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Metadata for text 67
No. words in text58510
Title Teagasg nan Cosamhlachdan
Author Martin, Donald John
Editor MacIllinnein, Calum
Date Of Edition 1914
Date Of Language 1900-1949
Publisher John Grant
Place Published Edinburgh
Volume N/A
Location National and academic libraries
Geographical Origins Skye
Register Religion, Prose
Alternative Author Name Domhnull Iain Màrtinn
Manuscript Or Edition Ed.
Size And Condition 21.5cm x 15cm
Short Title Teagasg nan Cosamhlachdan
Reference Details EUL, Scottish Studies Library: K1(G)Mai
Number Of Pages xxx, 197
Gaelic Text By N/A
Illustrator N/A
Social Context This volume comprises a selection of sermons, or ‘addresses’, on the parables, written by Rev. Donald John Martin, who was a minister in the United Free Church. He served in both Stornoway and Oban. Although Martin had thought about publishing his sermons, the addresses were not published until 1914, a year after Martin’s death. They were edited and prepared for publication by Rev. Malcolm MacLennan, who was the minister of St. Columba’s United Free Church in Edinburgh.

Martin was born either in 1847 (Ewing 1914, p. 262) or in 1850 (this volume, p. xiii) near ‘Ros-bheann’ (i.e. Roshven) in Moidart. His family may have come from Skye. His father was the well known doctor Donald Martin and his father’s brothers, Martin and Nicol, had an estate in Skye, in Duntulm and in Glendale. Another uncle, Angus Martin, was a Church of Scotland minister in Skye before the Disruption, and afterwards in Durinish and, again, in Snizort. He was well liked by his congregation. Martin’s mother, Màiri NicLeòid was the daughter of Ollaghair MacLeòid of Bacarsaig and Sìleas NicLeòid, daughter of Iain MacLeòid, ‘uachdarain Ra’arsaidh’ (p. xiv). Martin had a very happy upbringing in a fairly religious family. He received much of his religious education from his mother and came to see Sunday as the best day of the week. The family would often go and listen to Rev. Ruairidh MacLeòid preaching and the minister would frequently call in and talk with his parents. He and Martin’s mother were very close and Rev. MacLeòid’s teachings stayed with Martin throughout his life. Dr. MacAoidh, the minister of Harris and well-known Gaelic scholar, was also a family friend.

Martin received his early education at Blair Lodge school where he excelled in every subject. He continued his education at Glasgow University, where he found he was particularly good at languages. He also won the first prize for Logic at the University. After graduating, Martin travelled to India, to be ‘air ceann plantation guirmein’ (p. xvii), but he did not enjoy the work, despite the good pay. He returned home and enrolled in ‘collaist na diadhaireachd’ in Edinburgh (p. xviii), where it soon became clear that he had a distinguished mind. He won the second highest bursary, the Cunningham Fellowship, second only to Professor Stalker. Martin could have become a famous author or a University Professor if he had wanted, but it was his wish to follow the ministry. After graduating, he spent some time helping in congregations in Forfar and Elgin. He was invited to Stornoway and began preaching to the English congregation in 1876. He was ordained at Stornoway, and remained there for twenty years. Martin was as eloquent in Gaelic as he was in English, and often preached to other congregations throughout the island, particularly during the Communion season. Often, people were ‘converted’ through his preachings.

Martin enjoyed travelling round the island, and to other islands, and even as far as Inverness and Glasgow, to attend meetings. He particularly enjoyed going to remote areas to help those who needed it most, giving his own money to help build churches, and he was particularly busy at ‘teanntachd na h-Eaglais’ (p. xx) where he travelled extensively, helping and encouraging those people who had been turned away from churches and manses with no other place for them to go and worship. In Stornoway he was particularly successful with regard to abstinence. He travelled throughout the islands with Rev. Iain Macilleathain from Tarbert, Harris, preaching to congregations about abstinence and setting up abstinence societies in every area. So great was his influence that the people of Lewis vowed that no alcohol would be sold on the island. This did not happen, however, as the Quarter Sessions in Dingwall opposed the move year after year. In October 1880, a spiritual reformation began in his own parish. So great was the demand for his services that he preached three times on a Sunday, and every night during the week, with the exception of Saturday. Many future ministers were ‘reformed’ during this time. In 1886, and at other times, there were more spiritual reformations, particularly amongst the young.

