Historic sermons – Hugh Latimer


Hebrews 11:4

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.


Latimer is someone who still speaks through his printed sermons. Project Canterbury published this statement about him:

“Latimer is the best example the English Church can show of the popular preacher. The sermons of Andrewes or Donne make their appeal to a trained intelligence which can ‘divide,’ even to the last scruple, ‘the word of truth’; Latimer, whether he is preaching in a country town or before the king at Westminster, always speaks so that the servants and handmaids shall carry away as much as the gentler sort. He has but one subject, that of righteousness, and the appeal of righteousness is not to the intellect, but to the conscience.”

The king Latimer referred to, and for whom he asked his hearers to pray, in the “Sermon of the Plough,” was Edward VI of England. Here is a little background on Edward.

“Edward’s reign was marked by economic problems and social unrest that in 1549 erupted into riot and rebellion. . . The transformation of the Church of England into a recognisably Protestant body also occurred under Edward, who took great interest in religious matters. Although his father, Henry VIII, had severed the link between the Church and Rome, Henry VIII had never permitted the renunciation of Catholic doctrine or ceremony. It was during Edward’s reign that Protestantism was established for the first time in England with reforms that included the abolition of clerical celibacy and the Mass and the imposition of compulsory services in English.” (Wikipedia)

Edward died in 1553 at the age of 15; Latimer was executed in 1555 during the reign of Mary Tudor.


John 18:36

Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”


Project Canterbury

Sermons By Hugh Latimer

New York: E.P. Dutton, 1906.

Sermon of the Plough

A Sermon of the Reverend Father Master Hugh Latimer, Preached in the Shrouds* at Paul’s Church in London, on the Eighteenth day of January, Anno 1548.

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“. . . And now I would ask a strange question: who is the most diligentest bishop and prelate in all England, that passeth all the rest in doing his office I can tell, for I know him who it is; I know him well. But now I think I see you listening and hearkening that I should name him. There is one that passeth all the other, and is the most diligent prelate and preacher in all England. And will ye know who it is? I will tell you: it is the devil. He is the most diligent preacher of all other; he is never out of his diocess [diocese]; he is never from his cure; ye shall never find him unoccupied; he is ever in his parish; he keepeth residence at all times; ye shall never find him out of the way, call for him when you will he is ever at home; the diligentest preacher in all the realm; he is ever at his plough: no lording nor loitering can hinder him; he is ever applying his business, ye shall never find him idle, I warrant you. And his office is to hinder religion, to maintain superstition, to set up idolatry, to teach all kind of popery. He is ready as he can be wished for to set forth his plough; to devise as many ways as can be to deface and obscure God’s glory. Where the devil is resident, and hath his plough going, there away with books, and up with candles; away with bibles, and up with beads; away with the light of the gospel, and up with the light of candles, yea, at noon-days. Where the devil is resident, that he may prevail, up with all superstition and idolatry; tensing, painting of images, candles, palms, ashes, holy water, and new service of men’s inventing; as though man could invent a better way to honour God with than God himself hath appointed. Down with Christ’s cross, up with purgatory pickpurse, up with him, the popish purgatory, I mean. Away with clothing the naked, the poor and impotent; up with decking of images, and gay garnishing of stocks and stones: up with man’s traditions and his laws, down with God’s traditions and his most holy word. Down with the old honour due to God, and up with the new god’s honour. Let all things be done in Latin: there must be nothing but Latin, not so much as Memento, homo, quod cinis es, et in cinerem reverteris: ‘Remember, man, that thou art ashes, and into ashes thou shalt return:’ which be the words that the minister speaketh unto the ignorant people, when he giveth them ashes upon Ash-Wednesday; but it must be spoken in Latin: God’s word may in no wise be translated into English.

