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Metadata for text 145
No. words in text101282
Title Searmona le Mr Eobhann Mac Diarmaid, Ministeir ann an Glascho, agus na Dheigh sin, an Comrie
Author Mac Diarmaid, Eobhann
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1804
Date Of Language 1800-1849
Publisher T. Steuart
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Perthshire
Register Religion, Prose
Alternative Author Name Hugh/Ewen MacDiarmid
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 20.7cm x 13.5cm
Short Title Searmona
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: S. B. .252Macd
Number Of Pages xii, 428
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Hugh (also known as Ewen) MacDiarmid was born in Weem in Perthshire, presumably late in the first half of the eighteenth century. He became a minister in the Church of Scotland, and served in the Gaelic Chapel of Ease in Glasgow from 1771 to 1772. He then spent a short time in Arrochar, before moving to Comrie. MacDiarmid died on 4th November, 1801. This collection of sermons was not published until after his death, in 1804. The Gaelic Society of Inverness possess a MS copy of MacDiarmid’s sermons. Nigel MacNeill (1929, p. 502) claims that MacDiarmid’s sermons ‘exhibit no special ability by the author, but are plain commonsense productions which would not rouse much holy enthusiasm in the reader, nor make serious demands on his intellect. At the same time they were often in request in pious homes, where, on the poor man’s great Day of Rest, they might be brought forth to be read.’

MacDiarmid was also interested in the oral tradition, and during the second half of the eighteenth century he made a MS collection of Gaelic verse, prose, and proverbs. It seems that this work was begun prior to 1762, as in Leabhar na Feinne (1872, p. 182), J. F. Campbell refers to ‘a manuscript wrote by Eovan Mac Diarmaid in the year 1762, & in possession of Mr John Shaw, miller, Kenlochraineach, in the year 1872’. Campbell also mentions ‘a manuscript by Mac Diarmaid, 1762-1769’ (ibid.), in reference to a version of the ballad Bas Oscair. It is possible that MacDiarmid’s collection of Proverbs, collected in 1769, predates Donald Mackintosh’s collection, which was first published in 1785. One volume of MacDiarmid’s collection (Vol. 2) was gifted to the Celtic Department at Glasgow University around 1968. Part of the MS was edited by Derick S. Thomson and published, under the title The MacDiarmid MS Anthology, in 1992. Another volume of MacDiarmid’s collection (presumably Vol. 1) was referred to by Donald MacKinnon in his Descriptive Catalogue of Gaelic Manuscripts (1912, p. 321). Vol. 1 contained proverbs and probably some heroic ballads. Its present whereabouts appear to be unknown.
Contents This volume begins with an unsigned address Do’n Leughadair (pp. iii-iv) in which it is deemed surprising that no Gaelic sermons have been published previously, given the number of English sermons in print and the number of Gaelic speakers who cannot read English well enough to make use of them. We are also told that ‘Air iarrtas mhòrain do Chairdibh agus luchd eisdeachd an Ughdair tha cuid d’a Shearmona an so air an cur an clò, an dochas gu’m bi iad, le beannachadh Dhé, feumail air feadh na Gaidhealtachd agus gu h-àraidh a measg an dream a bha aon uair a frithealadh a Mhinisteireachd’ (p. iii).

The Clar-Innsidh (pp. v-xii) lists the sermons that appear in this volume. Twenty-one sermons are listed, although numbers I and II are parts of the same sermon, and numbers VII, VIII, and XV are each spread over two or three sermons. The format used in the Clar-Innsidh is as follows: ‘Searm. XVII. \ Ephes. v. 6. \ Na mealladh neach air bith sibh le briathraibh diomhaineach, &c. … 345’.
Sources Presumably the sermons were taken from MacDiarmid’s own MS, possibly the one which is now in the possession of the Gaelic Society of Inverness.
Language As MacNeill suggested, this text does not contain complex theology, but simply explains specific passages from the Bible from the point of view of living a good Christian life. Passages covered in the sermons include: Lucas xviii. 13. A Dhia, dean tròcair ormsa ’ta ’m peacach (pp. 71-87); I Pead. ii. 25. Oir bha sibh mar chaoraich a’ dol air seachran; ach philleadh sibh a nis chum Buachaille agus Easbuig bhur n’ anama (pp. 88-107); and Eabhr. iv. 16. Thigeamaid uime sin le dànachd gu righ-chaithir nan gràs, chum gu faigh sinn trocair, agus gu’n amais sinn air gràs chum cobhair ann an àm feuma (pp. 120-39).

The text is full of biblical references, echoes and quotations, e.g.: ‘’Nuair a dh’ iomain Aingeal an Tighearna an duine as a ghàradh; ghlachd an Diabhol è-fèin agus a shliochd air làimh, agus dh’iomain è iad fad air falbh o Dhia agus o’ shonas, gu peacadh, peanas, agus doruinn’ (p. 1); ‘Ach a chum ’s gu’m faiceadh na deisciobuil a’m mearrachd; thòisich Josa air a nochdadh dhoibh; cionnas a b’ èigin dha-san moran do nithe fhulang; a bhi air a chur gu bàs, agus eiridh ’suas aris air an treas là. Cha do thuig Peadar na nithe sin, thug è achmhasan d’a mhaighstir, ag ràdh; gu ma fada sin uaitse, a Thighearna’ (p. 3).

