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Title Earail Dhurachdach do Pheacaich Neo-Iompaichte: Eidir-theangaicht’ o Bheurla Ioseiph Alleine, Le I. S. Ministeir ann Cille-Bhreanuinn
Author Alleine, Joseph
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1781
Date Of Language 18th c.
Publisher MacFarquhar agus Elliot
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 Argyll
Register Religion, Prose
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 14cm x 9.5cm
Short Title Earail Dhurachdach
Reference Details NLS: H.M.289
Number Of Pages [2], 248
Gaelic Text By Smith, John
Illustrator N/A
Social Context Joseph Alleine was born in Devizes in Wiltshire, the fourth child of Tobias Alleine and his first wife, Elizabeth Northie. He was baptized on 8th April, 1634. His father was a tradesman, and his mother was the daughter of the mayor of Devizes. Alleine was taught the Classics locally by William Spinage, who was a fellow of Exeter College, Oxford. He enrolled in Lincoln College, Oxford, in 1649, but transferred to Corpus Christi College in 1651. His brother, Edward, who had died at the age of twenty-six, had been a minister, and was an inspiration to Alleine. When he graduated in 1653, Alleine took up a post as chaplain of Corpus Christi College. In 1655, Alleine became assistant minister to George Newton at St Mary Magdalen Church in Taunton in Somerset. He was ordained there, and in 1655 he married his cousin Theodosia Alleine, whose father was the minister of Batcombe in Somerset. The couple lived with Newton for two years, before moving into a house of their own, where Theodosia (helped by Joseph) kept a school of around fifty pupils, half of whom boarded there.

After the ratification of the Act of Uniformity, both Newton and Alleine were removed from their ministries. They stayed in Taunton, however, preaching and worshipping in private houses, in order to avoid arrest. Alleine was finally arrested on suspicion of preaching at a service held on 17th May 1663, and he was imprisoned at Ilchester. He was eventually fined 100 marks and ordered to remain in prison until the fine was paid. Alleine refused to pay, and spent his time in gaol writing theological articles and letters to his congregation. John Wesley’s Methodist movement was, in part, inspired by Alleine’s writing on covenanting. Alleine was released from prison in May 1664. He continued preaching illegally, but was by now suffering from ill health. In 1665, Alleine was compelled to move to Wellington, and afterwards to various hidden places around Taunton, by the provisions of the Five Mile Act. In July 1665, Alleine was arrested again, while conducting a service at Fullands. Along with his wife, his father, and seven other ministers who were involved, Alleine was ordered to pay £3 or to spend sixty days in prison. He, along with most of the others, chose prison. In February 1668, Alleine became very ill. He had already travelled to Devizes to take the waters there, and now set forth for Bath in the hopes of finding a cure. This was not to be, however, and Alleine died in Bath on 17th November, 1668.

An Alarme to Unconverted Sinners is Alleine’s best known work. It was first published posthumously, in 1671, when twenty thousand copies were sold. It was published again, twenty years later, under the title Sure Guide to Heaven, which sold fifty thousand copies. It was still in print in 2000.

The translator of this work, John Smith, was born in Glenorchy in Argyllshire, in 1747. His father, also John Smith (or John M‘Lulich), was probably a farmer, and his mother was Mary Campbell. Smith studied at the University of Edinburgh, and was licensed by the presbytery of Kintyre in April 1773. He was ordained in October 1775, when he was appointed to the Royal Bounty Mission Station at Tarbert on Loch Fyne. In 1777, Smith became assistant to Rev. James Stewart in the parish of Kilbrandon and Kilchattan. In 1780, he obtained his own charge at Campbeltown in Kintyre, to which he was admitted in April 1781.

