The East India Company an unwilling partner of Carey--Calcutta opened to the Mission by his appointment as Government teacher of Bengali--Meeting of 1802 grows into the Lall Bazaar mission--Christ-like work among the poor, the sick, the prisoners, the soldiers and sailors and the natives--Krishna Pal first native missionary in Calcutta--Organisation of subordinate stations--Carey's "United Missions in India"--The missionary staff thirty strong--The native missionaries--The Bengali church self-propagating--Carey the pioneer of other missionaries--Benares--Burma and Indo-China--Felix Carey--Instructions to missionaries--The missionary shrivelled into an ambassador--Adoniram and Ann Judson--Jabez Carey--Mission to Amboyna--Remarkable letter from Carey to his third son.
The short-sighted regulation of the East India Company, which dreamed that it could keep Christianity out of Bengal by shutting up the missionaries within the little territory of Danish Serampore, could not be enforced with the same ease as the order of a jailer. Under Danish passports, and often without them, missionary tours were made over Central Bengal, aided by its network of rivers. Every printed Bengali leaf of Scripture or pure literature was a missionary. Every new convert, even the women, became an apostle to their people, and such could not be stopped. Gradually, as not only the innocency but the positive political usefulness of the missionaries' character and work came to be recognised by the local authorities, they were let alone for a time. And soon, by the same historic irony which has marked so many of the greatest reforms--"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh"--the Government of India became, though unwittingly, more of a missionary agency than the Baptist Society itself. The only teacher of Bengal who could be found for Lord Wellesley's new College of Fort William was William Carey. The appointment, made and accepted without the slightest prejudice to his aggressive spiritual designs and work, at once opened Calcutta itself for the first time to the English proselytising of natives, and supplied Carey with the only means yet lacking for the translation of the Scriptures into all the languages of the farther East. In spite of its own selfish fears the Company became a principal partner in the Christianisation of India and China.
From the middle of the year 1801 and for the next thirty years Carey spent as much of his time in the metropolis as in Serampore. He was generally rowed down the eighteen miles of the winding river to Calcutta at sunset on Monday evening and returned on Friday night every week, working always by the way. At first he personally influenced the Bengali traders and youths who knew English, and he read with many such the English Bible. His chaplain friends, Brown and Buchanan, with the catholicity born of their presbyterian and evangelical training, shared his sympathy with the hundreds of poor mixed Christians for whom St. John's and even the Mission Church made no provision, and encouraged him to care for them. In 1802 he began a weekly meeting for prayer and conversation in the house of Mr. Rolt, and another for a more ignorant class in the house of a Portuguese Christian. By 1803 he was able to write to Fuller: "We have opened a place of worship in Calcutta, where we have preaching twice on Lord's day in English, on Wednesday evening in Bengali, and on Thursday evening in English." He took all the work during the week and the Sunday service in rotation with his brethren. The first church was the hall of a well-known undertaker, approached through lines of coffins and the trappings of woe. In time most of the evangelical Christians in the city promised to relieve the missionaries of the expense if they would build an unsectarian chapel more worthy of the object. This was done in Lall Bazaar, a little withdrawn from that thoroughfare to this day of the poor and abandoned Christians, of the sailors and soldiers on leave, of the liquor-shops and the stews. There, as in Serampore, at a time when the noble hospitals of Calcutta were not, and the children of only the "services" were cared for, "Brother Carey gave them medicine for their bodies and the best medicine for their poor souls," as a contemporary widow describes it. The site alone cost so much--a thousand pounds--that only a mat chapel could be built. Marshman raised another £1100 in ten days, and after delays caused by the police Government sanctioned the building which Carey opened on Sunday, 1st January 1809. But he and his colleagues "not episcopally ordained" were forbidden to preach to British soldiers and to the Armenians and Portuguese. "Carey's Baptist Chapel" is now its name. Here was for nearly a whole generation a sublime spectacle--the Northamptonshire shoemaker training the governing class of India in Sanskrit, Bengali, and Marathi all day, and translating the Ramayana and the Veda, and then, when the sun went down, returning to the society of "the maimed, the halt, and the blind, and many with the leprosy," to preach in several tongues the glad tidings of the Kingdom to the heathen of England as well as of India, and all with a loving tenderness and patient humility learned in the childlike school of Him who said, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?"
