calvinists, but all Christians; and this was, by giving a new explication of the Apocalypse. Accordingly he published it in a little treatise in French, at Francfort in 1674, He now enjoyed a quiet retreat in the country of Hesse: where Hedwig Sophia, princess of Hesse, who had the regency of the country, had assigned him a very commodious lodging, with a table well furnished, and had given him free postage for his letters. He returns her thanks for this in the epistle dedicatory to the book above mentioned. It is not known in what year he died. He was an honest man, full of zeal and piety,but somewhat fanatical. Among his publications, the titles of some of which shew his cast of opinions, in which he was by no means steady, we find, 1. “Consultatio theologica super negocio Pacis Ecclesiast.” Lond. 1641, 4to. 2. “A summary discourse concerning the work of Peace Ecclesiastical,” Camb. 1641, 4to, which was presented in 1639 to sir Thomas Rowe, ambassador at Hamburgh. 3. “Petition to the house of commons for the preservation of true Religion,” Lond. 1642, 4to. 4. “Certain considerations, shewing the necessity of a correspondency in spiritual matters betwixt all professed Churches,” ibid. 1642, 4to. 5. “Epistolary Discourse to Thomas Godwin, Ph. Nye, and Sam. Hartlib,” ibid. 1644, 4to, a discourse against toleration, which was answered by H. Robinson. 6. “Of Presbytery, and Independency, &c.1646, 4to. 7. “Model of the Church Government,1647, 4to. 8. “Peace makes the Gospel way,164*, 4to. 9. “Seasonable discourse for Reformation,1649, 4to, published by Sam. Hartlib. 10. “An epistolical Discourse to Mr. Thos. Thorowgood, concerning his conjecture that the | Americans are descended from the Israelites, &c.” 1649, 4to. 11. “Considerations concerning the Engagement,1650, with two other pamphlets on the same subject, in answer to an antagonist. 12. “The Reformed School,1650, 12mo, published by Hartlib, with a supplement in 1651. 13. “The reformed Library Keeper,1650, 12mo, to which is added “Bibliotheca ducis Brunovicensis et Lunenburgi,” at Wolfenbuttle. 14. “Conscience eased, &c.” 165J, 4to. 15. “Earnest plea for Gospel Communion,1654. 16. “Summary platform of Divinity,1654. Hartlib wrote a defence of Dury against the presbyterians, Lond. 1650. In this we are told that he obtained an estate of 60l. per ann. in the marshes of Kent, which came into the possession of Henry Oldenburg, who married his daughter. 1

Gen. Dict. Tanner. Mosheim. Biog. Brit. vol. VII. p. 4383. Wood’s Fasti, vol. I. In 1744 H. Jasper Benzelius published at Helmstadt a life or dissertation on Dory. See also Burnet’s Life of Bedell, p, 137, Ward’s Cresham Professors, p. 2iO,