Reference Number175
TitleCoir Mhor a Chriosduidh: Ann Da Earrain. I. D’ Fheuchainn mu Choir Shlainteil ann Criosd. II. An Doigh chum Ruigheachd air.
AuthorN/A (Translated work)
Date Of Edition1783
Date Of Languagelate 18c
Date Of Language Ed18th c.
DateMacroLate 18th c.
Date Of Language Notes
PublisherP. Mair
Place PublishedFalkirk (San Eaglais-Bhric)
LocationNational, academic, and local (Inverness Reference) libraries.
Geographical OriginsUnknown, possibly Appin
Geographical Origins EdUnknown
Geographical Origins Notes
RegisterProse (Religious)
Register EdReligion, Prose
A translation of William Guthrie’s The Christian’s Great Interest.
This text contains both general and technical terms and expressions proper to seventeenth-century Presbyterian discourse.
There are a number of quotations from, and references to, the Bible.
The text seeks, from a Presbyterian perspective, to identify the qualities that define the true Christian, and to describe the steps by which one can become a true Christian.
Some sections of this text are presented in the form of ‘Objection’ (Cunn[ail]) and ‘Answer’ (Freag[airt]).
Alternative Author NameN/A
Manuscript Or EditionEd.
Size And Condition16.5cm x 10cm
Short TitleCóir Mhór a Chriosduidh
Reference DetailsNLS: H.M.231
Number Of Pages227
Gaelic Text ByP. Mac-Pharlain (from English of William Guthrie)
Social ContextThis text is a translation of William Guthrie’s The Christian’s Great Interest, which was first published in Edinburgh in 1659. Guthrie’s father was James Guthrie of Pitforthy in Forfarshire. Guthrie was educated at St. Andrew’s University, whence he graduated MA in 1638, following which he chose to continue his studies there in Divinity. In 1642, he was licensed by the presbytery of St. Andrews, and shortly afterwards he became tutor to James Campbell, eldest son of the earl of Loudoun, who was a leading Covenanter and Chancellor of Scotland. In 1644, Guthrie became minister of Fenwick in Ayrshire. In 1645, he married Agnes Campbell of Dalrymple in Ayrshire, and they had two sons and four daughters. Guthrie was also a Covenanter, and he was present at the Mauchline rising in June 1648. He later turned down posts in Stirling, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, preferring a career as an army chaplain, and he was present at Dunbar when the Covenanting army was routed by Cromwell in 1650.

In 1649, Guthrie supported the implementation of the Act of Classes in his capacity as commissioner to the General Assembly. There followed a bitter dispute, in which the Resolutioners campaigned successfully to rescind the Act. In 1654 Guthrie became moderator of the Separatist Synod held at Edinburgh. At the Restoration, Guthrie’s entry in the Dictionary of National Biography states that ‘public sympathy for Guthrie’s particular brand of presbyterianism was driven underground. … Nevertheless Guthrie remained “a ringleader and a keeper-up of schism” in Ayrshire for some years …, whose refusal to submit to episcopacy became a major embarrassment to Alexander Burnet, archbishop of Glasgow’. After the publication of the Sermon of Mr William Guthrie in 1664, Guthrie was removed from his post. In 1665, Guthrie returned to Pitforthy after the death of his brother. Later that year, he himself died in Brechin. A number of Guthrie’s sermons were published after his death, and a volume of his surviving works was published in Edinburgh in 1880, under the title Sermons Delivered in Times of Persecution in Scotland.

Regarding the present text, his biographer in DNB explains that ‘Guthrie was a close friend and correspondent of Archibald Johnston of Wariston, co-author of the National Covenant and formerly clerk register of Scotland, from whom he sought advice regarding his “personal formal soule covenanting” in the same year. Their discussions prompted Guthrie to produce a “tractat” entitled The Christian’s Great Interest, which the advocate greatly admired, and was much concerned to “comunicate and presse on uthers”’.

