Worship and Word (w/John Geere)
John Geere (c. 1601–1649) was an ordained minister in Church of England, serving on the western border of England and Wales. Though aligning himself with both England’s Crown and Church, Geere did not conform to all the ceremonies of the Book of Common Prayer, and after 1624 he was silenced by the bishop of Gloucester.
The section below comes from his brief tract, The Character of an Old English Puritan (edited by our own Danny Hyde):
The Old English Puritan was one that honored God above all and under God gave every one his due.
Worship and the Word
His first care was to serve God, and therein he did not what was good in his own, but in God’s sight, making the Word of God the rule of his worship. He highly esteemed order in the House of God: but would not under color of that submit to superstitious rites, which are superfluous, and perish in their use. He reverenced Authority keeping within its sphere: but dared not under pretense of subjection to the higher powers, worship God after the traditions of men. He made conscience of all God’s ordinances, though some he esteemed of more consequence.
He was much in prayer; with it he began and closed the day. In it he was exercised in his closet, family, and public assembly. He esteemed that manner of prayer best, where by the gift of God, expressions were varied according to present needs and occasions; yet he did not account set forms unlawful. Therefore in that circumstance of the Church he did not wholly reject the Liturgy, but the corruption of it.
Reading and Preaching of the Word
He esteemed reading of the Word an ordinance of God both in private and public but did not account reading to be preaching. The Word read he esteemed of more authority, but the word preached of more efficacy. He accounted preaching as necessary now as in the Primitive Church, God’s pleasure being still by the foolishness of preaching to save those that believe. He esteemed the preaching best wherein was most of God, least of man, when vain flourishes of wit and words were declined, and the demonstration of God’s Spirit and power studied; yet could he distinguish between studied plainness and negligent rudeness.
He accounted perspicuity the best grace of a preacher: and that method best, which was most helpful to understanding, affection, and memory. To which ordinarily he esteemed none so conducible as that by doctrine, reason, and use. He esteemed those sermons best that came closest to the conscience: yet would he have men’s consciences awakened; not their persons disgraced. He was a man of good spiritual appetite, and could not be contented with one meal a day. An afternoon sermon was as pleasing to him as one in the morning. He was not satisfied with prayers without preaching: which if it were lacking at home, he would seek abroad: yet would he not by absence discourage his minister, if faithful, though another might have more lively gifts.