Martin had married Margaret Williamina Ross in 1882, and in 1887 he married Letitia Tennant Stuart. In 1897, he received a call to go to Oban. He accepted the request, to the disappointment of his Stornoway congregation. He enjoyed his time in Oban, and his congregation were very fond of him. Despite requests to return to Stornoway after their new minister had left for Nairn, he refused to leave Oban. At the request of ‘Comunn Teachdaireachd chéin ar n-Eaglais’ (p. xxv), he travelled to India and got to know the missionaries working there. His accounts of his travels encouraged congregations throughout the Highlands to continue to support the missionaries’ work. He later travelled to Australia and New Zealand and he preached in Gaelic and in English to congregations in Melbourne, Edinburgh, and elsewhere. In January 1913, Martin was on a trip to Fort William to give a talk on the work of foreign missionaries when he caught a cold. He travelled to Edinburgh the next day to help at the Communion in the church of his friend Rev. Malcolm MacLennan (MacLennan had once been a member of his Stornoway congregation). He preached on Saturday and Sunday, although he was in great pain. He consulted doctors in Edinburgh before returning home. He died on 11th February 1913, leaving behind a wife, four sons and two daughters.

Martin was the Vice-President of Comunn Gàidhealach na h-Eaglais and he spoke with influence and authority at the Ard-Sheanadh. He was a member of the committee charged with investigating the possibility of re-uniting the Churches, and also of the committee which sought financial support for young men going into further education. He was a member of the School Board in both Stornoway and Oban. He enjoyed questioning school children about the scriptures and he had a gift for explaining such things to young children. He was secretary to the Lewis Clergy while he was in Stornoway and to the Lorne Clergy until his death. He was often a judge of the Gaelic Literature competition at the Mod.
Contents This volume begins with a short preface by Martin’s wife, Litir, Le Mrs L. T. S. Martin (p. vii), followed by a short Roimh-Ràdh by the editor, Rev. Malcolm MacLennan (pp. ix-x). There follows a 19 page account of the the life and works of Rev. Donald John Martin in Cunntas-Beatha, Leis An Urr. Mr Mac an Rothaich (pp. xi-xxx). This account includes a genealogical demonstration that Martin was of ‘fuil uasal Ceann-chinnidh Chlann MhicLeòid’ (p.xv).

The main body of the text comprises 17 sermons as follows: An Sioladair (pp. 1-12), An Cogul Am Measg A’ Chruithneachd (pp. 13-24), An t-Ionmhas Agus A’ Neamhnuid (pp. 25-46), An Caraid ’S A’ Mheadhon-oidhche (pp. 47-51), Am Breitheamh Eucorach (pp. 51-60), Am Phairiseach agus an Cis-Mhaor (pp. 61-73), Na Deich Oighean I (pp. 74-81), Na Deich Oighean II (pp. 82-90), A’ Chaora Chaillte (pp. 91-106), Am Bonn Airgid (pp. 107-13), Am Mac A Chailleadh (pp. 114-40), An t-Suipeir Mhor (pp. 141-52), Cuirm-Phosaidh an Righ (pp. 153-64), Na Talannan (pp. 165-73), An Da Fheicheannach (pp. 173-81), An Da Bhunait, Na An Da Fhear-togail (pp. 182-90), An Stiubhard Eucorach (pp. 191-97).
Language The sermons in this volume are written in a style which is engaging and easily understood. The sermons contain a number of quotations from the Bible, Psalms, and other religious texts. For example, we find ‘Thugaibh fainear cionnus a dh’eisdeas sibh’, from Luke, viii. 15 (p. 11); ‘Mur a beirear duine a rìs cha ’n fhaod e rioghachd Dhé fhaicinn’ (p. 77), ‘giùlanaidh gach neach uallach féin’ (p. 79), and ‘Do chnuasaich mi mo shlighe féin, \ ’S ri do theisteas phill mo chas, \ Rinn deifir choimhead d'àitheanta, \ ’S nior ghabh mi tàmh no fois’, from Psalm xcix. 59, 60 (p. 129).