Street preaching was added to the apostolic agencies, and for this prudence dictated recourse to the Asiatic and Eurasian converts. We find the missionaries writing to the Society at the beginning of 1807, after the mutiny at Vellore, occasioned as certainly by the hatlike turban then ordered, as the mutiny of Bengal half a century after was by the greased cartridges:--
"We now return to Calcutta; not, however, without a sigh. How can we avoid sighing when we think of the number of perishing souls which this city contains, and recollect the multitudes who used of late to hang upon our lips; standing in the thick-wedged crowd for hours together, in the heat of a Bengal summer, listening to the word of life! We feel thankful, however, that nothing has been found against us, except in the matters of our God. Conscious of the most cordial attachment to the British Government, and of the liveliest interest in its welfare, we might well endure reproach were it cast upon us; but the tongue of calumny itself has not to our knowledge been suffered to bring the slightest accusation against us. We still worship at Calcutta in a private house, and our congregation rather increases. We are going on with the chapel. A family of Armenians also, who found it pleasant to attend divine worship in the Bengali language, have erected a small place on their premises for the sake of the natives."
Krishna Pal became the first native missionary to Calcutta, where he in 1810 had preached at fourteen different places every week, and visited forty-one families, to evangelise the servants of the richer and bring in the members of the poorer. Sebuk Ram was added to the staff. Carey himself thus sums up the labours of the year 1811, when he was still the only pastor of the Christian poor, and the only resident missionary to half a million of natives:--
"Calcutta is three miles long and one broad, very populous; the environs are crowded with people settled in large villages, resembling (for population, not elegance) the environs of Birmingham. The first is about a mile south of the city; at nearly the same distance are the public jail and the general hospital. Brother Gordon, one of our deacons, being the jailer we preach there in English every Lord's day. We did preach in the Fort; but of late a military order has stopped us. Krishna and Sebuk Ram, however, preach once or twice a week in the Fort notwithstanding; also at the jail; in the house of correction; at the village of Alipore, south of the jail; at a large factory north of the city, where several hundreds are employed; and at ten or twelve houses in different parts of the city itself. In several instances Roman Catholics, having heard the word, have invited them to their houses, and having collected their neighbours, the one or the other have received the word with gladness.
"The number of inquirers constantly coming forward, awakened by the instrumentality of these brethren, fills me with joy. I do not know that I am of much use myself, but I see a work which fills my soul with thankfulness. Not having time to visit the people, I appropriate every Thursday evening to receiving the visits of inquirers. Seldom fewer than twenty come; and the simple confessions of their sinful state, the unvarnished declaration of their former ignorance, the expressions of trust in Christ and gratitude to him, with the accounts of their spiritual conflicts often attended with tears which almost choke their utterance, presents a scene of which you can scarcely entertain an adequate idea. At the same time, meetings for prayer and mutual edification are held every night in the week; and some nights, for convenience, at several places at the same time: so that the sacred leaven spreads its influence through the mass."
On his voyage to India Carey had deliberately contemplated the time when the Society he had founded would influence not only Asia, but Africa, and he would supply the peoples of Asia with the Scriptures in their own tongues. The time had come by 1804 for organising the onward movement, and he thus describes it to Ryland:--
"14th December 1803.--Another plan has lately occupied our attention. It appears that our business is to provide materials for spreading the Gospel, and to apply those materials. Translations, pamphlets, etc., are the materials. To apply them we have thought of setting up a number of subordinate stations, in each of which a brother shall be fixed. It will be necessary and useful to carry on some worldly business. Let him be furnished from us with a sum of money to begin and purchase cloth or whatever other article the part produces in greatest perfection: the whole to belong to the mission, and no part even to be private trade or private property. The gains may probably support the station. Every brother in such a station to have one or two native brethren with him, and to do all he can to preach, and spread Bibles, pamphlets, etc., and to set up and encourage schools where the reading of the Scriptures shall be introduced. At least four brethren shall always reside at Serampore, which must be like the heart while the other stations are the members. Each one must constantly send a monthly account of both spirituals and temporals to Serampore, and the brethren at Serampore (who must have a power of control over the stations) must send a monthly account likewise to each station, with advice, etc., as shall be necessary. A plan of this sort appears to be more formidable than it is in reality. To find proper persons will be the greatest difficulty; but as it will prevent much of that abrasion which may arise from a great number of persons living in one house, so it will give several brethren an opportunity of being useful, whose temper may not be formed to live in a common family, and at the same time connect them as much to the body as if they all lived together. We have judged that about 2000 rupees will do to begin at each place, and it is probable that God will enable us to find money (especially if assisted in the translations and printing by our brethren in England) as fast as you will be able to find men.
"This plan may be extended through a circular surface of a thousand miles' radius, and a constant communication kept up between the whole, and in some particular cases it may extend ever farther. We are also to hope that God may raise up some missionaries in this country who may be more fitted for the work than any from England can be. At present we have not concluded on anything, but when Brother Ward comes down we hope to do so, and I think one station may be fixed on immediately which Brother Chamberlain may occupy. A late favourable providence will, I hope, enable us to begin, viz., the College have subscribed for 100 copies of my Sanskrit Grammar, which will be 6400 rupees or 800 pounds sterling. The motion was very generously made by H. Colebrooke, Esq., who is engaged in a similar work, and seconded by Messrs. Brown and Buchanan; indeed it met with no opposition. It will scarcely be printed off under twelve months more, but it is probable that the greatest part of the money will he advanced. The Maratha war and the subjugation of the country of Cuttak to the English may be esteemed a favourable event for the spreading of the Gospel, and will certainly contribute much to the comfort of the inhabitants."