Smith completed his translation of Alleine’s Alarme while awaiting his transfer to Campbeltown. He had been encouraged in this work by Lady Glenorchy, and it is said that through reading extracts of his translation to his congregation, Smith brought about a revival among them. In addition to this volume, Smith translated the fourth Part of the Old Testament (Prophets), which was published in 1786 (see Text 160 for details). He was awarded the Honorary Degree of D.D. by Edinburgh University in 1787, and in the same year published Sailm Dhaibhidh (see Text 188 for information on the Gaelic translations of the Psalms). By 1840, more than thirty editions of Smith’s psalter had been published. Smith was also extremely interested in the Ossianic controversy, and in his 1780 publication, Galic Antiquities, he argues for the authenticity of MacPherson’s publications. In 1787, Smith published two volumes, Sean Dana and Dàn an Deirg agus Tiomna Ghuill. While Smith claimed that the poems in Sean Dana were authentic, modern scholars believe that Smith composed much of the material himself. Smith also wrote a number of religious and economic works, including Urnaighean arson Theaghlaichean, which was published in 1808 (the year after his death); A View of the Last Judgement, published in 1783; Lectures on the Nature and End of the Sacred Office, published in 1798; and General View of the Agriculture of the County of Argyll, published in 1798. While in Campbeltown, Smith also contributed to Sinclair’s Statistical Account.
Contents This volume opens with a short note entitled Do’n Leughadair, presumably by the translator. On the verso of this page is An Clar-Innsidh. This is followed (pp. 1-6) by Alleine’s general introduction, entitled Cuire teann do pheacaich gu pille’ ri DIA chum bhi air an sabhala, introducing the subject-matter to be covered in the following chapters. These chapters are as follows:

Caib. I. A’ feuchainn Ciod anns nach ’eil Iompacha aig co-sheasamh; is a ceartacha cuid mhearachdan m’a thiomchiol (pp. 6-17): This chapter corrects some common mistakes about conversion, by giving six examples of what does not constitute conversion. These include: Cha’n e ionnlad an uisge, no suaicheantas CHRIOSD a ghabhail oirn fein am baiste’ is ciall do iompacha (p. 8).

Caib. II. Ciod ann sa bheil iompacha ag co-sheasamh (pp. 17-64): This chapter considers and gives examples of what does constitute conversion. These include: Tha gràs an iompachaidh a’ cur gach ni ceart a rìs. Tha e cur DHIA san ri’-chathair, agus an t saoghail aig stol a choise, Salm. lxxiii. 25. Tha e cur CRIOSD ann sa chridhe, ’s an t saoghail sa chois, Ephes. iii. 17. Taisb. xii. 1 (p. 43-44).

Caib. III. Gur eigin iompacha no basacha (pp. 64-104): This chapter proclaims the need for conversion. Five main arguments are given to support this, including: As eugais iompachai’ tha gach ni rinn is a dh’ fhuiling DIA ann diomhain dhuitsa (p. 84).

Caib. IV. Comharan na muinntir neo-iompaichte (pp. 104-33): This chapter describes ten groups of people who can clearly be classed as unconverted (e.g. drunkards and thieves), and then lists twelve more classes of unconverted people whose state may be harder to diagnose. These include Dall-ain-eolas (p. 116) and Fuar-chrabha (p. 118).

Caib. V. Truaighe na muinntir neo-iompaichte (pp. 133-69): This chapter sets out the difficulties in which the unconverted find themselves, listing eight in particular, e.g. Tha ’n t Uile-chumhachdach air a dhaighneacha fein a t aghai (p. 139).

Caib. VI. Seolai’ gu iompacha (pp. 169-201): This chapter gives directions to those who wish to be converted, naming fourteen specific seolai’, including: Thoir oidheirp do ghnà air geur-mhothacha bhi aig do chridhe air do thruaighe (p. 180); Feith gu coinnseasach air an fhocal, mar mheadhon t iompachai (p. 195).

Caib. VII. Argumeinte gu iompacha (pp. 201-19): This chapter lists five arguments in favour of conversion, including: Tha cumh[n]anta na trocair air a thoirt co iosal air arson [sic, for air ar son] as a tha e comasach (p. 213).

