– Marlin Detweiler
Feature Article – St. Patrick’s Breastplate by Gregg Strawbridge
Educational Helps – by Laurie Detweiler and Ned Bustard
During this school year for the first time we have been offering a couple online classes. Omnibus I, Primary Books has been offered to two classes of students and the feedback has been tremendous. In the announcements section below you will find a survey where you can indicate other classes you’d like us to consider offering. Please take a minute to fill it out.
We already know we will be offering Omnibus I, Primary Books and Omnibus II, Primary Books. Click here to learn more about these two classes.
St. Patrick's Breastplate
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 today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd 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.
I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.
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 whiles,
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.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
St Patrick's breastplate is a remarkable hymn. It is a tremendous call to follow Paul's exhortation to “put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:10 – 18). Patrick put on this Trinitarian armor in the face of human-sacrificing Druids, wizards, deadly tyrants, and worst of all, “the heart's idolatry.” Despite its nine verse length, it is worthy of congregational singing. My congregation, All Saints Presbyterian, sings it with vigor. When we sing it, we sing verses 1-7 as our opening hymn and the close with verses 8-9 as the benediction hymn. We end our service singing, “Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me...”
This magnificent hymn reflects the life and faith of Patrick. The original hymn, the Lorica of St. Patrick (meaning breastplate or armor) is found in the Book of Armagh. Historian Philip Schaff says it is “called S. Patricii Canticum Scotticum, which Patrick is said to have written when he was about to convert the chief monarch of the island (Laoghaire or Loegaire)” (Schaff, History of the Christian Church IV, 49). The metrical hymn version is a translation of the ancient Irish hymn by Mrs. Cecil Francis Alexander, wife of the Anglican Bishop of Londenderry, Ireland (1889).
It is helpful to know more about Patrick to appreciate some of the lyrics of this masterful hymn.
The exact dates of his life are not certain, but about 390 – 461. His day has been memorialized as a Feast Day in the West on March 17. We know of the revelry of this green day, but we should know more of the Patron Saint of Ireland.
He was the son of a Romano-British Christian kidnapped from his home in Scotland at 16 to be a slave in Ireland. He escaped to Gaul where he became a monk and then devoted his life to go back to the place of his captivity to bring them the gospel.
He knew the free grace of God which comes through faith in Christ. He wrote in his Confessio,
I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many...I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people....And there the Lord opened my mind to an awareness of my unbelief, in order that, even so late, I might remember my transgressions and turn with all my heart to the Lord my God, who had regard for my insignificance and pitied my youth and ignorance. And he watched over me before I knew him, and before I learned sense or even distinguished between good and evil, and he protected me, and consoled me as a father would his son. Therefore, indeed, I cannot keep silent, nor would it be proper, so many favors and graces has the Lord deigned to bestow on me in the land of my captivity.
Ireland was not part of the Roman empire, where the faith spread through the Roman order with significant Roman structures in the Church. “The church-history of Ireland is peculiar. It began with an independent catholicity (or a sort to semi-Protestantism), and ended with Romanism, while other Western countries passed through the reverse order...it was Christianized without bloodshed and independently of Rome....” (Schaff, 43). Patrick's faith spread more under the auspices of monastic centers, rather than ecclesiastical structures. These monastic communities fostered deep piety, sometimes stringent discipline, but also brilliant learning. Many monks recited the Psalter on a daily basis. In fact the oldest written language discovered in Ireland is found in copies of the Psalter. Thus it was “the isle of saints and scholars” and was used greatly to preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians. Hence, this is How the Irish Saved Civilization (Thomas Cahill).
Many evangelicals, seeing the excesses St. Patrick's day and knowing of no psalm-reciting monks, tend to see the pre-Reformation world as dark ages with little gospel light. One can read of Patrick's own gospel zeal in his own words in the Confessio, filled with over 200 quotations or allusions to the Scriptures. In the four documents attributed to St. Patrick, he never quotes any other source than the Bible, including about 30 citations of the book of Romans. The Confessio ends by saying “...if I did or showed forth anything however small according to God's good pleasure; but let this be your conclusion and let it so be thought, that as is the perfect truth it was the gift of God. This is my confession before I die.” His life was a confession of God's grace. “For I am very much God's debtor, who gave me such grace that many people were reborn in God through me...” In fact, Patrick baptized thousands and consecrated over 350 ministers.
The milestone event which explains the setting for which the Lorica was written was on the eve of Easter Day in 433. Patrick and a band of believers made their way to the seat of the high Irish king, Laghaire at the Hill of Tara, County Meath. It was the druid practice to put out all fires before a new one was lit at Tara. Patrick set the hill to blazing. This was a daring encounter with paganism. But on Easter Day, Patrick preached to the assembled chieftains using a shamrock to explain by its triune shape the great doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. On that Day of Resurrection, the gospel triumphed and new life came. The king was converted and gave permission for the gospel to be preached throughout the land. On their way to this great watershed confrontation, they chanted, “I bind unto myself today the strong name of the Trinity.”
