William Carey: Chapter 10: Some Indian Girls

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
BEFORE again taking up the story of William Carey, shall we again suppose ourselves going with a missionary friend to see some of the girls who, though they would not be allowed to go to school, may yet be visited and taught in their own homes?
The hour spent with the first group of pupils has passed all too quickly, and though they are in no hurry to part with the kind and patient teacher they have learned to love, they are pleasantly reminded that others are waiting for their weekly lesson, so amid a chorus of "Come again soon; come early!" good-byes are said.
The next house visited is that of a Mohammedan family. Two girls, nearly grown-up, are waiting with their books; both are really anxious to learn to read, and one still older comes in for her lesson. One of the pupils is a quiet, thoughtful girl, and though she does not say much, there is good reason to hope that the good seed of God's own word has in her case fallen into good soil, and will bring forth fruit.
While the lessons are being given, one of the men of the house came in, and though he did not appear to be taking much notice of what was going on, it was easy to see that he was really listening to the story of a full, free salvation through the precious blood and finished work of Christ. The Mohammedans believe that one of their own prophets died for them. But how could a sinful man die for sinners? Only a sinless Savior could do that.
In the next to be visited, the people are Hindu. A young wife, who was the first pupil there, wants very much to learn to read, but is even more anxious to be taught to write! She is reading the gospel in Hindi, and her mother-in-law comes in, for she loves to listen to hymn-singing. Quite a number of gospel hymns have been translated into Hindi or Urdu, and when set to native tunes, always find ready listeners.
In the next house four girls have been waiting quite a long time for their lesson. Poor things! it must have been a little trying, and it is not quite easy to get them to understand that the teacher cannot go to every one first. Here a young wife kept her face covered the whole time her mother-in-law was in the room; she was very shy, and nothing could induce her sisters-in-law to tell the missionary her name, so it was written down as "daughter-in-law.”
One more house has to be visited. For some time only two small girls, one of them not very bright, were learning to read, but one day their mother said in a shy, half-ashamed way, "Will you teach me? I too would like to read. I have tried before, but it was all so hard; if you will teach me, I will try again."
She has a very easy lesson, and tries to remember the names of the different letters of the Hindi alphabet; both pupil and teacher will have need of patience. But it is almost noon, and the heat reminds the tired missionary that she must seek rest and refreshment.
We have left Mr., now Dr. Carey, too long already. From boyhood he had been an early riser, and the great heat of India made the cooler morning hours far too precious to be spent in sleep. The first streak of dawn found him at his desk, busy translating the scriptures or reading proofs sent in from the printing-office. It must have been a cause of deep joy and thanksgiving to the whole-hearted missionary when his sons were not only converted, but offered themselves for mission work.
Almost from the time of her marriage Mrs. Carey had been more or less seriously ill, so that her death in the winter of 1807 was not unlooked for. Dr. Carey's second marriage was a very happy one, his wife not only taking a great interest in all her husband's varied work, and though herself far from strong and unable to take long walks, proving herself a valued helper in the schools and in visiting the people.
When on the 24th of June, 1809, Dr. Carey told his fellow missionaries when they met at dinner that he had that morning finished his Bengali translation of the whole Bible, he was asked if he had other translations in hand. His reply was, "If it please God to spare my life, I have as much work in front of me as I can reasonably hope to get through in twenty years!”
For years he had been working hard, too hard for his strength, and the next day he was laid aside by a severe attack of fever, and was so very ill that for some days it seemed hardly possible that he could recover. In answer to many prayers his life was spared, and though when danger was past strength came back very slowly, the tender, careful nursing of his devoted wife did much for him, and before many weeks had passed he was again able to meet his classes, and when his duties did not require his being at the college, he was at his desk, again busy at his loved work of translating the scriptures.
When the first edition of the Bengali New Testament was printed, a few copies were sent by Dr. Carey to friends in England. One found its way into the hands of Earl Spencer, whose poor tenant the translator had once been. The book and its story interested him so greatly that he at once sent a check for fifty pounds to help to pay for printing more copies, and desired that one should be presented to King George III. His Majesty received the book in a most gracious way, and said, "I am greatly pleased to find that any of my subjects are employed in this manner.”