William Carey Biography at One Term Paper

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Although Carey's journal reportedly ends prematurely, he continued to write letters for the next thirty years.

Carey understood the value in/of education, medicine, and other works. He continually encouraged missionaries to travel to the hinterland "and build an indigenous Christianity with vernacular Bibles and other writings and native-led churches."

For his mission to succeed, hile it simultaneously retained its core, Carey purported, it had to not only fill the eternal needs of people missionaries shared the gospel with, but also their day-to-day needs.

During his day-to-day life, Carey was also a husband and father. The following relates details regarding his three marriages.

Dorothy Plackett Carey (1755?-1807): Married William Carey in 1781. She was 25 and he was 19. Their marriage was a contrast in ability and interests. She was reluctant to leave England and go to India. Only after much perusasion and on the condition that her sister, Kitty, would accompany them to help care for their small children, did she agree to go. After the death of their 5 yr. old son, Peter, Dorothy became mentally unstable and remained so until her death, December 8, 1807. They were married for 26 years and had seven children: Ann, Felix, William Jr., Peter, Lucy, Jabez, and Jonathan.

Charlotte Emilia Rumohr Carey (1761-1821): Second wife of William Carey. She was the invalid daughter of the wealthy Chevalier de Rumohr and his wife, the Countess of Alfeldt. Her disability was the result of a fire at the family home, at which time she lost her speech and later the use of her legs. She first met Carey in Serampore, India, where she had gone to be in a warmer climate for health reasons. They were married in May, 1808. Her intellectual and spiritual life was an encouragement and help to Carey in the work of the ministry. They were happily married for 13 years until she died in May, 1821, at age 60.

Grace Hughes Carey (1778-1835?): Third wife of William Carey, she was a forty-five-year-old widow when they were married in 1823. She cared for Carey as a devoted companion during the last eleven years of his life. Grace had a daughter by her first marriage. She died July 27, 1855, at age 58.

At More than One Time in Life

At more than one time during his life, between 1793 and the close of the century, Carey's pilgrimage proved to be arduous.

In his journal writing, Carey relates his "new, challenging, and sometimes intimidating venture into a land whose customs, beliefs, mores, and values often affronted, sometimes appalled" him. None of the challenges, however, deterred, Carey, a man noted as "this man with a mission."

The following table notes Carey's life, compared to work by several other noted Christians.

Table 1: Timeline noting Carey's Birth and Death


John & Charles Wesley's evangelical conversions

First production of Handel's Messiah

1759 Voltaire's Candide

William Carey born

William Carey dies

David Livingstone sails for Africa

Carey's Theological Perception

He [Carey] divided the world's population into Christians sub-categorized by Catholics, Protestants, and Greeks),

Jews, 'Mahometans', and Pagans'."

William Carey

Carey's Calling

Although Carey felt a personal "calling" to work among the "heathen," his perception of the heathens, however, did not include Muslims. According to Carey, the world's population consisted of "Christians (sub-categorized by Catholics, Protestants, and Greeks), Jews, 'Mahometans', and 'Pagans'."

Carey, as a number of other Christians during this time, did not consider Muslims as pagans as the Muslims claimed to serve the one true God, just as Christians and Jews claimed. Based on an average number of people per square mile in his targeted area of northern India, Carey calculated the number to be 420 million people, or approximately 57.7% of the world's inhabitants to be pagans. From impressions he gained from travel books, Carey estimated that more than half "... The sons of Adam... are in general poor, barbarous, naked pagans as destitute of civilization, as they are of true religion."(citations omitted) From his calculations, Carey perceived the need for missionary work was greater for the 57.7% pagans of the world, than the 17.9% potential Muslims. The more Carey read and studied, the more he reportedly became convinced that people in the world need Christ. "He read, he made notes, he made a great leather globe of the world and, one day, in the quietness of his cobbler's shop - not in some enthusiastic missionary conference - Carey heard the call: 'If it be the duty of all men to believe the Gospel... then it be the duty of those who are entrusted with the Gospel to endeavor to make it known among all nations'." Gospel Challenges the gospel's would be better spread to the heathen, Carey contended, if the story of Christ were heard from one of their own people as these individuals know their own culture and language better than an outsider. In addition, training nationals for the massive work for the conversion of their own people Carey knew was more rational. As Carey life shows, however, even with the help of those a missionary trains shows to help share the gospel, much work remains for foreign missionaries to complete.

Amidst the training times, Carey experienced years of discouragement as no Indian converted to Christ for seven years. Carey experienced debt, disease, deterioration of his first wife's mind, death, yet he continued to preach God's grace, the power of the Word and life in Christ. Carey's Missionary Approach Carey's missionary approach consisted of three primary main tenets:

Preach the gospel in the people's native tongue, give them the Bible in their mother tongue if they do not already have it, and educate the young whether Christians or not."

Faith-Based Expectations... "Expect great things; attempt great things" constitutes another of Carey's theological perceptions. Although much of Carey's mission work was beset with difficult transitions and painful memories, these in a sense, "constitute building blocks of deep-seated truth and timely reminders for current attempts to gain new missiological understanding. In their light, the present 'quest for the historical Carey' and his colleagues seeks to discover how and what the triumvirate learned, how they developed skills, how they acted cross-culturally in the midst of complex socio-political circumstances, whom they influenced in the process of trying to be true to Jesus Christ, what they achieved, what legacy they left, and how their principles may be relevant for...today." From 1800 forward, Carey's circumstances dramatically changed. At this time, he turned away from a backwater in the northern part of Bengal and invested this time of his life in metropolitan Calcutta and its suburbs. At this time, Carey "emerged from a frontier, pioneer-missionary chrysalis to use the wings of an urban professional educator and translator."

Consequently, Carey's biographers identified the heroic in his life and spotlight his courage in the midst of difficult challenges as they present him as a man of nobility, grace, and kindness. Carey's life reflects how Christ can redeem ordinary humanity. This noble picture, back in time, and even now frequently provided Christian readers an enthusiastic motivation to "do good in 'foreign places'."

Doing good" in "foreign places," only reflects part of the picture of a larger than life canvas. The call is to see Carey and others, as well as one's self as parts of a brotherhood in/of faith. To understand missions such as the Serampore mission band to constitute " much larger effort to unite the east and the west -- to perceive its contribution to the coming of the kingdom of God and to better address the challenges posed by a sinful world."

Carey's Contribution to/Significance for the Baptist Movement

Carey's approach, in the end, proved successful in that Muslims joined Hindus and Europeans along his funeral route demonstrating that gentility can win admirers in any culture."

Share and Show

William Carey, referred to as "the father of modern missions," shared a many great truths about missions, as he also showed how these truths might be put into practice. From Carey's example and teachings, others saw the missionary vision. In turn, sparks from his fire for winning the world for Christ ignited the same missionary desire in others.

Carey is also considered "one of the most important figures in missionary history, a trailblazer whose approach to missions established the model we use today. His forty-year career has received deserved attention, with three biographies already, the newest less than a decade old."

Pray, Plan, Pay"

One of Carey's primary, significant contributions to the Baptist movement in missions, Enquiry Into the Obligations of the Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, which appeared in 1792, constituted: " a clarion call for missionary work, which Carey pressed with his formula: 'pray, plan, pay'."

Andrew Fuller assisted Carey in his push for the formation of the Baptist Missionary Society, which was founded in Kettering, England, during 1792.…[continue]

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