William Carey: Chapter 8: Gospel Light Amid Heathen Darkness

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
FOR seven years Mr. Carey had been preaching the gospel in Bengali; hundreds, perhaps thousands of natives had heard of the love of God and the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many had paid great attention, some had even told the missionary that they were sure that the idols they had so long prayed to, could not hear or help them; though the good seed had been faithfully and prayerfully sown, reaping-time still seemed far off, he could not rejoice over even one Hindu who had openly confessed Christ. There had, it is true, been a few hopeful cases, just a few who had, Mr. Carey hoped, received some light; one or two were, he thought, "secret disciples," but to break caste and take a stand for Christ by receiving baptism needed more faith and courage than they possessed.
His own faith had been tested by disappointment after disappointment, none perhaps more keenly felt than when a Hindu, who had been for some time an inquirer, said, "For about a year I have been in my heart a Christian, but now I wish to be baptized as a follower of my Savior; but my only son is in a distant part of India, I will go and fetch him, that he may be brought up in the Christian faith. When I return my baptism need not be delayed.”
He went, but never returned. Whether he had again been drawn into idol worship, had died on the journey, or been made a prisoner by his relations, Mr. Carey was never able to learn.
Krishna Pal, the first baptized Hindu, was in more ways than one a remarkable man. With a heart that seemed to overflow with love to Christ, he became a valued helper in mission work, and was the first writer of hymns in the Bengali language. Born in the North of India, he worked for some years at his trade as a carpenter; but during a severe illness his sins were a cause of great sorrow to him, and in the hope of finding relief he joined a very strict sect of the Hindus. But no peace came to his troubled heart. One day a message reached him, he hardly knew who brought it, but surely it was sent by God, for it was, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." From that day he became anxious to find some one who could tell him more of the way of salvation.
Soon after, having hurt his arm badly through a slip and suffering great pain, he remembered having heard that there was a doctor at the mission, and sent his son to ask for help. Mr. Thomas, who had only just sat down to his own breakfast, went at once, did what he could for the injured arm, and finding that Krishna Pal could read fluently, gave him a tract, which he received gratefully, and read and re-read many times during the day. The next morning Mr. Carey went to see him, and after some conversation told him, if he cared to go to the mission house, he could have medicine, also books. From that time he was not only a frequent visitor, but an earnest inquirer.
Receiving Christ by simple faith as his own trusted Savior, he could not keep the glad tidings to himself. He first brought his friend and near neighbor, Gokool, and before long had the joy of hearing his wife, his wife's sister, and four of his daughters say that they too believed in Jesus, and wished to confess Christ by baptism, though they knew that by so doing they would lose their caste, and be scorned and despised by their Hindu relations and friends. Very soon after they were joined by the wife of Gokool, and formed the first little group of native Christians in North India.
The first native preaching-place in Bengal was built by Krishna Pal just opposite his own house, of his own free will, and nearly at his own expense. There many natives heard, and not a few believed the gospel, among others a widow who was more than forty years of age. His wife and her sister, whose hearts seemed filled with love to Christ, proved themselves faithful workers, visiting the women in their homes, speaking of a Savior's love, and reading to them from the scriptures, already translated into Bengali by Mr. Carey.
A letter, still preserved, from the wife of Krishna gives an interesting peep at her work. "In this country there are many ways, but they are all in vain. Jesus Christ's death, His words this is the true way. This week I have had much joy in talking with Gokool's mother of the true way of life. When I was called to go and talk with her, I said within myself, I am but a weak woman, and do not know much, how can I explain the way of Christ? Then I remembered that blessing does not come from us but from God, and I went. Many Bengali women came in, they sat down and listened well while I tried to tell that it was only by the death of the Lord Jesus we can be saved. My heart is glad in hoping that Gokool's old mother is not far from finding the true way. I have a longing to see the kingdom of Christ grow in India.”
Soon after the missionary was gladdened by the conversion and baptism of a high-caste Brahmin. Cast-off, hated and disowned by his family and friends he had to suffer the loss of all things for Christ, but stood the test nobly, and became a valued helper in the mission schools.