The translator of this work, Patrick MacFarlane (1753-1831), was for some years a schoolmaster in Appin. He was a Gaelic scholar whose contributions included translating a number of religious texts. See also Text 142. He compiled Co’-chruinneachadh de dh’Orain agus Luinneagaibh Thaghta Ghae’lach (published in 1813), which contained part of Ewen MacLachlan’s translation of the Iliad, and A New and Copious English and Gaelic Vocabulary in 1815. For a list of MacFarlane’s translations see Ferguson and Matheson 1984, pp. 112-3.
ContentsThis volume opens with An Clar-Innsidh (pp. iii-iv) followed by An Roimh-Radh (pp. 5-6), in which the subject-matter of the book is introduced. The substance of the text is split into two sections as follows:

Earran I (pp. 7-129): D’fheuchainn mu chòir shlainteil ann Criosd. This section contains eleven chapters, including Aobhair mu bheil cho beag a’ teachd gu eólas soilleir air an coir air Criosd; Mearachdan eigin mu thimchioll cóir air Criosd air an toirt air falbh; An t eadar-dhealuch a tha eadar creidimh chealgoirean, ’s an creidimh fior slainteil a dh’ fhírinnicheas; and Mu cho’-pairteachaibh áraid o Dhia, ’s mu oibreacha grásmhor sónruicht’ a Spioraid.

Earran II (pp. 130-226): An dòigh chum ruigheachd air coir shlainteil ann Criosd. This section contains eight chapters, including Nithe áraid air an cuir sìos chum eólas agus fiosrachadh a thoirt do’n mhuinntir sin a tha ain-eolach; A nochda ciod a tha air iarrui roimh-laimh air a mhuinntir leis an áill creidsinn ann Iosa Criosd; Mun pheacadh ann aghai ’n Spioraid Naoimh; and Cunnuile air an tarruing o dhiobhail cumhachd gu creidsinn, agus cion tairbhe, air am freagradh.

Several chapters contain sets of Cunnaile ‘Objections’ and Freagairtean ‘Answers’. On p. [227] is added a short list of printer’s errors entitled Mearachdan a’ Chlo’-Bhualaidh.
LanguageThe linguistic consistency of this text may be judged from the following passages. Note the created compound gná-eagal, the technical force of gairm gu h-éifeachdach, the informality of leis a sin, the mirroring of English idiom in cha ruig mi leas smaoineachadh air creidsinn, and the dialectal reduction of -adh to -a in shealla’, pheaca’ (beside pheacadh), shábhala and dhearbha (beside smaoineachadh). (1) ‘Cunn[ail]. Tha gná-eagal orm nach d’thug DIA na h urrad shealla’ dhomh air mo pheaca ’s air mo thruaighe, ’s a tha é toirt do mhóran a tha é ’gairm gu h éifeachdach, gu h áraidh do m’ leithid-se do pheacach ro mhór. \ Freag. [i.e. Freagra or Freagairt ‘answer’] Tha é ro fhior, gu bheil an TIGHEARNA DIA a nochda do chuid do dhaoine seallana ro mhór d’ am peaca ’s d’ an truaighe, ’s tha iad leis a sin air an cuir fa mhór eagal roi’n lagh: …’ (I. VI., p. 53). (2) ‘Cunn[ail]. Tha mi fui’ amharus gu bheil mi ciontach do ’n pheacadh ann aghai ’n Spioraid Naoimh, ’s leis a sin gu bheil é ea-comasach dhomh maitheanas fhaotainn; ’s air an aobhar sin cha ruig mi leas smaoineachadh air creidsinn ann IOSA CRIOST chum m’ anam a shábhala. \ Freag. Ge nach cóir do neach air bith am peaca so a chuir as an leith fein, no idir as leith dhaoin’ eile, ni’s lugha na tha iad lán mhurrach air a chúis a dhearbha gu soilleir a reir eisimpleir CHRIOST, Mat. xii. 25, 26, 32. …’ (II. VI., p. 174).
OrthographyThe orthography is characteristic of late eighteenth-century publications. Only the acute accent is used.
EditionFirst edition. A second edition was published in 1832, and a number of further editions have since been published. The orthography was modernised for the second edition.
Other Sources
Further ReadingFerguson, Mary and Ann Matheson, Scottish Gaelic Union catalogue: a list of books printed in Scottish Gaelic from 1567 to 1973 (Edinburgh, 1984: National Library of Scotland).
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
Link LabelDigital version created by National Library of Scotland
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