Oh that our prelates would be as diligent to sow the corn of good doctrine, as Satan is to sow cockle and darnel! And this is the devilish ploughing, the which worketh to have things in Latin, and letteth the fruitful edification. But here some man will say to me, What, sir, are ye so privy of the devil’s counsel, that ye know all this to be true? Truly I know him too well, and have obeyed him a little too much in condescending to some follies; and I know him as other men do, yea, that he is ever occupied, and ever busy in following his plough. I know by St Peter, which saith of him, Sicut leo rugiens circuit quaerens quem devoret: ‘He goeth about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.’ I would have this text well viewed and examined, every word of it: ‘Circuit,’ he goeth about in every corner of his diocess; he goeth on visitation daily, he leaveth no place of his cure unvisited: he walketh round about from place to place, and ceaseth not. ‘Sicut leo,’ as a lion, that is, strongly, boldly, and proudly; stately and fiercely with haughty looks, with his proud countenances, with his stately braggings. ‘Rugiens,’ roaring; for he letteth not slip any occasion to speak or to roar out when he seeth his time. Quaerens, he goeth about seeking, and not sleeping, as our bishops do; but he seeketh diligently, he searcheth diligently all corners, where as he may have his prey. He roveth abroad in every place of his diocess; he standeth not still, he is never at rest, but ever in hand with his plough, that it may go forward. But there was never such a preacher in England as he is. Who is able to tell his diligent preaching, which every day, and every hour, laboureth to sow cockle and darnel, that he may bring out of form, and out of estimation and room, the institution of the Lord’s supper and Christ’s cross? For there he lost his right; for Christ said, Nunc judicium est mundi, princeps seculi hujus ejicietur foras. Et sicut exaltavit Moses serpentem in deserto, ita exaltari oportet Filium hominis. Et cum exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum. ‘Now is the judgment of this world, and the prince of this world shall be cast out. And as Moses did lift up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lift up. And when I shall be lift up from the earth, I will draw all things unto myself.’ For the devil was disappointed of his purpose: for he thought all to be his own; and when he had once brought Christ to the cross, he thought all cocksure. But there lost he all reigning: for Christ said, Omnia traham ad meipsum: ‘I will draw all things to myself.’ He meaneth, drawing of man’s soul to salvation. And that he said he would do per semetipsum, by his own self; not by any other body’s sacrifice. He meant by his own sacrifice on the cross, where he offered himself for the redemption of mankind; and not the sacrifice of the mass to be offered by another. For who can offer him but himself? He was both the offerer and the offering. . . this is the mark at the which the devil shooteth, to evacuate the cross of Christ, and to mingle the institution of the Lord’s supper; the which although he cannot bring to pass, yet he goeth about by his sleights and subtil means to frustrate the same; and these fifteen hundred years he hath been a doer, only purposing to evacuate Christ’s death, and to make it of small efficacy and virtue. For whereas Christ, according as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, so would he himself be exalted, that thereby as many as trusted in him should have salvation; but the devil would none of that: they would have us saved by a daily oblation propitiatory, by a sacrifice expiatory, or remissory.

“Now if I should preach in the country, among the unlearned, I would tell what propitiatory, expiatory, and remissory is; but here is a learned auditory; yet for them that be unlearned I will expound it. Propitiatory, expiatory, remissory, or satisfactory, for they signify all one thing in effect, and is nothing else but a thing whereby to obtain remission of sins, and to have salvation. And this way the devil used to evacuate the death of Christ, that we might have affiance in other things, as in the sacrifice of the priest; whereas Christ would have us to trust in his only sacrifice. So he was, Agnus occisus ab origine mundi; ‘The Lamb that hath been slain from the beginning of the world;’ and therefore he is called juge sacrificium, ‘a continual sacrifice;’ and not for the continuance of the mass, as the blanchers have blanched it [one who whitens has whitened], and wrested it; and as I myself did once betake it. But Paul saith, per semetipsum purgatio facta: ‘By himself,’ and by none other, Christ ‘made purgation’ and satisfaction for the whole world.

“Would Christ this word, ‘by himself,’ had been better weighed and looked upon, and in sanctificationem, to make them holy; for he is juge sacrificium, ‘a continual sacrifice,’ in effect, fruit and operation; that like as they, which seeing the serpent hang up in the desert, were put in remembrance of Christ’s death, in whom as many as believed were saved; so all men that trusted in the death of Christ shall be saved, as well they that were before, as they that came after. For he was a continual sacrifice, as I said, in effect, fruit, operation, and virtue; as though he had from the beginning of the world, and continually should to the world’s end, hang still on the cross; and he is as fresh hanging on the cross now, to them that believe and trust in him, as he was fifteen hundred years ago, when he was crucified.

