Dury’s ‘Heads of a Body of Practical Divinity’

John Dury (1596-1680) grew up with connections to the heads of state, and was advised by an eminent chaplain that to reconcile the divisions of the protestant churches would be the greatest work of peacemaking (Matt 5:9) that one could do.  Dury subsequently devoted his entire adult life’s work to this end, with indefatigable journeys, letter writing and conferencing among the leading church figures of the day.  The titles of his many writings also bear out this purpose. 

This particular work is the first part of a brief summary outline of practical scriptural living and ethics, intended as an ecumenical effort to unite churches abroad.  Previous to this work, a letter was written by William Gouge, Obadiah Sedgwick and others to James Ussher asking him to lead a joint project to write such a body of divinity.  Ussher was favorable to the project but it was interrupted by the English Civil War.  Other signers to this effort included: John Downame, George Walker, Adoniram Byfield, Sidrach Simpson, Richard Culverwell, George Hughes and Joseph Symonds.  Dury ended up writing the desired outline of practical divinity.  HT: Andrew Myers.

Dury, John – A Summary Platform of the Heads of a Body of Practical Divinity  1654, 12 pages, with a letter from Archbishop James Ussher recommending that such a body of practical divinity be written