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THE present edition of the writings of St. Patrick is an attempt to bring out in English the works of that great man, with the necessary addition of historical and critical note but with the omission, as far as possible of all matter which has been made the subject of religious controversy. In the earlier editions of this work, which were issued nominally under the joint editorship of Revelation G. T. Stokes, D.D., Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of Dublin, and myself, a special attempt was indeed made to avoid touching upon every point likely to arouse controversy. It was hoped that an impartial edition of Patrick’s works without controversial notes or comments might have been useful and acceptable to Irishmen of various creeds and opinions, as well as to English Christians, who, in general, know little of the great Apostle of Ireland. F1 The utter impossibility of publishing in Ireland any work of the kind which would be regarded with equal favor by Roman Catholics and Protestants was abundantly proved in this case. An eminent Irish scholar, a Roman Catholic priest, who died some time after the publication of the earlier editions, was asked to join with me as co-editor of the work, in order to secure its impartiality. He, however, stated that he could not approve of publishing St. Patrick’s writings without theological notes, and that he would require to be permitted to point out that even the occasional use by Patrick of the term sacerdos (priest) to indicate a Christian minister was sufficient to prove that St. Patrick believed in the Roman Catholic doctrine of “the sacrifice of the mass.” Of course under such conditions it was impossible to accept his services. The Irish Catholic, a Dublin Roman Catholic weekly journal, in a review of the work after its publication, similarly maintained that the omission in the work of any discussion of the question whether Patrick received a commission from Rome or not was simply “the suppression of everything in the shape of argument on the Catholic side!” The work, however, was, on publication, warmly commended by a Roman Catholic prelate in Ireland, but he declined to permit his commendation to be published.
There is no allusion whatever in St. Patrick’s writings to his having received any commission from the Pope. If, therefore, he did receive a commission from Rome—a point on which no trustworthy evidence can be adduced—the silence of Patrick on the subject would prove that he attached no such importance to such a commission as his mediaeval biographers were disposed to affirm. But, as Dr. Stokes has well pointed out, in his work on Ireland and the Celtic Church (p. 51), the question is from a Protestant standpoint, of little importance, and if the evidence brought forward in favor of the Roman claim were strong enough we should have no hesitation whatever in admitting the point.
Those who are interested in such investigations can easily consult for themselves the arguments brought forward on the subject in Professor G.
T. Stokes’ work, and dwelt upon with more fullness of detail in Dr. Todd’s St. Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland. It is, therefore unnecessary here to enter upon that thorny subject of discussion. It may be however, noted in passing, that the first of “the sayings of Patrick” preserved in the Book of Armagh, and given in the present volume among the doubtful remains of the saint, alludes to the face of Patrick’s having visited Italy.
There is nothing, however, to show where those Dicta came from, and therefore they cannot be regarded as conclusive evidence. It is, however, quite true that St. Patrick’s autobiography, as set forth in his Confession, passes over in silence the events of many years.
In some of the Roman Catholic editions the latter term has been translated “priests.”
It must be observed that early Celtic Christianity was very different in its external form from the Christianity of modern times, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant. Many usages which were afterwards distinct features of the Celtic Church of Ireland, and which appear to have been the growth of later days, are not alluded to in Patrick’s writings. St. Patrick’s writings are indeed brief and scanty, but are clear enough on the essential points of Christian doctrine. No such exaggerated views on the celibacy of the clergy were held by Patrick as were afterwards prevalent, for he mentions without scruple the fact that both his father and grandfather were clergymen. On the other hand, he speaks with approval of monks and virgins, which were not in his days recluses like those described in Professor G. T. Stokes’ ninth lecture. Patrick also quotes passages of the Old Testament apocryphal books which he evidently viewed as inspired Scripture. In spite of all these drawbacks, as Protestants must regard them, the writings of the saint are in the main strongly evangelical, and cannot fail to be perused by all Christians with both pleasure and profit.
In the present edition we have divided the “remains” of Patrick into two divisions; the first containing the writings which are probably genuine, the second a few remains of interest which are of doubtful genuineness, but which are, notwithstanding, of considerable interest, and not generally known.
The genuine writings are three in number, namely, Patrick’s Hymn, his Confession, and his Epistle to Coroticus. The doubtful remains are (1) the Diata Patricii, contained in folio 9. c. 1, of the Book of Armagh. Their rustic Latinity is some evidence in their favor, though not absolutely conclusive. (2) The Proverbs of Patrick are also of doubtful authorship. There are some strong points in their favor, but it is impossible now to test the statement of the monk Jocelin that they were translated from Irish into Latin. (3) The interview of Patrick with the daughters of King Loegaire, if not certainly a. Patrician document, possesses marks of high antiquity. (4) Patrick’s Vision of Ireland’s Future stands in such marked contrast with the fables in which it is imbedded that it is worth preserving, though not likely to have been authentic. (5) We have added to this edition the remarkable Confession found at Angers, but probably belonging originally to Tours, to which we have appended introductory remarks.
There are other works ascribed to Patrick which, however, have been shown to be spurious by competent scholars. These are to be found in Patrick’s Opuscula, edited by Ware F2 and Villanueva. F3 No scholar, however, who has read even a few lines of the tract De Tribus Habitaculis, Of the Three Habitations (or the World, Heaven, and Hell), could believe St. Patrick to have been its author, so different in all respects is its Latin style from that exhibited in the genuine Confessio and Coroticus. The same may be said of the tract: De abusionibus Seculi, and of others. Some, if not all, of the Canons attributed to Patrick are decidedly productions of a later age. None of them, in the form in which they have come down to us, are earlier than the eighth century. See Dr. Todd’s St. Patrick, pp. 485 ff., and Dr. W. Stokes in the Tripartite Life, as also the article by Professor G. T.
Stokes, in Smith and Wace’s Dict. of Christian Biography.
St. Patrick’s Irish Hymn is of great antiquity, although, as Dr. Todd says, “it may be difficult, if not impossible, to adduce proof in support of the tradition that Patrick was its author.” The Irish hymn is distinctly mentioned in Tirechan’s Collections, that is, in the middle of the seventh century. F4 It is a composition of considerable force and beauty, written at a time when Paganism was almost supreme in Ireland. The author shared in the general belief of the day that even heathen sorcerers had mysterious powers by which they could work harm to their opponents. The expressions used in the Hymn correspond with the circumstances under which Patrick set out on his missionary visit to Tara to confront in its own stronghold the idolatry which was then rampant in the land. F5 The very expression “Creator of doom” in reference to God which occurs twice in the Hymn is evidence in favor of its Patrician authorship. For, according to the Tripartite Life, which embodies some fragments of antiquity, “my God’s doom,” or “the doom” and “judgment of my God,” appears to have been one of Patrick’s favorite expressions, to which he constantly gave utterance. It is noteworthy, too, that whereas, according to the later legends, Patrick was conscious of possessing extraordinary powers of performing miracles—miracles greater than those performed by the Apostles of Christ—Patrick, in his Hymn, in full anticipation of the dangers which surrounded him, relied on no such powers, but speaks of the protecting hand of that God who has ever been a refuge and strength to His people (Psalm 46). It cannot be denied that even the two earliest memoirs of the saint contained in the Book of Armagh, which MS. was written itself in A.D. 807 (see p. 20), namely, the memoir by Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni, and that by Tirechan, written scarcely later than two centuries after Patrick’s death, speak of marvellous displays of miraculous power (see p. 16). No such references to miraculous agency can, however, be detected in the poem, and it is therefore probable that it is of a considerably earlier date than those memoirs.
The Hymn in the original is written in a very ancient dialect of Irish, and hence the meaning of some words and phrases is somewhat uncertain. It is one of those compositions termed by the Latin name of Lorica, or “breastplate,” the repetition of which was supposed to guard a traveler like a breastplate from spiritual foes. This popular belief is alluded to in the Irish preface, which will be found in note 1 on the Hymn. The translation of the Hymn in our first edition was taken from that set forth by Dr. Todd in his St. Patrick , pp. 426-9. F6 The translation there given was mainly the work of Whitley Stokes, and was a great advance upon the earliest version given by Dr. Petrie (see notes on Hymn at the end of book). The translation in the present work is in the main the improved version of Dr.
Whitley Stokes. The alterations made in the older translation are all noted, and the grounds for them set forth in the critical notes. There are two MSS. of the Hymn, one in the Liber Hymnorum in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, the other in the Bodleian copy of the Tripartite Life. The Hymn of Patrick has been set to music as a sacred cantata by the late Sir Robert Stewart, Professor of Music in the University of Dublin, and was performed for the first time in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, on St.
Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1888. See remarks on Mrs. Alexander’s Version, p. 110.
In the present edition we have given the hymn in the ancient Irish from the MS. in Trinity College, Dublin, accompanied by a translation of it into the modern irish language. The latter translation has been made by the late Revelation James Goodman, M.A., Professor of Irish in the University of Dublin, one of whose last acts was to revise the proofsheet of that translation.
The other works of Patrick acknowledged to be genuine are the Confession and the Epistle to Corolicus. The evidence in favor of the authenticity of those documents is, as curtly stated by Dr. Whitley Stokes, five-fold. Rolls Tripartite, p. 93. (1) The mention of decurions. See Coroticus, § 5, and note, p. 145. (2) The use of the plural word Brittanniae, or Britains. See Confession, § 10, and note 6, p. 134. (3) The Biblical quotations are made in both documents from an ante- Hieronymian version of the Bible. (4) The Confession speaks of a married clergy; and (5) the Latin style used in both documents is very similar to that found in the writings of Gregory of Tours, who was a missionary from Ireland. See p. 24. In addition to these five points, it may be added that (6) the references to the events of the age correspond with facets known from other sources. (See Professor G. T. Stokes’ notes on the Confession, chapter1, pp. 125,126; chapter 2, p. 131; and on Coroticus, pp. 143, 144; etc.) Moreover (7), the utter absence of any references to miracles in both writings (although miracles abound, as already noticed, in all the later biographies) is additional proof that those documents are genuine remains of the Apostle of Ireland.
The utter absence of “the marvellous” in the Confession and Epistle to Coroticus is the more remarkable when it is borne in mind that the notes on Patrick’s life by Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni, which is found in the Book or Armagh, speak of the miracles performed by him at Tara, when contending with the magicians of King Loegaire. Those notes relate the miracle of Patrick’s raising Daire’s horse to life after it had died on account of trespassing on the ground given by Daire to Patrick at Armagh for religious purposes. They tell of a dead man speaking to Patrick out of his grave; of an angel who appeared to Patrick, as to Moses, in a burning bush; and other like wonders. The date of Muirchu is about A.D. 690. The collections of Tirechan, who probably lived about the same date, and are also contained in the Book of Armagh, relate also ninny miracles. Tirechan distinctly quotes from the Confession.
The Tripartite Life, probably composed in the eleventh century, contains even more marvels; as does also the later life drawn up by Jocelin, a monk of the twelfth century. According to Jocelin, Patrick was baptized by a blind priest, who obtained the water required for the purpose by causing the infant to make the sign of the cross over the earth, when a well of water gushed forth, which not only cured the priest of his blindness, but enabled him to read the order of baptism “without knowing until then his letters.” Icicles are said to have been transformed by Patrick into faggots, butter changed into honey. The saint was able, like Christ after His resurrectrion to pass through shut doors. When his horses were lost on one occasion, “St. Patrick raised up his hand; his five fingers illumined the whole plain as if they were five lamps, and the horses were found at once.”
A goat bleated in the stomachs of the men who had eaten it up, and, according to a still later embellishment, came forth alive out of their mouths. When a tooth fell out of Patrick’s head as he was crossing a river, the tooth shone in the ford like a sun; and on another occasion Coroticus, the king of the Britons, was changed by him into a fox. The man Victoricus, whom St. Patrick relates he saw in a dream (p. 57), is transformed in the later legends into his guardian angel Victor!
In opposition to all such marvels, the autobiography contained in the Confession, and the statements made in the Epistle to Coroticus, are distinguished by a sobriety of narration which in itself goes far to prove their genuineness. Not even the legend-loving scribes of a later age have dared to interpolate those writings with their absurd wonders.
Among the various works which contain translations of these writings of Patrick, Miss Cusack’s Life of St. Patrick F7 is of special interest, as the ablest and largest work on the subject written from a Roman Catholic standpoint. Miss Cusack has left the Church of Rome since these lines were originally penned. “The peculiar importance of her work in connection with the Remains of Patrick consists in the fact that it contains (pp. 369-502) the Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ire/and, translated from the original Irish by W. M. Hennessy, Esq., M.R.I.A. Mr. Hennessy gives the Latin text of the Confession and Epistle to Coroticus, as well as an English translation of both, with some critical notes. Mr. Hennessy’s death, which occurred in January, 1889, has removed from our midst one long known as a distinguished Irish scholar. He occupied the position of Deputy-Keeper of the Records, Ireland, and was favorably known by his learned edition of the Chronicon Scotorum, in the Rolls series.
An earlier translation into English of the Confession of St. Patrick, written from a Roman Catholic standpoint, is that by Archdeacon Hamilton, printed and published by John C. O’Reilly, 139, Capel Street, Dublin, in 1859. Archdeacon Hamilton was at that time Roman Catholic parish priest of St. Michan’s, Dublin. We have frequently referred to this translation in the notes appended to the present work.
The most important work on the subject of the Patrician writings is unquestionably the Rolls edition of the Tripartite Life and other documents relating to Patrick, by Dr Whitley Stokes. F8 It contains among other matters a translation of the Hymn with the original Irish, and the Latin text of the Confession, from the Book of Armagh and the Cottonian MS., with the Dicta Patricii. The Epistle to Coroticus, which is not contained in the Book of Armagh, is given here from the Cottonian MS.
The Latin text of the Confession, as found in the Book of Armagh, and in the Bodleian MS. Fell. I, has also been published in Gilbert’s (John, F.S.A., M.R.I.A.) splendid work, Facsimiles of the National MSS. of Ireland, Part II. London. 1878. Published under the direction of the Master of the Rolls.
Another critical edition of the Latin Confession with various readings is contained in Haddan and Stubbs’ Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents, volume 2, part 2. These works have not, however, generally speaking, been consulted in the preparation of the present volume, as Dr. Whitley Stokes’ work rendered that examination unnecessary.