“Then let us trust upon his only death, and look for none other sacrifice propitiatory, than the same bloody sacrifice, the lively sacrifice; and not the dry sacrifice, but a bloody sacrifice. For Christ himself said, consummatum est: ‘It is perfectly finished: I have taken at my Father’s hand the dispensation of redeeming mankind, I have wrought man’s redemption, and have despatched the matter.’ Why then mingle ye him? Why do ye divide him? Why make you of him more sacrifices than one? Paul saith, Pascha nostrum immolatus est Christus: ‘Christ our passover is offered;’ so that the thing is done, and Christ hath done it, and he hath done it semel, once for all; and it was a bloody sacrifice, not a dry sacrifice. Why then, it is not the mass that availeth or profiteth for the quick and the dead.

Wo worth thee, O devil, wo worth thee, that hast prevailed so far and so long; that hast made England to worship false gods, forsaking Christ their Lord. Wo worth thee, devil, wo worth thee, devil, and all thy angels. If Christ by his death draweth all things to himself, and draweth all men to salvation, and to heavenly bliss, that trust in him; then the priests at the mass, at the popish mass, I say, what can they draw, when Christ draweth all, but lands and goods from the right heirs? The priests draw goods and riches, benefices and promotions to themselves; and such as believed in their sacrifices they draw to the devil. But Christ is he that draweth souls unto him by his bloody sacrifice. What have we to do then but epulari in Domino, to eat in the Lord at his supper? What other service have we to do to him, and what other sacrifice have we to offer, but the mortification of our flesh? What other oblation have we to make, but of obedience, of good living, of good works, and of helping our neighbours? But as for our redemption, it is done already, it cannot be better: Christ hath done that thing so well, that it cannot be amended. It cannot be devised how to make that any better than he hath done it. But the devil, by the help of that Italian bishop yonder, his chaplain, hath laboured by all means that he might to frustrate the death of Christ and the merits of his passion. And they have devised for that purpose to make us believe in other vain things by his pardons. . . 

“For the brasen serpent was set up in the wilderness, to put men in remembrance of Christ’s coming; that like as they which beheld the brasen serpent were healed of their bodily diseases, so they that looked spiritually upon Christ that was to come, in him should be saved spiritually from the devil. The serpent was set up in memory of Christ to come; but the devil found means to steal away the memory of Christ’s coming, and brought the people to worship the serpent itself, and to cense him, to honour him, and to offer to him, to worship him, and to make an idol of him. And this was done by the market-men that I told you of. And the clerk of the market did it for the lucre and advantage of his master, that thereby his honour might increase; for by Christ’s death he could have but small worldly advantage. And so even now so hath he certain blanchers belonging to the market, to let and stop the light of the gospel, and to hinder the king proceedings in setting forth the word and glory of God. And when the king’s majesty, with the advice of his honourable council, goeth about to promote God’s word, and to set an order in matters of religion, there shall not lack blanchers that will say, ‘As for images, whereas they have used to be censed, and to have candles offered unto them, none be so foolish to do it to the stock or stone, or to the image itself; but it is done to God and his honour before the image.’ And though they should abuse it, these blanchers will be ready to whisper the king in the ear, and to tell him, that this abuse is but a small matter; and that the same, with all other like abuses in the church, may be reformed easily. ‘It is but a little abuse,’ say they, ‘and it may be easily amended. But it should not be taken in hand at the first, for fear of trouble or further inconveniences. The people will not bear sudden alterations; an insurrection may be made after sudden mutation, which may be to the great harm and loss of the realm. Therefore all things shall be well, but not out of hand, for fear of further business.’ These be the blanchers, that hitherto have stopped the word of God, and hindered the true setting forth of the same. There be so many put-offs, so many put-byes, so many respects and considerations of worldly wisdom: and I doubt not but there were blanchers in the old time to whisper in the ear of good king Hezekiah, for the maintenance of idolatry done to the brasen serpent, as well as there hath been now of late, and be now, that can blanch the abuse of images, and other like things. But good king Hezekiah would not be so blinded; he was like to Apollos, ‘fervent in spirit.’ He would give no ear to the blanchers; he was not moved with the worldly respects, with these prudent considerations, with these policies: he feared not insurrections of the people he feared not lest his people would not bear the glory of God; but he, without any of these respects, or policies, or considerations, like a good king, for God’s sake and for conscience sake, by and by plucked down the brasen serpent, and destroyed it utterly, and beat it to powder. He out of hand did cast out all images, he destroyed all idolatry, and clearly did extirpate all superstition. He would not hear these blanchers and worldly-wise men, but without delay followeth God’s cause, and destroyeth all idolatry out of hand. Thus did good king Hezekiah; for he was like Apollos, fervent in spirit, and diligent to promote God’s glory.

