Term Paper: William Carey

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William Carey Biography

At one time, "Carey's pathway was pockmarked with crises." Traditionally, however, Carey is usually "portrayed as a 'heroic' character - as one of a class of big, ordinary people who do not resign themselves to misfortune but give their utmost to help others find hope in life."

Along with the good Carey did, that continues to live today, this report presents him as more than a "hero," as it relates real responses he recorded during his life. This researcher purports that Carey's investments in faith; into unknown areas associated with mission work, while being genuine and opening himself up to truths, returned benefits that continue, even today.

At one time when a youth, William Carey, born in 1761 in Northamptonshire, England, worked as a cobbler's apprentice. In his memoirs, Carey wrote: "My parents were poor, and unable to do much for me; but being much affected with my situation, they with great difficulty put me apprentice to a shoemaker at Hackleton."

Carey also recorded the following memories from his youth:

At about fourteen years of age I was bound apprentice to Clarke Nichols, of Hackleton, a shoemaker. He died when I had been with him about two years. I engaged to pay his widow a certain sum for the remainder of the time for which I was bound, and from that time worked as a journeyman with Mr. T. Old, of Hackleton, till his death. The childish story of my shortening a shoe to make it longer is entitled to no credit, though it would be very silly in me to pretend to recollect all the shoes I made. I was accounted a very good workman, and recollect Mr. Old keeping a pair of shoes which I had made in his shop, as a model of good workmanship.

But the best workmen sometimes, from various causes, put bad work out of their hands, and I have no doubt but I did so too.

My master was a strict churchman, and, what I thought, a very moral man. It is true he sometimes drank rather too freely, and generally employed me in carrying out goods on the Lord's-day morning till near church time; but he was an inveterate enemy to lying, a vice to which I was awfully addicted: he also possessed the qualification of commenting upon a fault till I could scarcely endure his reflections, and sometimes actually transgressed the bounds of propriety.

A fellow-servant was the son of a dissenter; and though not at that time under religious impressions, yet frequently engaged with me in disputes upon religious subjects, in which my master frequently joined. I was a churchman; had read Jeremy Taylor's Sermons, Spinker's Sick Man Visited, and other books; and had always looked upon dissenters with contempt. I had, moreover, a share of pride sufficient for a thousand times my knowledge: I therefore always scorned to have the worst in an argument, and the last word was assuredly mine. I also made up in positive assertion what was wanting in argument, and generally came off with triumph.

But I was often convinced afterwards that, though I had the last word, my antagonist had the better of the argument, and on that account felt a growing uneasiness, and stings of conscience gradually increasing. The frequent comments of my master upon certain parts of my conduct, and other such causes, increased my uneasiness. I wanted something, but had no idea that nothing but an entire change of heart could do me good.

Later in Life

Later in life, when serving a missionary in India, Carey relates that his companions during this uneasy time in his life were "such as could only serve to debase the mind, and lead me into the depths of that gross conduct which prevails among the lower classes in the most neglected villages: so that I had sunk into the most awful profligacy of conduct."

Carey admits that at this time in his life, he was addicted to swearing, lying, and unchaste conversation. His addictions were routinely heightened "by the company of ringers, psalm-singers, foot-ball players, the society of a blacksmith's shop,...though my father laid the strictest injunctions on me to avoid such company, I always found some way to elude his care.'"

Baptized as an Anglican, a self-educated man, Carey read the Bible, which along with his theological studies/writings led him to became convinced of and embrace Baptist teachings (1783).

In time, after, he was converted, having "an entire change of heart," and began preaching in local meetinghouses. Carey then began to pastor a small congregation in Moulton.

Carey's Thoughts

The following reflects more of Carey's thoughts prior to him traveling to India as a missionary.

It is still to me a matter of thankfulness that 1 had so general a knowledge of the bible when I was a child. By that means my mind was furnished with a body of subjects, which, after I had more acquaintance with evangelical truth, were ready uponevery occasion, and were often influential upon my heart when I had but little leisure to read. To this the constant reading of parts of scripture in the church contributed not a little, and, perhaps, the reading of the bible when at school still more.

If I am a converted person, of which I have great reason to doubt, I must say that it is entirely by the grace of God, and in full opposition to the natural bias of my mind. I practised falsehood, and, even after I was under concern, attempted to make the great God a party in a scene of dishonesty and lying. Yet I have reason to believe that the greatest change which ever took place in me was about that time -- a time in which I had evidently gone to a greater length in sin than ever before.

I am convinced that some sins have always attended me, as if they made a part of my constitution: among these I reckon pride, or rather vanity -- an evil which I have detected frequently, but have never been free from to this day. Indolence in divine things is constitutional: few people can think what necessity I am constantly under of summoning all my resolution to engage in any thing which God has commanded. This makes me peculiarly unfit for the ministry; and much more so for the office of a missionary. I now doubt seriously, whether persons of such a constitution should be engaged in the christian ministry. This, and what I am going to mention, fill me with continued guilt. A want of character and firmness has always predominated in me. I have not resolution enough to reprove sin, to introduce serious and evangelical conversation in carnal company, especially among the great, to whom I have sometimes access. I sometimes labour with myself long, and at last cannot prevail sufficiently to break silence; or, if I introduce a subject, want resolution to keep it up, if the company do not show a readiness thereto.

The proofs I have of the evil tendency of my heart, and my frequent and often reiterated falls into sin, convince me that I need the constant influence of the Holy Spirit; and that, if God did not continue his loving-kindness to me, I should as certainly depart from Him, and become an open profligate, as I exist. I see that there is no temptation but would be sufficient to destroy me, if God did not interfere; and that I as much need pardon, and divine influence to support me, and maintain the work in my heart, as I formerly did to convert me. If I ever get to heaven, it must be owing to divine grace, from first to last. I have now only to desire of you that the above may not be published; though I have no objection to your publishing any parts thereof, provided you so conceal names and other allusions, as that it may never be known that it is an account of me. Every publication of this kind, if the author be known, makes him more public; and, as it is very uncertain whether 1 shall not dishonour the gospel before I die, so as to bring a public scandal thereupon, the less is said about me the better.

Carey's Career

Carey's forty-year career has been noted in three biographies, with the latest less than a decade old. Barnhill notes in his review of the book Carter wrote publishing Carey's works, that: "The English Baptist William Carey (1761-1834) is one of the most important figures in missionary history, a trailblazer whose approach to missions established the model we use today."

Carey's published words, according to Carter, reveals his personal struggles and exposes the truth that even when a person possesses strong faith. he/she may experience suffering and times of doubt about his/her calling and/or capability to serve.

Carey's writings also confirm that an early Victorian "can overcome the culture shock of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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