JRF’s #52 – William Carey by S. Pearce Carey

Once every few years I read a book that makes a profound imprint on my life, perhaps even changing it.  This is such a book.

I love missionary biographies but more often than not books of that genre are weak in one or more of these categories:  Theological depth and accuracy, writing quality, or biographical honesty.

This book has none of those weaknesses.  In fact, out of all the books I read this year, this book was near the top in all of those areas.

William Carey is known as the man who was used by God to shake the Protestant world out of its apathetic and hyper-calvinist stance towards the ‘heathen’ unreached of the world and became known as the ‘father of modern missions’.   In this 400+ page book S. Pearce Carey, William’s great-grandson, skillfully recounts the journey of this humble shoemaker to India and eventually the most well known and perhaps most effective missionary since the apostle Paul.  His achievements are too many to list here but suffice it to say that his is the sort of story that you could only believe if you knew and loved the God that Carey joyfully gave up everything to serve.

Many times during reading this I cried like a baby with joy at the power of God at work in and around this man.  Other times I wept at the loss this man suffered.  Still other times I found myself shaking with excitement at what our God has, is, and will continue to do with those who lay their lives at His feet for the sake of His glory and the good of those who have yet to hear His name.

William Carey has risen to the foremost of my hero pantheon.  He is my hero not because he in himself was great, but because he knew the God who is Great, and he tenaciously clung to his great God through the painful adventure of bringing the Good News of Christ to the lost that they both loved so dearly.


If we Christians loved men as merchants love money, no fierceness of peoples would keep us from their midst.” – from Carey’s pamphlet An Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to use Means for the Conversion of the Heathen


The last days of William Carey were his best.  His sun went down in all the splendour of a glowing faith and a burning self-sacrifice.  Not in the poverty of Hackleton and Moulton, not in the hardships of Calcutta and the Sundarbans, not in the fevers of the Dinajpur swamps, not in the sorrow of all – the sixteen years’ persecution by English brethren after Fuller’s death – had the father of modern missions been so tried as in the years 1830-1833.  Blow succeeded blow, but only that the fine gold of his trust, his humility, and his love might be seen to be the purer.” – Dr. George Smith


The map of the world hung in Carey’s work-room: but it only hung on his wall, because it already hung in his heart.” – F.W. Boreham


A wretched, poor and helpless worm, 

on Thy kind arms I fall

– the only words Carey requested to be put on his tombstone

About JRF 157 Articles
A broken sinner saved by the gracious work of Jesus Christ. Husband to the greatest woman of all time. Seriously. Father of 4. I enjoy surfing, SCUBA, basketball, and exploring. I also like to read and write and want to get better at both.

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