DURIE (DURY), JOHN: A persistent Scotch advocate of Protestant union; b. in Edinburgh 1596; d. at Cassel Sept. 26, 1689. His father left Scotland because of his opposition to the policy of King James VI., and Durie, having completed his studies in Oxford, accepted the position of minister of the English settlers at Elbing just after Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden captured the city. There he became acquainted with Swedish Lutherans and was thus led in 1628 to a careful study of the differences between the Lutherans and the Reformed with a view to effecting a reconciliation between them. About that time Elbing was visited by the English ambassador, Sir Thomas Roe, who became interested in Durie’s plan and introduced him to Chancellor Oxenstierna. In 1630 Roe sent Durie to England with an indorsement of his project to the moderates among the bishops. In Germany the Lutherans and the Reformed then seemed to be drawing closer together, for at the conference at Leipsic in 1631 (see LEIPSIC, COLLOQUY OF) both denominations were on remarkably friendly terms with each other. It seemed a favorable moment to send Durie to the Continent in the interest of ecclesiastical peace, and he thus began an activity of almost fifty years as an itinerant advocate of union between the Reformed and the Lutherans.
Until the end of 1633 he traveled through Germany with letters of recommendation from Sir Thomas Roe, as well as from Archbishop Abbot of Canterbury and other bishops and theologians. Gustavus Adolphus received him at Würzburg and promised him a letter of recommendation to the Protestant princes of Germany. In 1633 Durie was recalled to England by the death of Archbishop Abbot, whose successor, Laud, supported him only after he had joined the Anglican Church and had been ordained in it. Aided by the recommendation of Laud and by English ambassadors, Durie labored, beginning with 1634, in Germany and Holland. In 1638 he was expelled from Sweden, but in 1639 he was in Denmark, where his reception was unfriendly, and in the following year he returned to Germany, associating chiefly with the dukes Augustus and George of Brunswick, who were Calixtine in sympathy.
The troubles in England called him home. From 1641 to 1644 he was an Anglican clergyman in The Hague, but in 1645, when Laud fell, he rejoined the Presbyterians. He labored as their associate in the eventful years 1645-49, taking part in the drafting of the Westminster Confession and the Westminster Catechism, but refusing to vote in favor of the king’s death. During Cromwell’s protectorate, Durie was a partizan of this powerful pioneer of religious liberty, joined the Independents, and was again sent to the Continent by Cromwell in 1654, though the plan of union was now restricted to the Reformed Churches. He visited Reformed theologians and statesmen in Switzerland, Germany, and Holland, and returned to England in 1657. Cromwell’s death in 1658 and the restoration of 1660 interrupted all his efforts. With no more hope of governmental support of his plans for union, he could continue his work only in private and at his own risk. Despite his advanced age, he left England in 1661 and returned to his task of uniting the Protestant churches and of reconciling the Reformed and the Lutherans. He gained the sympathy of the Landgrave William VI. of Hesse-Cassel and the Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg, and after the early death of the former his widow, Hedwig Sophia, who ruled almost alone at Cassel from 1663 to 1683, remained Durie’s patroness throughout the remainder of his life.
The majority of Lutheran theologians harshly rejected Durie’s plans for reunion, especially as they were not clearly defined. At times he emphasized the so-called fundamental dogmas, but allowed variations in subordinate doctrines and their discussion, while at other times he urged that an entirely new confession should be formulated. His concept of fundamental doctrines was likewise very vague, since he sometimes defined them as the consensus of modern confessions, yet also classified them according to their teaching concerning God and Christ. The time was not yet ripe for an idea of such far-reaching importance, and thus Durie’s life-work ended in apparent failure. In the dedication of a work on the Apocalypse of John (written in French and published at Frankfort, 1674) to his patroness, the landgravine of Hesse, he wrote: “The chief fruit of my labors is that I see that the misery of the Christians is far greater than the wretchedness of the heathen and other nations; I see the cause of the misery; I see the lack of remedy, and I see the cause of that lack. For myself, I see that I have no other profit than the witness of my conscience.”
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Among Durie’s numerous works were Sentent its de pacts rationihus inter evangehcos, published with declarations of various English bishops in 1634 (separately, 1638; Eng. transl., 1641); A Summary Di.course concerning the Work of Peace Ecclesiastical (Cambridge, 1641), presented to Sir Thomas Roe in 1639; A Memorial concerning Peace Ecclesiastical (London, 1641), addressed “to the king of England and the pastors and elders of the Kirk of Scotland meeting at St. Andrews “; An Epistolary Discourse (1644). concerning the toleration of independency; A Model of Church Government (1647); The Reformed Library Keeper (1650; ed. Ruth Shepard Grannis, with memoir, Chicago, 1906); An Earnest Plea for Gospel Communion (1654); A Summary Platform of the Heade of a Body of Practical Divinity (1654); Irenicorum tractatuum prodromu. (Amsterdam, 1674). The Reformed Librarie-keeper, or two copies of letter concerning the Place and Office of a Librarie-keeper Chicago, 1906, A list of his controversial works is given in R. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, p. 324, Edinburgh, 1824, and of his other works in C. M. Pfaff, Introductio in historiam theologin literariam, Ttlbingen, 1720. The chief account of his life is in C. J. Benzel, Di.ssertatio de J. Durao, Helmstadt, 1744. Consult further: A. h Wood, Athena Oxonienses, ed. P. Bliss, iii. 866, 961, 1043, iv. 578, 4 vole., London, 1813-20; C. A. Briggs, Presbyterian Review, Apr. 1887; DNB, xvi. 261-263; K. Brauer, Die Union.tdtigkeit John Duries unter dem Protektorat Cromwella, Marburg, 1907.