The church and the highlands


ost of these facts have been taken from the



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^ost of these facts have been taken from the Statistical Accounts of Scotland, which have been mainly written by minis­ters of the " Beformed " religion.

ably present. The high state of cultivation which their surroundings exhibit is strong and unmistak­able evidence of the culture and untiring labour of the monks of old. That bleak and barren moors and wild primeval forests should be converted into rich meadows and fertile fields is a more than sufficient refutation of the gross calumny which represents the inmates of monasteries as lazy drones—a burden to the age in which they lived. There is another circumstance to be noted in connexion with these ancient monasteries, and which displays the prudent sagacity of the re­ligious orders, namely, that their houses were almost always situated on the banks of a river; so that they not only had an abundant supply of water within easy reach, but their tables were well supplied with fish. If, however, we some-tunes find that monasteries have been raised at a distance from a stream, we may take it for granted that water was not lacking in the neighbourhood. Look around you, and you will soon find that a well is not far distant. That wells have been, and are, miraculous agents I need not attempt to prove. Very few Catholics would hesitate to believe that St. Winefred's Well in Wales is a wonderful channel through which God deigns to pour His graces in abundance on those who in their simple faith have recourse to Him by its means.

I propose to enumerate some of the holy wells which once existed in Scotland. Traces of the faith in the virtue of holy wells in Scotland are even in these days plainly discernible; and in spite of the " pure " and " unsuperstitious " doc­trine which the kirk ministers Sunday after Sunday propound, it would not be a difficult task on many a beautiful Sunday afternoon to take the devout

e

Presbyterian by surprise, while quaffing, with a certain amount of reverence and respect, the waters of some one or other of these sacred foun­tains. I will begin by mentioning some wells which were dedicated to our Lady; such, for instance, as St. Mary's Well, in the parish of Tain, and our Lady's Well, which gave its name to the parish of Tibbermore. Then there is Tobar Mhoire, or Mary's Well, in the parish of Alness, in Eoss and Cromarty. Another Tobar Mhoire, which gives its name to the village of Tobermory, is found in the island of Mull, Argyllshire. Then, again, there is " The Lady's Well," in the parish of Kin­cardine (Eoss and Cromarty). Besides the fore­going there used to be " Our Lady's Well" not far from St. Mungo's Cathedral in Glasgow. In the parishes of Dalziel and Kirkcolm, in Wigtown­shire, there were wells dedicated to our Lady, and known as Mary's Well. *

In the parish of Strath, in the Isle of Skye, many excellent springs abound; among these one is considered superior to all, and is called " Tobar Ashig," which is supposed to mean St. Asaph's Well. In the same parish is another famous well known as "Tobar Chlemen," or St. Clement's Well. In the parish of Nigg (Ross and Cromarty) is a spring known as " Tobar na Slàinte," well of health or salvation. In the centre of the same parish there is another well known as that of St. John the Baptist. St. Cowstair's Well (who St. Cowstair was I do not know), in Garrabost, in the island of Lewis, is said to possess the peculiar quality of never boiling any kind of meat, however long it may be kept on the fire. In Perthshire, in the parish of Muthill, at Straid, in the district of Blairanroan, there is a well once much fre­quented for the cure of whooping-cough. In the same district is St. Patrick's Well. Part of the foundation of St. Patrick's Chapel was still to be seen on this spot in 1837. Some houses had been built there about that time which bear the saint's name. The inhabitants of the district, although Protestants, held the saint's memory in such veneration, that on his feast day " neither was the clap of the mill heard, nor the plough seen to move in the furrow ". In the parish of Dalziel, in Lanarkshire, there was another well dedicated to St. Patrick. A third well, dedicated to the same saint, is seen to this day not far from Dunskey Castle, which looks across the sea towards Erin from the shore of Galloway. In this same locality, in the parish of Kirkcolm in Wigtownshire, is pointed out to strangers a bubbling spring on a grassy bank, which bears the name of Columba's Well. There is another well dedicated to St. Columba at the opening of Glenmoriston, not far from Fort Augustus. There was a well in the parish of Kilmory, in the island of Arran, dedi­cated to God and to St. Molios,1

1 which was once celebrated for its miraculous cures. On the hills on the south of the ruins of Lindores, in the parish of Dron, the traveller's attention is still directed to the Monk's Well and the Abbot's Well. In the parish of Auchtergaven, St. Bride's Well was at one time mùch frequented. In the parish of Muthill, in Perthshire, there was a celebrated holy well on the side of the Machony, known far and near for its miraculous cures. It was called the Holy Well of Struthill. Its waters were con­sidered effectual in curing insanity. The chapel
1 The tonsured in honour of Jesus.

I ^

which stood near this well was ordered to be de­stroyed by the Presbytery of Auchterarder in the year 1650, on account of the superstitions con­nected with it. But even this harsh act did not rob the well of its celebrity; and in 1668 several persons bore witness before the Presbytery of Stirling that they carried a woman thither, and stayed two nights at a house hard by the well. The first night they bound the woman to a stone at the well, but she came into the house to them, having been loosed without any help. The second night they bound her again to the same stone and she again returned, unaided by any living creature. They declared, moreover, that she was very mad before they took her to the well, but since that time "she is working and is sober in her wits". This well was still famous, and votive offerings were cast into it, in the year 1723.