Two years later he thus anticipates the consent of the local Government, in spite of the Company's determined hostility in England, but the Vellore mutiny panic led to further delay:--
"25th December 1805.--It has long been a favourite object with me to fix European brethren in different parts of the country at about two hundred miles apart, so that each shall be able to visit a circle of a hundred miles' radius, and within each of the circuits to place native brethren at proper distances, who will, till they are more established, be under the superintendence of the European brethren situated in the centre. Our brethren concur with me in this plan. In consequence of this, I thought it would be desirable to have leave of Government for them to settle, and preach, without control, in any part of the country. The Government look on us with a favourable eye; and owing to Sir G. Barlow, the Governor-General, being up the country, Mr. Udny is Vice-President and Deputy-Governor. I therefore went one morning, took a breakfast with him, and told him what we were doing and what we wished to do. He, in a very friendly manner, desired me to state to him in a private letter all that we wished, and offered to communicate privately with Sir G. Barlow upon the subject, and inform me of the result. I called on him again last week, when he informed me that he had written upon the subject and was promised a speedy reply. God grant that it may be favourable. I know that Government will allow it if their powers are large enough."
Not till 1810 could Carey report that "permission was obtained of Government for the forming of a new station at Agra, a large city in upper Hindostan, not far from Delhi and the country of the Sikhs," to which Chamberlain and an assistant were sent. From that year the Bengal became only the first of "The United Missions in India." These were five in number, each under its own separate brotherhood, on the same principles of self-denial as the original, each a Lindisfarne sprung from the parent Iona. These five were the Bengal, the Burman, the Orissa, the Bhootan, and the Hindostan Missions. The Bengal mission was fourfold--Serampore and Calcutta reckoned as one station; the old Dinapoor and Sadamahal which had taken the place of Mudnabati; Goamalty, near Malda; Cutwa, an old town on the upper waters of the Hoogli; Jessor, the agricultural capital of its lower delta; and afterwards Monghyr, Berhampore, Moorshedabad, Dacca, Chittagong, and Assam. The Bhootan missionaries were plundered and driven out. The Hindostan mission soon included Gaya, Patna, Deegah, Ghazeepore, Benares, Allahabad, Cawnpore, Ajmer, and Delhi itself. From Nagpoor, in the very centre of India, and Surat to the north of Bombay, Carey sought to bring Marathas and Goojaratees under the yoke of Christ. China, where the East India Company was still master, was cared for by the press, as we shall see. Not content with the continent of Asia, Carey's mission, at once forced by the intolerance which refused to allow new missionaries to land in India proper, and led by the invitations of Sir Stamford Raffles, extended to Java and Amboyna, Penang, Ceylon, and even Mauritius. The elaborate review of their position, signed by the three faithful men of Serampore, at the close of 1817, amazes the reader at once by the magnitude and variety of the operations, the childlike modesty of the record, and the heroism of the toil which supplied the means.
At the time of the organisation into the Five United Missions the staff of workers had grown to be thirty strong. From England there were nine surviving:--Carey, Marshman, Ward, Chamberlain, Mardon, Moore, Chater, Rowe, and Robinson. Raised up in India itself there were seven--the two sons of Carey, Felix and William; Fernandez, his first convert at Dinapoor; Peacock and Cornish, and two Armenians, Aratoon and Peters; two were on probation for the ministry, Leonard and Forder. Besides seven Hindoo evangelists also on probation, there were five survivors of the band of converts called from time to time to the ministry--Krishna Pal, the first, who is entered on the list as "the beloved"; Krishna Dass, Ram Mohun, Seeta Ram, and Seeta Dass. Carey's third son Jabez was soon to become the most advanced of the three brothers away in far Amboyna. His father had long prayed, and besought others to pray, that he too might be a missionary. For the last fifteen years of his life Jabez was his closest and most valued correspondent.
