Friday, May 23, 2014

Ulster-Scots, the Law and the Gospel


As mentioned in my previous post, one of the things which was revealed (or recovered) at the time of the Reformation was that the Bible's central message is of the Law and the Gospel. This idea seems to have been widely understood for centuries. I have found a reference to it in Robin's Readings (1880) by WG Lyttle. On page 36 of Life in Ballycuddy, County Down, he writes of a Presbyterian minister from Newtownbreda called 'Mister Wurkman' who was being brought before the General Assembly by manipulative troublemaker within his own congregation. A conversation between two onlookers includes this reference: 

'... "A dinnae ken, " sez he, "but he maun be sumthin' mair nor ordnor', whun he'll mak his meinister an' fowk dae jist what he wants; an' no' that alane, but he'll shew ye efter a bit that he can lay doon the law an' the Gospel till Presbytery, Synod an' General Assembly" ...'

The idea of the Law and the Gospel was once commonly understood. Not today.

• Here is the Scottish martyr Patrick Hamilton's work on the subject, called Patrick's Places, from around 1520.