The Book of Armagh has been proved by Bishop Graves, of Limerick, from internal evidence to have been written A.D. 807. The very name of the scribe has been recovered. F9 That codex is in itself a veritable miscellany. It contains, as already mentioned, two early memoirs of Patrick, the Dicta Patricii, notes on various subjects, the so-called Liber Angeli, relating to the See of Armagh, the Confessio of Patrick, Jerome’s Preface to the Gospels, the Books of the New Testament in full, with the apocryphal Epistle to the Laodiceans; and a life of Martin, with dialogues and Epistles of the saint, etc. The Confessio found in that codex was transcribed from a MS. said to have been in Patrick’s own hand, and which certainly was difficult to read from age, for the copyist mentions that fact several times. F10 It now forms part of the treasures of the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. The copy of this MS. used by Mr. Hennessy was executed by Revelation Thaddeus O’Mahony, D.D., Professor of Irish in the University of Dublin from 1861 to 1879. The text of the Confession in the Book of Armagh is considerably shorter than that presented in other MSS. Sir Samuel Ferguson is, however, most probably correct in maintaining that “that transcript [the Book of Armagh] bears many internal evidences of an abridgment; and there is nothing in the more copious matter of the other copies necessarily at variance with it, so far as it has come down to us. Mr. Olden, whose work will be found mentioned on p. 23, has given substantial reasons to show that the copyist of the Armagh MS., which was compiled with the object of exalting the dignity of Armagh, intentionally omitted passages in the Confession, which the scribe supposed to be inconsistent with the particular object he had in view. It is sad to think that the earliest MS. labors under such suspicion. The portions of the text added from other MSS. have been supplied within square brackets  in the present work.
Four other MSS. of the Confession are known to be in existence, namely, the Cottonian MS. in the British Museum, and two Fell MSS. in the Bodleian Library. These three MSS. are assigned by Whitley Stokes to the eleventh century. The text, however, contained in the folio volume of the Acta Sanctorum, published by the Bollandist Fathers (Antwerp, 1668), was taken from a MS. which was supposed by Nicholson to have perished in the troublous times of the French Revolution. That MS. has, however, as the late Bishop of Down and Connor (Dr. Reeves) informed me, been discovered near its old locality, the Monastery of Vedastin or Saint Waast, near Arras, in the North of France and is now preserved in the Public Library of Arras. (See also the Rolls Tripartite, p. 93.) The Latin texts given by R. Steele Nicholson in his work on Patrick F11 are those of the Cottonian MS. and the Bollandist text.
The text followed in the present edition is substantially that given by Mr.
Hennessy and Dr. Whitley Stokes. It has been, however, occasionally verified by reference to the Book of Armagh, and has been constantly compared with the other texts. The selection of various readings given in the notes has been generally taken from Mr. Hennessy’s edition, or from that of Dr. Whitley Stokes.
The following recent English translations of the Latin texts have been compared in drawing up the revised translation here given— (1) The translation of Mr. Hennessy contained in Miss Cusack’s work; (2) The translation of the Confession by Archdeacon Hamilton, noted on p. 17; (3) That of the Revelation Thomas Olden; F12 (4) That by A. F. Foster, F13 and (5) last, but not least in importance, the translation into English blank verse by the lately deceased, and much-to-be-regretted, Sir Samuel Ferguson, LL.D., President of the Royal Irish Academy. F14 Owing to his long-continued separation from civilized life, and his constant use of the Irish language, the Latin of St. Patrick’s writings is bad and ungrammatical. His style is also often broken, and occasionally obscure.
This has created no little difficulty, and consequently all translators of his works have taken more or less liberties in their endeavors to present to their readers a readable English translation. A translator who desires to be peculiarly faithful is sometimes embarrassed in an attempt to translate such an author. In revising the English translation for our edition, it has been sometimes necessary to replace smooth English by English of more questionable correctness and taste. The ruggedness in some places of our revised translation has been caused by the desire above all things to be faithful. Had our author expressed himself in grammatical Latin, we should not have been satisfied with rugged English. But the case is wholly altered when one has to deal with works written in indifferent Latin, and which it is desirable to translate as faithfully as possible. In his attempt to be faithful, the late Mr. Hennessy frequently left himself open to the same criticism.
The rude and ungrammatical character of Patrick’s Latin writings is a strong evidence of their genuineness. New evidence, already alluded to, has recently come to light indirectly bearing on this point. A splendid edition of the works of Gregory of Tours has lately been published (1883-1885), edited by Arndt, Bonnet, and Br. Krusch, in the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, giving for the first time the nearest approach to the genuine text of that Father. The Latin of Gregory is very similar to that found in Patrick’s writings. Like the latter, it is semi-barbarous in grammar and spelling. But it is exactly the Latin which would be expected from a Celt educated in Gaul. Patrick’s quotations from Holy Scripture also cause some difficulty. It is probable that he often quoted from memory, and consequently not with verbal accuracy. And yet, after making all due allowance for this probability, we have considered it necessary to carefully examine his quotations from Scripture, and to compare them with the commonly received text of the Latin Vulgate and the older Latin version used by the early Latin Fathers, as edited by Sabatier, and designated generally as “the Itala.” When the Latin text of Patrick’s quotations agrees with the Vulgate, we have, as a matter of simple fair play, given the English text of the Douay Bible, so called because the Old Testament was published at Douay in 1600, the New Testament having been previously brought out at Rheims in 1582. As the Douay Bible is an accredited English translation of the Latin Vulgate, we have followed that Version, even in cases where we might as well (and possibly with better literary taste), have substituted the rendering of the Authorized Version as identical in meaning and more classical in style. But in cases where Patrick’s quotations differ verbally from the Latin Vulgate the difference has been expressed in our translation. Patrick’s Biblical quotations were made from a Latin Version earlier than that of Jerome. More might be said on this head if the ancient Irish Version of the New Testament in the Latin language, which forms the main portion of the Book of Armagh, had been published. Scholars are aware that a good commencement has been made in the way of editing texts of portions of Latin translations prior to that of Jerome. But the materials are not yet at hand to enable anything satisfactory to be done in the way of identifying the translation used by Patrick. Owing to the few references made to the Gospels in Patrick’s Works, a comparison of his quotations of the Gospels with Professor Abbott’s Evangeliorum Versio Antehieronymiana F15 yielded no result.
The division of the Confession into chapters and sections has been in the main adopted from the Bollandist edition. No such division is found in the Book of Armagh. The contents affixed to each chapter are of course, our own. Words supplied to complete the sense have been as far as possible included in ordinary brackets (). The meaning of the square brackets  has been already explained on page 21.
Professor G. T. Stokes contributed to the former edition certain notes of his own, which reappear in the present edition with his name attached to them. His numerous occupations prevented him from taking more than a nominal part in the editing of the former work, and hence it was more satisfactory for me to assume the responsibility of the sole editorship of this edition.
Notwithstanding the ruggedness of style of Patrick’s Latin works, and their want of accordance with grammatical rules, there is much to be commended in the simplicity and unadorned dignity of his narrative. The modesty and humility exhibited by him in the account given of the marvelous success of his mission is most remarkable. There is, moreover, in his writings a display of genuine missionary spirit, which, as it has roused many a Christian worker to action in the past, may well stir up many in our day also. Patrick everywhere displays an earnest trust and faith in the constant protection of a gracious Providence. His love for the souls of the men among whom he labored, notwithstanding the ill-treatment he received at their hands, is remarkable. His honest simplicity and the contempt everywhere displayed for the riches of the world deserve far more general recognition than they have yet received. His acquaintance with the Holy Scripture, with the phraseology of which his Writings are thoroughly imbued, and his desire to conform his doctrine to their teaching, are significant. F16 To him God and Satan, heaven and hell, were great realities; “he endured as seeing Him who is invisible” ( Hebrews 11:27). Like Ignatius and many others, Patrick coveted earnestly to attain the crown of martyrdom. His “Creed” is clear and terse. A simple unaffected piety, wholly devoid of ostentation, breathes in every paragraph of his writings.
He “walked by faith,” and therefore his works were done in love. His writings ought to be dear to all lovers of the Gospel of Christ, to whatsoever creed they may severally belong. If we differ occasionally from his opinions, we learn at least to recognize that there is much precious truth held in common by those who do not think alike on all points of religion. There is a rugged eloquence in the Epistle to Coroticus which should come home to the hearts of all who read that stirring and manly rebuke administered by the Irish Apostle. It is, therefore, earnestly to be hoped that the present edition of Patrick’s Works may find its way into many Irish homes, and tend to endear the name of Patrick still more to all the people of Ireland. Not only Irishmen, but English and Scotchmen also, may read with pleasure and profit these short, but precious relics of a bygone age. Patrick’s Works ought to be prized and valued by all those who delight in such devotional writings as The Confessions of Augustine or The Imitation of Christ of Thomas a Kempis. Much food will be found for the devotional life in the simple “remains” of the Apostle of Ireland.
May the study of the life and words of the humble disciple lead many to study still more deeply the life and teachings of the great Master Himself, whose words, recorded in the Gospels, “are spirit and are life!” ( John 6:63.)
BRIEF SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF ST. PATRICK.
ST.PATRICK was probably born at Dumbarton about A.D. 373 (Rolls Tripartite, p. 137.). His missionary work in Ireland does not seem to have begun until some time after A.D. 432 or 439. Prosper of Aquitaine; an intimate friend of Pope Celestine, flourished in the first half of the fifth century, and wrote a chronicle which extends to A.D. 455. In the older editions of that work the chronicle extended only to 433, but continuations of it have been discovered later. Prosper does not speak of the mission of St. Patrick the Apostle of Ireland, but mentions the mission of Palladius to Ireland in A.D. 431. This is recorded in the following terms: “Palladius, ordained by Pope Celestine, is sent to the Scots believing in Christ (ad Scotos in Christum eredentes) as first bishop.” These Scots were Irish (see Prof. G. T. Stokes, note 23, p. 139). The mission of Palladius proved unsuccessful, and Palladius himself died shortly after. As Palladius was well known to ancient Irish writers as the senior Patrick, it is possible that his mission was in later times confused with the more successful work of the so-called Apostle of Ireland. Prosper was probably dead ere the work of the latter evangelist was accomplished.
The language used by Prosper shows plainly that both he and Pope Celestine were of opinion that Christians in Ireland existed at that early period. In later times, however, attempts were made to conceal that fact.
Hence, when the Irish historian Nennius in 858 issued his edition of the Historia Britonum, compiled probably in 822 (see Rolls Tripartite, p. 117, and extracts, p. 498), that writer corrects Prosper’s language into “the Scots to be converted to Christ” (ad Scottos in Christum convertendos), and in afterwards speaking of St. Patrick’s mission, which Nennius relates as undertaken at the suggestion also of Pope Celestine, a similar expression is made use of, namely, ad Scottos in fidem Christi convertendos mittitur, “he is sent to the Scots to be converted into the faith of Christ.”
St. Patrick, as his name indicates, most probably sprang from a Roman family which had settled in “the Britains” (see note 2, p. 123, and note 6, p. 134). According to the Tripartite Life his mother’s name was Concessa, a sister or relation of St. Martin of Tours (Rolls Trip., p. 8). The same statement is made by the earlier writer Muirchu (Rolls Trip., p. 494), and probably by St. Patrick himself (see note 3, p. 124). She appears also to have been of Roman origin. His father, grandfather, and great-grandfather appear all to have been clergymen (see note 4, p. 124.), clerical celibacy not being enforced in those days. Patrick was carried off captive from his native land when sixteen years old, during one of the piratical descents of the Irish on the coasts of the Britains (see note 8, p. 126). He was then a stranger to true religion (see p. 4-7), which fact is elsewhere several times referred to (see note 9, p. 126). Muirchu, one of his earliest biographers, gives the same account. The later legends, which speak of Patrick’s early piety and of miracles performed by him in his infancy and childhood, had not then come into existence.
The autobiography set forth in his Confession (chapters 1 and 2,) gives all that is really known about his early life, and concerning his captivity in Ireland, during which dark season of affliction he was brought to know the Lord (p. 47). There is, however, no mention made in the Confession of the place in which he was trained for the ministry, or of his ordination. That he was “a deacon” at one time of his life, and was made a bishop at another, is there mentioned (pp. 58, 73). Patrick confesses, however, his lack of learning and of training for the ministry; and though he was by nature a man of considerable intellectual gifts, his writings confirm his own statements with respect to the want of early education (see pp. 49,67).
There are, however, considerable gaps in this autobiography. When we consider the pride he took in his noble birth, the high estimation in which he held the Roman and Gallic Christians (p. 77), the reference (in the doubtful “sayings”) to the Roman style of chanting (pp. 83,84), it is certain that if Patrick had received a mission from the Roman See he would have mentioned it.
According to Muirchu he was raised to the episcopate by Amatorex, a bishop in Gaul (Rolls Tripartite, p. 273), and was thus consecrated by a single bishop only (Todd’s St. Patrick, p. 318). Certain objections were made on that occasion to his promotion, which are referred to in his Confession (pp. 58, 59). There is also no allusion whatever to be found to any commission received from Rome in the Hymn composed in honor of his master F17 during his lifetime Secundinus, St. Patrick’s own pupil. In that hymn Patrick is compared to St. Peter and to St. Paul, and is said to be sent by God like St. Paul to be an apostle to the Gentiles, and to have been “advanced by the Savior for his merits to be a bishop;” and Secundinus says of Patrick that “Christ chose him to be his vicar on the earth.” It is impossible to conceive that in such a eulogy, the Roman commission could have been passed over had it been actual facet.
Dr. Whitley Stokes observes in reference to that eulogy: “The internal evidence of the antiquity of this hymn is strong. First, the use of the present tense in describing the saint’s actions; secondly, the absence of all reference to the miracles with which the Tripartite and other Lives are crowded; and thirdly, the absence of all allusion to the Roman mission, on which many later writers, from Tirechan downwards, insist with such persistency.” (Rolls Tripartite, p. 110).
The hymn ascribed to Fiacc, a contemporary of St. Patrick, although not written by its reputed author (see Rolls Tripartite, p. 111), is also silent on the story of the Roman mission.
The facts connected with Patrick’s life which can be relied on are as follows: Taken captive at siteen he remained in captivity for about six years with Milchu somewhere in the valley of the Braid. On the hill of Slemish he tended cattle and often poured out prayers to God. He then escaped from his master, and after many perils recorded in his Confessio (§§ 7-9) got back to his parents. It is quite uncertain how he employed the next thirty years or more, the “many years” alluded to in his first paragraph of chapter 3. p. 56. It is also uncertain what is meant by the second captivity alluded to in the same paragraph. After two months he regained his liberty. The reference in § 10 (second paragraph of chapter 3. p. 56) made to a journey through a desert for twenty-eight days when food failed is suspiciously like that in § 8, p. 54— “After a few years” Patrick was again in “the Britains” with his parents.