But only less dear than his own sons to the heart of the father, already in 1817 described in an official letter as "our aged brother Carey," were the native missionaries and pastors, his sons in the faith. He sent forth the educated Petumber Singh, first in November 1802, to his countrymen at Sooksagar, and "gave him a suitable and solemn charge: the opportunity was very pleasant." In May 1803 Krishna Pal was similarly set apart. At the same time the young Brahman, Krishna Prosad, "delivered his first sermon in Bengali, much to the satisfaction of our brethren." Six months after, Ward reports of him in Dinapoor:--"The eyes of the people were fixed listening to Prosad; he is becoming eloquent." In 1804 their successful probation resulted in their formal ordination by prayer and the laying on of the hands of the brethren, when Carey addressed them from the divine words, "As my Father hath sent me so send I you," and all commemorated the Lord's death till He come. Krishna Dass was imprisoned unjustly, for a debt which he had paid, but "he did not cease to declare to the native men in power that he was a Christian, when they gnashed upon him with their teeth. He preached almost all night to the prisoners, who heard the word with eagerness." Two years after he was ordained, Carey charged him as Paul had written to Timothy, "in the sight of God and of Christ Jesus, who shall judge the quick and the dead," to be instant in season and out of season, to reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching. Ram Mohun was a Brahman, the fruit of old Petumber's ministry, and had his ability as a student and preacher of the Scriptures consecrated to Christ on the death of Krishna Prosad, while the missionaries thus saw again answered the invocation they had sung, in rude strains, in the ship which brought them to India:--
"Bid Brahmans preach the heavenly word
Beneath the banian's shade;
Oh let the Hindoo feel its power
And grace his soul pervade."
So early as 1806 the missionaries thus acknowledged the value of the work of their native brethren, and made of all the native converts a Missionary Church. In the delay and even failure to do this of their successors of all Churches we see the one radical point in which the Church in India has as yet come short of its duty and its privilege:--
"We have availed ourselves of the help of native brethren ever since we had one who dared to speak in the name of Christ, and their exertions have chiefly been the immediate means by which our church has been increased. But we have lately been revolving a plan for rendering their labours more extensively useful; namely, that of sending them out, two and two, without any European brother. It appeared also a most desirable object to interest in this work, as much as possible, the whole of the native church among us: indeed, we have had much in them of this nature to commend. In order, then, more effectually to answer this purpose, we called an extraordinary meeting of all the brethren on Friday evening, Aug. 8, 1806, and laid before them the following ideas:--
"1. That the intention of the Saviour, in calling them out of darkness into marvellous light, was that they should labour to the uttermost in advancing his cause among their countrymen.
"2. That it was therefore their indispensable duty, both collectively and individually, to strive by every means to bring their countrymen to the knowledge of the Saviour; that if we, who were strangers, thought it our duty to come from a country so distant, for this purpose, much more was it incumbent on them to labour for the same end. This was therefore the grand business of our lives.
"3. That if a brother in discharge of this duty went out forty or fifty miles, he could not labour for his family; it therefore became the church to support such, seeing they were hindered from supporting themselves, by giving themselves wholly to that work in which it was equally the duty of all to take a share.
"4. We therefore proposed to unite the support of itinerant brethren with the care of the poor, and to throw them both upon the church fund, as being both, at least in a heathen land, equally the duty of a church.
"Every one of these ideas our native brethren entered into with the greatest readiness and the most cordial approbation."
Carey's scheme so early as 1810 included not only the capital of the Great Mogul, Surat far to the west, and Maratha Nagpoor to the south, but Lahore, where Ranjeet Singh had consolidated the Sikh power, Kashmeer, and even Afghanistan to which he had sent the Pushtoo Bible. To set Chamberlain free for this enterprise he sent his second son William to relieve him as missionary in charge of Cutwa. "This would secure the gradual perfection of the version of the Scriptures in the Sikh language, would introduce the Gospel among the people, and would open a way for introducing it into Kashmeer, and eventually to the Afghans under whose dominion Kashmeer at present is." Carey and his two colleagues took possession for Christ of the principal centres of Hindoo and Mohammedan influence in India only because they were unoccupied, and provided translations of the Bible into the principal tongues, avowedly as a preparation for other missionary agencies. All over India and the far East he thus pioneered the way of the Lord, as he had written to Ryland when first he settled in Serampore:--"It is very probable we may be only as pioneers to prepare the way for most successful missionaries, who perhaps may not be at liberty to attend to those preparatory labours in which we have been occupied--the translation and printing of the Scriptures," etc. His heart was enlarged like his Master's on earth, and hence his humbleness of mind. When the Church Missionary Society, for instance, occupied Agra as their first station in India, he sent the Baptist missionary thence to Allahabad. To Benares "Brother William Smith, called in Orissa under Brother John Peters," the Armenian, was sent owing to his acquaintance with the Hindi language; he was the means of bringing to the door of the Kingdom that rich Brahman Raja Jay Narain Ghosal, whom he encouraged to found in 1817 the Church Mission College there which bears the name of this "almost Christian" Hindoo, who was "exceedingly desirous of diffusing light among his own countrymen."
