I just received today three volumes from India through the kindness of Pastor Jack Chen, of Carey Baptist Church, Kolkata (see here for a picture) and Pastor John Mahaffey of West Highland Baptist Church, Hamilton, Ontario who was just there teaching. My brother-in-law, Graham Lowe, is a member of West Highland and he dropped off this morning some books that Pastor Mahaffey brought back for me from Jack Chen: a small volume of Carey’s letters that I shall post on later and a two-volume reprint in hardback of John Clark Marshman’s The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman, and Ward (London 1859 ed.; repr. Serampore: Council of Serampore College, 2005). Needless to say I was thrilled to get these and am very thankful to Pastor Chen for remembering me in this regard—and my love for “Careyana.”
J.C. Marshman (1794-1877) was born in England to Joshua and Hannah Marshman, Carey’s beloved co-workers. He came out to India with his parents in 1799 on an American ship. In short order he became a fluent Bengali speaker, and in his adult years was a tremendous aid to the ministry of his parents and Carey. When they all died he continued to be deeply involved in Serampore College, spending a small fortune of his own to keep the school solvent. He returned to England in 1855. Four years later he published what is still the major life of his father and the other member of the Serampore Trio, William Ward.
It was Marshman who recorded the famous outburst of the senior Ryland when Carey first broached the idea of missions as “Young man, sit down. When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine” (I:10) The questions surrounding the historicity of these very words and of the event itself are still being asked—and cannot be solved here. Suffice it to say that the reprinting of these two volumes by the Council of Serampore College is a great help to the recovery of the tremendous ministries of Marshman and Ward, a work that still awaits an author or authors.