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The Scriptorium

His Soul Sees God

Patrck was faithful in his mission field.

Sechnall, “Audite Omnes Amantes” (7)

He has found a holy treasury in the holy book,
he has prophetically seen the Saviour’s Godhead in the flesh.
He has bought that treasure with his holy and perfect merits:
he is called “Israel”, for his soul sees God.

He is the Lord’s faithful witness in the catholic law,
whose words are seasoned with the oracles of God,
that the bodies of men may not rot, eaten by worms,
but may be salted with heavenly savour for the Sacrifice.

True and illustrious husbandman of the field of the Gospel,
whose seeds are seen to be the Gospels of Christ
which, with his godly mouth, he sows in the ears of the wise,
ploughing their hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.

Translation John Carey, King of Mysteries

Sechnall considered that the key to Patrick’s piety and prowess was his vision of the exalted Christ and his dependence on the Word and Spirit of God.

In his own flesh Patrick had “seen” the Savior, as he reports in his Confession. He is called “Israel” because, like Jacob, he had “seen” God in visions and obeyed His call (cf. Gen. 28). Patrick received powerful visions from Christ on several occasions. In the absence of any sound or even consistent teaching of God’s Word, the Lord seems to have used these visions to overcome all fear or doubt in Patrick and to impel him to take on the mission appointed for him. Even in Sechnall’s day Patrick continued to “see” Jesus in his soul. This vision of Christ, clear and consistent, drove Patrick to Christ’s Word, where he was equipped for the work God had called him to do.

Patrick’s preaching was Law and Gospel. In his mind these were not opposed to one another but complementary. He was faithful as a servant in the Law of God (“catholic” here does not mean “Roman Catholic” but “universal”).  He supported his teaching of the Law with the rest of the “oracles of God” – perhaps a reference to the Old Testament (cf. Rom. 3.2). The mention of Patrick’s use of the Scriptures – the “holy book” – as a “treasury” perhaps refers to Matthew 13.52 and is meant to suggest that Patrick taught and preached from all the Scriptures.

Certainly the gospels featured large in Patrick’s teaching, for here the life, teaching, claims, and example of our Lord Jesus are most plainly in view.

Patrick worked his mission field faithfully, sowing the Gospel throughout, teaching from out of the example of a godly way of life, seeking out “the wise” for further instruction, and in all things working with the Spirit of God to bring fruit from among the Irish people. Sechnall understood that Patrick’s piety and prowess were only because of Christ, His Word, and His Spirit. Patrick was merely a human vessel. But he was a faithful vessel through whom God wrought on the hearts and minds of many people.

T. M. Moore

Want to learn more about Patrick and the impact of his ministry? Order T. M.’s book, The Legacy of Patrick, from our online store.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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