In the parish of Trinity Gask, in Perthshire, there is a well known as Trinity Well, which was widely celebrated in Catholic days for its miracu­lous cures. In the flower-garden of Pitfour, in the parish of St. Madoes (Madoc), there is a spring dedicated to the Most Holy Trinity. In olden times it was held in great repute. Another well dedicated to the Holy Trinity, in Midlothian, was celebrated for its cures. It is vulgarly known as Tarnity Well. It was situated near the hospital of Soltre, or Soutra, the ruins of which may still be seen on the east side of the highway leading from Edinburgh to Kelso, and the fountain may still be seen by the traveller as he passes the brook called the " Blackburn of Soutra," and a little before he arrives at the top of the hill where the hospital stood. The well of St. Thomas, in Crieff, Perth­shire, was once very famous. The town has the saint for its patron. In the parish of Weem there is a spring about the middle of the rock of Weem known as the Spring of St. David. Some years ago the spring was cleared out, and votive offer­ings were thrown into it. Tradition says that St. David was at one time the " laird " of this locality, and that, having become a monk, he built a chapel on a shelf of the rock still called " Craig an Chaib-eail," or the chapel rock. In the parish of Dalziel above mentioned there was another well dedicated to St. Margaret.

Near the ancient abbey of Holyrood was a well called the " Rood Well," but no longer known by that name. But at no great distance from the old abbey there is a St. Margaret's Well, "which is still sometimes visited by pilgrims of the old religion ". This well still flows as clear as in the days of St. David. St. Eunan's1 Well is to be seen to this day not far from Aboyne, on the north side of the Dee. In the Catholic island of Eigg, in the Hebrides, St. Donnan's Well is still in good preservation. St. Kieran's Well, near Campbeltown, in Cantyre, was very famous at one time. There was another holy well in the parish of Weem, dedicated to St. Dabius (or Movean). This well was formerly much resorted to. Another spring, in the prov­ince of Moray, at Kenedor, not far from Elgin, known as St. Gervad's Well, was very famous. St. Modan, once a most popular saint in Argyllshire, has several wells still under his patronage. One of these is near the church of Baillie Mhaodin, at Ardchattan, in Argyllshire. In this locality, too, there is a well known in Gaelic as "Tobar bhille nam banna ". The practice of making votive offer-
1 Eunan is the Celtic form for Adamnan.

ings at this well did not fall into complete de­suetude even on the change of religion in these parts. St. Modan was also patron saint of Ard-gour, near the ferry of Corran, which separates in' part the counties of Inverness and Argyllshire. The parish of Kilmodan, in Cowal, South Argyll­shire, was also dedicated to this saint. St. Modan is said to have frequently interrupted his apostolic labours by retiring among the craggy mountains of Dumbarton, where he usually spent thirty or forty days in contemplation and meditation. The church of Eoseneath, at the mouth of Gairloch, is dedi­cated to St. Modan; and over among the hills in this district, in Ciochan Glen, in Dumbartonshire, tradition says that there was a miraculous well, formerly much resorted to by pilgrims, which had1 a great reputation for its curative powers. Was this St. Modan's Well ?

Not far from Pittenweem, in the county of Fife, we have "the marble well of St. Fillan". There is another celebrated well or pool dedicated to St. Fillan in the strath which bears the saint's name, in the Etterick, on the eastern confines of the county of Perth. Strathfillan is well known in Scottish history as the district in which King Robert Bruce founded a priory in honour of St. Fillan, whose miraculous arm was carried into the battle of Bannockburn. In later years this place became still more famous on account of its miracu­lous holy well. Here there is a deep pool, where in olden times it was the custom to dip persons suffering from rheumatism or insanity. The cere­mony was performed after sunset on the first day of the quarter (old style) and before sunrise next morning. The patient was instructed to take three stones from the bottom of the well, and, walking three times round each of three cairns that stood on the bank, to throw a stone into each. He was next conveyed into the ruins of St. Fillan's chapel, and, in a corner called St. Fillan's bed, he had to lie down on his back, and was bound and left there iall night. If, next morning, he was found un­bound, with his fetters lying by his side, thè cure was considered complete, and an act of thanks-, giving followed.

In Glencreran, in Appin, we have the three wells of St. Cyril all in the same locality.1 The first of these was remarkable for its virtue in curing ailments of the eyes. The second was famous for its power in resetting disjointed el­bows. The third was renowned for its efficacy in fractures of the knee. To this day votive offerings may be seen lying at the bottom of these wells. The abbey well of Urquhart is now the only relic of the once famous and ancient abbey of Urquhart.

I will conclude by relating what has been said of a peculiar well which existed near the church of St Winning, in the parish of that name in Ayrshire. Tt seems that many fountains had been blessed by the saint. One of these was believed to give warn­ing of the approach of war by flowing with blood. Hoveden and Benedictus Abbas relate a portent of this kind as having occurred in the year 1184. And the fact was mentioned by Lord Hales in the first volume of his Annals of Scotland. He was of course accused of credulity; and in a subsequent edition of his work he says: " The author must still remain under that imputation, for he cannot submit to acknowledge that he does not believe
1 Tobar nan sùl, Tobar nan ghlùn, agus Tobar nan uileann.


that a fountain near Kilwinning ran blood for eight days and eight nights without intermission".

