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.