What he had been doing during those years is unknown. But they seem to have been years of hardships. At this time he saw the vision, like that of St.
Paul at Troas, which called him to Ireland (p. 57). Dr. Whitley Stokes’ conjectures that some of those thirty or more years were employed in unsuccessful attempts to convert the pagan Irish. That, however, is scarcely probable. He may have spent some of those years in wandering in other lands, or among “the islands of the Tyrrhenian Sea” (as alluded to in the Sayings given on p. 82). Mr. Newell makes the conjecture just alluded to. F18 But; as Newell remarks, Patrick does not appear to have spent that time in studies as represented by the later legends. He probably got ordination somewhere during that period, and after his vision may have gone to Gaul and received episcopal consecration there, after passing through the painful ordeal alluded to on pp. 58,59. But neither St. Patrick’s own writings nor the Hymn of Secundinus give any account of where he studied or where he traveled.
It should be noticed, however, that there are evident gaps existing in the Confession or autobiography as it has come down to us. Those gaps may be easily detected. The first paragraph of chapter 3, p. 56, comes in awkwardly, however the captivity there mentioned be explained. There is another gap between the two paragraphs of § 11 on p. 58 of our edition.
Omissions are, as is admitted, made in quotations from Scripture (see instances given in notes 17 and 19 on p. 138). These facts lead to the conclusion that we have no full account of his life. To attempt to fill up the gaps from later legends, after the specimens given of how simple facts have been distorted, is utterly vain.
Professor Stokes, in his lectures on Ireland and the Celtic Church, has, with great probability, sketched Patrick’s travels in Ireland. Landing at the mouth of the river Vartry where Wicklow now stands, he proceeded along the coast until he reached Strangford Lough, and visited his old master.
After some successful missionary expeditions he found it necessary to confront the heathenism and sun-worship of Ireland at the royal capital, then at Tara, on which occasion he composed his Irish hymn. The success which attended that noble endeavor to preach Christ the true Sun of Righteousness to Loegaire (the modern Leary), the supreme king of Ireland, and his court is nowhere alluded to by St. Patrick himself. It has no doubt been vastly exaggerated even in the earliest legends. But the blow then delivered at the center of Irish heathenism soon bore good fruit, and the poetical beauty and force of the grand hymn composed on that occasion had no doubt much to do with that result. Few details are given by St. Patrick of incidents connected with his missionary labors, and even the earliest records of his successes, such as that of the conversion of the two daughters of King Loegaire (given on p. 90 ff.), are not free from later embellishments. Some idea of the extent of his missionary travels may be gathered from the names of places and from traditions freely scattered over the country, out of which many of the later legends arose. It may be fairly asserted that he traveled over a considerable portion of Ireland, always prudently seeking to commence his work with the conversion of the petty kings and chieftains of the various parts of the country. He adhered manfully to the work he had undertaken amid the difficulties referred to in general terms in chapters 4 and 5, and seems to have endured much persecution, even to bonds and imprisonment, as recorded in the close of § 15, p. 62. One imprisonment, in which he was put in irons, lasted fourteen days (p. 62). That he had to suffer grievous wrongs in the persons of his converts is plain from the Epistle to Coroticus. When he composed his Confessio he was in constant expectation of being reduced to slavery (p. 69), or even laying down his life by a violent death (p. 70). Martyrdom was, however, looked forward to without shrinking. This, however, is sufficient to show that, great as may have been his missionary successes, Ireland was very far from having been transformed in his day into an “isle of saints.” Hence it should be noted that St. Patrick’s Vision of the Future (given on p. 95 ff.), though probably based on some substratum of fact, has no doubt been added to in later days.
Dr. Fowler, in his edition of Adamnan’s Life of Columba gives the following interesting remarks in reference to the legend of the expulsion by St. Patrick of serpents and toads from Ireland, which appears first in the life written by Jocelin the monk in the twelfth century. He observes (p. 32, note) that “Ireland has enjoyed an immunity from snakes and some other reptiles from time immemorial. This fact is referred to by Solinus in the third century (Polyhist. 22.), by Bede in the eighth (Eccl. Hist. 1:1), and by many other writers. The subject is fully discussed, with catenae of quotations from earlier writers, in Messingham, Florileg, Insulae 88. (1624), pp. 127-134, and in Colgan, Tr. Th. p. 255.”
Dr. Fowler also has given much important information on the eastern origin of Irish Christianity, to which we would refer the curious reader, for the subject is too large to be entered into here. It has also been discussed by Professor G. T. Stokes in his ninth lecture on Ireland and the Celtic Church.
Although the writings of St. Patrick are in the main highly evangelical, it is not strange that Patrick should have imbibed some of the errors which had crept everywhere into the Church of the fifth century. He evidently held “higher” views with respect to baptism and the Lord’s Supper than are set forth in Holy Scripture, while his notions concerning the power committed to the clergy (Coroticus, § 3, see our note, p. 144) is certainly objectionable. We are not at the least surprised that a theologian of his age, unacquainted with Hebrew, and knowing only the Scriptures through the medium of some of the old Latin versions, which were based on the old Greek translation, should refer to books of the Apocrypha as inspired Scripture. Though unmarried himself, he has expressed no opinion against a married clergy, and his ancestors for several generations belonged to the clerical ranks. The monks and virgins of his day were not shut up within prison walls like those of a later age. There is no trace in his writings of prayers for the dead, of a belief in a purgatory, of any invocation of saints (see Confession, § 9, p. 55, and notes thereon) or of angels, no cultus of the Blessed Virgin, no allusion to any such doctrines as those of transubstantiation, the veneration of sacred images, or so forth. His creed, as set forth in the Confession (§ 2, p. 47), is clear and simple. The Confession of Tours (see p. 99 ff.), which, if not from his pen, is from that of a pupil of his school, is clear and distinct on the points of absolution, confession to God, and the sole Priesthood of Christ. The Holy Scriptures were ever his sole rule of faith, and the doctrines of grace (though those doctrines were then beginning to be sadly obscured in the Church of the fifth century), are set forth ever and again with humble earnestness.
In conclusion of our short memoir of St. Patrick, it may be interesting to append the following Latin hymn in honor of St. Patrick which is found on folio 32 of the Irish MS., Liber Hymnorum, in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. It has been printed (with the exception of the last verse) in Colgan’s Trias Thaum., and, I believe, somewhere by Father Hogan. But it is not, however, among the pieces contained in Dr. Whitley Stokes’ collection in the second volume of his great work, and Revelation F. E.
Warren has again called attention to it in the Academy of October 20, 1894. Professor Abbott, of Trinity College, Dublin, has kindly revised it for our purposes. It is interesting, as showing that the author of this very ancient poem was aware of St. Patrick’s having been born in Britain, and that he was sent by God to Ireland. It will be noted that no mention is made of any commission received from the Bishop of Rome. We give the poem as in the MS., appending a literal English translation:— “INCIPIT YMNUS SANCTI PATRICH. “Ecce fulget clarissima patricii sollempnitas.
In qua carne deposita felix transcendit sidera.
Qui mox a pueritia diuina plenus gratia uitam cepit diligere dignitatis angelicae.
Hic felici prosapia natus est in brittania, perceptoque babtismate studet ad alta tendere.
Sed futurorum prescius clemens et rector dominus hunc direxit apostolum hiberniae ad populum.
Erat namque haec insola bonis terrae fructifera.
Sed cultore idolatra mergebatur ad infima.
Ad hanc doctor egregius adueniens patricius predicabat gentilibus quod tenebat operibus.
Confluebat gentilitas ad eius sancta monita. et respuens diabulum colebat regem omnium.
Gandebatque se liberam remeare ad patriam qua serpentis astutia ollim expulsa fuerat.
Qua propter, dilectissimi huius in laude presulis. psallamus christo cordibus alternantes et uocibus.
Ut illius suffragio liberati a uitio. perfruamur in gloria uisione angelica.
Laus patri sit, et filio, cum spiritu paraclito. qui suae dono gratiae misertus est hiberniae.
TRANSLATION. “(Here) begins the hymn (in honor) of Saint Patrick. “Lo! there shines the most illustrious celebration of St. Patrick!
On which he, happy, having laid aside the flesh, passed beyond the stars.
But the Lord, conscious of the future, merciful, and ruler, directed this apostle to the people of Ireland.
For this island was fruitful in the good things of the earth but by its idolatrous worship it was sinking to the lowest.
The illustrious doctor, Patrick, coming to this (island), preached to the Gentiles that which he kept by his works.
The nation flocked to his holy admonitions, and, rejecting the Devil, worshipped the King of all.
Wherefore, dearly beloved, in praise of this leader, Let us sing to Christ in alternate songs with hearts and voices.
That, freed by his prayers from vice, We may enjoy the angelic vision in glory.
THE GENUINE WRITINGS OF PATRICK. 1.—THE HYMN, OR “BREASTPLATE.” 1. F19 , N1 BIND myself N2 to-day, To a strong power, an invocation N3 of the Trinity, I believe in a Threeness with confession of a Oneness in N4 the Creator of Judgment. N5 2. I bind myself to-day, To the power N6 of the birth of Christ, with His baptism, To the power of the crucifixion, with His burial, To the power of His resurrection, with His ascension, To the power of His coming to the judgment or doom. 3.
In the obedience of angels, Hebrews 1:14.
In the hope of resurrection unto reward, Acts 23:6.
In the prayers of patriarchs, N9 Genesis 28:20.
In the predictions of prophets, 1 Peter 1:12.
In the faiths of confessors, N10 Acts 7:55-60.
In the purity of holy virgins, Revelation 14:4.
The depth of the sea, The stability of earth, <19A405> Psalm 104:5.
The firmness of rocks, N13 5.
Against every man who meditates injury to me, Whether far or near, Alone and in a multitude. N17 6.
Against the incantations of false prophets, Acts 13:8-12.
Christ protect me today, Against poison, against burning, Mark 16:18.
Against drowning, against wound, Acts 28:22-23.
That I may receive a multitude of rewards. Hebrews 10:35. 8.
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ at my right, Christ at my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length, Ephesians 3:18,19.
Christ in height. N21 9.
I bind myself today, To a strong power, an invocation of the Trinity, I believe in a Threeness with confession of a Oneness in the Creator of Judgment. N22 11.
Salvation is the Lord’s, Psalm 3:8.
Salvation is the Lord’s, Salvation is Christ’s, Revelation 7:10.
Let Thy salvation, O Lord, be ever Isaiah 25:9. with us. N23 2.—THE CONFESSION OF PATRICK.
THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOKS OF SAINT PATRICK, BISHOP. F20 , N24 CHAPTER 1.
Patrick’s birth and parentage—Patrick a Briton—His captivity—The cause of his writing a desire to praise God for His benefits—His creeds—His modesty, and want of learning—Raised up by God to do His work. PATRICK, N25 a sinner, the rudest and the least of all the faithful, and most contemptible to very many, had for my father Calpornius, a deacon, a son of Potitus N26 a presbyter, N27 who dwelt in the village of Bannavem N28 Taberniae, N29 for he had a small farm N30 hard by the place where I was taken captive. N31 I was then nearly sixteen years of age. I did not know the true God; N32 and I was taken to Ireland in captivity with so many thousand men, in accordance with our deserts, because we departed from God, and we kept not His precepts, and were not obedient to our priests, N33 who admonished us for our salvation.
And the Lord brought down upon us “the wrath of His indignation,” F21 , N34 and dispersed us among many nations, N35 even to the end of the earth, where now my littleness, F36 is seen among foreigners. And there the Lord opened (to me) the sense of my unbelief, N37 that, though late, I might remember my sins, and that I might return with N38 my whole heart to the Lord my God, who had respect to my humiliation, and pitied my youth and ignorance, N39 and took care of me before I knew Him, and before I had wisdom, or could discern between good and evil; and protected N40 me and comforted me as a father does a son. 2. Wherefore I cannot keep silent—nor is it indeed expedient (to do so)— concerning such great benefits, and such great favor as the Lord has vouchsafed to me in the land of my captivity; because this is our recompense (to Him) that after our chastening, or knowledge of God, we should exalt and confess His wonderful works F22 , N41 before every nation which is under the whole heaven.
From whom is all beginning; upholding all things, as we say; and His Son Jesus Christ, whom indeed with the Father, we testify to have always been, before the origin of the world, spiritually with the Father; in an inexplicable N43 manner begotten before all beginning; and by Himself were made the things visible and invisible; N44 made man; (and), death having been vanquished, received into the heavens to the Father. F23 , N45 And He has given to Him all power “above every name of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, N46 that every tongue should confess” F24 to Him, N47 that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe, and expect (His) coming, to be ere long; “the Judge of the living and of the dead,” F25 “who will render to every one according to his deeds.” F26 , N48 And He hath “poured upon us abundantly” F27 the Holy Spirit, a gift and pledge of immortality; N49 who makes the faithful and obedient to become “sons of God, N50 and joint-heirs with Christ”; F28 whom we confess and adore—one God in the Holy Trinity of the sacred name. N51 For He Himself has said by the prophet, “Call upon Me in the day of thy tribulation, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt magnify Me.” F29 , N52 And again He saith, “It is honorable to reveal and confess the works of God.”