And good hope there is, that it shall be likewise here in England; for the king’s majesty is so brought up in knowledge, virtue, and godliness, that it is not to be mistrusted but that we shall have all things well, and that the glory of God shall be spread abroad throughout all parts of the realm, if the prelates will diligently apply their plough, and be preachers rather than lords. But our blanchers, which will be lords, and no labourers, when they are commanded to go and be resident upon their cures, and preach in their benefices, they would say, ‘What? I have set a deputy there; I have a deputy that looketh well to my flock, and the which shall discharge my duty.’ ‘A deputy,’ quoth he! I looked for that word all this while. And what a deputy must he be, trove ye? Even one like himself: he must be a canonist; that is to say, one that is brought up in the study of the pope’s laws and decrees; one that will set forth papistry as well as himself will do; and one that will maintain all superstition and idolatry; and one that will nothing at all, or else very weakly; resist the devil’s plough yea, happy it is if he take no part with the devil; and where he should be an enemy to him, it is well if he take not the devil’s part against Christ.

“But in the mean time the prelates take their pleasures. They are lords, and no labourers: but the devil is diligent at his plough. He is no unpreaching prelate: he is no lordly loiterer from his cure, but a busy ploughman; so that among all the prelates, and among all the pack of them that have cure, the devil shall go for my money, for he still applieth his business. Therefore, ye unpreaching prelates, learn of the devil: to be diligent in doing of your office, learn of the devil: and if you will not learn of God, nor good men; for shame learn of the devil; ad erubescentiam vestram dico, ‘I speak it for your shame:’ if you will riot [not?] learn of God, nor good men, to be diligent in your office, learn of the devil. Howbeit there is now very good hope that the king’s majesty, being by the help of good governance of his most honourable counsellors trained and brought up in learning, and knowledge of God’s word, will shortly provide a remedy, and set an order herein; which thing that it may so be, let us pray for him. Pray for him, good people; pray for him. Ye have great cause and need to pray for him.”


 

Quote of the day – John Wycliffe

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A Reformation Fore-runner who taught Faith Alone  

John Wycliffe (AZ Quotes) 

“Trust wholly in Christ; rely altogether on His sufferings; beware of seeking to be justified in any other way than by His righteousness. Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for salvation. There must be atonement made for sin according to the righteousness of God. The person to make this atonement must be God and man.”

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Go read! Armchair Theologian


“The claim of some is that you don’t find the teaching of Justification Sola Fide (Faith Alone) in the Church until the reformation. As before, it is not just Roman Catholics that assert this. So to put this accusation to rest I have assembled a sample of Patristic quotes below from the same source used in my prior post. . .

“. . .The point is this, Sola Fide can be demonstrated very easily in the writings of the early Church. The truth of the Reformation is not a truth added to Christianity but the very Gospel itself restored. Don’t let anyone tell you that Sola Fide is a new doctrine. . .”

Church Fathers on Sola Fide

ACTheologian

About ACTheologian
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“I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.”
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ACTheologian is a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Christian and a former Seventh Day Adventist.
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The Legacy of the True Historical Patrick

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This article by Richard Bennett was originally posted here on March 16, 2015. It is a joyful document full of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ!


March 3, 2015

“before I was humbled I was like a stone lying in deep mire…”

Patrick of Ireland

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Ireland has a very distinctive history. It was an island untouched by the Roman legions, and Patrick, the Evangelist, brought to it the Gospel of grace. Patrick was himself descended from a family that had been, for two generations at least, in Christ Jesus. His father, he tells us was “the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a presbyter, of the settlement of Bannaven Taburniae.”1 These facts are recorded in Patrick’s own testimony of faith. This authentic document is preserved in five manuscripts: one in the Book of Armagh of the seventh century, the second in the Cotton Library of the tenth century, a third in the French monastery of St. Vedastus, and two more in the Cathedral Library of Salisbury. This authenticated document is the main source of both the person and the mission of Patrick, and also his clear statement of the Gospel of grace.

