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Metadata for text 116
No. words in text7007
Title An Tiodhlac Do-Labhairt. A Gaelic Sermon Preached by the Late Rev. Archibald Cook, Free Church, Daviot
Author Cook, Rev. Archibald
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1868
Date Of Language 1850-1899
Publisher A. Sinclair
Place Published Glasgow
Volume N/A
Location National and academic (Aberdeen) libraries
Link Digital version created by National Library of Scotland
Download File PDF / plain text 
Geographical Origins Arran
Register Religion, Prose
Alternative Author Name N/A
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 18.3cm x 11.2cm
Short Title An Tiodhlac Do-Labhairt
Reference Details NLS: H.M.136
Number Of Pages 16
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context All quotations in this section are taken from an Editorial entitled ‘A Faithful Ambassador is Health, A Sketch of the Life of Rev. Archibald Cook of Daviot’, in the February 1998 edition of The Free Church Magazine.

Archibald Cook was born in Arran in 1788, the seventh of nine sons. He seems to have become interested in spiritual matters in his early teens. Sensing this, his friends urged him to enjoy life, and took him to a dance. ‘As soon as he entered the room where the dancing was in full swing he had an overpowering sense of his wrongdoing. He forever turned his back on such scenes and never forgot the solemn impression of that experience’. It seems that Cook was probably converted during the Arran revivals of the early 1800s, ‘under the ministry of the eminent Rev. Neil MacBride’. Cook studied Arts and Divinity at Glasgow University, and in 1823 was ‘ordained and inducted as the missionary-minister of the Berriedale and Bruan Mission, on the east coast of Caithness’. His brother Finlay was the ‘minister-missionary’ of the Achrenie Mission, less than twenty miles away. Shortly after moving to Caithness, Cook married Catherine MacKay from the area, who is described as ‘a truly pious person’. They had two sons and six daughters.

Cook spent fourteen years in the Caithness area, ‘preaching and catechising’, and during his time there he established Gaelic services for the fishermen who travelled to Wick on a yearly basis. Cook spent the next seven years as minister of North Church in Inverness, where ‘the congregation increased greatly and became exceedingly attached to him. He was also a power for good in the town and was the means of raising its moral tone. For example, he stopped the holding of “penny weddings”, which were held in public houses and to which all were welcomed who would contribute to paying for the fiddlers and their drink. His denouncing of this disreputable way of celebrating marriage was so blessed to one young man that he became a truly superior Christian’. Rev. Cook and his entire congregation joined the Free Church at the Disruption in 1843. ‘Soon afterwards he accepted a Call from the Daviot Free Church Congregation to be their minister. His Inverness congregation presented to the local Presbytery a petition, with more than 900 signatures, showing how great would be their loss if their pastor moved elsewhere. The Presbytery agreed and did not permit his removal. However, when the Daviot congregation called him again next year, his congregation did not stand in his way, and he was inducted as the minister of the Daviot congregation in August 1844’.

Of Rev. Cook’s preaching, the article notes that ‘Old accounts show that his method of presenting the truth rivetted the attention of the congregation. He had a solemn manner, but was full of life, even in old age. When, at the age of 70, he visited Caithness to assist at communions, his old friends were full of expectation. They were not disappointed. The crowds who gathered were astonished at his holy animation, and the flow of elevated doctrine, helpful experience, striking illustrations and remarkable anecdotes. “His preaching,” wrote Rev. Donald Beaton, “was searching, going deep beneath the surface, and while there was sharpness in the lance, the balm of Gilead was also applied. No one who has any knowledge of the truth can read Mr Cook’s sermons, in Gaelic and English, without feeling that here is a man whose words reach the conscience and demand attention … Perhaps none of the preachers of the Northern Highlands ever got so near to the consciences of his hearers as did Mr Cook.”’ Cook was also an excellent catechist, sometimes holding ninety sessions every winter, often in barns. Sessions usually lasted more than two hours and ‘it was not uncommon to see several hundred people present’, many of whom came from neighbouring parishes. More information about his preaching and catechising can be found on the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland website (

Rev. Cook died on 6th May 1865, at the age of 77, having suffered a series of strokes.
Contents This text begins with An Roimh-Radh (p. 3), which explains that since the sermon by Cook published the previous year had been so successful, it had been decided to publish another of his sermons: ‘Tha sinn, uime sin, a’ cur a mach na searmoin a leanas (a chaidh a shearmonachadh leis an neach ceudna ’n a eaglais féin, air là taingealachd air son an fhogharaidh) le làn dùrachd ar cridhe, gu-m bi i, tre bheannachd Dhé, ’n a meadhon a chum a shluagh bochd féin ùrachadh, ann a bhi ’cur ’n an cuimhne an comain neo-chrìochnadh fo ’m bheil iad air son an “Tiodhlac do-labhairt,” Iosa Criosd, a ghràdhaich iad ’s a thug e féin air an son. Agus mar an ceudna gu-m bi i feumail a chum muinntir eile, a bha thuige so caoin shuarrach mu ’thimchioll, a thoirt gu mothachadh air am feum air, agus an gluasad suas gus na h-uile dìchioll a dheanamh gu eòlas fhaighinn airsan, agus còir ann, as easbhuidh nach urrainn iad a bhi air an tearnadh’ (p. 3).

