In doing my research on the man that is called 'Saint Patrick' I found that there is much history on the man that is not true. The historians of the Roman Catholic Church have distorted and diffused the truth of the man's history to a great extent.
I also found that there is plenty of history that is true about the man. His real name was Maewyn Succat, and he was born in the year 389 A.D. or thereabouts in the town of Dumbarton, Scotland which lies along the River Clyde, just N.E of Glasgow.
There are several documents which testify to his life: his own "Confession" or "Epistle to the Irish"; "The Hymn of Patrick" also known as "The Breastplate"; and his epistle to the King Coroticus. These documents seem to have the respect of all historians who have researched Maewyn's life. In these documents we find out several things that are true about his life which many religious folks conveniently leave out or ignore. This is very true of a great portion of our nation's history and even the history of the world. In most of our history books there is no mention of Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Moses, David, Isaiah, and even Jesus Christ Himself. Even if they should mention Israel or some of the men or women of the Bible, it is usually just to disparage them. Most of Patrick's historical record is a classic example of dishonesty in action.
John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
I will attempt to draw you a short picture of Maewyn's life of which much more can be said. I have printed some other much more detailed accounts of his life which are available here or on line. He was raised in a home where Jesus and God were prominent. His grandfather was a "presbyter or pastor." His father was a deacon in their church. When he was about 16 years of age he was captured and taken away from his home. "I was taken into captivity to Ireland with many thousands of people, and deservedly so, because we turned away from God, and did not keep His commandments, and did not obey our pastors, who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought over us the wrath of his anger and scattered us among the nations…" This is copied from his 'Confession.' It appears that within a short time later, while still in slavery to Miliucc, a Druid tribal chieftain, he finally turned to the Lord for salvation. "I was about sixteen but did not know the true God, but in a strange land, the Lord opened my unbelieving eyes, and I was converted."
About six years after his capture he escaped and went back to his homeland. God miraculously preserved him and gave him a great burden to reach people with the Gospel. He began to preach in Ireland, and God gave him great fruit for his labor.
John 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Pastor David Brown has this to say about his call and subsequent move to Ireland."The Lord made it clear to Patrick that he was calling him back to Ireland to preach the Gospel. The problem was that his family did not want him to go. It was well known that escaped slaves were woven into giant wicker baskets, suspended over fires, and roasted alive in sacrifice to the Druid's gods. But Patrick was called of God and began his missionary work about 430 A.D. He preached the Gospel in Ireland for about 30 years. Cahill says, "Patrick was really a first - the first missionary to barbarians beyond the reach of Roman law." One source says, "…he planted over 200 churches and had over 100,000 truly saved converts." Patrick writes in his confession, "I am greatly a debtor to God, who has bestowed his grace so largely upon me, that multitudes were born again to God through me…Hence, the Irish, who had never had the knowledge of God and worshipped only idols and unclean things, have lately become the people of the Lord, and are called the sons of God."
As most of the true historians write, it is obvious that he never was a Roman Catholic. He truly depended upon God to supply his needs and exhorted those who were saved to proclaim that great commission to those who did not know Jesus. Not one word in his testimonies about the "Mother Church." In his words, "As the Lord in the Gospel states, exhorts and teaches, saying: Going therefore now, teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days ever to the consummation of the world."
As Pastor Brown so well states, "God mightily used Patrick and Patrick gave God the glory. In his confession he states, "I give unwearied thanks to God, who kept me faithful in the days of my temptations, so that today I can confidently offer Him my soul as a living sacrifice - to Christ my Lord, who saved me out of all my troubles."
Patrick, the missionary to Ireland, was not a Catholic. He was a born-again, blood bought believer who loved the Lord Jesus Christ and preached His word. He stepped into the presence of the Lord he loved and served sometime between 465 and 493 A.D. (the year is disputed)."
As you or I read the historical accounts about this man of God, we should follow his example. Without training, education or a life of ease, he turned Ireland upside down for the cause of Christ. He bravely confronted the king of Ireland, Logairre, with the gospel, and the king trusted Jesus as his Saviour. After that, Patrick continued preaching and many thousands came to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Pastor John Wimbish said this in 1952 while preaching a stirring message about Patrick,
"After the king believed, Patrick won and baptized multiplied thousands of converts and ere his thirty-three years of ministry were finished, all Ireland was evangelized. Innumerable churches dotted its hills and valleys and from their ranks sent forth zealous missionaries to proclaim the message of redemption with incomparable passion to the pagan tribes of Scotland, England, Germany and Gaul."
This little tract just hits a few highlights of this man's life. Reading more extensive accounts of his life would be a great blessing to anyone who would like to do further research. He was a courageous man of God that God used to do a mighty work of evangelism seldom seen among men.
Dr. Robert E. Bliss