Patrick was born in the year 3732 in a town on the River Clyde in Roman Britain, now a part of Scotland. When he was sixteen years old, Patrick was captured by a band of pirates who sold him to a chieftain in what is now county Antrim in Northern Ireland. For six years he tended flocks. In his testimony he tells us, “I was taken captive before I knew what I should desire and what I should shun.”3 It was during the time of his captivity that he turned from his careless ways and came to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. He was convicted that he was a sinner. In his own words,

“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.”4

Patrick, like so many of the godly men of history, found God’s favor in the riches of the grace of Christ. This was the theme echoing throughout the testimony of Patrick, in his own words “I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace.”5 He then grew in the grace of God. Having believed on “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,”he directly received “of his fullness…grace for grace.”In his own words,

“More and more did the love of God, and my fear of Him and faith increase, and my spirit was moved so that in a day [I said] from one up to a hundred prayers, and in the night a like number; besides I used to stay out in the forests and on the mountain and I would wake up before daylight to pray in the snow, in icy coldness, in rain, and I used to feel neither ill nor any slothfulness, because, as I now see, the Spirit was burning in me at that time.”8

Patrick relates how, after six years, he escaped and after a difficult journey on land and sea returned to his people in Scotland. In his own words, “I was again in Britain with my family [kinsfolk], and they welcomed me as a son, and asked me, in faith, that after the great tribulations I had endured I should not go any where else away from them.”9

His Direct Mission from the Lord

Like the Apostle Paul, he received a clear and personal call from the Lord to preach the Gospel in the land of his former captivity. He described his call in these words,

“I saw a man whose name was Victoricus coming as if from Ireland with innumerable letters, and he gave me one of them, and I read the beginning of the letter: ‘The Voice of the Irish’, and as I was reading the beginning of the letter I seemed at that moment to hear the voice of those who were beside the forest of Foclut which is near the western sea, and they were crying as if with one voice: ‘We beg you, holy youth, that you shall come and shall walk again among us.’ And I was stung intensely in my heart so that I could read no more, and thus I awoke. Thanks be to God, because after so many years the Lord bestowed on them according to their cry.”10

He speaks of being called again in dream another night, but makes it clear how he interpreted what was happening by the Scriptures. He wrote, “‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we know not how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for utterance.’” And again, “‘The Lord our advocate intercedes for us.’” Thus, Patrick relies on Scripture to understand his experience and to see that it was the Lord Himself who was calling him. In his own words, “‘He who gave his life for you, He it is who speaks within you.’”11 He understood that Christ Jesus, who had died for his sins, was the One who was calling him to work as an evangelist in the very island where he had been held captive.

A second historical document from Patrick’s own hand is his letter to Coroticus. In it he explains his assignment from God to a foreign nation for the glory of eternal life that is in Christ Jesus. His own words are the following, “Thus I am a servant in Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”12 This is a major factor in understanding Patrick. He knew himself as a sinner and found salvation where only sinners find it, “in Christ Jesus our Lord.13 The first words of his testimony read, “I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many.” Likewise, in the beginning of his letter to Coroticus he states, “I, Patrick, a sinner, unlearned, resident in Ireland”. Quite clearly Patrick saw himself as a sinner. He did not look to some spark of life from within himself or to some ritual; rather, he looked unto Christ Jesus. Patrick’s words, “unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” shows his distinct and personal comfort and courage in Christ. Totally unlike religion that looks to rituals, Patrick had his eyes set on the Lord. Catholicism now, and to some extent even in Patrick’s time, looks to sacraments as necessary for salvation.14 Patrick saw himself only as a sinner saved by grace in Christ Jesus. Patrick’s message is that salvation is totally in Christ alone–a message utterly diverse from that of Roman Catholicism then and now.

His Mission Begins

Patrick, the Christian Evangelist, being about 30 years old and together with some brothers in the Lord, set out for Ireland. He arrived in or about the year 405. This fact of history is authentic and verified. For example, Marcus, an Irish Bishop, who lived at the beginning of the ninth century, states that Patrick came to Ireland in the year 405 AD and Nennius, who lived about the same time, repeats the statement.15 This date is of great importance because many centuries later there was an attempt made to confuse Patrick with Palladius, who had been sent out by Pope Celestine as a missionary to Ireland. When news of Patrick’s Christian success had reached Rome, Pope Celestine then sent Palladius as a bishop to bring the churches under the control of the Papacy. It was in 432, at least 27 years after Patrick’s commission from God, that Palladius from Rome came on the scene. When Palladius did come to Ireland, it was to an Ireland that had many Christian churches and that did not accept his message of subservience to the Bishop of Rome. In actual fact, Palladius was greatly discouraged by his lack of success. To quote from the historian Philip Schaff, “Palladius was so discouraged that he soon abandoned the field, with his assistants, for north Britain, where he died among the Picts….The Roman mission of Palladius failed; the independent mission of Patrick succeeded. He is the true Apostle of Ireland, and has impressed his memory in indelible characters upon the Irish race at home and abroad.”16

