George Buist: A Carolina Low Country Presbyterian from Scotland

Presbyterianism in the Low Country of South Carolina has its own unique history, and perhaps the chief amongst the points of that unique History, is that the Low Country Southern Presbyterians maintained closer ties with Scotland than did the rest of American Presbyterian Church. The name of Charleston's First Scots Presbyterian Church exemplifies that, and her early ministers were all drawn from Scotland. The early years in the First Scots Congregation had many short term ministries from men in Scotland, but finally they were to procure a minister of their own from Scotland, and the man brought over was George Buist (1770-1808).

Buist was a graduate of the University of Edinburgh, and was of some literary note having published an abridged edition of Hume’s History of England. At the same time he published that work, First Scots was without a pastor, and in 1792 they sent a letter to Scotland seeking a qualified man to come fill their pulpit. They were sent George Buist, who arrived in Charleston in June of 1793, and immediately undertook his ministry. In 1805 he was appointed President of the College of Charleston, which improved its reputation as an academic institution. Buist would minister for 15 years as Pastor of First Scots, and the Lord took him home in August of 1808. Before his death he was of the mind to edit and publish his sermons but never found time; the two volume set was taken from his notes, and allows him to preach still today. Enjoy this forgotten Low Country Presbyterian!