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May, 1853, while in attendance on the General Assembly, as commissioner from the presbytery of Brazos.
On December 31, 1851, an invitation to supply the pulpit for one year, was made to
REV. ALEX. FAIRBAIRN.
In 1853, he received a call for his services as pastor, and was installed in February of that year. He resigned his charge in December, 1854, and moved to Huntsville.
REV. JEROME TWICHELL
was installed as pastor of the church in April, 1855, and was lost on the “Nautilus," in the Gulf, during the storm of August 10, 1856.
REV. R. H. BYERS
was called on June 20, 1857, and entered on his ministration in the following September.
In November, 1859, he accepted the financial agency of Austin College, by which the pulpit again became vacant. He was succeeded by
REV. THOS. CASTLETON,
called in April, 1860, and installed April, 1861; he filled the pulpit during the greater part of the war.
On October 25, 1862, the church, a frame building, fronting on Main-street, was destroyed by fire. Under the exertions of Mr. Castleton, plans were speedily matured to replace it by a brick structure, which he was not permitted to see completed. In October, 1864, his relations with the church were dissolved by presbytery. In 1865—with his wife-he embarked on the “ Shibboleth” for New York, and is supposed to have been lost at sea, as that vessel was not heard of any more after leaving Galveston.
After the fire, worship was conducted in the Court House, until it was taken for barracks, when Turner's Hall was obtained by
REV. J. R. HUTCHISON, D. D., who preached every Sabbath morning until June, 1865, when the hall had to be given up.
The New Building was dedicated on Sabbath, July 7, 1867, by Rev. R. H. Byers, D.D., assisted by Rev. S. A. King and Mr. Moore. On April 1, 1868,
REV. WM. SOMERVILLE
was invited to supply the pulpit one year, when the regular services of the church, after a long interruption, were resumed. He was installed pastor of the church in May, 1869, and resigned in October, 1870. On September, 1871,
REV. JNO. J. READ, a licentiate of the presbytery of Mississippi, received the unanimous call of the church and congregation to become pastor thereof, having accepted the same, he was dismissed to the care of the presbytery of Brazos.
After having sustained a satisfactory examination, the presbytery proceeded on Sabbath, December 10, to ordain him to the full work of the Gospel ministry, the Moderator, Rev. R. F. Bunting, D.D., presiding. The Rev. J. R. Hutchison, D.D., was appointed to preach the Ordination Sermon; Rev. J. W. Miller, D.D., to deliver a charge to the congregation, and Rev. R. F. Bunting, D.D., a charge to the pastor.
THE SABBATH. .
Preached at Hempstead, Texas, October, 1869.
" Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”—Exodus 20:8. The observance of the Sabbath is essential to the spread of Christianity, and to its transmission from one age to another. The Sabbath is the centre of the system, the keystone of the arch. Without it, the Gospel would have no opportunity of exerting its benign influences upon the masses, of giving forth, in public assemblies, its loud and solemn utterances of warning and instruction. For how could mankind retain a knowledge of the great doctrines of the Cross, unless they were plainly and publicly taught them ? And how could they be publicly taught them, unless there were a specific day on which, by commor consent, they might assemble for the purpose ?
The necessity and importance, therefore, of the Sabbath, as a day of religious instruction and meditation, the honor which it confers on God, the peace and quiet which it brings to man, the rest it imparts to the body, the solemn pause it secures to all the secularities of life -these, with other most weighty considerations, combine in enforcing the command of the Decalogue, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
It has, however, been contended by some that the Sabbath day is a Jewish institution, and being merely national and ceremonial in its character, is not of perpetual and universal obligation. But can it not be shown that the Sabbath was instituted long before the Jewish nation existed, and although incorporated into the civil and ecclesiastical polity of that people, it never exclusively belonged to them, but is binding, in all its force, upon the people of every country and every age ?
Our first argument is drawn from its great antiquity. The Sabbath was instituted two thousand years before the Jewish nation existed. It is as old as the creation. It was given by God to the first man, Adam. It is then binding on us; because Adam was a public character, and acted in a public capacity. Adam was not merely our great progenitor; he was also our federal head and representative. Adam negotiated with the court of heaven, not only for himself, but for all his posterity. This is one of the plainest doctrines of the Bible. Consequently, according to the laws of imputation and representation, all Adam's acts become our acts, all Adam's institutions become our institutions. If, then, the institution of the Sabbath was observed by Adam, it must be observed by us, for the same reason that we observe the institution of marriage.
Where, then, is the evidence that the Sabbath was known to our great representative? It is found in the book of Genesis, second chapter, second and third verses: “On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that on it He had rested from all His work which God created and made." Adam was created on the sixth day; the next day was the sacred day of rest. Hence the first rising sun which Adam ever saw, ushered in the hallowed rest of the new-born Sabbath.
But we have other evidence that the Sabbath is as old as the creation. We find traces of its existence and partial observance in the history of every nation of antiquity, both Jewish and heathen. Begin with the history of the Jews in the wilderness, as they were journeying from Egypt to Palestine, and before they reached Mount Sinai. Observe how regularly they abstained from the gathering of manna, at the close of every sixth day, in order that they might rest on the seventh. Mark how familiarly Moses refers to the Sabbath in the giving of the ten commandments. He there takes for granted that the Jews knew of the Sabbath before the giving of the law on Sinai. For he says, “ Remember the Sabbath,” implying that it had been previously known.
Now go further back into the history of the Jews, and you will still find proofs of the existence of the Sabbath. Examine the history of Job, forty years previous to the giving of the law, and you will find familiar mention of the Sabbath. Go two hundred and fifty years further back, to the time of Jacob, and you will observe that he observed the Sabbath. Go one hundred and fifty years further back, to the time of Abraham, and you will find that he knew the Sabbath. Then
back four hundred and fifty years further, to the time of Noah, and you will perceive that he also observed the Sabbath. In this day, the Sabbath can be traced back to Adam.
Now turn from the history of the Jews to the history of early heathen nations, and go back until all history is lost in fable or is merged in the Mosaic narrative. The Sabbath is mentioned by Homer, the father of Greek poetry. He says, “The seventh day is the day on which all things were finished.” It is referred to by Lineus, another early Grecian writer, who says, “The seventh day is an auspicious day, for it is the birthday of all things.” It is mentioned by Philo, an early