William Carey, Pioneer Missionary To India (Part 5)

Arranged from the book, “William Carey, Missionary Pioneer and Statesman” (1761-1834) by F. Deaville
Walker, published by Moody Press, Chicago, Illinois.
After several years of untiring efforts as a new missionary in India, resulting in some remarkable
achievements, William Carey’s longing to see yet greater things accomplished for God led him to urge the
home board to send more missionaries. In response to his urging, the Baptist Missionary Society in England
in 1800 sent a party of seven missionaries to join in giving the Gospel to the people of India. Uniting their
efforts under the leadership of Carey, they soon had a printing press in operation. Their first printing project
was the New Testament in Bengali. Two thousand copies were printed. A boarding school and a school for
Indian boys were established. Carey was frequently out preaching the Gospel. By the end of the year they
had baptized their first Indian convert. What joy this must have been to Carey, who had labored for seven
years without leading a single Indian to Christ. Other conversions followed.
Several of the missionaries died in the ensuing years, but for 23 years Carey worked with William Ward
and Joshua Marshman in blessed fellowship. They were pioneers in translation work. They were aware of
the imperfection of their work, but they felt that imperfect translations were better than none, and they knew
they were laying the groundwork for revisions that would follow.
Having mastered the Sanskrit language, Carey had a foundation for reading and translating various
languages based on it. The British and Foreign Bible Society was formed, and Carey and his colleagues
were asked to be an auxiliary. The men gathered around them a large body of qualified Indians from all over
the country and employed them in the translation work.
Printing was slow work. They had only an old-fashioned hand press. Type for the Indian languages was
hard to come by. At a moment of great need, the Lord sent to them a man who knew “the art of cutting
punches for casting type” and they became able to make their own type.
Through the Fire to Enrichment
By 1812 they had translated parts of the Bible into twelve languages. Suddenly calamity struck. A fire
started in the room where their paper supply was stored. Much precious material was lost, including
manuscripts which had taken hours of labor. Dismayed, but not in despair, the men began at once to rebuild
and to replace. In the end they were convinced that “out of catastrophe God had brought permanent
So skilled was Carey in Bengali and Sanskrit that he was appointed to teach these languages in the
college set up by the Governor General of India. This brought him into contact with many learned Indians and
he was able to increase his literature skills even more. This enabled him to make improved revisions of the
Bengali New Testament. All his salary from teaching was put into the mission work.
At times serious trouble erupted and there were strong anti-missionary feelings which threatened to
overthrow their entire work. But always God gave the wisdom and the favor needed to freely carry on the
work. Attacks against them often ended in strengthening the work.
Carey and his colleagues are said to have had a part in translating and printing Scriptures in over thirty
languages of India. They were careful to maintain a constant evangelistic outreach. The men did open-air
preaching as well as personal evangelism. They traveled, distributing Scripture portions and Gospel tracts in
various languages. Village schools were established, and a college was founded to train Indian young people
to win their countrymen to Christ.
Trials, setbacks, failures and sorrows were all a part of Carey’s life in India. But one must thank God for
the example of this man. He was without the advantage of higher education, an ordinary shoemaker and a
humble country preacher. But he had an understanding of God’s love for the whole world, and a zeal to fulfill
the Great Commission of Christ to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.
He possessed persevering faith that would not yield to the indifference and opposition of the majority of
Christians with whom he associated. He held to the vision that burned in his soul, placed there by God, until
others began to see the vision, too.
Through his abundant and tireless labors in India, he paved the way in many respects for missionaries
who would follow after him. Truly Carey’s life was an embodiment of his famous words: “Expect great things
from God; attempt great things for God.”

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