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CHAPTER IX
Contents:
  1. William Carlos Williams : Craft Analysis Essay
  2. William Carey, D.D. (): An Annotated Bibliography
  3. Life of William Carey, Shoemaker and Missionary
  4. Available formats

Although in later life we spent twenty years in Asia and the Pacific, our one year in Nigeria brought a much deeper involvement with an alien culture, and with living at a simple level, than we ever experienced again. In that respect, it was an excellent preparation, and gave us a very different perspective on the comforts of life that we take for granted in England. Since returning home, I have always felt slightly guilty if I cleaned my teeth under running water.

Only now, forty years later, are such qualms becoming fashionable. Helen was of course our own little European, but she adapted to life in the village with complete equanimity, adjusting to her circumstances placidly because she could not remember any others. She accepted other children and they accepted her on equal terms. Our great interest was in her language development, since this is at a peak when a child is two years old.


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She learnt both English and Ekpeye without hesitation or distinction. Sometimes she would say something to us in English, then turn and repeat the same thing to Bob in Ekpeye, so she clearly had some realisation that there were two different language systems in operation around her, and some perception of which language was appropriate for which people. Like many West African languages, Ekpeye has a complex tonal system, and this was something that we really struggled with.

Helen was uninhibited by the ingrained habits of speaking English for decades, and absorbed Ekpeye tones as effortlessly as an Ekpeye child. One day not long before we left I was walking in the village with her and we fell into conversation with a village man I did not know. We adults undoubtedly had a wider vocabulary than Helen did, but what he meant was that she got the tones right, whereas we made lots of mistakes. Well, it all helped to prevent us from overestimating our own ability, not that there was much danger of that.

As it happened, such confidence was misplaced, but it did provide the inspiration for a translating achievement which no individual has ever repealed. In Carey published proposals for translating the Bible into all the major Oriental languages. Even Andrew Fuller was sceptical, fearful that 'by aiming at too much we may accomplish the less'.

Nonetheless, Carey embarked on his grandiose project, with the assistance of Marshman and Ward. By Carey could claim primary responsibility for the translation of the entire Bible into six Oriental languages, and of parts of it into a further twenty- four languages. The Serampore translations were far from perfect, but they established the pattern for what has been one of the primary emphases of world evangelism ever since: the task of making the Bible available to everyone in their own language.

Carey's literary endeavours were not, however, confined to the Bible. Carey justified this policy by appeal to the example of Paul, who was able to employ his knowledge of Greek philosophy to good evangelistic effect when preaching in Athens. Missionaries, he believed, must be equipped to meet the educated Hindus on their own ground.

William Carlos Williams : Craft Analysis Essay

Marshman also commented how galling it must be for Satan to see the profits from the publication of the 'vile and destructive fables' of Hindu literature being devoted to the work of Bible translation. But Christians in England did not share this enthusiasm: such secular projects were, in Fuller's view, 'monstrous undertakings' which diverted effort from more spiritual priorities.

The literary undertakings of the Serampore missionaries were motivated by a confidence that the spread of general knowledge throughout India would loosen the bonds of Hindu 'superstition' and thus promote the advance of the Christian gospel. Education was therefore a proper part of the missionary's work, for Hinduism had imprisoned Indian minds as well as Indian souls.

The vision of capturing the rising generation for Christ inspired the Trio to found schools, from onwards, for Indian children. Carey and his colleagues were pioneering a tradition of missionary involvement in education which has been of major significance throughout the Third World. In almost every case, such involvement originated in the same evangelistic ambition as motivated Carey. These hopes have rarely been fulfilled; they were not fulfilled in India, and it was not long before voices both in India and in England were dismissing educational work as futile.

In the long term, missionary education in India and Africa has had a consequence which Carey could never have foreseen: the recipients of mission education have been the pioneers of Indian and African independence. The most enduring educational achievement of the Serampore Trio was the foundation in of Serampore College. Marshman was the driving force behind the project, but all three members of the Trio shared the vision which was set out in the college prospectus: 'If the gospel stands in India, it must be by native being opposed to native in demonstrating its excellence above all other systems.