A. C.

[St. Cowstair's Well.

In an article entitled " Early Scottish Saints," written by the Eev. Michael Barrett, O.S.B., and which appeared in the Dublin Review for April, 1899, the above well is mentioned.

In writing of St. Constantine, he speaks of St. Cowstan's (not Cowstair's) Well at Garrabost. " Several churches bore this saint's name in Scotland. Kirkconstantine, mentioned in the Re-gistrum of Glasgow, may be identical with Govan. Dunnichen in Forfarshire had his church, where St. Cousland's Flaw still perpetuates his memory, and St. Cousland's Fair is held annually. Kinnoull, near Perth, was also under his patronage, with many other churches. The water from the well of this saint—known there as St. Cowstan—at Garrabost, in the island of Lewis, was reputed never to boil any kind of meat, even though kept over the fire for a whole day."—-Ed. G. N. B.~]

URNAIGH AGUS NA SALM

Ciod e ùrnaigh? Is e ùrnaigh ar cridhe 'thogail suas ri Dia, a bhi 'còmhradh 's a' labhairt ri Dia. "Is i an ùrnaigh," arsa Naomh Franse, "uisge nam beannachd a bheir blàth is cinneachadh do mheangan nan deagh-bhèus ; a nigheas ar n-anam o 'gnìomhan."

"An neach a ni ùrnaigh gu math," arsa Naomh TJistein, "bidh a chaitheamh-beatha math." Ach, gus na buaidhean seo a bhi aig an ùrnaigh, feumar a deanamh mar is còir ; a chionn tha'n t-Ostal Seumas ag ràdh. "Tha sibh ag iarraidh, agus cha 'n 'eil sibh a' faotainn, do bhrìgh gu bheil sibh ag iarraidh gu h-olc."

Tha Athraichean agus Ollaichean na h-Eaglais a' teagasg nach urrainn duinn ar n-anam a shàbh­aladh gun ùrnaigh; oir tha gràsan Dhè riatanach gus ar sàbhaladh, mar a tha ar Slànaigheir ag ràdh. " Is mise an fhìonain : is sibhse na geugan. Esan a dh'fhanas annamsa, agus mise annsan, giùlainidh e mòran toraidh. Oir as m'eugmhais cha'n urrainn duibh ni air bith a dheanamh." Agus a rithist, "" ma dh'iarras sibh ni air bith air an Athair ann am ainm-sa, bheir e dhuibh e." Ach cha'n fhaigh sinn na gràsan a iarras sinn mur h-iarr sinn air Dia iad le ùrnaigh dhùrachdaich.

Is còir dhuinn ùrnaigh a dheanamh le uigh-eamachadh. Is e sin, smaointean saoghalta fhuad­ach bhuainn roimh làimh ; sinn fèin a chur an làthair Dhè, agus a chomhnadh iarraidh. Is còir dhuinn ùrnaigh a dheanamh le ùmhlachd. Gus an toill sinn èisdeachd is còir dhuinn sinn-fèin iris-leachadh an làthair Dhè, agus lùbadh sios mar an cìs-mhaor. "Sheall Dia air ùrnaigh nan iriseal, agus cha d' rinn e diù dhe 'n achanaich." Ciod a tha am faidh ag ràdh? "Urnaigh an fhir a dh'ùmhlaicheas e fèin, tollaidh i na neòil." Agus a rithist, " Air cridhe brùite is iriseal, a Dhia, cha dean thu tàire " (Salm i. 19).

Is còir dhuinn urnaigh a dheanamh le earbsa làidir, gu'm faigh sinn an rud a tha sinn a'sireadh. Cha 'n e gur fhiach sinn e, ach as leth Fuil Chrìosta, mathas Dhè, agus a gheallaidh. " A h-uile ni a dh'iarras sibh ann an ùrnaigh, ma chreideas sibh, gheibh sibh e." Agus a rithist, "iarradh e le creideamh, gun bhi ann an teagamh air bith; oir esan a tha ann an teagamh, tha e cosmhuil ri tonn na mara, a tha air a sèideadh le gaoith, agus air a luasgadh. ... Na saoileadh an duine sin gu'm faigh e ni air bith o'n Tighearna."

Ma tha Dia 'faicinn gur cron a dheanamh ar n-iarrtas dhuinn, thugamaid fainear nach toin e dhuinn e. Ach bheir e dhuinn ni eile na 'aite a bhios gu stàth dh' ar n-anam. Ma 's àill leinn matà, beannachd saoghalta sa bith fhaighinn, is còir dhuinn 'iarraidh air Dia a' chùmhnanta seo a mhàin, ma tha esan ga 'fhaicinn iomchuidh, agus ma bhios e gu leas ar n-anma.

Is còir dhuinn ùrnaigh a dheanamh le buanas, oir, "deanaibh-se uime sin faire ri ùrnaigh daon­nan"; agus, "bithibh ri ùrnaigh gun lasachadh". Agus ged nach grad-fhaigh sinn na bhios sinn ag iarraidh, na cailleamaid ar misneach ; ach lean-amaid samhladh na bantraich a fhuair a guidhe o'n bhreatheamh eucorach le sìor-iarraidh, agus ar dean-achanaich.