The most striking illustrations of this form of Carey's self-sacrifice are, however, to be found outside of India as it then was, in the career of his other two sons in Burma and the Spice Islands. The East India Company's panic on the Vellore mutiny led Carey to plan a mission to Burma, just as he had been guided to settle in Danish Serampore ten years before. The Government of India had doubled his salary as Bengali, Marathi, and Sanskrit Professor, and thus had unconsciously supplied the means. Since 1795 the port of Rangoon had been opened to the British, although Colonel Symes had been insulted eight years after, during his second embassy to Ava. Rangoon, wrote the accurate Carey to Fuller in November 1806, is about ten days' sail from Calcutta. "The Burman empire is about eight hundred miles long, lying contiguous to Bengal on the east; but is inaccessible by land, on account of the mountains covered with thick forests which run between the two countries. The east side of this empire borders upon China, Cochin China, and Tongking, and may afford us the opportunity ultimately of introducing the Gospel into those countries. They are quite within our reach, and the Bible in Chinese will be understood by them equally as well as by the Chinese themselves. About twenty chapters of Matthew are translated into that language, and three of our family have made considerable progress in it."
This was the beginning of Reformed missions to Eastern Asia. A year was to pass before Dr. Robert Morrison landed at Macao. From those politically aggressive and therefore opposed Jesuit missions, which alone had worked in Anam up to this time, a persecuted bishop was about to find an asylum at Serampore, and to use its press and its purse for the publication of his Dictionarium Anamitico-Latinum. The French have long sought to seize an empire there. That, at its best, must prove far inferior to the marvellous province and Christian Church of Burma, of which Carey laid the foundation. Judson, and the Governors Durand, Phayre, Aitchison, and Bernard, Henry Lawrence's nephew, built well upon it.
On 24th January 1807 Mardon and Chater went forth, after Carey had charged them from the words, "And thence sailed to Antioch from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God, which they fulfilled." Carey's eldest son Felix soon took the place of Mardon. The instructions, which bear the impress of the sacred scholar's pen, form a model still for all missionaries. These two extracts give counsels never more needed than now:--
"4. With respect to the Burman language, let this occupy your most precious time and your most anxious solicitude. Do not be content with acquiring this language superficially, but make it your own, root and branch. To become fluent in it, you must attentivly listen, with prying curiosity, into the forms of speech, the construction and accent of the natives. Here all the imitative powers are wanted; yet these powers and this attention, without continued effort to use all you acquire, and as fast as you acquire it, will be comparatively of little use.
"5. As soon as you shall feel your ground well in this language you may compose a grammar, and also send us some Scripture tract, for printing; small and plain; simple Christian instruction, and Gospel invitation, without any thing that can irritate the most superstitious mind.
"6. We would recommend you to begin the translation of the Gospel of Mark as soon as possible, as one of the best and most certain ways of acquiring the language. This translation will of course be revised again and again. In these revisions you will be very careful respecting the idiom and construction, that they be really Burman, and not English. Let your instructor be well acquainted with the language, and try every word of importance, in every way you can, before it be admitted...
"In prosecuting this work, there are two things to which especially we would call your very close attention, viz. the strictest and most rigid economy, and the cultivation of brotherly love.
"Remember, that the money which you will expend is neither ours nor yours, for it has been consecrated to God; and every unnecessary expenditure will be robbing God, and appropriating to unnecessary secular uses what is sacred, and consecrated to Christ and his cause. In building, especially, remember that you are poor men, and have chosen a life of poverty and self-denial, with Christ and his missionary servants. If another person is profuse in expenditure, the consequence is small, because his property would perhaps fall into hands where it might be devoted to the purposes of iniquity; but missionary funds are in their very circumstances the most sacred and important of any thing of this nature on earth. We say not this, Brethren, because we suspect you, or any of our partners in labour; but we perceive that when you have done all, the Rangoon mission will lie heavy upon the Missionary Funds, and the field of exertion is very wide."
Felix Carey was a medical missionary of great skill, a printer of the Oriental languages trained by Ward, and a scholar, especially in Sanskrit and Pali, Bengali and Burman, not unworthy of his father. He early commended himself to the goodwill of the Rangoon Viceroy, and was of great use to Captain Canning in the successful mission from the Governor-General in 1809. At his intercession the Viceroy gave him the life of a malefactor who had hung for six hours on the cross. Reporting the incident to Ryland, Dr. Carey wrote that "crucifixion is not performed on separate crosses, elevated to a considerable height, after the manner of the Romans; but several posts are erected which are connected by a cross piece near the top, to which the hands are nailed, and by another near the bottom, to which the feet are nailed in a horizontal direction." He prepared a folio dictionary of Burmese and Pali, translated several of the Buddhist Sootras into English, and several books of Holy Scripture into the vernacular. His medical and linguistic skill so commended him to the king that he was loaded with honours and sent as Burmese ambassador to the Governor-General in 1814, when he withdrew from the Christian mission. On his way back up the Irawadi he alone was saved from the wreck of his boat, in which his second wife and children and the MS. of his dictionary went down. Of this his eldest son, who "procured His Majesty's sanction for printing the Scriptures in the Burman and adjacent languages, which step he highly approved," and at the same time "the orders of my rank, which consist of a red umbrella with an ivory top, gold betel box, gold lefeek cup, and a sword of state," the father wrote lamenting to Ryland:--"Felix is shrivelled from a missionary into an ambassador." To his third son the sorrowing father said:--"The honours he has received from the Burmese Government have not been beneficial to his soul. Felix is certainly not so much esteemed since his visit as he was before it. It is a very distressing thing to be forced to apologise for those you love." Mr. Chater had removed to Ceylon to begin a mission in Colombo.
