Chapter 8: Say Nothing About Dr. Carey: Or Speak About Dr. Carey

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 5
“My friends are gone before,
And I am near the shore;
My soul stands at the door,
O Lord, receive it.”
“What news from England?” asked Marshman, as he watched Carey, who was reading a letter which had arrived by the mail just in.
“Bad! Bad! Fuller is dead! We are poorer, then, by a noble man. They are dropping off one by one,” replied Carey. “There are not many men left now that knew us at first.”
The death of Fuller led to many misunderstandings. Fuller knew and appreciated the nobility of the three heroes at Serampore, but his successors were officious, hasty, and men who loved to manage things. At length their injustice induced the three missionaries to separate from the Society and to resolve to carry on their work alone.
Undaunted by the calumnies which were freely circulated about them, they, among other enterprises, commenced erecting a college for the training of the youth of India. Eventually the building cost above £20,000; of this sum three-fourths were contributed by the missionaries themselves.
Ward visited England, but under the influence of misrepresentations very little money help was given here to the enterprise.
“Let us appeal to India,” said Carey. “Here they know us; and there is no secretary or committee to slander us here.”
A man wrote to Carey from America inquiring about the alleged waste of money. “I am trustee for funds intended for your work,” he said; “but, if what I hear is true, I shall not be justified in sending the money to you.”
“I might have had large possessions,” replied Carey, “ay, and kept them lawfully too. I labored hard for all that I have, but I have not kept for myself or family what was justly mine. I have given any all, except what I ate, drank, and wore, to the cause of missions. Dr. Marshman has done the same, and so did Mr. Ward. I am so poor that I can scarcely lay by a sum monthly to relieve one or two indigent relatives in England. Dr. Marshman is as poor as I am. Where is the pomp that is complained of?”
Yet such calumnies continued to be reported, for even Christian people love to slay the prophets, and, after death, to whiten their sepulchers.
Dr. Carey, having for some years been left a widower, married again. For thirteen years he lived a new life with the gentle, cultured wife. When her health failed he bore her daily downstairs in his arms, her gentleness, sweetness, and talents charming all who saw her. But the King gave commandment, and the angels carried her home. With bitter sorrow they laid her body in the earth until the resurrection of the just. Ward was the first of the three friends to go after Mrs. Carey. He was in vigorous health, and no one entertained any apprehensions of his departure. He was suddenly seized with cholera, and his friends were called to his bedside.
“Twenty-three years we have labored in perfect harmony,” said he to Carey and Marshman. “Yet it will not be long before we shall meet again, dear brethren, and that where sin or death can never come.” On the 5th of March, 1823, he passed away; he was the first to receive the Savior’s “Well done!”
Six years afterward a message came post haste to Serampore. After reading his letter Carey called to Marshman,
“At last, Marshman! at last it has come!”
“What has come?”
“The order abolishing Suttee, or the burning of widows with their husbands’ dead bodies. How long we have labored to put down this infamous practice! Here is the Government order, and it must be translated and put in force.”
“But it will take you all Sunday,” said Marshman.
“It must be published at once,” said Carey. “Someone else must preach for me. If I delay one day, the lives of many poor women will be lost. This is acting the Gospel, and I think a legitimate use of the Sabbath.”
All through the sacred hours Carey toiled, and before night fell the Government order was rendered into Bengali and speedily sent out through Bengal.
But Carey was growing old. An accident laid him aside for some time. He recovered from the sickness; but though he was still active, it was evident to his friends that Carey’s long life of self-sacrifice was nearly completed. He had nearly fulfilled his course; but as long as strength permitted, he sat at his desk.
“I am an unprofitable servant,” he would often say. “I fear that I shall be a fearful burden. Yet I have done my best. God forgive me, that I have not done more.”
“How are you in spiritual things, father?” asked one of his sons.
“I bless God that though I have not rapturous feelings, I am confident in the promises of God. I would place my hands in God’s hand, and desire to be led by Him where and how He shall please.”
“You have no doubts or fears?” asked his son.
“None whatever. Sinners are invited to come to Jesus Christ. I came to Jesus, and I know He has saved me. I do feel the enjoyment arising from faith in His gracious declarations.”
“I rejoice to hear you say so,” replied Jonathan, “Should you die, have you any special work that you desire us to attend to?”
“Nothing; but let my funeral be as plain as may be. Let these words be put on my tombstone:’ WILLIAM CAREY, born August 17th, 1761, and died A WRETCHED, POOR, AND HELPLESS WORM, ON THY KIND ARMS I FALL.”
“Your wish shall be complied with,” said Jonathan.” You are, I hope, perfectly happy?”
“Yes, indeed yes. It is everything to me now that the Gospel is true! Blessed be God, I can trust Him as my Savior. Here lie I, William Carey, a poor guilty sinner. Deserts! I deserve nothing but eternal damnation. But Christ died for me. Blessed be His name, my sins are all forgiven for His name’s sake! He died for me, and I live because He died!”
“Here is Mr. Duff come to see you,” interposed his son, and that tall and noble Scotchman knelt by the bedside of his friend. For a short time they talked together about mission work.
“Ah, Mr. Duff, you are buckling on the armor. I am now almost out of the fray,” said Carey. “But pray for me now! pray!”
The friends around the dying bed knelt down, and Duff prayed for the departing saint, for the Church of God, and for the work as yet undone.
Mr. Duff said farewell, and was turning to the door when Carey called him. “Did you call me?’ he asked.
“Yes; yes. Mr. Duff,” said Carey solemnly,” you have been speaking a great deal about Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey, Dr. Carey. I beg of you, that when I am gone, nothing may be said about Dr. Carey. Don’t talk about Dr. Carey. Speak, I beg you, about Dr. Carey’s Savior.”
“I will, by God’s grace,” replied Duff solemnly; as he wrung the dying man’s hand.
Carey lay faint and hardly conscious for some time after Duff had left. Then his aged colleague, Marshman, came to see him.
“Good news!” he said. “Good news! Dr. Carey; the mission cause is reviving again. It seems as if a fresh interest is awakened in England. It is like the former days.”
The dying man revived again; he lifted his trembling hands and breathed faintly fervent expressions of joy.
“Thank God! thank God! He will not break His word! The mission cause shall yet prosper!”
Marshman knelt by the bedside, and with tears of fervent feeling prayed for Carey.
When he had finished, Jonathan asked his father, “Do you know who has just been praying with you?” “Yes, I do,” said William Carey, pressing Marshman’s hand.
So they parted. The next morning as the sun rose upon India, 9th June, 1834, William Carey passed to his reward.
They buried him the following morning in the mission cemetery.
Marshman survived him three years. After inquiring if he could do anything more for the mission, he passed away repeating “The precious Savior! The precious Savior! He never leaves nor forsakes”
The mission cause has created many heroes. It demands, and will abundantly reward such devotion as was exhibited in the three giants of Serampore.
Go thou and do likewise in thy place and according to thine opportunities, and thou shalt not be without a reward.