F30 , N53 3. Although I am in many respects imperfect, I wish my brethren and acquaintances to know my disposition, N54 and that they may be able to comprehend the wish of my soul. I am not ignorant of the testimony of my Lord, who witnesses in the Psalm, “Thou shalt destroy those that speak a lie.” F31 , N55 And again, “The mouth that belieth killeth the soul.” F32 And the same Lord says in the Gospel, N56 “The idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.” F33 , N57 Therefore, I ought earnestly with fear and trembling to dread this sentence in that day when no one shall be able to withdraw himself, or to hide, but when we all together shall render account of even the smallest of our sins before the tribunal of the Lord Christ. N58 Wherefore, I thought of writing long ago, but hesitated even till now; because I feared falling into the tongue of men; N59 because I have not learned like others who have drunk in, in the best manner, both law and sacred literature in both ways equally; N60 and have never changed their language from infancy, but have always added more to its perfection. For my language and speech is translated into a foreign tongue. N61 4. As can be easily proved from the drivel N62 of my writing—how I have been instructed and learned in diction; N63 because the wise man says: “For by the tongue is discerned understanding and knowledge, and the teaching of truth.” F39 , N64 But what avails an excuse [although] according to truth, especially when accompanied with presumption? N65 Since indeed I myself, now in my old age, strive after what I did not learn in my youth, because they prevented N66 me from learning thoroughly that which I had read through before. But who believes me, although I should say as I have already said? When a youth, nay almost a boy in words, N67 I was taken captive, before I knew what I ought to seek, or what I ought to aim at, N68 or what I ought to avoid. Hence I blush today, and greatly fear to expose my unskillfulness, because, not being eloquent, N69 I cannot express myself with clearness and brevity, nor even as the spirit moves, and the mind and endowed understanding point out. N70 But if it had been granted to me even as to others, I would not, however, be silent, because of the recompense. And if, perhaps, it appears to some, that I put myself forward in this matter with my ignorance and slower tongue, it is, however, written: “Stammering tongues shall learn quickly to speak peace.” F35 , N71 How much more ought we to aim at this—we who are the “epistle of Christ”—for salvation even to the end of the earth, F36 — and in not eloquent, yet powerful and very strong—written in your hearts “not with ink,” it is testified,... “but by the Spirit of the living God.” F37 , N72 5. And again the Spirit testifies; “and husbandry was ordained by the Most High.” F38 , N73 Therefore, I, first a rustic, a fugitive, unlearned, indeed, not knowing how to provide for the future—but I know this most certainly, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mud; and He who is mighty came, and in His own mercy raised me, and lifted me up, and placed me on the top of the wall. F39 , N74 And hence I ought loudly to cry out, to return also something to the Lord for His so great benefits, here and in eternity, which (benefits) the mind of men cannot estimate. But, therefore, be ye astonished, both great and small, who fear God. And ye rhetoricians, who do not know the Lord, N75 hear and examine: Who aroused me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear to be wise, and skilled in the laws, and powerful in speech and in every matter? And me— who am detested by this world—He has inspired me beyond others (if indeed I be such), but on condition that with fear and reverence, and without complaining, I should faithfully serve N76 the nation—to which the love of Christ has transferred me, and given me for my life—if I should be worthy N77 —that, in fine, I should serve them with humility and in truth. N78 [N.B.—The Revelation Professor Abbott, of Trinity College, Dublin, has kindly collated the Dublin MS. for me.] CHAPTER 2. Patrick’s desire to recount God’s mercies—Employed in feeding cattle Earnestness in prayer—Promised deliverance in a dream— His escape from slavery—Arrival at the ship—Refused a passage—Betakes himself to prayer—Admitted on board—Desires to convert the sailors—Journey in the desert—Wonderful deliverance from perishing by hunger—Result of prayer—Refuses food offered to idols—Conflict with Satan—Calls on “Helias” for deliverance. IN the measure, N79 therefore of the faith, F40 of the Trinity it behooves me to distinguish, without shrinking from danger, to make known the gift of God, and His “everlasting consolation,” F41 and without fear to spread faithfully everywhere the name of God, in order that even after my death I may leave it as a bequest N80 to my brethren, and to my sons, whom I have baptized in the Lord—so many thousand men. And I was not worthy nor deserving that the Lord should grant this to His servant; that after going through afflictions and so many difficulties N80b after captivity, after many years, He should grant me so great favor among that nation, which when I was yet in my youth I never hoped for, nor thought of.
But after I had come to Ireland I daily used to feed cattle, N81 and I prayed frequently during the day; N82 the love of God and the fear of Him increased more and more, and faith became stronger, and the spirit was stirred; so that in one day I said about a hundred prayers, and in the night nearly the same; so that I used even to remain in the woods and in the mountain; before daylight I used to rise to prayer, through snow, through frost, through rain, and felt no harm; nor was there any slothfulness in me, as I now perceive, because the spirit was then fervent within me.
And there indeed one night, in my sleep, I heard a voice saying to me, “Thou fastest well [fasting so], thou shalt soon go to thy country.” And again, after a very short time, I heard a response saying to me, “Behold, thy ship is ready.” N83 And it was not near, but perhaps two hundred miles away, and I never had been there, nor was I acquainted with any of the men there. 7. After this I took flight, and left the man N84 with whom I had been six years; N85 and I came in the strength of the Lord, who directed my way for good; N86 and I feared nothing till I arrived at that ship. And on that same day on which I arrived, the ship moved out of its place, and I asked them (the sailors) that I might go away and sail with them. N87 And it displeased the captain, and he answered sharply with indignation, N88 “Do not by any means seek to go with us.” And when I heard this, I separated myself from them in order to go to the hut where I lodged. And on the way I began to pray; and before I had ended my prayer I heard one of them, and he was calling loudly after me, “Come quickly, for these men are calling you.” And immediately I returned to them, and they began to say to me, “Come, for we receive you in good faith, N89 make friendship with us in whatever way you wish.” And in that day I accordingly disdained to make friendship with them, N90 on account of the fear of God. But in very deed I hoped of them that they would come into the faith of Jesus Christ, because they were heathen, and on account of this I clave to them. N91 And we sailed immediately. N92 8. After three days we reached land, and for twenty-eight N93 days we made our journey through a desert. And food failed them, and hunger prevailed over them. And one day the captain began to say to me, “What (is it), O Christian? You say thy God is great and almighty; why, therefore, canst thou not pray for us, for we are perishing with hunger? N94 For it will be a difficult matter for us ever again to see any human being.” But I said to them plainly, “Turn with faith N95 to the Lord my God, to whom nothing is impossible, that He may send food this day N96 for us in your path, even till you are satisfied, N97 for it abounds everywhere with Him.” And God assisting, it so came to pass. Behold, a herd of swine appeared in the path before our eyes, and (my companions) killed many of them, and remained there two nights, much refreshed. And their dogs were filled, for many of them had fainted N98 and were left half-dead along the way. And after that they gave the greatest thanks to God, and I was honored in their eyes. 9. From that day forth they had food in abundance? N99 They also found wild honey, and offered me a part of it. And one of them said, “It has been offered in sacrifice.” Thanks to God! I consequently tasted none of it. N100 But the same night while I was sleeping, and Satan greatly tempted me, in a way which I shall remember as long as I am in this body. And he fell upon me N101 like a huge rock, and I had no power in my limbs, save that N102 it came to me, into my mind, that I should call out “Helias.” N103 And in that moment I saw the sun rise in the heaven; and while I was crying out “Helias” N104 with all my might, behold the splendor of that sun fell upon me, and at once removed the weight from me. And I believe I was aided by Christ my Lord, and His Spirit was then crying out for me, N105 and I hope likewise that it will be thus in the days of my oppression, as the Lord says in the Gospel, “It is not you that speak, but the Spirit of your Father, which speaketh in you.” F42 , N106 CHAPTER 3. Second captivity—Deliverance—Return to Britain—Called in a vision of the night to Ireland—The Spirit fraying in him—Charge brought against him by his seniors—Cause of the charge—Vision of the writing against him—The Lord on his side—Inconsistent conduct of a friend—Patrick returns thanks to God—Made a missionary by the grace of Christ. AND again, after many years, I was taken captive once more. N107 On that first night, therefore, I remained with them. But I heard a Divine response saying to me, N108 “But for two months thou shalt be with them;” which accordingly came to pass. On that sixtieth night the Lord delivered me out of their hands.
Even on our journey He provided for us food and fire, and dry weather every day, till on the fourteenth day we all arrived. N109 As 1 stated before, we pursued our journey for twenty-eight days through the desert, and the very night on which we all arrived N110 we had no food left. N111 And again, after a few years, I was in the Britains N112 with my parents, who received me as a son, and earnestly besought me that, now at least, after the many hardships I had endured, I would never leave them again.
And there I saw, indeed, in the bosom of the night, a man coming as it were from Ireland, Victoricus by name, with innumerable letters, and he gave one of them to me. And I read the beginning of the letter containing “The Voice of the Irish.” And while I was reading aloud the beginning of the letter, I myself thought indeed in my mind that I heard the voice of those who were near the wood of Foclut, N113 which is close by the Western Sea. And they cried out thus as if with one voice, N114 “We entreat thee, holy youth, that thou come, and henceforth walk among us.” And I was deeply moved in heart, and could read no further; and so I awoke.
Thanks be to God, that after very many years the Lord granted to them according to their cry! 11. And on another night, I know not, God knows, whether in me, or near me, with most eloquent words which I heard, and could not understand, N115 except at the end of the speech one spoke as follows, “He who gave His life for thee F43 is He who speaks in thee; N116 and so I awoke full of joy. N117 And again I saw Him praying in me, N118 and He was N119 as it were within my body, and I heard above me, N120 that is, above the inner man, N121 and there He was praying mightily with groanings. And meanwhile I was stupefied and astonished, and pondered who it could be that was praying in me. But at the end of the prayer He so spoke as if He were the Spirit. N122 And so I awoke, and remembered that the Apostle says, “The Spirit helps the infirmities of our prayers. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit Himself asketh for us with unspeakable groanings,” F44 , N123 which cannot be expressed N124 in words. And again, (he says) “The Lord is our advocate, and prays for us.”
F45 , N125 And when I was harassed by some of my seniors who came, and (urged) my sins against my laborious episcopate, so that on that day I was strongly driven to fall away, here and forever. But the Lord spared a proselyte and stranger for His name’s sake. He kindly and mightily aided me in this treading-under, because in the stain and disgrace I did not come out badly.
I pray God that it be not reckoned to them as an occasion of sin. For after thirty years they found me, and brought against me a word which I had confessed before I was a deacon. N126 12. Under anxiety, with a troubled mind, I told my most intimate friend what I had one day done in my boyhood, nay in one hour; because I was not then used to overcome. N127 I know not, God knows, whether I was then fifteen years of age; and I did not believe in the one God from my infancy; but I remained in death and unbelief until I was severely chastised; and in truth I have been humbled by hunger and nakedness, and that daily.
On the other hand, N128 I did not of my own accord go to Ireland until I was almost worn out. But this was rather good for me; N129 for by this I was corrected by the Lord—and He fitted me that I should be today what formerly was far from me; that I should be filled with care, and be concerned for the salvation of others; since at that time I did not think even about myself.
Then in that day on which I was reproached for the things abovementioned; N130 on that night,] I saw in a vision of the night, a writing against me, N131 without honor. And at the same time I heard a response N132 saying to me, “We have seen N133 with displeasure the face of the designate N134 with his name stripped.” He did not say, “Thou hast seen with displeasure,” but “We have seen with displeasure,” as if He had joined Himself to me, as He has said, “He that toucheth you is as he that toucheth the apple of Mine eye.” F46 , N135 Therefore I give thanks to Him, who comforted me in all things, that He did not hinder me from the journey on which I had resolved, and also from my work which I had learned of Christ my Lord. But the more from that (time) I felt in myself N136 no little power, and my faith was approved before God and men. 13. But on this account I boldly assert that my conscience does not reprove me now or for the future. N137 “God is my witness” F47 that I have not lied in those things I have related. [But N138 I am the more sorry for my very dear friend—to whom I trusted even my life—that we should have deserved to hear such a response. And I ascertained from several brethren before that defense N139 that, when I was not present, nor in the Britains, N140 nor did it originate with me—even he in my absence made a fight for me. N141 Even he had said to me with his own mouth, “Behold, thou art to be promoted to the rank of bishop,”—of which I was not worthy. But whence then did it occur to him afterwards that before all, good and bad, he should publicly put discredit upon me, although he had before of his own accord gladly conceded (that honor to me)? It is the Lord, who is greater than all.
I have said enough. But, however, I ought not to hide the gift of God which He bestowed upon us in the land of my captivity. For then I earnestly sought Him, and there I found Him, and He preserved me from all iniquities, so I believe, because of His Spirit “that dwelleth in (me),” F48 which has wrought in me again boldly N141b even to this day. But God knows, if a man had spoken this to me, I might have been silent for the love of Christ. 14. Wherefore, I give unwearied thanks to my God, who has kept me faithful in the day of my temptation; so that I may today confidently offer to Him my soul—to Christ my Lord—as a sacrifice, ‘a living victim;” F49 , N142 who saved me from all my difficulties, F50 so that I may say: “Who am I, Lord?” F51 , N143 and what is my vocation, F52 , N144 that to me Thou hast cooperated by such Divine grace with me! N145 So that today I can constantly rejoice among the Gentiles N146 and magnify F53 , N147 Thy name wherever I may be, not only in prosperity, but also in distresses; F54 that whatever may happen to me, whether good or evil, I ought to receive it equally, and always to give thanks to God, who has shown me that I should believe in Him, the indubitable one, N148 without ceasing, and that He will hear me; N149 and that I, though ignorant, may in these last days attempt to approach this work, so pious and so wonderful; that I may imitate some of those of whom before the Lord long ago predicted (that they) should preach His Gospel, “for a testimony to all nations” F55 , N150 before the end of the world. Which, therefore, has been so fulfilled, as we have seen. Behold, we are witnesses that the Gospel has been preached everywhere, in places where there is no man beyond. N151 ] CHAPTER 4. Patrick’s labors and deliverances—Temptations to remain at home—Willingness to die for Christ—The work accomplished by God’s grace—The duty of missionary work—Results of his mission in Ireland—His resolve to continue in the mission-field, and his reliance on God. BUT it would be long to relate all my labor, in details, or even in part.
Briefly, I may tell how the most holy N152 God often delivered me from slavery, and from twelve dangers N153 by which my life was imperiled, besides many snares, and things which I cannot express in words, neither would I give trouble to my readers. But there is God the Author (of all), who knew all things before they came to pass.
