Carey, The Founder Of Modern Missions -- By: D. L. Leonard

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 049:196 (Oct 1892)
Article: Carey, The Founder Of Modern Missions
Author: D. L. Leonard


Carey, The Founder Of Modern Missions

Rev. D. L. Leonard

The recent centennial missionary gatherings in England, in which all Christendom in spirit has heartily joined, and which various churches have made the occasion to urge a substantial increase of zeal, giving, and toil for the world’s evangelization, afford a fitting opportunity for reviewing the missionary achievements of the century lying between 1792 and the present year.

Going back to the date of William Carey’s immortal sermon, May 31, the organization of the Baptist Missionary Society, October 2, and the setting forth of its first representatives in June of the following year, what do we find to be the situation as to missions? A few startling words tell the entire story. In Southern India, in Lutheran hands, an insignificant work was in a languishing condition. Kiernander and a little circle of laymen were astir in Calcutta. Some slight remains of desire for the salvation of the Indians were discoverable in New England and New York. And this, with a single notable exception, represented the sum total of faith, longing and endeavor in Protestant Christendom, in both the Old World and the New! Elsewhere, in populous Asia nothing, nothing in Africa, nothing in America, North or South, nothing in the Islands of the Sea. In particular, not a single English-speaking missionary to be found upon the face of the earth! The churches in a deep sleep as touching their duty and their privilege. The last command of their Lord altogether forgotten. No sympathy

or solicitude for the millions perishing in heathen lands. The Moravians indeed, though a body of saints, few, feeble, despised, and scarcely heard of by most, were, and since 1732 had been, models of missionary fervor, activity and self-denying devotion, and in divers lands spiritually most barren and desolate, were proclaiming to thousands the Glad Tidings. Yes, and only six years before, Coke, the Wesleyan apostle, sailing for Nova Scotia, but driven by a storm to the West Indies, concluded that the Lord had called him to plant the Gospel in Antigua. And this is the entire catalogue of efforts in progress to enlarge the borders of the kingdom almost three hundred years after Luther’s clarion call had sounded out the beginning of a better day for truth and righteousness!

Of course, not that nothing beyond this had been achieved, or even attempted, since the Reformation period began. A few heroes can be named, such as Eliot and Brainerd, Zeisberger and Heckewelder, Egede, Ziegenbalg, and Schwartz, and some of them not yet surpassed for courage, persistence and skill. But the co-operation at home was how slight, and their activity was but a fleeting phenomenon. They came, they we...

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