Many passages contain exegesis of important biblical passages and discussion of the meaning and significance of the events described in them, e.g.: ‘C’arson a dh’fheudar an t-sacramaint so a choimeas re suipeir-bhainnse. \ Tha an soisgeulaiche Matha ag innsidh dhùinn gu’n do shuidhich Criosd an t-sacramaint so, an deigh dha fein agus d’a dheisciobuil an suipeir a gabhail do Uan na càisg; agus tha so mar aon reusan, c’arson ata i air a h-ainmeach suipeir. Ann an talamh Iudea, agus ann an duthchaibh eile, gu h-àraidh ann an làithibh ar Slànuighear, bi an t-suipeir an lòn a b’fhearr agus bu phailte a bha daoine a’ faotain; aig fèisd na càisge cha robh e ceaduichte dhoibh lòn sam bith eile a ghabhail, agus ghabh iad an t-Uan càisg a ghnàth an deìgh luidh’ na grèine. … ’S ann o iobairt Chriosd, agus trìd creidimh, a tha daoine a’ faotain lòn spioradail da’n anamaibh; agus do’n dream a tha gabhail na sacramaint so gu cubhaidh, agus le làn earbsa annsan, tha esan gu gràsmhur a’ toirt maitheanas, na’m peacaidhean, coghnadh a Spioraid chum fa’s [sic, for fàs] ann an eolas agus ann an gras, …’ (pp. 214-15).

A number of passages contain direct appeals to an imagined congregation, e.g.: ‘Tha duil aig mac an duine, gu bheil sonas so-ghlacadh air thalamh, agus gu bheil gach nì làn deth. Ach mo thruaighe! a mhuintir ionmhuinn, ’s dochas mealltach so. Tha sonas an t-saoghail mar bhogha-frois, ’nuair a tha duil againn a bhi teann air, agus gu’r urrainn sinn a ghlacadh, tha è ruidh air falbh na ’s fhaide uainn, tha e ’gar fàgail, agus ’gar dibreadh anns gach dochas, anns gach àite, anns gach ni. Tha duil aig mòran gu ’m faigh iad sonas a’m beartas; tha dùil aig cuid gu ’m faigh iad sonas o ghlòir agus onoir, tha dùil aig cuid …’ (p. 11).

Recurrent themes in these sermons include prayer, sin, Jesus’s life and suffering, and the goodness of God. MacDiarmid frequently reminds us of the importance of prayer. The following passage is typical: ‘Tha focal De a’ teagasg dhuinn, nach ’eil ann ach aon eidir-mheadhon-fhear eidar Dia agus daoine eadhon Iosa Criosd. Cha’n’eil na Papanaich toillichte leisan, tha iadsan a’ deanamh urnuigh ri eidir-mheadhon-fhearan eile, eadhon Aingil agus Naoimh. Am bheil Dia ag àithne an aoraidh so? An àite sin tha Pol ag radh na ainm Colos. ii. 18, 19. Agus tha sinn a’ leughadh Taisb. xix. 10. gu’n do dhiult an t-Aingil le uamhas aoradh an Abstoil Eoin. Tha e mar an ceudna aimideach ùrnuigh a dheanamh re màthair ar Slànuighear, do Aingil agus do Naoimh, o nach ’eil ach Dia amhàin a lathair anns gach àite, agus comasach air urnuigh a chluinntin’ (p. 365); Note also: ‘Tha ùrnuigh a gleidhidh na slighe fosgailte eidar an ceann agus na buill; so ’n teachdaire a tha dol o thalamh gu Neamh, agus a tha pilltin leis gach tiodhlaca feumail. Na leigibh ma seadh air dearmad an dleasdanas cuidthromach so. Ach deanaibh ùrnuigh an creidimh, deanaibh urnuigh a ghnàth, agus guidhibh air Criosd bhur teagasg chum ùrnuigh, gu ceart a dheanamh, chum ’s gu’n iarr agus gu’m fuigh sibh, agus gu’m b[’]e bhur n’ aoibhneas iomlan’ (pp. 326-27).

