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Metadata for text 179
No. words in text73752
Title Gairm an De Mhoir do ’n t Sluagh Neimh-Iompoichte, Iompochadh agus Bith Beo le Richard Baxter
Author N/A (Translated work)
Editor N/A
Date Of Edition 1750
Date Of Language 18th c.
Publisher Robert and Andrew Foulis (Clo-bhuailt’ ann Glassacha le Roib. agus Aind. Foulis Cloi-fheara an Oill-tigh)
Place Published Glasgow (Glassacha)
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 15cm x 9.5cm
Short Title Gairm an De Mhoir
Reference Details EUL, Sp. Coll.: E.B. .243Bax
Number Of Pages lxiii, 271
Gaelic Text By Rev. Alexander MacFarlane (from English of Richard Baxter)
Illustrator N/A
Social Context This text is a Gaelic translation of Richard Baxter’s A Call to the Unconverted, to Turn and Live, which was first published in 1658. Richard Baxter was born in Rowton in Shropshire, on 12th November, 1615. He received little formal education, and did not attend university. He read copiously, however, and through his reading became one of the most learned divines of the seventeenth century. Baxter’s first experience of conversion came when, as a boy, his father renounced his former gaming days and became devoted to leading a good Christian life. Baxter himself did not experience a single moment of conversion, but gradually became drawn to the Christian life through his reading. In some of his later writings, he maintained that a profound religious experience was not necessary for conversion. Baxter was ordained in 1638. He preached his first public sermon in St Edmund in Dudley, and in 1639 moved to Bridgnorth in Shropshire where he assisted the vicar, William Madstard. By this time, his preaching was distinctly puritanical, and it was at Bridgnorth that Baxter first made a stand against contemporary ecclesiastical policy. He was disappointed there to find the congregation somewhat ignorant and uninterested in what he had to say.

In March 1641, the parishioners of Kidderminster, in Worcestershire, invited Baxter to join them as their preacher or ‘lecturer’. According to his DNB biographer, ‘There is no doubt that Baxter was relieved to leave Bridgnorth, but his initial experiences at Kidderminster were not wholly encouraging. Many were offended by the forcefulness of his preaching and by his insistence on the need for church discipline and controlled admission to the Lord’s supper.’ Baxter left Kidderminster in 1642, at the outbreak of the English Civil war. He moved to Gloucester and then to Coventry, and later became a chaplain in the New Model Army. Baxter returned to Kidderminster in 1647, having recovered from an illness (one of the many that were to plague him during his life), by which time: ‘The church order and worship at Kidderminster followed a moderate line between the enthusiasm of radical puritanism and the prescriptiveness of both strict presbyterianism and prayer book worship. Baxter was not opposed to a written liturgy or to forms of prayer, though he himself used extempore prayers. He administered the sacrament to seated communicants, but would refuse it to none who wished to kneel. … Baxter held that church discipline and controlled admission to the Lord’s supper were fundamental to the being of a true church, but he did not conceive of this in rigid or mechanistic terms. His own conditions for church membership were liberal’ (DNB). Throughout his life, Baxter refused to align himself to any one Christian tradition. Baxter’s reputation grew during his years at Kidderminster. After the Restoration he moved to London. Here too he attracted much attention and, particularly after the Act of Uniformity, found himself disfavoured by various Church authorities. He was forbidden to preach in Worcester by Bishop Morley, and was not allowed to return to Kidderminister as a curate. In 1662, Baxter married Margaret Charlton, but his life from then until 1687 was full of persecution. He moved to Acton in Middlesex but was arrested for holding religious meetings. He built a meeting house in Oxendon Street but only preached there once before the building was closed to him. In 1685 he found himself in prison again on the charge of libelling the Church in his book Paraphrase on the New Testament. Baxter was a prolific writer, and completed over 160 works, including The Saints’ Everlasting Rest, Methodus Theologiae Christianae, and Breviate of the Life of Mrs Margaret Baxter. He died in London in 1691, at the age of 76.

The translator of this work was Rev. Alexander MacFarlane, a Church of Scotland minister who was inducted at Dunoon in 1737. He went on to minister at Kilninver and Kilmelford (between 1740 and 1754) and at Arrochar (from 1754 to 1763). In February 1743, MacFarlane married Susan Campbell. He died in July 1763. In addition to this translation, MacFarlane also published an edition of the Psalms in 1753, under the title Sailm Dhaibhidh ann dan Gaoidhealach, do reir na Heabhra (see Text 188).
Contents This volume opens with Abhar na h Oibre Sho (pp. iii-vii), followed by An Reamh-radh (pp. ix-xlviii). This section is dedicated as follows: Do gach neach mio-naomh a leughas an leabhar sho; gu h araid do mo luchd eishdeachd ann am baille, agus ann an sgireachd Chiderminster (p. ix). A detailed list of contents is provided in Suim an Leabhair Sho (pp. lix-lxii), and this is followed by a single page of Mearrachd a Clo-Bhualaidh.

