GEREE, John. The character of an old English Pvritane, or non-conformist. London: printed by W. Wilson for Christopher Meredith, 1646.
First edition. Quarto (18.3 x 14.1cm). 6 pages. Original pamphlet bound in full black cloth with red label. Small ink numbers to top corner of leaves. Very lightly toned, occasional spotting, a minor crease and marginal chip.
John Geree (c. 1600-1649) was an English Puritan preacher and rector of Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire. On 17 November 1631 he appeared before the court of high commission to answer the charge that his preaching was so powerful that a churchwarden ‘threw himself into a well and drowned himself’. As a nonconformist, he was suspended by Bishop Geoffrey Goodman in 1637, however never stopped preaching from the pulpits. Geree became involved in a controversy with his old friend John Tombes over the issue of infant baptism. This prompted him to publish Vindiciae paedo-baptismi (1646), and the present short tract, The Character of an Old English Puritane or Nonconformist (1646).
Published at the end of the First English Civil War, this pamphlet presents a picture of pre-civil war puritanism as a movement of order and sobriety and one which accepted the importance of ecclesiastical and secular authority. The tract lays great stress on the spiritual and devotional activity of the ‘old English puritan’, a virtuous and pious life focused on charity, education and family values. At a time when radical religious sects were appearing with their subversive doctrines, the publication of this pamphlet aimed at presenting a virtuous image of Puritans, in an attempt at countering the growing negative views of the religious movement.
USTC 3059948; ESTC R200721; Wing G589