Patrick
Missionary To Ireland

Patrick, Missionary to Ireland  

Despite the many myths little is known about Patrick. The only really liable source of information we have is his own writings. From these we discover he was from a very respectable home. His father was a deacon and also a Roman magistrate. His confession speaks of his parents living in Britain and he describes it as his “country”. Unlike many of his so called followers he was proud to be British.

 He was most likely born in Kilpatrick in Scotland. At the age of sixteen he was taken captive by a marauding band and sold as a slave in Ireland. Being forced to tend sheep in county Antrim he after six years eventually escaped. Shortly afterwards he saw in a dream a man from Ireland coming towards him bearing innumerable letters saying “we entreat thee holy youth, to come and walk henceforth among us”. Heeding this summons he came to Ireland not at the summons of the pope but at the call of God. In fact Patrick never mentions the pope in any of his writings nor did Pope Leo I ever mentioned him.
 He was not an  emissary of popery but the emissary of God. He came to call men and women to repentance and to faith in Jesus Christ. In this he was extremely successful. He saw many thousand of souls gloriously converted and turned from their idols. Notice:-

1. His Conversion:Being carried away captive in his 16th year to Ireland he confessed he had departed from the Lord and had not kept his commandments. Tending sheep on the rugged slopes of Mount Slemish in  Co. Antrim conviction deepened in his heart. Knowing he would not be able to hide from the judgement seat of Christ he states in his confessions “I was converted with my whole heart unto the Lord my God”.  If he was born in Scotland there is no doubt that he was born again in County Antrim in Northern Ireland.

Slemish Mountain in County Antrim where Patrick herded swine as a slave boy
 The experience of Patrick was not that of the confessional but that of conversion. He was born again of the Spirit of God. Indeed, speaking unto religious Nicodemus the Lord said in John 3:3 “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Personalising these words he then added in v7 "ye must he born again ". Despite tithing and keeping all the feast in their every detail he still needed to be born again.


 The new birth is an absolute imperative. Without it man has neither hope before nor beyond the grave. There are many things in this life you can do with or do without. You can do without baptism or even church membership but you cannot do without the new birth. Like Patrick you need to come to that place where you realise you are a sinner and that only Christ can save you.  Peter preaching on the day of Pentecost said  in Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only saviour of men.
 
 

2. His Creed:The writings of Patrick are as important for what they do not say as for what they do say. While Rome glorifies the virgin Mary there is no trace of Mariolatry in any of his writings. As far as the popish doctrine celibacy is concerned his father and grandfather who were ecclesiastics were both married. Purgatory and the confessional are never mentioned. In fact if you read his writings you will discover that in his teachings he was  distinctly Trinitarian and thoroughly evangelical. 

THe Shamrock, used by Patrick to set forth the doctrine of the Trinity

The portraying of Patrick as a faithful emissary of Rome is a falsehood. Nennius, who it is believed, lived in the ninth century,  affirms that Patrick established 365 churches in Ireland and “consecrated the same number of bishops.” (Killen’s Ecclesiastical History of ireland Vol.1 p.19).  It is clear that far from following  Episcopalianism Patrick followed primitive Christianity or what is commonly called today Presbyterianism.

 His writings draw their inspiration not from the traditions of the church but from the Scriptures of Truth. He was a man of the book and a man of prayer. Indeed, he said in one day he would say "as many as a hundred prayers, and at night nearly as many ". If we are going to have the power and influence of Patrick for good we need to get back to the book and to prayer. I wonder have you read the Scriptures or prayed today?

3. His Conflict: Coming as a missionary to Ireland he not only experienced opposition from his own kin but also from the native Irish. His ministry was opposed on every hand. In his confession he said “daily I expect either slaughter, or to be defrauded, or reduced to slavery, or an unfair attack of some kind”. On one occasion one of the Irish kings seized him. Plundering his goods he had him placed in irons with the intention of killing him. However, the Lord miraculously intervening preserved his life. For the cause of Christ he faced persecution from within and without.
 When you take a stand for truth there will be trouble. Satan will stir every power to oppose you. Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ said in John 15:20 "The servant is not greater than his Lord. they have persecuted me, they will persecute you ". He reminded them that as evil men misrepresented him and sought to use even the authorities to silence him so they would misrepresent and seek to silence them.
 Where there is a professing of our faith there will be a persecuting of that faith. The forces of darkness will seek to silence it. Have we not seen that again and again.  Even today many are being persecuted because of their faith. Are you willing to bear reproach for the Lord Jesus Chirst?

4. His Conclusion:  Facing the threat of death he had no fears. Though men shed his blood and feed his limbs to the dogs he said “we shall rise on that day in the clear shining of the sun, that is, in the glory of Jesus Christ our Redeemer”.  He knew that being absent from the body he would be present with the Lord.
 Have you that hope? Can you say with the hymn writer "It is well, it is well, with my soul". I trust that like Patrick you will realise you are a sinner by nature and come to a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is able to save and keep you.

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