The sermons have a lot to say on the subject of sin, as the following examples make clear: (1) ‘Cha ’n ’eil crèutair air thalamh ach mac an duine a mhain, aig am bheil rèusan, coguis agus anam neo-bhasmhor. ’Nuair a dh’ ith Adhamh am meas toirmisgte, agus a bhrist e reachd Dhe, chaill è chòir air sòlas talmhaidh, air umhlachd nan crèutairean, agus air beatha shiorruidh. Chaidh ar ceud sinnsearibh fhagail gu saorsa an toile fein, thuit iad o’n ceud staid, pheacaich iad an aghaidh Dhe: Agus cha’n ann dhoibh fhèin a mhain a rinn iad cron; thainig peacadh agus truaighe ann an lorg so air an sliochd’ (p. 23); (2) ‘Gu bheil gach peacair air teachd gearr air glòir Dhe. ’S i glòir Dhe ard-onoir, agus ard-mhaise a naduir, a bhuadhannaibh, agus a thoil. Tha ghloir so air a taisbeanadh dhuinn ’na oibre, ’na fhreasdal, ’na fhocal, agus gu h-àirid ann an co-oibreachadh a naomhachd, a mhaitheas agus a thròcair’ (p. 60); (3) ‘Si àrd obair an duine, Dia a ghlòruchadh air talamh, agus ’sann o so mhàin a tha shior-shonas a’ sruthadh. Tha peacairean gach là a toirt tamailt do Dhia, ged a tha oibre, a fhreasdal, agus fhocal a gairm orra gu dian onoir a thoirt dha’ (p. 69).

Another favoured theme is Jesus’s life and suffering, as can be seen from the following examples: (1) ‘Chum aimeadeachd [sic], agus cionta uabhair a nochdadh, chum mòr-fheum, agus mòr-thairbh irioslachd inntin a dhearbha, tha Criosd a’ làbhairt cosamhlachd mu dheimhin giùlan dias daoine, Phaireasach agus Publicanach ann an teampull Dhe’ (p. 72); (2) ‘’S còir làn-earbsa a chur ann an cumhachd agus ann am firinn Criosd. \ Ged a thuirt Pol nach b’ urrain e eadhon deadh smuain a smuainteachadh a ’s eugmhais coghnàdh Dhe; gidheadh thuirt an neach ceudna gu h-ullamh, trìd Criosd a tha ga’m neartachadh, ’s urrainn mi gach ni a dheanamh’ (pp. 105-6); (3) ‘Tha ’n t-Abstol Pol a’ teagasg dhuinn, gu ’n d’ fhuiling Criosd; ni ’mhain airson ar n’ eas-aontais ach gu ’n d’ eirich e suas a-ris airson ar fireanachaidh. Ann an lorg obair a chriochnachadh, dh’ eirich e o na mairbh, chaidh e do neamh, shuidh e aig deis làimh an athair, fhuair e seilbh air glòir. Chaidh e do na neamhaidh chum àite-comhnuidh ulluchadh do phopull, chum na tiodhlacaibh a choisin e a bhuilleachadh orra, agus chum an spiorad a chuir anuas’ (p. 134); (4) ‘Air a chrann-cheasaidh mhalluichte, le fheoil a reubadh, le fhuil a dhòrtadh phàigh Criosd ainmheach pheacairean, agus choisinn e dhoibh gu cairdeil saorsa o sgrios. Dh’ fhuiling esan fearg Athar chum ’s gu’m mealladh iadsan a chairdeas, dh’ fhuiling cràdh agus bròn, chum ’s gum fuigheadh iad sòlas, dh’ fhuiling è doruinn, chum ’s gum fuigheadh iad sonas, dh’ fhuiling di-meas chum ’s gum fuigheadh iad glòir, dh’ fhuiling bàs chum ’s gu’m fuigheadh iad a bheatha mhairtheanach’ (p. 183).

MacDiarmid dwells also on God’s greatness, goodness and forgiveness: ‘’S aithne do Dhia a chlann fein, agus tha e, mar athair caomh, gu h-àraidh curamach mu gach ni, a bhuineas dhoibh, agus a tha feumail chum an sonais. Tha freasdal De thar gach ni, tha làmh uile-chumhachdach, chàirdeil, gu h-àraidh mu’n cuairt d’a chloinn fein, tha esan ga’n stiùradh le fhreasdal agus le ghliocas, da’n dion o lochd, agus a’ builleachadh orra gach ni a tha e faicinn feumail air a son’ (p. 202).
Orthography The orthography is characteristic of the early nineteenth century. The grave accent is used frequently, though without complete consistency. Despite their Perthshire provenance, these sermons lack such Perthshire vernacularisms as the apocope of final -e and -(e)adh, which suggests that MacDiarmid’s aim was to give a ‘standard’ rather than a ‘local’ flavour to his text. The presence of some higher-register spellings (e.g. mairtheanach, p. 183) support that view. On the other hand, there is some uncertainty over single and double l, n and r (e.g. toillichte, p. 365; tionnal, p. 13; mearrachd, p. 49), which may well reflect the simplification of those oppositions in MacDiarmid’s spoken Gaelic.
Edition First edition.
Other Sources
Further Reading MacNeill, Nigel, The Literature of the Highlanders (Stirling, 1929: [n. pub.]).
Thomson, Derick S., ed., The MacDiarmid MS Anthology (Edinburgh, 1992: Scottish Gaelic Texts Society).
Thomson, Derick S., ed., The Companion to Gaelic Scotland (Glasgow, 1994: Gairm).
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