Deeds of Darkness, Deeds of Light

Translator David Jack reads a passage from pages 82 and 83 of the new Scots-English edition of Robert Falconer. In the book, the Scots and English are side by side, although in the excerpt printed below, English translations appear in italics immediately below the original Scots.

On the present occasion, after she had ended her petitions with those for Jews and pagans, and especially for the ‘Pope of Rome,’ in whom with a rare liberality she took the kindest interest, always praying God to give him a good wife, though she knew perfectly well the marriage-creed of the priesthood, for her faith in the hearer of prayer scorned every theory but that in which she had herself been born and bred, she turned to Robert with the usual ‘Noo, Robert!’ (“Now, Robert!”) and Robert began. But after he had gone on for some time with the ordinary phrases, he turned all at once into a new track, and instead of praying in general terms for ‘those that would not walk in the right way,’ said, “O Lord! save my father,” and there paused.

“If it be thy will,” suggested his grandmother. But Robert continued silent. His grandmother repeated the subjunctive clause. “I’m tryin’, grandmother,” said Robert, “but I canna say ’t. I daurna say an if aboot it. It wad be like giein’ in till ’s damnation. We maun hae him saved, grannie!” 
{“I’m trying, grandmother,” said Robert, “but I can’t say it. I daren’t say an if about it. It would be like giving in to his damnation. We must have him saved, grannie!”}

“Laddie! laddie! haud yer tongue!” said Mrs. Falconer, in a tone of distressed awe. “O Lord, forgie ’im. He’s young and disna ken better yet. He canna unnerstan’ thy ways, nor, for that maitter, can I preten’ to unnerstan’ them mysel’. But thoo art a’ licht, and in thee is no darkness at all. And thy licht comes into oor blin’ een, and mak’s them blinner yet. But, O Lord, gin it wad please thee to hear oor! hoo we wad praise thee! And my Andrew wad praise thee mair nor ninety and nine o’ them ’at need nae repentance.” 
{“Laddie! laddie! hold your tongue!” said Mrs. Falconer, in a tone of distressed awe. “O Lord, forgive him. He’s young and doesn’t know better yet. He can’t understand thy ways, nor, for that matter, can I pretend to understand them myself. But thou art all light, and in thee is no darkness at all. And thy light comes into our blind eyes, and makes them blinder yet. But, O Lord, if it would please thee to hear our! how we would praise thee! And my Andrew would praise thee more than ninety and nine of them that need no repentance.”}

A long pause followed. And then the only words that would come were: “For Christ’s sake. Amen.” When she said that God was light, instead of concluding therefrom that he could not do the deeds of darkness, she was driven, from a faith in the teaching of Jonathan Edwards as implicit as that of ‘any lay papist of Loretto,’ to doubt whether the deeds of darkness were not after all deeds of light, or at least to conclude that their character depended not on their own nature, but on who did them.