In July 1813, when Felix Carey was in Ava, two young Americans, Adoniram Judson and his wife Ann, tempest-tossed and fleeing before the persecution of the East India Company, found shelter in the Mission House at Rangoon. Judson was one of a band of divinity students of the Congregational Church of New England, whose zeal had almost compelled the institution of the American Board of Foreign Missions. He, his wife, and colleague Rice had become Baptists by conviction on their way to Serampore, to the brotherhood of which they had been commended. Carey and his colleagues made it "a point to guard against obtruding on missionary brethren of different sentiments any conversation relative to baptism;" but Judson himself sent a note to Carey requesting baptism by immersion. The result was the foundation at Boston of the American Baptist Missionary Society, which was to win such triumphs in Burma and among the Karens. For a time, however, Judson was a missionary from Serampore, and supported by the brotherhood. As such he wrote thus:--
"RANGOON, Sept. 1, 1814.--Brother Ward wishes to have an idea of the probable expense of each station; on which I take occasion to say that it would be more gratifying to me, as presenting a less temptation, and as less dangerous to my habits of economy and my spiritual welfare, to have a limited monthly allowance. I fear that, if I am allowed as much as I want, my wants will enlarge with their gratification, and finally embrace many things, which at first I should have thought incompatible with economical management, as well as with that character among the heathen which it becomes the professed followers of Him who for our sakes became poor, even to sustain. It is better for a missionary, especially a young man, to have rather too little than rather too much. Your case, on coming out from England, was quite different from mine. You had all that there was, and were obliged to make the most of it.
"If these things meet the ideas of the brethren, I will be obliged to them to say, what sum, in Sicca Rupees, payable in Bengal, they think sufficient for a small family in Rangoon--sufficient to meet all common expenses, and indeed all that will be incurred at present, except that of passages by sea. You have all the accounts before you, especially of things purchased in Bengal, which I have not; and from having seen the mission pass through various changes, will be more competent to make an estimate of expense than I am. And while you are making this estimate for one family, say also what will be sufficient for two small families, so that if Brother Rice, or any other should soon join me, it may not be necessary to bring the subject again under consideration. This sum I will receive under the same regulations as other stations are subject to, and which I heartily approve. And if, on experiment, it be found much too large, I shall be as glad to diminish it, as to have you increase it, if it be found much too small.
"Sept. 7.--Since writing the above, we have received the distressing intelligence, that a few days after Mr. Carey left us, and soon after he had reached the brig (which had previously gone into the great river) on the 31st of August, about noon, she was overtaken by a squall of wind, upset, and instantly sunk. Those who could swim, escaped with their lives merely, and those who could not, perished. Among the saved, were Mr. Carey and most of the Bengalees. Mrs. Carey, the two children, her women and girls, and several men--in all, ten persons, perished. Every article of property had been transferred from the boats to the vessel, and she had just left the place, where she had been long waiting the arrival of Mr. Carey, and had been under sail about three hours. Several boats were not far distant; the gold-boat was within sight, but so instantaneous was the disaster, that not a single thing was saved. Some attempts were made by the lascars to save Mrs. Carey and William, but they were unsuccessful. Mr. Carey staid on the shore through the following night; a neighbouring governor sent him clothes and money; and the next morning he took the gold-boat, and proceeded up the river. A large boat, on which were several servants, men and women, beside those that were in the vessel, followed the gold-boat. The jolly boat has returned here, bringing the surviving lascars.
"The dreadful situation to which our poor brother was thus reduced in a moment, from the height of prosperity, fills our minds continually with the greatest distress. We are utterly unable to afford him the least relief, and can only pray that this awful dispensation may prove a paternal chastisement from his Heavenly Father, and be sanctified to his soul."
