Saturday, March 17, 2012

"A Stone Lying in Deep Mire"

Here is an excerpt from Patrick's Confession, written by Patrick of Ireland himself in the 5th century (basically his autobiography). 

"12. I am, then, first of all, countryfied, an exile, evidently unlearned, one who is not able to see into the future, but I know for certain, that before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire, and he that is mighty came and in his mercy raised me up and, indeed, lifted me high up and placed me on top of the wall. And from there I ought to shout out in gratitude to the Lord for his great favours in this world and for ever, that the mind of man cannot measure."


Mazzou said...

Thank you, Peter, for commenting on my blog.

I had heard rumours about him not being catholic, but it was only when I read the pamphlet by Downing (shared on my blog)that I heard the whole truth of his life.

In his book, Downing did not give references for the exact portion of the chapter which mentions St. Patrick's history
. Have you read or heard of:
Those two titles were given at the end of that section in the book by Downing (New Testament Church history) which mentions St. Patrick. But since we have not read either, we don’t know if they explain more about St. Patrick. Sorry for such weak answers!

Here is some more information that my Mum and I found:

For the space of forty years the noted St. Patrick, a Briton born, preached extensively among the Irish, Scotch and Britons. The time of his birth, even the century in which he was born, is unknown. It was probably the close of the fourth century.
No certain data can be given concerning his beliefs. It can, however, be positively stated that he was not a Roman Catholic (Nicholson, St. Patrick. Dublin, 1868); and that he approximated in many things the doctrines of the Baptists. Cathcart (Ancient British and Irish Churches. Philadelphia, 1894) argues at length and with much ability that he was a Baptist. He did not hold to the Roman Catholic idea of church government, and he ordained one or more bishops in every church (Nennius, Historia Britorium, 3, 54). He did not believe in purgatory (Hart, Ecclesiastical Records of England, xxii).
In regard to the form of baptism Patrick practiced immersion upon a profession of faith. During his life he is said to have immersed one hundred and twenty thousand people. He baptized Hercus, a king, in the fountain Loigles, and thousands of others on that day (Todd, life of Patrick, p. 449).
His opinions on the subject of the Lord’s Supper were equally meritorious. Sedulius, an Irishman, who flourished in the fifth century, tells us (Commentary of 1 Corinthians 11), that our lord left "the memorial unto us, just as a person going to a distance leaves a token to him whom he loves, and as often as he sees it he may call to his mind his benefits and friendship" (Hart, Ecclesiastical Records, xvii).He also speaks of the elements of the communion as "the sweet meat of the seed of wheat, and the lovely drink of the pleasant vine." The Lord’s Supper was taken in both kinds, and there was no mention of transubstantiation.


Thank you for your question! Oh, and I look forward to listening to Morecraft's message sometime. Thank you!

Peter Bringe said...


Thank you. Interesting.

Well first, to clarify, Patrick was catholic, meaning that he was orthodox and in agreement generally with the universal church (remember Patrick Murray's claim in 1176 that the Scottish church had always been "catholique and free"). In his 'Confessions' his confession of faith is remarkably similar to the Apostle's Creed. I would agree that he wasn't what we would call a Roman Catholic today.

As for the baptist connection, I am not convinced that Patrick practiced immersion believer's baptism. I read some of Cathcart's book that was referenced, and his arguments seemed only to be strong if you believe that paedo-baptism was a Roman corruption (which I don't). He also relied heavily on the Tripartite Life, which has been described as offering "nothing of value to the historian of the actual fifth century Patrick" ( I also read the source you got your quote from (A History of the Baptists, Chapter XIV), but am doubtful of most of the assertions made for various reasons (sorry if this a bit vague, but it has lots of assertions made).

When Augustine and the heretic Pelagius were debating over original sin, Augustine asked Pelagius why infants were baptized if they had no sin. In his answer Pelagius said that "I never heard of any, not even the most impious heretic, who denied baptism to infants." (Augustine quotes him saying that in Chapters 19&20 of On Original Sin) This is significant because Pelagius was from Britain, and if believer's-baptism-only was a teaching where Patrick learned his doctrine, Pelagius would have heard of it. Also, the conflict between the Roman and Celtic churches was primarily over the date of Easter and the monks' tonsure (and the authority to determine them), and baptism is mentioned only briefly once in Bede's history. If they were denying infants baptism it probably would have been a bigger issue than the monks' hair cut.

Paedo-baptists (or okios-baptists) do require a confession of faith before baptism, except that the households of believers are baptized as well. Thus in Patrick's case where there were basically no Christians to start with, he would have to teach them before baptizing them. And if he was to baptize the thousands of people that he did he would need to do it near a good supply of water like a well or river.

Sorry if I am being too argumentative on this issue. I know there are other people more knowledgeable in church history than me, and I think the issue of baptism in church history is not the clearest subject. I do like reading the old original documents like Patrick's Confessions and Bede's History. Thanks for the motivation to do more study.

-Peter B.
Deo Vindice

Mazzou said...

Hello! Thank you for your amazing comment. You know so much more history than I do; I don't know how to prove any point I had with stating that ''St. Patrick was a Baptist''! It just seemed that the latter would be true. But your points seem very sound as well. I realize I should study things more in depth before announcing them to the world! ;) Thanks for the reminder that STUDY is critical to any thoughts on the beliefs of historical characters.....
God bless!

Savories of life said...

Loved your points. You should teach history or be a speaker. In him our Lord