N154 So, however, the Divine response very frequently admonished me His poor pupil. N155 Whence (came) this wisdom to me, which was not in me, I who neither knew the number of my days, F56 , N156 nor was acquainted with God? Whence (came) to me afterwards the gift so great, so beneficial, to know God, or to love Him, that I should leave country and parents, and many gifts which were offered to me with weeping and tears? And, moreover, I offended against my wish certain of my seniors. But, God overruling, I by no means consented or complied with them. It was not my grace F57 , N157 but God who conquered in me, N158 and resisted them all; so that I came to the Irish peoples, to preach the Gospel, and to suffer insults from unbelievers; that I should listen to reproach about my wandering, N159 and (endure) many persecutions, even to chains; and that I should give up my noble birth N160 for the benefit of others. 16. And if I be worthy, I am ready to lay down my life unhesitatingly, and most gladly for His name; and there I wish to spend it, even till death, it the Lord permit. N161 For I am greatly a debtor to the God who has bestowed on me such grace, that many people through me should be born again to God, N162 and that everywhere clergy should be ordained for a people newly coming to the faith, whom the Lord took from the ends of the earth, as He had promised of old by His prophets: “To Thee the Gentiles will come and say, As our fathers made false idols, and there is no profit in them.” F58 , N163 And again: “I have set Thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that Thou mayest be for salvation unto the utmost part of the earth.” F59 , N164 And there I am willing to await the promise or Him who never fails, as He promises in the Gospel: “They shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob;” F60 , N165 as we believe that believers shall come from all the world. N166 17. Therefore it becomes us to fish well and diligently, as the Lord premonishes and teaches, saying: “Come ye after Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” F61 And again He says by the prophets: “Behold I send many fishers and hunters, saith the Lord.” F62 , N167 Therefore it is very necessary to spread our nets, so that a copious multitude and crowd may be taken for God, and that everywhere there may be clergy, who shall baptize and exhort a people needy and anxious, as the Lord admonishes and teaches in the Gospel, saying: “Going, therefore, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” F63 , N168 And again: ‘Going, therefore, into the whole world, preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” F64 , N169 [And again: “This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come.” F65 , N170 And also the Lord, foretelling by the prophet, says: “And it shall be in the last days, saith the Lord, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your sons shall see visions,” N171 and your old men shall dream dreams. And upon My servants indeed and upon My handmaids I will pour out in those days of My Spirit, and they shall prophesy. F66 And in Osee He says: “I will call that which was not My people My people... and her who had not obtained mercy; and it shall be in the place where it was said, You are not My people, there they shall be called the sons of the living God.” F67 , N172 18. Whence, then, has it come to pass that in Ireland N173 they who never had any knowledge, and until now have only worshipped idols and unclean things, have lately become a people of the Lord, and are called the sons of God? Sons of the Scots N174 and daughters of chieftains are seen to be monks and virgins F68 , N175 of Christ. N176 [And there was even one blessed Scottic maiden, nobly-born, very beautiful, of adult age, whom I baptized.
And after a few days she came to us for a reason, F69 , N177 and intimated to us that she had received a response from a messenger of God N178 and he advised her that she should be a virgin of Christ, and that she should draw near herself to God. N179 Thanks be to God! On the sixth day after that, she most excellently and eagerly seized on that N180 which also all the virgins of God do; not with the will of their fathers—but they suffer persecution and false reproaches from their parents; and notwithstanding the number increases the more; and of our own race N181 who were born there (there are those), we know not the number, besides widows and those who are continent. But those (women) who are detained in slavery especially suffer; in spite of terrors and threats, they have assiduously persevered. But the Lord gave grace to many of my handmaids, for, although they are forbidden, they zealously imitate Him. 19. Wherefore, though I could wish to leave them, and had been most willingly prepared to proceed to the Britains, as to my country and parents; and not that only, but even (to go) as far as to the Gauls, to visit the brethren and to see the face of the saints of my Lord. God knows that I greatly desired it. But I am “bound in the Spirit,” F68 who “witnesseth to me,” F69 that if I should do this, He would hold me guilty; and I fear to lose the labor which I have commenced; and not I, but Christ the Lord, who commanded me to come, and be with them for the rest of my life. If the Lord will, F70 and if He will keep me from every evil way, F71 , N182 that I may not sin before Him. But I hope (to do) that which I ought; but I trust not myself, so long as I am in “this body of death;” F72 for strong is he who daily tries to subvert me from the faith; N183 and from the chastity of religion proposed (to myself), not feignedly (which I will observe), even to the end of my life, to Christ my Lord. But the flesh, which is in enmity, F73 , N184 always leads to death, that is, to unlawful desires to be unlawfully gratified. And I know in part that I have not led a perfect 1ife, N185 as other believers. But I confess to my Lord, and I do not blush before Him, because I lie not: from the time that I knew Him in my youth, the love of God and His fear have increased in me; and until now, by the favor of the Lord, “I have kept the faith.” F74 , N186 CHAPTER 5. Patrick’s boldness in writing—God’s mercy to him in spite of the reproach of men—His desire that others should do more for Christ—His despisal of riches—Did not preach or administer sacraments or orders for gain—His trials in the exercise of his mission—He rejoices in his expenditure and sufferings for Christ— His longing for martyrdom—His belief in the Resurrection—His denunciation of Sun-worship—His final protestation—What he effected was all by God’s grace. LET him who will laugh and insult, I will not be silent, nor will I hide the signs and wonders which were ministered to me by the Lord, many years before they came to pass, as He who knew all things even before the world began. F75 , N187 But hence I ought to give thanks without ceasing to God, F76 who often pardoned my ignorance (and) my negligence, N188 even out of place, not in one instance only—so that He was not fiercely angry with me, as being one who was permitted to be His helper. And yet I did not immediately yield to what was pointed out to me, and (to) what the Spirit suggested. And the Lord had pity on me among thousands of thousands, N189 because He saw in me that I was ready, but that in my case for these (reasons) I knew not what to do about my position; because many were hindering this mission, and already were talking among themselves, and saying behind my back, “Why does that fellow put himself into danger among enemies who know not God?” Not (as though they spoke) for the sake of malice, but because it was not a wise thing in their opinion, as I myself also testify, on account of my defect in learning. N190 And I did not readily recognize the grace that was then in me; but now I know that I ought before N191 [to have been obedient to God calling me]. 21. Now, therefore, I have related simply, to my brethren and fellowservants who have believed me, (the reason) why I have preached and do preach, in order to strengthen and confirm your faith. Would that you might aim at greater, and perform mightier things! N192 This will be my glory, because “a wise son is the glory of a father.” F77 , N193 You know, and God also, how I have conducted myself among you from my youth, both in the faith of the truth, and in sincerity of heart. F78 , N194 Even in the case of those nations among whom I dwell, I have always kept faith with them, and I will keep it. N195 God knows I have over-reached none of them; neither do I think of it, [that is, of acting thus] on account of God and His Church, lest I should excite persecution against them and us all, and lest through me the name of the Lord should be blasphemed; because it is written, “Woe to the man through whom the name of the Lord is blasphemed.” F79 , N196 For though I am unskilful in names, N197 yet I have endeavored in some respects to serve even my Christian brethren, and the virgins of Christ, and religious women, who have given to me small voluntary gifts, N198 and have cast off some of their ornaments upon the altar; and I used to return these to them; although they were offended with me because I did so. But I (did it) for the hope of eternal life, in order to keep myself prudently in everything, so that the unbelieving may not catch me on any pretext, or the ministry of my service; and that, even in the smallest point, I might not give the unbelievers an occasion to defame or depreciate (me). F80 22. But perhaps, since I have baptized so many thousand men, I might have expected half a screpall N198b from some of them? Tell it to me, and I will restore it to you. F81 Or when the Lord ordained everywhere clergy, through my humble ministry, I dispensed the rite (Lat. ministerium) gratuitously. If I asked of any of them even the price of my shoe, tell it against me, and I will restore you more. I spent for you, that they might receive me; and among you, and everywhere, I traveled for your sake, amid many perils, even to remote places, where there was no one beyond, and where no one else had ever penetrated—to baptize or ordain clergy, or to confirm the people. The Lord granting it, I diligently and most cheerfully, for your salvation, defrayed all things. During this time I gave presents to the kings; N199 besides which I gave pay to their sons who escorted me; and nevertheless they seized me, N200 together with my companions. And on that day they eagerly desired to kill me; but the time had not yet come. F82 And they seized all things that they found with us, and they also bound me with iron. And on the fourteenth day the Lord set me free from their power; and whatever was ours was restored to us, for God’s sake, and the attached friends whom we had before provided. 23. But you know how much I paid to those who acted as judges N201 throughout all the regions which I more frequently visited. For I think that I distributed among them not less than the hire of fifteen men. N202 So that you might enjoy me, and I may always enjoy you in the Lord, I do not regret it, nor is it enough for me—I still “spend, and will spend for your souls.” N203 ] God is mighty, and may He grant to me that in future I may spend myself for your souls. N204 Behold, “I call God to witness upon my soul” F83 “that I lie not;” F84 neither that you may have occasion, nor because I hope for honor from any man. N205 Sufficient to me is honor which is not belied. N206 But I see that now I am exalted by the Lord above measure F85 , N207 in the present age; and I was not worthy, nor deserving that He should aid me in this; since I know that poverty and calamity suit me better than riches and luxuries. But Christ the Lord was poor for us. F86 But I, poor and miserable, even if I wished for riches, yet have them not, “neither do I judge my own self;” F87 , N208 because I daily expect either murder, or to be circumvented, or to be reduced to slavery, or mishap of some kind. [But N209 “I fear none of these things,” F88 , N210 on account of the promises of the heavens; for I have cast myself into the hands of the Omnipotent God, who N211 rules everywhere, as saith the prophet, “Cast thy thought on the Lord, and He will sustain thee.” F89 , N212 24. Behold now, I commend my soul to my most faithful God, F90 for whom I discharge an embassage in my ignoble condition, because indeed He does not accept the person, F91 , N213 and He chose me to this office, that I might be one of the least of His ministers. But “what shall I render Him for all the things that He hath rendered to me? F92 , N214 But what shall I say, or what shall I promise to my Lord? Because I have no power, N215 unless He had given it to me, but He searches “the heart and reins;” F93 because I desire enough and too much, and am prepared that He should give me “to drink of His cup,” as He has granted to others that love Him. F94 Wherefore may it never happen to me from my Lord, to lose His people, (people) whom He has gained in the utmost parts of the earth. N216 I pray God that He may give me perseverance, and count me worthy to render myself faithful witness to Him, even till my departure, on account of my God. And if I have ever imitated anything good on account of my God, whom I love, I pray Him to grant me, that with those proselytcs and captives, I may pour out my blood for His name’s sake, even although I myself may even be deprived of burial, and my corpse most miserably be torn limb from limb by dogs, or by wild beasts, or that the fowls of heaven should devour it. I believe most certainly that if this should happen to me, I shall have gained both soul and body. N217 Because without any doubt we shall rise in that day in the brightness of the sun, that is, in the glory of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, as “sons of the living God,” F95 , N218 and “joint-heirs with Christ,” F96 and to be “conformable to His image;” F97 for “of Him, and through Him, and in Him” F98 we shall reign. N219 25. For that sun which we behold, at God’s command, rises daily for us— but it shall never reign, nor shall its splendor continue; N220 but all even that worship it, miserable beings, shall wretchedly come to punishment. N222 But we who believe in and adore the true sun, N222 Jesus Christ, who will never perish; N223 neither shall he “who does His will”—but “shall continue for ever,” F99 —as Christ continues for ever, N224 who reigns with God the Father Almighty, and with the Holy Spirit, before the ages, and now, and through all the ages of ages. Amen.
Behold, I will, again and again, dcclare briefly the words of my Confession.
I testify in truth, and in joy of heart, before God and His holy angels, F100 , N225 that I never had any reason, except the Gospel and its promises, for ever returning to that people from whom I had formerly escaped with difficulty. ] N226 But I beg of those who believe and fear God, whoever shall deign to look into or receive this writing, which Patrick the sinner, unlearned indeed, has written in Ireland, that no one may ever say, if I have done or demonstrated anything according to the will of God, N227 however little, that it was my ignorance (which did it); but judge ye, and let it be most truly believed, that it has been the gift of God. And this is my Confession before I die. Thus far the volume which, Patrick wrote with his own hand: On the seventeenth of March, Patrick was translated to heaven. N228 3. —THE EPISTLE TO COROTICUS. N229 IPATRICK, a sinner, unlearned, declare indeed that I have been appointed a bishop in Ireland; I most certainly believe that from God I have received what I am. I dwell thus among barbarians, F101 a proselyte and an exile, on account of the love of God. He is witness that it is so. Not because I desired to pour out anything from my mouth so harsh and severe, but I am compelled, stirred up by zeal for God and for the truth of Christ, for the love of my neighbors and sons, for whom I have abandoned country and parents, and my soul, even unto death, if I be worthy (of such honor). I have vowed to my God to teach the nations, although I be despised by some.
With my own hand I have written and composed these words, to be given and handed to the soldiers, to be sent to Coroticus; N230 I do not say, to my fellow-citizens, and to the citizens of the Roman saints, but to the citizens of demons, on account of their own evil deeds, who by hostile practice of barbarians live in death; N231 —companions of the Scots and apostate Picts N232 —who stain themselves bloody with the blood of innocent Christians, whom I have begotten without number to God, and have confirmed in Christ. 2. On the day after that in which (these Christians) were anointed neophytes in white robes, while it (the anointing)was yet glistening on their foreheads—they were cruelly massacred and slaughtered with the sword by those above-mentioned. N233 And I sent a letter with a holy presbyter, whom I taught from his infancy, with (other) clergy (begging them) that they would restore to us some of the plunder, or of the baptized captives whom they took, (but) they mocked at them. Therefore, I do not know what I should lament for the more, whether those who were slain, or those whom they captured; or those whom the devil has grievously ensnared with the everlasting pain of Gehenna (hell-fire)—for they will be chained together with him. “For” indeed “he who commits sin is a slave,” F102 , N234 and is termed “a son of the devil.” F103 3. Wherefore, let every man fearing God know that they (the soldiers) are aliens from me, and from Christ my God, for whom I discharge an embassage,—parricides, fratricides, “ravening wolves,” F104 devouring the people of the Lord as the food of bread. F105 , N235 As he says the ungodly “have dissipated Thy law, Lord.” F106 , N236 Since in these last times Ireland has been most excellently and auspiciously planted and instructed by the favor of God. I do not usurp [other men’s labors but] N237 I have part with those whom He hath called and predestined to preach the Gospel amidst no small persecutions, even to the end of the earth; although the Enemy envies us by the tyranny of Coroticus, who fears not God, nor His priests, whom He hath chosen, and committed to them that greatest, Divine, sublime power: “Whom they bind upon earth, they are bound also in heaven.” N238 4. I, therefore, earnestly beseech (you), who are holy and humble in heart, not to flatter such persons, nor to take food or drink with them, nor to deem it right to take their alms—until they rigorously do repentance with tears poured forth, and make satisfaction to God, and liberate the servants of God, and the baptized handmaidens of Christ, for whom He was put to death and crucified. “The Most High reprobates the gifts of the wicked.... He that offereth sacrifice of the goods of the poor is as one that sacrificeth the son in the presence of his father.” F107 , N239 “The riches,” he says, “which he will collect unjustly shall be vomited from his belly, the angel of death shall drag him off, the fury of dragons shall assail him, the tongue of the adder shall slay him,” F108 , N240 “the inextinguishable fire shall devour him.” F109 And, therefore, “Woe unto those who fill themselves with things which are not their own.” N241 Or, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” F110 It were long to discuss (texts) one by one, or to run through the whole law, to select testimonies concerning such cupidity. Avarice is a deadly sin: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” N242 “Thou shalt not kill.” F111 A murderer cannot be with Christ. “Whosoever hateth his brother is” termed “a murderer.” F112 Or, “He who loveth not his brother abideth in death.” F113 , N243 How much more guilty is he who has stained his hands with the blood of the sons of God—whom He lately acquired in the ends of the earth by the exhortation of our littleness! F114 , N244 5. “Was it indeed without God, or according to the flesh, that I came to Ireland? N245 Who compelled me? I was bound by the Spirit not to see (again) any of my kindred. Do I not love N246 pious compassion, because I act (thus) towards that nation which once took me captive, and laid waste the servants and handmaidens of my father’s house? I was a free-man according to the flesh, I was born of a father who was a Decurio. N247 For I bartered my noble-birth—I do not blush or regret it—for the benefit of others. In fine, I am a servant in Christ, (given over) to a foreign nation, on account of the ineffable glory of that perennial life which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. And if my own friends do not acknowledge me:—“A prophet hath no honor in his own country.” F115 Perhaps (they think) we are not of the one sheepfold, nor have the one God as Father. As He says: “He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth.” F116 It is not fitting that “one destroys, another builds.” N248 I do not seek those things which are my own. F117 , N249 6. Not my grace, but God, indeed, hath put this desire into my heart, that I should be one of the hunters or fishers, whom of old God promised before in the last days. F118 , N250 I am envied. What shall I do, Lord? I am greatly despised. Behold! Thy sheep are torn around me, and are plundered even by the above-mentioned robbers, by the order of Coroticus, with hostile mind. Far from the love of God is the betrayer of the Christians into the hands of Scots and Picts! Ravening wolves have swallowed up the flock of the Lord, F119 which everywhere in Ireland was increasing with the greatest diligence; and the sons of the Scots and the daughters of princes are monks and virgins of Christ (in numbers) I cannot enumerate. Wherefore the injury done to the righteous will not give thee pleasure (here), nor will it ever give pleasure in the regions below. N251 7. Which of the saints would not dread to be sportive, or to enjoy a feast with such persons? They have filled their houses with the spoil of the Christian dead. They live by rapine, they know not (how) to pity. Poison (they drink), deadly food they hand to their friends and sons. As Eve did not understand that she offered death to her husband, so are all those who do evil—they work out everlasting death and perpetual punishment.
