Saturday, 12 August 2017

Mass readings in Scots: Nineteenth Sunday of the Year (Year A)

Gospel reading
Matthew 14: 22-33

An’ straughtway Jesus gar’t his disciples get intil a ship, an’ gae afore him until the tither side, while he sendet the thrang awa. An’ whan he had sendet the thrang awa, he gaed up intil a mountain by himsel to pray: and whan the gloamin’ was come he was there alane. But the ship was now in the middle o’ the sea, tosset wi’ waves; for the win’ was contrair. An’ in the fourt’ watch o’ the nicht Jesus gaed until them, gangin’ on the sea. An’ whan the disciples saw him gangin’ on the sea, they were fleyed, sayin’, "It is a wraith;" an’ they screighet out for fear. But straughtway Jesus spak’ until them, sayin’, "Be o’ guid cheer; it is me; binna fleyed." An’ Peter answer’t him, an’ said, "Lord, gin it be thou, bid me come until thee on the water." An’ he said, "Come." An’ whan Peter was come doun out o’ the ship he gaed on the water to gang til Jesus. But whan he saw the win’ gousty, he was afear’t, an’, beginnin’ to sink, he criet, sayin’, "Lord, saufe me." An’ at ance Jesus raught furth his han’, an’ teuk hand o’ him, an’ said until him, "O thou o’ little faith, wharefore didst thou doubt?" An’ whan they were come intil the ship, the win’ ceaset. Syne they wha were in the ship cam’ an’ worshippet him, sayin’, "Verament thou art the Son o’ God."

(From The Gospel of St. Matthew, Translated Into Lowland Scotch, by George Henderson (1862) here

Monday, 7 August 2017

Dugald Stewart on St Augustine and Beauty

Dugald Stewart:
In the article Beau of the French Encyclopédie, mention is made of a treatise on the beautiful, by St Augustine, which is now lost. Some idea, however, we are told, may be formed of its contents from different passages scattered through his other writings. [Stewart in note: "Augustin [sic], in his Confessions, records the purport of his treatise, De Apto et Pulchro"] The idea here ascribed to St Augustine amounts to this, that the distinctive character of beauty is, that exact relation of parts of a whole to each other, which constitutes its unity.


Even in the works of nature, one of the chief sources of their Beauty to a philosophical eye, is the Unity of Design which they everywhere exhibit. -On the mind of St Augustine, who had been originally educated in the school of the Manicheans, this view of the subject might reasonably be expected to produce a peculiarly strong impression.

Dugald Stewart, vol 5 Collected Works, pp.453-4, 'Note QQ, (p358), Essay III, chap. 3 -The Beautiful and St Augustine' (1855) here


I excerpt this with no guarantee that it is an adequate representation of St Augustine's views (this seems to be the best way to explore that topic), but rather because I find it interesting in two ways:

a) as a matter of the history of ideas, it suggests the close link between the idea of God and the idea of the (albeit limited) rational comprehensibility of the universe that is key to a lot of Stewart's thought: the task of the philosopher is simply to discern the rules which God, as designer, has laid down without expecting fully to be able to discern the reasoning behind those rules. God as designer and knowledge as the discernment of the pattern of that design are fundamental to his thought. (So yet again, the importance of religion to the Scottish 'Enlightenment' is clear.)

b) as a matter of philosophy, it suggests the way that the arguments for the existence of God in natural theology need to be read in both directions: that (eg) the argument from design not only shows the existence of God, but the existence of God shows the correct way of seeing the world -of seeing it as designed/beautiful/unified.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Mass readings in Scots: the Transfiguration of the Lord (Year A)

Gospel reading
Matthew 17:1-9

An’ efter sax days Jesus takith Peter, James, an’ John his brither, an’ bringith them up intill ane heich mountan fer outbye. An’ was transfiguret afore them: an’ his face did shine as the sun, an’ his yment was white as the licht: an’, behald, ther kythet untill them Moses an’ Elias ta’kin’ wi’ him. Than answiret Peter, an’ said untill Jesus, "Lord, it is guid for us til be here: gif thou wult, let us mak’ here three taabernacles; ane for thee, an’ ane for Moses, an’ ane for Elias." While he yet spak’, behald, ane sheen clud owerskaddowet them: an’, behald, ane voyce out o’ the clud, whilk said, "This is my belovet Son, inwham I am weel pleaset; hear ye him." An’ whan the discipels heard it, they fell on their face, an’ wer sair afearet. An’ Jesus cam’ an’ tuchet them, an’ said, "Ræise up, an’ bina fearet." An’ whan they had liftet up their eyne they saw nаe man, saufan Jesus onlie.
An’ as they cam’ doun frae the mountan, Jesus charget them, sayin’, "Tell the vesion til nae man, untill the Son o’ man be risen frae the deæd."
The Gospel of St. Matthew in Lowland Scotch, from the English Authorised Version. By H. S. Riddell (1856) here