There follows the Searmoin (pp. 5-16), based on ‘2 Corint. ix. 15. “Buidheachas do Dhia air son a thiodhlaic do-labhairt”’, which focuses on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to save mankind from sin.
Language Despite its form and subject matter, this text is written in a relatively informal style, imitating the spoken words of a preacher addressing his congregation.

The sermon begins ‘Bha tearc aig a’ Chruithfhear anns a h-uile linn de ’n t-saoghal a fhuair toradh ann am bàs Chriosd. Cha robh iad ach tearc ann an linn air bith,—cho tearc ’s gu ’m feudar a ràdh riù “treud bheag;” agus tha e soilleir gu ’m bi iad cho tearc sin de na h-uile linn a bhitheas air làimh dheas Chriosd aig là ’bhreitheanais’ (p. 5). Cook then turns to his text, and proceeds to expound its meaning: ‘Bha ’n t-abstol anns a’ chaibdeil so, a’ comhairleachadh na h-eaglais a thaobh tionail air son nan naomh bochda bha ann an Ierusalem. Bha o thoiseach an t-saoghail, iomadh aon de chloinn Chriosd a bha glé bhochd ann san t-saoghal; cha b’ e an saoghal an cuibhrionn. Bha ’n Cruith-fhear ’n a Ard-uachdaranach a’ toirt an t-saoghail do chuid diubh, a chum ’s gu ’n còmhnadh iad cuid eile, agus ag amharc air sin mar thoradh saor-ghràis, cha-n’eil teagamh nach d’ rinn ’anam gàirdeachas’ (p. 5).

Cook frequently quotes directly from the Bible, and right from the beginning, the teaching of the sermon is made clear: ‘Thusa bhitheas air an “làimh chlìth” cha ’n fhaigh thu gu là do bhàis cridhe gu mòran a dheanamh ri aobhar Chriosd no ri cloinn Chriosd. Cha bhi uiread a dh’ fhosgladh beòil aig Nàbal ’n là ’bhreitheanais is gu ’n d’ ùraich e aon leanamh le Criosd. Ach air do ’n abstol a bhi a’ faicinn an cridhe-san air fhosgladh, cha-n ’eil teagamh nach robh ’anam air ùrachadh; oir tha e ag ràdh anns an aona rann deug, “ni a dh’ oibricheas leinn breith-buidheachais do Dhia,” agus anns an dara rann deug, “tha frithealadh na seirbhis so, cha-n e mhàin a’ teasachd uireasbhuidh nan naomh, ach tha e mar an ceudna pailt tré mòran breith-buidheachais do Dhia;” dìreach mar gu ’m bitheadh e ’g altrum an t-srad gràis so ’n an anam. Agus nach bochd an t-anam anns nach ’eil anail taingealachd do Dhia air son ni air bith a tha e ’sealbhachadh?’ (p. 5).

Cook then begins to explain the passage in more depth: ‘Ann a bhi ’labhairt o ’n earrainn so; tha sinn a’ rùnachadh, rèir mar bhitheas comas air a thabhairt. I. Bhi ’nochdadh ni éiginn de ’n tiodhlac do-labhairt. II. Tearc de na Beannachdan a tha ’sruthadh o ’n Tiodhlac so. III. Gu bheil aig an anam a fhuair aithne air an Tiodhlac so, spiorad eile na tha anns an t-saoghal; spiorad taingealachd “do Dhia air son a thiodhlac do-labhairt”’ (p. 6). Again, the application of the Apostle’s words is explained to us: ‘Chaill an duine ’cho-chomunn ri Dia air son peacaidh, agus chaill e aithne air; mar sin cha-n ’eil a bheag aige mu ’n Tiodhlac so; cha-n ’eil iad ach tearc anns an aite so nach lùb an glùn, ach am bheil iad a’ faicinn am feum air bàs Chriosd? An creutair aig nach ’eil aithne air gu bheil e mach á fàbhar agus comunn Dhé, cha-n ’eil a’ bheag aige mu dhéibhinn Chriosd, no mu bhàs Chriosd. Ach ciod e sin a bhi mach á fàbhar Dhé? Direach a bhi rùisgte do bhuile a cheartais’ (p. 6).

Cook graphically describes God’s search for his lost sheep and the desolation of the sheep without their shepherd: ‘Tha glòir na mòrachd ag agairt gu ’m faiceadh an creutair ciod e ’chaill e; ach ’s bochd an t-anam nach fhaic sin gus am faic e ann am bith-bhuantachd e’ (p. 7). Compare, in the same vein, ‘O! ’s uamhasach a bhi troimh an t-siorruidheachd ceangailte anns na truaighean a tha comh-cheangailte ris a’ pheacadh! O, anaim! ged nach bitheadh anns an tearnadh ach a bhi mach á cuideachd dhroch spioradan agus anama caillte, cha bu bheag e’ (p. 9).

