He climbs mountains, fords rivers, crosses continents, bears stripes, endures imprisonments, suffers shipwreck, courts insult, and dares a thousand deaths out of the passion of his heart to carry the message of hope to every crevice and corner of the earth. A more thrilling story of hazard, hardship, heroism and adventure has never been written. On the road to damascus paul saw the king in His beauty, and he spent the remainder of his life in exploiting the limitless landscape that unrolled itself before him. The vision of the king opened to his eyes the vision of the continents. In every age these two visions have always gone side by side. In the fourteenth century, the vision of the king broke upon the soul of John Wickliffe. Instantly, there arose the lollards, scouring city, town and hamlet with the new evangel, the representatives of the instinct of the far horizon. The fifteenth century contains two tremendous names.
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It was simply this: saul of Tarsus saw the king in His beauty! And what happened as a natural and budget inevitable consequence? There came into his life the passion of the far horizon. All the narrowing limits of Jewish prejudice and the cramping bonds of Pharisaic superstition fell from him like the scales that seemed to drop from his eyes. The world is at his feet. Single-handed and alone, taking his life in his hand, he storms the great centres of civilisation, the capitals of proud empires, in the name of Jesus Christ. No difficulty can daunt him; no danger impede his splendid progress. He passes from sea to sea, from island to island, from continent to continent. The hunger of the earth is in his soul; there is no coast or colony to which he will not. He feels himself a debtor to Greek and to barbarian, to bond and to free.
And it roused the slumbering fishers, nor its warning task gave o'er Till a hundred fleet and eager feet were hurrying to the shore; And the lifeboat midst the breakers, with a brave and gallant few, o'ercame each check and reached the wreck and saved. Upon the sensitive soul of William Carey there broke the startling vision of a world in peril, and he could find no sleep for his eyes nor slumber for his eyelids until the whole church was up business and doing for the salvation of the perishing. It has been finely said that when, towards the close of the eighteenth century, it pleased God to awaken from her slumbers a drowsy and lethargic church, there rang out, from the belfry of the ages, a clamorous and insistent alarm; and, in that arousing. 'we dare not separate without doing something!' 'lengthen the cords! Attempt great things!' 'here am I; send me, send me!' now the life of William Carey is both the outcome and the exemplification of a stupendous principle. That principle was never better stated than by the prophet from whose flaming lips Carey borrowed his text. ' thine eyes said Isaiah, 'thine eyes shall see the king in His beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.' The vision kingly stands related to the vision continental ; the revelation of the lord leads to the revelation of the. What was it that happened one memorable day upon the road to damascus?
'we dare not separate without doing something!' he cried, as a young minister. Strengthen the stakes!' 'expect great things! I can never think of William Carey without thinking of Jane conquest. In the little hamlet by the sea, poor Jane watched through the night beside the cot of her dying child. Then, suddenly, a light leapt in at the lattice, crimsoning every object in the room. It was a ship on fire, and no eyes but hers had seen it! Leaving her dying boy to the great Father's care, she trudged through the snow to the old church on the hill. She crept through the narrow window and climbed the belfry stair, And grasped the rope, sole cord of hope for the mariners in despair. And the wild resume wind helped her bravely, and she wrought with an earnest will, And the clamorous bell spake out right well to the hamlet under the hill.
They rose to leave as usual. When Carey, stepping down from the pulpit, saw the people quietly dispersing, he seized Andrew Fuller's hand and wrung it in an agony of distress. 'Are we not going to do anything!' he demanded. 'Oh, fuller, call them back, call them back! We dare not separate without doing anything! ' as a result of that passionate entreaty, a missionary society was formed, and William Carey offered himself as the society's first missionary. 'If I begin a thing I must go through with it!' he said, as a schoolboy.
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At length, on may 31, 1792, carey preached his great sermon, the punjabi sermon that gave rise to our modern missionary movement, the sermon that made history. It was at Nottingham. "Lengthen thy cords' — so ran the text — 'lengthen thy cords and strengthen thy stakes, for mobile thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the gentiles and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.' 'lengthen. 'Strengthen thy stakes!' said the text. 'Expect great things from God!' said the preacher.
'Attempt great things for God!' said the preacher. 'If all the people had lifted up their voices and wept says. Ryland, 'as the children of Israel did at Bochim, i should not have wondered at the effect; it would only have seemed proportionate to the cause; so clearly did. Carey prove the criminality of our supineness in the cause of God!' but the people did not weep! They did not even wait!
We must have a good look at this map, for there is history in it as well as geography. It is a map of the world, made of leather and brown paper, and it is the work of his own fingers. Look, i say, at this map, for it is a reflection of the soul of Carey. As he came up the lane, looking neither to the right hand nor to the left, he was thinking of the world. He is a jack-of-all-trades, yet he is a man of a single thought.
'perhaps he says to himself, 'perhaps God means what he says!' The world! God so loved the world! Go ye into all the world! The kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ! It is always the world, the world, the world. That thought haunted the mind of Carey night and day. The map of the world hung in his room, but it only hung in his room because it already hung in his heart. He thought of it, he dreamed of it, he preached. And he was amazed that, when he unburdened his soul to his brother-ministers, or preached on that burning theme to his little congregation, they listened with respectful interest and close attention, yet did nothing.
But I have never seen that one. Yet the most characteristic word that Carey ever uttered was the reply that he made to his app mother that day! 'If I begin a thing I must go through with it!'. If you look closely, you will see that sentence stamped upon his countenance as, with a far-away look in his eye, he passes down the lane. Let us follow him, and we shall find that he is beginning some tremendous things; and, depend upon it, he will at any cost go through with them! It is not an elaborately-furnished abode, this little home of his. For, although he is minister, school-master and cobbler, the three vocations only provide him with about thirty-six pounds a year. Looking around, i can see but a few stools, his cobbler's outfit, a book or two (including a bible, a copy of Captain cook's voyages and a dutch Grammar) besides a queer-looking map on the wall.
He climbed again — and fell again! He climbed a third time, and, in the third fall, broke his leg. A few weeks later, whilst the limb was still bandaged, his mother essay left him for an hour or two, instructing him to take the greatest care of himself in her absence. When she returned, he was sitting in his chair, flushed and excited, with the bird's nest on his knees. 'hurrah, mother; i've done it at last! Here it is, look!' 'you don't mean to tell me you've climbed that tree again!' 'i couldn't help it, mother; I couldn't, really! If I begin a thing I must go through with it! on monuments erected in honour of William Carey, on busts and plaques and pedestals, on the title pages of his innumerable biographies, and under pictures that have been painted of him, i have often seen inscribed some stirring sentence that fell from his eloquent lips.
or two. The cattle stare at him, as well they may. The whole world would stare at him if it had the chance to-day. For this is William Carey, the harbinger of a new order, the prophet of a new age, the maker of a new world! The cattle stare at him, but he has no eyes for them. His thoughts are over the seas and far away. He is a dreamer; but he is a dreamer who means business. Less than twenty years ago, in a tall chestnut tree not far from this very lane, he spied a bird's nest that he greatly coveted. He climbed — and fell!
Missionary biographies. The westering sun, slanting through the tops of the taller trees, is beginning to throw long shadows across the green and gently-undulating fields. The brindled cattle, lying at proper their ease and meditatively chewing the cud in these quiet Northamptonshire pastures, are disturbed by the sound of footsteps in the lane. Some of them rise in protest and stare fixedly at the quaint figure that has broken so rudely on their afternoon reverie. But he causes them no alarm, for they have often seen him pass this way before. He is the village cobbler. This very morning he tramped along this winding thoroughfare on his way to northampton.
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