"MAMMA, the Irish boys in the court yonder are making great preparations for St. Patrick's day; and one of them said to me that St. Patrick was a great deal better man than George Washington, or any other American that had ever lived. I told him I didn't believe it. Now, mamma, do you know anything about St. Patrick, or what he did to make him so famous?"

"Yes, Frank. I was reading an account of his life not long since, and I learned he was a Christian missionary, and a really great and good man."

"Why, mamma, I thought he was a Roman Catholic saint."

"So he is, or rather he was claimed by the Catholics, and canonized as a saint by them. His religion, however, was the simple faith now taught by those who call themselves Protestants."

"Was he an Irishman, mamma?"

"No; he is supposed to have been born in Scotland, and was the son of Christian parents, who early taught him the truths of religion. During his boyhood he had the misfortune to be taken by pirates, and carried to Ireland, where he was sold to one of the chiefs as a slave.

"The Irish at that time were said to be more barbarous than the other people of Europe. Perhaps this was because they were more out of the way, dwelling on the most westerly island of Great Britain, and one which had never been visited by other nations."

"How long did he live, mamma?"

"He was born somewhere between the years 377 and 387, and lived to be about eighty-three years of age. He was kept as a slave in Ireland for several years, and then was allowed to go home. His duties while there were to tend the cattle in the fields; and he used often to pray in the lonely hours of watching; and he says, in a confession that he once made, that his heart was turned to God during his captivity.'

"After his return home, he had a great desire to go again to Ireland, and teach the heathen people there about the true God. But his parents were greatly distressed at the idea of his going back among those rude people, and besought him with tears not to go, and even offered him gifts if he would stay with them."

"Don't you think, mamma, he ought to have obeyed them? "

"Not in this instance; for God had evidently put it into his heart to go on his mission. It is one of those cases where we ought to obey God rather than man.

"As Patrick knew the language of the Irish, he had great success in teaching them. The country was peopled by numerous clans, or tribes, at that time, and they were each governed by a chief. The good missionary always tried to convert the chief first; for the clan were almost sure to follow him, and become Christians too.

"He used to call them to his meetings by beating a kettle-dram; and when he had gathered a large company about him, he would tell them the story of Christ's life, and how he died to save them.

"I was greatly interested in the life of this good man, who voluntarily left friends, and spent his life among the Irish, in order to lead them to Christ."

“It isn't any wonder, then, that the Irish people think a great deal of him, is it mamma?"

"No; they would be very ungrateful not to remember him kindly. He was long ago made their patron saint; and his name is always held in great honor, as it deserves to be. He wasn't the kind of saint, however, that they think him."




Little Star.