God’s Grace over the Course of 60 Years

The work of Patrick and his associates in Ireland was extremely difficult. He came up against the old pagan religion of the Druids. The people believed in the Druids as pagan priests who mediated for them in the things of the spirit. When Patrick preached Christ Jesus in his own words he said,

“I am greatly God’s debtor, because he granted me so much grace, that through me many people would be reborn in God, and soon after confirmed, that clergy would be ordained everywhere for them, and the masses lately come to belief, whom the Lord drew from the ends of the earth. As He once promised through His prophets: ‘To you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited naught but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit.’ And again, ‘I have set you to be a light for the Gentiles that you may bring salvation to the uttermost ends of the earth.’ And I wish to wait then for His promise which is never unfulfilled, just as it is promised in the Gospel.”17

He wrote of baptizing many thousands of believers after they had professed faith.18

He also wrote about anxious journeys, difficulties, and disappointments. He combated the powers of darkness in the priesthood of the Druids. He relied on Christ Jesus and the glorious Holy Spirit given to convict people of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He understood grace to be entirely from God when he declared,

“I, alone, can do nothing unless He Himself vouchsafes it to me. But let Him search my heart and [my] nature, for I crave enough for it, even too much, and I am ready for Him to grant me that I drink of His chalice, as He has granted to others who love him. Therefore may it never befall me to be separated by my God from His people whom He has won in this most remote land. I pray God that He gives me perseverance, and that He will deign that I should be a faithful witness for His sake right up to the time of my passing.”19

Over the course of 60 years, Patrick went the length and breadth of Ireland preaching the Gospel and, like Timothy and Titus before him, he ordained elders and established churches. It is reckoned that at the end of his days there were 365 churches across the island. These were established, as were the churches in Biblical times, with the people served by a pastor or elder. The authority of the pastor was one of service, rather than lording it over the people. It was like that which was established in the pages of Scripture. Likewise, the monasteries set up by Patrick, were totally unlike the monasteries that were established under the Church of Rome. These monasteries were quite like those of the Vaudois and other early Christian churches of northern Italy and southern France, whereby men came aside for some years to be trained in the Scriptures and to learn how to evangelize and to bring the Gospel to others. Later in their lives these men married and had families. These men were not forsaking the world for some retreat of inner holiness; rather, they were men who saw light and life in Christ Jesus and wished to evangelize others with the true Gospel. Because of these monasteries and the churches that Patrick founded in Ireland, Ireland became known as the “Isle of Saints and Scholars”.

600 years of Fruitfulness

The clarity of the Gospel message cherished by Patrick and those who worked with him was to live on for many years after him. There were many famous missionaries like Patrick such as Columba and his companions who set out for Scotland in 563. Then there was Columbanus with his companions that went to evangelize France and Germany in 612. Kilian and the brothers that accompanied him went as missionaries to Franconia and Wurzburg in 680. Forannan and twelve brothers with him set out to bring the Gospel to the Belgian frontier in 970.20

For more than six hundred years, Irish missionaries carried the Gospel with the same truthfulness as Patrick’s to Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy and beyond. Darkness covered Europe in the ninth and tenth centuries. The Dark Ages had begun and the Roman Church, having gained rulership through intrigue and persecution, now held most of Europe in her iron grip. Even so, in those dark centuries, the Irish missionaries continued to spread the true Gospel, seed which for centuries to come would bear much good fruit all across Europe.

EMBEZZLEMENT OF THE LEGACY OF PATRICK

With the coming of the Danes in the ninth century, however, the Celtic Church in Ireland began to lose its Biblical clarity. Further, Papal Rome began to unleash military power to bring Ireland under her control. This began with the decree of Pope Adrian IV issued to King Henry II of England in 1155. The Pope authorized the invasion of Ireland and sent the king a ring of investiture as Lord of Ireland, calling upon the monarch to, “to extirpate the vices that have there taken root, [in Ireland]…saving to St. Peter and the holy Roman Church the annual pension of one penny from each house.”21

King Henry carried out the designs of the Papacy in 1171 and with a strong military force subdued the whole Irish nation. He received from every Archbishop and Bishop, at the Synod of Cashel in 1172 charters whereby they confirmed the Kingdom of Ireland to him and his heirs. The King sent a transcript of these charters to Pope Alexander III, who, according to the letters of the Archbishops and Bishops, was extremely gratified by the extension of his dominion, and in 1172 issued a bull confirming the Papal decree of Pope Adrian. Further rulings were sent from Rome to Henry II and to the princes and nobles of Ireland, and to the bishops of Ireland to establish the hierarchy over the people and pastors and enjoin obedience of both Ireland and England to the Papal throne.

