Willam Carey – Desperate for Missions

This is the day that … William Carey preached his “deathless sermon”, as it is described by his biographer, S. Pearce Carey.

It was 1792, and the place was Nottingham, England.

At 10.00 a.m. the young cobbler/pastor from Leicester rose to address the small group.  His text was Isaiah 54:2,3:  “Lengthen thy cords … strengthen thy stakes …” and then rang out a fervent plea for missions. The two key thoughts he drew from that passage are: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”

One who was present tells us that Carey “was in an agony of distress” as he became spokesman for the perishing multitudes in heathendom.

As the ministers “once more quenched the Spirit” at the meeting’s close and began to leave, Carey grasped the arm of Andrew Fuller and cried:  “Is there nothing again going to be done, sir?”

“This”, writes S. Pearce Carey, “was a creative moment in the history of Christ’s Kingdom.  Deep called unto deep.  Fuller trembled an instant under that importunity, gesture and heartbreak, and then his soul was stabbed awake and the Holy Spirit flooded his spirit” (page 84).

With Fuller’s ‘inspired strength’ behind Carey’s vision, things began to move.

Before long the Baptist Missionary Society was born, and Carey himself was on his way to India.

While Count Zinzendorf’s Moravian community can be identified as an earlier missionary movement than Carey’s it is true that William Carey carried the burden of Missions like no-one before him. It was an obsession for him, which accounts for his passionate preaching.

Despite the ugliest of obstacles Carey got himself to India and pursued 41 years of missionary service. His wife’s insanity was but one of the crosses he had to bear. He had died to this world and spent himself in service of heaven.

Niclaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf – Christian Revolutionary

This is the day that … Niklaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf was born, in 1700.

Born to an aristocratic German family Count Zinzendorf is described as the Rich Young Ruler who said ‘Yes’. At age 6 he impressed people with his prayers. At age 20 he felt the call do whatever Christ asked, no matter the cost. At age 22, as heir to one of Europe’s leading royal families, he opened his property to refugees.

Starting with a group of ten that arrived in December, 1722, Zinzendorf was hosting ninety by May of 1725, and over 300 by late 1726. The community was given the name “Herrnhut”, meaning “The Lord’s Watch.” In little time it grew into a small city of Christian citizenry. From here a number of missionaries went forth to evangelise.  This was the beginning of the Moravian movement, which would later play a part in the conversion of John Wesley.

Zinzendorf renounced his life as a nobleman and is rightly regarded as “one of the greatest missionary statesmen of all times”.

Yet, one author speaks of his “arrogance and conceit” and the gruesome obsession” with our Lord’s physical sufferings which temporarily nearly wrecked this missionary movement (From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, by Ruth Tucker).

From his pen came 2000 hymns, many of which still appear in church hymnals, including:
          Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness,
          my beauty are, my glorious dress.
          ’midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
          with joy shall I lift up my head!

The Moravian community was well organised but soon fell into jealousy, division and discord. Zinzendorf sought to address this and in August 1727 the community was moved to repentance and experienced a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Zinzendorf died in Herrnhut on 9 May, 1760.