A huile air sin, is còir dhuinn ùrnaigh a dheanamh ann an ainm Chrìosta. O'n is ann o fhulangas Chrìosta, agus o dhòrtadh 'Fhala prìseile; a tha gach gràs ri tighinn òirinn, 's ann as an leth! is còir an sireadh. Is ann, uime sin, a tha sinn am. bichiontas ag cur na crìche seo air an ùrnaigh— "troimh Iosa Crìosta ar Tighearna". Cha 'n 'eil ainm air bith eile fo nèamh air a thoirt do dhaoine leis am faod sinn a bhi sàbhailte. (Iul a' Chrìost-aidh, taobh 9-10.)

Is e mar sin an ùrnaigh. Is e ùrnaigh ar cridhe 'thogail suas ri Dia, a bhi 'còmhradh 's a' labhairt ri Dia. "Eisd, a Dhè, ri m'ghlaodh. Thoir an aire do m'ùrnaigh. Mo Dhia, mo Shlànaigheir anns an gabh mi tearmunn. Mo sgiath, agus adharc mo shlàinte, mo thùr àrd. Gairmidh mi air Dia a's airidh air cliù; agus o m'naimhdean teasair-gear mi. Chuairtich cùird a'bhàis mi; agus chuir tuiltean mi-dhiadhachd eagal orm. Dh'iadh cùird ifrinne mu'm thiomchioll; choinnich ribeachan a bhàis mi. A' m' theinn ghairm mi air an Tighearna, agus ri m' Dhia ghlaodh mi. Chual' e as a theam-pull naomh mo ghuth ; agus thàinig mo ghlaodh 'na làthair d'a chluasan" (Na Salm le Daibhidh).

Cia ro iongantach na Salm le Daibhidh ! Bha a thlachd ann an lagh Dhè, agus bha e a' smuain­eachadh air a lagh-san a là agus a dh' oidhche. Bha e " mar chraoibh suidhichte làimh ri sruthan uisge," a chuir a mach a toradh 'na h-aimsir. Thug e buidheacheas do Dhia le 'uile chridhe, agus le 'uile anam. Oir, mar a tha e fèin ag ràdh, " le m'uile chridhe dh'iarr mi thu. ... A' m' chridhe, thaisg mi t'fhacal, o chionn nach peacaichinn a' d' aghaidh. Is beannaichte thusa, a Thighearna r teagaisg dhomh do reachdan."

A bhàrr air a bhi 'na sheirbheiseach taghta le Dia, bha Daibhidh 'na bhàird gu fior. Cia ion­gantach a dhealbh a thaobh oibrean iongantach, Dhè ! " Beannaich an Tighearna. 0 m'anam I A Thighearna mo Dhia, tha thusa ro mhòr. Le urram agus mòralachd tha thu air do sgeadachadh. Tha thu 'gad chomhdachadh fèin le solus mar trusgan, a' sìneadh a mach nan nèamh mar phàil-liun. Tha e a' leaghadh sailthean a sheomar anns na h-uisgeachan. A' deanamh nan neul 'nan car­bad dha' fèin, a' siubhal air sgiathan na gaoithe. A' deanamh 'Ainglean de na h-anmanna, a luchd-frithealaidh de'n teine lasarach. Shuidhich e an talamh air a bhunaitean Ios nach gluaisteadh e gu bràth. Leis an doimhneachd, mar le trusgan, chòmhdaich thu e : sheas na h-uisgeachan os ceann nam beann. O t'achmhasan-sa theich iad : 0 ghuth do thairneanaich ghreas iad rompa. Chaidh na beanntan suas do na nèamhan. Chaidh iad sìos do'n ait a dh'orduich thusa dhoibh. Shuidhich thu crìoch air nach tèid iad thairis, Ios nach pill iad a rithist a chòmhdachadh na talmhainn. Tha e a' cur fhuaran a mach do na glinn: tha iad a' ruith eadar na beanntan. Bheir iad deoch do uile bheathaichean na macharach. Caisgidh na h-asail fhiadhaich an ìotadh. Os ceann doibh còmh-nuichidh eunlaith nan speur. Bidh iad a' seinn am measg nan creagan. Uisgichidh e na beanntan o 'sheòmraichean. Le toradh a ghnìomharan sàsuichear an talamh. Bheir e air feur fàs do'n sprèidh, agus air luibh chum seirbhis an duine; Ios gu'n aran a thabhairt as an talamh, agus gu'n dean fìon cridhe an duine subhach: chum toirt air a ghnùis dealrachadh le ola; agus gu'n nartaicheadh aran cridhe an duine. Tha craobhan na h-achaidh-ean air an sàsuchadh-seudair Lebanoin a shuidh­ich e. Far an dean na h-eoin an nid. A' chorra-bhan, 'se an craobh as àirde dhiubh, is tigh dhi. Tha na beanntan àrda do na gabhair fhiadhaich; tha na creagan 'nan tearmunn do na coineanan. Rinn e a' ghealach air son aimsirean : is aithne do'n ghrèin a luidhe. Ni thu dorchadas, agus tha'n oidhche ann, anns an gluais uile bheathaiche na coille mach. Beucaidh na leòmhain òga air son cobhartaich, agus ag iarraidh am bìdh air Dia. Eiridh a' ghrian, bheir iad as orra; agus 'nan àitean-tàimh luidhidh iad. Thèid an duine a mach gu 'obair; agus gu 'shaothair gu feasgar. Cia lionmhor t'oibre a Thighearna ! Ann an gliocas rinn thu iad uile: Tha 'n talamh làn de t'oibrean iongantach. Sud an cuan mòr agus farsuinn, anns am bheil nithe gluasadach gun àireamh, araon beathaichean beaga agus mòra. An sin siubhlaidh na longan. Agus dragon na mara sin a dhealbh thu gu cluich ann : feithidh iad uile ortsa Ios gu'n tabhair thu dhoibh am biadh 'na tràth. Bheir thusa dhoibh, cruinnichidh iadsan : fosgailidh tu ;do làmh, sàsuichear iad le maith. Falaichidh tu do ghnùis, bithidh iad fo amhluadh. Bheir thu uatha an anail, agus gheibh iad bas, agus pillidh iad ri'n uir. Cuiridh tu mach t'anail, agus cruth-aichear iad : ath-nuadhaichidh tu aghaidh na talm­hainn. Maireadh glòir Dhè gu bràth : deanadh an Tighearna gairdeachas 'na oibre. A sheallas air an talamh, agus criothnaichidh e : benaidh e ris na beanntan, agus bithidh deatach dhiubh. Seinneam do'n Thighearna an cian is beò mi: deanam ceòl do'm Dhia fhad 's a bhios bith agam."