After a brief preamble (pp. 1-6) the substance of Gairm an Dé Mhóir is delivered in the form of seven Teagasga ‘Teachings’ (pp. 6-228):
Teagasg I (pp. 6-54): ‘Gur eigin do ’n duin’ aingidh pilleadh no basachadh’.
Teagasg II (pp. 54-65): ‘Gu bith daoin’ aingidh beo ma philleas iad’.
Teagasg III (pp. 65-80): ‘Is taitneach le Dia iompacha agus sonnas dhaoine’.
Teagasg IV (pp. 80-93): ‘Dhai[n]ghnich an Tighearna dhuinn le a mhionna, nach bheil tlachd air bith aig-e ann am bas’.
Teagasg V (pp. 93-117): ‘’Ta Dia comh-durachdach mu iompacha dhaoin’ aingidh’.
Teagasg VI (pp. 118-64): ‘’Ta an Tighearn’ ag aontachagh a chuish a reasonachadh re peacachaibh’.
Teagasg VII (pp. 165-213): ‘Mur iompaich daoin’ aingidh ann a dhiaigh sho uille, cho’n i coirre Dhe ach an coirre fein gu leir-sgriossar iad’.
There follow (pp. 213-29) ten precepts (seolaidh) for those who wish to be ‘converted and saved’ (iompoichte agus teassairgte, p. 213).
The work is completed by three prayers with a brief introduction (pp. 229-71). The prayers are:
Urnaigh I (pp. 230-42): Urnaigh teaghlaich.
Urnaigh II (pp. 242-51): Aidmheil agus urnaigh peacaich a ’ta fa aithreachas.
Urnaigh III (pp. 251-71): Urnaigh agus molla do Dhia air la an Tighearna.
Language This text is written in a high religious style and is full of religious terms and expressions. The text frequently takes the form of direct address to an imagined congregation. Sentences are often long and complex, as can be seen from the following extract from Teagasg I: ‘A dhaoin’, an creidd shibh sho uille? Is cinnteach leam nach bheill danadas ag-aibh a radh nach creidd; oir is cuish gun teagamh sho, agus cho an fheadar a sheanadh: cho chonspoid sho mu am bheill daoine foghlamta diadhaidh ann aghaidh a cheile; mu an abbair aon dream sho agus dream eille shud; ’ta am papanach, agus an t anabaishteach, gach dream agus aittim ann ar measg, a ’s airridh air an ainm chriostaidh, ag coimh-shineadh r’ a cheile, ann am barr’ail mu na nithe shin a labhair mi, agus mur creidd shibh Dia na firinn, anns an ni shin a ’ta gach dream agus aittim ag creidshinn, cho an fheadar ar leith-sgeul a ghabhail’ (p. 41).

The author frequently questions the reader as a device to reinforce his argument. For example, in Teagasg IV, Ceist II, he asks: ‘Is taitneach le ar feoil peaca: ach an taitneach le ar coguish e? nach bheill i ag gearran air ar staidd, agus gu tric ag insheadh dhibh, nach bheill shibh coimh-tearuint’ as a shaoileas shibh? agus nach coir dhibh ar n anama agus ar coguish a thoilleachadh roimh ar feoil?’ (p. 91). Teagasg V begins: ‘’Ta Dia comh-durachdach mu iompocha dhaoin’ aingidh, as gu d’aithin agus gu d’earrallaich e gu deinneachdach, “Pillibh, pillibh, ciod uim’ a bhasaicheas shibh?” ’Ta an teagasg sho ag earrallachadh oir-ibh, feim iom-chuidh a dheanamh do ’n teagasg a chualadh shibh fa dheirre, agus laimhshichir e do reir shin. Am bheill peacach neimh-iompoichte air bith, ag cluintinn briathara durachdach sho an Tighearna Dia? am bheill fearr no beann anns a choimh-thionnal sho anoish, a ’ta ain-eolach air obbair an Spioraid naoimh’ a nuadhaicheas agus a naomhaicheas? is coimh-thionnal sonna e, mur bheill cuidd mhor dh’e neimh-iompoichte! cluinnibh guth ar cruthai-fhir, agus pillibh rish trid Chriost, gun dail’ (p. 93).