While Judson wrote to Serampore, which he once again visited, leaving the dust of a child in the mission burial-ground, "I am glad to hear you say that you will not abandon this mission," Carey pressed on to the "regions beyond." Judson lived till 1850 to found a church and to prepare a Burmese dictionary, grammar, and translation of the Bible so perfect that revision has hardly been necessary up to the present day. He and Hough, a printer who joined him, formed themselves into a brotherhood on the same self-denying principles as that of Serampore, whom they besought to send them frequent communications to counsel, strengthen, and encourage them. On 28th September 1814 Judson again wrote to Carey from Rangoon:--
"DEAR BROTHER CAREY--If copies of Colebrooke's Sungskrita Dictionary, and your Sungskrita Grammar are not too scarce, I earnestly request a copy of each. I find it will be absolutely necessary for me to pick up a little of the Pali, chiefly on account of many theological terms, which have been incorporated from that language into the Burman. I have found a dictionary, which I suppose is the same as that which Mr. Colebrooke translated, adapted to the Burman system. This I intend to read. I want also Leyden's Vocabulary, and a copy or two of your son's grammar, when it is completed. I gave your son on his going up to Ava, my copy of Campbell's Gospels, together with several other books, all of which are now lost. The former I chiefly regret, and know not whence I can procure another copy.
"There is a vessel now lying here, which is destined to take round an Ambassador from this Government to Bengal. He expects to go in about a month, as he told me. He is now waiting for final instructions from Ava. If Felix be really to be sent to Bengal again, I think it most probable that he will be ordered to accompany this ambassador.
"Mrs. J. was on the point of taking passage with Captain Hitchins, to obtain some medical advice in Bengal; but she has been a little better for a few days, and has given up the plan for the present. This is a delightful climate. We have now seen all the seasons, and can therefore judge. The hot weather in March and April is the chief exception. Nature has done everything for this country; and the Government is very indulgent to all foreigners. When we see how we are distinguished above all around, even in point of worldly comforts, we feel that we want gratitude. O that we may be faithful in the improvement of every mercy, and patient under every trial which God may have in store for us. We know not how the Gospel can ever be introduced here: everything, in this respect, appears as dark as midnight."
By 1816 Judson had prepared the Gospel of Matthew in Burmese, following up short tracts "accommodated to the optics of a Burman."
Carey's third son Jabez was clerk to a Calcutta attorney at the time, in 1812, when Dr. Ryland preached in the Dutch Church, Austin Friars, the anniversary sermon on the occasion of the removal of the headquarters of the Society to London. Pausing in the midst of his discourse, after a reference to Carey, the preacher called on the vast congregation silently to pray for the conversion of Jabez Carey. The answer came next year in a letter from his father:--"My son Jabez, who has been articled to an attorney, and has the fairest prospects as to this world, is become decidedly religious, and prefers the work of the Lord to every other." Lord Minto's expeditions of 1810 and 1811 had captured the islands swept by the French privateers from Madagascar to Java, and there was soon an end of the active hostility of the authorities to Christianity. Sir Stamford Raffles governed Java in the spirit of a Christian statesman. The new Governor-General, Lord Moira, afterwards Marquis of Hastings, proved to be the most enlightened and powerful friend the mission had had. In these circumstances, after the charter of 1813 had removed the legislative excuse for intolerance, Dr. Carey was asked by the Lieutenant-Governor to send missionaries and Malay Bibles to the fifty thousand natives of Amboyna. The Governor-General repeated the request officially. Jabez Carey was baptised, married, and despatched at the cost of the state before he could be ordained. Amboyna, it will be perceived, was not in India, but far enough away to give the still timid Company little apprehension as to the influence of the missionaries there. The father's heart was very full when he sent forth the son:--
"24th January 1814.--You are now engaging in a most important undertaking, in which not only you will have our prayers for your success, but those of all who love our Lord Jesus Christ, and who know of your engagement. I know that a few hints for your future conduct from a parent who loves you very tenderly will be acceptable, and I shall therefore now give you them, assured that they will not be given in vain.
"1st. Pay the utmost attention at all times to the state of your own mind both towards God and man: cultivate an intimate acquaintance with your own heart; labour to obtain a deep sense of your depravity and to trust always in Christ; be pure in heart, and meditate much upon the pure and holy character of God; live a life of prayer and devotedness to God; cherish every amiable and right disposition towards men; be mild, gentle, and unassuming, yet firm and manly. As soon as you perceive anything wrong in your spirit or behaviour set about correcting it, and never suppose yourself so perfect as to need no correction.
"2nd. You are now a married man, be not satisfied with conducting yourself towards your wife with propriety, but let love to her be the spring of your conduct towards her. Esteem her highly, and so act that she may be induced thereby to esteem you highly. The first impressions of love arising from form and beauty will soon wear off, but the esteem arising from excellency of disposition and substance of character will endure and increase. Her honour is now yours, and she cannot be insulted without your being degraded. I hope as soon as you get on board, and are settled in your cabin, you will begin and end each day by uniting together to pray and praise God. Let religion always have a place in your house. If the Lord bless you with children, bring them up in the fear of God, and be always an example to others of the power of godliness. This advice I give also to Eliza, and if it is followed you will be happy.