Christian terms and references are found throughout the text, e.g. na deisciobuil (p. 2), na trì Soisgeulaich (p. 2), dh’an Fhacal (p. 3), an t-Slànuighir (p. 3), fad na seirbhis (p. 4), an cridhe làn de roimh-bhreith, no de chlaon-bhaigh (p. 4), air an t-searmoin agus air an t-searmonaiche (p. 5), an ceann-teagaisg (p. 5), Ciod e na cinn a bh’ aige (p. 5), chuir e dheth (p. 5), Ceisdeir nan Loch (p. 5), ’n am buill-chomanachaidh (p. 8), na mic struidheil (p. 9), seirbhiseach an Tighearna (p. 9), aig àm an Dealachaidh (p. 9), an Cruithear (p. 10) and an Cruithfhear (p. 170), an spiorad naomh (p. 48), là deuchainn an Tighearna (p. 77), ann an là an dearbhaidh (p. 79), Ann an cosamhlachd na caorach a chailleadh (p. 107), Soisgeul Lucais (p. 166), gibhtean (p. 167), an t-abstol (p. 169), anns an t-Saipeil (p. 195), and na h-eildeirean (p. 195).

Martin’s style is often that of a relaxed and unassuming teacher. He frequently includes himself when addressing the audience, using phrases such as Sin mar a tha leinne (p. 49, 50) and Sin mar a tha sinne (p. 192). However, on occasion his style becomes more evangelical, as can be seen for the following passages: ‘Trì no ceithir do nithean—ro-chùram an t-saoghail so, mealltaireachd beartais, ana-miann nithean eile, sàimh na beatha so. Bochdainn, beartas, ana-miannan, sàimh!’ (p. 8), ‘Tha cuid ann a tha dearmad na slàinte mòire agus a’ tighinn beò ann am mi-chùram agus ann an an-diadhachd aig am bheil an dòchas so gu ’n tig am ministear an uair a tha iad aig uchd bàis agus gu ’n dean e ùrnaidh r’an taobh agus gu ’n tearuinn sin iad, cleas ungadh an t-sagairt phàpanaich. Och! an dòchas truagh, meallta, a tha ’n so!’ (p. 79), and ‘Bhruidhinn mi gu tric riu-san a bha aon uair ’n am buill-chomanachaidh, agus ’n an luchd-teagaisg anns an sgoil-shàbaid, ach a tha nis ’n an truaghain bhochd gun diadhachd, gun mhodhalachd, gun chliù’ (p. 8). Also of interest is his frequent use of first person plural imperatives, e.g. Beachdaicheamaid (p. 3), Thoirimid (p. 168), and Gabhamaid (p. 196).

Other general vocabulary of interest includes toigheach air sgeulachdan (p. 1), fion-liosan (p. 1), na lotachan (p. 4), earrasaid (p. 4), dé thug i oirre (p. 4), an deise referring to women’s clothing (p. 4), tha thu cho cumhang ri faochaig (p. 5), freagradh grùnsgulach (p. 47), na builionnan (p. 48), air a’ phuinc so (p. 78), a chionn agus gu ’m bheil e (p. 78), a rùdhrach nan sràidean agus nan caol-shràidean (p. 111), am polios (p. 111), Cha’n eadh (p. 171) and Cha robh seadh no ni-h-eadh dh’a thaobh-san (p. 192), An slaoightear (p. 193), and aon sampull (p. 196).
Orthography Martin’s dialect may be reflected in the use of words such as cleas to mean ‘like’ (p. 2), the spelling of dh’fhaodta (p. 1) and ’s maith a dh’fhaodta (p. 8), and in his use of maith rather than math, e.g. talamh maith (p. 4). We also find mu’n ruig thu rather than mus ruig thu (p. 2), as roimhre as the superlative of reamhar (p. 9), air dòigh rather than ann an dòigh (p. 47), air bith rather than sam bith (p. 79), sgannail rather than sgainneal (p. 76), smuaineachadh (p. 80), a theirteadh ris (p. 170), and a’ gàireachdaich (p. 193).

There is some variation in the forms of words used throughout the text. For example, we find both da-rìreadh (p. 2) and dha rìreadh (p. 48), deir (p. 74) and Their (p. 108), ma tha (p. 50) and ma ta (p. 75), and leasg (p. 170) and leisg (p. 171). It is impossible to determine whether the variations are in the author’s manuscripts or are the result of editing. Also of interest is his use of Fhaic sibh an duine so (p. 50).

The orthography used in this volume is that of the early twentieth century. There is no use of ta or ata. Both grave and accute accents are used throughout the text.
Edition First edition.
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