The primary goal of the college was to train Indians to be missionaries to their own people. However, the educational opportunities of the college were open to all, whether Christian or not. Carey was impressed by how many of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation had been scholars, whose Christian learning gradually transformed the thinking of Catholic Europe. Serampore College was intended to unleash 'the Reformation of India.

William Carey, D.D. (): An Annotated Bibliography

English Baptists, who showed little enthusiasm for their own theological colleges, showed even less of an inclination to support a college in India which placed such emphasis on 'unspiritual' knowledge. In terms of the exalted ideals of its founders, Serampore College was a failure. But its failure must not be allowed to overshadow the significance ofCarey's motivating belief that India could be evangelized effectively only by Indians.

William Carey Biography - Missionary to India (1761-1834)

This view was apparent in embryo in the Enquiry pamphlet of , and by was fully explicit: 'India will never be turned from her idolatry to serve the true and living God', Carey wrote to John Ryland, 'unless the grace of God rest abundantly on converted Indians to qualify them for mission work, and unless, by those who care for India, these be trained for and sent into the work.

In my judgement it is on native evangelists that the weight of the great work must ultimately rest. After the baptism of Krishna Pal in , the missionaries set out to encourage his gifts 'to the uttermost so that he may preach the Gospel to his countrymen', and Pal duly became an evangelist first in Calcutta, and then in Assam.

By the date ofCarey's death in , the Serampore Mission had founded nineteen mission stations, manned by fifty 'missionaries', of whom only six had been sent out from Europe. Carey was deeply committed to giving responsibility to national Christians, thereby anticipating the principles of Henry Venn, Secretary of the Church Missionary Society from to , who insisted that the goal of Western missions was to create national churches which were self-supporting, self-governing and self- extending.


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  4. Later in the nineteenth century, the ideals of Carey and Venn were eclipsed as missions succumbed to the influence of European colonialism and racialism. Indeed, even in Carey's own day, other missionaries criticized Serampore for relying so heavily on Indian nationals.

    History has largely vindicated Carey's view: countries where the church is strongest today are generally those where national Christians were encouraged from an early date to be evangelists to their own and neighboring peoples. In his Enquiry , Carey had expressed the view that missionaries ought to take 'every opportunity' of doing good to the people to whom they were sent. Once in India, Carey was as good as his word, ready to engage in such diverse activities as translations of Hindu literature, educational work, medical care, attempts to improve agricultural methods, and political agitation for the removal of inhumane practices such assati the custom of burning widows alive on their husbands' funeral pyres.

    Carey's 'advanced' conception of missionary work probably contributed to the unhappy estrangement between the Serampore missionaries and the Baptist Missionary Society which marred his later years.

    Life of William Carey, Shoemaker and Missionary

    Carey himself regarded all aspects of his work as a direct response to the command of Christ 'to endeavour by all possible methods to bring over a lost world to God'. Nothing less was required if God's purpose was to be fulfilled - to destroy evil and establish the kingdom of Jesus among men. William Carey made many Christians of his day feel uncomfortable. His insistence on taking the Great Commission at its face value embarrassed pious men for whom obedience to the missionary call seemed ludicrous and impracticable.

    His independent spirit in India alarmed more timid souls in England whose understanding of missionary work bore little relation to reality. Yet he did more than any other man to awaken the conscience of Protestant Christians to the spiritual need of millions worldwide who had never heard of Jesus Christ. That was indeed a 'great thing' fora humble Northamptonshire shoemaker to attempt. But Carey made the attempt out of his confidence in a God who can do great things. Many of the countries where the Christian church is at its strongest and most alive today are the areas which witnessed this missionary activity in the nineteenth century - proof indeed that Carey's confidence was not misplaced.

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