Is an dàn seo an Salm a's maisiche 'sam Bìoball, ann am bheachd-sa. " Riutsa, a Thighearna, togam tri anam suas." Anns an Salm seo, thog e suas a chridhe ri Dia, agus labhair e ri Dia. Is an Salm seo, air son sin, ùrnaigh gun cron. Bha chridhe a' cur thairis le deadh ni, agus labhair e na nithean a rùin e do'n Righ, a Thighearna. "Mar a chuala sin," ars' esan, " is amhuil a chunnaic sinn ann am baile Tighearna nan slògh : ann am baile ar Dè. Daingnichidh Dia e gu bràth. Smuainich sinn air do chaoimhneas gràidh, A Dhè, ann am meadhon do theampuill. Mar t'ainm, a Dhè, mar sin tha. do chliù gu criochan na talmhainn."

Chuir Daibhidh 'earbsa ann an Dia. " Cha'n eagal leam ciod a dh'fhaodas duine a dheanamh orm," ars' esan. " Ormsa, a Dhè, tha do bhòidean : iocaidh mi tabhartas-buidheachais dhuit. Oir shaor thu m'anam o'n bhàs. Nach do shaor thu mar an ceudna mo chasan o thuisleadh, Ios gu'n gluaisinn ann ad làthair, a Dhè, ann an solus nam beò ?" Air Dia a mhàin bha 'anam a' feitheamh. " Is esan a mhain" ars' e, " mo charraig agus mo shlàinte," agus a rithist, " a mhàin air Dia feith, O m'anam; oir is ann uaithe-san a tha mo dhòchas. Is esan a mhàin mo charraig, agus mo shlàinte. Mo thùr àrd, cha ghluaisear mi. An Dia tha mo shlàinte, agus mo ghlòir: carraig mo neart, mo thearmunn is e Dia. Cuiridh air gach àm bhur n-earbsa ann O a shluagh. Dòirtibh a mach bhur chridhe 'na làthair. Tha Dia 'na thearmunn duinn." Bha e a smuaintean daonan a taobh a stigh Dhè. "An uair a chuimhnicheas mi ort air mo leabaidh. Beachd-smuainichidh mi ort ann am fairean na h-oidhche. . . . Tha m'anam a dlùth-leantuinn riut. Cumaidh do dheas làmh suas mi." Agus a rithist, " O cia ionmhuinn leam do lagh-sa. Gach la is e mo smuaineachadh." Agus a rèir mar a tha e ag ràdh mar an ceudna ann an àite eile, " chuimhnich mi t'ainm a Thighearna anns an oidhche, agus ghlèidh mi do lagh." Rinn Daibhidh dìreach mar a tha e sgrìobhta. " Thugaibh an aire: deanaibh faire, agus ùrnaigh ; oir cha'n 'eil fhios agaibh cum a bhitheas an t-àm.' Mar dhuine a dol fad air astar a dh'fhàg a thigh, 'sa thug cumhachd dha sheir-bhisich thairis air gach obair, 'sa dh' àithn' air an dorsair faire dheanamh. Uime sin deanaibh-se faire, oir cha'n 'eil fhios agaibh cuin a thig maighstir an tighe ; an anns an oidhche, no air a' mheadhon-oidhche, no aig gairm-choileach, no anns a' mhad­ainn ; eagal gun tig e gu h-obann, 's gum faigh e sibh 'nur cadal. Agus an ni a tha mi ag ràdh ruibhse, tha mi ag ràdh ris na h-uile dhaoine: Deanaibh faire " (Naomh Marc xiii. Caib. t. 33-37). Agus mar sin rinn Daibhidh, "tha mo chridhe suidhichte, a Dhè. Seinnidh mi, agus ni mi ceòl, eadhon le m'ghloir. Mosgail, a shaltair agus a chlàrsach. Duisgidh mi fèin a' chamanaich." Rinn e dìreach mar a bha e a' teagasg. " Air a' mheadh-on-oidhche, eiridh mi, Ios gum buidheachas a thoùt duit, air son bhreitheanas t'fhireantachd." Molaibh-se ar Dia-ne; oir mar a tha Daibhaidh e fèin ag ràdh " is maith an ni a bhi deanamh ciùil d'ar Dia. Tha e taitneach, agus tha moladh ciatach. Gach là beannaichidh mi thu, agus molaidh mi t'ainm gu saoghal nan saoghal." Cia bhuin 'fhocail-san ! Cia dhomhain a chreideamh-sa ! "Is sona esan aig am bheil Dia Jacoib mar a chabair; aig am bheil a dhòchas ann an Tighearna a Dhia. A rinn nèamh agus talamh, a' mhuir, agus gach ni a tha annta. A choimheadas firinn gu bràth; a chuireas an gnìomh breitheanas dhoibh san a tha fo fhòirneart: A bheir biadh do na h-acraich. Cuiridh an Tighearna na prìosanaich fo sgaoil. Fosgailidh an Tighearna sùilean nan dall. Togaidh an Tighearna suas iadsan a tha air an cromadh sios. Is ionmhuinn leis an Tighearna na fìreana. Coimheadaidh an Tighearna na coigrich : togaidh e suas an dìlleachan agus a'bhantrach; ach tionn­daidhidh e slighe nan aingidh a thaobh. Rìoghai-chidh an Tighearna gn bràth : do Dhia-sa, a Shion, o linn gu linn."