It is the custom of the Roman and Gallic Christians to send holy and suitable men to the Franks, N252 and to the other nations, N253 with so many thousands of solidi, N254 to redeem baptized captives. N255 You (Coroticus) so often slay them—and sell them to a foreign nation that knows not God!
You surrender members of Christ as into a den of wolves! What hope have you in God? Or he, who either agrees with you, or who uses to you words of flattery? 8. God will judge. N256 For it is written, “Not only they who do evil, but also, they who consent thereto, are to be condemned.” F120 , N257 I know not what I can say, or what I can speak further, concerning the departed sons of God, whom the sword has touched beyond measure severely. For it is written, “Weep with them that weep,” F121 and again, “If one member suffers, all the members suffer along with it.” F122 , N258 Wherefore, the Church laments and bewails her sons and daughters, whom the sword has not yet slain, but who have been carried to distant parts, and exported into far-off lands, where sin manifestly is shamelessly stronger, [there it impudently dwells and] abounds. There free-born Christian men having been sold are reduced to bondage—(bondage), too, of the most worthless, the vilest, and apostate Picts! 9. Therefore, with sadness and sorrow I will cry out, O my most beautiful and most beloved brethren, and sons whom I begot in Christ—I cannot count you—what shall I do for you? I am not worthy, before God or men, to help! The wickedness of the wicked has prevailed against us. F123 , N259 We are become as strangers. F124 , N260 Perhaps they do not believe that we have partaken of one baptism, or that we have one God as Father. F125 To them it is a disgrace that we have been born in Ireland; N261 as he says: “Have ye not one God, why have ye forsaken each his neighbor?” F126 , N262 Therefore I grieve for you, I do grieve, my most beloved ones. But again, I rejoice within myself, I have not labored in vain, and my pilgrimage has not been in vain; N263 —although a crime so horrid and unspeakable has happened. Thanks be to God, baptized believers, ye have passed from this world to Paradise! I see you have begun to migrate “where there shall be no night nor grief, nor death any more,” F127 , N264 but “ye shall exult as calves let loose from their bonds, and ye shall tread down the wicked, and they shall be ashes under your feet.” N265 10. Ye, therefore, shall reign with the apostles, and prophets, and martyrs, and obtain the eternal kingdom, as He Himself testifies, saying, “They shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” F128 “Without are dogs, and sorcerers, and murderers, and liars, and perjurers.” N129 , N266 “Their part is in the lake of eternal fire.” F130 , N267 Not without reason does the Apostle say: “Where the just will scarcely be saved, where shall the sinner, and the impious, and the transgressor of the law find himself?” F131 , N268 For where will Coroticus with his most wicked rebels against Christ, where shall they see themselves? When baptized women are distributed as rewards N269 on account of a wretched temporal kingdom, which indeed in a moment shall pass away like clouds or smoke, which is dispersed everywhere by the wind! So sinners and the fraudulent shall perish from the face of the Lord, but the just shall feast with great confidence with Christ; they shall judge the nations, and shall rule over wicked kings for ever and ever. Amen. 11. I testify before God and His angels that it shall be so, as He has intimated to my ignorance. They are not my words, but those of God and of the Apostles and Prophets, which I have set forth in Latin, N270 —for they have never lied. “He that believeth... shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” F132 “God hath spoken.” F133 , N271 I entreat earnestly, whosoever is a servant of God, that he may be prompt to be the bearer of this letter; that it in no way be abstracted by any one, but far rather that it be read before all the people, and in the presence of Coroticus himself. To the end, that if God would inspire them, that they may at some time return to God, or even though late may repent of what they have done so impiously—murderers of brethren in the Lord—and may liberate the baptized captives, whom they have taken before, so that they may deserve to live unto God, and may be made whole here and in eternity.
Peace be to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
THE DOUBTFUL REMAINS OF PATRICK. 1. —SAYINGS OF PATRICK.
THE following Dicta Patricii, or Sayings of St. Patrick, are given in Latin in the Rolls edition of the Tripartite Life, p. 301, as contained at the end of the Notes by Muirchu Maccu-Machtheni in the Book of Armagh, fol. 9, a. 1. They are, as Dr. Whitley Stokes observes, disconnected from the context in that MS., with the simple heading Dicta Patricii, and are in very rustic Latin. The character of their Latinity renders it highly probable that they may be genuine remains of the saint, while the manner in which the Greek Ku>rie ejle>eison (Lord, have mercy on us) is transliterated into Latin (in Sayings No. 4, and 5) is sufficient to show how slight an acquaintance Patrick had with the Greek language. The latter point confutes Nicholson’s arguments (on pp. 84,85,168 of his work), in which he seeks to prove that “St. Patrick read the Scriptures from the Greek language alone.”
We have for convenience sake numbered the Sayings, and append them here, with the addition of a few notes:— 1. “I had the fear of God as the guide of my journey through the Gauls [per Gallias] and Italy, even in the islands which are in the Tyrrhenian Sea.”
The latter portion of this saying, from “through the Gauls,” is incorporated into Tirechan’s notes or collections of facts concerning Patrick found in the Book of Armagh. (Rolls edition, p. 302.) Dr. W. Stokes says that these notes are said to have been “written from the dictation or copied from a book (el ore vel libro) of his foster-father or tutor, Bishop Altan of Ardbraccan, who died A.D. 656.” (Rolls edition of Tripartite Life, p. 91.)
If the “saying” be genuine, Patrick must have visited Italy. But the evidence is weak, and will not bear much weight to be put upon it. 2. “From the world ye have passed on to Paradise.”
The saying quoted occurs in the Epistle to Coroticus, § 9, p. 78. 3. “Thanks be to God!”
This saying, which is found in the Corot/ors, p. 78, and in the Confession, pp. 54, 57, 64, (compare also pp. 60,66,68), is entitled, from the frequency of its occurrence, to be numbered separately. The saying is well illustrated by the following story, given by Muirchu in his Notes on St. Patrick’s Life (which are of the seventh century). Daire, the Irish chieftain, who afterwards gave the site for a church at Armagh, sent to the saint as a present a caldron of brass which had been imported from across the sea.
Patrick, on receiving the gift, said simply, Grazacham (gratias agamus, “Let us give thanks,” i.e., to God). Daire went back to his home, muttering, “The man is a fool who said nothing but grazacham for a brazen caldron of such a size!” He then ordered his servants to go and bring him back the caldron. They went forthwith to the saint, and said, “We are going to take away the caldron.” Patrick said again, “Grazacham, take it away.”
They accordingly took it back. When they returned, Daire asked them, “What did the Christian say when you took it away?” They answered that he said, “Grazacham. ” Daire exclaimed, “Grazacham, when it was given! grazacham, when it was taken away! his saying is so good with those grazachams, that his caldron shall be brought back to him again!” (Rolls Tripartite , p. 291.) The same story is repeated in the Tripartite Life (which was written in the eleventh century) at pp. 230,231 of the Rolls edition.
On the story, compare the words in Job 1:21: “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 4. “The Church of the Scots, nay even of the Romans, (chant) as Christians, so, that ye may be Romans, (chant) as it ought to be chanted with you, at every hour of prayer that praiseworthy sentence, Curic lession, Christe lession [‘Lord, have mercy upon us,’ ‘Christ have mercy upon us.’].”
The Latin is: “Aeclessia Scotorum, immo Romanorum, ut Christiani, ita ut Rnmani sitis, ut decantetur uobiscum oportet omni hora orationis uox illa laudabilis ‘Curie lession, Christe lession.’” It is evidently corrupt with its three “ut “s. Dr. Whitley Stokes has suggested to me that it should be read thus: “Aeclessia Scottorum immo Romanorum, ut Christiani ita et Romani sitis, et decantetur vobiscum ut oportet omni hora orationis vox illa laudabilis,” etc. It should then be translated:— “Church off the Scots, nay of the Romans, as ye are Christians so also be Romans; and let that praiseworthy sentence be chanted by you at every (canonical) hour, as it ought to be, ‘Lord, have mercy upon us, Christ, have mercy upon us.’” It must not be forgotten that in the Epistle to Coroticus Patrick speaks of himself as a Roman and a freeman (see Coroticus, p. 76). He also there alludes to “the Roman and Gallic Christians” as superior to other Christians in civilization. It is most natural, therefore, to interpret the meaning of this saying to be: Imitate the customs of those Christians whose higher civilization is a matter of general acknowledgment, and follow their example by making use of the versicle in question. 5. “Let every Church that follows me chant, ‘Curie lession, Christe lession.’ Thanks be to God!”
The words quoted by St. Patrick in these two “sayings” are Ku>rie ejle>eison, Cri>ste ejl eison. 2. —PROVERBS OF PATRICK.
THE following twelve sayings, styled Proverbia St. Patricii, are given by Villanueva (see Introduction, p. 12 as, according to Jocelin, having been translated into Latin from the Irish. All these “sayings,” with others, are also given in Latin in the “Extracts from the Irish Canons” in the Rolls Tripartite, p. 507 ff. Their authenticity is, however, somewhat questionable, although the Biblical quotations are curiously similar to those found in the genuine writings. 1. “Patrick says: ‘It is better for us to admonish the negligent, that crimes may not abound, than to blame the things that have been done.’ Solomon says: ‘It is better to reprove than to be angry.’” The passage referred to is, however, not found in the Solomonic writings, but occurs in Ecclesiasticus (the Book of Jesus the Son of Sirach) 20. 1.
The Latin, melius est arguere quam irasci, is different from the Vulg. and the Itala, quam bonum est arguere quam irasci. 2. “Patrick says: ‘Judges of the Church ought not to have the fear of man, but the fear of God, because the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom’ ( Proverbs 1:7).” 3. “Judges of the Church ought not to have the wisdom of this world, ‘for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,’ but to have the ‘wisdom of God’ ( 1 Corinthians 3:19; 1:21).” 4. “Judges of the Church ought not to take gifts, because ‘gifts blind the eves of the wise, and change the words of the just.’” The passage referred to is Ecclesiasticus 20:31, but the quotation is not exact. The words quoted by Patrick are, munera excaecant oculos sapientium et mutant verba justorum. The Itala and Vulgate have: Xenia et dona excaecant oculos judicum, et quasi mutus in ore avertit correptiones corum, i.e., “Presents and gifts blind the eyes of judges, and make them dumb in the mouth, so that they cannot correct.” (Dovay Version.) The rendering of the latter clause in the Douay Version is a paraphrase of the Latin and Greek. 5. “Judges of the Church ought not to respect: a person in judgment, ‘for there is no respect of persons with God’ ( Romans 2:11).” 6. “Judges of the Church ought not to have worldly wisdom (cautelam saecularem), but Divine examples (before them), for it does not become the servant of God to be crafty or cunning (cautum aut astutum). ” Villanueva explains cautela saecularis as equivalent to the sapientia carnis, “the wisdom of the flesh,” or “carnal wisdom,” of Romans 8:7.
Compare 1 Corinthians 3:19. 7. “Judges of the Church ought not to be so swift in judgment until they know how too true it may be which is written, ‘Do not desire quickly to be a judge.’” The passage cited is Ecclesiastes 7:6. The quotation is slightly different from the Vulg. Patrick quotes the words, noli judex esse vito. The Itala and Vulg. have, noli quarere fieri judex, “Seek not to be made a judge.” (Douay Version.) 8. “Judges of the Church ought not to be voluble.”
The doctrine of St. Patrick here is akin to that in James 1:19,20. 9. “Judges of the Church ought not to tell a lie, for a lie is a great crime.”
Compare John 8:44; Ephesians 4:25; Revelation 22:15. 10. “Judges of the Church ought to ‘judge just judgment,’ ‘for with whatever judgment they shall judge, it shall be judged to them.’” The first passage quoted is from John 7:24. The second passage is from Matthew 7:2. Patrick quotes the latter: in quocunque judicio judicaverint, judicabitur de illis. The Vulgate is, in quo enim judicio judicaveritis, judicabimini, “for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged.” Similarly the Itala. 11. “Patrick says: ‘Look into the examples of the elders, where you will find no guile.’” The Latin is: exempla majorum perquire ubi nihil fallaciae invenies. By “the elders” Villanueva considers Patrick means the saints, apostles, evangelists, and disciples of the Lord, and the fathers and doctors of the Church. 12. “Patrick says: ‘Judges who do not judge rightly the judgments of the Church are not judges, but falsifiers (falsatores) .’” 3. —THE STORY OF PATRICK AND THE ROYAL DAUGHTERS.