Rev. Gregg Strawbridge
Pastor Strawbridge is the pastor of All Saints’ Presbyterian Church, father of three girls and has a BA in classical guitar.
You may have noticed that we have the history and Bible card format to give you a number of templates through epistula to enhance student learning. We have enclosed another one for Saint Patrick's Day which falls on Saturday, March 17th. One of the best ways to motivate students is to capture their interest in something that is happening right now. I would suggest having some other families over or covering the exercises provided with your class. You might plan a Saint Patrick's Day party and serve some Irish food and/or read a good book about Saint Patrick out loud to the children. Then have them complete some of the activities. Click here to download them.
Free Registration and Gift Certificate for Veritas Academy Teacher Training
The annual teacher training for Veritas Academy is scheduled for July 18–20, 2007. Leyland Ryken will be the featured speaker. We will hold a drawing for a free registration to the conference and $100 gift certificate to shop at the Veritas Press vendor table. To qualify for the drawing your order must be one of the twenty largest retail orders during March, 2007. The winner will be notified during the first week of April.
Q. We used the Veritas Press history and Bibles cards with our children and are now using the Omnibus. I don't want my children to forget their chronology, but they are not interested in singing the songs. Can you help?
A. It’s understandable that students this age don’t want to sing the songs. Remember, they have left the grammar stage and entered the dialectic. At the end of each Omnibus chapter you will find the specific History cards listed for that book under the references and you will find a timeline in the back of the book. You might have the children make their own timeline and include events on it from the books they are reading. If you want to purchase a timeline, we offer History Through the Ages. It is very easy to use and can easily have the books added. This keeps the information in front of them at all times. You might also periodically give them a little quiz on chronology.
Q. My boys seem much harder to teach than my girls. The girls do not mind reading and writing, but the boys just seem to want to get done. I really could use some help.
A. Fortunately, God made boys and girls differently. If boys were continent to just sit still all the time I doubt that we would be sitting here today, as the War for Independence would have never taken place. Unfortunately, our society today believes a well behaved boy is a "girl". The first question I would ask you is, are they getting enough exercise? Boys need to expend energy in order to sit still. Also set goals for them. In order for them to go out and play in the afternoon they must have turned in all their work. If they don't, keep them in until they do. Also, try to relate subjects to what they love. If they like to build forts, explain how their math relates to that. Have them measure and add up the supplies it would take to build a certain structure. You get the point. It’s always easier to do something you enjoy. And most of all just be faithful and realize boys turn into men, and you will wish you had these problems.
Please submit any questions you’d like answered here to email@example.com.
Survey for Online Classes
Click here to participate in an online survey where you can indicate courses you would like us to consider offering. Our first venture into online classes has been a tremendous blessing to us and the families that are participating. We hope to hear from you.
Veritas Press Open House
For a couple years we have opened up our warehouse on a Saturday for you to come and shop. Our open house is planned for March 17th from 10:”00 AM – 2:00 PM. We reserve the right to pinch you if you don’t wear green.
Abondante Living Open House
Abondante Living will hold an open house simultaneously with the Veritas Press Open House. See the details above. Be prepared to enjoy samples, tastings, door prizes and much more.
Epiphany Coloring Competition Winners
The creativity of your children continues to amaze us. We appointed four judges to determine the winners from the hundreds and hundreds of entries. The artwork has been scanned and can be seen by clicking here. Gift certificates of $50 for 1st place, $30 for 2nd and $20 for 3rd in each division are being sent to the winners. And here they are:
Ages 3 - 5
1st Elise Scrogham of Greenwood, IN
2nd Trinity Cravens of Evansville, IN
3rd Katie Close of Spokane, WA
Ages 6 - 9
1st Anna Lee Evans of Boiling Springs, SC
2nd Victoria Thompson of Mosinee, WI
3rd Isaac Green of Caddo Mills, TX
Ages 10 - 12
1st Giordan Pergola of Diamond, MS
2nd Ana Sofia Pliego Gomez of Tlalpan, Mexico
3rd Abbie Jarvis of Canton, MO
Dr. Leyland Ryken will be the featured speaker at the 2007 Teacher
Training Conference July 18–20 in
Those who choose to take advantage of this foundational learning opportunity will leave invigorated with clear tools, methods and plans to teach and administer a classical Christian education in their school or homeschool. We will also be offering Latin-in-a-Week July 16–20th. Look for a brochure in the spring if you:
• LIVE EAST OF
• LIVE IN
Or to insure you receive a brochure, send your name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit New Saint Andrews in April
Come to Moscow, Idaho, for Prospective Student Weekend, April 13-16 at New Saint Andrews College. You will have the opportunity to meet faculty and students, attend classes and Disputatio and join a lively college community for a weekend. Plan your trip now and come see why New Saint Andrews isn't interested in studying history, literature and the arts inside the classroom without building them outside. Contact Aaron Rench at email@example.com or 208.882.1566 for more information.
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