In 1792, Carey published an eighty-seven page manuscript, popularly known as his “Enquiry.” The book contains an introduction, and five sections (i.e., chapters). In part as a result of this book, the “Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel Amongst the Heathen” (later renamed the Baptist Missionary Society) formed itself in the home of Mrs. Beeby Wallis (the Widow Wallis House), Kettering, England, on October 2, 1792.
In attendance were fourteen people, including William Carey, Leicester; John Ryland, Northampton; Reynold Hogg, Thrapstone; John Sutcliff, Olney; Andrew Fuller, Kettering; Abraham Greenwood, Oakham; Edward Sharman, Cottisbrook; Samuel Pearce, Birmingham; Joseph Timms, Kettering; Joshua Burton, Foxton; Thomas Blundel, Arnsby; William Heighton, Roade; John Ayres, Braybrook; and William Staughton, Bristol; the last of whom was a theological student at Bristol Academy (Bristol Baptist College), Bristol, England.
In the Introduction of the Enquiry, Carey sets forth the question of whether Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 remains as an obligation on Christians after the apostles.
Section I includes Carey’s treatment of the Matthew 28:18-20 in relation to Christians of the late eighteenth century.
In Section II, Carey reviews former attempts to convert various peoples of the world to Christianity; included in this chapter is Carey’s rehearsal of Christian missionary history, including an exposition of Paul’s four missionary journeys as recorded in the New Testament book, the Acts of the Apostles.
Section III contains a survey of the world’s countries, those countries’ land size, populations, and religious preferences. Carey presents twenty-three tables of detailed statistical information, followed by a discussion of the information in the tables.
In Section IV, Carey offers a defense in support of sending Christian missionaries to the peoples of the world who had not heard the Christian message.
Lastly, in Section V, Carey presents an argument in support of Christians’ duty to promote missionary efforts to peoples who had not heard the Christian message.