THE following story, which is given in “Tirechan’s collection, found in the Book of Armagh, bears internal evidence of its antiquity and genuineness. “The naivete > of the questions asked by the girls about God and His sons and daughters” is one of these striking evidences, for they are, as Whitley Stokes observes, “questions which no mere legendmonger ever had the imagination to invent.” The narrative is quite superior to the surroundings in which it occurs in Tirechan (Rolls Tripartite, p. 314), or in the later Tripartite Life (pp. 99 ff). We have translated it from the former, adding in the notes the more important readings found in the Tripartite Life.
But thence went the holy Patrick to the spring which is called Clebach, F134 on the sides of Crochan, F135 towards the rising of the sun, before the rising of the sun, and they sat beside the springs. And behold two daughters of Loegaire, F136 Ethne the fair, and Fedelm the ruddy, came to the spring in the morning, after the custom of women, to wash, F137 and they found a holy synod of bishops with Patrick by the spring. F138 And they did not know from whence they were, or of what shape, or of what people, or of what region. But they thought that they were men of the side, or of the terrestrial gods, or an apparition. F139 And the daughters said to them— “Whence are ye, and whence have ye come?” And Patrick said to them— “It were better that you would confess our true God than to inquire about our race.”
The first daughter said, “Who is God? And where is God? And of what is God? And where is His dwelling-place? Has your God sons and daughters, gold and silver? Is He ever-living? Is He beautiful? Have many fostered His Son? Are His daughters dear and beautiful to the men or the world? Is He in heaven or on earth? In the sea? in the rivers? in the mountains? in the valleys? Tell us how is He seen? How is He loved? How is He found? Is He in youth? or in age? F140 But holy Patrick, full of the Holy Spirit, answering, said— “Our God is the God of all men, the God of heaven and earth, of the sea, and of the rivers; the God of the sun and of the moon, of all the stars; the God of the lofty mountains and of the lowly valleys; the God over heaven and in heaven and under heaven. He has His dwelling towards heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things which are in them. He inspires all things, He gives life to all things, He surpasses all things, He supports all things. He kindles the light of the sun, He strengthens the light of the moon at night for watches; F141 and He made springs in the and land, and dry islands in the sea; and the stars He placed to minister to the greater lights.
He has a Son co-eternal with Himself and like unto Himself. The Son is not younger than the Father, nor is the Father older than the Son. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are not separated. I truly desire to unite you to the Heavenly King, since ye are daughters of an earthly king. Believe (on Him).”
And the daughters said, as if with one mouth and heart— “How can we believe on the Heavenly King? Teach us most diligently, so that we may see Him face to face. Point out to us, and we will do whatsoever thou shalt say to us.”
And Patrick said: ‘Do you believe that the sin of your father and mother is taken away by baptism?”
They replied: “We do believe it.” [Patrick] “Do you believe that there is repentance after sin?” [Daughters] “We do believe it.” [Patrick] “Do you believe that there is a life after death? Do you believe in the resurrection in the day of judgment?” [Daughters] “ We do believe it.” [Patrick] “Do you believe in the unity of the Church?” [The Daughters] “We do believe it.”
And they begged to see the face of Christ.
And the saint said to them: “Unless you shall have tasted death, you cannot see the face of Christ, and unless you shall receive the sacrifice.” F143 And they replied: “Give to us the sacrifice, that we may see the Son our spouse.”
And they received the Eucharist of God, and they slept in death. And they placed them in a bed covered with one mantle, and their friends made a wailing and a great lamentation.... And the days of the wailing for the daughters of the king were ended, and they buried them by the spring Clebach, and they made a round ditch in the likeness of a ferta [a grave ], because so the Scotic men and Gentiles used to do. But, with us it is called relic, that is, the remains and feurt .
It will be observed that the doctrine set forth with regard to the two sacraments is somewhat questionable. But it must be remembered that errors on those points were prevalent in the Church of the fifth century.
The story in general is one of considerable beauty, and is worthy to be preserved as a genuine fragment of a striking missionary incident in the early part of that century. 4. —PATRICK’S VISION OF THE FUTURE OF IRELAND.
THE following account of our saint’s vision concerning the future of Ireland is given in Jocelin’s Life of St. Patrick, in chapter 175. As it is referred to in Revelation Robert King’s valuable Primer of the History of the Irish Church (3 vols., Dublin, 1845-51), we give it in full here, with Jocelin’s exposition.
And the man of God was anxiously desiring, and earnestly praying, that he might be certified of the present and future state of Hibernia, to the end that he might know with what devotion of faith he was burning, and also the value of his labor in the sight of God. Then the Lord heard the desire of his heart and manifested that which he sought for unto him by an evident revelation.
For while he was engaged in prayer, and the heart of his mind was opened, he beheld the whole island to be as it were a flaming fire ascending unto heaven, and he heard the Angel of God saying unto him, “Such at this time is Hibernia in the sight of the Lord.” And after a little space he beheld in all parts of the island cone-like mountains of fire stretching unto the skies.
And again, after a little space, he beheld as it were candlesticks burning, and after a while darkness intervened; and then he beheld scanty lights, and at length he beheld coals lying hidden here and there, as reduced unto ashes, yet appearing still burning.
And the Angel added: “What thou seest here shown in different states are the Irish nations.” Then the saint, weeping exceedingly, repeated Often the words of the Psalmist, saying: “Will God cast off for ever, and will He be no more entreated? Shall His mercy come to an end from generation to generation? Shall God forget to be merciful, and shut up His mercy in His displeasure?”
Then the saint raised his eyes, and behold, he at first saw a small light arising in Ulidia, the which struggled a long time with the darkness, and at length dispersed it, and illumined with its rays the whole island. Nor ceased the light to increase and to prevail, even until it had restored to its former fiery state all Hibernia.
Then was the heart of St. Patrick filled with joy, and his tongue with exultation, giving thanks for all these things which had been shown unto him by grace. And he understood in the greatness of this fiery ardor of the Christian faith, the devotion and zeal for religion wherewith those islanders burned. By the fiery mountains he understood the saints, illustrious by miracles and words and by their examples. By the diminution of the light, the decrease of holiness. By the darkness that covered the land, the infidelity prevailing therein. By the intervals of delay, the distances of the succeeding times.
But the people think the period of darkness was that in which Gurmundus and Turgesius, heathen Norwegian princes, conquered and ruled in Hibernia. For in those days the saints, like coals covered with ashes, lay hidden in caves and dens from the face of the wicked, who pursued them all the day like sheep for the slaughter. Whence it happened that differing rites and new sacraments, which were contrary to the ecclesiastical institutions, were introduced into the Church and by prelates of the Holy Church ignorant of the Divine law. But the light arising first from the northern part, and after long conflict exterminating the darkness, those born in Hibernia assert to be St. Malachy, who presided first in the Church at Dunum [Down], afterward in the metropolis, Ardmachia [Armagh], and reduced the island unto the Christian law. On the other hand, the people of Britain ascribe this light to their coming, for that then the Church seemed under their rule to be advanced unto a better state; and that then religion seemed to be planted and propagated, and the sacraments of the Church, and the institutions of the Christian law, to be observed with more regular observance.
Jocelin’s Life of St. Patrick is given in Messinghami Florilegium Insulae Sanctorum seu Vitaa et Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae, etc., Parisiis, 1624. A translation of this work into English, rather free in many places, but sufficiently close to give a good idea of the original, appeared in 1809— namely, The Life and Acts of St. Patrick, the Archbishop, Primate, and Apostle of Ireland, now first translated from the original Latin of Jocelin, the Cistercian Monk of Fumes, who flourished in the early part of the twelfth century; with the elucidations of David Rothe, Bishop of Ossory.
By EDMUND L. Swift, Esq. Dublin: Printed for the Hibernian Press Company by James Blyth, 1809. Our translation is taken from the original.
Much interesting matter is contained in Messingham’s Florilegium, but the account of this vision in Jocelin’s Life appears to us one of the few grains of wheat in a bushel of rubbish. Jocelin had, however, access to works now lost, and hence there may be something genuine in this vision. It is at any rate interesting. King gives in his History an attempt at a Protestant interpretation of this prophecy. It is certainly susceptible of being explained of the light of the Reformation; and was most suitably applied to the light diffused throughout Ireland by means of Trinity College, Dublin, in the congratulatory address presented to that university on its tercentenary in 1892 by the Protector and Senatus of the University of Heidelberg. 5. —A NEWLY-DISCOVERED CONFESSION ATTRIBUTED TO ST. PATRICK.
FRESH contribution to the Patrician literature has recently appeared in the Revue Celtique (Volume 15., No. 2) for April, 1894. Paris: Librairie Emile Bouillon, editor: published under the superintendence of eminent Celtic scholars. The chief editors are H. d’Arbois de Jubainville, Membre de l’Institut, Professor in the College de France, with J. Loth, Dean of the Faculty of Letters at Rennes; E. Ernault, Professor of the Faculty of Letters at Poitiers, and G. Dottin, Master of Conferences of the Faculty of Letters at Rennes, Editorial Secretary. The article is written by M. Samuel Berger, Professor in the Protestant Theological Faculty, Paris, and is entitled, Confession des Peches attribute a saint Patrice.
This Confession is given by M. Berger in the original Latin, of which we subjoin a translation in English, in order to render our edition of The Writings of St. Patrick as complete as possible. M. Berger states in the opening note to his article that this confession was discovered in the library of the town of Angers, capital of the Department of Maine and Loire. The manuscript is numbered Angers 14., and is a MS. of the ninth, or rather of the ninth or tenth century. The Confessio begins at folio 180 verso, at the end of the Gallican Psalter, immediately followed by canticles and a litany, in which are invocations addressed to the saints of the center and north of France (from Bourges and Poitiers to Cologne and Liege), together with St. Boniface, St. Columba, and St. Gall. St. Boniface was an English missionary; but St. Columba and St. Gall, it may be noted, were both missionaries from Ireland. The Confession of St. Patrick is followed at folio 183 verso by the “Confessio quam beatus Alcuinus composuit Domino Karolo imperatori,” or the confession which St. Alcuin composed for the use of the Emperor Charles the Great. Alcuin was a native of York, trained and educated in that city. He established a school in connection with the monastery of Tours about A.D. 796. The MS. contains other pieces, especially prayers. M. Berger thinks the MS. must have been written at Tours, for the writing exhibits the marks specially characteristic of the MSS. written in that famous monastery. Tours, it must be remembered, is not very far distant further up the Loire.
When one examines into the style of the Confessio before us, it cannot be denied that its Latin is very different from that which appears in the Confession or autobiography preserved in the Book of Armagh and the other ancient MSS. noticed in our Introduction. In a piece of this character, copied into the Angers MS., as a confession for the use of private Christians, and not because of any special value in relation to the life of St. Patrick himself; the scribe might have had no scruple whatever in correcting, according to his ability, instances of faulty Latin, such as abound in St. Patrick’s own writings. It would also be natural to make St.
Patrick’s quotations from Scripture conform to the Vulgate version which was in common use for ages prior to the ninth century. Although there are cases of doubtful Latinity in the Latin original edited by M. Berger, it is clear that St. Patrick could not have written Latin as pure as that found in this MS. The Latinity of the piece may not, for the reason stated, be quite conclusive against its Patrician authorship. Nor is the Patrician authorship conclusively disproved by the fact that the Bible quotations, where not loosely quoted from memory, are in this confession all derived from the Vulgate.
M. Berger observes that these books of penitence appear to have come originally from Ireland. Books of that kind seem to have been designed to teach those who used them how to make their humble confessions before God in prayer. M. Berger remarks that the names of authors are in several cases apparently assigned to them at random. He remarks that the Penitential of St. Columba is the first work in the series of such compositions, the authenticity of which can be affirmed with certainty. He considers the Confession of Angers to be probably a genuine Irish work, although it is more than doubtful that St. Patrick was its author. But when we reflect on the close connection into which the monastery of Tours, where it was probably written, was brought with Ireland, it is possible that the scribe may have had evidence in favor of the Patrician authorship, which has not come down to us. In its present form the language of this Confessio, if a work of St. Patrick, must have undergone considerable revision, a revision which, under the circumstances, was natural and justifiable.
Turning next to internal evidence, if the piece be regarded as a personal confession of sins, and not one drawn up for the use of converts, there are several points which are inconsistent with St. Patrick’s genuine writings.
Though he was fully aware from our Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount that sins of uncleanness may be committed by evil thoughts as well as by evil actions, it is difficult to suppose that St. Patrick could have been guilty of such transgressions as this Confession would lead us to conclude.
He denies explicitly in his genuine Confession (see pp. 68,69) that he ever received gifts, while in this newly-found Confession he confesses himself guilty of that sin.
Whatever St. Patrick’s early career may have been, and, according to his own statements, prior to his captivity he did not live a holy life (see pp. 47,50,58,61), it is hard to imagine he could have had opportunity to transgress in the way of gluttony and riotous living as described in this writing.
After careful consideration of the composition, we must therefore view it, not as designed to be a record of the author’s own personal frailties, but rather as a touchstone by which his converts might examine into their individual lives.
Two points, however, in this newly-discovered Confession are in favor of its belonging to the age of St. Patrick—namely, the reference to sinning by divinations (compare stanza 6 of the Irish hymn), and to sinning by partaking of polluted food. The story of St. Patrick’s being tempted to eat honey offered in sacrifice to idols, as told in the genuine Confession at p. 54, may illustrate the latter.
The doctrine of the Angers Confession is in harmony with the primitive faith set forth in St. Patrick’s writings. There is not one word in it which contains the slightest allusion to the invocation of saints or angels, although angels are alluded to as witnesses of the sins of men. Christ is described as being alone without sin, a doctrine inconsistent with the late mediaeval notion of the sinlessness of the Virgin Mary. It is important also to note that there is no reference in the Confession to any “auricular confession” made to a priest; and the expressions used in the commencement of the last paragraph which speak of Christ as the High Priest to whom sin is to be confessed, are opposed to any such practice.
Although it is true that this confession of sins is “drawn up without any order,” and that, short as it is, it contains various repetitions, the doctrine set forth is highly Evangelical. And as it is probably of an Irish type, it seems to prove that the doctrines of the Irish missionaries of that date were in the main pure and Scriptural. The Divinity of Christ—for the composition is a confession addressed to Christ, and to Him alone—is unmistakably affirmed. There are but two allusion; to God the Father, and one to the Holy Spirit, which all occur at the end of the first paragraph.
This new discovery is then of sufficient importance to justify our exhibiting here a complete translation of its text, [HERE] BEGINS THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PATRICK, BISHOP.