There are a number of quotations from, and references to, the Bible throughout the text, and the author explains or alludes to many theological and doctrinal points, e.g.: ‘Chi shibh o ’n uirrid sho, mar ata triur pearsa anns an Diadhachd, an t Athair, am Mac agus an Spiorad naomha, gu bheill obbar shonraichte fein ainimnicht’ air gach pearsa fa leath dhiu. \ Is i obbair an Athair ar cruthachadh, agus ar riaghlachadh mar a chlann reasonta, …’ (Teagasg I, p. 26).

We are also frequently told of the dangers facing the Unconverted, e.g.: ‘Ma cheaddaicheas shibh do an diabhol ar dalladh le h ain-eolas mu ’r staidd, agus a thoirt oir-ibh gu creidd shibh gur lain-cheart ar slighe, bheirr sho an dochas a ’s mo dh’a gu fead e ar treorachadh gun spairn chum leir-sgrioss gun tearmann’ (Teagasg I, p. 52).

The Deich sheolaidh offer advice on self-preparation for conversion, e.g.: ‘Ma bha droch-cuiddeachd ag-aibh roimh-e sho, atharraichibh iad air ball, ma dh’ fheadas shibh. Cho ’n ann le cul a churr re ar daimh dhileas, ach re ar companachaibh peacach agus neimh-fheimeil, agus ceangailibh shibh-fein re luchd eagail an Tighearna, agus iarraibh eolas uath-a air an t slighe chum neamha’ (Sheola VI, p. 222).

This text contains a number of noteworthy linguistic forms. These include examples of the older negative particle ní, e.g. in the phrase ni bheill (p. lxii); and of genitive plurals with the older nominative-accusative plural ending -a generalised, e.g. ammaideachd nam peacacha (p. lxii).
Orthography The orthography is that of the mid-eighteenth century. That is to say, some of the principles of Gaelic spelling have not yet attained their canonical form. There are several points of note. These are, in no particular order:

(1) The indiscriminate use of double letters, e.g. chuirr mi (p. iv), gu bheill (p. iv), fioss (p. vi), an staidd (p. xv), dorrus (p. xix), and maiddinn (p. xix), where later Gaelic spelling distinguishes, e.g. mol from moll, cor from corr, etc.

(2) The use of sh rather than s after i to more closely represent the pronunciation, e.g. dheallaich mi rish (p. iv), Eishdibhs’ uille leish an ionmhuinn shibh-fein (p. 95).

(3) The use of sh in spelling so, sud, sinn, e.g. an creidd shibh sho (p. 41), shin (p. 93), and shinn (p. lxi), is particularly noteworthy.

(4) The use of hyphens to separate the prepositional and pronominal elements in conjugated prepositions, e.g. annt-a (p. xliv), orr-a (p. xliv), ag-aibh (p. 41), oir-ibh (p. 93), and uath-a (p. 222).

(5) The spelling neimh-fheimeil, later neo-fheumail (e.g. p. 222).

(6) The use of final -agh rather than -adh, e.g. pilleagh (e.g. p. lxi), mairreagh (p. lx), and basaicheagh (p. lx).

(7) The use of cho rather than cha, e.g. cho ’n fhead shinn (p. lxi) and cho an fheadar (p. 41).

(8) The use of genitive plural forms in -a, e.g. ammaideachd nam peacacha (p. lxii)

(9) The use of the Early Modern Gaelic negative form Ni bheill (p. lxii)

Also of interest is the translator’s use of ma ’s eadh for ‘if so’ and mur eadh for ‘if not’ (p. xxxiii).

Overall, the grammar and syntax of this text are clearly Modern Scottish Gaelic, but with a sprinkling of Early Modern forms such as ní bhfeil (spelled ni bheill, p. lxii). Note, for example, the 2nd person plural imperatives in -ibh, as in pillibh (p. 93), eisdibhs’ (p. 95). The religious terminology and phraseology also tend to obscure the modernity of the underlying language.
Edition First edition. A second edition was published in 1755, and a third in 1811. The third edition was ‘a nis air a ghlanadh o mhearachdaibh lionmhor eugsamhuil, le P. Macpharlain, Eadar-theangair Toiseach agus Fàs Diadhachd ’san Anam’. MacLean (1915, p. 9) points out that the orthography of this edition was ‘considerably altered to conform to the Scottish Gaelic’. Another edition was published in 1845. According to MacLean (ibid.), it ‘differs slightly from Macfarlane’s. It was prepared for the press by John MacKenzie’ (ibid.).
Other Sources
Further Reading MacLean, Donald, Typographia Scoto-Gadelica (Edinburgh, 1915: J. Grant).
Scott, Hew, Fasti Ecclesiae Scoticanae, Vol. III (Edinburgh, 1920: Oliver and Boyd), 325.
(The Oxford) Dictionary of National Biography:
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