Mar sin, bu Dhaibhidh : uime sin a mheud agus is urrain dhuinn, bitheadh an inntinn seo againn. Is e ùrnaigh, ar cridhe 'thogail suas ri Dia, a bhi 'còmhradh, 's a' labhairt ri Dia ; eadhon mar a bha Daibhidh a' thogail 'ainm 's a chridhe suas ri Dia. " Cò tha glic, agus a bheir fainear na nithe seo ? Tuigidh esan coimhneas gràidh Dhè."

Iain Mac an Abba.

literature and the public 1

It is satisfactory to observe that the question ol providing the Catholic population of these Islesj with wholesome literature is at last receiving tha attention which it deserves, and that an energetij campaign of reason and protest has been actively set on foot in connection therewith. At tha English Truth Society's Conference at Birmingham this important question gave rise to considerably discussion, and at the Scottish Truth Society'! recent Conference at Edinburgh the subject was ably ventilated in an interesting paper by a Jesuil Father, the exchange of views which followed il serving to emphasise the necessity which exists fo] some sort of concentrated effort on the part ol Catholics to stem the rising tide of scepticism] indifference and vulgarity which threatens ol through the channel of a cheap and unwholesome press.

For us in Scotland, this question is a pressing one. We live in a countxy the majority of whosi inhabitants unfortunately follow a form of religiH ous belief which, owing to its negative qualities is peculiarly susceptible to irreligious influences* The instability of Protestantism, brought about bi its rapid and remarkable decay in consequence ofl the attacks directed against it by what is euphemj istically styled the " Higher Criticism," has broughl in its train a number of grievous ills, prominent among which we must reckon an alarming growtlf of indifference and vulgarity. The danger to ourl selves, if not immediate and pressing, is at all events contingent. A pagan and vulgar press must necessarily constitute a bad example where*

ever it is suffered to exist; and is a source by means of which much good manners may become hopelessly corrupted. Scepticism and vulgarity are odious and obnoxious even as neighbours, and where the flesh be weak, nothing but harm can result from their disagreeable propinquity. The force of example is apt to prove more attractive than the power of precept, and a flippant and worldly carriage is sometimes a more fruitful source of mischief than even the most unblushing denunciations of faith and religion.

In England, the fight against irreligion and vulgarity—the two things generally go hand in hand—as typified in the pagan press of that country, has been begun with commendable alac­rity, and with a gratifying zeal. The onus of the duty involved has been found to be two-fold, as, indeed, it generally is. It is the duty of Catholics to support their own publications; it is the duty of Catholic writers to produce matter which their constituents can read.

Now, in Scotland we are face to face with a very similar state of affairs. We see around us a vast array of hostile influences—influences, that is to say, which tend to corrupt faith and to undermine manners. It is our duty as Catholics to oppose those influences with such weapons as we have. We cannot, unfortunately, hope to make converts of this nation by a stroke of the pen, as it were ; for the fool who says in his heart, There is no God—the Westminster Confession has ban­ished Him—like the poor, is ever amongst us. But at least we can see to it that our literature is good, is skilfully conceived, and cleverly exe­cuted. We can produce creditable newspapers, and deserving reviews. Hitherto, it cannot justly be said that we have at all distinguished ourselves in this particular direction. Such Catholic litera­ture as we have is meagre in quantity, and poor in quality. The " apologetic " attitude supplies the dominant tone. Much of our controversial litera­ture is childish in tone. Some of the pamphlets and "stories" proposed for Catholic consumption would be laughed out of court by a heretic baby in arms. Our literature lacks virility and wants art. There is a "flabbiness " and femininity about much of it, which, however characteristic of the sex which is mainly responsible for it, renders it worse than useless for serious warfare.

