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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

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Thursday, 17 March 2011

What did St Patrick really believe?

Here is a link to a sermon preached some years ago on the subject:

What did St Patrick really believe?

Transcript Part 1
March 17th is designated as St. Patrick’s day in which the patron saint of Ireland is supposed to be remembered. More and more this day is being marked by parades, festivals and carnivals which in the main are but an excuse for a day of worldly entertainment, sinful pleasure and amusement during which liberal measures of alcohol are consumed. Much of what takes place has very little connection if any at all with the life or preaching of St. Patrick.

St. Patrick is believed to have been a native of mainland Britain, Scotland it seems has the strongest claim as the place of his birth, during the early part of the 5th century.

As a young lad, at the age of 16, he was taken captive by raiders from his father’s farm and brought to Ireland and sold as a slave, where it is believed he tended sheep on the slopes of Slemish. His captivity became a means of blessing. It was the means of bringing about the conversion of his soul. Ireland may not have been the land of his natural birth but it was certainly the land of his spiritual birth.

We are privileged to have two works which have come down to us from the hand of Patrick. They are his ‘Confession’, and his ‘Letter to the Christians’. In his confession he has the following to say about his conversion to Christ:
I knew not the true God, and I was carried in captivity into Ireland.... and there the Lord opened the sense of my unbelief, that even though late I should remember my sins, and be converted with my whole heart unto the Lord my God.

After six years of slavery he escaped from his master, and making his way to the coast, procured a passage on board a boat, and after enduring many hardships, was able to be reunited with his parents in Scotland.

However he was not to be long in his father’s house. He had witnessed the darkness of Ireland and desired to bring it some of his light. A remarkable dream which he had led him back to Ireland. In his dream he saw a man coming to him as if from Ireland, whose name was Victoricius, bearing innumerable letters. He gave one to Patrick and the opening words were The voice of the Irish. As he read this in his dream he heard a call coming from the western sea: 
We entreat thee holy youth, to come and walk henceforth among us

Finally he made up his mind to return to Ireland as a missionary and spent the remainder of his days here. He is believed to have died on 17th March either 465 AD or 493 AD. He is said to be buried in Downpatrick. 

There is a local connection with St. Patrick and Templepatrick. According to tradition St. Patrick, during his time in Ireland is thought to have baptised converts at an ancient well in the village and is credited with founding a Church which stood in the area of the old graveyard, where the Templetown Mausoleum now stands.

What did St. Patrick really believe? We can discern this from his works.

To be continued

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