The General Conclusion of Alleine’s work, entitled Co-dhunadh an iomlain (pp. 219-36), ends with a prayer beginning as follows: O athair nan uile spiorad, gabh thus’ ad laimh fein an cridhe sin tha tuille ’s cruaidh air mo shonsa, creatuir lag agus ea-treorach (p. 223). This is followed by Earail araid do cheannarta theaghlaichean (pp. 237-48), which adjures heads of families to be diadhai nur pearsa fein, agus diadhai nur teaghlaiche (p. 237).
Sources A footnote in the section Do’n Leughadair states that ‘The translation is from the abridgement by Mr Thornton, intitled, Alleine’s Admonition’.
Language The language of this text is sermonising and its style is evangelical. It is full of biblical references and quotations. Here is a typical example from Chapter 2: ‘Tha ’n duin’ iompaicht’ a’ pille’ gu IOSA CRIOSD, an t aon eidir-mheadhonair eidir DIA agus duine, I Tim. ii. 5. ’S i obair-san ar toirt a dh’ ionnsui’ DHIA, I Pead. iii. 18. Is e an t slighe dh’ ionnsuidh an Athar, Eoin xiv. 6. an aon dorus air am feud sinn dol asteach, Eoin x. 9. an aon mheadhon gu bhi beo, an aon rathad, an aon ainm air a thoirt fui na neamha, leis am feud sinn a bhi air ar sabhala, Gniomh. iv. 12.’ (p. 52). The following example is from Chapter 5: ‘“Tha’n soisgeul fein a toirt damna siorruith mar bhìne mach a’ t aghai, ’s ga cheangal gu daingean air t anam,” Mar. xvi. 16. Ma dh’ fhanas tu san staid am bheil thu gun aithreachas gun iompacha, biodh fios agad gu bheil an soisgeul a’ toirt bìne moran ni’s eagalaiche mach a’ t aghai no tha bristeadh a cheud chumhnainte’ (p. 162).

Most chapters end with An Co-chur ‘The Summation’, in which the author addresses the reader directly, e.g.: ‘Theaga gu bheil thu ulla’ gu rà, ciod is ciall do’n iomairt so? ’s gu iongantas a gabhail c’ arson a tha mi ga d’ leantuinn co dùrachdach, a’ cumail fuaim na h aon chaithream so gun tàmh ad chluais, gu feum thu “aithreachas a ghabhail ’s a bhi air t iompacha,” Gniomh. iii. 19’ (p. 64). Compare also: ‘Eisdibh mata, O dhaoine peacach, is thugaibh fainear, mar bu mhaith leibh a bhi beo, Isai. iv. 3. C’arson a mheallas sibh sibh-fein, is a shuidhicheas sibh air ghaineamh steidh ur dochais?’ (p. 13). Sometimes Alleine’s admonitions are addressed not to the reader as such, but to his or her soul or conscience, as in the following example: ‘O choguis! dean do dhleasnas. Ann ainm an DIA bheo, tha mi ’g àithne dhuit thu dheana do dhleasnais. Dean greim air a pheacach, glac e, cuir an sàs e, leig ris a chunthart da. Ciod! an e gu bi thu rèidh ris, no gu gabh thu leis am fad as a bhuanaicheas e na pheaca? Duisg, o choguis! Ciod is ciall duit, O chadalaiche? Ciod so! Am bheil thu gun aon achasan ad bheul?’ (p. 63).
Orthography With regard to orthography, a note in the Clar-Innsidh reads as follows: ‘In the following sheets, the quiescent dh at the end of words, is generally omitted, when the next word begins with a consonant.—This abbreviation (which never affects the root or etymology of the word,) is often marked with an apostrophe, especially near the beginning, that such as have been in the use of seeing those letters, might be at no loss till they are become familiar to the want of them. The rule of caol ri caol has likewise been laid aside in compound words, which can but seldom admit of it. A few other alterations (which it would perhaps be too much to make at once,) would simplify the Gaelic orthography, and bring it to a near correspondence with the pronunciation’. This note was presumably written by the translator. Examples include verbal nouns in -adh, which regularly end in -a in this text; note also feudai duine (p. 116), ri d’ pheaci’ (p. 223), and diadhai (p. 223). Although he does not discuss this, the translator also omits final mh in many words, e.g. theaga gu bheil thu ulla’ (p. 64). As to dialect, although this text is not written in a markedly dialectal form of language, there are nevertheless some indications of the author’s Argyllshire background: see, perhaps, his use of seorta rather than seorsa (pp. 109, 112) and of cosail ri rather than coltach ri (p. 68).
Edition First edition. Subsequent editions were published in 1782, 1802, 1807, 1813, 1822, 1839, 1860 (a reprint of the 1839 edition), and 1868.
Other Sources
Further Reading Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online): (Joseph Alleine) (John Smith)
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