William Carey: Chapter 6: First Years of Missionary Work

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“For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." (2 Cor. 4:55For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. (2 Corinthians 4:5).)CO 4:5{
WE left Mr. Carey working hard at language study. It was no easy task that lay before him, but he knew how to take hold, and to keep hold; or, as one nearly related to him said not long ago, "he was good at plodding.”
And though for a time, believing it to be the will of God that he should support his family by the labor of his hands, he engaged in business as an indigo planter, he never forgot that his object in going to India was to preach the gospel to the heathen—to win souls for Christ.
For five months after landing in India the Carey family lived in Calcutta, but the cost of food, rent and other things was more than Mr. Carey could afford, so they removed to a place called Bendal, about thirty miles up the river Hoogly. There Mr. Carey met an aged German missionary, who, though in his eighty-fourth year, was actively engaged in the Lord's work. His knowledge of the people and their language proved a great help to one who had been only a few months in the country. They purchased a boat, and together visited villages, markets, and towns on both banks of the river, preaching the glad tidings of salvation through the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and getting many opportunities for quiet, personal talks with the people on the sin and folly of idol worship.
Mr. Carey's heart was very full of thanksgiving when he was able to preach in Bengali. He must have made good progress, for in less than three months after his arrival in India, he wrote in his journal, "To-day I finished the correction of the first chapter of Genesis, which my pundit (teacher) says is translated into very good Bengali.
Just as we finished, another pundit came in, bringing a friend with him. I showed it to them, and we had an interesting conversation about the creation.”
A little later he wrote, "To-day we met some money-changers from Calcutta, who spoke fairly good English. I tried to show them the need of a saving faith in Christ, but they did not, or would not understand, and I could only pray that the light of the Holy Spirit might shine into their dark hearts. One of them was very crafty, and tried to get me into a corner by asking hard questions, but at last he had no more to say.”
The indigo plant, from which the beautiful blue dye for which India has so long been famous is obtained, must be sown early in March; it grows to a height of about five feet, and is cut down in July. The yield is very uncertain, as a good rainfall, constant weeding, and great care during the whole time of growth are needed to bring the crop to perfection. When cut the stems are tied into bundles and soaked in vats for some days; the liquor is then boiled until the blue dye forms a sediment, which, when dried, is cut into small cakes, and carefully packed for market.
Mr. Carey's work as an indigo planter only occupied him about three months each year, so that he had plenty of time for preaching the gospel. A great number of native workmen were employed on the indigo plantation; he held a gospel service for them every Lord's day, and was glad and thankful to find that even his first attempts at preaching to them in Bengali were well understood. Workmen from other plantations joined them; the numbers grew so quickly that as many as six hundred were often present. As a rule they listened well. Some said what he told them about a great and good God who created all things, and sent His only Son to be a Savior was true and very good, still he could not at that time rejoice over a single native convert, but he went on in faith and prayer, sowing the seed, and looking to God to bless it, and cause it to take root in the hearts of many of his hearers.
Much of the work of an indigo plantation has to be done during the most unhealthy part of the year, the rainy season, which begins in June and lasts from three to four months. Mr. Carey took a fever, and was so very ill that for some days he did not expect to recover, but in the mercy of God he was again raised up. Before he was strong, his son Peter, who had been ill at the same time as his father, died. Mr. Carey, who was an affectionate father, felt the loss keenly, but was enabled to say, "I bless God that even in this trial I feel a sweet submission to the will of God.”
In preaching Mr. Carey found his great difficulty was to find words simple enough to be understood by the poorest and most untaught of his hearers. He wrote, "I find that while those who have had a fair education and read and write Bengali understand what I say quite easily, the things of which I speak are so new to many, that I am afraid they go away having understood very little. They have no words for love, faith, or hope. Schools are greatly needed, and I hope very shortly to have one in good working order." Soon after he wrote, "I have now forty boys in my school, and were it not for the expense, the number would be larger; but several are orphans whom I could not refuse, and they have no relations who can give any help towards their support.”