The Heritage of Patrick Lives On!

The heartbeat and the soul of Patrick was the Gospel of Christ. He wrote in his testimony,

“I am imperfect in many things, nevertheless, I want my brethren and kinsfolk to know my nature so that they may be able to perceive my soul’s desire. I am not ignorant of what is said of my Lord in the Psalm: ‘You destroy those who speak a lie and a lying mouth deals death to the soul.’ Likewise the Lord says in the Gospel, ‘In the day of judgment, men shall render an account for every idle word they utter’’ So it is that I should fear mightily, with terror and trembling, this judgment on the day when no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.”22

These words of Patrick are as a prophetic trumpet of the Lord. It is most serious to steal the legacy from the people of the nation, particularly when that heritage was life and light in Christ Jesus! Many Irish have grown up engrossed in the rites and rituals of Roman Catholicism. Many of us, turning from those dead things and having drunk deeply of the Biblical grace of God that is in Christ Jesus, now want to stand on Patrick’s words, “no one shall be able to steal away or hide, but each one shall render account for even our smallest sins before the judgment seat of Christ.” To publish abroad the Gospel of God’s chosen in Christ “before the foundation of the world”23 is our longing now, as it was Patrick’s then. The wonder of Patrick’s life was simply God’s grace in Christ Jesus. The divine call to the true Gospel went forth from Ireland for more than 600 years. Just as Patrick expected the power of God’s grace to overcome the priesthood of the Druids, we now stand for the same Biblical Gospel that he preached to evangelize even those in the Catholic priesthood and hierarchy. The battle is the Lord’s and the victory will be His. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”24 In the legacy of Patrick, we pray Christ words, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am.”25 The frightening words of the Lord ring in the ears of those who spend their lives in man-made religion, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”26 No person by merely acknowledging Christ through a priesthood and sacraments shall have any part with God in Him, but only the one who does the will of His Father. The Lord made the will of the Father abundantly clear when He said, “this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”27 “Today if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts….28 As Christ Jesus’ Gospel stands, so also is His call on your life. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”29 Believe on Him alone for, “this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”30 Then you will stand where before you Patrick stood immoveable, and this is how it will be for all eternity. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”31Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”§

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The Confession of Patrick, http://irelandnow.com/legends/confession.html, 1/29/03, p. 1.

2 “According to the best authorities, Patrick was born about A.D. 373; and Lanigan has adduced good evidence to prove that he died in A.D. 465 (Apud Lanigan, vol. iv. p. 112). The Book of Armagh furnishes corroborative evidence of the same fact. It says, ‘From the passion of Christ to the death of Patrick there were 436 years.’ The crucifixion took place about A.D. 30; and adding these thirty years to the 436 that intervened between the crucifixion and the death of Patrick, we arrive at A.D. 466 as the year of his demise. Traditions of the highest authority attest that he spent sixty years in preaching the Gospel to the Scoto-Irish.” From, “St. Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” in History of the Scottish Nation by J.A. Wylie (London: Hamilton, Adams & Co. Andrew Elliot, Edinburgh 1886) Vol. II, Ch 9.

The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

4 Ibid., p. 2.

5 Ibid., p. 5.

6 John 1:14.

7 John 1:16.

The Confession of Patrick, p. 2.

The Confession of Patrick, p. 3.

10 Ibid., p 3.

11 Ibid., p. 3.

12 Letter to Coroticus, http://prayerfoundation.org/st_patricks_letter_to_coroticus.htm 1/30/03, p. 2.

13 “…that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith..Philippians 3:8-9

14 “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” (italic in the original). Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second ed., (United States Catholic Conference, 1997) Para. 1129.