On p. 12, Cook explains God’s anger against those who do not harbour love for Christ: ‘Rìs,—Na ’m beachdaicheamaid air mar tha gaol an Athar do ’n Fhear-Shaoraidh. Tha gaol eadar pearsachan na Trionaid, agus dh’fhaodamaid a ràdh gu bheil dà ghaol ann an Dia do ’n Fhear-Shaoraidh,—gaol dha mar an t-eadar-mheadhonair, agus gaol dha á nàduir féin,—dha oirdheirceas; agus is ann mar sin a tha Dia ann am feirg ris an duine “gach là” air son nach ’eil gaol aig do Chriosd’ (p. 12).

On a number of occasions, Cook explains to us what might be termed the ‘nature of God’. For example: ‘Rìs,—Bha anns a Chruith-fhear ni ris an do bhean staid an anama. Tha e féin a labhairt air, “’n an uile amhghar bha esan fo amhghar.” Nis cha robh tòiseachadh aige so ann an Dia, cha b’ e truaigh a’ chreutar a chruthaich so ann an Dia, bha e ann o shiorruidheachd’ (p. 10). Compare also: ‘’N uair a chruthaich Dia an duine, thug e dha lagh a réir a nàduir, agus anns an rùn chomharaich e gu ’m bitheadh cumail ris an lagh air a dhuaiseachadh le glòir, agus anns an rùn chomharaich e gu ’m bitheadh tionndadh air falbh nan aignean uaithe air a pheanasachadh le peanas sìorruidh’ (p. 14).

Throughout the text, Cook returns to the sacrifice of Jesus, and the benefits it afforded humankind. For eample: ‘Ris,—Bha ann am bàs Chriosd, ni anns an robh gaol do ’n Mhòrachd a’ dealradh,—gaol d’ a ghlòir; sheas Criosd sreing-thomhais ceartais,—sheas e cothromaichean an “ionaid naoimh;” chaidh peacaidhean an t-saoghail agus bàs Chriosda chuir ann an sligibh, agus ’s e gu ’n do chothromaich toillteanas Chriosd iad a thoirt maitheanas do ’n pheacach; ’s e an lagh naomh, an t-sreing-thomhais, agus ’n uair a chaill an duine a chumadh ris an lagh, chaill e a cho-chomunn ri Dia. Am bheil thusa an dùil gu ’n toir Dia maitheanas dhuit air son do chuid ùrnaighean?’ (p. 11).

Cook often addresses the individual parishioner rather than the congregation as a group: ‘Thu féin, faic, ged a dheanadh sin do thearnadh, cha ’n fhaigh thu smuain mu do Chruith-fhear ’n a d’ inntinn, nach éigin dhuit aideachadh gu ’n do chuir ni-eigin ann an sin i; tha mi cinnteach gur minig a fhuair thu ’n a d’ inntinn gu ’m b’ fhearr leat nach robh Dia ann, a’s nach bitheadh bith-bhuantachd ann; tha bith naimhdeis ’an aghaidh Dia anns an duine’ (p. 10). Similarly: ‘O! bheil thusa comasach air fearg Dhe a ghiùlan?’ (p. 13).

Towards the end of the sermon, Cook returns to the Bible: ‘’N uair a chunnaic an t-abstol an leabhar ’s e air a sheulachadh, agus nach robh aon neach air nèamh, no air thalamh, no fuidh ’n talamh, comasach air an leabhar fhosgladh, no sealltuinn air, tha sinn a’ leughadh gu ’n do ghuil e gu mòr! ach thubhairt aon ris, na guil; feuch, bhuadhaich an leomhan a tha de thrèibh Iudah, freumh Dhaibhidh, air an leabhar fhosgladh, agus air a sheachd seulachan fhuasgladh. Dh’ amhairc e, agus ciod a chunnaic e? feuch, ann am meadhon na rìgh-chaithreach Uan mar gu ’m bitheadh e air a mharbhadh. Is ann mar an t-àrd-shagart a dh’ fhuasgail e na seulachan; oir tha an t-Uan a’ ciallachadh oifig a shagartachd; agus na h-uile ni a bhitheas air fhosgladh do ’n anam troimh an t-siorruidheachd is ann le bàs Chriosd a bhitheas e air fhosgladh’ (p. 15).

This text is of value as a well-constructed Free Church sermon in the preaching style of the period after the Disruption of 1843. Of interest are such terms as eadar-mheadhonair (e.g. p. 12), sreing-thomhais ceartais (p. 11), and an t-àrd-shagart (p. 15).
Orthography The orthography is typical of the mid-nineteenth century. While the nature of this text does not lend itself to the use of dialectalisms, there may be occasional evidence for the writer’s Arran Gaelic, e.g. his fondness for tearc ‘few, a few’.
Edition First edition. A further edition was published in 1915. Although the type-setting was changed for the new edition, the orthography of the original was largely retained.
Further Reading ‘A Faithful Ambassador is Health, A Sketch of the Life of Rev. Archibald Cook of Daviot’, The Free Church Magazine, February 1998.
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