"3rd. Behave affably and genteelly to all, but not cringingly towards any. Feel that you are a man, and always act with that dignified sincerity and truth which will command the esteem of all. Seek not the society of worldly men, but when called to be with them act and converse with propriety and dignity. To do this labour to gain a good acquaintance with history, geography, men, and things. A gentleman is the next best character after a Christian, and the latter includes the former. Money never makes a gentleman, neither does a fine appearance, but an enlarged understanding joined to engaging manners.
"4th. On your arrival at Amboyna your first business must be to wait on Mr. Martin. You should first send a note to inform him of your arrival, and to inquire when it will suit him to receive you. Ask his advice upon every occasion of importance, and communicate freely to him all the steps you take.
"5th. As soon as you are settled begin your work. Get a Malay who can speak a little English, and with him make a tour of the island, and visit every school. Encourage all you see worthy of encouragement, and correct with mildness, yet with firmness. Keep a journal of the transactions of the schools, and enter each one under a distinct head therein. Take account of the number of scholars, the names of the schoolmasters, compare their progress at stated periods, and, in short, consider this as the work which the Lord has given you to do.
"6th. Do not, however, consider yourself as a mere superintendent of schools; consider yourself as the spiritual instructor of the people, and devote yourself to their good. God has committed the spiritual interests of this island--20,000 men or more--to you; a vast charge, but He can enable you to be faithful to it. Revise the catechism, tracts, and school-books used among them, and labour to introduce among them sound doctrine and genuine piety. Pray with them as soon as you can, and labour after a gift to preach to them. I expect you will have much to do with them respecting baptism. They all think infant sprinkling right, and will apply to you to baptise their children; you must say little till you know something of the language, and then prove to them from Scripture what is the right mode of baptism and who are the proper persons to be baptised. Form them into Gospel churches when you meet with a few who truly fear God; and as soon as you see any fit to preach to others, call them to the ministry and settle them with the churches. You must baptise and administer the Lord's Supper according to your own discretion when there is a proper occasion for it. Avoid indolence and love of ease, and never attempt to act the part of the great and gay in this world.
"7th. Labour incessantly to become a perfect master of the Malay language. In order to this, associate with the natives, walk out with them, ask the name of everything you see, and note it down; visit their houses, especially when any of them are sick. Every night arrange the words you get in alphabetical order. Try to talk as soon as you get a few words, and be as much as possible one of them. A course of kind and attentive conduct will gain their esteem and confidence and give you an opportunity of doing much good.
"8th. You will soon learn from Mr. Martin the situation and disposition of the Alfoors or aboriginal inhabitants, and will see what can be done for them. Do not unnecessarily expose your life, but incessantly contrive some way of giving them the word of life.
"9th. I come now to things of inferior importance, but which I hope you will not neglect. I wish you to learn correctly the number, size, and geography of the islands; the number and description of inhabitants; their customs and manners, and everything of note relative to them; and regularly communicate these things to me.
"Your great work, my dear Jabez, is that of a Christian minister. You would have been solemnly set apart thereto if you could have stayed long enough to have permitted it. The success of your labours does not depend upon an outward ceremony, nor does your right to preach the Gospel or administer the ordinances of the Gospel depend on any such thing, but only on the Divine call expressed in the Word of God. The Church has, however, in their intentions and wishes borne a testimony to the grace given to you, and will not cease to pray for you that you may be successful. May you be kept from all temptations, supported under every trial, made victorious in every conflict; and may our hearts be mutually gladdened with accounts from each other of the triumphs of Divine grace. God has conferred a great favour upon you in committing to you this ministry. Take heed to it therefore in the Lord that thou fulfil it. We shall often meet at the throne of grace. Write me by every opportunity, and tell Eliza to write to your mother.
"Now, my dear Jabez, I commit you both to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to make you perfect in the knowledge of His will. Let that word be near your heart. I give you both up to God, and should I never more see you on earth I trust we shall meet with joy before His throne of glory at last."
Under both the English and the Dutch for a time, to whom the island
was restored, Jabez Carey proved to be a successful missionary,
while he supported the mission by his official income as
superintendent of schools and second member of the College of
Justice. The island contained 18,000 native Christians of the Dutch
compulsory type, such as we found in Ceylon on taking it over. Thus
by the labours of himself, his sons, his colleagues, and his
children in the faith, William Carey saw the Gospel, the press, and
the influence of a divine philanthropy extending among Mohammedans,
Buddhists, and Hindoos, from the shores of the Pacific Ocean west to
the Arabian Sea.