Carey had been born into the Church of England. He was brought up in that Church, taught in that Church, and was loyal to that church. In fact, he was so dedicated to it that he once remarked about one of the groups opposing his Church, ‘There was a place of worship and a small body of dissenters in the village but I never attended it and thought myself to have enmity enough in my heart to destroy it.’
But Carey’s opinion was soon to change. The older he got, the more his sin and guilt burdened upon him. He did everything in his power to ease the guilt and obtain peace with God. He writes, “Under these circumstances I resolved to attend regularly three churches in the day and go to a prayer meeting at the dissenting place of worship in the evening not doubting but this would produce ease of mind and make me acceptable to God… but I was at present unacquainted with the wickedness of my heart and the necessity of Saviour.”
When he was caught trying to cheat his boss out of money, the guilt, dishonor, and humiliation was too much for the 18-yr old to bear and he realized that his own attempts to reform could never work. When he attended the next prayer meeting, the words of the scriptures penetrated his sin-bound heart:
He insisted much on the necessity of following Christ entirely and enforced his exhortation with that passage Heb xiii “Let us therefore go out unto him without the camp bearing his reproach.” I think I had a desire to follow Christ but an idea occurred to my mind upon hearing those words which broke me off from the church of England. The idea was certainly very crude but useful in bringing me from attending a lifeless carnal ministry to one more evangelical. I concluded that the church of England as established by law was the camp in which all were protected from the scandal of the cross and that I ought to bear the reproach of Christ among the dissenters and accordingly I always afterwards attended divine worship among them.
This meeting was the first step in William Carey leaving the Church of England and seeking the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
On this day in 1859, Jonathan Goforth, the great missionary to China, was born on a farm in London, Ontario, Canada, the seventh of eleven children. Born into a strong Christian family, he was challenged by his parents to pray and to love, read and memorize the Scriptures. And he was also challenged to work hard.
As a boy, he was forced to juggle the challenges of both going to school and working on the farm at the same time. At the age of fifteen, his father put him in charge of the family’s second farm, located twenty miles from his home. His father left him on the farm with this charge, “Work hard. At harvest, I’ll return and inspect.”
In later years, Goforth stirred massive audiences as he told of his labors that summer, of his father’s return in the fall and of how his heart thrilled when his father, after inspecting the fields of beautiful waving grain, turned to him and smiled. “That smile,” he would say, “was all the reward I wanted. I knew my father was pleased. So will it be, dear Christians, if we are faithful to the trust our Heavenly Father has given us. His smile of approval will be our blessed reward.”
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