15 The historian, J A Wylie goes to great lengths of demonstrate the fact that Patrick came to Ireland to evangelise in 405. Among others, he quotes Dr. Killen as saying “‘Its [i.e., this fact] claims to have been acknowledged by the best critics of all denominations,’ by Usher, Ware, Tillemont, Lanigan, and Neander….He [Dr. Killen] thinks that Patrick arrived in Ireland immediately after the death of Nial, or Nial of the Nine Hostages, in the year 405.’” From “St Patrick: Apostle of Ireland” by J.A. Wylie in History of the Scottish Nation, Vol. II, Ch. 13, endnote No. 4.

16 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, Sect. 14, “The Conversion of Ireland”.

17 The Confession of Patrick, p. 5.

18 Ibid., p. 2.

19 Ibid p 8

20 For a more complete list, see Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 4, Ch. 2, “Conversion of Northern and Western Barbarians”, Sect. 15, “The Irish Church after St. Patrick. The Missionary Period”.

21 The full text of the Papal Bull of Pope Adrian IV that empowered king Henry II to conquer and subdue Christian churches to Rome can be read at:http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/medieval/bullad.htm 3/4/2015

22 The Confession of Patrick, p. 8.

23 Ephesians 1:4

24 Luke 12:32

25 John 17:24

26 Matthew 7:21

27 John 6:29

28 Hebrews 3:7, 8

29 Romans 10:17

30 1 John 5:11-12

31 II Corinthians 5:17

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What if we began over again on an island paradise . . .?

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. . . And had a fresh start at being Christians in this sinful, sad world. Could we do better than those who went before us if we made a change? 


It’s been more than a week since I read a post that concerns me, and at last I’ve decided to respond. Mel Wild, of In My Father’s House blog, posted about a hypothetical island where we could start again by preaching a minimal Gospel (four passages about God’s love) to the inhabitants and with it build a vibrant Christian community from the ground up. 

Everything you need to know in ten minutes

“What if you only had ten minutes to show a group of people on a remote island everything they needed to know in order to grow into a vibrant Christian community, and you could only give them four Bible verses (they have no Bibles)? What would you share with them?  To keep it simple, we’ll assume these islanders have heard about Jesus and a few popular Bible stories…

“Here’s what I would share. And I believe, if they followed it, I could reasonably expect to come back 2o years later and find a strong authentic Christian community, filled with believers living out a vibrant faith in Christ…”

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)

19 We love because he first loved us.  (1 John 4:19)

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.  (John 15:9)

23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:23)

Questions and thoughts. 

Has the Church truly failed? Have God’s children down through the ages failed to win the world because we’ve preached that man is a sinner instead of chiefly stressing God’s love? Did William Carey, pioneer of modern missions, fail because he saw so few converts initially? Did the Apostle Paul fail when Agrippa wasn’t persuaded to be a Christian? And ultimately, knowing how many people rejected the Lord Jesus Christ, did He fail? 

Will more people come to the Lord if we simply major on love? This passage from Romans is the testimony of Scripture about unregenerate human nature, and since it is true of all people, it will be true of the islanders – those Mel would be preaching to.

Romans 3

10 As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
13 Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
14 “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

We were all blind to our sinfulness before the Lord drew us to Jesus. How can people be saved unless they learn of their guilt and need for the Saviour? The Cross is our message. It is the demonstration of God’s love to sinners. 

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 Corinthians 15

15 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.

To be loving is to preach both our need and God’s Good News, and we can’t do this with a few verses. We certainly can’t make disciples that way because this contradicts Jesus’ command: “19 ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”

So preaching about sin is essential. The Lord commands all men everywhere to repent for He has fixed the day when He will judge us. We must warn others. This is love.

Acts 17

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31 because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

Again, if all that the people on the island have are a few verses instead of the whole counsel of God, they will not grow up into Christ. In the comments on the post, one reader stated, “Like you said they have no bible and neither did the early church,” and Mel agreed with this. But the early church did have Scripture, the God-breathed Old Testament, and the epistles and Revelation as they were written and disseminated.

Mel is optimistic about his Christian ‘experiment’ that “. . .I could reasonably expect to come back 2o years later and find a strong authentic Christian community, filled with believers living out a vibrant faith in Christ.” But because of human nature – as well as the reality that there will be tares among any wheat – we can be sure that the island community will have the same evils as we have. 

Men will hate love itself when love must be on God’s holy terms, and we need to warn them of judgment and not give them a false sense of security in ‘God’s unconditional love.’ 

Hebrews 12

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

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