God, my God, onmipotent King, I humbly adore Thee. Thou art King of kings, Lord of lords, N272 Thou art the Judge of every age. N273 Thou art the Redeemer of souls. Thou art the Liberator of those who believe. Thou art the Hope of those who toil. Thou art the Comforter of those in sorrow.
Thou art the Prince of all virtues. Thou art the joy of all Thy saints. Thou art life perpetual. N275 Thou art joy in truth. N276 Thou art the exultation in the eternal fatherland. N277 Thou art the Light of light. N278 Thou art the Fountain of holiness. Thou art the glory of God the Father in the height.
I seek for forgiveness of my sins, O my God, Jesus Christ. Thou art He who desirest no one to perish, “but will have all men saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” N279 Thou, O God, with Thy holy and chaste mouth hast said: In whatever day the sinner may be converted “living he shall live and shall not die.” N280 I will return to Thee, O God, and with all my heart N281 will cry to Thee, my God, and to Thee now I desire to confess my sins. My transgressions are multiplied above me, N282 because my sins have no number before Thine eyes. O Lord, I appear [i.e., stand before Thee] a witness accused by conscience. I dare not ask what I do not deserve to obtain. For Thou knowest, Lord, all things which are done in us, and we blush to confess what by ourselves N283 we do not fear to commit. In words alone [tantum] we obey Thee, in heart we lie. And what we do not say we desire we approve of by our acts. N284 Spare, Lord, those confessing, pardon those sinning. Pity those asking Thee, for in Thy mysteries my perception is weak. N285 Show, Lord, Thou who dost not receive prayers [verba] from us N286 with hard heart, that through Thee Thou mayest bestow pardon on us, O Jesus Christ our Lord. N287 I will confess to Thee, my God, because I have sinned in heaven and in earth, N288 and before Thee, and before Thy angels, and before the face of all Thy saints.
I have sinned by negligence of Thy commands and of my deeds.
I have sinned by pride and by envy.
I have sinned by detraction and by avarice.
I have sinned by luxury N289 and by malice.
I have sinned by fornication and by gluttony. N290 I have sinned by false testimony and by hatred of men.
I have sinned by theft and by robbery [rapinam].
I have sinned by blasphemy and by the desire of the flesh.
I have sinned by drunkenness and by hateful tales.
I have sinned by contentions and by quarrelling. I have sinned by swearing and anger.
I have sinned by earthly and transitory joy.
I have sinned by fear and by the weakness (?) of my mind [suavitatem mentis meae].
I have sinned by deceit and by murmuring.
I have sinned by the instability of faith of mind, and by the impiety of doubt. N291 I have sinned by unmercifulness and by despising of men.
I have sinned by corrupt and wicked works [&] judgments.
I have sinned by negligence and by forgetfulness of the works of God.
I have sinned by wandering and subtlety of my mind. N292 I have sinned by impatience and by imperfection of hope.
I have sinned by hardness and by blindness of heart and mind.
I have sinned by forgetfulness N293 of the love of God and of my neighbor.
I have sinned by disobedience and by the loss of good ordinances. N294 I have sinned by the loss of heavenly desires and by the love of earthly things.
I have sinned by inclinations to evil, and by deceitful arguments.
I have sinned by evil examples, and by the uncleanness of humanity.
I have sinned by vain melancholy, N295 and by stupor of mind.
I have sinned by reigned humility, and loss of the love of God.
I have sinned by cursing, and by divinations. N296 I have sinned by the non-accomplishment of my vows and by wicked inventions.
I have sinned by laziness and indolence of mind.
I have sinned by counsels of iniquity, and by returning of evil.
I have sinned by concupiscence and by perpetration of lust.
I have sinned by consent to, and by knowledge of, evil acts and words.
I have sinned by works upon the Lord’s day and by illuring imaginations.
N298 I have sinned by sorrow of the world, N299 and by love of money, N300 and by ambitions after honors.
I have sinned by restlessness and by bitterness of mind.
I have sinned by desperation, and by impurity of confession.
I have sinned by imperfection, and negligence of amendment.
I have sinned by presumption and despair.
I have sinned by acceptance of unjust gifts and by the punishments of impious acts.
I have sinned by pretense, and by pleasing of myself.
I have sinned by silence concerning righteousness, and iniquity, and flattery.
I have sinned by rioting N301 and by taking of polluted God, N302 and by suggestions of the devil, and by the delight of the spirit, and by knowledge of the flesh, I have sinned in my eyes and in my ears.
I have sinned in my hands, and in my mouth, and in my lips, and in all my deeds.
I have sinned in tongue and in throat.
I have sinned in marrow and in veins.
I have sinned in my mind and in my whole body. If now Thy vengeance will be upon me as great as my sins have been multiplied in myself; how shall I sustain Thy judgment? But I have Thee as the High Priest N303 to whom I confess all my sins. [I do] that to Thee alone, my God, N304 because “I have sinned against Thee alone, N305 and done evil before Thee.” N306 And because Thou art, O God, alone without sin, I beseech Thee, O Lord my God, by Thy passion, and by the sign of Thy salvation-bringing cross, and by the shedding of Thy blood, in order that Thou mayest grant to me remission of all my sins. I beg Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou wilt not render to me according to my deserving, but according to Thy great compassion. Judge me, O Lord, according to the judgment of Thy indulgence. I beg Thee and I adjure Thee, O my God omnipotent, that Thou mayest plant in me Thy love and fear. Awake in me repentance of my sins, and sorrow, for Thy name’s sake. Give to me the remembrance of Thy commands, and assist me, O my God, blot out my iniquity from Thy sight, and turn not away Thy face from my prayer. “Cast me not out from Thy presence.” N307 Leave me not, my God, neither depart from me, but confirm me in Thy will. Teach me what I ought not to do, what to do, or to speak, what to keep silent. Defend me, O Lord my God, against the darts of the devil, and against the angel of hell suggesting and teaching many evil things. N308 Do not desert me, O Lord my God, nor leave Thy miserable servant, but assist me, my God, and perform in me Thy teaching. N309 Teach me to do Thy will, because Thou art my teacher and my God, N310 who reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
IT will no doubt be interesting to our readers to be presented here with some poetical translations of St. Patrick’s Hymn. The first is that by James Clarence Mangan, a talented but unfortunate Irish poet. It originally appeared in Duffy’s Magazine, and was afterwards reprinted in a volume of Mangan’s collected Poems, with a Biographical Introduction by John Mitchell (New York, 1859). It was also given in the appendix to the first edition of The College Irish Grammar, by Revelation Ulick J. Bourke (Dublin, O’Daly, 1856), and later in Canon McIlwaine’s Lyra Hibernica, Belfast, Dublin, and London, 2nd ed., 1879. The translation is a very spirited one, and “preserves,” as Dr. Todd remarks in his work on St.
Patrick, the Apostle of Ireland, “the tone and spirit of the original.” It must be remembered that this version was founded on the translation originally made by Dr. Petrie, and therefore has the error of translating the opening words of the hymn “At Tara,” as well as others mentioned in our notes. (See note 2, p. 121.)
ST. PATRICK’S HYMN BEFORE TARA.
A T Tara today, in this awful hour, I call on the Holy Trinity!
At Tara today, I call on the Lord, On Christ, the Omnipotent Word, Who came to redeem from death and sin, Our fallen race; And I put, and I place, The virtue that lieth in His incarnation lowly, His baptism pure and holy, His life of toil, and tears, and affliction, His dolorous death, His crucifixion, His burial, sacred, and sad, and lone, His resurrection to life again, His glorious ascension to heaven’s high throne, And lastly, His future dread And terrible coming to judge all men— Both the living and the dead.
At Tara today, I put and I place, The virtue that dwells in the seraphim’s love; And the virtue and grace That are in the obedience, And unshaken allegiance, Of all the archangels and angels above; And in the hope of the resurrection To everlasting reward and election; And in the prayers of the fathers of old; And in the truths the prophets foretold; And in the apostles’ manifold preaching; And in the confessors’ faith and teaching; And in the purity ever-dwelling Within the Immaculate Virgin’s F144 breast; And in the actions bright and excelling, Of all good men, the just and the best.
At Tara today, in this fateful hour, I place all heaven with its power, And the sun with its brightness, And the snow with its whiteness, And fire with all the strength it hath, And lightning with its rapid wrath, And the winds with their swiftness along their path, And the sea with its deepness, And the rocks with their steepness, And the earth with its starkness, All these I place, By God’s almighty help and grace, Between myself and the powers of darkness.
At Tara today, May God be my stay!
May God the Almighty be near me!
May God the Almighty espy me!
May God the Almighty hear me!
May God give me eloquent speech!
May the arm of God protect me!
May the shield of God defend me!
May the host of God attend me, And warn me, And guard me, Against the wiles of demons and devils; Against temptations of vice and evils; Against the bad passions and wrathful will Of the reckless mind and the wicked heart; Against every man that designs me ill, Whether leagued with others, or plotting apart VI.
In this hour of hours, I place all those powers, Between myself and every foe, Who threatens my body and soul With danger or dole; To protect me against the evils that flow From lying soothsayers’ incantations; From the gloomy laws of the Gentile nations; From heresy’s hateful innovations; From idolatry’s rites and invocations:
By these my defenders, My guards against every ban— And spells of smiths, and Druids, and women; In fine, against every knowledge that renders The light Heaven sends us, dim in The spirit and soul of man!
VII. May Christ, I pray, Protect me today, Against poison and fire; Against drowning and wounding; That so in His grace abounding, I may earn the preacher’s hire!
VIII. Christ as a light Illumine and guide me!
Christ as a shield o’ershadow and cover me!
Christ be under me! Christ be over me!
Christ be beside me, On left hand and right!
Christ be before me, behind me, about me!
Christ, this day, be within and without me!
IX. Christ the lowly and meek, Christ the all-powerful, be In the heart of each to whom I speak, In the mouth of each who speaks to me, In all who draw near me, Or see me, or hear me!
X. At Tara today, in this awful hour, I call on the Holy Trinity!
XI. Salvation dwells with the Lord, With Christ, the Omnipotent Word, From generation to generation, Grant us, O Lord, Thy grace and salvation!
THE following version is from the facile pen of the late Mrs. Alexander, wife of the present Archbishop of Armagh. It is closer to the original than the preceding, the latest corrections made by Dr. Whitley Stokes being used. It has been issued, pointed and accentuated for chanting, by the Irish Christian Knowledge Association. Mrs. Alexander’s version is now widely used in Ireland, in the services of the Church of Ireland on St. Patrick’s Day, and on other occasions. It was sung at York Minster as a processional hymn on St. Patrick’s Day, 1891, when Archbishop Magee, who was an Irishman, was enthroned (see pp. 14, 15). The version was appended to this work by the kind permission of Mrs. Alexander. I bind unto myself today The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same, The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever, By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation; His baptism in Jordan river; His death on cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself today.
I bind unto myself the power Of the great love of Cherubim; The sweet “Well done” in judgment hour; The service of the Seraphim, Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word, The Patriarchs’ prayers, the Prophets’ scrolls, All good deeds done unto the Lord, And purity of virgin souls.
I bind unto myself today The virtues of the star-lit heaven, The glorious sun’s life-giving ray, The whiteness of the moon at even, The flashing of the lightning free, The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks, The stable earth, the deep salt sea, Around the old eternal rocks.
Against the demon snares of Sin, The vice that gives temptation force, The natural lusts that war within, The hostile men that mar my course; Or few or many, far or nigh, In every place, and in all hours, Against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.
Against all Satan’s spells and wiles, Against false words of heresy, Against the knowledge that defiles, Against the heart’s idolatry, Against the wizard’s evil craft, Against the death-wound and the burning, The choking wave, the poisoned shaft, Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger. I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same, The Three in One, and One in Three.
Of Whom all nature hath creation; Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
THE following metrical version appeared in the columns of the Irish Ecclesiastical Gazette for April 3, 1889. Its author, the late J.J. Murphy, Esq., was a well-known and valued writer, and for many years Hon. Sec. of the Diocesan Synod of the diocese of Down, Connor, and Dromore. Wequote Mr. Murphy’s remarks:— “In offering a new metrical version of this poem, I do not mean to challenge comparison with Mrs. Alexander’s. Hers is meant to be sung as a hymn, for which purpose mine is not suitable. “The irregular stanzas of this version represent those of the original. The Latin verses which conclude the Irish original are translated by longer lines than the rest. “I have made this version partly from the translation in Stokes’s and Wright’s ‘Writings of St. Patrick,’ and partly from Dr. Todd’s [see p. 15].
JOSEPH JOHN MURPHY.
I bind as armor on my breast The Threefold Name whereon I call, Of Father, Son, and Spirit blest, The Maker and the Judge of all.
I bind as armor on my breast The power in flesh made manifest Of Him, the Son, from Heaven who came, His baptism in the Jordan’s wave, His cross of pain and bitter shame, His burial, and His opened grave; And God’s eternal power, whereby He rose, ascended up on high, And will return to judge and save.
In hope a heavenly crown to win, I bind as armor on my breast The obedience and the love wherein Angels and seraphs are possessed, With faithful prayer and worthy decd Of all the saints in history’s roll, Who kept unstained their holy creed And virgin purity of soul.
As armor on my breast I bind The powers of God in heaven and earth; The fleetness of the rushing wind, The brightness of the morning’s birth; The splendor of the fiery glow, The whiteness of the winter snow, The lightning’s wildly flashing mirth; The strength that girds the rocky steep, The vastness of the unfathomed deep.
I bind as armor on my breast The Wisdom which shall be my guide; The Shield whose shelter bids me rest In peace, whatever ills betide; The Eye of God, to search my thought; His Ear, my prayer of faith to hear; His Word, to make my words be fraught With courage which His foes shall fear; His angel host, to guard my path Against all human guile and wrath, Against the tempter’s lures to sin Against the lusts that strive within.
All these upon my breast I bind Against my foes in earth and hell; Against the sorcerer’s chanted spell, And sway of idols o’er the mind; Falsehoods of heresy, and powers That rule the heathen in the hours Of darkness; women’s evil wiles; And all the knowledge that defiles.
Guard me and shield me, Christ, my Lord!
Christ be within me and around; Christ on my left hand and my right; May Christ in all my thoughts be found, Christ in all breadth, and depth, and height!
May Christ be in their eyes that see Thy servant, and their ears that hear; Christ in his thoughts who thinks on me, Christ on his lips who draweth near.
I bind as armor on my breast The Threefold Name whereon I call, Of Father, Son, and Spirit blest, The Maker and the Judge of all.
Salvation is of Thee, the Incarnate Word; Now and for ever save us, Christ our Lord!