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CHARLESTON, May 26th, 1806. At a church meeting this day held in the Circular Church, on Meeting Street: On motion seconded, it was resolved, that the thanks of the Church be presented to the two Pastors, the Rev. Doctors Hollinshead and Keith, for their suitable discourses, delivered yesterday on the opening of this circular new building. And that they be requested to furnish copies of the same, in order that they may be printed ; and that they also be requested to prepare an historic sketch of the Church, from its origin to the present time, to be prefixed to them; and also historical sketches of all its Ministers, as far as the same can be obtained from our elder Members, and other sources of authentic information.
GEORGE SMITH, Sec'y. Extract from the Minutes.
Neither of these Discourses was published, (though the one which follows, was prepared for the press by its Author) as the “ historical sketches” requested, were not furnished to accompany them. This labour has since been performed by the late DR, DAVID RAMSAY, one of the most intelligent, active and useful members of this Church and Congregation, whose talents, information, and industry, qualified him eminently to execute such a work. EDITOR.
NAGGAI 11. 7.
AND I WILL SHAKE ALL NATIONS, AND THE DESIRE OP ALL
NATIONS SHALL COME: AND I WILL FILL THIS HOUSE
WITH GLORY, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSIS.
To see the house in which we are now assembled, filled with the glory of the Lord, would certainly fill the heart of every genuine worshipper in it, with a most peculiar joy. • For this every friend of Zion among us, may well be expected, bumbly and devoutly to pray. And if their prayers, in respect to this, should be graciously answered, they would doubtless consider themselves as favoured with the most desirable ground for fervent thanksgiving and praise. Without this, indeed, the most commodious, elegant, and magnificent edifice, erected for the worship of God, would remain destitute of that distinction, which would constitute its highest honor, its only real value ; while the simplest structure, thus distinguished, would be truly honorable and amiable in the view of all who prefer the tokens of the Lord's presence and favour, to the most admired display of human art, or of worldly pomp and splendour.
In the earlier ages of the world, it does not appear, that the Lord had any other temples prepared for his worship, than the pure and pious hearts of those whom his own grace had prepared “ to worship him in spirit
and in truth ;” and their sacrifices, prayers, and praises, were offered to bim in the open air ; sometimes under the refreshing shade of a tree, or within the agreeable covert of a grove, where the scene, naturally tranquil and solemn, would invite to the exercises of devotion. In these circumstances was the worship of God attended hy Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, and all the pious fathers, who lived before the flood; by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his sons, the twelve patriarchs ; and by all who walked with God, in succeeding ages, until the time of the sojourning of the Israelites in the wilder. ness, on their way from Egypt to the promised land. During that period, the chosen people of God were formed into a more regular church state, under the ceremonial dispensation, established by the ministry of Moses. Then the Lord was pleased to order the construction of a moveable Tabernacle, suited to the circonstances of the people, while sojourning in tents. This Tabernacle, in its various parts, and with its peculiar furniture, was designed and adapted to represent the present condition of the church in the world, as favoured with the means of redemption and grace ; yet continuing imperfect, subject to many vicissitudes, and destined to pass through the humiliating scene of dissolution in the hour of death, to the full perfection and eternal glory of the heavenly state.
Within this Tabernacle, among other articles appropriated to the service of God, and typical of spiritual things, the sacred Ark, containing the covenant of God, was deposited; while above it rested the cloud of glorv, which was the striking and impressive symbol of the Divine, presence, with which it was honored. To this, as the chosen and consecrated habitation of the
God of Israel, were the people required to resort, when they held their solemn assemblies ; and here the principal sacred services, which constituted their public worship, were ordered to be performed.
After the settlement of Israel in the land of Canaan, this venerable Tabernacle was, in process of time, succeeded by, and gave place to, the celebrated Temple, built by Solomon, about one thousand years before the Christian era. As this temple was built according to a pattern given by the Spirit of God to David, and by him delivered to his son Solomon ; as it was constructed with the most substantial and costly materials, and finished with the most exquisite taste and workmanship ; as it contained the ancient Tabernacle, with all its sacred furniture, and was distinguished by similar tokens of the Divine presence and favour ; and as it was a type of the incarnate Redeemer, it was unques. ' tionably the most remarkable and glorious edifice, ever erected by the hands of men. This magnificent Temple, having stood about four hundred years, was at length, on account of the sins of the people, given into the hands of their enemies, the Chaldeans : by them it was stripped of all its splendid ornaments and rich treasures, and then reduced to a pile of melancholy ruins : while the nation, whose pride and boast it had been, were led a way to suffer the calamities of a seventy years captivity in Babylon.
On the restoration of the Jews, at the end of that term, to their own land, the rebuilding of their Temple was undertaken ; and in the midst of many difficulties, and great opposition from hostile neighbours, it was carried on during the space of about twenty years, till it was at length completed, and dedicated to the service of God.