On the other hand, the Catholic public itself is largely to blame. If it would support Catholic periodicals as it should do, it would have no reason to complain of their indifferent quality; and many deserving old women of both sexes would be grate­fully superannuated, or amicably despatched about a yet milder business. Surely the first duty of Catholics is to their own publications, to which theip interest, no less than their allegiance, should be at­tached. It is by no means fitting or right that Ca­tholics should support non-Catholic or anti-Catholic publications, whilst their own go a-languishing for want of that support which is essential, if they are to compete at all successfully with their rivals. Many Catholics eschew their own periodicals, because they find them to be dull, which, in some cases, they undoubtedly are. But such a state of affairs is hardly an excuse for the sort of desultory read­ing—to brand it by no harsher epithet—in which many Catholics indulge. The Catholic periodical, however wanting in interest, is not an unimprov­able quantity. The influence of the reader on the management is considerable, and, rightly directed, would produce nothing but good. But so long as Catholics stand aloof from their own publica­tions, or take but a secondary interest therein, the standard of our periodical literature will not im­prove. Eeaders are essential to a newspaper, just as they are so to a review. Indeed, it is the reader who " makes " the periodical; for unless the reader takes a pleasure in his periodical, and promotes its success, then will the labour of those who strive for his amusement and instruction be but in vain.

It is fortunate for us that this question of Catholic literature should have arisen in these days, when so much attention is being devoted to the subject of Gaelic letters, and to that of the re-creation of a healthy national sentiment in our midst. Gaelic literature presents an admirable bul­wark against infidelity and vulgarity—twin rampant evils of our times. The hierarchy and priests of Ireland, fully alive to the danger of indifferentism and vulgarity, which journeys to that country in the familiar form of non-Catholic English letters, have thrown themselves heartily into the Gaelic movement, which is further fortunate in having secured the blessing and approval of His Holiness the Pope. The Gaelic movement in Ireland is the happy creation of Catholic Ireland; for though many Protestants belong to it, and have done noble work in connection with it, yet the vast majority of Irish-speaking people, as of people who wish to recover their nationality through the medium of their language, is undoubtedly Catholic. In Scotland a precisely similar state of affairs pre­vails, so far as we ourselves are concerned. Apart from the large towns, the strength of the Catholic Church in Scotland is in the Highlands. Great numbers of our co-religionists are Gaelic speakers ;


392 Literature and the Public

and even in the great cities the Catholic Scottish population is principally Highland.

Any movement, therefore, for the improvement of Catholic letters in Scotland, must necessarily proceed in accordance with these facts, or it will fail; and the cause of Catholicism and Nationalism will suffer in consequence. Now, what is being done at the present moment in Scotland, in order to promote the cause of pure and good literature amongst Celtic Catholics? I am ashamed to be obliged to acknowledge it, but next to nothing, if not nothing itself, is being done to provide the Celtic public with suitable literature in the ver­nacular speech. In Catholic Ireland, on the other hand, great efforts are being made to meet the requirements of the public in this respect. The Catholic Truth Society of that country has pub­lished a number of religious and profane works in the Irish language; and there are many other literary agencies at work, whose principal object is a similar end. In Scotland, so great is our apathy, so shameless our indifference to the language of St. Columba, and all that its preservation implies, that we have not even a Catholic Prayer Book in the Gaelic language! The Scottish Gael who wishes to worship his Maker in that venerable speech is obliged to send to Canada in order to obtain a manual of devotion in the Gaelic language! The Catholic Truth Society of Scotland, though I believe it has been frequently approached on the subject, has hitherto stirred neither hand nor foot in the matter. A dismal apathy broods over all. The noise of the battle in Ireland—the glorious din of that noble struggle for faith and national freedom—has scarce yet reached our somnolent shores. How long, I ask, is this discreditable state

393



Literature and the Public

of affairs to endure ? How long will it be before the language of we Catholic Scottish Celts, who comprise the majority of the membership of the Church in Scotland, secures that abundant recogni­tion which is emphatically due to it ?

The history, religious and civil, of a country is, properly, the school in which the youth of that country should be reared and educated. You can­not influence the present, or attempt to moukl the future, without constant reference to the past. If that history be inspiring, be full of instances of self-sacrifice and noble zeal, of attachment to faith and fatherland in face of the greatest difficulties and discouragements, and in spite of oppression and persecution, the lesson that is learnt will necessarily be good, and its results enduring. If, on the other hand, there be little to offer in these respects—if the national decay, or change of front (call it which you will), be the obvious consequence of a general tendency to discourage resistance for the mere sake of securing a seeming temporary advantage—the lesson which you may design to inculcate starts from the outset seriously handi­capped. The history of the Highlands of Scotland, though not so glorious and honourable as that of Catholic Ireland, whether we view it from the standpoint of religion or from that of nationalism, is yet in many respects an inspiring narrative, whose best qualities and precepts the Catholics of this country would do well to strive to perpetuate. But the language of our country—of Celtic Scot­land—is, necessarily, the best, if not the only, medium through which the results we aim at can be secured; just as in Ireland the national speech of that country is recognised by clergy and laity alike as the only proper and safe channel by means

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of which similar advantages and benefits may be secured. The connexion between religion and nationalism is far too close and intimate to permit of their separation, if the safety of the former, which is necessarily the first cause, is to be ade­quately considered; and it is the general recogni­tion of this principle which has given so great an impetus to the Gaelic movement—the movement for good literature, and racy of the soil—in Catholic Ireland. I do not remember ever to have seen a more lucid and convincing statement on this im­portant subject than that which, at a meeting at which many of the bishops and priests of Ireland were present, recently fell from the lips of Mr. John Dillon, MP. I make no apology for reproduc­ing his remarks on that occasion at some length. He spoke to the point, and with that force and directness to which we in Scotland are much less accustomed than we should be.

" I myself have all my political life, and before I entered politics, taken the view that next, perhaps, to the land question itself the most vital question for Ireland is the question of education. Make no mistake about it, we live in an age when the most educated nation will dominate the nation that is less educated. In the struggle of life, whether it be a struggle of individuals against individuals, or a struggle of nation against nation, the uneducated individual or nation will go to the wall, and when I see men now lamenting over the outrageous and, I am sorry to say, the growing pre­dominance of Protestant ascendency in this country, and seeking such remedies as the foundation of so-called Catholic Associations—to my mind bodies which are extremely mischievous and do no good whatever—I see in all that a mistaken reading of the signs of the times. Why is it that Protestant ascendency in Ireland is worse to-day than it was ten years after the emancipation? Because we have allowed this question of the higher education of our people to sleep. We have allowed the Protestants to steal a march on us. If we had insisted, as I believe we could have insisted, on a proper higher university education, the native genius of the people would have asserted itself, and we would have occupied the position which we ought to occupy in our native land. In my judg­ment, if we are to save our race and save our people from a position of inferiority which they now in all our struggles still occupy in the land of their fathers, we must seek the means of effecting that salvation by throwing open wide the gates of knowledge to the poorest of our people. What is the class of university which we require ? We want a national university, a university suited to the needs of our people. I think myself—and I make bold to say it in the presence of his lordship —I think we have talked too much about a Catholic university. If a university is started in Ireland which will be open to the people and governed by the people, it must be Catholic, because the people are Catholic. What we want is a national univer­sity—a university which will at the same time cultivate the ancient spirit of Ireland in all its ramifications and developments, which will be racy of the soil, which will give a place of honour to the history—not like Sir Horace Plunkett, who teaches that our first duty is to forget the history of our people—will give a place of honour to the history of our race, the ancient language of our people, and the literature of our people—which will accommodate itself to the wants of a people who are emerging from the night of darkness and sorrow and oppression, which will not be the property or the preserve of a section of gentlemen in Ireland, or men who choose to call themselves gentlemen, but which will be the property of the people of the country, and the only key to admit a man to which will be not the wealth of one's parents, but the intellect which God has granted the child.

" If there be one lesson more deeply impressed on the history of Ireland than another, it is that the religion and nationality of Ireland are indis-solubly bound up together. And, make no mis­take about it, if Sir Horace Plunkett and his friends were to succeed in their work—I give him credit for good motives, because he is a convinced Unionist, and thinks he is doing the finest thing in the world by turning us into West Britons—if he were to succeed in that work, and induced the rising generation to forget the history of their country and devote their attention solely to creameries and butter -very excellent things in their way, but they are good for the stomach, not for the brain—if he were to succeed in that policy he would strike the deadliest blow ever struck at the religion of Ireland, because in that day in which we forget our history, and obliterate the record of the sacrifices which we have made for ideals and religion in the past, the work which the might of England, the sword of Cromwell and of Elizabeth failed to do would be to a large extent accomplished. Many a nation has resisted perse­cution, many a body of men which has resisted every form of persecution has succumbed to the mere advance of national prosperity ; and I say, therefore, that in this great struggle which is before us for national education, as in many a struggle in the course of the history of our people, the nationality and the religion of our people are indissolubly bound up together, and they will fall or will win together."

These are noble words, and, doubtless, exceed­ing pleasant to our ears. With Mr. Dillon's per­sonal views touching a Catholic university for Ireland we need not here concern ourselves. But the great principle which his speech enforces is surely mental meat and drink for all of us in Scot­land—clergy and laity alike. Let us ponder over it, and whilst pondering, set actively in motion those means of deliverance with which God has been pleased to endow us. Has not the Gael slept long enough? Are our faith and nationality to go by the board to please a parcel of Saxon commercial sentimentalists ? Let us put on the armour of the prophesy of our own St. Columba, and so armed let us go forward to the fray, like true Catholics and true Gaels—pledged to do our utmost for faith and nation.
I mo chridhe : I mo ghràidh 'An àite guth Mhannaich bi'dh geum bà Ach mu'n tig an saoghal gu crìch Bi'dh I mar a bha.

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